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Pre-Katrina Video Implicates Bush, May Exonerate “Brownie”

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On the six month anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Associated Press has released excerpts from seven days of video and transcripts which document that President Bush and Department of Homeland Security Head Chertoff knew of the risk posed by the hurricane.

Knight Ridder has also obtained the footage and reports that on 28 August, the day before Katrina hit, Bush was told in stark detail about Katrina’s possible impact. The tape shows Bush asked no questions; he was in Texas.

Then-FEMA Chief Michael Brown (Brownie) told Bush, and others at the briefing, that “[w]e’re going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event.” It supports Brown’s mid-February testimony, which contradicted comments made shortly after the hurricane.

Max Mayfield, from the National Hurricane Center, explained that levees could be breached because of anticlockwise winds and storm. “I don’t think any model could predict whether it’ll top the levees, but that’s obviously a grave concern,” he said.

In direct contradiction to information presented at the briefing, four days after the hurricane hit President Bush said, on national television: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”

CBC Canada reports: “Bush is not seen asking any questions during the briefing, but is heard telling state officials, ‘We are fully prepared.'”

The Financial Times reports that post-event analysis from “written by [Congressional] Republicans said federal agencies were unprepared for the Katrina catastrophe and quicker involvement by Mr Bush might have improved their response.”

In addition, Brown expressed concern about the Superdome and the possibility of its flooding due to being below sea level.

Reactions
From Knight Ridder, David Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton who is currently a professor the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard:
“It’s devastating that the president would ask no questions. If he sat there mum in a full briefing … that will only confirm the suspicions of a lot of opponents.”

Brown, who is looking more and more like a scapegoat, told WUSA-9: “I’m glad it’s coming out because despite the media reports and the general perception that I was a dummy that didn’t know what I was doing, I knew exactly what I was doing.”

The Administration discounted the videos and reports. Trent Duffy, White House spokesman: “I hope people don’t draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing… He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times.”

DHS spokesman Russ Knocke: “There’s nothing new or insightful on these tapes. We actively participated in the lessons-learned review, and we continue to participate in the Senate’s review and are working with them on their recommendation.”

It is likely that to those in the Administration, there is “nothing new” here, although it is certainly “new” to the rest of the nation. I predict arguments — loud, long, tenacious — about the claim that the information provides no insight.

AP does not explain how it obtained the transcripts and video, but most had been previously released to Congress. The New York Times reports that a missing video from 29 August had recently been unearthed.

Read more at US Politics at About.com.

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About Kathy

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    More proof of Junior’s incompetence and deceitfulness which will of course be brushed off by the administration, people of NOLA will lament, other americains will decry with indignation and do nothing and things will be back to the status quo within a few days.

    Junior will be loved by all, everything is going well, don’t critic the administration, it’s bad moral for the troops in IRAQ and terrorist will take full advantange of this moment of weakness to strike in the heartland of america. Dances with Wolf Blitser will call it a perfect storm, Anderson Cooper will cry, O’Reilly will rage against who ever is on his dead-to-me list, the blogs will fire up and the boys at Comedy Central will have a field day.

    And still, nothing will change. No one will rise up, no one will confront, no one will demand.

  • RedTard

    I think the media would have a little more respect about what happens during the fog of war. I seem to remember them claiming that roving band of blacks were raping and pillaging in the superdome. Perhaps they should question their own actions or investigate their own failures, of course it’s easier point out the flaws of others.

    It is not practical or realistic for the government to be prepared for every single possible contingency from mother nature. Even if the government taxed us at 80% and spent it all on health and safety every one of us would still die. Freakish bird flus would hit, water and food would go bad, natural disasters would occur. I know it’s convenient to blame all our problems on some far off beaurocrat but the bottom line is we are all responsible for our own lives and actions, and when the government says get your ass out you better do so.

  • Nancy

    Nothing excuses Bush for lying about what he knew and when he knew it, Red. He’s a liar, pure & simple, as well as an incompetent, a fool, and utterly indifferent to the fates of anyone except his fellow billionaires. Trying to defend him just detracts from your own credibility. The sooner conservatives disown the lying bastard & pitch him & his followers overboard, the better off the entire country will be. IMO, the GOP would improve their standing with the public, & their own sense of honor, if they initiated impeachment proceedings on this asshole themselves, instead of letting the idiot Dems do it.

  • Maurice

    Kathy,

    I am always impressed with your writing. You are always factual and pick interesting topics.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I take it that Kathy hasn’t actually viewed the video or read the transcripts, since the ‘implicates Bush’ part of the title is way, way off. In addition to largely exonerating Brown the video clearly shows that Bush was far more on top of the situation than anyone was willing to admit at the time – truly involved and engaged. What these videos do is clearly put the blame for Katrina on Chertoff and the local authorities, and also point up the partisan foolishness of the democrats who tried to pin this on Bush and Brown.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    the video clearly shows that Bush was far more on top of the situation than anyone was willing to admit at the time – truly involved and engaged.

    I’m sorry, Dave, but if you’re talking about the video that corresponds to these transcripts right here, it shows no such thing. It shows that Bush received more information than anyone was willing to admit–including the President.

    As far as being involved and engaged, that would suggest that he had asked questions, made comments, issued orders, or in any way contributed to the discussion. In fact he only spoke once and it was to issue thank-yous and benign assurances.

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    Truly involved and engaged? Are you mad? Are you on drugs? Is this the matrix?

    If I remember correctly the day after NOLA got the godlike smackdown, Junior went to San Diego and other places to give townhall meetings with chosen audiences and did plenty of other petty and pointless things before gazing upon the new cesspool that NOLA has become.

