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Thread: It's not just Clarke

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    U.S. Terrorism Policy Spawns Steady Staff Exodus
    By Caroline Drees

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

    Former counterterrorism officials said at least half a dozen have left the White House Office for Combating Terrorism or related agencies in frustration in the 2 1/2 years since the attacks.

    Some also left because they felt President Bush had sidelined his counterterrorism experts and paid almost exclusive heed to the vice president, the defense secretary and other Cabinet members in planning the "war on terror," former counterterrorism officials said.

    "I'm kind of hoping for regime change," one official who quit told Reuters.


    The administration's handling of the battle against terrorism is a key issue for the presidency, and could be key to Bush's re-election effort.


    Similar charges were made by Bush's former counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, who told the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the administration ignored the al Qaeda threat beforehand and was fixated on Iraq afterward. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice testifies before the 9/11 panel on Thursday.


    "Iraq has been a distraction from the whole counterterrorism effort," said the former official, adding the policy had frustrated many in the White House anti-terrorism office, about two-thirds of whom have left and been replaced since Sept. 11.


    The administration vehemently denies the accusations, and says it is making strong progress in the global war on terror.


    HIGH TURNOVER


    Roger Cressey, who served under Clarke in the White House counterterrorism office, said: "Dick accurately reflects the frustration of many in the counterterrorism community in getting the new administration to take the al Qaeda issue seriously."


    Cressey left the office in November 2001, when he became chief of staff of the White House's cybersecurity office until September 2002.


    The attrition among all levels of the Office for Combating Terrorism began shortly after the attacks and continued into this year. At least eight officials in the office -- which numbers a dozen people -- have left and been replaced since 9/11. Several of the officials were contacted by Reuters.


    The office has been run by four different people since the attacks, and at least three have held the No. 2 slot.


    "There has been excessively high turnover in the Office for Combating Terrorism," said Flynt Leverett, who served on the White House National Security Council for about a year until March 2003 and is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank.


    "If you take the (White House) counterterrorism and Middle East offices, you've got about a dozen people ... who came to this administration wanting to work on these important issues and left after a year or often less because they just don't think that this administration is dealing seriously with the issues that matter," he said.


    Rand Beers, a former No. 2 in the office who quit last year over the administration's handling of the war on terrorism, told Reuters the turnover had been "unusually high" since the hijacked airliner attacks in New York and Washington.


    "And one of the reasons is frustration with the way counterterrorism policy has been conducted, including the focus on Iraq," said Beers, who now serves as a foreign policy adviser for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who hopes to unseat Bush in November.


    The White House denied there had been unusually high turnover, saying staff tended to be on limited assignments from other federal agencies. A senior administration official said it was "absolutely untrue" Iraq was diverting attention from overall counterterrorism efforts.


    Another official said it was wrong to link all the numerous departures to policy concerns over Iraq.


    Several current and former officials said burn out from job stress also contributed to high turnover in the office, as did frustration among some staff about the limits of their influence over policymaking in general. Many National Security Council staffers only stay 18 months to two years.


    One current counterterrorism official said while the Iraq campaign had been a "huge resource drain," this held true for all major events that compete for scarce resources.


    "There's a problem of too few counterterrorism staffers to begin with ... and with the focus on any big issue like Iraq, it is a distraction from the overall counterterrorism effort," the official said.

  2. #2
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    Or maybe they left beacause they know how miserably they failed in their jobs resulting in 9-11 and, like typical political weasels, have attempted to skulk away into obscurity.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Piper[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 08:16 AM
    [b] Or maybe the left beacause they know how miserably they failed in their jobs resulting in 9-11 and like typical political weasels have attempted to skulk away into obscurity. [/b][/quote]
    Hacks.

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    I can't wait for all their books to come out.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Section109Row15[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 10:49 AM
    [b] I can't wait for all their books to come out. [/b][/quote]
    Big Fiction fan are you?

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    piper and Moses what the hell do you have to say for yourselves? Seriously - you guys are the last ones to be taking pot shots at anyone about anything...

