“For me, every day is an anniversary of September 11.”
Fred Thompson “puzzled Iowans yesterday” by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason Sunni tribes have broken with al Qaeda:
“They said, ‘You gotta quit smoking,’” Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting. [...]
Thompson’s tale of a smokers’ revolt baffled some in the audience of about 150 who came to decide whether the former Tennessee senator is ready for prime time.
“I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.
Earlier, ThinkProgress offered another rationale: The prospect of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in late 2006 may have been responsible for spurring Sunni efforts against al Qaeda.
Last night on PBS’ The NewsHour, New York Times columnist David Brooks compared 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden’s latest video message to “lefty blogs,” saying the al Qaeda head is like “one of these childish people posting rants at the bottom of the page.” He then went to describe why he drew such a comparison:
You read this thing, and it’s like he’s been sitting around reading lefty blogs, and he’s one of these childish people posting rants at the bottom the page, you know, Noam Chomsky and all this stuff.
You can’t help read it and not laugh at it, occasionally, because it is just absurd. It’s flying this way, and that way, weird conspiracy theories, and mortgages, global warming. He throws it all in there.
Brooks’ comments are part of an effort by prominent right-wing voices to try to tie Osama bin Laden to the left. At Hot Air, Allahpundit claimed bin Laden sounded like a “socialist icon,” invoking many of the same passages Brooks did. At Political Vindication, Uncle Seth the Noble went further, claiming bin Laden sounded like Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas:
Osama’s Left wing platitudes stand out remarkably in this transcript! After reading this, who do you think he is pulling for in the next election…. Republicans or Democrats? Seriously, would this not pump up the entire Democratic Party base if this speech were given at next year’s convention? I could see Markos ‘Screw Them’ Moulitsas break dancing in the background as the cheers and applauses roared in from the Democratic diehards. Can you hear them? “Osama for President!”
Frank J, a Pajamas Media blogger, concludes “Kos has to get this guy as a diarist before HuffPo does.”
Considering bin Laden’s threat yesterday to “escalate the killing and fighting against” America, Brooks and his fellow conservatives’ attempts at humor — and that’s a charitable reading of their words — are especially insulting, as it impugns not only the patriotism, but also the character and intelligence of literally millions of daily participants in the progressive blogosphere.
Transcript: Read more
The New York Times reports today that “General Petraeus arrived quietly on Tuesday night” in military housing in Ft. Myer, VA, “with a small team that included his brain trust.” “He has spent long hours in those quarters studying three large binders of classified statistics, maps and analysis, and will head to the Pentagon on Sunday for a final dress rehearsal, including tough questioning, in a process known in the military as a ‘murder board.’”
UPDATE: “Members of Congress urged the Pentagon yesterday to declassify its data on sectarian killings, just days before General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, is expected to report a dramatic decrease in the level of violence between the Sunni and Shi’ite sects.”
I’m really not sure that, all things considered, I would want to see Bill Richardson be president of the United States. But as long as he’s the only one publishing op-eds feature clear calls to actually end the war in Iraq I would, at a minimum, definitely tell a pollster that I’m voting for Richardson hoping to, if nothing else, try to prompt the other Democrats into shifting in favor of his position.
In both political and policy terms, I think all of the candidates should consider that in the real world they need not Iraq policies that will make sense in the fall of 2007, but Iraq policies that will make sense in January 2009 after over a year of additional political stalemate in Iraq, continued bloodshed and refugee flows, and continued deterioration of the readiness of the American military.
George Packer absolutely nails the Groundhog Day quality of the Iraq debate:
This week, Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, and General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, will give their assessment of the surge to Congress—an event that, in Washington, has taken on the aura of a make-or-break moment for the Administration’s policy. But their testimony is likely to be unremarkable. Administration officials, military officers, and members of Congress described their expectations of it in strikingly similar terms, and a few said that they could write it in advance: military progress, a political stalemate among Iraqis, more time needed.
