Some think bloggers and internet writers of all sorts are like the 19th century pamphleteers who made American politics livelier and more vigorous by lambasting the other team in full-throated broadsides. Actually, I've said that. And there are similarities. But it should be noted that the pamphleteers were heavy on screeds and colorfully damning the foe. The most successful bloggers aren't bringing bluster to the debate, they're bringing facts--font sizes, full quotes, etc. They're bringing facts and points of view on those facts that the MSM before this could ignore, and did ignore. They're bringing a lot to the debate, and changing the debate by what they bring. They're doing what excellent reporters would do.--Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
I turned on this gizmo this morning and found this waiting for me in the e-mail inbox:
*******The TL's editor, Allison Walzer, got fired today, I heard. What happened?*******
Got me, man. So I fired off an e-mail to a local news outlet so that they could get to the bottom of the story. It didn't take very long before I was informed that the change at the top was announced in today's business section of the Leader. Duh!
Well, this sucks. It's bad enough that I have to suffer through Mike McGlynn's insult-laced anti-republican screeds. Now I have to read the boring business section, too? No big thang. I guess.
But I did contact a source of mine down at the Leader and I managed to get the scoop on Walzer's departure. I can't get too descriptive so as to protect the identity of my source. Let's put it this way. Todd Vonderheid is not the only one who owns a stress ball.
Here we go...let the conspiracy theorists begin...again.
White House Says Iraq Weapons Search Over
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has quietly concluded without any evidence of the banned weapons that President Bush cited as justification for going to war, the White House said Wednesday
The Iraq Survey Group, made up of some 1,200 military and intelligence specialists and support staff, spent nearly two years searching military installations, factories and laboratories whose equipment and products might be converted quickly to making weapons.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said there no longer is an active search for weapons. ``There may be a couple, a few people, that are focused on that'' but that it has largely concluded, he said.
``If they have any reports of (weapons of mass destruction) obviously they'll continue to follow up on those reports,'' McClellan said. ``A lot of their mission is focused elsewhere now.''
Chief U.S. weapons hunter Charles Duelfer is to deliver his final report on the search next month. ``It's not going to fundamentally alter the findings of his earlier report,'' McClellan said, referring to preliminary findings from last September. Duelfer reported then that Saddam Hussein not only had no weapons of mass destruction and had not made any since 1991, but that he had no capability of making any either. Bush unapologetically defended his decision to invade Iraq.
Bush has appointed a panel to investigate why the intelligence about Iraq's weapons was wrong.
At this point, I doubt that those conclusions would surprise anyone, but they're sure to get the Bush-haters grousing about again.
I'm listening to Sue Henry right now and the WMD report is the hot topic. Actually, it's glowing white hot. The calls are running about 50-50 with some folks defending the president's motives and others just about demanding that his body be donated to medical science by noon today.
The arguments that Bush lied to us are beyond redundant by now. We've pretty much heard every kooky accusation there is to be made. We've heard the wider conspiracy theories. And we've learned all there is to be known about a company that is currently doing what it has done for a half century-Halliburton. It's all gotten so old. It was a war for oil. It was a war to satisfy the neo-con's desire to build a new-and-improved Roman Empire. I haven't heard "Bush lied, people died" in a while, but I'm sure I will soon enough if I continue listening to Sue's show for the next hour.
I don't believe Dubya willingly mislead us. I don't. After 9/11, I don't think he had the luxury of turning a blind eye to a country that had been rattling it's saber at us for two decades while simultaneously bragging about possessing staggering amounts of WMDs. Based on the pre-war intelligence he had, he decided to act and act very decisively. Did he err by invading Iraq solely on that pretext? It's highly likely, but the possibility still exists that Saddam's WMD were spirited out of the country on the eve of the impending invasion. Basically, nobody really knows.
A person not blinded by partison rhetoric would have to admit that the possibilty does exist that the pre-war intelligence may have been correct to some degree. But these days, open-minded people seem to be about as rare as a teen-aged girl without some sort of ugly tattoo on the high side of her ass cheeks.
Consider some of the labels I've recieved for stating that I don't believe we were lied to. I'm a far right-wing this, that and the other hateful, homophobic and goose-stepping thing for not blindly swallowing whatever scandalous charge that blathered forth from Ted Kennedy's, or Michael Moore's lips. When it comes to the numerous Monday morning quarterbacks that hate Bush, "You're either with us or you're against us" seems to be the only modus operandi as far as I can discern. In their own Private Idahos, anecdotal evidence is offered as undeniable proof, and a possible mistake having been made means it's time for the Damoclean Sword to come swinging down from on high. A lack of persuasive evidence in the middle of a war zone is proof of a conspiracy and sends them into full auto-rantic mode. And that's fine.
We've ruminated this Iraq intelligence (or lack thereof) to death, and there's really not much point to it anymore. What's done is done and there's no going back now. Bush is not going to resign. Bush is not going to be impeached. And the multitude of attempts at political asassination all missed the mark. Bush is not going away and the Iraq situation is what it is. And we desperately need to see this Herculean task through to a constructive conclusion. It's crucial not only to the Iraqi and American peoples; it's imperative that we succeed if the Middle East is ever going to become a stable and productive region from a global standpoint.
