Today, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered a speech to the Jewish Community Relations Council in New York:
[I]f we flee Iraq, if we do what the Democrats want us to do — which is to not only flee Iraq, not only retreat in Iraq, but give them a timetable of our retreat.
Have you ever heard of that in a history of war? Have you ever heard of an army being required to give a printed schedule of its release to the enemy? It makes no sense, does it? Whether you’re for the war or against it, you would never have an army retreat on a six- month, one-year, 18-month schedule explaining, We’ll reduce the forces by 20,000, then by 30,000, then by 50,000. Gee, you can then figure out when the forces are depleted enough so you can really do damage to them.
Giuliani needs to brush up on his history. A publicly-announced gradual reduction of forces is exactly what the United States did in the Vietnam War. On May 14, 1969, President Richard Nixon laid out an “eight-point peace plan” calling for the gradual withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam:
Over a period of 12 months, by agreed-upon stages, the major positions of all U.S., allied, and other non-South Vietnamese forces would be withdrawn. At the end of this 12-month period, the remaining U.S., allied, and other non-South Vietnamese forces would move into designated base areas and would not engage in combat operations.
Some highlights of Nixon giving the enemy a “timetable of our retreat”:
June 8, 1969: Nixon announces the redeployment of 25,000 troops, which would begin in the “next 30 days” and be completed by the end of August.
Sept. 16, 1969: Nixon announces a new “troop ceiling,” meaning that a minimum of 60,000 troops would be withdrawn by December.
Dec. 15, 1969: Nixon calls for a “reduction in our troop ceiling of 50,000 more U.S. troops by April 15 next year.”
April 20, 1970: Nixon calls for the withdrawal of 150,000 troops “to be completed during the spring of next year.”
Oct. 12, 1970: Nixon announces the reduction of the troop ceiling by another 40,000 troops between “now and Christmas.”
Nov. 12, 1971: Nixon announced to the nation, “Over the next 2 months we will withdraw 45,000 Americans.”
Jan. 13, 1972: Nixon stated, “I am announcing today the withdrawal of an additional 70,000 [troops] from Vietnam over the next 3 months.”
Apr. 26, 1972: Nixon announces that “over the next 2 months 20,000 more Americans will be brought home from Vietnam.”
Whether it’s blowing off Iraq Study Group meetings, showing ignorance about the root causes of 9/11, attacking Clinton for 9/11, or fear-mongering about sensible redeployment from Iraq, Giuliani talks big and thinks small.
In an interview with Action Three News in Omaha, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said today that he felt the commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence was “unfortunate.” Contacted by ThinkProgress, his office refused to give more details about Hagel’s views, saying that it would “refer you back to the Senator’s own words.”
In Time Magazine yesterday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol wrote a rosy piece on why Americans should get over their “adolescent moodiness” and embrace the “heartening developments” of the past six years.
In the op-ed, Kristol came to the conclusion that “no other people in human history have ever had it quite so good” as Americans. But in reaching that false conclusion, Kristol severely distorts and even lies about major developments:
Claim #1: There have been “very limited terrorist successes in Europe or even in the Middle East.” Between 2005 and 2006, international terrorist attacks increased 29 percent, reported U.S. intelligence. Forty-five percent of the attacks took place in Iraq. Between 2004 and 2005, international terrorist attacks tripled to nearly 10,000, in part due to the war in Iraq.
Claim #2: “We’ve had 5 1/2 years of robust economic growth.” Today, the top one percent of earners have a greater share of national income than at any time since 1920. Wage growth has slowed to a crawl, and “overall pace of job creation, which has slowed compared to prior years, is barely enough to keep pace with population growth.”
Claim #3: “The balance sheet is uncertain” in Iraq. Since January, violence “has increased in most provinces” and U.S. and Iraqi forces “have been unable to diminish rising sectarian violence contributing to the volatile security situation,” says a recent Pentagon report.
Kristol’s policy prescriptions have failed time and time again. In 2003, he claimed there was a “pop psychology” that “the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni. … There’s almost no evidence of that at all.” He advocated escalation, provided “optimistic” depictions of violence in Iraq, and supported the war so the U.S. can bomb Iraq and Syria.
Brian Beutler notes the fear that Michael Moore has put into the hearts of insurance executives. It seems to me that the main cause here is that Moore has gone where liberal health wonks fear to tread, touching not only on the policy issues but on the question of ethics. He helps tap into the anti-capitalist folk instincts that worry Bryan Caplan. The crux of the matter is that ordinary people think that if there’s a sick person, and you’re in a position to help the sick person, that you ought to help the sick person.