    And a truly great man y’all suppose Junior to be, would have, despite red tape, procedure and protocol, set heaven on fire to go help out his people getting gurgled like mouthwash by Katrina. He chose to go play guitar with some reject country star and hold a town meeting.

    Involved and engaged my butt…

  • zingzing

    okay–if bush was engaged and involved, then he fucked something up. if he wasn’t, then he’s a liar. *shrug* *shuffle, shuffle*

  • Maurice

    Have to part ways with you on this Dave:

    I have never known Bush to be engaging.

  • Nancy

    ROTFLOL, Maurice – good one!

  • Maurice

    …or engaged.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’m sorry, Dave, but if you’re talking about the video that corresponds to these transcripts right here, it shows no such thing. It shows that Bush received more information than anyone was willing to admit–including the President.

    As far as being involved and engaged, that would suggest that he had asked questions, made comments, issued orders, or in any way contributed to the discussion. In fact he only spoke once and it was to issue thank-yous and benign assurances.

    So you think that this information was being forced on him involuntarily? That Brown and Chertoff and others had to chase him down and force him to get briefed? Don’t be ridiculous. Merely not asking questions after what was clearly a more than adequate briefing where other people DID ask pertinent questions doesn’t make you disengaged in and of itself. If he were truly not engaged he would have blown them off, told them to send him a written report, or delegated someone else to meet with him. He didn’t do that. He sat with them for hours, listened to everything and then proceded to do his job. Remember, the videos and transcripts only cover these meetings. They don’t cover anything Bush did outside the meetings, and for all you know – and some of this is documented to have happened – he spent the next few hours on the phone talking to relevant officials and trying to get things done, just without video cameras present.

    From what I’ve read, the videos do reference things he was doing proactively off-screen, like ordering the deployment of federal troops and approving disaster status for the area well before anyone had previously acknowledged he had taken these actions.

    In one of the transcripts Brown says that Bush “remains very very interested in this situation. He’s obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the [Superdome]. He’s asking questions about reports of [levee] breaches. He’s asking about hospitals. He’s very engaged, and he’s asking a lot of really good questions I would expect him to ask.”

    The fact that Bush was not present for all of these discussions, doesn’t mean he wasn’t on top of the situation or ‘engaged’. There’s a reason why Bush has people working for him whose job is to solve problems and implement policies as they were doing in these conferences.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    He was off playing a freakin’ guitar at a political fundraiser when he KNEW there was a crisis going on. That’s NOT engaged. Or engaging. And then he didn’t even have the guts to admit his fault, but tried to make Brown take the fall – and succeeded, unfortunately. The point is, he knew & he just didn’t give a shit, until it resulted in political fallout he & his buddies couldn’t ignore. And even then he – and they – continued to lie about it, even when the truth would have been a lot easier, not to mention better policy or something the public (especially in N.O.) is entitled to. Entitled.

  • Dave Nalle

    Nancy, what EXACTLY could he have done beyond the obvious efforts his underlings were going to as shown in these videos? Did you expect him to stand on a levee shouting at the waters to make them part? Give me a break. Your interpretation that he ‘didn’t give a shit’ is pure speculation, and is clearly not suppoirted by the facts.

    Dave

  • RedTard

    What I wrestle with is the common assumption that there were massive problems in the governments response. What disaster can we compare this response to. This was not a few city block like 9/11, it wasn’t even a city, or a state it was tens of thousands of square miles across several states. Perhaps they did perform poorly, I’m just not sure I can make a judgement myself with absolutely nothing to compare it to.

    The key stat of overall lives lost seems pretty good when you consider the amount of flooding and total devestation. I know some people didn’t get food right away and had trouble verifying identity to get the cash handouts but those are minor inconveniences compared to being drowned or killed if our government had not done the proper warnings and evacuations.

  • http://uspolitics.about.com/ Kathy

    In no particular order:

    Maurice – thanks! I still haven’t figured out what it was about Katrina that captured my heart — maybe just being a fellow southerner with fond memories of the city.

    Dave – you have to be kidding. “Involved”? Listening to reports – asking NO questions – giving a vacuous pep talk that turned out to be dust?

    And NO, I had not seen the video. Did you not see the bit about PC-ONLY? I subsequently found a QT file at Crooks-and-Liars — and it didn’t bear out your assessment.

    And Of Course I have NOT seen the week’s archive, as the reporters from AP and Knight Ridder did.

    RedTard:

    It is not practical or realistic for the government to be prepared for every single possible contingency from mother nature.

    I certainly agree with this statement, except for the implication that NOLA/Katrina was “just another act of nature.”

    It was at the TOP of the list of federal-government-identified “gonna knock the shit out of us if we aren’t ready for it” disasters. As was 9-11.

    It was BUSH who wanted a Department of HOmeland Security post 9-11. It was Congress that gave it to him… on a platter.

    TO partisans on either side — stop name-calling, would ya? It doesn’t persuade — although I’ll grant you an occasional rant makes one feel better. For a little while. It’s like eating a piece of chocolate. ;-)

    Kathy

  • Fred Evil

    I for one am horrified at the way the administration has allowed Michael Brown to be thrown under the FLEET of buses that they recently drove over him…..I originally thought this guy Brown was a worthless tool…..only to find out that while he’s certainly not squeaky clean, he ain’t as bad as the administration made him out to be!!

