Why should I bother? I already know what's going to happen.
Bubba already knows that the press will say that Bush won, so it's a done deal already.
Except that Rush tells me the exact opposite, that the press will claim a Kerry victory, so it's a done deal already.
Funny how that works out, isn't it?
Actually, I'm not watching the debate because I already know everything I need to know about the candidates, and the structure of the debate insures that they will be just as relevant as the conventions.
Quick Letter to Steven Levy
So, I sent him an email. (Oddly, the email link on his article didn't work, so I guessed at his address using the common format for Newsweek. It hasn't bounced yet, so maybe I got lucky.) Presented below is the text, with a few revisions I thought of after hitting the send button.
Hmmm...misusing a quote from Pr. Reynolds is probably not the best way to make a point about the faults of blogging. Glenn has the ability to point out your attempted deception; a fact you should have realized from his traffic. Now there will be tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, that realize you will misuse a quote in service to your story.
Ain't that a bitch? (Another bonus of blogging; we're allowed to use vernacular.)
In fact, your column is Exhibit A of the case against big media. Not only are you transparently biased, you're incompetently biased.
By the way, blogs, particularly the high traffic blogs, are just as relentlessly fact checked as is Big Media. The primary difference is that when a blogger makes a mistake, he corrects it immediately and openly, instead of stonewalling. We can't say the same thing about CBS now, can we? 'Forged, but accurate?' Please!
Speaking of Rathergate, why shouldn't a third rate forgery attempting to sway a Presidential election not receive equal coverage as did a third rate burglary attempting to sway a Presidential election? The only real difference is that this time, the successors to Woodward and Bernstein aren't reporting the story, they ARE the story.
No wonder you don't want to cover it.
As for Kerry's health care policy, we'd be happy to talk about it if he would. So far, his plan consists of a series of objectives, with no clear plans on how to reach those objectives. It's all cotton candy, and there's very little to analyse. This makes for great campaigning, but doesn't leave a lot to talk about. He wants to help sick kids. Cool. Who doesn't? Let me turn it around for you. Why does the press allow the candidates, and I'm talking about both parties now, get away with such weak platforms? Where are the hard questions? When Bush or Kerry comes up with some wonderful new program to extend healthcare to everyone, why aren't there any reporters asking for details, like how are we going to pay for it? Do your job, and we won't have to.
Additionally, Kerry himself chose to make his Viet Nam service the centerpiece of his campaign, making it fair game for examination, a fact he encouraged with his 'Bring! It! On!' speech.
By the way, tell me how this represents the high road. Sex on a college campus is news? Naah. but it will sell a few copies now, won't it?
Finally, as a very active and involved ankle-biter, I just want to make sure that you realize that once that achilles tendon is removed, gravity will ensure that the jugular is right there in reach. Underestimate us at your own expense.
So, what do you think? Was I too hard on the guy?
Just Some Stuff
Anyway, I always write about what interests me, and recent appearances to the contrary, I do have more interests than politics. So here's what I've been doing when not following politics.
Looking at my nightstand, I've got three books going right now. Neal Stephenson's System of the World, The Year's Best Fatasy and Horror, and L.E Modessit's Darknesses. On deck are Stephen King's The Dark Tower, Legends 2, General Patton, A Soldier's Life, and The Singular Mark Twain.
Stephenson's Baroque cycle has been a good read, although I'm a little confused about why it's been classed a science fiction. It reminds me a bit of Herman Wouk's WWII works, not because they are in any way similar, but because they engendered a similar reaction in me. I want to know more now about the events Stephenson chronicles, so I expect I'll be seeking out some good European history books. Any recommendation would be welcomed. Incidently, I recently finished Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, so I'm also interested in early British history, starting with the Celts and moving through the Roman occupation and on to modern times.
King's Dark Tower Cycle has been the only worthwhile thing he's written in the last decade or so, except for Everything's Eventual, his latest collection of shorter fiction. I'm not sure what happened to King's writing recently, although his substance abuse problems may have played a role. But more importantly, I think he's just gotten bored with the horror framework. I also suspect that, in a reversal of his Richard Bachmen dodge, he allowed Tabitha to write some of his later works, to see if anyone would notice. I first suspected this with The Tommyknockers, his first book without a single likeable character. Whether Tabitha has been writing them or not, they certainly haven't lived up to his best work.