    Your man Bush has officially led the soldiers of this country into an UNWINNABLE situation... and more die each day.

    Bush doesn't' give a s**t about their sacrifice and im beginning to question how much his supporters do... "acceptable losses of war" seems to be the party-line

    you agree with me that its a winnable situaiton in Iraq? Tell me how and when we can "win" and whether terrorism will be affected in the least?

    forget June 30, American troops would have to be in Iraq for the next 30 years before it was any closer to democracy. Its a police state now and theres NOTHING that the Iraqi people have shown that makes me think it can be anything but that ... they are stuck in the stone age, why must we waste US soldiers lives to bring them out of it

    remember it took 2 nukes before Japan learned their lession...

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 11:22 AM
    [b] piper and Moses what the hell do you have to say for yourselves? Seriously - you guys are the last ones to be taking pot shots at anyone about anything...

    Your man Bush has officially led the soldiers of this country into an UNWINNABLE situation... and more die each day.

    Bush doesn't' give a s**t about their sacrifice and im beginning to question how much his supporters do... "acceptable losses of war" seems to be the party-line

    you agree with me that its a winnable situaiton in Iraq? Tell me how and when we can "win" and whether terrorism will be affected in the least?

    forget June 30, American troops would have to be in Iraq for the next 30 years before it was any closer to democracy. Its a police state now and theres NOTHING that the Iraqi people have shown that makes me think it can be anything but that ... they are stuck in the stone age, why must we waste US soldiers lives to bring them out of it

    remember it took 2 nukes before Japan learned their lession... [/b][/quote]
    "My man" Bush?

    Piss off moron. I don't defend everything he does, and who are you to tell me I have no right to say anything?

    Your moronic opinion of what other people feel it typical ivory tower bull. You don't know what Bush feels anymore than I do.

    The thing that does bother me is that this administration is trying to pacify the apologists in this country and the professional victims in the UN by *****footing around.

    The only thing that will affect terrorism less than bloodying their nose like this is the policies of apology and appeasement that occurred in the 10-12 years prior to this administration(notice I include Bush I in the criticism because he folded to the same group of nitwits by pulling out of the Gulf War without finishing the job and turning it back over to the UN).

    Do the math on how many of the current population are causing unrest(thousands) as a percentage of the total population(hundres of millions) and your opinion that nobody is happy to see American soldiers looks like silly parroting of that dope Al Franken.

    And now that you have evolved your opinion from 'it's a war for oil' to 'Bush is an evil man' It's nice to see that you still have the ability to lump hundreds of millions of people in to a group that is 'stuck in the stone age'. In addition your assessment of the outlook has evolved from 'if we go in there we will lose thousands upon thousands' right of the bat to 'it's an unwinnable situation'

    Why don't you just call them camel jockeys? You must feel so much better than everyone.

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    that's all well and good but im still waiting for any possible explanation for how this can work...

    saying this policy is better than Clinton is like saying oh yeah im a drug-free person cause i smoke less weed than Chong or snort less blow than Lawrence Taylor.

    you are right in the sense than any coherant policy is by definition better than Clinton's... but at least Clinton didn't use American infantry like kindling to a fire.

    Bush has no regard for the sacrifice of human life... its in his history he's executed more prisoner than any governor in Texas history so why is anyone suprised when he sends US troops to die... in the name of Oil.

    If its not someone from his inside circle (i.e. his pops) then he doesn't care if they live or die. That goes for Iraqi, American and everyone else.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 12:08 PM
    [b] Bush has no regard for the sacrifice of human life... its in his history he's executed more prisoner than any governor in Texas history so why is anyone suprised when he sends US troops to die... in the name of Oil.

    [/b][/quote]
    Congratulations.

    This may be the most idiotic and desperate analogy in history.

    He doesn't care about the lives of US soldiers because he was willing to allow convicted murderers to be executed?

    And yet he courts the pro-life community. Hmmm what a conundrum.

    And that war for oil theory is playing out pretty well, what with price of oil being the highest in history.

