Saturday, April 10, 2004

Sunday talk shows:

Here is the lineup:
  • NBC's Meet the Press: Sen. John McCain; David Broder, Lisa Myers & Ron Brownstein in a political roundtable

  • ABC's This Week: Sen. Susan Collins, Richard Perle, Rand Beers, George Will, U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer

  • FOX's Fox News Sunday: Slade Gorton, Richard Ben-Veniste, Sen. Richard Lugar, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.

    And on the Fox News Sunday webpage, they had this image of Rice:

    Not flattering at all.


Friday, April 09, 2004

Rice testimony, some comments:

Here are some statements made by Condoleezza Rice along with our observations:
  • "Let me read you some of the actual chatter that was picked up in that spring and summer. Unbelievable news coming in weeks, said one. Big event. There will be a very, very, very, very big uproar. There will be attacks in the near future. Troubling, yes, but they don't tell us when. They don't tell us where. They don't tell us who. And they don't tell us how."

    That is one hell of a whopper. Rice is citing the intercepts as if the words spoken were the only information present. But that's not true. Each intercept has a time and location (and transmission method) associated with it. That can aid in figuring out who might be involved and where the center of activity might be. And clever use of intelligence can get suspects to reveal more. As Dr. Rice surely knows, there is the famous case in World War II of the Japanese signaling that they were planning an assault on a target known only as "AF." But intelligence agents didn't say to themselves that the intercepts "don't tell us where" and therefore, let's do nothing. They were able to trick the Japanese into revealing where AF was (Midway Island) by making a fuss over an alleged failure of a water-distilling unit. This allowed the U.S. to be prepared and inflict a tremendous defeat on the Japanese navy. Something similar might have been possible in the case of the al Qaeda intercepts.

  • Look who needs to be told what to do? The National Security Advisor. In her own words:
    • "I don't remember the al-Qaida cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about."
    • "We were not presented with a plan."
    • "I believe in the Aug. 6 memorandum it says that there were 70 full field investigations underway of these cells. And so there was no recommendation that we do something about this - the F.B.I. was pursuing it."
    Fred Kaplan writes: "Why did she need a recommendation to do something? Couldn't she make recommendations herself?

    And the Left Coaster opines: "Just who was supposed to tell you this, DOCTOR Rice? Was that PhD of yours from a diploma mill? You are supposed to be advising the pResident on national security issues ..."


Rice in 50 words:


We knew it all along:

Much talk has been generated over the "revelation" of the title of the 6 August 2001 PDB. But it wasn't new to readers of uggabugga. Here, is a repeat of our posting on 1 February of this year:
What we are likely to see - eventually:

We listened to Ian Master's Background Briefing radio program today, and one of the guests was Ray McGovern, a twenty-seven year career analyst for the CIA and a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. In a discussion on the WMD issue, the focus shifted to what George Tenet knows - and if that knowledge is what's keeping Bush from firing him. McGovern thought it might be the contents of the 6 August 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing. From what McGovern said - plus some additional Google-related searching (Sunday Herald, Guardian, CNN, more), we think it looked something like this:

6 August 2001

Presidential Daily Briefing

Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

  • An attack inside the United States is being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda.
  • The Saudi-born terrorist hopes to 'bring the fight to America' in retaliation for missile strikes on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998.
  • British Intelligence says:
  • That in 1998 al-Qaeda operatives discussed hijacking a plane to negotiate the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the Muslim cleric imprisoned in America for his part in a plot to blow up the World Trade Centre in 1993).
  • The United States should expect multiple hijacking of aircraft.
  • We know there has been flight training by Muslim students.
  • We believe there are al-Qaeda cells currently in the United States.
You know how the game is played. Even though we have a pretty good idea of the situation, until the actual piece of paper is released, there won't be a scandal.

But it will be released.
NOTE: In the resourses listed above, it was the Guardian (in a May 2002 story) where we learned of the title, 'Bin Laden determined to strike in the US'


Wednesday, April 07, 2004


In today's New York Times, William Safire presents the (neo) chemistry of the Middle East.

We think it's a highly unstable molecule, likely to break down - and emit plenty of energy in the process.


Another vicious assault?

From Liberal Oasis we learn of a speech by Kennedy, and the subsequent counter-attack by Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell says: (excerpts, emphasis added)
Today, the senior Senator from Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy, delivered an incendiary speech here in Washington that deserves a strong rebuttal.

... today the Senator has mounted another vicious assault on the President by leveling the claims so outrageous that I won’t repeat them here on the Senate floor although they are being carried on TV across the world, presumably even in Baghdad where those who are fighting Americans in the streets can view them.

... we need to focus on rooting out global terrorism by fighting the terrorists and not each other.

... while the debate over the election proceeds, I’m hopeful that the tone set by the Senator From Massachusetts will not become the standard.
Although McConnell doesn't say so explicitly, he appears to be reacting to Kennedy's statements about Bush and the Iraq adventure. (The only things McConnell mentions, besides chastising Kennedy, are terrorists, al Qaeda, and the Iraq war.)