    In a large public corporation, now would be the time for the board of directors to quietly ask for the CEO’s resignation, and if they didn’t get it, force him out….IF SOMEONE ISN’T DOING THEIR JOB, THEY GET FIRED!!

    What has Bush done RIGHT?! We certainly have our fair share of political posturing and finger-pointing going on, but Bush himself has said he takes reponsibility for the disaster. He hired these guys, and he should’ve fired these guys, at least Chertoff….how many lost their lives in Katrina? I have heard a lot of numbers, 2-3000 maybe? maybe more, maybe less, I don’t know. But if you run a snowplow company, and a big blizzard is coming, and you assure everyone that you’ve got ‘em covered, and then it hits, 5 feet of snow, and you don’t even start the plows for a couple of days, meanwhile people freeze to death in their homes, car accidents abound, who’s at fault? Who gets sued? Who is liable? It seems clear to me, that Bush WAS advised that it was distinctly possible that flooding, and maybe SERIOUS flooding, could/would occur, yet days later, he stated that no one considered the possibility the levees would fail…?! They are only rated for a Cat3 storm at most, and this was a big Cat5 less than 24 hours before landfall, how could they be doing their jobs, if they WEREN’T considering that possibility?! Heck, I sat at home on my butt, and watched the coverage, and -I- considered the possibility!! What is it going to take, for the people of this country to realize that this guy is WAY out of his depth? He’s knocked out two foreign sovereign governments and only half-built the replacements, and they’re crumbling like the levees in New Orelans. Please help me understand how he still has his job….?

    Bottom line, BUSH IS A LIAR

    The only difference is between him and Clinton, is that Clinton didn’t kill anyone first….

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    What has Bush done right? Cut taxes and saved the economy. Put Al Qaeda on the defensive in the middle east and diverted their efforts from much of their international terrorist efforts.

    History will pay a hell of a lot more attention to these things than to Katrina.

    Dave

  • Fred Evil

    Dave, are you serious? Al Qaeda on the defensive? Prove it! How many attacks did we suffer prior to 9/11? How many attacks have we suffered between 9/11 and invading Iraq? How many since? All he’s done, is step up their hatred for us!! You cannot prove that Al Qaeda is on the defensive….have we caught Bin laden? Nope….

    History will pay attention to two toppled foreign governments, one, the Taliban, was justified, and the other, Iraq, is not….THAT’S what history will bear out!!

    Cutting taxes? WOW! That’s such a new idea for Repubs, I thought you all were the idea people! Save the economy? How? When the economy was faltering, Repubs said the president really has no control over it, now that it’s doing somewhat better, you want to take credit for something that you said there was really no control over…which is it?!

  • Dave Nalle

    Dave, are you serious? Al Qaeda on the defensive? Prove it!

    The proof is right there in Iraq for everyone to see.

    How many attacks did we suffer prior to 9/11?

    Several dozen.

    How many attacks have we suffered between 9/11 and invading Iraq?

    None.

    How many since?

    None.

    All he’s done, is step up their hatred for us!! You cannot prove that Al Qaeda is on the defensive….have we caught Bin laden? Nope….

    Al Qaeda is devoting enormous resources to fighting us in the middle east. Logically that draws those resources away from other operations, meaning that they cannot attack us as effectively.

    History will pay attention to two toppled foreign governments, one, the Taliban, was justified, and the other, Iraq, is not….THAT’S what history will bear out!!

    LOL, if there’s anyone in the wrold who deserved to be booted out of power it was Saddam. Even the Iraqis prefer no Saddam and utter chaos to rape rooms and death squads. Give me a break.

    Cutting taxes? WOW! That’s such a new idea for Repubs, I thought you all were the idea people!

    It’s not a new idea, but it’s always a good idea. Bush is significant because he actually followed through on it.

    Save the economy? How? When the economy was faltering, Repubs said the president really has no control over it, now that it’s doing somewhat better, you want to take credit for something that you said there was really no control over…which is it?!

    Bush certainly can’t control all the gross forces in the economy, but as he demonstrated, it is possible to do some things to help minimize the impact of a recession. Clinton left the country in very bad shape and Bush managed not to make it any worse and probably helped accelerate recovery. . That’s really quite an accomplishment.

    Dave

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Dave,

    “History will pay a hell of a lot more attention to these things than to Katrina.” Hurricane Katrina is the biggest natural disaster to hit the US in its history, and is also–more importantly–the cause of the largest dislocation in 150 years. I think it’s tragic how quickly this has fallen from the public’s eye.

    Further, you mention that Bush not only “Cut taxes and saved the economy” but “Clinton left the country in very bad shape.” How do you possibly judge the Clinton economic record–4% growth per year, 22 million new jobs, unemployment of 4% in November 2000, etc–as putting the country in “very bad shape”?

    My favorite news spoof related to Katrina was the following headline from Greg Palast: “BUSH RUSHES TO FLOOD SITE, ORDERS EMERGENCY TAX CUTS” It’s the Republican solution to every problem, are we going to cure AIDS with tax cuts next?

  • Dave Nalle

    “History will pay a hell of a lot more attention to these things than to Katrina.” Hurricane Katrina is the biggest natural disaster to hit the US in its history, and is also–more importantly–the cause of the largest dislocation in 150 years. I think it’s tragic how quickly this has fallen from the public’s eye.

    So you’re basically unfamiliar with the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (250,000 homeless – 5 times Katrina as a percentage of US population), the Spanish Flu (675,000 dead in the US) and the Dust Bowl (3 million permanently displaced)? Come Again?

    Further, you mention that Bush not only “Cut taxes and saved the economy” but “Clinton left the country in very bad shape.” How do you possibly judge the Clinton economic record–4% growth per year, 22 million new jobs, unemployment of 4% in November 2000, etc–as putting the country in “very bad shape”?

    The Clinton economic record also includes the rapidly declining economy that he left behind as he left office. 7 good years doesn’t alter the fact that the recession Bush had to deal with had its start under Clinton.

    Dave

  • Fred Evil

    Dave, I’m sorry, what do you mean by look in Iraq for proof Al Qaeda is on the defensive? How many soldiers do we lose per week there? How many did we lose per week before going to Iraq? Additionally, how are you coming to the conclusion that they are on the defensive? Just because we are there now, and not here? Do you think that we are seeing a lot more terrorist activity now in Iraq because we stirred up the hornets nest? Maybe our tactics weren’t as diplomatic as possible? like our plan for winning the emotional war after winning the physical war wasn’t umm….anything?

    Let me ask you, how do you define the end of this “War on Terror”? I used to think once we got Osama, that might be good enough, but since he seems to have fallen off the administration’s map as far as getting him is concerned, I don’t know how to judge our progress. Is it safe to say that the end of the war is when all the terrorists are dead? That sounds like a pretty fair expectation of the end, but how do we know we’ve killed them all? Do we go ask? Do we count the bodies and say we have 2000000 terrorist bodies here, that’s all there are? The war on terror is a preposterously bad idea, because we DON’T know who the enemy is! We don’t have a US vs. USSR kind of thing, not a US vs. Vietnam kind of thing, these guys aren’t organised into countries, there are pieces of these groups in almost EVERY country! The resources we would have to expend to get all of them is prohibitive, especially since we don’t have any way to truly identify them! Conflict with them only gives them more recruitment material, we need to convice them that terrorism is ineffectual, that it won’t serve their ends, and we’re not doing that by going to their countries, and blowing things up…

    Additionally, this isn’t truly a WAR! Now don’t get anything in a wad, we are certainly losing soldiers out there in combat, the fighting is as bad as it ever has been (I have to write this, or some NeoCon Moron will insist I am disrespecting soldiers when I’m not) My point is that only the congress can DECLARE WAR….they haven’t done that, they only gave Bush the authority to use military force, there has been no official, LEGAL declaration of war…..

    and as regards your assertion that Al Qaeda is diverting “Enormous resources” to fighting us there, I’d like to know how YOU know ….because Bush said so? Do you have access to their books? Is it 50% of their capacity? 75%? 90%? Truth is, you don’t know,I don’t know…only they do….please don’t assert something you really can’t know…it only undermines your credibility…..

    –if there’s anyone in the wrold who deserved to be booted out of power it was Saddam. —
    Umm….DUH…that’s a commonly understood fact…issue is, he was booted under false pretenses…..if the whole thing is to get rid of bad tyrants, there are a lot more in the world, and I want to know who asked us to do it? Under what laws did we get the authorization to remove him? Oh yeah, the “Coalition of the willing” did it preemptively because of the WMD’s that haven’t been found, may never be, and may not even exist….I will readily admit I believed Saddam had them, but that we didn’t do the diplomacy thing long enough…

    And cutting taxes is NOT always a good idea, it certainly makes us happier, and can have good short term effects on the economy, but the bottom line is that eventually we have to collect the money to pay for the things we’re already doing….the national debt is out of control, and I for one would like to see some fiscal responsibility from the republicans…When Clinton left office, the government was in the black, was PAYING DOWN THE DEBT, and now the deficit’s at record levels annually…Clinton actually forced the congress to shut down because he wanted a balanced budget…Bush could care less….it won’t be his problem…that demonstrated to me that the Dems are much more fiscally responsible than Repubs are….

    Clinton didn’t create the booming economy of the 90’s, he was lucky enough to be in office when a new technology caused the boom, but he DID use it to bring the deficit under control, it was the first time the US Government had been in the black in decades, and that’s ALL GONE NOW….

    Also, since the terrorists are not from one country that we are “at war” with, this administration has decided that the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply, and stashes people all over, outside of the US borders, so that American law doesn’t apply either. These behaviors serve the enemy with fodder for recruitment! The US is great, only as long as we act great, and take pains to avoid even appearing to be less than moral. Something this administration doesn ‘t care to do. This is the first time in my memory that even asking questions of the administration will get you attacked as being anti-american simply because you are doing your civic DUTY by ensuring your government is behaving itself by questioning it’s actions! Anyone who simply blindly accepts what they are told by ANY administration, is a fool. And I don’t see Repubs asking serious questions! I see them asking nice softball questions, that the administration can hit their talking points with, and then congratulate them on answering the question so well.

    On a side note…..one of the things that struck me very odd in all this Katrina business, is that shortly after it hit, a reporter was told that Bush was very engaged, and “asking a lot very good questions” like he was a 5 year old child who went to the theater, and clapped in all the right places…why should I care if Michael Brown thinks Bush is asking a lot of good questions?! It’s almost certainly nothing, but struck me as being very weird of one adult speaking of another….

  • Dave Nalle

    Dave, I’m sorry, what do you mean by look in Iraq for proof Al Qaeda is on the defensive?

    I mean that you ought to familiarize yourself with the actual progress of the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq before talking about it at length.

    How many soldiers do we lose per week there? How many did we lose per week before going to Iraq?

    As many as needed? Certainly far fewer than the terrorists lose in the same amount of time.

    Additionally, how are you coming to the conclusion that they are on the defensive? Just because we are there now, and not here?

