Tired of Defending Dick Cheney

cheney

Way back in early June, when Mr. Cheney was well into his “Obama is soft on terrorism” tour, Frank Rich wrote a column in the New York Times titled, “Who Is to Blame for the Next Attack?”

In his piece, Rich rightly condemned Cheney’s attempts to once again “using lies and fear… rewrite history and escape accountability for the failed Bush presidency…”

Rich was referring to Cheney’s infamous “no middle ground” speech on torture at the American Enterprise Institute, and also condemned the incessant and groundless Cheney-G.O.P. accusations that the Obama administration is making our country “less safe,” that Obama’s “half measures” are leaving Americans “half exposed,” that Obama is unraveling “the very policies that kept our people safe since 9/11,” and the G.O.P. implication that “In other words, when the next attack comes, it will be all Obama’s fault.”

At the time, something Rich wrote didn’t sound right, didn’t sound fair to me. Referring to Cheney’s “no middle ground” speech on torture, Rich wrote: “The speech itself, with 20 mentions of 9/11, struck the same cynical note as the ads, as if the G.O.P. was almost rooting for a terrorist attack on Obama’s watch.”

In a post at the time, I admonished Frank Rich and Democrats and went on to defend Dick Cheney and the G.O.P., concluding with the following words:

Just as Americans would never wish their country to fail militarily for political purposes, I do not believe Americans would “root” for another terrorist attack just to make a political point…

Only a week or so later, responding to the same “no middle ground” Cheney speech, CIA Director Leon Panetta made the following comments in an interview with The New Yorker: “I think [Cheney] smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue…It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

In a June 15 piece, I again defended Mr. Cheney: “While I do think that Cheney is lying, fear mongering and trying to rewrite history, I would not go as far as to say that he and the G.O.P. are rooting or wishing for another attack on our country.”

A couple of weeks later, on the eve of the pullback of U.S. troops from Iraqi towns and cities, as agreed to by the Bush-Cheney administration, Cheney said: “But what [Odierno] says concerns me: That there is still a continuing problem. One might speculate that insurgents are waiting as soon as they get an opportunity to launch more attacks.”

Sadly, the next day, the New York Times reported:

As if on cue, a car bomb exploded in a crowded outdoor market in the northern city of Kirkuk late Tuesday, killing at least 24 people, in a deadly reminder that the violence here will continue through the pullback of American troops…

In “Update: U.S. Troop Pullback in Iraq—Cheney’s Dark Words and Thoughts,” I wrote:

After having defended Cheney against insinuations and clear attacks made against him and the G.O.P that it is “as if the G.O.P. was almost rooting for a terrorist attack on Obama’s watch,” and, “When you read behind it, it’s almost as if [Cheney is] wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point,” I will not now say that Cheney is hoping for the insurgents in Iraq “to launch more attacks.”

However, I will restate my hope expressed last night. A hope that if, God forbid, Cheney’s dark fears materialize, he will not resort to the “I told you so” sleaze that many are fearing he will use if we, God forbid again, are attacked once more on our own soil…

Now, fast-forward to yesterday, December 30, just a few days after the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253.

On the very same day that we learned that at least six more Americans had been killed in the Afghanistan war–a war to which President Obama has just committed an additional 30,000 troops—Dick Cheney emerges again in a pathetic attempt to make political hay out of a near tragedy.

In comments to Politico, the former Vice President has the audacity to accuse the president of “trying to pretend we are not at war,” and lectures the Commander in Chief about his responsibilities to “defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war.”

Mr. Cheney, there is absolutely no pretense involved in committing an additional 30,000 American men and women to combat, to a war from which many of them will never return. Our brave troops and the American people know that we are not “pretending” and the president certainly knows it, especially after anguishing about such a grave commitment and after having traveled to Dover Air Force Base to pay his last respects to those who have defended us “against an enemy that knows we are at war.”

With all due respect, Mr. Cheney, it is high time for you to realize that it is not Republicans or Democrats who are fighting this war on terrorism, but Americans, and that Americans don’t “pretend” being at war.

I have no illusions that my defense of you or my criticism will have any impact on you, Sir.

You made that perfectly clear in an interview back in April 2008, while you were still Vice President of our great country.