I'm sure some person like Ethel, forever looking for some New Age touchy-feely way to cure what ails the world, will latch onto one sentence from this post, take it totally out of context, and set about to prove that George Bush is evil personified and I'll march to whatever diabolically evil thing he happens to bark. And that's okay by me. It cracks me up to be called some sort of Neo-Con Stormtrooper by someone that had never even heard of a neo-con before some left-wing doofus popularized the phrase for political benefit. Or maybe I'm an evil Straussian (look that one up, Ethel) right-wing baby-killer. Who knows, who frickin' cares? Consider the source. Someone who is perpetually apologetic about the accident of their birth into an American family. Oh, the compensatory guilt must be stifling at times.
If only I were born into a family in some violence-wracked country where starvation rules the day and not shameful decadence. I may be an American, but please don't hold it against me. I hate being me. And I hate my government even more.
Call me what you will, but I don't believe Bush lied to us.
But let's get back to the cacophony of conspiracy theories that sprouted up after the Iraqi invasion faster than mushrooms grow on a rotting tree stump. War for (pick one) conspiracies are like assholes, right? Just about everyone has got one these days. They never pan out, but somehow, the accusations are proof in themself. But now that the search for the WMD has come to an end, I wanna know what has become of one conspiracy theory in particular. Tell me if you remember this one that was repeated over and over and over again:
Well, if no WMD are ever found in Iraq, Bush will have some planted there to cover up his big lie.
Remember that one, kiddies?
Inexplicably, that conspiracy theory has been completely debunked and the folks that spewed it forth sound pretty frickin' stupid right about now. Then again, they sounded shrill and stupid all along no matter what hapless conspiracy theory they were stupidly buying into. It's not so much about being wrong as it is never having been right.
Bush will plant the WMD if need be?
Yeah, and Roberto Clemente was kidnapped by the Nixon administration and he is being subjected to cruel medical experiments at Area 51.
And Ronald Reagan based his decisions on his horoscope.
Listen to yourselves, will you?
It's starting...and I warned ya. I told ya. I frickin' told ya. I forgot where I snagged this from. Shoot me. I'm a republican, I obviously deserve much worse.
Indonesia told foreign troops helping tsunami victims to get out of the country soon and defended tough new restrictions on aid workers, while rich nations prepared to freeze Jakarta's debt repayments.
Vice President Yusuf Kalla said foreign troops should leave tsunami-hit Aceh province on Sumatra island as soon as they finish their relief mission, staying no longer than three months.
"Three months are enough. In fact, the sooner the better," Kalla was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying.
...the sooner the better.
I agree completely. Let's get our troops out of there before they get shot at for delivering bottled water to a remote devastated village. We'll never win over hearts and minds poisoned by hate. Look at the democratic party in this country if you have any doubts about that.
Another tsunami telethon, anyone?
I had to post some...firefighter stuff just to annoy our yellow-bellied commie babe:
From the e-mail inbox:
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Susan Gilbert, and I am on the committee for the Heights firehouse - I just read your latest letter--Bravo---it's about time the truth was told!!
There are a few of us on the committee which I will name- my husband Damian, Shelby Sudnick,Debbie Saracino and myself that signed with this committee just as concerned citizens of the "Heights" to get our firehouse re-opened-- either by repairing it or building a new one. This was our only goal!!! We were and are not politically motivated--We do not care if the Television cameras are rolling or if the newspaper reporters are there (actually we would rather that they weren't there) We just want our firehouse back! However, there are a few members of our committee and actually one that is not a member of the committee(this person missed the November 4, 2004 council meeting) so it was too late to sign up to be on the committee that seem to love all the publicity they can get. Maybe they are in it for the wrong reasons because it certainly is not doing the re-opening of the firehouse, the committee or any of the Heights residents any dam good either!!!
Well, Mark, thank you for inviting me, and thank you for listening. At least I can say one good thing--since these other people (and they know who they are) have turned everything into a circus--at least they gave us a good laugh!!!
Wow! Yet another portion of "Eye of Newt."
Every soup thickens if the roux was prepared correctly.
I'll get out...of your hair after you consider the following:
There's no question that, as the "realists" claim, Bush and his "neocon" advisers have set the United States on a perilous course in Iraq - going to war on bad evidence, underestimating the strength of resistance and failing to provide adequate security.
But the answer is not to pull out or even talk about "exit strategies," which amounts to abandoning Iraq and its courageous leaders and soldiers to certain destruction at the hands of ruthless nihilists.
The elections have to go forward, with as much Sunni participation as possible. Even if violence or boycotts make that participation small, Sunnis will be represented in Iraq's new government, and the United States should fight any charge that it is somehow "illegitimate."
What matters then is how well the majority Shiites treat the Sunni minority that brutally oppressed them under Saddam Hussein. If the Shiites are vengeful, the country faces endless strife. If they are magnanimous, a country can be built.
As columnists Charles Krauthammer and Thomas Friedman have written, "civil war" in a sense is inevitable in Iraq: a civil war pitting Iraqis who favor stability against those who favor chaos. The whole future of the country depends upon whether the forces of stability are as dedicated to the struggle as are the insurgents.
As long as the Iraqis themselves are willing to fight for their future, the United States has to stand with them. Abandoning allies is not "realism." It's craven - and strategically disastrous.
Mort Kondracke is the Executive Editor of Roll Call.