    That and because of their own statements to that effect – that they are defending Islam against the ‘crusaders’ in Iraq.

    Do you think that we are seeing a lot more terrorist activity now in Iraq because we stirred up the hornets nest? Maybe our tactics weren’t as diplomatic as possible? like our plan for winning the emotional war after winning the physical war wasn’t umm….anything?

    Diplomacy isn’t the solution when dealing with fanatics and sociopaths. All that gets you is dead.

    Let me ask you, how do you define the end of this “War on Terror”? I used to think once we got Osama, that might be good enough, but since he seems to have fallen off the administration’s map as far as getting him is concerned, I don’t know how to judge our progress. Is it safe to say that the end of the war is when all the terrorists are dead? That sounds like a pretty fair expectation of the end, but how do we know we’ve killed them all? Do we go ask? Do we count the bodies and say we have 2000000 terrorist bodies here, that’s all there are?

    Why do you think there should ever BE an end to it? We should always oppose those who use the means of terror to harm others.

    The war on terror is a preposterously bad idea, because we DON’T know who the enemy is!

    Sure we do. The enemy is anyone who oppresses people through terror.

    We don’t have a US vs. USSR kind of thing, not a US vs. Vietnam kind of thing,

    Exactly, it’s a right vs. wrong kind of thing. A hell of a lot simpler, really.

    these guys aren’t organised into countries, there are pieces of these groups in almost EVERY country! The resources we would have to expend to get all of them is prohibitive, especially since we don’t have any way to truly identify them!

    You know them by their actions.

    Conflict with them only gives them more recruitment material, we need to convice them that terrorism is ineffectual, that it won’t serve their ends, and we’re not doing that by going to their countries, and blowing things up…

    It’s one of the ways to bring them to the surface so that they can be dealt with. Look at Iraq. We’ve got terrorist forces which are best at fighting covertly fighting int he open and dying by the thousands. That has an enormous cost for them, much more than they would pay for the harm they do by their normal means.

    Additionally, this isn’t truly a WAR! Now don’t get anything in a wad, we are certainly losing soldiers out there in combat, the fighting is as bad as it ever has been (I have to write this, or some NeoCon Moron will insist I am disrespecting soldiers when I’m not) My point is that only the congress can DECLARE WAR….they haven’t done that,

    The courts have repeatedly said that the AUMF is the equivalent of a declaration of war. Plus, it doesn’t matter if it’s a ‘war’ in the traditional sense, they’ve declared war on us, and we need to do what has to be done to defend ourselves.

    they only gave Bush the authority to use military force, there has been no official, LEGAL declaration of war…..

    And it is different only in that there’s no clear single nation that can be identified as an enemy. In many ways the AUMF is MORE powerful than a declaration of war.

    and as regards your assertion that Al Qaeda is diverting “Enormous resources” to fighting us there, I’d like to know how YOU know ….because Bush said so?

    No, because Al Quaeda has said so. Al Quaeda leaders have made public statements regarding the diversion of their resources to Iraq which suggest that it is costing them dearly in other areas.

    Do you have access to their books? Is it 50% of their capacity? 75%? 90%? Truth is, you don’t know,I don’t know…only they do….please don’t assert something you really can’t know…it only undermines your credibility…..

    The fact is not unknown, just the magnitude. Intelligence sources do have some idea of the worldwide strength of Al Qaeda and clearly a significant part of that force is tied up in Iraq.

    –if there’s anyone in the wrold who deserved to be booted out of power it was Saddam. —
    Umm….DUH…that’s a commonly understood fact…issue is, he was booted under false pretenses…..if the whole thing is to get rid of bad tyrants, there are a lot more in the world, and I want to know who asked us to do it? Under what laws did we get the authorization to remove him? Oh yeah, the “Coalition of the willing” did it preemptively because of the WMD’s that haven’t been found, may never be, and may not even exist….I will readily admit I believed Saddam had them, but that we didn’t do the diplomacy thing long enough…

    Totally irrelevant. The WMDs don’t matter. All that matters is that Saddam was a genocidal dictator who ruled by terror and did not represent his people. That alone is justification for his removal. It’s not a matter of war or diplomacy or excuses, he was a criminal and he needed to be removed from power before he could be brought to trial.

    And cutting taxes is NOT always a good idea, it certainly makes us happier, and can have good short term effects on the economy, but the bottom line is that eventually we have to collect the money to pay for the things we’re already doing

    Which can be made much more feasible by wholescale tax reform leading to a more equitable and reliable system for everyone.

    ….the national debt is out of control, and I for one would like to see some fiscal responsibility from the republicans…

    The national debt is a big number. I guess that scares you. But as a percentage of GDP it’s no higher than it was under most presidents going back to WW2.

    When Clinton left office, the government was in the black, was PAYING DOWN THE DEBT, and now the deficit’s at record levels annually…Clinton actually forced the congress to shut down because he wanted a balanced budget…Bush could care less….it won’t be his problem…that demonstrated to me that the Dems are much more fiscally responsible than Repubs are….

    It was the Democrats bloated budgets that Clinton had to shut down. There’s no indication that they would be any more fiscally responsible. The solution to this problem is the line item veto and voting about half of the bastards in both parties out of office.

    Also, since the terrorists are not from one country that we are “at war” with, this administration has decided that the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply, and stashes people all over, outside of the US borders, so that American law doesn’t apply either.

    You seem not to understand how international law and the Geneva Convention work. Even if these people were from one country they would still not be regular soldiers and would still not be protected. They’re international criminals and their treatment falls outside of the protections of US law.

