« Novak: Armitage Didn't Reveal Everything | Main | Air America: Bankrupt »

Political Correctness Runs Amok

Political correctness undermines the War on Terror once again:

September 13, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - Taliban terror leaders who had gathered for a funeral - and were secretly being watched by an eye-in-the-sky American drone - dodged assassination because U.S. rules of engagement bar attacks in cemeteries, according to a shocking report.


U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan are still fuming about the recent lost opportunity for an easy kill of Taliban honchos packed in tight formation for the burial, NBC News reported.

The unmanned airplane, circling undetected high overhead, fed a continuous satellite feed of the juicy target to officers on the ground.

"We were so excited. I came rushing in with the picture," one U.S. Army officer told NBC.

But that excitement quickly turned to gut-wrenching frustration because the rules of engagement on the ground in Afghanistan blocked the U.S. from mounting a missile or bomb strike in a cemetery, according to the report.

Pentagon officials declined comment and referred The Post to Central Command officers in Afghanistan, who did not respond to a request for comment or explanation.

Agonizingly, Army officers could do nothing but watch the pictures being fed back from the drone as the Taliban splintered into tiny groups - too small to effectively target with the drone - and headed back to their mountainside hideouts.

What a disaster. We had leaders from the Taliban in our crosshairs, only to learn that we could do nothing. Actually, that's not true. We could have bombed them, meaning we had the capability to blow these terrorists to Kingdom Come and back again, but we didn't because the military implemented rules of engagement that say we can't bomb cemeteries. Political correctness has gotten so far out of hand that we allowed some of the worst terrorist scum to ever walk the face of the earth to, literally, walk away.

What if, some day, one of these Taliban leaders is involved in another 9/11-like event? How would the American people react if it was revealed that we had the chance to kill him but didn't because he was in a cemetery and our rules of engagement said no bombing of cemeteries? Would the American people accept that? Not a chance.

Confederate Yankee is equally ticked and offers some great commentary and analysis:

This is the single most mind-numbingly stupid "shoot/no shoot" determinations I have heard of in this entire war. This was not a situation where that was significant risk of there being collateral damage to nearby civilians. The only people present were Taliban leaders that we want dead, and those in the cemetery that were already dead.


If this story is accurate and there are no mitigating circumstances we are unaware of, then we're looking at two levels of incompetence.

The higher level incompetence of placing cemeteries off limits in the rules of engagement was most likely the decision of senior military officers, perhaps with State Department input. Whoever made such a determination should be stripped of these duties. War is not to be fought politely, and the enemy should not be give a "timeout" from the war unless civilian lives are at risk.

On the direct tactical level, the officer directly in charge of this flight should have taken the initiative and made the determination that attacking such a concentration of Taliban leaders was more important to the success of the mission that was "going by the book."

Update: Judge Napolitano on Fox News researched this and said that the reason the request to fire on the group of Taliban leaders was denied was not because of the Geneva Conventions or the rule of law. It was due to an agreement the US has with the government of Hamid Karzai because cemeteries and funerals have particular importance in Afghan culture.

I understand that we don't want to alienate the Afghan population, but let's not forget something here. The Taliban was a tyrannical, Islamofascist regime that murdered Afghanis if they violated its strict Sharia law, including for something as innocuous as educating their daughters. Even kite flying was illegal.

And now the Taliban is trying to undermine the new Afghan government in an attempt to take the country back to where it was. I have a hard time believing that taking out 190 of the Taliban's leaders, even if it happened at a cemetery, would alienate the Afghan population that much. The Afghan people hate them as much as we do.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Political Correctness Runs Amok:

» Gulf Coast Pundit linked with PC Gone Wild

» The Thunder Run linked with Please tell Me This Isn't True

» Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Missed chance on hitting Taliban? Not so fast on the &%$#&!

» People Pundit linked with political correctness runs amok

Comments (63)

Now the terrorists know the... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Now the terrorists know they can run into a cemetery at any time to avoid being blown off the map. Nice. I thought "war is hell." I guess that only applies to our side of the equation. Where are our safe havens?

Maybe the Pentagon and the WTC should have been built on top of old burial grounds. That would have made a difference, right?

A lot of senior staffers fo... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

A lot of senior staffers forget one basic rule about such military operations...

"It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission..."

Given the chance, and with ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Given the chance, and with the tables turned, it is doubtless the Taliban would have relished and seized this kind of opportunity.

