Thursday, September 30, 2004

Is this the 5th? 7th? "complete record release?"

Bush's Reserve Resignation Cited 'Inadequate Time
MIAMI (Reuters) - President Bush, accused by Democrats of shirking his duty in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, wrote that he had "inadequate time" to meet future Reserve commitments in his Nov. 1974 letter of resignation released on Wednesday.

The letter was released by the White House on the eve of the first presidential debate, in Miami on Thursday, between Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

In the one-page "Tender of Resignation," Bush hand-wrote the following reason for resigning: "Inadequate time to fullfill (sic) possible future commitments."

The document does not address the controversy over gaps in his service in the Air National Guard in the early 1970s.

Funny that they release these things on "bury the garbage" days, too (Fridays, usually, or in this case the day before the debate.) I'm sure the Pentagon just happens to find these things on days when the news will overshadow them.

"Inadequate time" to serve his country. (Reminds me of Cheney saying he had "other priorities" during Vietnam.)

What a crowd of rejects.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

W stands for "Wishful"

Mark A. R. Kleiman has a good approach to Bush's mindset.
Wishful thinking isn't seen as a horrible moral defect, like cowardice of meanness or dishonesty. It's just a human foible, perfectly consistent with being a decent and likeable person. (No, you don't think Mr. Bush is either decent or likeable, but you aren't the audience for this message.)

And yet everyone knows that wishful thinking is the road to disaster; everyone with children has warned them of its dangers. In a military commander, in particular, wishful thinking is horribly dangerous, as it was when Mr. Bush ignored the National Intelligence Estimate that largely predicted the current disaster in Iraq.
This may be a more plausible tack than "Don't confuse him with the facts." [see below] But perhaps the can occasionally be blended, especially to ridicule bush in a very mild way.

"That's a wonderful wish, President Bush. Unfortunately, the facts are that 95% of Iraqis hate us, and Islamic fundamentalism is growing faster than your wishes."

Or something like that.

One other thing that Klieman's formulation allows is a great offense against something I hate from the Bushies. When Kerry says things (the economy, the war) are going poorly, we often hear the Bushies saying "Kerry is a pessimist." Of course, what's really happening is Kerry is being realistic and the Republicans are engaging in wishful thinking.

There's a difference between seeing the world as it is in hopes of making it better, and merely wishing that things were the beautiful world that Bush wishes it were. That's the difference between leadership in the real world and selling a pipe dream.

Don't Confuse Him With The Facts, Cont'd

National Intelligence Council got post-invasion Iraq pretty much right. Bush paid no attention.

So in Iraq, civilians and soldiers are getting slaughtered, Islamism is surging, and a civil war climate is brewing.

But don't confuse Bush with the facts.

George "Don't Confuse Me With The Facts" Bush

John in DC asks a good question:
Why can't Bush talk about Iraq without a cheat sheet?
Because, and I think Kerry should point this out, George Bush's mantra is "Don't confuse me with the facts."

Saying "Stay the course" is enough. No need to actually learn what is really going on the world.

Don't confuse him with the facts.

Monday, September 27, 2004

"In a drawer" is not "On my desk"

A Draft? Read Between the Lines.

A little lesson in how Bush talks in parallel with the truth.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The over-optimism of Fahrenheit 911

John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, having just seen Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, finds the movie far too rosy in depicting the war in Iraq.
I finally went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. I won’t give a review as I don’t have much to add to what lots of others have already said. What struck me about the film is how much worse things have become, and how much more has come out, in the time since the film was made
Gee, Michael Moore must be a shill for the Bush Administration, putting rose-colored glasses on the populus.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


From Kleiman, concerning "emboldening"

"Thus a suspicious type might be led to infer the existence of a set of RNC talking points containing the word "embolden," or even the phrase "embolden the enemy."
The simple response to the "embolden the enemy" comments?

Bush is the person who told Iraqi insurgents to "Bring it on." That kind of idiotic trash-talking is common on the schoolyard, but in the real world it gets US soldiers killed.

Bush emboldened the enemy, and now US soldiers are paying the price.

Friday, September 24, 2004

War and Piece:

Reality in Iraq

Laura Rozen quotes a piece from the UK Spectator:
So why is it that the snuff movies, which are being deliberately distributed by the killers, are being snapped up in their thousands on DVDs across Iraq?


In the latest video to hit the streets an Egyptian man, accused of spying for the Americans, is paraded before a camera and has his head severed in a matter of seconds by a powerfully built executioner. Before the murder the video shows footage filmed from the camera of an American warplane that fires a missile into a crowded street; and then pictures of Iraqi civilian victims of the fighting.

This piece underplays the good news: Some Iraqis now have DVD players which they can use to play discs of their own choosing!

The fact that they are choosing by the thousands videos of beheadings nestled amid anti-US propoganda is a minor point.

[I just quoted snippets of the Spectator piece -- the whole thing is bleak and sobering reading.]

Has Edwards Disappeared? No.

Edwards Giving Off Plenty of Heat

t would be great if a guy derided as Mr Sunshine/ Breck Guy were to tear Cheney a new asshole during the debates.

I guess one of Edwards' problems will be that Cheney has been so totally wrong so often that he may be too target-rich.

VOTE or NOT? -

VOTE or NOT? -

This site will hold a lottery among registered voters signed up at their site. Prize: $100,000.

Now for a little Bush Logic.

Bush often says: "The world is better without Saddam."

Bush does not say "The world is better without Kim Jong Il."

Therefore, I guess, Bush thinks the world is better with Kim Jong Il in the world.

Why will George W Bush not tell us that the world would be better without Kim Jong Il?

Since he says that so often about Saddam, I guess he thinks Kim Jong Il is an ok guy?

I do not understand Bush. He won't unload calumny against Kim Jong Il.

I guess he likes Kim Jong Il.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Gallup Gallops Wrong -- Again


The polls are crazy.

But they've settled down to a tight race. Except for Gallup. All polls have the race tied, or Kerry slightly ahead, except for Gallup, which today says that Bush is 14 points ahead.


Well, Gallup had Bush up by 13 in the last presidential election -- the week before the vote.

Gallup had Gore down by 13 points a week before the vote -- and Gore actually won the vote (by a small margin).

I"m not an optimist, but I do think Gallup doesn't pass the smell test.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Vietnam? Or Stalingrad? Take your pick

Far graver than Vietnam

Quotes from senior ex-military guys saying things are horrible in Iraq and not likely to get better. Including:
  • Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency,
  • Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Comman
  • Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College
  • W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there

There are quite a few sobering quotes, but this one hits home with me most (emphasis added):

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

How screwed are things in Iraq?

The Green Zone --about the only place in Baghdad where people could walk in safety -- is no longer secure.

According to The Financial Times:

US military officers in Baghdad have warned they cannot guarantee the security of the perimeter around the Green Zone, the headquarters of the Iraqi government and home to the US and British embassies, according to security company employees.

At a briefing earlier this month, a high-ranking US officer in charge of the zone's perimeter said he had insufficient soldiers to prevent intruders penetrating the compound's defences.

The US major said it was possible weapons or explosives had already been stashed in the zone, and warned people to move in pairs for their own safety. The Green Zone, in Baghdad's centre, is one of the most fortified US installations in Iraq. Until now, militants have not been able to penetrate it
What is George Bush going to do about this? Staying the course while the security situation rotted is what got the US in this horrible situation.

Why Bush Skipped his Physical

Why Bush Left Texas

Bush skipped a physical required for National Guard pilots. He was grounded for that reason.

Bush and his moutpieces have given several "explanations" for that, some of which are impossible (for instance, he claimed that his personal physician was unavailable to perform the physical -- but Guard regulations require that a mlitary physician perfrom the exam). Alternatively, they suggest he just blew it off because he didn't want to fly anymore. I wonder what would happen to a current National Guard pilot who decided he didn't want to fly and therefore just skipped a physical.

Why did he skip that physical? The rumors have swirled for a long time. Russ Baker gathers some information and makes some educated guesses.

Bush really has not come clean about his service. He's been lying about it, and biographical information currently on government websites still contains outright lies about his service.

So, it's not only about what he did in 1972, but about his falsehoods concerning his record even some thirty years later.

This Is A Start

Kerry Asserts Bush Has Misled Voters

I've been wondering how to encapsulate (or sloganize) some of the "character issues" Bush has which make his presidency so poor. While I haven't tossed it around enough to get to the nub and reduce it to a pithy phrase, I think the big issue is that he omits very important issues when trying to sell policies. He did it with WMD and Iraq (professing certainty when we see the Intel was much more caveated, he did it with the Medicaire "reform" bill, by withholding from the Congress the true cost of the plan until after the vote. To stretch back in time, he even is doing it with his National Guard records.

Good that Kerry is seeing that.
"Once again, this administration hides the truth from the American people," Kerry said at the St. Ann Center here.

Aides say Tuesday's message speaks to a larger point Kerry believes he has to make to win, which is that Bush has misled the public on issues from war to health costs. "You know how to tell the truth and see the truth and understand it and make a choice about it," Kerry told the seniors.
I'd like a good catchphrase ("W stands for withholding important information" doesn't quite do it). But, with enough examples and a decent distillation, I think the concept could sink in.

Maybe I'll work on it here for a while.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Zarqawi's Good Fortune

Whatever happened with this NBC story from March?

MSNBC - Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind

Jim Miklaszweski reported that twice Bush nixed an attack on Zarqawi before the Iraq war in the belief that a dead Zarqawi (practically the sole -- if very dubious -- connection between al Qaeda and Saddam) would reduce public support for the war.

The sourcing is anonymous, but Miklaszewski is a pretty solid reporter -- no crackpot -- and he does seem to have good Pentagon sources.

Slate's Fred Kaplan, who also seems to have good DOD sources, believed it two month later when he wrote :
In the two years since the Pentagon's first attack plan, Zarqawi has been linked not just to Berg's execution but, according to NBC, 700 other killings in Iraq. If Bush had carried out that attack back in June 2002, the killings might not have happened. More: The case for war (as the White House feared) might not have seemed so compelling. Indeed, the war itself might not have happened.
Has anyone heard any news about this since?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Two falsehoods in one "official" paragraph

An official State Dept.Biography of President-Elect George W. Bush:
"George W. was commissioned as a second lieutenant and spent two years on active duty, flying F-102 fighter interceptors. For almost four years after that, he was on a part-time status, flying occasional missions to help the Air National Guard keep two of its F-102s on round-the-clock alert."
This is false. From the Boston Globe in 2000:
But 22 months after finishing his training, and with two years left on his six-year commitment, Bush gave up flying - for good, it would turn out.
So he didn't even fly for "two years" as his official biography states.

And he flew for the last time on April 6, 1972 and "never flew a military plane again." So, he did not fly "occasional missions" after his 22 months flying -- not for one day , much less for "four years" as his official State Department bio states.

I see Walter V. Robinson of the Boston Globe caught this earlier, and it was supposed to be corrected in February at the latest. Gee, I wonder how these falsehoods, inflating Bush's service got into these biographies at all?

It's on at least five US Government websites still. (For some reason, the first link I use in this post is not among those in the Google search that finds five more.)

These documents are from Bush's current term, showing just how recently he's lied about his record.

Sunday, September 12, 2004 - Authenticity of new Bush military papers questioned

Although USA Today doesn't mention it, they've included two documents that didn't appear in the original 60 Minutes story. You can see them here as .pdf files.

The first one is of particular significance. Here's the text:

01 February 1972
SUBJECT: Flight Qualifications
Update me as soon as possible on flight certifications. Specifically - Bath and Bush.

1.) Note the date. This is BEFORE Bush's required flight physical was due. It looks like LtCol Killian's problems with Bush didn't just start with his refusal to take a flight physical.
2.) This links Bush with James R. Bath, who also refused to take a flight physical and was subsequently taken off flight duty at the same time as Bush. James R. Bath was a Bush friend and later became representative of the bin Laden family interests in the US. Bath was also an investor (probably using bin Laden funds, as his name was used in all bin Laden transactions in the US) in Bush's Arbusto Oil.

Bath is alive and well and living at his ranch in Texas. He was a Houston "entrepreneur" and very visible until a nasty divorce and a lawsuit by an unhappy business partner divulged some of his business dealings. Since then he appears to have been lying low at his ranch not saying anything to anyone.

Republican talking points about North Korea getting the bomb: Besides the usual "we're doing just great!" pablum, I've heard two republicans today (Sen. Pat Roberts and Condi Rice) state that Kim Jong Il may be trying to affect the November elections.

This is typical: trying to spin their abject policy failure into a political plus. It's sickening.

I wish they'd worry as much about lunatics getting nukes as they do about trying to score a few political points.

Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea

Thank you, George W. Bush, for obsessively chasing off after a defanged (though repugnant) dictator, while allowing a far crazier and more dangerous despot to develop and promulgate nuclear weapons.

Your resolve to not deal with North Korea -- never flip-flopping into effectively dealing with them -- gave Kim Jong Il nukes.

I realize the explosion hasn't been confirmed as nuclear yet yet, but even if it's not, the way Bush has been handling North Korea and nuke proliferation in general it's just a matter of time.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Authenticity backed on Bush documents

Boston Globe article includes this quote, from an "expert" who formerly thought the documents had to be composed on a computer.

Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.

As for the raised ''th" that appears in the Bush memos -- to refer, for example, to units such as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron -- Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s, and that the military could have ordered such custom balls from IBM.

''You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.
So, the expert, Dr. Bouffard, didn't have a sample of one of IBM's typewriters in his selection. IBM was only the 500 pound gorilla of typewriter manufacturing, no need to have their machines on file if you're compiling typewriter samples.

At least when confronted with type samples that showed such a document could have been typewritten even as early as the late 1960s, on a typewriter that the US Military had receive the OK to purchase, he changed his position.

This could all be settled if Bush would just sign an authorization to release his military files, so AP wouldn't have to sue in order to get access to this part of his biography.

September 11 and Its Aftermath

I was in NYC on 9/11. It was horrible then and it remains that way.

Above, Juan Cole has a post I agree with about how we've managed to screw up the fight against global jihadists.

In short: since 9/11 we've divided our friends and multiplied our enemies. It's a stragegic nightmare.

A short while after 9/11, a mural went up in Manhattan (Sixth St. and Cooper Sq.) depicting the Twin Towers filled with flowers. I don't want to steal bandwidth, so here's a link to a photo of it.

It's not the greatest public art in history, but I kinda like it anyway.


Thank goodness we're winning hearts and minds in Iraq.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

BAD ATTITUDES: Having Fun with Some Chickenhawks

A pleasing vignette -- an Vietnam veteran talking with two Bush supporters.

Records of Bush's Ala. Military Duty Can't Be Found (

That's fron 2000.

It includes Bush saying this:
Campaigning Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Bush was asked about his 1972 service in that state.

"I was there on a temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one period of time," he said. "I made up some missed weekends."

"I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have the same airplanes. I fulfilled my obligations."

Later I think they came up with the story that he was shuffling papers. But the first reaction was -- he just didn't know. Forgetfulness is a handy thing when waiting to come up with a real story.
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