    These behaviors serve the enemy with fodder for recruitment! The US is great, only as long as we act great, and take pains to avoid even appearing to be less than moral. Something this administration doesn ‘t care to do.

    I can at least agree with this in principle. We should certainly set a positive example for the rest of the world. One way to do this is not to cave in to partisanship and self-doubt and show that we mean what we say when we promise to eradicate terror for the good of all people.

    This is the first time in my memory that even asking questions of the administration will get you attacked as being anti-american simply because you are doing your civic DUTY by ensuring your government is behaving itself by questioning it’s actions!

    You’re only anti-American if, given two perspectives on our nation of equal validity you make a consistent personal choice to pick the one in which America is portrayed as the villain.

    Anyone who simply blindly accepts what they are told by ANY administration, is a fool. And I don’t see Repubs asking serious questions! I see them asking nice softball questions, that the administration can hit their talking points with, and then congratulate them on answering the question so well.

    Wow, you really aren’t paying attention. It’s overwhelmingly Republicans who are asking the meaningful questions while Democrats waste time with distractions and non-issues that they think will advance them politically.

    Dave

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Dave, I don’t think that many people *left* the San Francisco area after becoming homeless, but I could be wrong. The Dust Bowl was over the course of 2 or 3 years, not one day. Regardless, does that make what happened in Katrina any less devastating?

    Also, many forces contributed to the recession in the end of Clinton’s term / beginning of Bush’s. OPEC, “irrational exuberance,” the fact that growth had been occurring for 8 years (it is cyclical), etc. I prefer to say *that it occurred* and not place blame, as it is not rational to pin it on one person. I don’t make the argument, personally, that under both Bush presidencies there were recessions and under Clinton there was expansion; and due to the nature of the beast, I don’t find arguments that the recession was “Clinton’s fault” credible. It’s just Republican finger-pointing.

  • Fred Evil

    –I mean that you ought to familiarize yourself with the actual progress of the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq before talking about it at length–

    I do, and what I see is a country rapidly descending into civil war….how can you NOT see that?

    –As many as needed? Certainly far fewer than the terrorists lose in the same amount of time.–

    That may be so (is almost certainly so, we’re good at killing people), but that really only matters when we’re fighting a known quantity, and in this case we don’t, and the more we kill, the more recruitment they’ll gain…we’re not only fighting Al Qaeda over there, but also citizens who are tired of the occupation, and just want us out….not every attack is Al Qaeda, there are a lot of attacks that have NOTHING to do with Al Qaeda..

    –Sure we do. The enemy is anyone who oppresses people through terror.–

    OK, define terror….would it include sequestering people without access to legal counsel, or allowing them access to any sort of court-review process? Hmm….if so, then Bush is guilty of terrorism too..

    –You know them by their actions.–
    See above…

    –In many ways the AUMF is MORE powerful than a declaration of war.–

    Obviously so, as it allows the administration to ignore the generally accepted rules of war (Geneva), and behave in manners deprecatory to the US image

    –Totally irrelevant. The WMDs don’t matter. All that matters is that Saddam was a genocidal dictator who ruled by terror and did not represent his people.–

    If you truly believe this, then I still want to know who appointed us world police, I have NO iterest in playing that role, and NO interestin PAYING for it….there are too many dictators on this planet for us to take the responsibility of replacing them…not to mention that we don’t(and noone does( have a good track record an nation-building…..especially when that nation subscribes to significantly different cultural standards (oppression of women, barbaric social justice, etc.)

    –Exactly, it’s a right vs. wrong kind of thing. A hell of a lot simpler, really.–
    That’s an unfurtunately naive view of the world, there is almost NEVER a simple black and white, good and bad perspective. There are shades of grey that Bush refuses to see. Can you admit there are two sides to every story? And that usually the truth lies somewhere between the two stories? (Not ALWAYS the case, but most common for sure) I’m willing to bet you view these people as being dishonorable yes? A little over 225 years ago, England fought a disonorable little colony, who didn’t meet them face to face on the battlefield, lined up shoulder to shoulder for battle. The colonies soldiers would hide behind rocks, and trees, and disperse into the woods to hide, not coming out and fighting like honorable gentlemen (when doing so would certianly result in their destruction). Someone with a black and white world view would say that the dishonorable little colonies needed to be smacked down. I submit to you that what happened then was a quantum shift in the way wars were fought, a revolution in tactics…I also submit that what has happened in Iraq, and as a result of our doing, is another fundamental shift in war. These guys don’t line up and face us in battle, because they CAN’T, it would result in obliteration of their people (from their perspective), the only way to keep up a fight, is to do so by other means…I’m not saying I AGREE with how their doing it, I would have much more respect if they restricted their attacks to military only targets, but those don’t produce headline, concern and attention, killing civilians does, and that’s what they’ve found themselves having to do…kind of like the IRA in the UK, only we didn’t give a crap about the IRA, despite their terrorist actions for decades…we only cared about Iraq’s “Terrorists”, when Iraq didn’t have any until well after we got there! (other than Saddam of course, but he was internationally recognized as their leader, and it’s THEIR responsibility to remove him)

    It’s a good thing we’re the lone superpower, if Iran could, don’t you think they’d remove Bush as a “Terrorist”? From their perspective, he is! It’s all about perspective….and the naivete of a black and white world view…it doesn’t work in reality…

    –Why do you think there should ever BE an end to it?–
    OMG…you didn’t just suggest we should fight this “war” forever did you?! DO YOU REALIZE HOW HORRIBLE THAT IDEA IS!!? I’m too creeped out by that statement to even respond….Do you know what war is like? Do you know what it’s doing to the kids who are growing up with gunfire outside their door every day? All they know is that Americans are in their country, and people are dying, they’re breeding the next round of terrorists right now…

    –They’re international criminals and their treatment falls outside of the protections of US law.–
    And international law as well…apparently there is nothing governing the behavior of the administration’s treatment of prisoners…

    –You’re only anti-American if, given two perspectives on our nation of equal validity you make a consistent personal choice to pick the one in which America is portrayed as the villain.–

    Even if in those perspectives, I believe the governments behavior is wrong? That doesn’t make me anti-American, it makes me morally and ethically able to sleep at night, satisfied that I am behaving the way I should, questioning behavior that I find at best questionable, at worst reprehensible and potentially criminal!