I fear we will never learn...

I have two quotes from guey... (Below threshold)

I have two quotes from gueys smarter than I that are directly applicable:

"[W]e have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom." -- Ralph Peters, 10 July 2006

"People who try to be sensitive in a war have a tendency to die, and to take their nations with them." -- Steven Den Beste, 21 Sept 2002

I well remember "rules of e... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

I well remember "rules of engagement" and what they cost is in Viet Nam. Free fire zones (where the enemy isn't) and no fire zones (where the enemy is).
I don't know when governments, especially ours, started believing war could be humane. There may be isolated incidences of humane action but war is about killing people. I don't know of a nice way to do that.
Chuck

This is nothing new. There ... (Below threshold)
waldo:

This is nothing new. There were places in Vietnam that were off limits to bombing, even if there were known VC or NVA troops there.

I'd be interested to know j... (Below threshold)

I'd be interested to know just whos funeral it was for senior Taliban to gather in one place in the open. It must have been a very important person. To bad we didn't help to bury more very important people in that cemetary.

Didn't the Taliban just fin... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Didn't the Taliban just finish bombing the funeral of an Afghan governer?

Who made the rules of engag... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Who made the rules of engagement? Who's in charge? Who should be held accountable? I want names.

Am I the only one shocked t... (Below threshold)
Buckwldbob:

Am I the only one shocked that we're still talking about targeting Taliban leadership? Didn't we dispatch those jokers 5 YEARS ago? In all of the discussions recently about the War on Terror and the supposed progress we've made, aren't we overlooking that fact that we have failed to vanquish a very legitimate target,the only target I might add, whom we launched a military campaign against, that was actually tied to the 9/11 attacks? Where's the progress? And where's the democratic utopia in Afghanistan that was supposed to appear once the "unity" government was installed?

Call me a troll if you like, but this the kind of discussion we should be having as we attempt to objectively asses for ourselves whether or not our leaders are competently executing the War on Terror in the balance of which lies our lives and the lives of our children.

Kill them in the cemeteries... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Kill them in the cemeteries, kill them at weddings, kill them in their mosques, kill them in Mecca...I don't care...for cryin' out loud, just KILL THEM! Do we not understand that they are coming for us, here on American soil? This is insanity.

"U.S. intelligence officers... (Below threshold)
tyree:

"U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan are still fuming about the recent lost opportunity for an easy kill of Taliban honchos packed in tight formation for the burial, NBC News reported."

Who leaked this to the news and why did NBC report it?

I guess it is possible the agents who leaked this are part of an operation designed to change where the terrorists meet, but all these leaks in our intelligence operations worry me greatly.

You never know, in WWII the US started a campaign to get kids to eat carrots because their vision would improve. The purpose of the campaign, my father said, was to cover up the success of our radar equipped night fighters like the Black Widow.

Who made the rules of en... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Who made the rules of engagement? Who's in charge? Who should be held accountable? I want names.

ACLU, CAIR, your local congressman...er...congressperson for cryin' out loud.

Funny, this is how the left... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Funny, this is how the left thinks we can "fight smarter". Maybe we should have just sent John Kerry in there and he could have apologized on behalf of the USA for retaliating for 9/11. Maybe he could even have worked out a deal so they will only kill half or 1/4th of the USA instead of trying to wipe us all off the face the earth.

Asking for forgiveness? Tr... (Below threshold)

Asking for forgiveness? Try spending time in a military prison in chains, like the soldiers involved in the "massacre" in Haditha.

If the military officer had gone ahead and blown up that Taliban funeral, he knew what would happen. He would have gone to prison.

Rumsfeld should step forward about this -- not President Bush. Bush is not in charge of tactics in the war. That's Rumsfeld's job.

"Now the terrorists know th... (Below threshold)
jack oniel:

"Now the terrorists know they can run into a cemetery at any time to avoid being blown off the map. Nice."

Holy crap! They must be Immortals like Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod. Sacred ground man, can't fight on sacred ground.

Well they should at least h... (Below threshold)
914:

Well they should at least have a fix on the location of their caves then? Time to target those caves.

we need a counter-terrorist... (Below threshold)
jp:

we need a counter-terrorist group appearing to be "non state sponsored" to rise up if we are to defeat this enemy....beat them at their own game since the idiotic laws keep us from doing so the traditional way

"How would the American peo... (Below threshold)

"How would the American people react if it was revealed that we had the chance to kill him but didn't because he was in a cemetery and our rules of engagement said no bombing of cemeteries? Would the American people accept that? Not a chance."