When you were asked what you thought about polls that indicated two-thirds of Americans believed that the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, that the cost in lives was not worth the gains, your answer, one single word, said it all: “So?” you said.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

39 Comments

  1. I will say it again. Dick Cheney is a disgrace.

  2. A small injection of facts to the Dorian rant. Opinion on the Iraq War is turning back around, at least in some polls

    “Here's a final set of numbers from our new NBC/WSJ poll that we find fascinating: 57% say the Iraq war has been successful, versus 40% who say it has been unsuccessful.”
    The poll was done December 11-14, 2009 and is cited here:
    Iraq's turnaround in public opinion
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/12/

    Details are here, but you will have to search for them
    http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

    Dick Cheney remains quite unpopular with favorables at 39%, five to 10 points less than recent approval of Obama. On the plus side for Dick, his net favorables have approved 15% since last January, demonstrating that increasing numbers of Americans disagree with your assessment on Cheney speaking out on terrorism.
    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/07/

    It will certainly be interesting to see how these numbers are impacted by the latest terrorist attack of 2009.

  3. Took you long enough.

  4. It will certainly be interesting to see how these numbers are impacted by the latest terrorist attack of 2009.

    A lot of that will depend on whether the media does its job. If the press actually fact-checks (or, God forbid, if ordinary Americans fact-check instead of accepting what they read or hear on Fox at face value), then people will know that every single one of the mistakes, oversights, bad judgments, etc., related to Mutallab that the right has used to blame Obama for being “weak on national security” actually happened under the Bush administration.

  5. It's too bad the messenger and his messages are so strident. There are a lot of bad guys out there and we can't ignore them. Doesn't mean we can't glean some cautionary information from him to balance out the inevitable Pollyannaish stuff all incumbants mouth. (They all BS.) Just don't go hunting with him.

  6. Speaking of fact checking, you are aware, are you not, that the father's warnings about his son occurred in November of 2009, not “under the Bush Administration”? Subsequent failure to put him on the no fly list and not do any special checking before allowing him to board the plane also occurred under Obama, not Bush. This despite a number of other risk factors (paid in cash, no stowed luggage) identified pre-flight.

    He received a 2 year visa in April 2008 under Bush. But as the Obama (sic) State Department emphasized in a presser earlier this week, that was before there was any warning about his ties to potential terrorism and therefore not a mistake.

    Immediately after his detention he was Mirandized, lawyered up, and a decision was made to give him the full rights of a civilian, not to have military interrogation or a try him in a military tribunal. This, once again, did not occur under the Bush Administration.

    None of these facts rely on Fox News so you are presumably allowed to accept them. How then do you support your contention that “every single one of the mistakes, oversights, bad judgements… (etc etc)… actually happened under the Bush Administration.

  7. Is this true? I commit an act of war against civilians and I get all kinds of free lawyers and the rights of a US citizen. We are schmucks. There is no other word.

  8. The bomber will get 'free' lawyers if he wants them because that is his right as a defendant in a civilian court. However his family is loaded with money and I have seen nothing to indicate who is actually paying for his lawyers. Interesting question. Could be it is some pro-bono group that seems eager to defend terrorists; there is no shortage of those.

    The first bomber after 9/11, Richard Reid, got a civilian trial. His actions occurred a couple months after 9/11 and before alternative pathways for justice had been vetted or approved. It is my impression that all subsequent terrorist airline bombers were handed over to the military for questioning and trial. Until this one. (Someone please correct me if I got that wrong — I didn't research it in detail.)

    So this seems to be a reversion to treating terrorism attempts to mass murder people on an airline in civilian court. Which is part of what all the fuss is about.

  9. We actually try most who commit…or in this case attempt to commit…such acts in civilian courts. The military tribunals, ostensibly, were for those captured/detained overseas.

    The original Trade Center bombers (truck bomb in the basement parking garage)…were tried in civilian court, lawyers and all. The “20th 9-11 highjacker”…was tried in civilian court, lawyers and all (under the Bush adminstration). Terrorism and attempted terrorism are federal crimes that would be difficult to justify placing under military jurisdiction in circumstances like this.

    Btw, our criminal justice system works just fine. All the above that I mentioned were convicted and dealt with accordingly. And, showing the world that we believe in justice, lawyers, Miranda rights and all, helps buff up our image as a nation of laws, fairness and justice.

    Think of this. As school children we all learned something called the Pledge of Allegiance. The last three words of the Pledge of Allegiance are “justice for all”…that's “all”, not some, no exclusions for Muslim radicals or Mormons or Asians. “Justice for all”. And that's something we should be proud of, not complain about.

    Just my addled, elementary-shcool-brainwashed, opinion.