However, despite the fall off in quality in his mainstream work, the saga of Roland Deschain and his ka-tet reminds me of Stephen King at his finest. King's greatest strength has always been his deft touch in creating characters we not only care about, but recognize, which is why his preposterous scenarios (A rabid St. Bernard and a possessed car? Please!) still manage to work. That touch is evident throughout all the Dark Tower books, which are really the only recent King I would recommend, along with Everything's Eventual.
Aside from my purchase of an XM Radio (ahhh, sweet freedom from tacky radio playlists...worth every penny of the monthly subscription fee, I've been listening to Ray Charles: Genius and Soul
What a box set!
Obviously, like the Uber-nerd I am, I rushed right out and got the Widescreen DVD of Star Wars, and instantly devoured the extras disc. Watching the original movies has been a refreshing treat, given the leaden nature of the last two. The occasional wince at cheesy dialogue is more than outweighed by the sheer energy and vision of the movies, qualities lacking in the successors.
However, even more pleasing has been my belated discovery of Babylon 5, through the good services of Kazaa and Netflix. I downloaded a couple of episodes to see what the fuss was about, and have worked my way through 4 seasons over the last four weeks. This is what TV could be and should be, but never seems to be. Instead, we get Fear Factor, and Let's Trade Wives.
Which could be why I hardly watch television anymore.
Little League and Middle School football is in full swing, and on Thursday and Saturday nights, you can find me out at the football fields of Sevier County, either announcing the games or taking pictures for the Northview Cougars. Othertimes, I might be out building bleachers, installing an irrigation system, building a concession stand, or about a zillion other tasks it takes to get a field ready for play. Heck, I'll probably be singing the National Anthem Saturday night to start the games.
You've been warned...
I just took over caring for my daughter's cichlid aquarium, and I'm starting a small 12 gallon nano reef for myself. I got qualified to scuba dive back when I was working on Johnston Atoll, and I want to recreate a little piece of it here in my home. Not having the time. money or energy to keep a large aquarium, the NanoCube is a blessing. You can look forward to pictures as the tank matures, and I begin to add livestock. I plan on going with mainly invertabrates with a gobie or a small clown. 12 gallons isn't much.
I'm still working to improve my marksmanship with the XD 40 and P22, as well as a new purchase, a Ruger 10/22 rifle with scope. Sighting it in should be an interesting experience since I've never done it before.
Woodworking has slowed, but I just took on redoing kitchen cabinets for a house our family rental company is refurbishing.
I'm about to release the second book for PHD Publishers, LLC. Written by Andrew Ian Dodge, it's called The Gathering Dark and is set in the world of the Cthulu mythos.
Oh, and I'm still raising 6 kids, although the oldest has flown the coup, setting up house in Nashville as he prepares to go back to school this spring.
Hmmm. Looking back over this list, I'm not surprised I haven't been getting enough sleep...
A Public Service Announcement.
Like that's a big story or something...
He'd rather talk about really important issues, which echoes something Bubba pointed out the other day in this post, which comtrasts press coverage of the CBS forgery scandal with the non coverage of Kerry's 4 point plan for winning in Iraq.
Strangely, Bubba didn't discuss the Kerry plan, or even provide a link to it.
So, in an attempt to show the bipartisan spirit so sadly lacking in today's political discourse, I will talk about Kerry's plan, giving it the full attention it deserves. Never let it be said that I am a one dimensional blogger.
First, here's a link to Kerry's speech that laid out the 4 points. I don't want anyone accusing me of making stuff up.
First, the president has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don't have to go it alone.
Great. I'm all for that. After all, this is an international problem, and our allies in Europe and elsewhere have promised to send troops and money to help in the rebuilding of Iraq, as Kerry himself pointed out in the speech.
Except promises are worthless, and our so-called allies have failed to follow through.
Kerry's solution is to hold a summit and allow those "allies" to loot Iraq's oil. In short, he wants us to honor the contracts France and Germany made with Saddam Hussein. His plan is basically to buy the support of France and Germany.
He goes on:
After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this president may not have the trust and the confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq.
Now this is very interesting. According to Kerry, the reason our buddies in Europe are not helping out isn't because they don't believe it's the right thing to do, but because they don't like our choice in Presidents. He intimates that if we elect him, then France and Germany would be much more eager to help out in Iraq.