Actually you may be wrong there - the recent airing of the ABC documentary about the leadup to 911 specifically highlights a number of cases where Bin Laden could have been taken out but wasn't, often due to some politician not wanting to possibly put his job on the line just in case something went wrong.

Unfortunately the American public (in general) does not appear to give a shit about it.

We ALL know very well that, given a similar opportunity, any one of these fanatics would not hesitate to go for the kill, and if they could take out some innocent civilians in the process, even better - heck, it's a terrorist's wet dream!

American Political Correctness is the terrorists best weapon, and the way things are going, it will probably win the war for them.

I saw this announced on Fox... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

I saw this announced on Fox this morning, and I have to say I defer to the judgment of our military and political leadership. Ultimately we are fighting a political war. The Fox announcer said that under our rules of engagement, we can attack in Iraqi cemeteries, but not during funeral ceremonies in Afghan ones. If "American P.C." was to blame, the rule would be the same in both countries. If the Afghan government, or Afghan religious leaders whom we respect, tell us that westerners killing Muslims in cemeteries during funeral ceremonies violates some profound Afghan code or will upset large parts of the Afghan population, we have to honor that, or else lose the support of many, many Afghans -- too many to justify the deaths of the Talibani who were in the photo. I presume the rule isn't that cemeteries are allowed to be permanent sanctuaries, but that when a funeral is going on, the assembled mourners have a temporary immunity there. Perhaps the Taliban have agreed not to conduct attacks on mourners at funerals of Afghans on our side. Perhaps it's an ancient tribal tradition in Afghanistan that mourners get temporary immunity from attack. (Does anyone know whether the Mafia has such a rule?) Now I know, our military and political people refused to comment on this decision, so I don't know that this kind of judgment was their motivation. But I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, unless some hard evidence arises to show this was motivated by American P.C. attitudes, rather than by a considered judgement of Afghan sensibilities. It makes it easier to give the benefit of the doubt when we realize it's a Republican administration in charge, which is less likely to be subject to "American P.C.," but I would give the same deference even if this happened under a Democratic administration.

War isn't about who is righ... (Below threshold)

War isn't about who is right.
War is about who's left.

Actually what better a plac... (Below threshold)
Steve:

Actually what better a place to lay them to rest then at the cemetary. Seems logical to me. Maybe when other Taliban come to clean up the mess we can bomb them again, etc.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust,
Screw Polital Correctness,
Kill them we must.

Sissoed has the most well-r... (Below threshold)

Sissoed has the most well-reasoned comment I've read so far (including my own).

Afghanistan is not, after all, an enemy country or one which we occupy. It is a sovereign nation and Coalition troops are there at the invitation of the Afghan government. I don't know why the ROE are what they are, but if in fact they were designed to avoid alienating the general Afghan population, realizing that there would be occasions like this one, then I, too must defer to the leadership.

That said, I am fully on board with the sentiments expressed by Peters and Den Beste, if the ROE were designed with concern for what the New York Times and the rest of the lamestream media would say, as opposed to the reaction of the Afghans.

I am sure the right will fi... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

I am sure the right will find some way to blame Clinton, or maybe the Gorelick “Wall” was responsible?

bah. blame Canada.... (Below threshold)

bah. blame Canada.

Hey aren't you the same fol... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Hey aren't you the same folks who foam at the mouth and rage about Clinton not taking out Osama in Afghanastan when he had him in his sites? Where's the outrage at your Commande-In-Chief?

Ah, why would I think the righties would be intellectually honest about this one?. Barnet's right, you'll figure out some way to blame Clinton or Carter.

I'm going to duck know as the spittle will soon be flying my way.

BarneyG2000 said:<... (Below threshold)
Doug:

BarneyG2000 said:

I am sure the right will find some way to blame Clinton, or maybe the Gorelick “Wall” was responsible?

Nope. Not even close.

We only blame Clinton and his administration for treating the GWOT as a law enforcement issue, rather than as the war it so obviously is.

But go ahead. Stick to the talking points.

I will vote for ANY Democra... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I will vote for ANY Democratic candidate who will swear they will kill the enemy in a cementary.

How 'bout it? Any takers?

Fighting a PC war is tough ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Fighting a PC war is tough on the Soldiers on the front. Break the rules set up by the PC police from the regime of the 90's and you end up in prison. Ask several military members now serving time for doing their job.

Yes, this is another screw up that can be laid at the door of the PC Clinton Administration and the democrats of today. You gotta win the war without hurting or killing anyone.

Even with all the screw ups, the release and publication of the photo's which will effect future operations (and get Americans killed) was a major crime and those responsible should be hunted down, tried and shot.

Hugh said:Hey a... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Hugh said:

Hey aren't you the same folks who foam at the mouth and rage about Clinton not taking out Osama in Afghanastan when he had him in his sites? Where's the outrage at your Commande-In-Chief?

Me: I'm not foaming at the mouth. Not raging, either. But Clinton could have at least tried to capture OBL. Doing nothing, however, was consistent behavior for him--Clinton probably had 3 or 4 polls to support this "decision."

Ah, why would I think the righties would be intellectually honest about this one?. Barnet's right, you'll figure out some way to blame Clinton or Carter.

Me again: Nope. Wrong again. Carter gets blamed for a little something that happened next door. You know--that hostage situation in Iran in '79? Or are you too young to know about that?

I'm going to duck know as the spittle will soon be flying my way.

Me again: Why is that? Are you spitting your words into the wind?

I will vote for ANY Demo... (Below threshold)
Doug:

I will vote for ANY Democratic candidate who will swear they will kill the enemy in a cementary.

VagaBond: Be careful how you word this. It all depends on what the word "enemy" means. You're assuming that Republicans and Democrats are talking about the same group of people.

Republicans: enemy = terrorists
Democrats: enemy = who? Republicans? Christians? surely not terrorists!

Dam you are right Doug.... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Dam you are right Doug.

I meant Islamofacists.

Doug:You're a very... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Doug:

You're a very astute guy...I mean that. So, what has Me. Bush done the past 5 years re Osama. If I remember right he said he'd forgotten about him (or words to that effect), until by gosh election time starting getting close. Oh what i cyncic I am!!!

Oh, and I ask again where's the outrage re this Taliban incident?

"Clinton could have at leas... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"Clinton could have at least tried to capture OBL" Doug

Those 50 cruise missiles he launched at the OBL camp was just swatting flies?

Some dems can't decide on w... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Some dems can't decide on what the meaning of "is" is. You expect them to apply meaning to a more complex term like "enemy"?

I am one of those who hate ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I am one of those who hate the PC B.S. Religious places, schools, hospitals and such should be open game if they are being use for military purpose. Killing people while they are at a funeral is just plain wrong. We would be outrage and rightly so if they target an Arlington cemetery funeral.

Oh, and I ask again wher... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Oh, and I ask again where's the outrage re this Taliban incident?

WTF do you think is the entire point of Kim posting this story? To post it out of non-chalannce? What a feckless and pointless question...

While I am horrified that w... (Below threshold)
Al:

While I am horrified that we let these folk go (if this is true), I have to disagree that there are two sets of people to blame. You can not be serious that you want officers and soldiers in the field to diregard their lawful orders. This point of view is not in the best intrests of our soliders, our Military, or our Nation. There is Civilian control of the Military for a reason. The proper time for a soldier to disobey an order is when the order is unlawful, not when it is distasteful.

Blaming the folk who put this rule in place and who would not change it based on the extenuating circumstances seems wholly correct.

Peter"Pasy attenti... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Peter"

Pasy attention to the posts instead of being "feckless" and reckless with your "banal" and "trite" answer (s). My question to Doug was where is the outrage directed to out CIC? He had not reponded.

Why is it that we are suppo... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

Why is it that we are supposed to have a dialog and talk with people whose starting point is the death of me and mine for simply existing? Why is it I am supposed to respect a person whose scripture says, "Go ahead and lie. There is no oath that the foriegner can hold you to."? Whay can't people, even those in federal beauracracies see that they are never going to talk in good faith, never going to budge an ince from their core beliefs and never do a thing that does not advance their aims of world domination. They do not just want to be left alone. The need to rearm and then come back out guns blazing to kill as many as they can.

Why do we let them get that breather? We need, as NBF said, "To keep the skeer on 'em."

We only blame Clinton an... (Below threshold)
Brian:

We only blame Clinton and his administration for treating the GWOT as a law enforcement issue, rather than as the war it so obviously is.

So the terrorist attacks in Spain and England, the recently "foiled" plan in England, a potential future attack on American soil... these are due to military action (or inaction)?

