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When the Cat's Away, the Republicans Fold; the US: a Confirmed Paper Tiger

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Bloviating Zeppelin: When the Cat's Away, the Republicans Fold; the US: a Confirmed Paper Tiger

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When the Cat's Away, the Republicans Fold; the US: a Confirmed Paper Tiger

From the DailyKos:

The good news -- Republicans are finally starting to come around on Iraq, making noise about applying some accountability to the war effort. And more good news -- Republicans are proving that Democrats are, in fact, the party of ideas and they are,in fact, bereft of them. Otherwise, they wouldn't be stealing our ideas. And the challenge -- we need to cut out the middle men in 2006.
And so you see, whilst President Bush is away in Asia (and slapping him resoundingly in the face), the entire Republican party caves in to Democratic pressure and places the party and the nation on the road to the above photograph. A rather spectacular assumptive leap to make, is it not? Allow me to explain in a moment. But first, a letter from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D, Nevada):

November 14, 2005
The last few days of our session and the December recess will be an important time for our Caucus. President Bush and his Republican party are collapsing across a wide front. Voters doubt their integrity, oppose their policies, abhor their performance and differ with their priorities. And, last week's Democratic victories confirm what we already knew - the American people want honest government and leaders who share their priorities.

Over the next several weeks, we will have tremendous opportunities to reinforce with the American people that Democrats are committed to addressing the priorities of the people, while Republicans have spent the last year enacting the agenda of special interests and the radical right. Our unity in fighting for America's priorities such as lower gas prices, a real plan for security and a better economy -- as well as our success in defeating the Republican efforts to privatize Social Security, preventing the Republican trigger on the nuclear option, forcing a real investigation into the manipulation of intelligence, and blocking the irresponsible tax cut bill -- has reaped real benefits for the Democratic Party, and for America.

We can't stop now. It's incredibly important that we take this message home during the upcoming recess and focus on the many missed opportunities in the Republican Congress over the last year to address America's priorities, and begin to lay out a real agenda of reform that will set the nation in a new direction.

This memo provides a brief review of activities in 2005 and important planning for 2006.

In yesterday's vote involving every Republican:

The overall measure, adopted 98-0, shows a willingness to defy the president in several ways despite a threatened veto. It would restrict the techniques used to interrogate terrorism suspects, ban their inhuman treatment and call for the administration to provide lawmakers with quarterly reports on the status of operations in Iraq.
The Democratic proposal called for specific dates and timetables for an Iraq troop withdrawal. The Republican version called for no specific dates but "quarterly reports" on progress made. Both versions are advisory in nature but reflective of the Senate in toto. Again, Senate Republicans crossed the line and provided a wonderful Democratic victory the likes of which they are crowing about today.

The Republicans caved on ANWR; now they've caved on the President. In an even larger body blow not simply involving politics but the literal future of this nation:

In a mixed bag for the president, the Senate also voted to endorse the Bush administration's military procedures for detaining and prosecuting foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. But the provision approved on a 84-14 vote also would allow the detainees to appeal their detention status and punishments to a federal appeals court in Washington.

That avenue would take the place of the one tool the Supreme Court gave detainees in 2004 to fight the legality of their detentions - the right to file habeas corpus petitions in any federal court.

So in one foul stroke we have now given and confirmed enemy combatants' access to the entire American judicial system, taken them out of the military purvey and placed them strictly under our Constitution. We have taken a massive pre-9/11 step backwards, as though those 3,000 souls crushed to pulp in the twin towers didn't pay their ultimate mortal prices. I find this despicable to the core.

If you don't think the Islamists completely understand the meaning of our senatorial move, the most degrading and undermining military abandonment to date, consider this from the original letter from al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri to Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, dated July 9, 2005 (making it clear that not only are al-Zawahiri and bin Laden symbolic leaders to the global jihad, but the two are still active in running their terror network as well):

So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it, and it is my humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals:

The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before unIslamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

There is no doubt that this amirate will enter into a fierce struggle with the foreign infidel forces, and those supporting them among the local forces, to put it in a state of constant preoccupation with defending itself, to make it impossible for it to establish a stable state which could proclaim a caliphate, and to keep the Jihadist groups in a constant state of war, until these forces find a chance to annihilate them.

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.
I would advise any and all visiting my blog to read the entire contents of the letter.

In a similar vein, the Wall Street Journal said: "If Osama bin Laden is alive and looking for signs of flagging U.S. will to fight the war on terror, he need look no further than our national debate about interrogating his compatriots and others who would do us harm. . . [Senator] John McCain. . .has pushed an amendment through the Senate that would effectively bar all stressful interrogation techniques. The danger for American security is that this would telegraph to every terrorist in the world that he has absolutely nothing to fear from silence should he fall into U.S. hands."