  10. We are schmucks (squared). The crotch bomber (with high-priced lawyers) is obviously a confused young man. Too much engineering study affected his political equilibrium and he has also been seen eating Twinkies on more than one occasion. Is Ron Kuby available.

  11. Btw, our criminal justice system works just fine. All the above that I mentioned were convicted and dealt with accordingly. And, showing the world that we believe in justice, lawyers, Miranda rights and all, helps buff up our image as a nation of laws, fairness and justice.”

    Who are we trying to impress? The bad guys are laughing at us. We are weak and that invites further terrorist attacks.

  12. Subsequent failure to put him on the no-fly list….

    The no-fly list is a disaster in itself. There are half a million names on the watch list that the no-fly list is culled from. Many of the names on the watch list shouldn't even be there. There are all kinds of errors — people on the list because they have similar-sounding names, duplicates, etc. Sen. Ted Kennedy's name was on the watch list, that's how crazy it is, and that's just one example. As a counterterrorism or public safety tool, the watch list is almost useless. And again, the no-fly list is created from the watch list. So merely saying Mutallab was not on the no-fly list w/o putting that in the context I've provided is dishonest, misleading, and incomplete.

    He received a 2 year visa in April 2008 under Bush. But as the Obama (sic) State Department emphasized in a presser earlier this week, that was before there was any warning about his ties to potential terrorism and therefore not a mistake.

    I don't know where you read this, but according to this HuffPost piece based on AP sources, the U.S. government has been aware that Mutallab was a potential terrorist or that he might have terrorist ties for at least two years.

    you are aware, are you not, that the father's warnings about his son occurred in November of 2009, not “under the Bush Administration

    Yes, I am aware of that. Assuming that the TSA would play a major role in getting Mutallab on the no-fly list and making sure he did not get on the plane, YOU are now aware, if you weren't before, that the watch list and no-fly list and the system in place to utilize those lists, is a nightmare. And those lists were created under the Bush administration, which has known about the problems with the lists for years.

    In addition, you may also be aware (or maybe not) that the TSA does not have a director because Jim DeMint has been holding up Pres. Obama's nomination of Errol Southers for months because — wait for it — he “has concerns” about Southers wanting to unionize the baggage handlers. So maybe you should ask Jim DeMint why a labor union is more of a threat to national security than not having a director of the entire TSA.

    Finally, and not to repeat myself, but I'm assuming that if the State Department under GWB had not granted Mutallab a visa to enter the country in 2008, his father's warning last month would not have taken on the significance that it has.

    Immediately after his detention he was Mirandized, lawyered up, and a decision was made to give him the full rights of a civilian, not to have military interrogation or a try him in a military tribunal. This, once again, did not occur under the Bush Administration.

    Gee, DaMav, you sound so much more authoritative when you use Cheney's language. Not that it makes this ludicrous argument any less laughable than it was when Cheney said it.

    Why would you torture Mutallab, oops I'm sorry, give him a “military interrogation,” or try him in a military tribunal when the reason the Bush administration did that in the first place is because they did not have enough evidence (or any evidence) to try those suspected terrorists in federal court in the United States? What is the public safety or the legal argument for torturing Mutallab and then giving him a show trial in a kangaroo court? The man tried to set his underpants on fire in front of 300 witnesses. He confessed already; he told the authorities about his Al Qaeda connections. What? Are you afraid there isn't enough evidence to try him in open court? Are you afraid federal prosecutors couldn't get a conviction? Is there any level of confidence that you have in this country's criminal justice system, or do you just really think they can't get a conviction — even though they did just that with Richard Reid and Zacharias Moussaoui, who, btw, in case you've forgotten, were tried, convicted, and sentenced as any other criminal offender is, in American courtrooms, during the Bush administration.

    So if Bush and Cheney considered it appropriate to treat the Shoe Bomber and a high-profile 9/11 co-conspirator as criminal offenses, then (a) what's the argument against doing the same with Mutallab; and (b) why are Cheney and his apologists calling Obama “weak on national security” for doing the same?

    .

  13. I think this a great opportunity (never let a crisis go to waste), to import a whole bunch of those Russian bomb-sniffing dogs. As the National Geo. piece points out, they are not lazy like German Shepards. (Sorry, KK, your Hebrew speaking dog would not qualify). Rahm, are you listening.

  14. Dear Duck,

    Thanks for your reply. You asked, “Who are we trying to impress?” Well, for one, I'd like to impress my daughter and all her friends and every citizen of the United States who is raised, and hopefully will raise their children, to believe in fairness and justice. Beyond that, we are still the most emulated system of government in the world. Many, many peoples across the globe look to us for instruction in democracy, freedom and justice. I'd like to impress them too, and let them know that the principles in which we take such pride and help spread to bring fairness to others are principles that we are willing to live by. Did you know that we sent teams of governmental scholars, judges, lawyers and economists to Eastern Europe to teach our ways to newly freed nations after the breakup of the Soviet empire. Many of those countries are today members of the European Union and, as members of NATO, are fighting along side us in places like Afghanistan. That is due, in no small part, to the volunteers who taught the principles of democracy and justice to those fledgling nations.

    You also said, “We are weak and that invites further terrorist attacks.” The facts, I believe, are somewhat different. Terrorist attacks that kill and maim civilians are commonplace, almost daily occurances in places like Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, across most of the nations of the African continent and in many unstable countries in Cental and South America. In the United States, such attacks are remarkably rare. I'd say we've done a pretty good job on balance in deterring and preventing such attacks so far.

    But, if you truly believe that we are weak, or ineffective, or inviting terrorism, I would have a serious interest in knowing what you would propose that is not already being done and how you believe each such proposal would add to our effectiveness. I would hope these would be suggestions on which we could have a thoughtful and open discussion…though I am throwing a major New Year's Eve Party at the house and may not be able to complete the discussion today.

  15. Enjoy your party. Happy New Year.

  16. Thank you and the best to you and yours in the new year.

    tidbits

  17. The no fly list is a “disaster in itself” so this proves that the decision not to place the underwear bomber on it happened under the Bush Administration? I see.

    Here's two cites for the Obama State Department saying it was appropriate to give said bomber a visa in 2008 because there was no evidence of terror activities. Maybe they were lying but I'll take that over an anonymous source from Huffpo

    Jake Tapper (ABC, not Fox News)
    “The suspect had been granted a standard two-year US tourist visa in 2008 when, as US officials have stressed, there were no signs he was connected to terrorism.”
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/12

    As for why the visa was granted, there was no alarming or disqualifying information on the visa application, Kelly said. He was a student at a reputable school and had ample financial resources, meaning he wasn't seen as an illegal immigration risk, according to Kelly.
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/12

    The Jim DeMint sword cuts both ways. Apparently having someone favoring unionization of the TSA is more important to the Obama White House than having an agency head in place. This still has nothing at all to do with your claim that everything bad in the case happened under the Bush administration.

    I understand that you like the decision to treat the underwear bomber in the civilian court system. That's your right to have an opinion. But that decision also occurred under the Obama Administration.

    Which brings us back full circle. Other than claiming the lists are a “nightmare” and begging the question why nothing has been done in the past year, how do you defend your original statement that everything bad having to do with this case occurred under Bush? At best you can point to the tourist visa issued in 2008, but that was defended by the Obama State Department as being legitimate.

    By the way 22% of likely voters agree with you on the decision made by Obama to try the bomber as a civilian. That doesn't make it wrong, but it certainly makes it a lot less popular than Dick Cheney.
    Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters think the attempt by the Nigerian Muslim to blow up the airliner as it landed in Detroit should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Only 22% say it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act, as is currently the case.
    http://tinyurl.com/yf9bwmg

  18. We are weak and that invites further terrorist attacks.

    No, we aren't. We are a nation of laws. That is one of our most important values and principals. Weakness is running from your values the second you get scared of the bad guys.

  19. Zzzzz said “We are a nation of laws. That is one of our most important values and principals. Weakness is running from your values the second you get scared of the bad guys.”

    Wish I could have hit the “Like” button 12 times on that comment. Thank you.

  20. DaMav: that was before there was any warning about his ties to potential terrorism and therefore not a mistake.

    Huh? He was already on the terrorist watch list, wasn't he? And again, you seem to be deep in Jack Bauer territory assuming this immature would-be suicide bomber was given critical intelligence that could be tortured out of him. Man, do you underestimate our enemy, a very dangerous failure on your part. I have no doubt that any deep details about AQ and its plans are on a “need to know basis.” You foolishly believe otherwise.

  21. Do the Obama-haters here hate our justice system? Our pledge of allegiance? Our constitution? Do they hate America? Hmmmmm.

    Tidbits, great comment. My son has respect for all the things I name above. I'm proud of him for believing in the things so many have fought and died for. I feel sorry for the children of those who don't.