    Will the policy work? I think it would work better if we would issue the savage ass kicking the 'insurgents' need. But your answer of building really big walls around the US with windmills and solar collectors os pretty silly as well.

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    Bush executed people? He personally executed people while Governor of Texas?

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 12:24 PM
    [b] Bush executed people? He personally executed people while Governor of Texas? [/b][/quote]
    Cool!

    Now THAT's a reason to run for governor!!

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    this was at the same time that the governor of Ill put a moratorium on all executions based on overwhelming evidence that many death row prisoners were railroaded through the system - my point was that Bush doesn't care about the possibility of killing innocents, the simple numbers prove he did it before why wouldn't he do it again?

    this is off-topic tho - the real topic is the war and the soldiers that die over there every day for no good reason... Not death penalty bull****.

    [b]still waiting for a supporter of the war to step up and tell me how this can all work out in the US favor - how can we "WIN" this war?[/b]

    especially like it how Supporters of the war say "at least its better than Clinton's foreign policy" meanwhile they bash Clinton mercilessly - its like gee, way to hold yourself to such a high standard.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 12:38 PM
    [b] this was at the same time that the governor of Ill put a moratorium on all executions based on overwhelming evidence that many death row prisoners were railroaded through the system - my point was that Bush doesn't care about the possibility of killing innocents, the simple numbers prove he did it before why wouldn't he do it again?

    this is off-topic tho - the real topic is the war and the soldiers that die over there every day for no good reason... Not death penalty bull****.

    [b]still waiting for a supporter of the war to step up and tell me how this can all work out in the US favor - how can we "WIN" this war?[/b]

    especially like it how Supporters of the war say "at least its better than Clinton's foreign policy" meanwhile they bash Clinton mercilessly - its like gee, way to hold yourself to such a high standard. [/b][/quote]


    I have had this discussion with you for almost two years now about Iraq. Nobody thinks this war is going to "end" terrorism. Your glib nonsense about the death penalty stuff is a testament to how flawed your assumptions are...saying "Bush executed more people" is nonsense and you know it.

    You think we can end terrorism if everyone rides bicycles to work and uses a fire place to heat their home instead of oil. You also think that if we do isolate ourselves and terrorist attacks continue, it must simply mean that we have to figure out what it is we are still doing that is pissing these guys off, and simply stop doing it.


    This war in Iraq can be "won" the same way other wars have been won. You are unwilling to admit the possibility that deomcracy can take hold in that area or that the country can be pacified. I disagree...passionately. You seem to be so certain as to where "terrorism" is, and use examples like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, even though you know nothing about it and somehow Saddam and Iraq were the ONLY country in that area not totally ensconced and siwrling with terrorist activity? C'mon - put that sh*t on toast.

    Liberals like you whined and whined even about the Afganistan war. Protests, war monger, creating morer terrorists...all of that garbage was being spewed by the anti-war side even prior to Afganistan, so spare me your nonsense.

    You wave around these magic words like "isolation" as if they mean anything in a practical, actionable sense. YOU have no plan and no strategy to "win" or "end" terrorism. You prattle on and on about "root causes" and then when America actually tries to solve the root causes ( supposedly poverty, Islamic dictatorships, etc) by liberating a country and helping them get on their feet you prattle on about other nonsense or make some lame analogy about killing a cockroach with a shoe or something. The constant whining and *****ing by people like YOU is the only thing can prevent victory. Hell, the terrorists and insurgents in Iraq KNOW this and COUNT on it. They know they cannot win by force, so they simply try to put political pressure on America because that's what has worked in the past.

    I like you and you are a bright kid. But you are unbelievably arrogant whenever this topic comes up.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 12:52 PM
    [b]
    I like you and you are a bright kid. But you are unbelievably arrogant whenever this topic comes up.[/b][/quote]
    I agree 5ever Bit does have alot of the"Tailgators" disease when it
    comes to distorting facts!! Being a 60 yr old Vet I always get a kick
    out of all these "Liberal Kids" that would never think of serving their
    Country but enjoy their Freedom to demean it! It was discussed in
    Congress that we should use Iraq's oil to pay us back for the money
    we are spending to make Iraq free! Bush vetoed that idea saying;The
    Oil money should be used to help build and used for the good of the
    people of Iraq! At least Bit isn't a Kerry supporter! My Friend who posts
    sometimes under the name of Hermanator is a 2 tour Vietnam Vet! He
    also has Purple Hearts and could have left Nam but chose to go back to
    his unit! He has a Business in So Fla and deals with many Vets on a daily
    basis and knows some men that served with John Kerry! If one wonders
    why Kerry don't want his Medical records released it could be because he
    was NEVER Hospitalized for any injuries that he got his purple hearts for!
    As some may know if you get 3 purple hearts you can request to be sent
    home from Combat! Kerry got 3 in 3 months and quickly requested to be
    sent home...That must be some sort of record&#33; <_<

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 11:22 AM
    [b] Your man Bush has officially led the soldiers of this country into an UNWINNABLE situation... and more die each day.
    [/b][/quote]
    No, liberals like you are trying your damnedest to make it unwinnable.

    More soldiers will die if you guys get your way and force the US to paper tiger it&#39;s way out of combat again.

    I&#39;m afraid we won&#39;t see the end of terrorism until liberalism goes first.

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    the truth is that you guys are just as arrogent as i am on this subject - none of you are willing to consider anything outside of the position you already occupy... so don&#39;t talk to me like im the only pigheaded one around here

    the REAL story is we are 13 months into Iraq and not only is democracy in Iraq an IMPOSSIBILITY but terrorism is getting stronger by the day.

    I&#39;ve said it before, i&#39;ll say it again, History will bear out who was "right" on this issue one way or the other - but know this every day that goes by with more American&#39;s dying and more Iraqis wanting the Americans out of their country - the pro-war side of the arguement has less and less a leg to stand on... i don&#39;t give a rat&#39;s ass what you think or what you believe - the FACTS aren&#39;t exactly working out in the favor of the pro-war side. The best you guys can say is " hey at least its better than Clinton&#39;s foreign policy" and "your ideas of isolationism are ridiculous" - whatever

    Bill O&#39;Reilly said it on his show monday - if we can&#39;t count on the support of the Iraqi people then the only option becomes withdrawal. It happened in South Vietnam the same way - without the support of the people on the ground we were pissing in the wind, imposing our system of government on a people that neither wanted it nor were prepared for it.

    JetMoses said it in another thread - the only way to govern the people of Iraq is through BRUTAL dictatorship - its the only thing these neanderthals understand - i agree 100%.

    Bottom line when they drag our multlated dead through the streets and play soccer with their heads and the old bums say "death to Americans" instead of "alms for the poor" its a pretty fair guess to say the majority of Iraqis don&#39;t want us there. Yes they hated Saddam but in the end was he any worse then the zealots that are bound to replace him?

    rebuttals?

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    My rebuttal is that the images we see on TV do not reflect the attitudes of the majority of Iraqis. We shall see if that statement is true and it is impossible to know if you or I am correct at this juncture, although recently published comprehensive polling seems to indicate that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are not insurgents and do support the motives of the Coalition. You are right that history will be the ultimate judge. I contend that you don&#39;t know nearly the amount of "facts" that you think you do at this juncture. I also disagree that "terrorism is getting stronger by the day." Guess what, terrorism has been strong for a long, long time, pal. That is just an unsupported, nonsensical statement from a man who has admitted in the past to thinking there was absolutely ZERO terrorist threat on 9-10-2001. Either way, saying "terrorism is getting stronger by the daY&#39; is not a fact, Bitonti, it&#39;s an opinion...an uninformed one at that. Face it, you and I have virtually no firggin clue about how "strong" terrorism is today, especially relative to some undefined period.

