Friday, September 15, 2006

Coffee Table

Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
Henry David Thoreau

Random discussion-do your thing

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Plan To Win

John Kerry gave an inspiring speech this weekend. For purposes of describing leadership I thought it would be useful to examine the Kerry speech and Bush speech. This is a major portion but not the entire speech. John has it all if you are curious. Yes some of it was political but most was quite thoughtful and forceful. Speeches like this would cause me to vote for this guy anyday. For those that want to skim I have italicized what I find to be particularly cogent.

In this war, the war against terrorism, there is no substitute for victory. I don't know a single American who needs a politician to remind them that we have to win this fight.
On Monday, we will commemorate our largest loss of civilian life on a single day in American history. As we remember the horror, the unforgettable shock, and the pride in those who rushed to the rescue, it is our duty to take account as a nation of where we have come since that terrible moment and where we must go if we are to keep America safe in these perilous times. is deeply immoral to compare a majority of Americans who oppose a failing policy and seek a winning one to appeasers of Fascism andNazismm. .....instead of reinforcing in Americans there is nothing to fear but fear itself, they have nothing to offer but fear itself. The President wants Americans to believe only one party wants to fight terror..... I believe we need a game plan to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden, not capture a few Congressional seats. .....I believe we need national leadership capable of raising hopes and inspiring trust, not raising fears and demanding blind faith. We need to marshal all our resources military, diplomatic, economic, and moral and first and foremost always tell the truth to the American people.
...... the stark fact that worldwide terrorist attacks are at an all-time high and there are now more terrorists in the world who want to kill Americans than there were at the time of 9/11. .......The Bush-Cheney policies have limited our power to act decisively and the regime in Tehran knows it. We have over 130,000 American troops in Iraq in the middle of a seething Shiite population that would explode if we moved against Iran. Our troops and our foreign policy are held hostage by the neocon catastrophe in Iraq. Only this White House could name this a plan for victory.
This is the reality of the world today a world more dangerous because of the Bush blunders and a challenge far more complicated than the gruff Cheney sound bites. America deserves, our safety depends, on a winning strategy to reverse this dangerous course and make our country more secure.
There are five principal priorities that demand immediate action: (1) redeploy from Iraq, (2) re-commit to Afghanistan, (3) reduce our dependence on foreign oil, (4) reinforce our homeland defense, and (5) restore America's moral leadership in the world. These 5 Rs if you want to call them that-- are bold steps Democrats will take to strengthen our national security, and that the Republicans who have set the agenda today resist to our national peril.
We must refocus our military efforts from the failed occupation of Iraq to what we should have been doing all along: tracking down and killing members of al Qaeda and their clones wherever they are. We must redeploy troops from Iraq- maintain enough residual force to complete the training and deter foreign intervention, so we can free up resources to fight the global war on terror.
This is the opposite of the administration's stand-still-and-lose strategy - -a clear alternative from a broken policy of more of the same. Every time President Bush tells the Iraqis we will stay as long as it takes, he is giving squabbling politicians there an excuse to take as long as they want. All of us want democracy in Iraq but Iraqis must want it for themselves as much as we want it for them. It's long overdue for the president to realize that no American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi factions refuse to resolve their ethnic rivalries and their competing grasp for oil revenues.
At each step along the way, the Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines-a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, a deadline to write a Constitution, a deadline to hold three elections. So we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet-- a clear deadline of July, 2007 to redeploy our combat troops. Make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home.
We also desperately need something else this administration disdains: diplomacy. Real diplomacy -- a Dayton-like summit of Iraq and the countries bordering it, the Arab League, NATO, and the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council. Our own generals have said Iraq can not be solved militarily. Only through negotiation and diplomacy can you stem the growing civil war, and only by setting a deadline to get out can we force Iraq and its neighbors to take diplomacy seriously.
Staying the course isn't far-sighted; it's blind. Leaving our troops in the middle of a civil war isn't resolute; it's reckless. Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion.
To avoid repeating the terrible mistakes of the past, we need to send significant reinforcements to Afghanistan: Start with at least five thousand additional American troops, more elite Special Forces troops, the best counter-insurgency units in the world; more civil affairs forces; and more experienced intelligence units. More predator drones to find the enemy, more helicopters to allow rapid deployments to confront them, and more heavy combat equipment to make sure we can crush the terrorists. And more reconstruction money so that the elected government in Kabul, helped by the United States, not the Taliban, helped by al Qaeda, rebuilds the new Afghanistan.
That's how you win the hearts and minds of the local population, that's how you win a war on terror, that's how you show the world the true face of America.
America needs a national policy that understands we are threatened not just by gun barrels, but by oil barrels. The great treasury of jihadist terrorism is mideast oil. We fund both sides in the war on terror every time we fill up our gas tanks. ....
Nothing will change if autocratic regimes keep pumping prosperity out of the ground to pay off a new generation with petrodollar welfare checks. We cannot change this if our oil money is sustaining the status quo. We must end the Empire of Oil.
We can't allow Energy independence to be used as a mere slogan, it has to be a solution. We need a revolutionary set of new policies to promote alternative fuels on a crash basis. This is essential if we are to reverse the tide towards catastrophic global climate change; it is essential to making the United States a leader in vast new opportunities to develop and market clean energy technologies but most importantly, energy independence is essential to defeating jihadist terrorism and liberating our country from our bondage to tyrannical, hostile, and unstable regimes.
I envision an aggressive timeline to immediately expand the availability and production of renewable fuels and a new fleet of energy-efficient cars, trucks and SUVs. This strategy invests heavily in renewable energy and efficiency. By clearing the pathways to innovation, investing in our workers and infrastructure,
and providing American consumers with broader choices..
We must rearm ourselves at home. Hurricane Katrina showed us in the most tragic way that the Department of Homeland Security is woefully unprepared to handle a natural disaster we know is coming a week in advance, let alone a catastrophic terrorist attack that takes America by surprise.
....the(9/11) Commission's most recent report card gives the government an F because this Administration has cut homeland security funding for the states that need it most which happen to be blue states -- while distributing funds disproportionately to the red states that need it least. What should count here is the terrorist target list, not the Republican National Committees political target list.
To make America safe we must ensure the rapid development and deployment of reliable technologies to detect the secret transport of deadly materials. For $1.5 billion dollars, less than is spent in a week in Iraq we could purchase the equipment to scan every cargo container bound for U.S. ports to ensure that it does not contain any weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, we must secure the most dangerous of all weapons at their source especially in the former Soviet Union where far too much nuclear material remains dangerously unprotected. We must enhance FBI counterterrorism capabilities at home an effort that is moving far too slowly because of a lack of urgency from this Administration.
And we must put an end to Washington's continued inaction to secure our border.
So these are four specific steps that will start us on the right path but they alone will not win the war on terror.
Most important, we need to make America be America again. We must restore our moral authority and global leadership by deploying the full arsenal of our national power with smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances, more effective international institutions -- and fidelity to the values we have always stood for as a nation.
We must remember the great lesson of the Cold War when we led the world to confront a common threat. Genuine global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries. Leading the world's most advanced democracies isn't mushy multilateralism -- it amplifies America's voice, it extends our reach. Working through global institutions doesn't tie our hands it gives greater strength and legitimacy to our purposes and dampens the fear and resentment that our overwhelming power sometimes triggers in others.
We need to strengthen international institutions, build alliances that amplify our power and extend the reach of our influence, and remember that even the most powerful nation on the face of the earth needs to make some friends on this planet.
As John Kennedy once said, we must never negotiate out of fear but we must never fear to negotiate. If Richard Nixon could send Henry Kissinger to China, surely George Bush can send a real negotiating team to North Korea. If Ronald Reagan could talk to the evil empire, surely we can talk with Iran or Syria.
We must start treating our moral authority as a precious national asset that does not limit our power but magnifies our influence.
Only this week did the Administration finally recognize that the protections of the Geneva Convention had to be applied to prisoners in order to comply with the law, restore our moral authority, and best protect American troops. Let me say it plainly: No American president should be for torture before he's against it.
Anyone who understood the conflict we face could never shrug off the imperative of winning the hearts and minds of Muslim moderates.
We must start leading by example. We should never engage in or excuse violations of basic human rights. We must uphold the rule of law in our own conduct. ...
...restore our credibility with moderates in the Muslim world .... We know from the hard lessons of the past that it won't be easy. But we know from the disasters of the present that it is essential.
So let's have a real debate. ....Let's stand up for what we believe. It is the only way to win. And it is the only way we will be worthy of winning.
Let the President give his speeches attacking the patriotism of his fellow Americans. Let him play the politics of fear. .....we choose to offer a real plan to attack the terrorists and free Americans from fear.

Ron: Now compare that to the President and his followers Here.
Note the writers' inference that the "liberals" oppose winning the battle and support the opposition, that the enemy we fight could take over the world if we do it differently than it is being done now, that liberals don't know how to keep America safe. Obviously he has only been paying attention to the right wing scream machine. The above turns those statements to dust. It's not the first time much of the above plan has been offered either.

Compare: A REAL man with a mature and adult REAL plan Vs. Or angry fratboy stubborness with no other plan to succeed.
Compare: An inspiring resolve to win using Americas highest ideals and ingenuity Vs. a one way idea based on mass destruction and fear.

Inspiration or fear, which do you choose?

Who really looks Presidential here?


I have been pre occupied with other priorities of life over the past few days. There certainly is a lot to write about. People wasted a lot of print and bandwidth on the ABC 9/11 movie. It was certainly appropriate to bring out the fact that it wasn't fact. It was good to bring out how misleading the "based on the 9/11 commission report" was. To me, the rest of it seemed like overwrought bickering on both sides. Once the program aired the facts could be made clear. It would have been fun to point out the lies after everyone had seen them. In short too much gnashing of teeth on both sides before the movie even aired. Oh by the way, from what I saw the ratings for the program were at very best mediocre.
We also had the 9/11 ...whatever it was yesterday. I could barely watch. I personally felt that most of the coverage, especially the "live replay" of events that day, was over the top. The whole day was a sick and disgusting , intense national display of weakness and venerability. No inspiration, just fear and sadness. I could hardly watch so I admit I saw little of it. Every time I turned into the news stations it was what I described above. I am just so tired of that attitude.
I know much of this may make some see me as insensitive. I thought about that my self and apologize if you think that is my sentiment. It isn't though.
It occurred to me that part of the problem with this struggle we are involved in is that a large portion of America is being kept out of the discussion and decisions on what to do. You who are a part know who you are and those that aren't are wondering what the hell I am talking about.
There is no national debate on what to do. Any idea from the Dems or those left of President Cheney is dismissed with a bumper sticker smear. We aren't having a serious national discussion on what we can do to fight the problem and prepare for the future. We aren't having a serious national discussion on how much liberty we are willing to trade for security. The rightists have the power and they are doing what they want and branding others as traitors. Enough! When we get a leader who really wants to win for America and not just for his/her party we will have a real national discussion. To win this we need leaders who are willing to take the best ideas from all sides. That will not happen with the people in power. That will not happen with apologists like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter dominating our airwaves and national discussion.

Clinton/Bush and Terror

Contributed by Lonna:

In an attempt to counter the fabric of misinformation which, along with fear-mongering will be Bush and the GOP’s attempt to manipulate the midterm elections, and to correct the misinformation contained in a partisan ABC fake docudrama, “Path to 9/11” a few facts are called for:

In 1996, Clinton proposed $1.097 billion omnibus anti-terror package only to have the GOP Congress whittle it down to next to nothing. When Clinton tried to ban American companies from doing business with banks laundering al Qaeda money, he was thwarted by the GOP, who called the measures "totalitarian." Clinton reached an agreement with 20 nations to close tax havens used by al Qaeda, but upon entering office, Bush immediately withdrew US participation in that agreement.

According to Roger Cressy, National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism in the period 1999-2001, "Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda"

The outgoing Clinton administration strongly warned the incoming Bush administration that terrorism should be their top priority. On January 25th 2001, only a few days after Bush took office, terrorism czar Richard Clark sent a memo to then National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice “We urgently need … a Principals level review on the al Qida network…al Qida is not some narrow, little terrorist issue…” No meeting was held until Sept. 4, 2001. The FAA received at least 52 warnings of threats against airlines, mentioning Bin Laden, Al Qaeda or both. The administration did nothing.

Additionally, according to Ron Susskind’s book “The One Percent Doctrine,” not only did Bush receive the August 9th PDB “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” but also in August panicked CIA analysts flew to Crawford to intrude on his vacation with face to face alerts. The President was unconcerned. He said “All right, you’ve covered you’re a—es, now,” and sent them on their way.

The world backed our invasion of Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda was effectively broken, but Bush let bin Laden go at Tora Bora, and his unjustified invasion of Iraq so angered the rest of the world that Bush became the best recruiting agent bin Laden ever had. al Qaeda expanded to more than 60 countries.

Iraq, which had no terrorists before the invasion is a breeding ground for terrorists now thanks to the incompetence and hubris of Donald Rumsfeld and G.W. Bush.

This is what Nicholas Przybyla (involved in the initial invasion of Afghanistan, 2001-2002) had to say about it: I have this on my truck along with what some other Iraq veterans said and say.

“I'm here to stop the war I guess trying to put an end to it and let people know what's going on is total bullshit. I had a top secret clearance and every day we would receive intelligence briefings twice a day, and it came down towards the end of our deployment that we had killed about twenty suspected terrorists, members of the Taliban.
We got about seven hostages onboard and the total deaths of civilian casualties was about three thousand-most of them were children—, and I just don't think that's a good way to fight a war just to blow the shit out of a country, kill a bunch of innocent people, and then charge into another country that has nothing to do with it… the intelligence briefings that we got said that the 13th Marines had Osama bin Laden and all his buddies cornered in the Tora Bora Mountains, and it was only a matter of time before we uncovered them. After we were relieved, we were relieved by the (Bomb Homer Shard) Amphibious Ready Group. They went in and did the same thing that we did, have him even more cornered and.. they just let him go.
All the troops were pulled out and sent to Iraq over bullshit when the real person that was responsible for September 11th was set free. That's a fact… my personal opinion is that I think the Bush administration wanted bin Laden to go free so that they could scare the rest of the country and just keep them scared and move into Iraq and not be questioned about it. I joined the military and now like I said before sometimes I get people that come up to me and say thank you for your contribution thank you for protecting us and I think that's kind of stupid because we weren't protecting them at all.
Our National Guard is gone. America's weaker than it's ever been on a home front attack, and it's completely pointless to go to Iraq and die over something that serves no purpose. It's completely insane.