But Clinton could have a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But Clinton could have at least tried to capture OBL. Doing nothing, however, was consistent behavior for him--Clinton probably had 3 or 4 polls to support this "decision."

Now you're just making shit up.

ABC might have checked in with Clarke (who would have been easy to find, since he is an ABC News consultant). Clinton, Clarke said in a statement, "repeatedly authorized the use of lethal force against bin Laden and his deputies and personally requested the US military to develop plans for 'commando operations' against them."

This is an outrage! Who's r... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

This is an outrage! Who's responsible for this? Whoever is commander in chief of our armed forces should be fired immediately!

What is this pc bullshit in... (Below threshold)
914:

What is this pc bullshit in wartime? The hell with it all. You see the terrorist queers all grouped together and You immediately smear them off the face of the earth! Who the hell is f-ing this up?

remember the riots that a f... (Below threshold)
JP:

remember the riots that a false report about flushing Koran's down the toilet did from Newsweek....blowing up a funeral doesn't sound good and unfortunately in the information age of media they have to factor PR crap in

Okay. So, tell me why this ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Okay. So, tell me why this mistake made by the U.S. military isn't being blamed by you guys on the COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the military, the president?! Is he in charge or not?

"Okay. So, tell me why this... (Below threshold)

"Okay. So, tell me why this mistake made by the U.S. military isn't being blamed by you guys on the COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the military, the president?! Is he in charge or not?"

LOL yeah, well since nobody else has the balls to make the call because they're too busy protecting their own butts from being accused of political incorrectness, maybe it's not such a bad idea. Unforunately the wheels of the Govt grind very slowly - by the time Bush heard about it, the opportunity would be long gone.

We're putting respect for the dead above the cause that put those people there in the first place - does nobody see the irony [read: stupidity] of that?

demonsurfer -Well,... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

demonsurfer -

Well, the President IS commander in chief of the armed forces. It may be that "the wheels of the Govt grind very slowly", but whoever is in charge STILL bears responsibility. Doesn't he?

Did the president or his appointee Don Rusmsfeld KNOW what the rules of engagement were which they had in place before they went to war? If not, isn't that a rather large oversight? Shouldn't the commander in chief and the person he put in charge of the war take responsibility.

And, even if they don't, why aren't you protesting to the president that he should have the rules of engagement changed?

Hugh said:So, w... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Hugh said:

So, what has Me. Bush done the past 5 years re Osama. If I remember right he said he'd forgotten about him (or words to that effect), until by gosh election time starting getting close. Oh what i cyncic I am!!!

Sorry for the delay in answering, Hugh (and I mean it sincerely); I was busy finishing up some work and then put my kids to bed...

Anyway, what has Bush done re: OBL over the past 5 years? Well, through military action... (a) he's taken away two countries that OBL counted on as safe havens (or at least places that were sympathetic to his plans), (b) he's captured or eliminated a significant number of leaders and coordinators of terrorist operations, (c) he's taken the fight to them instead of waiting for OBL and his minions to attack us here again.

This doesn't even take into account the other tools that have been utilized to track movement of personnel, materiel, and financial support.

As to OBL himself? Well, we may never know. [An aside: you're right--Bush has had a mixed message re: OBL. Early on, Osama was public enemy #1; Bush sounded too much like a sheriff in the Old West to me. Then, as you said, the President all but ignored him.... I would have preferred one approach or the other, but not both. This is a valid point.]

I find it interesting that OBL hasn't been heard from (except under somewhat suspicious circumstances) in... what? Several years? And, at least to me, his silence on the 5-year anniversary of his greatest "success" speaks volumes. I either think he's been captured (and no one will ever admit to that), or he's been atomized--just like so many of those unfortunate victims in NYC, Washington, and PA.

Bottom line? 5 years after 9/11, we have not been attacked again on our soil (knock on wood for all of us). I remember how I felt those first few weeks after those horrible attacks--I was absolutely certain that we would be hit again and again.

One could argue that this administration's success in combating terror to this point has had an inverse affect on the left--"we're safe today, so the threat can't be that bad; Bush lied, etc. etc. blah blah blah." I just hope that it doesn't take a more horrific attack for the nation to unite against this real threat from Islamofascism--y'know, I doubt that these guys care at all whether I'm a conservative or you're a liberal. Just as long as we die at some point.

A somewhat rambling answer to your question, Hugh. Sorry about that. But I wanted to give you a non-sarcastic response.

Brian said:So t... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Brian said:

So the terrorist attacks in Spain and England, the recently "foiled" plan in England, a potential future attack on American soil... these are due to military action (or inaction)?

C'mon, Brian. You know better than that, don't you? Your question has a flawed premise.

My point was that the Clinton administration believed that the US response to terrorist attacks would be through law enforcement, not on a battlefield. And who knows? If 9/11 had not happened, maybe the Bush administration would have followed the same approach.

But it's safe to assume that OBL never expected to be as "successful" as he was. And he sure as hell didn't expect the US to respond the way we did.

Let me ask you something, Brian (and I think these choices are realistic, given our recent history): Where would you rather confront the terrorists--
a) on a battlefield halfway around the world with the full force of the US military, or
b) here at home, who knows where?

The way we answer this is very much a life-or-death matter. To pretend otherwise is stupid and very dangerous.

Doug -We're united... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Doug -

We're united against the people who attacked us. After 9/11, we ALL wanted to get bin Laden and the Taliban. It's the President's war in Iraq that has been divisive.

Also, people have questions about the President's approach and his effectiveness.

The war in Iraq isn't going well. The war in Iran isn't going well. Bush is commander in chief, so he's responsible. Nothing he requested to pursue the war has been denied to him by the Republican Congress.

As American, we don't like being told by the President or by ANYONE that we can't criticize the President or his policies. And we are DUMBFOUNDED when our criticism of the administration are mischaracterized as attacking our troops.

Can't we disagree more civilly? And at least understand, if not agree, with each other?

I meant to refer to the war... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I meant to refer to the war in Afghanistan, not Iran. I certainly hope we don't get into a 3rd war...

Oops. I missed this one.</p... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Oops. I missed this one.

Brian said:
[snip]
Now you're just making shit up.

ABC might have checked in with Clarke (who would have been easy to find, since he is an ABC News consultant). Clinton, Clarke said in a statement,

Sorry. Mr. Clarke has not proven himself to be a sufficiently reliable and non-partisan source in all of this.

I'm not sure on what basis ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I'm not sure on what basis you are dismissing Mr. Clarke's credibility.

Here's a few things that make me doubt the administrations credibility:

1. Claims that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.
2. Claims that, more than a year ago, the insurgency was in it's last throes.
3. Repeated assurances by the president that he gets a warrant before he wiretaps...which later proved to be false when his warrantless wiretapping program was revealed.
4. Assurances from the President that he wanted to get Osama dead or alive...and then dismissing his importance after six months, and finally...as elections approach, remembering again that Osama was behind 9/11.
5. Being told that Brownie was doing a heckofa job.
6. Being told that Saddam had ties to al Queda and that Iraq had WMDs
7. Mission accomplished.
8. We don't torture.

I could go on, but my fingers are getting tired.

Publicus said:C... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Publicus said:

Can't we disagree more civilly? And at least understand, if not agree, with each other?

I certainly hope we can. But we may have reached a point where true unity on this is nearly impossible. Face it: "Death of a President" doesn't sound like it's going to bring this country together, does it? Imagine the response if the subject were Mr. Clinton. I would have been outraged by that, and I never voted for the guy. But he was my President--like it or not (believe me, I didn't)--and I would NEVER want anyone to advocate assassinating our country's leader. I'd feel a little bit better about where we were today if more folks on the left expressed similar outrage. Something tells me that ain't gonna happen....

Publicus also said:

We're united against the people who attacked us. After 9/11, we ALL wanted to get bin Laden and the Taliban. It's the President's war in Iraq that has been divisive.

Could you please explain EXACTLY how this war's been divisive? I'm serious. Yes, the war has not gone as well as some would like, but war is messy (and Bush told us to be prepared for a long, drawn-out conflict). We Americans tend to be very impatient and our attention spans are chronically short. We won't get a wrap on the GWOT at the top of the hour, will we?

Also, it wasn't like Saddam was sitting there minding his own business over there in Iraq. Remember all of those UN resolutions? Seems to me that we weren't the only nation who thought Saddam was a serious threat (don't believe it? try reading [one of] his general's book [Gen. Sada's Saddam's Secrets]).

And to follow up: now that we're in this, what would YOU suggest we do about Iran's nuclear threat? If this doesn't scare the hell out of you, then maybe we don't have anything more to say to each other!