Now, call me crazy, but I find the idea of allowing foreign leaders the right to influence who we elect to lead our country a bit problematic to say the least.
And the fact that Kerry would seek to benefit from this diplomatic blackmail is certainly a problem for his candidacy.
Second, the president must get serious about training Iraqi security forces...The president should urgently expand the security forces' training program inside and outside of Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double the classroom training time, require the follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries.
Hmmm...is this the same guy who voted AGAINST the funding package that included money for training Iraqi security forces?
But let's move past that and examine the point. It actually sounds pretty good to me. The more we can rely on Iraqi forces to provide their own security, the easier it will be for our forces to fall back into a less visible role, easing tensions all around. Recruiting the thousands of trainers sounds good, as long as A) they are qualified, and B) they are under US command. I do question the comment that they should come from countries with no military presence in Iraq. That seems like a nonsensical requirement designed to give France and Germany access to Iraq. As for the training centers outside of Iraq, that is complete nonsense. Take the Iraqi forces out of Iraq for several months and they will face almost as much suspicion as foriegn security forces do now. The point is to buid an Iraqi security force the Iraqi's themselves will trust.
But all in all, this isn't a bad plan, which isn't that surprising since it's simply the Bush plan, accelerated. I expect to see Senator Kerry present a bill before Congress detailing this plan within the next week or so. He doesn't have to be President to make the additional funding available. Let's see him put his money where his mouth is.
Third, the president must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people, all of which, may I say, should have been in the plan and immediately launched with such a ferocity that there was no doubt about America's commitment or capacity in the very first moments afterwards. But they didn't plan.
Oddly, he goes on in the next paragraph to say that the administration's plan failed. I thought they didn't have a plan?
It's so confusing sometimes. Does he read the speeches before he gives them?
As for the failed plan, Kerry exaggerates greatly the difficulties faced in Iraq. Much of Iraq, in fact, the majority of the country is better off today than when under Hussein. Oil exports are up; electrical generation is up; joblessness is falling; hope isn't on the way; it's already there. We heard Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi today tell us that things are improving in Iraq, even as he admitted that there are still struggles ahead. The plan hasn't failed; it's proceeding, and, by admitting that there are improvements that could be made to the plan, the Bush team is showing an adaptability that speaks well to the future.
Oddly, once again, Kerry's plan isn;t markedly different thant Bush's except to say that he would do more, and do it better.
OK. How? Specifics please.
Fourth, the president must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee that the promised election can be held next year.
And just what are those "immediate, urgent, essential steps?"
The president needs to deal with reality, and he should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force.
Now, this is not going to be easy. I understand that.
Again, I repeat, every month that's gone by, every offer of help spurned, every alternative not taken for these past months has made this more difficult and those were this president's choices. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq ought to still be prepared to help the United Nations hold an election.
There he goes again.
We should allow a UN that has shirked it's responsibilities for decades,
- that refused to step in as Hussein stood in defiance of it's resolutions for ten years,
- that evacuated Iraq at the first sign of trouble, rather than staying and working for peace,
- that ran an oil for food program that starved Iraqis while enriching Saddam Hussein, as well as Kofi Annan's family,
- that stood by idly while genocide took place in Rwanda,
- that stood by idly while genocide took place in Yogoslavia,
- that even today stands idly by while yet another genocide takes place in Darfur,
We should allow that UN to take control of the Iraqi reconstruction.
Yeah, good plan.
So, in essence, Kerry's plan consists of doing what George Bush is already doing, but allowing the UN, Germany, and France to continue their rape of the Iraqi economy.
And this is what Democrats want us to talk about instead of the CBS forgery scandal?
OK by me.
Where are the Heirs of Woodward and Bernstein?
Dan Rather has issued a written statement that the memos he relied on as the basis for the 60 Minutes story were crap.
I haven't been this shocked since Rosie O'Donnell came out of the closet.
It turns out that the papers did originate from Bill Burkett, who passed them on to Max Cleland to give to the Kerry campaign. What still isn't clear is whether Burkett approached CBS directly, or if the documents went through the Kerry campaign, as some folks in CBS have claimed.
I'm sure all the lefties who continued to tout the authenticity of the memos will now issue retractions and apologies.
I'm not holding my breath, though.
This should be the end of CBS News, Dan Rather, and if the documents passed through the Kerry campaign, Kerry as well.