  22. As I pointed out that was the position of the Obama State Department in their presser. The link was provided as well as a confirming link by Tapper.

    Regarding the inner workings of al Qaeda and who they tell and do not tell about what, I claim no special expertise. Apparently you think you have such knowledge as you keep reassuring me that there is no need to bother asking the bomber. On this particular question I'll admit being part of the “foolish” 71% of American who see things differently than you do. It's kind of nice being in the majority for a change.

  23. The no fly list is a “disaster in itself” so this proves that the decision not to place the underwear bomber on it happened under the Bush Administration? I see.

    That is not what I wrote, nor is it a reasonable understanding of what I wrote, so there is really no way I can respond.

    Here's two cites for the Obama State Department saying it was appropriate to give said bomber a visa in 2008 because there was no evidence of terror activities.

    Well, as Green Dreams says, if he was already on the watch list, someone in the government must have suspected he was tied to terrorism. And if Homeland Security is now saying there was no evidence that he was linked to terrorism, and assuming they're not lying, then that tends to confirm what I wrote about TSA's lists. If he was on the watch list (and he was), and government officials don't even know he was on the watch list, then that doesn't say much for the usefulness of the list, does it?

    The Jim DeMint sword cuts both ways. Apparently having someone favoring unionization of the TSA is more important to the Obama White House than having an agency head in place.

    Actually, DaMav, as far as I know, neither Southers nor Obama have made any public statements about intending to unionize TSA workers. And even if they had, I would think there might be some rationality in the notion that you might want to make sure the workers who are responsible for keeping millions of airline passengers safe are adequately compensated and well-treated in the workplace. So even if it *were* an issue that Obama himself or his nominee had initiated, it's hard to understand why Jim DeMint would find it so problematic that he had to hold up the nomination for months.

    This still has nothing at all to do with your claim that everything bad in the case happened under the Bush administration.

    Well, that's true enough. I should have added in my original comment to which you responded that the security problems that led to this Christmas Day attempted bombing either involve specific actions or systemic problems dating back to the Bush administration, OR are due to Republican obstructionism in the present.

    I understand that you like the decision to treat the underwear bomber in the civilian court system. That's your right to have an opinion. But that decision also occurred under the Obama Administration.

    But it's not a decision that speaks badly of the Obama administration's national security policies, or that compromised national security, or in any way led to the Christmas Day bombing. That's the point. Putting Mutallab in the military tribunal system is not something that would in any way serve U.S. national security interests or make anyone safer. Quite the opposite, if anything. That is the point. It's not just about what *I* think of civilian or military trials — it's about what actually makes us safer and what doesn't. Therefore, it is not a legitimate support for Cheney's attack on Obama for being “weak” on national security.That is the point, which clearly you are not grasping.

  24. “As if on cue, a car bomb exploded in a crowded outdoor market “
    ******

    And, as if on cue, a “string of seemingly coordinated bombings” the day before our new president's “secret” visit happened in Bagdhad last April 2009 when Cheney wanted us to stay there and Obama made a secret visit to oversee the beginning of troop withdrawel.

    I wonder if any of the “double agents” of the CIA were still faithful to Cheney at the time?

    “as if on cue”…

    There's more truth to that than you want to know.

  25. Dorian,

    We all know where Dick's thoughts are; for the political well being of his own political party, and not for America as a whole.

    Anyway, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year's! Thanks for all the great posts.

  26. Thank you, SB, and as we approach the New Year and a new decade in Austin, Texas, I wish you and yours also a very Happy New Year, and one in which we all can work and hope for what is the best for America and Americans, rather than what is the best for out respective political parties or leanings.

    Dorian

  27. From the White House Blog:

    There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.
    First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.

    To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

    Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that as Commander in Chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the President said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”

    There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.

  28. “..And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.”
    *******
    “prosecute”. Interesting choice of word there in the last sentence..lol..

    Let me translate: “Hey Dick, shut yer yapper or ye'll be walkin' tha plank ye mutinous scurrvy barnicle!…arrrr..”

  29. Are the facts irrelevant?

    I supplied two links documenting that the bomber had no ties to terror when he was issued his visa in 2008, one to ABC's Tapper, and the other to a direct quote of the Obama State Department.

    GreenDreams responded with “Huh? He was already on the terrorist watch list, wasn't he?”. And you respond with “Well, as Green Dreams says, if he was already on the watch list…(and he was)…”. This assertion appears to have become an article of faith refractory to the facts because it provides you with a means of trying to pin blame on Bush.