    –It’s overwhelmingly Republicans who are asking the meaningful questions–

    Like how do we keep the American people from finding out we are monitoring their phone calls? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out about Jack Abromoff? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out about DeLay’s interactions with him? Like how do we keep the Guantanamo prisoners from seeing the light of day, or a lawyer, or a court to determine if they’re under proper restrictions? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out how little prep the Fed did for Katrina? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out that the WMD’s never existed, and that this war was stood up as a way for Bush to get revenge for Saddam trying to kill his daddy? Like how do we keep the American people from asking about Bush’s drug use? Or DUI’s (both the Pres, and VP have those), Like how do we keep the American people from asking about the tax breaks which are lining the pockets of Bush’s rich friends? Like how do we keep the American people from asking questions about no-bid contracts that are fraught with discrepencies and fraud? You’re right, these ARE meaningful questions!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I do, and what I see is a country rapidly descending into civil war….how can you NOT see that?

    Because I read news and blogs directly from Iraq and get the facts, which are not represented in the US Media at all. And the fact is that the recent violence over the Golden Mosque in Samarra has brought the people of Iraq together and united themm against Al Qaeda as never before, much reducing the chance of Civil War.

    –As many as needed? Certainly far fewer than the terrorists lose in the same amount of time.–

    That may be so (is almost certainly so, we’re good at killing people), but that really only matters when we’re fighting a known quantity, and in this case we don’t, and the more we kill, the more recruitment they’ll gain…we’re not only fighting Al Qaeda over there, but also citizens who are tired of the occupation, and just want us out….not every attack is Al Qaeda, there are a lot of attacks that have NOTHING to do with Al Qaeda..

    Is there a difference between Al Qaeda and potential Al Qaeda? And we need to be BETTER at fighting them. If the War on Terror is to continue we have two choices, to either go entirely on the defensive, becoming Fortress America with the Patriot Act squared and giving up a lot of our rights, or to continue to take the fight to them with a restructured military designed for this sort of operation and to increase their casualties while reducing ours – which means much more emphasis on Search and Destroy and Covert forces. We also need to combine it with financial and material aid to the countries like Yemen and Sudan which produce the foot soldiers for Al Qaeda so that poverty and ignorance don’t make them so easy to exploit.

    –Sure we do. The enemy is anyone who oppresses people through terror.–

    OK, define terror….would it include sequestering people without access to legal counsel, or allowing them access to any sort of court-review process? Hmm….if so, then Bush is guilty of terrorism too..

    People outside the US and found in the commission of terrorist acts aren’t guaranteed our basic constitutional rights. But I do agree that we need a standardized process for handling these people and disposing of them.

    Obviously so, as it allows the administration to ignore the generally accepted rules of war (Geneva), and behave in manners deprecatory to the US image

    No one with any understanding of the Geneva Convention thinks we’ve violated it in any way. Read it sometime.

    If you truly believe this, then I still want to know who appointed us world police, I have NO iterest in playing that role, and NO interestin PAYING for it….there are too many dictators on this planet for us to take the responsibility of replacing them…not to mention that we don’t(and noone does( have a good track record an nation-building…..especially when that nation subscribes to significantly different cultural standards (oppression of women, barbaric social justice, etc.)

    Our national interest appointed us to that role at least in as far as is necessary to protect ourselves and produce a more stable world.

    –Exactly, it’s a right vs. wrong kind of thing. A hell of a lot simpler, really.–
    That’s an unfurtunately naive view of the world, there is almost NEVER a simple black and white, good and bad perspective.

    True when it comes to things like trade and national politics. Untrue when it comes to mass murder and oppression.

    There are shades of grey that Bush refuses to see. Can you admit there are two sides to every story? And that usually the truth lies somewhere between the two stories? (Not ALWAYS the case, but most common for sure)

    Tell me about the gray areas that apply to rape rooms and gassing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Tell me more about how you sympathize with those who commit murder and genocide.

    I’m willing to bet you view these people as being dishonorable yes?

    What does honor have to do with anything? It’s a largely irrelevant concept.