Will we see an in depth investigation a la "All The President's Men" Will Michael Moore now make a movie about how Dan Rather and CBS lied to the American people? What did Kerry know and when did he know it? Paging Mr. Woodward and Bernstein; you're needed at CBS.
Like that'll happen. Kerry is a Democrat; he'll get a pass from the mainstream press.
But it's OK. Doesn't matter. Between cable news, Fox, the internet, the blogosphere, media bias is history as a force in politics. There are too many alternative sources for news and info. The word will get out, just as it did over those putrid memos.
Blinded by their own ideology, a major news organization went public with a deeply flawed story, based on obviously forged documents, without proper corroberation of the documents, all in an attempt to sway an election to their candidate. With scandals at The New York Time, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and now CBS, it's been a bad year for big media.
A Non Political Entry.
- A definition of ironic:
When you spill chocolate ice cream on your white UT National Championship shirt, immediately remove said shirt and wash in the sink to prevent the stain from setting, then toss the shirt into the washer with a load of your son's clothes, already in progress, then, when pulling the clothes from the dryer, you discover that he had a red pen in his pocket.
- A definition of kismet:
The big game has gone back and forth all day, and you score a touchdown with less than 3 minutes to play. Your kicker, who hasn't missed an extra point in his career, has the chance to tie the game.
Less than two minutes later, he kicks a 50 yard field goal to win the game.
Later, Gators! Vols 30, Gators 28.
- A definition of Pyrrhic Victory:
Convince the media and the elctorate to focus not on your performance over the last 20 years in the Senate, but on your 3 months in country during the Viet Nam war 30 years ago.
(OK, it's a little political)
- A definition of Chicken Little syndrome:
Cancel school for Friday at 3:25PM on Thursday because "Ivan is coming!" Spend Friday watching the clouds break up and the sun come out by evening. Cancel the Ark you ordered.
I don't remember ever getting out of school because "it might rain tomorrow!"
- A definition of Winning at any cost:
Gather up the rosters of every little league football team in the division and check exhaustively for the tiniest clerical errors. Demand that those teams forfeit every game played if any child affected by these errors was on the sideline, regardless of whether they played or not. Assume first place in the conference with a 1-0 record despite losing every game on the field.
After all, it's all about the kids, right?
- A definition of karma
Causing multiple wrecks with your aggressive driving style, pissing off nearly everybody who races with you, then, when it really counts, getting taken out by another jerk who drives just like you do.
I hope everybody had a good weekend.
But Seriously, Folks…
I'm really surprised that CBS decided to hang their claim of authenticity on Mr. Matley, who they claim examined all 4 documents, but Matley has stated that he examined the signature only, and that he was not qualified to evaluate the authenticity of the documents themselves.
Okay class, It's time for an essay question. Compare and contrast the following statements. First from the Washington Post:
“There’s no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them,” Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are “copies” that are “far removed” from the originals
And now from CBS:
Two of the examiners, Mssrs. Matley and Pierce, attested and continue to attest to their belief in the documents' authenticity. (see attachments 1 and 2) Two others, Ms. Will and Ms. James, appeared on a competing network yesterday, where they misrepresented their conversations and communication with CBS News. In fact, they assessed only one of the four documents used in the report, and while one of them raised a question about one aspect of that one document, they did not raise substantial objections or render definitive judgment on the document. Ultimately, they played a peripheral role in the authentication process and deferred to Mr. Matley, who examined all four of the documents used.
So, who do we believe? Mr. Matley, or what CBS says about Mr. Matley?
The entire CBS statement is riddled with half truths and outright lies. To date, nobody has been able to reproduce the document on any typewriter available at the time, and the closest efforts took hours of work by an experienced operator.
And it still didn't match because no machine of the day was capable of variable kerning.
What are they thinking over there? It's becoming painfully obvious that they just don't get it yet. Thanks to the net, memory now lasts longer than last night's newscast. You can't replace the lies of last night with new lies today, and expect us not to notice.
But what is even more amazing is the underlying philosophy of their defense.
Rather, when interviewed on the street the other day expressed shock and anger that folks were focussing on the authenticity of the memos, rather than the answers to the questions they raised.
In a way, this presaged CBS's statement today, which basically boiled down to "Even if the memos are fake, the story is still true. So it doesn't matter!"
Ain't that amazing? If you believe the story is true, it doesn't matter that you faked evidence to prove it. Just imagine for a moment if this happened in a trial. Say we all know Bubba shot the jukebox, but nobody saw it. We found Bubba in the bar with a busted jukebox, but the gun was missing. Now we all know Bubba shot the jukebox because that idiot from out of town played B-17, and that was our song, it was his song, but it's o-o-over. It's happened before, but Bubba got smart and got rid of the gun before anybody saw him.
Can we plant a gun on Bubba's comatose corpus to make sure Sheriff Andy can keep him locked up for a week or two until he sobers up? (Bubba, that is; Sheriff Andy only drinks iced tea, two sugars, no lemon.) And if we did, wouldn't the editor of the East Bumfuzzle Weekly Gazette go absolutely apoplectic with rage at the injustice of it all?
OK, folks, this show is over, or at least it should be. The memos are indisputably faked, and anyone who still believes otherwise is blinded by partisanship.
The irony of it all, as Barry pointed out in the comments of yesterday's post, is that there's no bombshell here even if the memos are authentic. A politician pulled strings to keep his son out of Viet Nam.
Oh the horror!
And Bush asked his superiors how he could work around drill requirements to allow him to participate in a political campaign.
If that curls your toes, you don't want to hear about how nuclear reactor operaters gamed the Operational Readiness and Safeguards Exams we underwent each deployment cycle. Your heart might not be able to take it.
I've always aimed to present a level of analysis on this blog higher than that found in the mainstream, and indeed, even in the rest of the blogosphere, but this time, I've outdone myself. Not to blow my own horn or anything, but nobody else has even come close to the penetrating insight I had while sitting on the toilet this morning.
First, we have to consider the known facts:
- CBS and Dan Rather present a story that's extremely damaging to President Bush. The story relies heavily on previously 'undiscovered' documents.
- Those documents provide evidence that not only did President Bush not fulfill his duties as a National Guard member, but that there was political influence used to "sugarcoat" his record.
- The source of these documents has been kept a secret by CBS, although some sources suggest they came from the Kerry campaign.
- Those documents were easily detected as very crude fakes.
- Dan Rather, despite all indications, is not a complete idiot.
- This rather clumsy dirty trick comes after Susan Estrich, a new member of the Kerry team and 'former' Clintonista, announces that the Kerry campaign will begin using dirty tricks to fight the Bush campaign.
- Terry McAuliffe claims no knowledge of where the memos came from, suggesting that Karl Rove should be questioned.
Okay, there's still more questions than answers at this point, right? Who produced the forgeries, and leaked them to CBS? Why would Dan Rather, who isn't brain dead, trash what's left of his career by going on the air with these obvious fakes? Why would Terry McAuliffe devise such a paranoid theory about the origin of these documents? What did the Democrats hope to gain through this botched operation?
What if it wasn't botched, but planned to occur exactly as it has?
Here are the two key bits of information needed to solve this puzzle:
In August, 1974, President Nixon was forced to resign for campaign dirty tricks and the following coverup.
In Oct. 2002, Bob Torricelli, tainted by scandal and losing his bid for the New Jersey Senate, withdrew, and was replaced by Lautenburg at the last minute. Lautenburg went on to win the election, saving a crucial Democratic seat.
The light begins to dawn, doesn't it my friends.
Kerry is losing this election, and losing it badly, and the Dems know it. They needed a way to get him out of the race, to be replaced by a candidate with a better chance of winning. The problem is there's no way for him to drop out now. Not only would they have to concede that the Democrats are in big trouble, (not a possibility) but there would be major legal obstacles, including problems getting on all the ballots if they replace a candidate following the convention.
And so, a scheme was born. Clumsily forged documents would be released by the Kerry campaign to the media, creating a scandal designed to rebound on Kerry. Dan Rather, already planning his retirement, played the part of the sacrificial lamb in this scenario, giving up a short piece of his career for the good of the Democratic Party. Kerry, more than likely, is completely ignorant of this plan, not realizing that he's about to be replaced on the Democratic ticket. He'll deny any wrongdoing, but will be 'persueded' by party members to step down as candidate. Then, a replacement candidate will be put on the ballot
So, who's the mastermind behind this Machiavellian machination? Do you think it's a coincidence that Clinton staffers have begun to take over the Kerry campaign? Is it a coincidence that James Carville is now an official advisor to the campaign? How long has he been giving unofficial advice? It seems very clear that the only mind subtle enough to be behind this whole shebang is none other than Old Serpent
Head himself. And if he's behind it all, can a Clinton be to far away?
Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This whole RatherGate scandal has been the first stage in Operation Hillary in 04.
Watch as the emphasis shifts from the media to the Kerry campaign.
Let's see Drudge top this one...
Never Forget Why We’re Fighting….
It still is.
Like I Said on Wednesday…
The memos released to such fanfare on 60 Minutes the other day are fake. The fantastic claims they make, including political pressure to "sugarcoat" President Bush's Guard record are all lies. Dan Rather and CBS got taken in by a hoax.
Now, when that happens to a partisan blogger, it's understandable. He's predisposed to believe any story that fits in with his prejudices. We've seen it happen before (Remember the Bush IQ story from a research institute that didn't exist?), but CBS is supposedly a fair and unbiased news organization. They have no agenda other than getting out the news. They don't have the excuse of being blinded by ideology because, as they never tire of telling us, they are above all that.
Yet Rather was blindsided by a fake, and a rather poor fake at that. And CBS, rather than providing any defense of the documents' authenticity, has clammed up about the whole thing. Consider:
- They will not reveal the source of the documents.
- They will not provide the originals (or first copies, since apparently there are no originals. Curious, that. If these were memos-to-file, then why would there be copies in the first place?) for examination.
- They will not provide the chain of custody.
- They will not reveal the names of any of the people they interviewed that claimed the documents were valid. The only people who have gone on record have said the documents were faked.
- To date, they've brough forth one "expert" who, aside from the fact that his review violates his own procedures, only compared the signature, and failed to address the myriad of other problems with the document.
In short, their entire grounds for proof consists of "We believe these documents are genuine, and we've talked to other people who also believe the documents are genuine.
Somehow, I think that falls short of the usual journalistic standards.
If nothing else, this is proof positive of the media bias that so many try to deny.
But this goes much further than that. It's the death knell for the Kerry campaign. It's all over but the crying. We read where Susan Estrich says that the Kerry campaign has to fight dirty in order to win, and a couple of days later, this blows up. Terry McAuliffe gets up before the cameras and claims that the documents are not forgeries, but if they are forgeries, then it was a Karl Rove plot to take down Kerry and the press.
Looks like the tin-hat brigade just got a new member.
I don't know, but if I were McAuliffe, I'd be embarrassed to admit that my opponent was so far ahead of me.
Bush and the National Guard
Bush Suspended From Guard Flying
Of course, we knew that already, but it makes a great soundbite.
Gearge Bush was suspended from flight status for missing his flight physical. He missed his flight physical because he was headed for a non-flight billet.
The only really new information is this section:
"Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush," Killian wrote on Aug. 18, 1973. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job — Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any comments from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate." Grp refers to a military unit and OETR stands for officer efficiency training report.
The memo concludes: "Harris took the call from Grp today. I'll backdate but won't rate. Harris agrees."
First, the pressure Killian notes is not to create a good evaluation for then Lt Bush, but to rate him at all. It is quite clear from the memo that Killian is not considering giving Bush a bad rating, and resists the idea of rating him at all, since he wasn't there, and he got o word from the Alabama post. This is an entirely reasonable position for the Lt Col to take. Lt Bush wasn't assigned to him, and he received no reports from his command.
While the AP is presenting this as particularly damning, once you know a little bit more about the rating system, you realize it isn't. A rating period of "not observed" represents an anomaly in a service jacket. Anomalies like that make it harder to advance in rank when you're up against other officers without such anomalies.
However, what this record does show is that Bush or his family did apply political pressure on the Guard, making it more likely that, despite his denials, strings were pulled to get him into the Guard.
An Excellent Question
Bubba replied with a simple question:
"What were Bush's qulifications in 2000?"
That's a good question. Bush was Governor of Texas prior to the Presidency, and his military experience was limited to his time in the National Guard. Obviously, his qualifications for CinC were fairly slim, so how can I justify giving Kerry such a hard time over his qualifications?
First of all, the question itself reveals a refusal to accept that our national priorities changed on September 11, 2001. I hate to keep coming back to this, but until everyone recognizes the essential truth of that statement, we're divided, and therefore weakened.
The 2000 campaign was waged primarily on domestic issues. (Info on the debates including quotes are all found here)
For example, the first question in the first debate went to VP Gore, who was asked about Bush's qualifications for the Presidency. Gore used the question to outline his policy for the next four years, and every issue he listed was domestic. Terrorism was not mentioned, and there was only a brief discussion of the military in a 90 minute debate. In the second debte, the issues of the Middle East and Saddam were discussed, yet Gore and Bush basically agreed that their respective approaches would be similar. The issue of qualifications for Commander in Chief never came up. And in the third debate, just two questions dealt with the use of the military.
In short, the emphasis in 2000 was on domestic issues, as that was our national priority. (Incidently, Bush's response to some of these questions should provide good material for Dems in light of the Iraq invasion. On the other hand, pressing Bush on the invasion gives him another chance to lay the case for war before the American people, which would counter many Dem talking points.) The relative qualifications for Commander in Chief wasn't considered a major campaign issue in 2000.
Compare that to 2004 where it is central to the campaign. It is clear that, no matter what happens over the next four years, our President will be a wartime President. As such, his qualifications as Cin C are of paramount importance.
While Bush 2000 didn't have much of a record to run on, Bush 2004 does. That record is open for debate, and should be, as should John Kerry's. Is America safer today that we were in 2000? Given the marked upswing in global terrorism over the last three years, and given the fact that there have been no terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11, arguably, the answer is yes. The tragedy at Beslan happened in Russia, not in America. Islamofascists have shifted the focus of their war on freedom to other, easier targets. We've successfully shown them that it is too difficult, and too costly, to attack America.
At the same time, we've reduced their bases of operations. Iraq no longer shelters them; Syria is coming around; Libya is dismatling it's nuclear program; Pakistan is working to flush out the last remnants of al Qaeda.
At the same time, we're working to reduce the forces that create terrorists by fighting oppresion, tyranny, and poverty in the Middle East. A free, prosperous, and democratic Iraq will serve as an example to the Middle East that freedom and Islam can co-exist.
It is a tremendous gamble that President Bush is taking, but the stakes are made worthwhile by the potential payoff. There's no doubt that we could have taken out Saddam without a single American casualty, but the destruction and civilian casualties would have been devastating. Instead, we went in surgically, removing the cancer of Hussein, and allowing the Iraqi people to try and heal their country themselves.
President Bush has a detailed resume to run on this time.
So does John Kerry. His Viet Nam war experiences, his post war testimony to Congress, his post war protest activities, and his 20 year Senate record comprise his resume for CinC. It is up to the voter to check out both resumes and decide who will make the best CinC.
Tomorrow's a regular workday, so I'll have time to get to that anouncement I promised, as well as the unsual Monday post.
This can’t be good for Kerry
Why the Democrats are Becoming Irrelevant
I want Bush to address the agenda that he outlined in his acceptance speech four years ago. He didn't follow through with any of it so that's it. You had 4 years. Thanks and goodbye.
And then in SKB's review, I found this from another commentor:
Everytime I hear "911 changed everything" I want to slap someone. Letting fear of terrorism colour every decision one makes is a capitulation to the terrorists, not an act of courage.
Both of these comments reveal the root cause of the Democratic Party's increasing irrelevance. To them, 9/11 didn't happen. It was no different than an earthquake, or the hurricane bearing down on Florida as I type this. It was a tragedy, a disaster, but it didn't really change things. After a few months of grief and mourning, they went back to business as usual, never noticing that the world had changed around them.
If 9/11 was a wake up call, then these liberals hit the snooze bar.
It's been said that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. I would suggest that this is one lesson that's too expensive to have to learn again.
Acknowledging that the world has changed is not living in fear; it's the first step to prevent living in fear. Awareness of the capabilities of our enemies must inform every decision we make or we are being irresponsible, and nowhere is that awareness more vital than in our President. Our priorities have shifted; we have been attacked, and we must not only defend against that attack, we must prevent as best we can any future attacks. That's the primary job of a federal goverment, as spelled out in the Constitution.
Any political party that does not acknowledge this fundamental shift in priorities in unfit to lead, as they are demonstrating a fundamental disconnect with reality. Democrats, from John Kerry on down, are obsessing over a leaky faucet while the house is on fire.