    Here's one more attempt to return us to a dialogue about actual facts.
    Isikoff and Hosenball of Newsweek are hardly shills for the Bush Administration. They provide a detailed chronology. Direct quote: “The only entry in the U.S. intelligence community’s principal electronic database of suspected terrorists mentioning Abdulmutallab was based on a visit by the suspect’s father to the U.S. Embassy.”
    That visit occurred in 2009 as you agreed. He was not on a 'watch list' in 2008.
    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/arc

    I have no problem with our disagreeing on matters of opinion. Bush had plenty of flaws and made lots of mistakes. But Bush, and Obama, should be held accountable based on facts and not fantasy.

  30. I believe you're mistaken, DaMav

    “An official briefing on the attack said the US had known for at least two years that the suspect could have terrorist ties. Abdulmutallab has been on a list that included people with known or suspected contacts or ties to a terrorist or terrorist organisation. The list is maintained by the US National Counterterrorism Center and includes about 550,000 names. “
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/america

  31. Excellent. I appreciate your supplying a source supporting the allegation. That at least raises it to the level of disputed fact with different sources saying different things. Would you agree with that?

    Let us agree that we need as a country to get to the bottom of this and get a definitive answer as to when he was put on the list and why he was not handled better overall — then let the chips fall where they may. One of my great disappointments with Bush was that people within the bureaucracy clearly screwed up but never seemed to get fired or held accountable for it. I hope that Obama will make some heads roll on this one, and I don't mean political appointees.

  32. Here's a more complete timeline from ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-terror-clues-

    As I've said many times, I'm all for full and frank investigations of intelligence failures, and not just of an attempted attack on 300 people, but of the actual attack that killed 3,000. We can only make better decisions in the future if we learn from mistakes.

  33. Agreed. Your just cited timeline indicates he was not on the watch list in 2008, but your cite of the Independent says he was. I consider the Independent a credible source so I wrote the editor and asked for clarification. If I get a response either way I'll post it to you.

    Best of the New Year to you sir. May we bring more light than heat to our disagreements.

  34. I wish I could read minds as well as you. Perhaps I could call O and Rahm socialists. And Palin a nice mother who isn't a glory seeker and all the nice bombers as just disillusioned kids looking for justice.

  35. I am more interested in action vs. playing the blame game and debating time lines. Let's just say lapses in security occur under all administrations, and move on. The Dutch have decided on full body scans:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BT1LF200….
    Will we push for FBSs in the near future, I doubt it, like this forum, it will be talked to death and “we don't want to show the world _______” whatever. And as far watch lists, correct me if I'm wrong, the Brits pulled this guy's visa. How much talk before we can match their efficiency and action taking. Sorry, I am 100% American but we BS too much. Our motto should be “Talk Loudly and Carry a Small stick. The terrorists, at least some of them, are trying to kill all your little daughters and sons, no matter how well they have been raised to, as Tidbits said: “to believe in fairness and justice. Beyond that, we are still the most emulated system of government in the world.” I respect that thought, however, many people overseas (even in “friendly countries”) hate our guts. We are big and arrogant and put on shows for them of caring. Some think we would like to take over the world and the jihadists want to exploit every weakness they can find to show us as ineffective bullies. My point in this rant, and there are others FAR more qualified to comment on foreigner's attitudes toward us, is that we need to be respected and then hopefully liked.

  36. What set me off was KathyK's statement that every mistake in this particular incident occurred when Bush was President. Bush made his share of mistakes as Pres. but to try and hold him responsible for a cascade of errors made on the underwear bomber after he retired was a bit too much for even my non-reactive mild mannered… cough… well ya get the picture.

  37. As I once told my wife's liberal relatives: “you guys see a Bush behind every bush”. They will continue for a while. Given some time, and due to the complexity of the world, O, being a politician will be making his own mistakes. And, I hope some successes; we are all in the same boat.

  38. The no-fly list is a disaster in itself.

    And what exactly is the Obama Administration doing to fix this problem?

  39. And what exactly is the Obama Administration doing to fix this problem?

    If you mean the no-fly list specifically, I suppose it will have to wait until the Transportation Safety Administration actually has a director leading the agency. And no, I don't know when Sen. Jim DeMint intends to put national security instead of reflexive union-bashing.

    I did read that Harry Reid plans to force a vote on the nomination when the Senate comes back from its break.

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