Insurance companies strengthen this commonsense moral obligation by actually entering into contracts — you pay them, each and every pay period, so that when you’re sick, they’ll help you. But insurance companies are largely in the business of devising excuses to avoid helping you when you’re in need. They employ people wake up every morning, drive to the office, and work all day denying sick people health care. The labors of these individuals line the pockets of the companies’ executives. Most people find this repugnant. Bloodsucking vampires and flesh-eating zombies have the excuse of being driven by insatiable urges. Insurance companies have free will and just choose to do bad things because they’re greedy.
That’s not an argument that’ll win you high grades in a public policy class or get you made a fellow at a think tank. It’s demagogic and anti-intellectual. But it’s effective and not, I think, entirely wrong
Live Earth — Al Gore plus Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood — will be in DC after all. Come down to the National Museum of the American Indian at the National Mall tomorrow morning for the free concert.
Kudos to Mother Earth — a previously scheduled day-long event featuring “films, music, dancing and guest speakers, including scientists and cultural leaders from the American Indian community” — for sharing their space and their permit! More details on Mother Earth are here.
According to a recent poll taken by the American Research Group, “54% of American adults want the US House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney, including 76% of Democrats, 17% of Republicans, and 51% of Independents. The same poll found 46% of voters in favor of the same thing for President George W. Bush, including 69% of Democrats, 13% of Republicans, and 50% of independents.”
UPDATE: More from Pollster.com.
Drought, Floods Fuel Australian Climate Change Debate – Voice of America (VOA.com). Hell and High Water strikes another country that has been slow to act on global warming. But that is changing. The article concludes:
The common view is that if climate change is not addressed urgently a warmer future will make this country, already prone to drought and cyclones, an increasingly tough place to live and prosper.
Gore slams U.S.-led climate pact as sham – Reuters. “With all due respect I think the Asia-Pacific initiative is more of a Potemkin Village approach,” Gore said of the six-member pact called the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. “It has been organized by the two developed countries that alone among the world community have refused to join in on the Kyoto Protocol.”
I completely agree that the Asia-Pacific initiative is bogus — and Australia (and the U.S.) won’t be serious about avoiding ever worsening Hell and High Water until they walk away from it.
REPORTER: Tony, why do you … in your op-ed today you brought up the Clinton pardons, as well. Do two wrongs make a right? Is that the idea, like if Clinton did wrong …
SNOW: Well, this is … no, this is not a wrong, but I think what is interesting is perhaps it was just because he was on his way out, but while there was a small flurry, there was not much investigation of it.
Snow’s contention that “there was not much investigation” of Clinton’s pardons is an apparent attempt to preclude any congressional inquiry into Bush’s actions, particularly whether it was appropriate to extend clemency to an aide who has “knowledge that could incriminate his bosses in the White House.” The House Judiciary Committee has a hearing set for July 11 on the issue.
Furthermore, Snow is dishonestly distorting the facts when he says there “was not much investigation” of Clinton’s pardons. In fact, there was substantial investigation:
01/20/01: On his final morning in the White House, President Clinton grants 140 presidential pardons and 36 commutations.
2/08/01: The House Government Reform Committee, headed by Dan Burton, launches hearings into Clinton’s last-minute pardons.
2/14/01: Pardon hearings begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Republican Orrin Hatch.
2/15/01: Manhattan U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, in conjunction with the FBI, launches a criminal investigation into all the Clinton pardons.
2/23/01: Manhattan U.S. attorney Mary Jo White announces her office is investigating commutations Clinton granted to four Hasidic men from upstate New York.
2/27/01: Clinton waives his claim to executive privilege, saying three of his former aides are free to testify before the House Government Reform Committee.
3/01/01: Former aides John Podesta, Beth Nolan and Bruce Lindsey testify for an entire day before the House Government Reform Committee.
3/11/01: Pledging continued investigations into the pardons, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says Congress must not “walk away” from the work of pursuing Clinton.
3/13/01: Attorney General John Ashcroft asks White to expand her current investigation into some of President Clinton’s pardons to include all 177 of the last-minute clemencies and commutations.
In total, the investigations into Clinton’s issuances of executive clemency took over a year to conclude. The House Government Reform Committee didn’t release its final report until March 2002, well over a year after President Clinton left office. The Justice Department didn’t close its investigation, in which it concluded “it wasn’t appropriate to bring charges against anybody,” until June 2002.
It’s hard to see how over a year of multiple inquires could be characterized as “not much investigation,” but then again, Tony Snow has never appeared too concerned with getting his facts right when it comes to defending his boss.
UPDATE: Jeralyn has more on the congressional hearings into Clinton’s pardons here.
ABC News reports that Al Gore will begin tomorrow’s series of Live Earth concerts in Washington, DC, at a surprise concert at the National Museum of the American Indian. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) had tried to block the event from happening in DC, claiming it was a “partisan” event. (For more on Live Earth and the Bush administration’s global warming manipulation, check out today’s Progress Report.)