    I am more than willing to admit that mistakes have been made; disbanding the Iraqi Army without pay early on was a huge mistake. Being too lenient in the after-math has been a mistake. However, you seem to not differentiate or use sober judgments when you criticize, you merely make sweeping and unsupported statements about how the war is either pointless, stupid, counter-productive, about "oil" or whatever else is your consipracy du jour.

    I do not agree with you at all and my "best" is not merely that Clinton was a boob. I think this war was a good decision and an important step in the broader war on terror. I also advocated the forcible removal of Saddam well before 9-11 and thought so after the 1993 WTC attack, which was perpetrated by an IRAQI member of AQ, who entered America using an Iraqi passport and who was given sanctuary for years afterwards in Iraq. Saddam supported terrorism (fact), defied the terms of the cease-fire agreement he signed (fact) was in material violation of 16 UN resolutions (fact) was never able to prove what he did with the WMD everyone knew he had (fact) had a history of regional aggression (fact) had long pursued nuclear weaponry (fact) tried to assassinate a former US President (fact) shot at our planes in the no-fly zones for years (fact) and illegally traded oil with many countries on the UN security council in violation of sanctions (fact) and completely misappropriated and essentially stole money from the Oil for Food program (fact). He was also an oppressive, brutal murderer. He was the most powerful man in the ME, militarily, outside of Israel. Sorry - you don&#39;t defy and d*ck the US around for that long without consequences, it&#39;s just doesn&#39;t work that way. Esepcially not in light of the fact that terrorism is now a direct threat to the US. We need to take care of the problem and Bush is doing that. YOU can believe whatever you want to believe, I am not very interested in your tired cliches. Terrorism is a problem and has been for a long time. The USA just didn&#39;t realize how big of a problem it was until 9-11, even though we should have (BOTH parties are culpable). But since 9-11, Bush made a tremendous insight when he realized that that attack was not a criminal act, but it was rather an act of war. THAT is what history will remember Bush for - for fundamentally changing the way America views and responds to terrorists and the states and regimes that support them.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 02:08 PM
    [b] the truth is that you guys are just as arrogent as i am on this subject - none of you are willing to consider anything outside of the position you already occupy... so don&#39;t talk to me like im the only pigheaded one around here

    the REAL story is we are 13 months into Iraq and not only is democracy in Iraq an IMPOSSIBILITY but terrorism is getting stronger by the day.

    I&#39;ve said it before, i&#39;ll say it again, History will bear out who was "right" on this issue one way or the other - but know this every day that goes by with more American&#39;s dying and more Iraqis wanting the Americans out of their country - the pro-war side of the arguement has less and less a leg to stand on... i don&#39;t give a rat&#39;s ass what you think or what you believe - the FACTS aren&#39;t exactly working out in the favor of the pro-war side. The best you guys can say is " hey at least its better than Clinton&#39;s foreign policy" and "your ideas of isolationism are ridiculous" - whatever

    Bill O&#39;Reilly said it on his show monday - if we can&#39;t count on the support of the Iraqi people then the only option becomes withdrawal. It happened in South Vietnam the same way - without the support of the people on the ground we were pissing in the wind, imposing our system of government on a people that neither wanted it nor were prepared for it.

    JetMoses said it in another thread - the only way to govern the people of Iraq is through BRUTAL dictatorship - its the only thing these neanderthals understand - i agree 100%.

    Bottom line when they drag our multlated dead through the streets and play soccer with their heads and the old bums say "death to Americans" instead of "alms for the poor" its a pretty fair guess to say the majority of Iraqis don&#39;t want us there. Yes they hated Saddam but in the end was he any worse then the zealots that are bound to replace him?

    rebuttals? [/b][/quote]
    Bit, you and I both know that we could squash this "uprising" if liberals like you, the world over, weren&#39;t so squeemish. And guess what, not one of our troops would be dead. We could level that town being no where near it.

    We could pull out the arsenal, the technology -- neutron bomb each of those areas and preserve every non-living thing in a 20 mile radius.

    But that would make us like them. Indescriminate killing, the ends to justify the means. Despite what the resident anarchist claims, we are not like them. That is why our soldiers are sacrificing their lives.

    You said it right -- 13 months. Most wars last decades, some centuries with 10&#39;s of thousands of causaulties on both sides. To bring democracy to a place that has never know it in one, two or three years is not possible. Having never attempted this, mistakes will be made -- you&#39;ve got to look at the overall picture. The ultimate goal is to give those people a little taste of what we have. If Iraq becomes another Turkey or even Egypt or Jordan, it will be a vast improvement. You said it yourself, militant islam is fueled by the downtrodden. If the people of Iraq, by all accounts the most educated in the whole ME, bolstered by the profits of the oil they sell, not under a dictatorship or theocracy -- the sky&#39;s the limit.

    Our Civil War was probably one of the bloodiest in our history. It needed to be fought and the outcome needed to be what it was. If you&#39;ve ever seen the Gangs of New York, you&#39;d realise that just a short 150 years ago, Americans weren&#39;t the most civilized of people either. Time and patience is the key, not wham, bam, thank you Saddam&#33;

    We didn&#39;t start the overall war on radical islam, but we better damn well finish it&#33; And that means solutions outside the box.

    (That was my attempt at civil debate -- lets see how long it lasts)

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Apr 8 2004, 02:08 PM
    [b] the truth is that you guys are just as arrogent as i am on this subject - none of you are willing to consider anything outside of the position you already occupy... so don&#39;t talk to me like im the only pigheaded one around here

    the REAL story is we are 13 months into Iraq and not only is democracy in Iraq an IMPOSSIBILITY but terrorism is getting stronger by the day.

    I&#39;ve said it before, i&#39;ll say it again, History will bear out who was "right" on this issue one way or the other - but know this every day that goes by with more American&#39;s dying and more Iraqis wanting the Americans out of their country - the pro-war side of the arguement has less and less a leg to stand on... i don&#39;t give a rat&#39;s ass what you think or what you believe - the FACTS aren&#39;t exactly working out in the favor of the pro-war side. The best you guys can say is " hey at least its better than Clinton&#39;s foreign policy" and "your ideas of isolationism are ridiculous" - whatever

    Bill O&#39;Reilly said it on his show monday - if we can&#39;t count on the support of the Iraqi people then the only option becomes withdrawal. It happened in South Vietnam the same way - without the support of the people on the ground we were pissing in the wind, imposing our system of government on a people that neither wanted it nor were prepared for it.

    JetMoses said it in another thread - the only way to govern the people of Iraq is through BRUTAL dictatorship - its the only thing these neanderthals understand - i agree 100%.

    Bottom line when they drag our multlated dead through the streets and play soccer with their heads and the old bums say "death to Americans" instead of "alms for the poor" its a pretty fair guess to say the majority of Iraqis don&#39;t want us there. Yes they hated Saddam but in the end was he any worse then the zealots that are bound to replace him?

    rebuttals? [/b][/quote]
    How does one rebut pure opinion. Capitalizing words like impossible doesn&#39;t make them more relevant. Your viewpoint that terrorism is growing is pure conjecture. You paint a picture of a country that is filled to the brim with a population that wants us out, and yet there are but a few thousand people out of hundreds of millions participating in this &#39;uprising&#39;. If things were as black and white as you want to believe, there would be several million instead of several thousand. As there are not, I suspect that there are at least a few Iraqis that are glad to have a chance at a better life. But you won&#39;t see that opinion, nor any mention of schools and infrastructure being rebuilt on the news or in one of your posts.

    But that doesn&#39;t fit into your neat little package that would have us build big walls around the US to protect our windmills and solar cells.

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    [quote][b]How does one rebut pure opinion. Capitalizing words like impossible doesn&#39;t make them more relevant. Your viewpoint that terrorism is growing is pure conjecture. You paint a picture of a country that is filled to the brim with a population that wants us out, and yet there are but a few thousand people out of hundreds of millions participating in this &#39;uprising&#39;.[/b][/quote]

    The reports I&#39;ve seen estimate the Iraqi population at 30M not hundreds of millions.

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