You really should read what other people say before you let yourself respond:
"There is no causal connection we can make between Bush and lack of U.S. terrorist action over the past seven years. If it helps you at all, there was probably no causal connection between the first World Trade Center bombing shortly after Clinton took office, his actions, and the absence of foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil during his tenure in office either. You can't establish causality in either case.
You can say that the Democrats, when they turned over power to the Republicans in 2001, went to very great lengths to make it known to the Republican incoming officeholders that they thought that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda should be at the very top of their list of concerns. And you can say that because we have it from multiple sources, including books praised by President Bush himself (the first of the trilogy of Bob Woodward books dealt with this aspect of the transfer of power and the lead-up to the war quite extensively, and was based on interviews with administration officials, including President Bush). We have the same material dealt with from another direction by Thomas T. Ricks in his book, "Fiasco." Should you be interested in following up on documentation, please ask, and I'll dig up some other source material as well."
At another point in our exchange I write, in the letters you've placed in boldface:
And I would want to read briefing papers that came across my desk that said they were about the risk of terrorist activity in the continental United States by arab extremists.
And Balladeer responds,
"Are you stating that he didn't? Are you further stating he did nothing? Where does that insight come from?"
And I respond to you here by pointing out that yes, in fact, I am pointing out that he didn't. And that had you checked the references I supplied, you would have seen that was so, and that though there have been instances of Dr, Rice denying that these were the events that happened, there have also been times when she has acknowledged them to be true. In fact, as you will remember, presidential candidates are given CIA briefings before they are elected because the country wants to make sure that whomever is elected, they will be sure to be able to hit the ground running. Whatever my feelings about Bush may be are completely secondary to the actual events that occurred before, during and after his assuming office; despite your attempts to make what you assume to be my feelings about President Bush an issue, they are not, no more than your avowed dislike of President Clinton is the issue.
The issue, as I understand it, for the purposes of this thread, is Obama and McClain. The revelence of Bush seems to be only the extent to which Senator McClain seems to be eager or willing to carry forward those policies.
My interest in Bush about this is that he does no more damage to the country and the constitution while he's in office; that he starts no more wars, and commits us to no more policies that will ruin us financially and militarily, and none that will raise the possibility of a new cold war. That those that have been instituted be curtailed and reversed, and that the awful temptations for the further abuse of power by the administrative branch be reduced buck to where they were before this unfortunate expansion of them began before this administration took office. I say before, because some of these things, like FISA, took place even earlier.
No matter whom we elect, we will need to do those things. I believe no matter how trusting you are, balladeer, there's got to be somebody you won't trust to have all the power that's devolved into the hands of the administrative branch. It doesn't belong there, to my mind, in as unbalanced fashion as it has arrived there now for the use of anybody, no matter how benign.
But to return to your questions, which I still feel to be misleading,
my insight but more importantly my information comes from those books. I can dig up articles, but since you don't actually seem to read my responses these days before dashing off a reply, I'm not certain that the extra references would actually get read or, if read, would get digested. The two I offered above were not. Here are others that talk about the time period in question, and what the Bush White House Team was doing. I'm even defining the word "team" narrowly.
While the democrats in the Clinton administration had left office saying that terrorism was the upcoming issue, and was the one that needed urgent attention. The incoming Bush administration thought differently. They were interested in policy initiative around an anti-ballistic missile system, and in getting our allies on board in taking part in deploying one. As part of a major speech that Bush delivered in May of 2001, he mentions this and even suggests that it may be possible to get China and Russia to sign on to the initiative. If I remember correctly, the White House felt there were Five major national priorities, and homeland security didn't even make the cut.
Although, to be fair, President Bush, even then seemed interested in tackling and eliminating Sadam Hussein. I guess he was willing to wait and allow time to let his creativity work to invent causes.
The information that Bush and friends that was coming in from pre-Bush administration sources, from current CIA sources, and from even within their own temporarily retained Richard Clarke (life long Republican, worked previously for Clinton, sure, but also for Bush I, and for Reagan) said that they weren't paying attention to the facts so much as what they wanted the facts to be. I don't know why. I have guesses, but those really aren't all that important.
I'm not interested, to correct your frequently stated misunderstanding, in Bashing President Bush at all. I'm actually amused at the characterization. I am interested in getting the facts straight. Making sure that the events are told without really strange distortions and lies by anybody is important to me because I've worked with crazy folks my whole life, and I know what a precious commodity truth is, and how hard it can be to come by. I've seen people kill themselves when they loose their sense of truth. I'm not making an analogy; I'm being quite literal here. I've also seen people quite literally make a decision to live, on the spot, when I've told that that, yes, from what I've seen, person X despite all the nice things they're saying and how great they manage to look while they're saying it, really does seem to be trying to kill you, Let's make sure they don't do that. I simply like to think that I'm on the side of truth rather than the side of lies.
That makes me a pompous jerk sometimes, which I try to avoid as best I can.
But my interest isn't bashing President Bush, it's simply in making sure that his facts are as straight as possible. When they aren't, and I say so, you tell me I'm bashing Bush. I've criticized Clinton as well, almost everybody including myself about the way the truth tends to bend when we tell it. With Clinton, you agree with me, or go a bit further. With myself, you've often been extremely kind, more so than warranted, on occasion, I think. With Bush, suddenly I'm bashing. I'm far more unhappy with myself than I am with Bush; I take my sins more personally, in the same way I tend to take the sins of Democrats more personally. I think we should somehow know better.
Why is it that you seem to think that when President Bush lies and I point it out, that I have committed some sin? I have done nothing but try to keep the record trustworthy, and the world in working order. I want a leader who can at least confine his lying
to places where it isn't fatal to other people and dangerous to the health of others. I don't believe that this is a standard that is so high that I cannot expect a presidential candidate or, heck, even an actual president Herself to live up to it.
If you believe that it's a flaw in my character first of all to actually dare to notice this myself, and then, horror of horrors, actually to point this out to somebody else, I can only tell you that we must flatly disagree. I believe it is a right and in fact a responsibility of a citizen in a democracy for YOU to do so, when you see somebody doing something of this sort. I don't think this is "bashing" at all if you are being honest in your assertions. If you believe I am speaking without facts to back me up, as you seem to assert when you say I speak only out of my dislike for Bush, I should like to point out that you have neglected to point out such a case.
It doesn't matter if I dislike Bush or not. My motivations and my explanations of them or your accusations about them don't matter.
People already know I'm ugly and mean, Balladeer. I might add that my parents never loved me, and children run from me screaming when I do my Peter Lorre imitation. I speak with animals. I deny rumors of special powers, and I am still struggling to be fluent in English. I tend to side with the downtrodden, and I like long walks along the beach-NOT. And IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT I SAY ABOUT BUSH, TELL ME WHERE MY FACTS ARE WRONG. I know that may seem like too much to ask when all that character assassination stuff is so-o-o much fun, but really, as far as I'm concerned ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS DISPROVE THE FACTS.
Most anything else you do seems to me a pretty poor substitute.
What Bush has done is make people very much aware of the possibility of further attacks. We do need to credit Bush for this; I do.
I believe however that Grinch is right about the reduction of actual danger. That can't be proved. Balladeer and I went over this in our discussion of Post hoc ergo Propter hoc reasoning above. Balladeer smothered the possibility in scorn before actually thinking it through. This is one of those not-testable propositions.
As I suggested in an earlier post, Balladeer might take comfort in the fact that this conclusion also suggests that Clinton era efforts to curb terrorist attacks on the continental United states after the 1993 world trade center bombing could not be proved to have been successful in preventing all continental U.S. bombings until the 2001 WTC bombing, when the Republicans were in office, either.
The train of logic simply doesn't follow in either case, no matter who would like to use the false political gain from that reasoning. Alas. BK
In fact many of the major channels for terrorists to smuggle weapons, explosives and, quite possibly people into the country are still quite open, while a lot of time and effort are put into addressing hot-button issues. Air Freight, for example, as opposed to passenger baggage is not well regulated. Sea transport of goods is poorly regulated as well, and is the entry of most goods into the country. Propositions for funding such programs have been, as I understand it, been regularly vetoed because they may block the free flow of commerce.
[EDIT - Tried to clean up broken links. Sorry, Bob, some of them were so scrambled all I could do was remove them entirely. - Ron ]
[This message has been edited by Ron (07-25-2008 09:46 PM).]