The Petraeus-Crocker testimony is the kind of short-lived event on which the Administration has relied to shore up support for the war: the “Mission Accomplished” declaration, the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam’s capture, the transfer of sovereignty, the three rounds of voting, the Plan for Victory, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Every new milestone, however illusory, allows the Administration to avoid thinking ahead, to the years when the mistakes of Iraq will continue to haunt the U.S.
Yes, precisely. One could add that at each point we’ve seen a certain faction of timid Democrats or quivering liberals who manage to forget everything they’ve learned about Bush, about Iraq, and about the dynamics of the war. At some point, though, it needs to stop.
“Rumsfeld will serve on a task force of scholars and experts who will focus on issues pertaining to ‘ideology and terror,’ the conservative think tank announced Friday in a press release.”
Hoover director John Raisian said Rumsfeld will offer strategic direction on how the U.S. should proceed in a post 9/11 world. “I have asked Don to join the distinguished group of scholars that will pursue new insights on the direction of thinking that the United States might consider going forward.”
You have to hand it to Hoover — post 9/11 “ideology and terror” is what Rumsfeld knows best. Here’s his impressive resume:
– Called Iraq war critics “quitters” who “blame America first” and “cannot stomach a tough fight”
– Claimed insurgent violence increases “in the spring, summer and fall months”
– Warned terrorists were carrying out violence because they wanted a change in leadership here in the U.S.
– Said war critics were manipulated by bin Laden’s “media committees“
Rumsfeld has previously said he plans to open a research foundation of his own to teach about “U.S. engagement in world affairs.”
The Hoover Institution boasts of having a roster full of luminaries of the right, including Dinesh D’Souza, Victor Davis Hanson, and Condoleezza Rice. Founded by President Herbert Hoover in 1919, the Institution is funded in large part by right-wing philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife.
“Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will announce Monday he’ll not seek re-election next year. Hagel also will tell an Omaha news conference he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008, clamping a lid on speculation he might be pondering a late-inning presidential bid.”
One of the long-standing deceptions involved with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program is the White House claim that they fully briefed Congress prior to conducting these activities.
After the domestic surveillance program was revealed in 2005, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) said that White House briefings that he attended in the Vice President’s office failed to disclose that the administration was spying on Americans:
There was no reference made to the fact that we were going to…begin unwarranted, illegal — and I think unconstitutional — eavesdropping on American citizens.
In a recent interview with ThinkProgress, Sen. Graham told us that, after the controversy erupted in late 2005, the White House provided him with dates when they alleged Graham had been briefed. Graham said he consulted his famous spiral bound notebooks and determined he had not been briefed on these dates:
When I got those dates, I went back to my notebooks and checked and found that on most of the dates there were no meetings held. In fact, in several of them, I wasn’t in Washington when the meetings were supposed to have taken place. So I stand by what I said.
Listen to it:
Graham said the White House ultimately acknowledged “we had the wrong dates.” But the deception didn’t end there.
After our interview with Graham, the AP reported a four-page memo authored by then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte which claimed to assert dates on which members of Congress were briefed about the “Terrorist Surveillance Program.” The document alleged that Graham was briefed on four dates: October 25, 2001; November 14, 2001; April 10, 2002; and July 8, 2002.
ThinkProgress went back to Graham and asked if he could verify that he was briefed on those dates. Graham said that on two of the dates (10/25/01 and 4/10/02), there were no meetings. On two others (11/14/01 and 7/8/02), he did attend White House meetings, but he stands by his earlier statements that he was never informed about domestic surveillance.
Graham wryly noted, “The White House needs to hire itself an archivist.” His revelations should raise greater concerns about the information the White House has released claiming that members of Congress were fully briefed on the wiretapping program.
One final post on this week’s liquid coal hearing. Forbes wrote up the hearing and got my bluntest quote:
“Coal-to-liquid is just a dead end, from a climate perspective,” added Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress. “Liquid coal will not have a future in this country, no matter how much money Congress squanders on it.”
Well, I guess “liberal-leaning” is better than “liberal.”
Why is liquid coal a dead end? Because, as I explain in my testimony, even a relatively low price for carbon dioxide is fatal to liquid coal’s economics, as made clear in two recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration: