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Debate Recap

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Last night at Digital Dissent my colleague and I ran a constantly updated opinion thread throughout the debate. Here are some of the gems:

Early debate antics:

Bush: “Of course we’re after Sadam Hussein, uh, I mean Osama bin Laden.”

Sounds about right.

Bush also just claimed he has increased the Homeland Security budget to $30 billion. However, the Bush administration is planning major cuts to the Department if re-elected — cuts to the tune of $800 million.

Kerry’s pushing his Middle Eastern/ally summit and the possiblity of a fresh start, something that is vital in order to contrast himself with Bush.

Kerry brought up General Shinseki; not a good subject since the factual basis is a bit off. But it’ll most likely be glossed over by Bush, although it’s going to get pounded later by the pundits as it should.

“He forgot Poland.” Well, yeah. There are a little over 2,000 Polish boots on the ground opposed to around 125,000 American. As Kerry said, “we can do better.”

“Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?”
Kerry – “No, they’re not […]”
A wonderful way to make it look like you’re vacillating again, Mr. Kerry.

Bush made a brilliant save on the “Miscalculations of Conditions in Post-War Iraq” – He managed to turn something bad into an example of something good – Essentially, We did so well that we’re doing more poorly than we planned. It’s logically incomprehensible, but it’s rhetorically genius.

Again, Bush dodges the reality of increased terrorist recruiting due to the Iraqi war. He’s making it clear that he believes there are absolutely no ramifications due to the war. Well, if terrorists attacked the US partially because American troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia, then why wouldn’t an invasion of a non-threatening Arab state not increase terrorist recruitment?

Even into the debates, the concept of a Congressional authorization for the use of force continues to be distorted. Simply because Kerry voted for it does not mean he voted to go to war. That vote is the equivalent of a dog baring its fangs or a rattler shaking its tail; it reveals the deadly intent of the man approaching the negotiating table. The authorization was granted on the premise of using the threat of force to bully Saddam, not using force to slaughter him.

Kerry’s pounding his plan for military disengagement, citing the need to not back off of violent areas such as Fallujah and closing the borders. Allawi himself has complained of pourous borders, although that’s exactly what Perle, Wolfowitz et all want — the flypaper way of fighting terror. The side effect: Iraq is being torn asunder and a failed state is nearly guranteed.

Bush claims there are 100,000 trained Iraqi soldiers/police — that seems inflated. Even if there is 100,000, there’s new reports that a number of trained Iraqis are corrupt and are working for the insurgency out of desperation.

A metaphor for the preemptive strike on Iraq:
I’m standing on the street. Rocks are on the ground, so I have the “capability” of arming myself. But until I pick them up, I’m not armed. So you’re essentially coming after me because I’m around rocks.

Bush doesn’t think being popular in the world is important, which makes sense from his point of view — Who needs allies when you carry the biggest stick? Well, the United States when the world finally gets fed up and refuses to help in the global war on terror.

“You cannot lead if you send maxed messages.” Keep pounding away with that, Dubya, especially while making up unintelligible phrases. You’re just handing Kerry the win.

Bush: “Transshipment”. Wow. Just. Wow.

Bi-lateral talks are bad for the North Korea issue? Well, six party talks have done absolutely nothing besides lead Japan to fear a nuclear attack by way of a ballistic missle that, if adjusted, could possibly hit Alaska.

“We’ll continue to spread freedom.” Yeah, because it’s just that easy, right? Afghanistan’s pushed its elections back three times and Iraq is in shambles.

Jon and I will be doing the same for the next two debates, so be sure to check that out.

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About Justin Delabar

  • Thanks for the list. Now we get to watch the right try to spin this the other way.

    And a note: the “porous borders” are over-blown. Last Sunday, General Abizaid said he estimated there were “fewer than 1,000” foreign terrorists in Iraq (900? 300? 30?). There could be more in the U. S. as we speak.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Justin, very nice job, and though “editorial,” balanced as well

  • Shark

    And when Bush was describing the meeting with the widow of a soldier killed in Iraq, something about….

    “After I loved her for a while…”

    What’s up with that?

    Another reference to the OB/GYN love making bit?

    Bush might need a blow job in the White House.

  • Vic

    Of course we know the left never spins anything. 🙂

    Believe it or not, I thought Kerry came off pretty well. Where was the monotone Kerry that the Republicans have come to love? 🙂 I thought he was very commanding in his presence and he did put Bush on the defensive.

    Of course on the flip side, Kerry *has* in fact said that Bush “lied”. So in effect he lied about calling Bush a liar. Also, the NY subway was *not* shut down. Penn station was closed temporarily. A year ago Kerry stated that we should spend however many billions it takes to win the war (which has cost $120 billion so far, not $200).

    And yes, I know Bush misstated facts as well. They’re both politicians.

    Flame away.


  • Sandra Smallson

    Stayed up to watch the thing. Thought Kerry had a slight lead, then thought it was a draw..I wilted and waivered all over the place;)..finally after closing statements, concluded that Kerry came off best and made more sense. Though that should not be difficult when your opponent is Dubya.

    It still puzzles me why this is such a tough decision for Americans. I was perplexed when Gore lost to this man, Dubya. I am puzzled that there’s a chance to kick Dubya out, and it’s like ground hog day all over again. The race is too close to call? Bloody Nora! Why?!
    Look, I was in favour of removing Sadaam and had been disgusted by the lack of action over the last decade or so..but even Sadaam’s downfall is not enough for me to think Bush is a good president. He is playing cowboys and indians. That’s all he’s been doing since he came to office.

    The man, Dubya, should not be the president of the rotary club let alone the United States of America. I was going to say the super power in the world but I think the North Koreans might have something to say about that, with all those nuclear weapons they have these days.

  • Vic

    At the risk of raising the ire of folks here, North Korea is in my uneducated opinion not nearly the danger that radical Islam is to us and the rest of the world.

    To deal with these extremists we need a “cowboy”. They can not be negotiated with, they consider their efforts a holy war where anyone not Muslim is an infidel. Christians and Jews in particular are descended from “pigs and apes” according to them. (This is from the Qu’ran)

    Ole’ Dubya is on the right track, and whether we were in Iraq or not the hatred they have for us and their plans to take us down would still be there.

    You cannot negotiate with Jihad, you can not reason with it, you can not apply “live and let live” to it because if you do and walk away you will be shot in the back.


  • Given that Islamic extremism is a worse threat than North Korea, Vic, why on earth did Bush attack Iraq?

    There were probably more radical Islamists in Florida than Iraq.

    The invasion of a secular Arab country simply “proved” to the radicals that the U.S. was anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and gave then ammunition for recruiting more terrorists.

    It worked, and the unilateralist “crusade” (Bush’s word) has spread radical Islamism faster and farther than anything Osama Bin Laden could have done.

    This country needs a leader who understands the nature of the threat, since he clearly is not fighting against it now.

  • Vic

    So there weren’t any Islamic radicals in Iraq? There is not a Muslim-dominated country in the world that does not have the radical variety living there and influencing (heavily) the gov’t and laws.


  • Probably fewer than there were in Florida and California, Vic.

    At the time, the threat – and our attackers – was Al Qaeda and Iraq had nothing to do with it. Bush simply agreed to the neocon agenda.

    Remember, for instance, that on 9/12 Rumsfeld asked whether the 9/11 attack couldn’t be used as an excuse to invade Iraq (from the Bush-friendly book “Bush at War” by Bob Woodward, more quotes about halfway down the post).

  • Vic


    Respectfully, if you believe there are more radical Islamists in California and/or Florida than in Iraq you really need a reality check.

    I suggest you read a few books on the radical Islamic movement… a great one is “Onward Muslim Soldiers” (which I’ve mentioned before).


  • Just as respectfully, please read my post: “were” is the operative word. Why did you feel the need to twist that, Vic?

    The situation is far different now, of course, with Bush sening in troops where no troops were needed to fight Al Qaeda since Al Qaeda was not there, and the whole operation had nothing to do with any sort of “war on terror.”

  • Vic


    Honestly, I didn’t mean to twist anything. I just thought that was a typo. My answer applied to even before our invasion of Iraq.

    Sorry about the confusion.