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April 17, 2004
April 15, 2004
This modern world of ours
Students at the University of Illinois are staging a sit-in, to protest the university's mascot ("Chief Illiniwek"). The 21st century twist: they're blogging it live, via WiFi.
A quick snapshot of your host, and friends, between segments on Majority Report.
...I'm just getting over a cold, spent most of the show trying not to cough.
...picture moved here to conserve bandwidth.
April 14, 2004
In the Washington Post this morning, we learn that the August 6 PDB was simply one in a series of alarmingly-titled memos:
In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence community headlined some of those reports "Bin Laden planning multiple operations," "Bin Laden network's plans advancing" and "Bin Laden threats are real."
Somebody was clearly trying to get the attention of a simpleton, and failing.
About last night
It's hardly a surprise when a politican gives evasive answers at a press conference. It's just that Bush is so terrible at it--he has maybe eighteen pre-programmed sound bites ready to go, and if none of them are applicable to the question, he just starts sputtering like a computer on the original Star Trek, after Captain Kirk has just irrefutably pointed out the illogic of its basic programming.
One of the standard soundbites is, of course, that no one could have imagined 9/11 beforehand:
But there was nobody in our government at least and I don't think the prior government could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.
And yet, mere seconds later:
I asked for the briefing. And the reason I did is because there had been a lot of threat intelligence from overseas. And part of it had to do with the Genoa G8 conference that I was going to attend.
Alert readers will recall that one of the major security concerns at the Genoa conference was the possibility of aerial incursions.
And then there was this illuminating exchange:
Q. Mr. President, Why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 commission? And Mr. President, who will you be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30?
In other words: that is a very good question, I commend you for asking such a good question, next question please.
And finally--when sound bites fail.
Q. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say? And what lessons have you learned from it?
If you think that reads badly, you should have seen him desperately flailing about, trying to think of something to say--without, of course, admitting that he's ever made a mistake.
I would have gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even though what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would have called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. See, I happen to believe we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth as exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like, the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.
God forbid the President of the United States of America should be able to think on his feet.
April 13, 2004
He's so awful. He just flounders around until he can dredge up a marginally appropriate sound bite--and when the question doesn't allow for that, he's just utterly lost.
April 12, 2004
Say it with flowers
The FTD® Salute to a Patriot Bouquet
"I am satisfied that I never saw any intelligence that indicated there was going to be an attack on America at a time and a place, an attack," Mr. Bush said after attending Easter services in Fort Hood, Tex.(Story.)
And what did President Serious About Terror do after reading the memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," since after all it did not indicate that there was any cause for alarm?
Well, he went golfing, of course.
President Bush was in an expansive mood on Aug. 7, 2001, when he ran into reporters while playing golf at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Tex.
If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader? Roosevelt received no such memo, of course, but President George W. Bush got a blunt warning five weeks before 9/11 and he did little or nothing. He even presided over a stand- down in preparations, concentrating on other concerns.
April 11, 2004
Just a flesh wound
As Iraq spins out of control, right-wingers like David Brooks (recently dubbed "Baghdad Brooks" by the blogs) try to spin it back into something comprehensible, as though the killing and chaos can be smoothed over with rhetoric alone.
And for some reason, I keep thinking of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail...
Now, it's true, as Condi Rice is quick to remind us, that this memo does not specifically warn that terrorists are going to attack the United States on September 11, 2001, by hijacking airplanes and crashing them into the WTC and the Pentagon. As the President has said, if he'd known exactly what was going to happen, exactly when, then he sure would have tried to prevent it.
Then again, that level of specificity did not seem to be the standard when it came to invading Iraq.
I don't think the debate over whether 9-11 could have been prevented is worth wasting time on. The point is, the administration has been running on its record as terror-fighters since 9/11--when in reality, they were completely asleep at the wheel then and they've been bumbling their way through ever since.
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