Publicus said:[sni... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Publicus said:

[snip]
I could go on, but my fingers are getting tired.

Looks like our posts crossed.

Please don't think I'm blowing you off--I'm not. I'd like to respond tonight to some of your eight points above, but I've gotta go. (I've gotta get up for work in about five hours; I'm really tired.)

I'll try to get back to you tomorrow (if someone else doesn't do so first).

Publicus, thanks for not ranting and raving. I truly appreciate that. Later....

doug -I'm getting ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

doug -

I'm getting tired, too! I'd like to add one last thing:

I sincerely hope that the president is right and that I am wrong—because he's in power. But I am very worried...

My point was that the Cl... (Below threshold)
Brian:

My point was that the Clinton administration believed that the US response to terrorist attacks would be through law enforcement, not on a battlefield.

You're mixing two things. The response is certainly military, i.e., blowing up Afghanistan. I don't believe anyone, neither Clinton nor Kerry, said the response to the act is law enforcement. But after the response, what's the next step? Now we're talking the response to the threat. The military isn't going to keep citizens safe at home. They aren't the right tool for preventing a suicide bomber from walking into a shopping mall, or 20 bombers walking into 20 malls. That's law enforcement, which includes police and the FBI, and whatever "homeland security" organizations are in place. "Law enforcement" doesn't mean "capture the bomber and charge him with a class D felony". It means use the people on the ground, detective work, wiretaps, undercover agents, snitches. Everything that law enforcement is good at. The military is good when you need a mallet. Law enforcement is a scalpel, or at least a small hammer.

Where would you rather confront the terrorists--
a) on a battlefield halfway around the world with the full force of the US military, or
b) here at home, who knows where?

I assume that you're referring to the terrorists that would attack the US, so then it's a false choice. I suppose I'd choose (a) if it prevented (b), but we're not doing that. The Iraqis did not attack us, they did not attack Spain, London, Bali, etc. When I say "Iraqis", I don't mean Hussein (who, BTW, also didn't attack us). I'm not aware that any of the terrorists who actually carried out terrorist attacks were Iraqi (though I could be wrong; hard to keep track). So claiming that we're in Iraq to prevent further attacks at home seems to have no basis, and serves only to raise fear. There's no evidence, nor has anyone suggested, that if we pull out the local Iraqi insurgents would pack their bags and head to Chicago. I don't know who the "them" is that Bush is talking about when he uses the "fight them there instead of here" line.

If there was a country called Al-quedastan, I'd say bomb its sand into glass. But those we are fighting in Iraq are not the same people who we fear one day will show up in Disneyworld with an overstuffed backpack. I'd much rather have twice as many police, FBI, air marshals, national guard, etc. walking around than I would 130K soliders getting killed in a country that has little bearing on the threat we face at home.

Thanks for responding with rare (not for you, but for this site) civility.

Sorry. Mr. Clarke has no... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Sorry. Mr. Clarke has not proven himself to be a sufficiently reliable and non-partisan source in all of this.

Well, you've given me an impossible task, then. Finding a source that you would find credible, while at the same time "non-partisan". I suspect that any source who disagrees with your position would automatically qualify as neither.

Hi Brian:Thanks fo... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Hi Brian:

Thanks for your response. I think you've made some good points. Mind if I respond to one right off the bat? OK. Here's my attempt....

You said:

You're mixing two things. The response is certainly military, i.e., blowing up Afghanistan. I don't believe anyone, neither Clinton nor Kerry, said the response to the act is law enforcement. But after the response, what's the next step? Now we're talking the response to the threat.

I'm not sure I'm mixing these two things, but I follow what you're saying. The GWOT is fought on (at least) two fronts: (1) militarily (being on the offensive) and (2) law enforcement (the defensive/home front/legal angles). The point I was trying to make is that it appears Clinton was far more interested in #2 than in #1. Perhaps today you could say that Bush is concerned about both--folks on the left believe #1 is going badly and many aspects of #2 are highly illegal. Is that a fair summary?

One of the differences (I think) between Clinton and Bush on terrorists is that Clinton wanted to capture them and then let the courts decide their fate. Bush would go along with that (but only if we don't kill them first).

Where most of us on the right have a problem is this: we look at the Democratic leadership (as a whole) and believe we're looking at people who don't believe we're in a war! The emphasis always seems to be on things like: negotiation, multilateralism, more negotiation, and (unfortunately) blaming America for making the terrorists mad in the first place. This makes us very, very nervous. That's because we believe these Islamofascists will say and do anything to dupe us into thinking we're safer than we really are.