Andrew McCarthy from the National Review Online wrote:

We should be asking this question of each and every member of Congress who claims to support the McCain Amendment: If we had credible information regarding an ongoing al Qaeda plot to detonate a nuclear weapon in the continental United States, and we had just taken into custody an al Qaeda militant who was in a position to know where and when the attack was to occur but who was refusing to cooperate, are you saying we would need to let thousands of Americans die rather than harm a hair on the terrorist's head in an effort to extract the information that might save them?

If the answer to that question is "no," you have no business voting for the McCain Amendment.

If the answer is "yes," you have no business serving in a government whose first obligation is the security of the governed.

Our pulling out of Iraq and, moreover, providing a public timetable for this flies in the face of not only standard military thought and strategy but plays perfectly into the hands of al Qaeda. The Japanese, for example, were not kind enough to provide us with a timetable for the attack on Pearl Harbor; clearly an oversight on their part. On the other hand, for whatever inestimable reason the allied forces in World War II likewise failed to provide the Germans and Axis forces with a timetable for Operation Overlord.

With regard to the so-called quarterly "reports" advocated by the Senate, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said "The Department of Defense and the Department of State send literally dozens of Iraqi-related reports to Congress each year already" and that the Pentagon alone sends Congress "I don't know, it's something over 900 reports total every year" on an array of subjects. "I hope someone reads them," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

Someone indeed. You wouldn't be thinking more grandstanding now, would you? A Democratic political ploy once more? One that the Republicans bit into literally hook, line and sinker? Or would that be too jaded a thought for an entire party schooled in politics?

Now place yourself in the form of a soldier stationed in Iraq, and reading that not only has support for your presence flagged on the Democratic side, but it has flagged on the side of your former staunchest supporters, the GOP. Would you not be asking yourself: then what in the hell am I doing here, placing my future and that of my friends in harm's way?

But let's go a bit further. I wonder what al-Jazeera has to say about yesterday's revelation? That would be:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said: "We want to change the course. We can't stay the course." The Senate added the Republican policy to a defence bill the Senate is hoping to complete work on as early as Tuesday.

Overall, the bill includes provisions that, taken together, mark an effort by the Senate to rein in some of the wide authority lawmakers gave Bush after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The measure includes White House-opposed language that would prohibit the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and standardise interrogation procedures used by US troops.
The New York Post weighs in:

Et tu, Bill Frist?

It's disturbing enough that Democrats have become so hostile to America's efforts to fight terror, particularly in Iraq.

But now Republicans — like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — also seem to be peeking at the polls and going all wobbly on the Iraq campaign.

It's pathetic.

And dangerous.

I concur and add: it's not just dangerous; it's playing precisely into the overall al Qaeda plans, as they realize Iraq is the global "line in the sand" for all of Islamism. AQ knows our recent history: we have little public stomach for dissonance and discontent. Witness Haita. Witness Somalia. Witness Iraq in 1991. Witness more persons' attempts to make this Vietnam. We cut and run. We don't have the endurance and commitment -- not the military commitment, mind you -- the public and, moreover, our political administrations' commitment.

By doing this, in the course of one 24-hour period, we have now almost guaranteed a NBC MCE occurring on continental United States soil. Because, until a nuclear, biological or chemical mass casualty event takes place, we have conclusively proven that we did not and do not thoroughly understand the dynamics and forces playing against us on a global terrorist Islamist venue.

So yes, when the cat is away, the rats emerge. PowerLine calls it "two parts grandstanding to one part suicide."

A commenter on wrote: "Today, four years after thousands died at the WTC, the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania field, unserious and posturing politicians in Washington still don't seem to understand that this is no longer politics as usual. I think most of these bozos do understand that we either fight Islamofascism now, or fight it later. But they are making the personal calculation they'd rather make the fight later - after they have retired on fat pensions, most likely, so that somebody else will have to make the tough, necessary decisions they don't have the spine for today.

This is a frightening turn of events on a whole host of levels and please consider this, dear people: NBC events might not just occur in New York. They can occur in your home town as well -- and may involve you.


This newest comment just in from ex-President William Jefferson Clinton:

The United States made a "big mistake" when it invaded Iraq, former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday, citing the lack of planning for what would happen after dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown.


Keep going, politicians, keep going.

I can hear the dosimeters starting to click from here.


Blogger Robert said...

"The measure includes White House-opposed language that would prohibit the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees"

Is the underlying argument here that, without the freedom to treat detainees in cruel, inhuman and degrading ways, we cannot defeat the enemy?

We have an enemy - a cruel and inhuman enemy which delights in degrading its victims. We are BETTER than they are, just as we were better than our enemies in WWII. I refuse to believe that we cannot defeat our enemy without using that enemy's tools against them.

Wed Nov 16, 04:30:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Robert: excellent question! It is such a pertinent and necessary question that I am revolving my next post entirely around your question. I want my response to be made "in the clear" and not buried under comments that some may or may not read.

Thu Nov 17, 06:17:00 AM PST  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Am I wrong for wanting to go to Capitol Hill and deal out leather suppositories?

Thu Nov 17, 07:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This kind of stuff makes me depressed. I get bummed when even good republicans start to lose their backbone.

As for McCain it is hard to come up with words for him that are okay for me to say. My only consolation is that Dick Morris said he is slipping in the polls among republicans? Ya think? I can't believe he has more than 3% support among republicans.

Have you ever seen the show 24? They've had numerous situations where they need to aggressively interrogate a prisoner to find a nuclear weapon or some imminent threat and because of political correctness they can't. It is so frustrating because you can see how important it is. Ofcourse Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) always finds a way to do it but you can see in real life how this can be a major problem.

Thu Nov 17, 07:40:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BWH: I have to admit, that's a solution I'd not yet pondered but the possibilities. . .hmmm. . .

LMC: One bright spot revolves around the Patriot Act -- having been mostly entirely re-adopted -- and the fact that both Bush and Cheney have started to bare their verbal knuckles just a bit, recently.

Thu Nov 17, 09:36:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 17 05

Good post Blo Zep:
You address issues of importance here. Personally, I am with Ms. chatterbox on the torture and ethics stuff.
Why the hell would one let UN conventions govern how they treat terrorists? The Geneva Convention is so ridiculous
if the purpose of war is to win, do it with whatever means necessary. If someone dies by mustard gas or by a shot to
the head, how is the method by which they lost their life relevant? They are dead just the same. What kind of
misguided policies EXPECT folks who are ravaged by war and terrorists to treat the terrorist like royalty! Screw that! I do
believe that the terrorists should get a trial, but the means to extract information should be irrelevant because millions
of lives are in danger. And I see Robert found your site. Just make sure he actually reads your articles before he starts shooting off!

Thu Nov 17, 09:47:00 AM PST  
Blogger Robert said...

BZ - Thank you.
Interesting you bring up Senator McCain. Among current US Senators, he has perhaps the most complete and in-depth personal knowledge of both the utility and morality of the torture of prisoners.

As far as I know, he lasted five and half years under conditions eclipsing what we're _officially_ putting our captured 'enemy combatants' through, and, again, as far as I know, his North Vietnamese captors never obtained any information of use to them from him. Whatever else we know about these combatants, if they're who we think they are, they're as devoted to their cause as our own servicemen and -women are to ours - and if they're not who we think they are, they have no usefulness as captives anyway.

Thu Nov 17, 10:43:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Robert: Yes, clearly McCain has in-depth knowledge of same. But at the same time I tend to be of the opinion that he has become overly sensitized to the fact. Certainly, let it not be said that he has not bled and been punished on behalf of his nation. The stakes were high. NVA officials wanted strike sites, times, dates, movements, any pertinent intel.

I would submit the stakes have been raised hundreds-fold, for reasons I shall post about shortly. These are different times and we face a different enemy working for vastly different motivations.

Thu Nov 17, 01:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Blo Zep, I owe you an apology for an offense that you didn't even know. When I first read the post (not all the way through, I confess) I got the impresion that you were supporting Harry Reid, so I got a copy of his letter and wrote some rejoinders (election victories that included replacing two democratic governors with two democratic governors, both by relatively narrow margins?) That the Democrats were fighting for lower gas prices (how, when?) and we were getting a real plan for security (RUN run run the Insurgents (I hate that term) are coming. etc. I even had the impression that he was bragging about Olympia Snow prostituting her self for higher taxes. Imagine when I sat down to write this stuff and discovered as I got further into it that you think a lot like me. By the way, it may have been unintentional but I loved your wording that in one FOUL stroke we have given our enemies access to the American Judicial system. Foul indeed, much like the scent that wafted out of the congress when a Democratic congressman advocated that we cut and run.

Fri Nov 18, 05:55:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

3S10: Thanks once again for reading my blog and writing comments! No offense taken, of course, as no excoriation occurred on these pages and no animals were harmed in the creation of these posts.

Harry Reid, at least to me, is such a transparent melodramatist but, I suppose, as such, represents his side of the aisle with accuracy.

And "insurgents?" I begin to go 210/190 when I read euphemisms substituted for hard facts.

Even if you were left of Left, are you so blind as to not see the Iraqis have had elections, held up a constitution, and are forging ahead? How long did it take US to nail down this "freedom" thing? To run at this point would be without a doubt the wrong thing, even if you heartily disagreed with the reasons for the war.

Wed Nov 23, 06:17:00 AM PST  

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