    A little over 225 years ago, England fought a disonorable little colony, who didn’t meet them face to face on the battlefield, lined up shoulder to shoulder for battle. The colonies soldiers would hide behind rocks, and trees, and disperse into the woods to hide, not coming out and fighting like honorable gentlemen (when doing so would certianly result in their destruction). Someone with a black and white world view would say that the dishonorable little colonies needed to be smacked down. I submit to you that what happened then was a quantum shift in the way wars were fought, a revolution in tactics…I also submit that what has happened in Iraq, and as a result of our doing, is another fundamental shift in war. These guys don’t line up and face us in battle, because they CAN’T, it would result in obliteration of their people (from their perspective), the only way to keep up a fight, is to do so by other means…I’m not saying I AGREE with how their doing it, I would have much more respect if they restricted their attacks to military only targets, but those don’t produce headline, concern and attention, killing civilians does, and that’s what they’ve found themselves having to do…kind of like the IRA in the UK, only we didn’t give a crap about the IRA, despite their terrorist actions for decades…we only cared about Iraq’s “Terrorists”, when Iraq didn’t have any until well after we got there! (other than Saddam of course, but he was internationally recognized as their leader, and it’s THEIR responsibility to remove him)

    I think this statement speaks for itself. You basically are saying that killing women and children is justified if your cause is to create a repressive worldwide theocracy where no one will have any rights. Do you even think about the things you type?

    It’s a good thing we’re the lone superpower, if Iran could, don’t you think they’d remove Bush as a “Terrorist”? From their perspective, he is! It’s all about perspective….and the naivete of a black and white world view…it doesn’t work in reality…

    There’s a difference between calling someone a terrorist and someone actually being a terrorist.

    –Why do you think there should ever BE an end to it?–
    OMG…you didn’t just suggest we should fight this “war” forever did you?! DO YOU REALIZE HOW HORRIBLE THAT IDEA IS!!? I’m too creeped out by that statement to even respond….Do you know what war is like? Do you know what it’s doing to the kids who are growing up with gunfire outside their door every day? All they know is that Americans are in their country, and people are dying, they’re breeding the next round of terrorists right now…

    Again WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE? If we abandon the war, what happens here in America to create the security we need? The price is too high to pay. And I’m not talking about the war in Iraq here – that’s mostly done. I’m talking about the ongoing war on terror.

    –It’s overwhelmingly Republicans who are asking the meaningful questions–

    Like how do we keep the American people from finding out we are monitoring their phone calls? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out about Jack Abromoff? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out about DeLay’s interactions with him? Like how do we keep the Guantanamo prisoners from seeing the light of day, or a lawyer, or a court to determine if they’re under proper restrictions? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out how little prep the Fed did for Katrina? Like how do we keep the American people from finding out that the WMD’s never existed, and that this war was stood up as a way for Bush to get revenge for Saddam trying to kill his daddy? Like how do we keep the American people from asking about Bush’s drug use? Or DUI’s (both the Pres, and VP have those), Like how do we keep the American people from asking about the tax breaks which are lining the pockets of Bush’s rich friends? Like how do we keep the American people from asking questions about no-bid contracts that are fraught with discrepencies and fraud? You’re right, these ARE meaningful questions!

    So, you basically just quote democratic party talking points without actually researching the issues or applying any basic logical thought to the subject. If you can’t go over each of those issues and see how simplistic and contrary to facts your take on them is, I’ll help you out, but if you really believe any of this shit is relevant you’re beyond hope.

    Dave

  • Fred Evil

    –What does honor have to do with anything? It’s a largely irrelevant concept.–

    That’s obvious from your postings, I am obviusly wasting my time, as you have no respect for the lives of those outside of the US, and not much for anyone you would consider liberal….

    –So, you basically just quote democratic party talking points without actually researching the issues or applying any basic logical thought to the subject.–

    NO, these are actually subject that concen me greatly, and that you dismiss them outright as being “talking points” is disturbing…don’t you care that DeLay, the now ex-Senate majority leader is under endictment? By a Republican state? Don’t you care about influence peddling? I care, no matter what side is commiting the acts, as soon as you are able to hold your leaders to the same standards you wish to hold those you oppse, then we can talk, until then there’s no point in talking, as your morals are obviously suspect….

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    That’s obvious from your postings, I am obviusly wasting my time, as you have no respect for the lives of those outside of the US, and not much for anyone you would consider liberal….

    I have great respect for human life and for the quality of human life. Letting people be murdered by the thousands and thrown in mass graves isn’t exactly respecting their lives. But at the same time I’m more than willing to sacrifice unlimited numbers of terrorists to preserve our basic freedoms here in the US and other civilized countries, if that’s the choice I have to make. The life of one terrorist is worth less to me than the freedom of any other person.

    NO, these are actually subject that concen me greatly, and that you dismiss them outright as being “talking points” is disturbing…don’t you care that DeLay, the now ex-Senate majority leader is under endictment?

    How is this relevant to Katrina, the war on terror or ANY point we’re discussing here? Delay played no special role in either. This point is exactly what I’m talking about. You bring up Delay to distract from not having a viable argument on the topics at hand.

    By a Republican state?

    Actually, he’s under indictment by a partisan Democrat activist who has a history of bringing up bogus charges that ultimately get dismissed in court.

    Don’t you care about influence peddling?

    Sure, but unless you’re talking about the Louisiana government’s misdirection of funds and resources from levee repair or Halliburton’s questionable accounting practices, how is it relevant here?

    I care, no matter what side is commiting the acts,

    You care, but do you THINK? It’s not enough to just care and to have positive feelings.

    as soon as you are able to hold your leaders to the same standards you wish to hold those you oppse, then we can talk, until then there’s no point in talking, as your morals are obviously suspect….

    As soon as Bush starts committing genocide and sending suicide bombers to kill women and children, let me know.

    Dave

  • IgnatiusReilly

    “don’t you care that DeLay, the now ex-Senate majority leader is under endictment?”

    If it concerns you so greatly, then you should know that Delay wasn’t in the Senate.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    LOL, Ignatz. The real point about Delay is that he was corrupt, he’s going to get punished in some way, and that means zero as far as any of these other topics are concerned.

    Dave