I've rambled on too long again. My apologies. But before I wrap this up, I'd really like to know what you think: Does the probability of a nuclear Iran concern you? If so, what do you think we should do about that? If you think the concern is an overblown, fear-inducing exaggeration, why do you think so?

You also said:
Thanks for responding with rare (not for you, but for this site) civility.

Right back at you, big guy! ;-)

Thanks for reading all of this, Brian. I hope to hear again from you soon in this thread. (Or maybe I'll find you on another topic....)

Brian said:Find... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Brian said:

Finding a source that you would find credible, while at the same time "non-partisan". I suspect that any source who disagrees with your position would automatically qualify as neither.

OK. That was a poor way of describing Mr. Clarke. But I think we'd both have to admit that we are all somewhat guilty of this. We tend to listen to (and quote) those sources that reinforce our beliefs and biases; we distrust those that don't.

Re: Mr. Clarke, perhaps I should have said that I've never been sure of his motivations in all of this, nor do I believe that he's been entirely truthful. So I've taken some of what he's asserted with a grain of salt.

I do try to listen to others' points of view, even if I don't agree with them. In the current political climate, though, that's harder and harder to do. (An aside: Being a conservative in Massachusetts, I listen to the "other" point of view almost all the time. This also explains why I frequent Wizbang--Jay Tea's rants against the Commonwealth leave me laughing and nodding my head in agreement [because I often know exactly what he's talking about].)

Hope you don't think I'm being evasive or that I'm engaging in linguistic gymnastics--that's not my intention. I'm trying to respond honestly to your posts, agree when you've made a good point, and clarify what I've said when necessary.

it appears Clinton was f... (Below threshold)
Brian:

it appears Clinton was far more interested in #2 than in #1.

So am I! The defensive front is what has the greatest chance of protecting my family. When a Saudi or Syrian is prevented from blowing up my mall, I'm not really going to be thinking of the troops we have working hard to quell an Iraqi civil war.

folks on the left believe #1 is going badly and many aspects of #2 are highly illegal. Is that a fair summary?

Not exactly. I think #2 could be done legally. The Brits foiled the alleged soft-drink bomb plot using all legal means, including warrants. In a post a while back I lamented the tendancy of the right to edit out the word "illegal" or "warrantess" whenever they report what the left says. For example, the left objects to "warrantless surveillence", and the right reports it as objecting to "terrorist surveillence". Etc. But I don't want to go off on that tangent now.

we look at the Democratic leadership (as a whole) and believe we're looking at people who don't believe we're in a war!

Who are we at war with? Iraq? Well, yes, through our own doing. But let's say Iraq was settled tomorrow; the factions reached an agreement, and the violence died down. Is anyone going to think that because Iraq was a success, we're now safe at home? Of course not. So then what? Who will we be at war with then? The elusive Al-Queda? How do we fight them over there so they can't kill us over here? And why aren't we focusing all of our effort on that right now?

It's not that the left doesn't believe we're in a war. It's that we believe we're in the wrong war! Remember, the left cheered too when we attacked Afghanistan. But Iraq? Long after we leave Iraq, the true "terrorists" will still be a threat. Saudis attacked us, OBL is hiding out in Pakistan, and we invaded Iraq. WTF?

Does the probability of a nuclear Iran concern you? If so, what do you think we should do about that?

Yes it does, but so do a lot of things, such as a nuclear North Korea, a trigger-happy Israel, and a Russian nuke falling into the wrong hands.

What should we do? I don't know. I leave that to my leaders to tell me their thoughts and explain it in a way that I agree is rational. Military action? Doesn't seem rational at the current time. Too bad we don't have more troops who aren't already busy with something else. Sanctions? In retrospect, the sanctions on Hussein did indeed succeed in suspending his nuclear program, so that seems like a reasonable path to follow. But I am open to being convinced by those with more experience and knowledge than I.

I listen to the "other" point of view almost all the time.

I'm a liberal who occasionally visits Wizbang. What do you do? :)

Brian:Thanks for y... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Brian:

Thanks for your response. Might it be possible for us to continue this discussion via private e-mails? If so, how do we do that?

If you'd rather, I can try to get back to you on your post later in the day Friday.

Again, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'm glad we're being so civil (at least to this point! :-) )




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy