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July 29, 2004


Too bad they couldn't get a picture of him in a turban.

Dry run. If the American public lets this one go by without comment, the October surprise can be executed with impunity.

I think "sidereal" is actually Karl Rove. Devilishly clever.

I dunno, I thought that the July surprise would be a bigger fish. This guy seems pretty low-level. If he's actaully a fish at all, and not just a guy grabbed off the street by a desperate-to-please Pakistani intelligence unit.

"redemocratize us". What a card.

He's such a big surprise that his capture is burried by the news that Kerry will make a speech later tonight.

If I was going to plan a July surprise, I'd have planned to capture someone that is big enough to actually compete for news coverage with Kerry's speech.

It's true, Edward. I'm the Mole. You can behold more of my brilliance in our decision to impose tariffs on shrimp. Seems nonsensical until you note that it is a response to a request by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, which is made up of shrimpers in "Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas."

Work that base!

It's foolproof.

After watching Fox's "attack" coverage of the Democratic convention over the
last 3 days...

The announcement today of the capture of an alleged Al-Queda High Value
Target in Pakistan.... (Right on cue so to speak).... I am certain that
there is serious consideration going on at Fox at this moment that if during
the time that Kerry is giving the speech the news-crawl is still going that
this item will be highlighted....

Tended to watch the main networks for the main speeches so I am not sure if
the pattern has been to keep the crawl at Fox during the earlier
speeches.... But lord, If they do run the crawl it will be there... Mark
my words...


Further information is coming out that he was actually captured on Sunday and the information on the capture was held until today...



Further information is coming out that he was actually captured on Sunday and the information on the capture was held until today...

OK, so today is a bit suspicious, but IIRC, we like to keep the fact of a capture secret for a while so as not to tip off the captive's pals that he's been grabbed up.

Timing always the timing.

I am not even a little surprised. I am so unsurprised that I am probably not as angry as I should be.

Look, if you've been watching at all since April of 2002--these guys will politicize anything. Anything. They gave me nightmares to distract the country the first time their leadership was questioned. They agreed not to question AQ Khan, former head of Pakistan's nuclear program & branch manager of the nuclear Wal-Mart, and they agreed to let Musharraf pardon him, to get high level Al Qaeda members in time for the election. Is it so much more of a stretch to believe that this timing of the announced capture was not a coincidence? I know we should give our leaders the benefit of the doubt in war time, but at some point optimism and trust shades into irresponsible naivete.

On to better subjects: Kerry. Wow. I fully expected it to be the best speech I'd seen him give, but I didn't expect it to be the best by such a margin. I didn't expect it to be better than Edwards (as pure rhetoric I think Obama's and Clinton's were better, but that is inevitable and that's just fine.) It made me think, for the first time--maybe I was wrong in the primaries, about electability and "good-presidenting." He knows what he's doing, on matters foreign and domestic, and that may matter more than anything else.

I will sleep so much easier with him in the White House.

One of the things I especially loved about this speech was recognizing hints of rhetoric from the other Democratic candidates, which Kerry combined and made his own. That Lincoln story, where he prays not confidently that God is on our side but humbly that we are on his--Edwards first told that at a Congressional prayer breakfast; I think it was 2002. There were echoes of Dean, in telling us that it depended as much on us as on him, and in talking about restoring democracy and the Constitution. There were echoes of Clark, in the effective talk about values and the autobiography made into a powerful story instead of a resume item repeated incessantly.

I have no idea whether we'll win this election, but we should, and we can. I never imagined the convention could be this good. All four of the major speeches were better than any speech I saw in 1992, 1996 or 2000.

OK, so today is a bit suspicious, but IIRC, we like to keep the fact of a capture secret for a while so as not to tip off the captive's pals that he's been grabbed up.

I think you are missing the big picture here... The only real purpose for "announcing" the capture is political... The Pakistani's had been urged to provide this in this time frame and they followed up once they caught him.

This is a guy that has been on the run for 5 years and could have crossed many country boundaries. He may have interacted with multiple cells in a range of locations. It is not a case of the cops pulling in a kid and trying to find out the names of the other kids that he hangs with in the neighborhood... The information he holds is going to come from an interrogation process measured in months not days. Yes there will be people in his organization that would be aware of his arrest and will try to communicate it throughout the organization but for all we know he has been involved with cells in remote places that they don't have direct communication with... We may know that in a month...

This administration has gone as far as the supreme court to maintain the concept of secrecy to protect National Security... The basic American principle of unmonitored communication between client and attorney has been curtailed in the name that we must maintain secrecy and not give information to these terrorist organizations... Why did we not tell the Pakistani's to be discreet if you catch a HVT and let us know? We will work out with you how to make the most of this intelligence asset...

Does America need this announcement to feel safer or does this announcement assist the administration in maintaining the illusion of "you are safer"???

More on the political side of this in the next post...

The very request to the Pakistani's to provide us with a High Value Target by the end of July, around the 26th to the 28th can't be read any other way other than the political significance of the Democratic Convention... The ability to announce a ribbon, one for the good guy's, cause "We know how to protect America from terrorists." "Pay no attention to that liberal traitor on the stage...."


The conspiracy theory will run full bore until the upcoming election is over.

Good news in the "War against Radical Islam will solely be viewed on its impact on the election. Simply reflecting the problem of many here, that the Bush Admin is the enemy and not AQ. A pitiful state but what can one do.

Good news in the "War against Radical Islam will solely be viewed on its impact on the election. Simply reflecting the problem of many here, that the Bush Admin is the enemy and not AQ. A pitiful state but what can one do.

Well, sure, and that's to be guarded against with vigilence. At the same time, there is a narrow exception to the rule that "Do not lose sight of what's good for the country" when filtering news from the WoT through your partisan lens: It's the charge levied by TNR and Marshall here, that the Bush administration is itself conducting the WoT not to maximize the chances of the country winning, but to maximize the chance that Bush is re-elected.

It's an extraordinary charge, and it requires (as Carl Sagan might have said) extraordinary proof. I don't think JM or TNR quite mustered it here. But they didn't lob the charge with no evidence: They reported in early July that the Bush administration was attempting to convince the ISI to time the capture of prominent al Queda members during the DNC.

Their evidence was sketchy and not-all-that convincing in my book, but the fact that the ISI actually did capture a prominent al Queda member during the DNC does tend to support the claim, no?

Should I use a Kerrism, saying something doesn't make it so.

From now until November, the issue of timing will be the first question asked by the likes of Josh (TNR is too multifaceted), instead of the implications (unless unfavorable) for the nation. On Pakistan is our pressure just the natural progression (as compared to last year) in the conflict or something else. My issue is, Josh never asks that question and never will.

Funny how all your scepticism falls on the left side of things Timmy.

A healthy dose on the right side might balance things out a bit, no? ;p

Funny how all your scepticism falls on the left side of things Timmy.

Actually Edward it doesn't. That is Edward, if there was a Democrat in office, I wouldn't change my position. How about you?

Oh, Edward there is a wonderful article on Bush, Lincoln and the ABB drift. Since you found the connection so amusing last time I mentioned it, I will bring it up early in your next post, unless you tell me not to--don't want Catsy to accuse me of claim jumping or something :).

For more on Abdul Qadeer Khan, see this Seymour Hersh piece. (I'd completely forgotten that he wrote this story.)


On February 4th, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is revered in Pakistan as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, appeared on a state-run television network in Islamabad and confessed that he had been solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapons materials. His confession was accepted by a stony-faced Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s President, who is a former Army general, and who dressed for the occasion in commando fatigues. The next day, on television again, Musharraf, who claimed to be shocked by Khan’s misdeeds, nonetheless pardoned him, citing his service to Pakistan (he called Khan “my hero”)....

In public, the Bush Administration accepted the pardon at face value. Within hours of Musharraf’s television appearance, Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, praised him as “the right man at the right time.” Armitage added that Pakistan had been “very forthright in the last several years with us about proliferation.” A White House spokesman said that the Administration valued Musharraf’s assurances that “Pakistan was not involved in any of the proliferation activity.” A State Department spokesman said that how to deal with Khan was “a matter for Pakistan to decide.”

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup d’état in 1999, has been a major ally of the Bush Administration in the war on terrorism. According to past and present military and intelligence officials, however, Washington’s support for the pardon of Khan was predicated on what Musharraf has agreed to do next: look the other way as the U.S. hunts for Osama bin Laden in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan dominated by the forbidding Hindu Kush mountain range, where he is believed to be operating. American commanders have been eager for permission to conduct major sweeps in the Hindu Kush for some time, and Musharraf has repeatedly refused them. Now, with Musharraf’s agreement, the Administration has authorized a major spring offensive that will involve the movement of thousands of American troops.

Musharraf has proffered other help as well. A former senior intelligence official said to me, “Musharraf told us, ‘We’ve got guys inside. The people who provide fresh fruits and vegetables and herd the goats’” for bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers. “It’s a quid pro quo: we’re going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan.”

Actually Edward it doesn't. That is Edward, if there was a Democrat in office, I wouldn't change my position. How about you?

Absolutely not. I was howling like a banshee when Clinton bombed this or that country during his Monica troubles. Don't like any of this opportunistic b.s.

Oh, Edward there is a wonderful article on Bush, Lincoln and the ABB drift.


TtWD --

I'm less concerned with TNR's or JM's motivation in this -- I'll happily concede that it may be short-sided and political -- than I am with the fact that their reporting on this issue may, in fact, be correct. The messenger is seldom more important than the message. In particular, where the charge is so serious and supported by some evidence, it's not rational to focus so highly on the messenger, as you have done.

Is the "July suprise" likely to have happened in the manner reported by JM and TNR? I don't think anonymous sources, significant conjecture, and seeming coincidence make the case to prove this extraordinary charge. But is the charge baseless -- a mere slander, easily dismissed? I don't think we can say that either. The charge is troubling because there's now one can say that it might actually be true.

Actually, the way I read the charge is that it is open-ended through the first Tuesday of November.

In TNR article it went further as to what was the payoff which is why I found the charge baseless.

This is similar to the stem cell issue where according to the Dems Bush has banned research on stem cells. More enlightened individuals say Bush has banned Federal Funding of stem cell research (like yourself over at RedStates), where in actuality Bush has established funding guidelines for embyronic stem cell research, which the previous Admin punted on.

off topic but still related to the spin machine

"Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said officials there "are confident that there aren't any original documents missing in relation to this case." She said in most cases, Mr. Berger was given photocopies to review, and that in any event officials have accounted for all originals to which he had access.

That included all drafts of a so-called after-action report prepared by the White House and federal agencies in 2000 after the investigation into a foiled bombing plot aimed at the Millennium celebrations."


Yes, confirmed that none of the documents which are currently missing were originals. Not confirming that none of the documents taken were originals. Not claiming that if Berger had not been caught that no originals would be missing.

We just don't know about that, because they aren't telling us.

"Actually, the way I read the charge is that it is open-ended through the first Tuesday of November."

That's an odd way to read it, since it specified an announcement during the DNC.

"Not claiming that if Berger had not been caught that no originals would be missing."
What? How could they claim that?
Give it a rest and read the WSJ atricle. Here's another piece:

"Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.


The conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission."

or this:
" Some of the allegations have related to the possibility that drafts with handwritten notes on them may have disappeared, but Ms. Cooper said archives staff are confident those documents aren't missing either."

Edward, since we've moved off topic Bush, Lincoln, ABBers

[via Powerline] on this The Case for George W. Bush
i.e., what if he's right?

Then I read the text of the speech he gave and was thrown from one kind of certainty—the comfortable kind—into another. He was speaking, as he always does, of the moral underpinnings of our mission in Iraq. He was comparing, as he always does, the challenge that we face, in the evil of global terrorism, to the challenge our fathers and grandfathers faced, in the evil of fascism. He was insisting, as he always does, that the evil of global terrorism is exactly that, an evil—one of almost transcendent dimension that quite simply must be met, lest we be remembered for not meeting it . . . lest we allow it to be our judge. I agreed with most of what he said, as I often do when he's defining matters of principle. No, more than that, I thought that he was defining principles that desperately needed defining, with a clarity that those of my own political stripe demonstrate only when they're decrying either his policies or his character. He was making a moral proposition upon which he was basing his entire presidency—or said he was basing his entire presidency—and I found myself in the strange position of buying into the proposition without buying into the presidency, of buying into the words while rejecting, utterly, the man who spoke them. There is, of course, an easy answer for this seeming moral schizophrenia: the distance between the principles and the policy, between the mission and "Mission Accomplished," between the war on terror and the war in Iraq. Still, I have to admit to feeling a little uncertain of my disdain for this president when forced to contemplate the principle that might animate his determination to stay the course in a war that very well may be the end of him politically. I have to admit that when I listen to him speak, with his unbending certainty, I sometimes hear an echo of the same nagging question I ask myself after I hear a preacher declaim the agonies of hellfire or an insurance agent enumerate the cold odds of the actuarial tables. Namely: What if he's right?

...What haunts me is the possibility that we have become so accustomed to ambiguity and inaction in the face of evil that we find his call for decisive action an insult to our sense of nuance and proportion.

...When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court objected to the arrest of a Maryland man who trained troops for Confederate muster, Lincoln essentially ignored his ruling. He argued that there was no point fixating on one clause in the Constitution when Southern secession had shredded the whole document, and asked, "Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?" During the four-year course of the Civil War, he also selectively abridged the rights of free speech, jury trial, and private property.

...Not that the war went well: His army was in the habit of losing long before it learned to win, and Lincoln did not find a general to his liking until he found Ulysses S. Grant, whose idea of war was total. He financed the bloodbath by exposing the nation to ruinous debt and taxation, and by 1864 he had to contend with an antiwar challenge from Democrats and a political challenge from a member of his own Cabinet. On August 23, 1864, he was motivated to write in a memorandum that "it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be reelected," and yet his position on peace never wavered: He rejected any terms but the restoration of the union and the abolition of slavery.

...And he cannot speak the barest terms necessary for victory in any war—that we will stay the course, through good or through ill, because our cause is right and just, and God is on our side—without inspiring a goodly number of his constituents to aspire to the moral prestige of surrender.

Edward, if you care to read the entire article, my comparison Bush to Lincoln is more than reasonable.

Sebastian --

From my (admittedly limited) experience with the national archives, they use the term "originals" in the same manner that lawyers do: That is, to mean any document that is not identical in all respects (including markings, handwritten notes, attachments, page order, etc.) to another document. Sandy's an idiot, he may have violated the law, and he may have intended to do his idiotic and possibly criminal deeds for the purpose of concealing the truth. If he intended the last, however, he appears to have failed.

Timmy, thanks for the link...interesting article...HOWEVER:

I know many Bush supporters feel he is consistent and that article goes on ad nauseum trying to convince us he is, but the whole thing flies apart with bits like this:

The most compelling moral issue of the day is exactly what [Bush] says it is, when he's not saying it's gay marriage.

How an observer can gloss right over the fact that Bush, Santorium, and others have painted keeping gays from marrying each other as a threat as great to the nation as terrorism, and still take them seriously on either issue is way beyond me.

Further, the comparison with Lincoln misses one central point. Lincoln was fighting to secure the Union. Although I don't like it, he may have been right that it makes no sense to lose the Union on certain prinicples that were supposed to keep a Civil War from happening (clearly they hadn't worked so well up to that point). In that conflict, we, the American people, were the enemy. The Constituion had not well anticipated the events that led to the war. It had failed in its mission to "form a more perfect Union". It's a very different situation from what Bush has on his hands now.

I can't get over the fact that Bush had a 90% approval rating in October 2001. There was no question whatsoever that the Constitution as it stood on 9/11/2001 was a success. There's no question whatsoever that we were a more perfect Union on 9/12/2001. It was incredible to walk down the streets, in the Leftie Haven we call NYC, and see American flags in every window. It was so remarkable.

Bush didn't need to attack the Constitution in his WoT. It was working fine. What clearly needed improvement was our intelligence agencies. They needed to work better.

Now the Constitution is also designed to provide for the common defense, of course, but it wasn't an excess of civil liberties that forced a breakdown in our intelligence. Bush might as well take away the right to vote to prevent another terrorist attack, it's just as logically sound an idea.

You said:
"Bush might as well take away the right to vote to prevent another terrorist attack, it's just as logically sound an idea."

I just want to remind you that that information is embargoed until the third day of the RNC. Please refrain from mentioning it again until that time.

Sorry Carsick...bad fake Death Beast!

won't happen again.

Bush didn't need to attack the Constitution, but Eddie he didn't attack the Constitution pure and simple.

Edward, I believe you missed the point of the article as well as my point, not that that is important.

I didn't miss it Timmy. If I may...

There's a belief that Bush is doing something noble in the WoT. Something so noble in fact it possibly transcends the ability of many of us Americans to comprehend. Perhaps he has this clear vision of what needs to be done and keeps doing it because he knows its the right thing to do, his own career be damned.

This vision, however, just happens to correspond quite nicely with his vision before 9/11, so I don't buy it.

This vision, however, just happens to correspond quite nicely with his vision before 9/11, so I don't buy it

What vision are you talking about, Edward and I missed your comment on the Constitution.

What vision are you talking about, Edward

The one that led him to invade Iraq despite there being no connection between that country and the attacks on us on 9/11. This Wolfowitzian idea that Democracy can be forced upon the Middle East and as soon as it is, we'll all be happier and richer. That vision.

I missed your comment on the Constitution.

The PATRIOT ACT is the attack on the Constitution. The sense that the President is above the law in dealing with enemy combattants is the attack on the Constitution. The idea that the President can approve of and get away with torture because we're at war is the attack on the Constitution. The idea that the Constitution is there for religious persecution of minority groups who want to expand their rights and responsibilities in this country is the attack on the Constitution. Those attacks.

Edward, the Admin was very clear that Saddam was not involved in the 9-11 attack. I believe this country has been supportive of democracies for my entire life. The Iraqi conflict was all about American security.

Now how did the Patriot Act ravage the Constitution (btw the Act was passed by the Congress and then signed by the President).

As for the balance of your comments, I suggest a reading of the Constitution is warranted as well as the recent rulings by SCOTUS.

A quick note about our LIBERAL MEDIA:

So far the only story about Sandy Berger NOT stealing original documents from the National Archives in his socks is on the 16th page of the Wall Street Journal.
Has anybody seen the story anywhere else yet?


Wave to the shark as you pass overhead.

the Admin was very clear that Saddam was not involved in the 9-11 attack

Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaida. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. --SOTUS 1/28/03

Saddam became more interested as he saw al-Qaida’s appalling attacks. A detained al-Qaida member tells us that Saddam was more willing to assist al-Qaida after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Saddam was also impressed by al-Qaida’s attacks on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. --Colin Powell, 2/5/03

After the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, we will not allow grave threats to go unopposed. We are now working to locate and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. --President Bush, 4/24/03

The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on.
— President Bush, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003.

We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s --Cheney to Tim Russert, 9/14/03, answering the question "is there a 9-11 connection?"

Timmy, it takes at most one, two dots to draw the connection in these statements.

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