What was that wild speech by Kennedy? We went over to the Brookings Institute, read their summary of the speech, and then looked at the whole thing (pdf). Here is the breakdown of what Kennedy said:

Total words: 5044

36Opening remarks
96Importance of honesty and trust in government
90Bush administration has huge credibility gap
345Bush mislead America about Iraq, war on terrorism now harder
395Bush devious, right-wing policies dominate White House
105Misguided war in Iraq distracts from the real issues
931Economy, jobless, overtime regulations
1766Medicare bill - hiding cost estimates, strong-arming legislators, fake ads
1202Education - NCLB, funding
78This is the pattern and record of the Bush Admin

Actually, the bulk of the speech was on domestic issues - and the Bush administration's failure to be honest with the Congress or the public. But back to the "vicious assault" on Bush regarding the Iraq War. Here, in its entirety, is what Kennedy said on that subject:
In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the Bush Administration misled the American people about the threat to the nation posed by the Iraqi regime. A year after the war began, Americans are questioning why the Administration went to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not an imminent threat, when it had no nuclear weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.

Tragically, in making the decision to go to war, the Bush Administration allowed its own stubborn ideology to trump the cold hard evidence that Iraq posed no immediate threat. They misled Congress and the American people because the Administration knew that it could not obtain the consent of Congress for the war if all the facts were known.

By going to war in Iraq on false pretenses and neglecting the real war on terrorism, President Bush gave al Qaeda two years— two whole years—to regroup and recover in the border regions of Afghanistan. As the terrorist bombings in Madrid and other reports now indicate, al Qaeda has used that time to plant terrorist cells in countries
throughout the world, and establish ties with terrorist groups in many different lands.

By going to war in Iraq, we have strained our ties with long-standing allies around the world—allies whose help we clearly and urgently need on intelligence, on law enforcement, and militarily. We have made America more hated in the world, and made the war on terrorism harder to win.

The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get our respect back? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? How can we possibly expect President Bush to do that? He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new President.

Much of the debate in recent weeks has been about the President's deceptions on Iraq and the war on terror. Richard Clarke has revealed the truth about the Administration's inattention to the grave and gathering threat of terrorism before 9/11—and the President's preoccupation with Iraq. The misguided war in Iraq has distracted us from the real war we must win, and made that war harder to win, because, even as we combat terror, it has left America more and more isolated in the world. Iraq has also diverted attention from the Administration's deceptions here at home— especially on the economy, health care, and education.
And Kennedy-bashing isn't just for senators. Cartoonist Bill DeOre tries his hand:
UPDATE: Laura Ingraham and Sen. George Allen (R - Virginia) agree: Teddy's a menace.
Allen in the radio interview: Kennedy's remarks "were worse than those made by Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War."

Allen's website: Senator Kennedy's blustering, blatantly political remarks are irresponsible and harmful when he calls our noble mission to bring freedom to repressed people in Iraq 'Bush's Vietnam.'


New York Post vs Associated Press:

New York Post editorial: (excerpts, emphasis added)

April 1, 2004 -- The fact that a small crowd of thuggish Sunni tribesmen cheered while their blood-maddened brethren hacked up charred corpses for grateful Western cameramen doesn't mean that Americans are widely despised in Iraq. In fact, it doesn't mean anything at all - except that freedom's enemies in Fallujah are both savage and clever. It's important to remember that Sunni thugs like these did the same thing and worse to their own countrymen for decades. They're the same "people" who joined the ranks of Uday Hussein's fedayeen and filled the mass graves. They seek a return to those days - with them in control.

Consider: Victims of other attacks in Iraq have not generally been burned and mutilated after their deaths.     So why the extra savagery this time?     Because the cameras were there.

Like their brethren in Gaza and the West Bank, these fiends know when and how to perform for maximum propaganda effect. And don't think that Associated Press Television just happened to turn up at the right place at the right time for the burning and hacking of corpses. After all, last week the AP had dramatic on-the-spot, perfectly timed, close-up photographs of insurgents firing RPGs at Coalition troops. Clearly, someone at AP has a mutually beneficial relationship with the insurgents in Fallujah.
The Associated Press responds: (emphasis added)
The Associated Press takes great exception to your April 1 editorial disparaging AP news teams in areas of conflict in the Middle East. Your remarks indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the dangers and tremendous challenges for all journalists in all media covering war and conflict. Your editorial points out two instances in Iraq in which AP photographers have shot dramatic images of violence -- images that however gruesome help those outside Iraq understand the nature of this ongoing insurgency.

Apparently because AP made these pictures available to papers like the Post (pictures printed in your newspaper) you suggest AP has a "mutually beneficial relationship with the insurgents." This is an outrage, a damaging and gratuitous statement that is not only wrong, but does a grave disservice to the brave men and women who have risked their lives covering this story. AP staff and other journalists risk their lives daily to cover news in difficult parts of the world, including Iraq. We are dismayed that the New York Post seems to have forgotten the role of the free and independent press. You have done professional journalism a disservice.

Kelly Smith Tunney
The Associated Press
Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Has the fuse been lit?


Sunday, April 04, 2004


Websites that link to or host (H) Ann Coulter: