« Sad, But True | Main | Don't Get Mad; Get Even. »

September 27, 2006

Comments

President denies principle of mathematical inequality!

(or there was property damage in excess of $10,000)

well, that explains it.

If you just take into account the rate of inflation, plus the improvements in technology (smaller i-pods!), the entire difference goes away. It's just simple economics

Donald Luskin has the model for it.

Wingnut talking points:

1. You can do anything with statistics.
2. The terrorists are culling themselves through suicide bombings, soon there will be none left.
3. Schools! Painted schools!
4. The huge spike in 2004 meant the terrorists wanted Kerry to be President.
5. The terrorist menace is stronger now than ever, we must take the fight to them in places like Iraq, on to Iran!
6. It's Clinton's fault.
7. That graph is loser-defeatist!
8. Just that much closer to the rapture.
9. It's the result of MSM bias against the President.
10. Activist judges did this.
11. None of this would have happened if we had a flat tax.
12. This is proof that the President's strategy is working.
13. This is proof that we can't take the Democrats seriously on national security.

14 Facts have a liberal bias.

We need to make the pie graph higher.

I wouldn't expect this to have any impact on Dubya, he didn't get too far with his cipherin'.

15. It would be even worse if we hadn't invaded.

For what it is worth, I think they include the incidents in Iraq as terrorist activities. I would like to see a chart indicating terrorist attacks outside of Iraq. What this indicates, if the other is not significant, at least to the right, is that we are correct to be fighting them there. (I do disagree with that assessment.)

Oh, and number 16: Most of these attacks are wimpy anyway, so who cares.

I remember Limbaugh stating after the London bombings that they were unsuccesful because not enough people were killed.

I did a little bit of checking, and this chart is way, way off. As far as I can tell, Johnson hasn't linked his chart to anything official, so compare with this.

Summary: Johnson's chart is way off on the low side for 2005. NTDC has total attacks involving fatalities at over 10,000, with about a third of those taking place in Iraq. Why the people doing the tracking and Larry Johnson are at disconnect is not something I care to speculate on, but it would be handy to see where Larry's getting his numbers. Exclude Iraq and he's still way off on the low side for total incidents. Could be the filter being used for "incidents"; could be something else.

As for who is closer to the actual number, not something I care to speculate on.

chart to anything official, so compare with this.

The PDF came through as goobledigook for me. Anyone else?

Those curious about rolling their own statistics can also check out The Terrorism Knowledgebase. Fun with data visualization...

For a second, there, I thought maybe I screwed up the link; that wouldn't be the first or last time. But no, it comes up ok for me.

For a second, there, I thought maybe I screwed up the link; that wouldn't be the first or last time. But no, it comes up ok for me.

Also, could it be Johnson's chart reflects attacks v. Americans and your cite v. everyone?

He says it's based on State Dept./CIA statistics. It would be, yes, nice to see the originals.

Well, I looked over at State first, and their report linked to NCTC.

Which I inaccurately named as NTDC, upthread. Sosume.

17. Statistics are just a theory, not a fact.

18. This just makes it all the more important that we not cut n' run!

Sosume

Sashimi.

sosume:

umm, okay. what jurisdiction?

p.s. Most people don't volunteer for lawsuits. I suggest you reconsider.

I thought it was a command, like "Open sosume."

19: facts all come with points of view / facts don't do what i want them to / facts are living turned inside out

20. We need to stay the course so the President can finish closing the gap between total incidents and significant incidents.

20. If terrorist attacks aren't on the rise, then the terrorists will have won.

21. Spartikus sucks and is runing my mojo.

and my spelling

c-Span 2 right now.

Hilzoy,

I think you are guilty of cherry-picking... Bush and his cronies may be rubbing off on you.

What the President actually said was:

Question:

Even after hearing that one of the major conclusions of the national intelligence estimate in April was that the Iraq war has fueled terror growth around the world, why have you continued to say that the Iraq war has made this country safer?

....

BUSH: I, of course, read the key judgments on the NIE. I agree with their conclusion that, because of our successes against the leadership of al Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent.

I'm not surprised the enemy is exploiting the situation in Iraq and using it as a propaganda tool to try to recruit more people to their murderous ways.

Some people have, you know, guessed what's in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.

The terrorists fight us in Iraq for a reason; they want to try to stop a young democracy from developing, just like they're trying to fight this young democracy in Afghanistan.

And they use it as a recruitment tool because they understand the stakes. They understand what will happen to them when we defeat them in Iraq.

You know, to suggest that if we weren't in Iraq we would see a rosier scenario, with fewer extremists joining the radical movement, requires us to ignore 20 years of experience.

We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. We weren't in Iraq and thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps inside your country, Mr. President. We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993.

KARZAI: Yes, sir.

BUSH: We weren't in Iraq when they bombed the Cole.

KARZAI: Yes, sir.

BUSH: We weren't in Iraq when they blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

My judgment is, if we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse, because they have ambitions. They kill in order to achieve their objectives.

You know, in the past, Osama bin Laden used Somalia as an excuse for people to join his jihadist movement. In the past, they used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was a convenient way to try to recruit people to their jihadist movement. They've used all kinds of excuses.

This government is going to do whatever it takes to protect this homeland. We're not going to let their excuses stop us from staying on the offense.

The best way to protect America is to defeat these killers overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.

And that is not quite the outlandish comment that your title implies:

"President ... Denies War Has Worsened Terrorism"

If you were being fair you would have recognized that before you made up a title that misled your readers.

And your chart is not relevant to his point.

But, hey don't let what he actually said get in the way of what you want to believe and ridicule.

One would think that those who accuse the Bush administration of doing this so often wouldn't resort to the same tactics.

isn't anyone going to defend W ? isn't there anyone brave enough to step up and show us the bright and sparkly side of these numbers and how they prove W is right ?

wow. right on time, bril.

My judgment is, if we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse, because they have ambitions. They kill in order to achieve their objectives.
Do I get a point for calling #15, the 'it woudl be even worse if we hadn't invaded' response?

Slarti: I didn't check the math, but he says it's based on the State Dept. stats. They are listed here. The reports seem to be fairly straightforward, though actually checking Johnson's figures would require me to count up the various significant and nonsignificant incidents, which are listed. Here is what seems to be a similar list of significant terrorist incidents for 2004.

As of 2005, they seem to have broadened their definition:

"Over the course of the past year, NCTC, working with a panel of terrorism experts, has revised the methodology for counting terrorist incidents, basing it on the broader statutory definition of "terrorism" rather than that of "international terrorism,"[1] on which the NCTC based its incident counting in previous years."

They claim (fn 1 of the above) that "Users who wish to determine the number of incidents of "international terrorism" (i.e., incidents that involve the territory or citizens of two or more countries) will find these incidents included in the WITS database." If I had to hazard a guess as to why Johnson's numbers are smaller than the NCTC's, trying to achieve some sort of comparability with the previous reports in order to make a meaningful graph would be my guess. (It would also explain why he didn't just link to something.)

This is all a guess, since I don't have time to physically count all the incidents ;)

Slarti: when I said: "The reports seem to be fairly straightforward", I left out a clause, namely: "through 2003" -- after which the switchover makes all hell break loose, statistically speaking.

What the President actually said was:

And what the President also actually said was:

"This country is safer than it was prior to 9-11," Bush said from the airport tarmac here where he was appearing at events focused on the economy.

That statement was made August 10, 2006 btw. It's quite possible the President hadn't read the April NIE by then as it was, what, only 3 months old.

If you were being fair you would have recognized that before you made up a title that misled your readers.

Umm, MSNBC "made up" that title, go tell it to them.

Ironic that somebody talking about cherry-picking missed that Hilzoy wasn't the one who wrote the headline, innit?

Slarti: I didn't check the math, but he says it's based on the State Dept. stats. They are listed here.

Yes, I know; shoulda noted that I'd been there, done that, gotten the teeshirt and then followed links from the state docs out to NCTC. If only there was html for the path entire that one takes through the web...

My point was, though, that his numbers for the one year that I checked didn't seem well-related to the NCTC numbers. What that means beyond one of these things is not like the others, I have no idea.

Ironic that somebody talking about cherry-picking missed that Hilzoy wasn't the one who wrote the headline, innit?

...and then cherry-picked the parts of the interview that were only relevant to what he was saying.

"cherry-picking" is a dangerous accusation.

Indeed.

I prefer apples.

You know, when I first read cleek's reply above, I read it as "cherry-picking is a dangerous occupation", which nearly sent me to Google for accident statistics.

Bril, Bush (as is often the case) is responding to an argument that no one is making. The claim is that terrorism is worse because we invaded Iraq, not that there would be no terrorism if we hadn't invaded.

I read it as "cherry-picking is a dangerous occupation", which nearly sent me to Google for accident statistics.

i just tried... it's tough to separate the fruit harvesters from people who work on utility poles in "cherry pickers". ObWi needs a research assistant to track down these important stats.

ObWi needs a research assistant to track down these important stats.

I though Gary held that position. No wait, that's fact checker (said in jest, Gary).

I think bril's point is that when GWB says the war hasn't worsened terrorism he only means that no terrorists have attacked us since the war started and that he believes that the terrorists would be less likely to mount a successful attack on US civilians on US soil today.

The rest of those incidents are (per someone's (Bob M, cleek,...?) link a while back) outside his monkeysphere.

And this fits GWB's worldview quite well. Everyone he cares about is much better off today than they were at the start of the war. It's like something straight out of Richard Morgan's Market Forces. "Here's to small wars."

Stop thinking globally. GWB doesn't.

Dan Froomkin has a good analysis of the statements Bril quoted from Bush.

Cleek writes:
"isn't anyone going to defend W ? isn't there anyone brave enough to step up and show us the bright and sparkly side of these numbers and how they prove W is right ?"

These numbers validate the GWoT. From the perspective of ensuring permanent war, this chart reflects a best case scenario. We must have an enemy. We are guaranteed one for the next generation. No more surprises like the collapse of the Soviet Union to put a kink in the plan.

We must have an enemy. We are guaranteed one for the next generation. No more surprises like the collapse of the Soviet Union to put a kink in the plan.

That's brilliant.

kcindc,

I think Fromkin is reading what he wants into the transcript and ignoring what Bush actually says. Much like Hilzoy did.

Bush was asked the following question:

...why have you continued to say that the Iraq war has made this country safer?

Bush replies:

Some people have, you know, guessed what's in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.


Disagree with his position all you want, but he answered the question. I too think it is naive. One could easily make the argument that if we had not gone into Iraq Islamic Fascism might have continued to grow deeper roots into the middle east without any impediments. Festering until we had to perform an real amputation. Allowing Hussein to continue ignoring international law could have encouraged even more terrorists. Much bin Laden in Somalia.

Fromkin asks:

But was it a mistake to give them such a powerful and motivating excuse?

Bush wasn't actually asked that question. The article reads to me that Fromkin is the one creating strawmen. Bush refuses to answer a question that he wasn't asked. Well, gee who woulda thunkit.

Bush is asked a question that also includes a comment about the report. He reponds that he agrees with the report and then directly answers the question. Not good enough for you or Fromkin. You want Bush to answer a question that he wasn't asked.

More of Fromkin's astute analysis:

Bush: "But I will comment on this -- that we're on the offense against an enemy that wants to do us harm. And we must have the tools necessary to protect our country. On the one hand, if al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates are calling somebody in the country, we need to know why. "

For the record, Bush's critics are not suggesting that the U.S. shouldn't eavesdrop on suspected terrorists. They are simply suggesting that he get warrants to do so. And when they ask him why he can't achieve his goals within the law, he refuses to explain.

Bush: "And so Congress needs to pass that piece of legislation. If somebody has got information about a potential attack, we need to be able to ask that person some questions. And so Congress has got to pass that piece of legislation

Funny, I didn't hear Bush accuse anyone of anything in that comment. But Fromkin did. Bush said we need to listen to the conversations. Then Fromkin tries to make Bush say something he didn't. Again we have Fromkin getting frustrated for Bush not answering a question he wasn't asked.

Fromkin accuses:

This time, Bush simply refused to answer at all.

But what was the question? Did he refuse to answer it all? Could there possibly be anything that Bush said that was relevant to the question. Did he explain why he might not answer the question "at all"?

Let's see:

Question: Is that factually accurate, and how do you respond to his charges?"

"PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, look, Caren, I've watched all this finger-pointing and naming of names, and all that stuff. Our objective is to secure the country. And we've had investigations, we had the 9/11 Commission, we had the look back this, we've had the look back that. The American people need to know that we spend all our time doing everything that we can to protect them. So I'm not going to comment on other comments."

So Bush is straight-forward and sincere about why he doesn't want to get into a finger pointing fight and doesn't answer it. He didn't ignore the question and not give any kind of answer "at all". Some might call this being a statesmen. Not Fromkin.

More Fromkin:


"You can't protect America unless we give those people on the front lines of protecting this country the tools necessary to do so within the Constitution. And that's where the debate is here in the United States. There are some decent people who don't believe -- evidently don't believe we're at war, and therefore, shouldn't give the administration what is necessary to protect us. "

But of course that's not where the debate is in Washington. Bush's critics acknowledge the battle against terrorists and want to give him the tools to win it. The debate is over how to conduct the war, and how to provide the executive branch with the necessary tools without violating the law and the Constitution.

Yes, how to wage the war is the debate Mr. Fromkin. And correct me if I am wrong, but there is alot of debate going on about the wiretapping or has the Bush administration just run roughshod and wiretapping away as we speak?

Mr. Fromkin if you truly believe that we are at war you would recognize that the Executive branch wages war. Not the supreme court and congress. But my mind reading machine tells me that you have to take this path of debate because you just can't let Bush be president. You somehow have to try and curb him in.

Bush thinks some decent people disagree with his methods. You however don't think he is decent and can't listen to his words without reading your own philosophy into it.

You don't see Iraq as having anything to do with it. Bush does and so do I.

DNFTT.

That is all.

Misleading. This chart is presented in non-logarithmic format, deliberately exaggerating the visual contrast between values which are actually only separated by one, or at most two, orders of magnitude. Really hilzoy, I thought you were better than this.

p.s. I think I put the monkeysphere link in a thread here recently. I know I tend to bring it up now and then.

p.p.s. must... resist... mattbastard says... resist...

DNFFT ?

won' some body tink of the poor starvin Ts ? they only wants a small bit o' cheese, a crust o' bread, maybe a pint to hold 'em over till the morn' . please, mistuh, spare a morsul for a tired ol T ?

Quoth the bril:

I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe.

Disagree with his position all you want, but he answered the question.

No, he didn't. He tapdanced around the question, and accused people of believing something that he (or perhaps one of his speechwriters) made up, rather than something that rational people actually believe.

Nobody's saying that going after people who want to harm us makes us less safe. People have been saying that the Iraq war is making us less safe, however - which the numbers in the number of terrorist attacks since we invaded makes plain. If the distortion offered by President Bush were to have any basis in fact, then people would have had to say the same thing about Afghanistan that they are saying about Iraq, and the consensus on Afghanistan is that we needed to finish the job we started there, not that we shouldn't have started it in the first place.

"...if al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates are calling somebody in the country, we need to know why..."

Funny, I didn't hear Bush accuse anyone of anything in that comment.

Then you weren't paying close enough attention to the implication the President was making that there is no need to know why terrorists might be speaking to people inside the US, when the actual position with which the Bush administration so vehemently disagrees is that it needs to be done within the law, rather than outside of it.

oh, BTW, apparently the Saudis are so worried about the failing terrorist state on their NE border (aka Iraq) that they're planning to build a fence along the border.

won' some body tink of the poor starvin Ts ? they only wants a small bit o' cheese, a crust o' bread, maybe a pint to hold 'em over till the morn' . please, mistuh, spare a morsul for a tired ol T ?

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? No bridges to lurk under?

bril, I give you credit for standing by your guns.

My spider senses tell me this is an exercise in futility, but here we go. A couple of comments.

"I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe."

Here is what is naive.

It is naive to believe that, in March of '03, Iraq posed any threat to the US in any universe other than the Bizzaro universe.

It is naive to believe that, at that same point in time, the President of the US was unaware of that fact.

It is naive to believe that our invasion of and subsequent occupation of Iraq has contributed in any way whatsoever to decreasing the very real threat of militant Islamic violence.

That is what is naive.

"One could easily make the argument that if we had not gone into Iraq Islamic Fascism might have continued to grow deeper roots into the middle east without any impediments."

One could easily make the argument that if we hadn't gone into Iraq Martians would have invaded Earth. Go ahead and try to disprove it.

Meanwhile, back in the real world -- what the hell is "Islamic Fascism"? Do you know what Fascism is? The closest thing to Islamic fascism I can think of is Baathism. If that's what you're referring to, yes, invading Iraq certainly put a dent in it, but I'm not sure it was worth it to us.

"Allowing Hussein to continue ignoring international law could have encouraged even more terrorists."

Equally plausibly, allowing Hussein to ignore international law could have encouraged crabgrass to grow on my lawn. It might have encouraged my stepson to drive my car without filling up the gas tank, again. It might have encouraged increased sunspot activity.

Terrorists, now or then, did not and do not give a flying f*%k whether Saddam Hussein obeyed international law or not. You really have to do better than this.

"Mr. Fromkin if you truly believe that we are at war you would recognize that the Executive branch wages war. Not the supreme court and congress."

Regarding the war powers of, respectively, the executive and the Congress, please read the United States Consitution, Article I section 8, and Article II section 2. I keep a copy in my briefcase, but if you need one to read, you can find it here:

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

"But my mind reading machine tells me that you have to take this path of debate because you just can't let Bush be president."

In real life, people can't read each other's minds. If you have a mind reading machine telling you what other people are thinking, I suspect it is you who are "reading your own philosophy" into the discussion.

Wake up, bril.

Thanks

Nobody's saying that going after people who want to harm us makes us less safe.

Actually, I've occasionally said that in the past and will likely do so in the future. It depends on how we go after the people who want to harm us. See, for example, the Israeli side of the Israel-Palestine conflict (he says before running screaming from the thread).

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? No bridges to lurk under?

If we feed these trolls, they will never be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stand on their own two feet. Dependency on Troll Welfare[tm} only feeds a circular, self-reinforcing cycle and leads to Trolls, through simple Trollish nature, taking advantage of this overly generous, likely Marxist, system. I have it on good authority that Trolls have been sighted riding pompously through town in Cadillacs procured through loopholes and treachery. Or rather, under them.

DNFTT!

Disagree with the far leftist view presented here at Obsidian Wings and they resort to calling you a troll. How progressive.

Should we only talk with people who think just like us! Maybe it is true that Americans lack the ability to understand the root causes of terrorism, if posting here is any indication. Perhaps it is just better to stifle all dissent.

DNFTT!

May I suggest that some of you exercise the kind of grace President Bush did yesterday when he chose not to get into a finger pointing contest with the former President Clinton.

C'mon prodigal can't you see that he thinks that Iraq is central to the WOT. Even the all knowing NIE suggests that.

Argue that Iraq wasn't cental before the invasion. Argue that it didn't have to be central. Argue that they didn't think it would become central. Argue that you think it shouldn't have been made central. Argue that Bush was an idiot for making it central. But whether you, me or Bush like it, Iraq is central in the real world.

We either defeat AQ and the insurgency here or we only hurt ourselves.

So go back and read Bush's response, but this time read it as someone who believes that Iraq is crucial in the WOT, even if it didn't have to be central.


"Then you weren't paying close enough attention to the implication the President was making that there is no need to know why terrorists might be speaking to people inside the US, when the actual position with which the Bush administration so vehemently disagrees is that it needs to be done within the law, rather than outside of it."

Please, explain to me "why" it is more important to you that we need to know "why" terrorists might be speaking to people inside the US before we know "what" they are talking about. I personally want to know the "what" first and figure out the "why" later.

And to the second point, quite possibly this crazy administration thinks the President is the Commander in Chief of the military and that we are really at war and he has the inherit authority to wage it.

I would suggest that if 3,000 Americans had died on your watch you might think we were at war also.


"US, when the actual position with which the Bush administration so vehemently disagrees is that it needs to be done within the law, rather than outside of it."

Yes, unfortunately the politician has been forced to play politics. I agree that it sucks, but the divider is doing his best to be a unider* even when he has the inherit authority to wage war. But, I do agree with you. It sucks that he has taken that route to make those who constantly oppose and make his job at protecting Americans only more difficult happy.

*Bushism inserted for those who think the President is a moron.

"DNFTT"

I see that I have erred. My apologies.

Thanks -

bril: Randy Paul has two good questions for Bush supporters here. Namely:

"in light of the August 6, 2001 PDB:

1.) Why did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld threaten to urge a veto on September 9, 2001 if the Senate diverted $600 million from missile defense to counter-terrorism?

2.) Why, on September 10, 2001 did Attorney General Ashcroft submit a 31 page budget request to OMB that made no virtually no mention of counter-terrorism except to eliminate $65 million for counter-terrorism equipment grants and "did not recommend the budget enhancements requested by the FBI for 'Foreign Language Services,' 'Counter-terrorism Field Investigations,' and 'Intelligence Production (Field and HQs Intelligence Research Specialists),' totaling $57,814,000?"

Either they did not take the August 6 PDB very seriously or the president did not deem the information in the PDB important enough to share with the Secretary of Defense or the Attorney General.

So Bush supporters, which is it?"

I'd be interested to hear responses. Personally, I think Bush has done a terrible job fighting terror, starting with ignoring the problem before 9/11, proceeding through letting bin Laden escape at Tora Bora and giving Afghanistan short shrift, through creating a whole new "front in the war on terror" where none existed before, and then doing such a miserable job of prosecuting the war that Iraq qill probably end up as a failed state and a platform where al Qaeda can find a safe haven, and also including his dreadful record on homeland security.

In a just world, whenever he cast aspersions on anyone else's record, the earth would start giggling just before it opened up and swallowed him.

Disagree with the far leftist view presented here at Obsidian Wings and they resort to calling you a troll. How progressive.

Actually, I received a credible tip from a trio of flustered goats (one of them was carrying a dogeared copy of Mao's Little Red Book...)

russell,

Says he is the Commander in Chief.

What do you think that means?

The President has consistently worked with the legislature. They may not always agree, but they have always been in the loop. They access the same data. I even heard today that some in the Senate have had the NIE report since April.

"It is naive to believe that, in March of '03, Iraq posed any threat to the US in any universe other than the Bizzaro universe"

Not to be rude, but if you don't think Iraq posed any threat you aren't naive, just ignorant. In too many ways to count Iraq posed a threat, that if left uncheck could have been deadly to many of unarmed and unsuspecting Americans.

"Terrorists, now or then, did not and do not give a flying f*%k whether Saddam Hussein obeyed international law or not. You really have to do better than this."

You're missing the point. It's not whether they gave a crap about Hussein obeying international law, it is the perceived weakness on our part for letting him. Bin Laden himself called us a paper tiger.

No russell, I'll stay asleep thank you kindly. If I wake up around here it won't be coffee that I'm a smellin'.

Hilzoy,

That's easy. Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan and Carter didn't get it.

After 9/11 I think Bush II got it. Sadly, it took 9/11 and many still don't get it.

"starting with ignoring the problem before 9/11"

Just curious, are you calling Rice a liar?

"September 25, 2006 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making "flatly false" claims that the Bush administration didn't lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks."

...letting bin Laden escape at Tora Bora

Can't you do better than that tired meme?

"No russell, I'll stay asleep thank you kindly."

As you wish.

Thanks -

Can't you do better than that tired meme?

Ignoring the 8/6/01 PDB.

Disagree with the far leftist view presented here at Obsidian Wings and they resort to calling you a troll. How progressive.

I'm always so amused when wingers refer to ObWi as "far leftist" or something similar. It's like they've never heard anyone to the left of Bob Dole or something. But in honor of our new designation, anyone want to break out in a little Revolutionary fervor? A specter's haunting Obsidian Wings -- the specter of Communist Monty Python!

Jes? Take it away!

Well, just to pick up Jes' slack here

Mrs. Conclusion (Chapman): Hullo, Mrs. Premise.

Mrs. Premise (Cleese): Hullo, Mrs. Conclusion.

Conclusion: Busy Day?

Premise: Busy? I just spent four hours burying the cat.

Conclusion: Four hours to bury a cat?

Premise: Yes - it wouldn't keep still.

Conclusion: Oh - it wasn't dead, then?

Premise: No, no - but it's not at all well, so as we were going to be on the safe side.

Conclusion: Quite right - you don't want to come back from Sorrento to a dead cat. It'd be so anticlimactic. Yes, kill it now, that's what I say. We're going to have to have our budgie put down.

Premise: Really - is it very old?

Conclusion: No, we just don't like it. We're going to take it to the vet tomorrow.

Premise: Tell me, how do they put budgies down, then?

Conclusion: Well, it's funny you should ask that, because I've just been reading a great big book about how to put your budgie down, and apparently you can either hit them with the book, or you can shoot them just there, just above the beak.

Premise: Just there? Well, well, well. 'Course, Mrs Essence flushed hers down the loo.

Conclusion: No, you shouldn't do that - no, that's dangerous. They breed in the sewers!

Anarch, "far left" nowadays has been redefined to mean anyone who criticizes Bush or the Iraq war, regardless of their political beliefs. At least 60% of the American public are far left.

Give a troll a response, and he's happy for a few minutes. Teach a troll to respond to himself, and he can carry on sock-puppet conversations for the rest of his life.

From Anarch:

It depends on how we go after the people who want to harm us.
Sorry if I gave the impression that I was arguing that nobody said going after the people who want to harm us in a stupid manner leaves us more vulnerable, but as that's not the argument that President Bush was attacking, I decided not to elaborate further than I did.

And then from bril:

C'mon prodigal can't you see that he thinks that Iraq is central to the WOT. Even the all knowing NIE suggests that.
If he actually beleives the things he's saying (which I honestly hope is not the case, because for whatever reason I find the concept of a President who's lying less scary than that of a President who's delusional,) the reason why the war in Iraq has become central to the WOT is because the Bush administration's policies made it so. And given that it has not only become central to the WOT in a way that never would have happened had we foregone invasion of IRaq in favor of finishing the job we started in Afghanistan, but it helped to ensure that terrorism has gotten exponentially worse since 2003, it was a bad idea to invade Iraq.

(Oh, and everything the President has done since 9/11 indicates that he doesn't get it now, either.)

Just curious, are you calling Rice a liar?

Former National Security Advisor and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a liar, says someone who has met her on more than one occasion and is related to someone currently in her employ.

Greetings again liberals.


OT, but I wanted to follow up on whether Clinton lied when he claimed that nobody knew al Q was in Somalia in '93. Here is an excerpt from R. Miniter's post in today's NRO

"In his Fox interview, Mr. Clinton said "no one knew that al Qaeda existed" in October 1993, during the tragic events in Somalia. But his national security adviser, Tony Lake, told me that he first learned of bin Laden "sometime in 1993," when he was thought of as a terror financier. U.S. Army Capt. James Francis Yacone, a black hawk squadron commander in Somalia, later testified that radio intercepts of enemy mortar crews firing at Americans were in Arabic, not Somali, suggesting the work of bin Laden's agents (who spoke Arabic), not warlord Farah Aideed's men (who did not). CIA and DIA reports also placed al Qaeda operatives in Somalia at the time."

So maybe Bubba wasn't told of the radio intercepts or maybe I was right about where one must go on the net to find the truth. Carry on with the blind partisanship. Such enthusiastic opposition to your own government is no likely amusing the Islamists.

Not sure, Terry, how your assertion that proves "people knew that al Qaeda existed" in 1993. It proves - if you're uncited assertion is true - that an Arabic speaker fired a mortar. It doesn't prove that an al-Qaida member fired a mortar.

Also, besides the official language of Somali, what's another major languages spoken in Somalia?

Terry,
this is what happens if you depend on the NRO for your information. Compare R. Miniter's
In his Fox interview, Mr. Clinton said "no one knew that al Qaeda existed" in October 1993, during the tragic events in Somalia.

With the actual transcript
There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Usama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of '93link

I would be very surprised if a squadron commander would have known in 1993 the name of bin Laden. The superimposition of Lake knowing bin Laden as a terrorist financier is especially slimy.

Perhaps Minter believes that Clinton actually said "no one knew that al Qaeda existed". However, you don't have any excuse to believe this.

bril --

On second thought, let's have at it. I'll probably regret it, but what the hell.

"Says he is the Commander in Chief. What do you think that means?"

I think it means he is responsible for directing the operations of the armed forces when they are called into service.

You neglect to address anything in Article I, wherein the war powers of the Congress are enumerated. Among other things, those powers include the authority to declare war, to call forth the militia, and to pass laws governing and regulating land and naval forces.

What do you think that means?

"In too many ways to count Iraq posed a threat"

Too many to count is a big number. If you can name 10 that pass the smell test I'll give you a hundred bucks. No joke. If you can name one, I'll be extremely suprised.

"Bin Laden himself called us a paper tiger"

Correct. And of all of the reasons that he did so, how many among them had bugger all to do with Saddam Hussein and his flouting of international law?

I'm not a regular poster here, so I can't speak for the ObWi community. I'll just speak for myself.

In all that you've posted here, there has been nothing of substance. It's all "one could argue" and "correct me if I'm wrong" and "the NIE suggests".

If you want to claim that Hussein was a threat, you need to demonstrate what that threat was.

If you want to claim that invading Iraq has made the US safer, you need to explain how.

If you want to claim that that there is any connection outside of your imagination between Saddam Hussein's flouting of UN sanctions and the motivations of terrorists, you need to explain what those connections are.

Otherwise, you're just a troll. And, policy here appears to be DNFTT.

So if you don't have more to bring to the table, you probably shouldn't expect anything like a more substantial reply. As I make it out, this particular post, from me, is probably the most respectful gesture you're going to receive. And, until you can raise yourself above apparent trollhood, out of respect for this community, this is the last you'll hear from me.

If you want to play, you need to bring your game up. If you just want to be annoying, please consider your mission accomplished.

Thanks -

"Greetings again liberals."

I guess he doesn't want to greet you, Andrew, Charles, Slart, Sebastian, ThirdGorchBro, and the whole bunch of you other non-liberals.

Good way to depersonalize and generalize, though.

Bril writes:

“Not to be rude, but if you don't think Iraq posed any threat you aren't naive, just ignorant. In too many ways to count Iraq posed a threat, that if left uncheck could have been deadly to many of unarmed and unsuspecting Americans.”

Bril, in your estimation, what was the top reason, or maybe top three reasons, Iraq posed a threat to "unarmed and unsuspecting Americans"? I ask because I would like to know not just your response but how you come to your conclusion and from where you get your information.

An anecdote re my interest:

About a year and a half ago when my wife went back to school to get her M.A., she was in a class that dealt with threat communication. One of the topics for class discussion was assessing the potential threat to the US mainland posed by Iraqi Scuds. She asked me if they were a threat. I said, certainly not: The versions the Iraqis had could hit Israel and Tehran and that was about it (not to mention their poor track record when it comes to accuracy), but it initially may be reasonable and understandable to think otherwise because probably our frame of reference when we hear about “Iraqi missiles” is Cold War ICBMs. I showed her some reliable sources where she could find data (e.g. Jane’s, etc. – I believe there were some CIA assessments as well), and she went to her next class with the relevant info. The reaction by many of the other students? Disbelief. Including rebuttals along the lines of, “Well, if the terrorists disassembled them and smuggled the parts under their turbans through Miami . . .” Certainly we were a little taken back by the emotional reaction trumping the data (what partly accounts for how we get MSNBC putting the Alamo and the Mall of America at the top of their list of potential terrorist targets).

Anyway, your thoughts?

LJ,

Thanks, that was hilarious (11:47)! But I have to go change my pants now.

-"I would be very surprised if a squadron commander would have known in 1993 the name of bin Laden. The superimposition of Lake knowing bin Laden as a terrorist financier is especially slimy."

Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

"Greetings again liberals."

I guess he doesn't want to greet you, Andrew, Charles, Slart, Sebastian, ThirdGorchBro, and the whole bunch of you other non-liberals.

I must point out that Andrew, Charles, Sebastian, and ThirdGorchBro are nowhere in the thread. (And Andrew was chery-picked to post on ObWi because he is an anti-Bush conservative.)

So the scorecard so far is

LIBRULS:

Ugh
kid bitzer
Dantheman
Constance Reader
Jeff Eaton
john miller
spartikus
Ara
CharleyCarp
hilzoy
Prodigal
KCinDC
nous
otto
matttbastard
radish
cleek
russell
Anarch
Randy Paul
lj
Gary Farber

WINGNUTS:
Slartibartfast
bril
Terry Gain
me

so perhaps Terry can be forgiven his confusion, or perhaps ObWi is what it is, maybe not so much as firedoglake

An observation: Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan were enemies in the war on terror before 2001. When they became allies against the terrorist groups, that is when the terror attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan began in earnest. I think that is what hilzoy's graph indictes, as well as a bump from the 1400 fatalities from terrorist attacks in Thailand since 2004.

DaveC, in what sense was Iraq an enemy in the 'war aganst terror' on December 1, 2002? September 10, 2001? March 15, 2003?

For what conceivable reason could the invasion not have waited until after the business with Af and Pak was actually concluded?

When they became allies against the terrorist groups, that is when the terror attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan began in earnest

sounds like there's maybe a little causation / correlation confusion going on there.

one could also say : the attacks began in earnest when our troops moved in and lingered there long enough for alQ et al to move in and set up shop.

I think that is what hilzoy's graph indictes, as well as a bump from the 1400 fatalities from terrorist attacks in Thailand since 2004.

those weren't 1400 individual incidents, right?

just look at 2001 - it's a relatively slow year, as number of incidents go.

And now, DaveC, I'll answer my own question: we invaded Iraq before the business with AQ in Af and Pak was concluded because we were hoping that overthrowing Saddam would magically bring about a new golden age. That the position of AQ would be made worse by the overthrow of the government of Iraq.

It was a big gamble, and the bet has been lost.

DaveC -

Can you point me to where I've taken a "librul" stand on one of these threads, unless opposition to torture, support of the rule of law, and opposition to Bush administration excesses automatically makes one a "librul."

I'm not saying I haven't taken one, just that, I don't recall doing so.

And Andrew was chery-picked to post on ObWi because he is an anti-Bush conservative.

As you'd guess, I played no part in the decision to invite Andrew to become a poster. I cannot imagine, though, that his position on the President played any significant role in that decision. I don't think 'anti-Bush' is even an accurate description: I'm sure that one can peruse his writings and find plenty of areas of agreement.

OK, he's not a cultist, but a thoughtful, articulate, and principled conservative. I don't think snark is called for.

I don't think snark is called for.

Ironically, I think DaveC was using that description of Andrew to suggest that ObWi is an echo chamber, as evidenced, by the fact that the house conservatives aren't posting and further evidenced because the only anti-Bush conservative in the entire blogosphere was located and brought over here. Say that again and see how plausible it sounds.

As far as the presence or absence of commentors, just as I don't think people should draw conclusions from what someone doesn't write, one shouldn't draw conclusions from the fact that person X or person Y hasn't appeared in a thread. It's not as if anyone is preventing them from posting. One could equally draw the conclusion that conservatives are not posting here because they are too embarassed by what this administration does in the name of conservatism.

For Bush, and for a lot of Americans, the only graph that matters is terrorist attacks against Americans. The fact that there's lots of terrorist activity going on in Iraq is a feature, not a bug: don't forget the flypaper thesis. I often wish some reporter would ask some important Iraqi official this question: "President Bush frequently tells his American audience that the United States is fighting terrorists in your country so they don't attack his country. How do you feel about President Bush making your country the primary battleground for this fight and telling Americans they should be happy about it because it means there won't be any attacks in their country? (Follow-up question): How many Iraqi deaths would you say it takes to equal one American death?"

Anybody want to educate me and tell me what DFNTT stands for ? (I know that this kind of curiosity is perhaps a little suspect...) How about a short on line dictionary of these abbreviations for those of us who are not in the know ? (Twenty seven years outside of the country takes its toll...) Or how about a thread going through all of them ?

Do Not Feed The Trolls

By extension, the meaning for "DNFTFT" should be obvious, if rather less polite.

DNFTT means "Do not fee the troll"

In this case, I assume that this is referring to bril, who I don't think is a troll in the sense that (s)he is making gratuitously outrageous statements.

Trolls come in many flavors.

"Deliberately inflammatory statements" is one flavor.

So is "repeatedly saying untrue things, and then insisting they're true, even when you've been repeatedly presented with refutations from the factual record."

Here's a good exercise, come up with a list of genuinely conservative things the Bush Administration has accomplished during its 5 1/2 years in office. My list off the top of my head:

1. Tax cuts (which is counterbalanced by the deficit the helped create).
2. Roberts/Alito (though the jury is still out).

because the only anti-Bush conservative in the entire blogosphere was located and brought over here.

Well, I suppose you couldn't get Pat Buchanon.

Look, Andrew is just fine, as is Dave Schuler, both of whom Gary likes and both whom I like. Now, Terry Gain may not have picked up on Slart being a wingnut, and may not be clued into Andrew, Birddog, or 3GB, so I guess my point was don't try and run them off with the DNFTT, etc.

DaveC: "And Andrew was chery-picked to post on ObWi because he is an anti-Bush conservative."

This is just flatly false. We asked Andrew because we thought he'd be great to have here. I, for one, think we're lucky to have him. He was asked because he was thoughtful and articulate and in all sorts of ways good. Frankly, I don't think I knew much about his views on Bush when I thought about asking him -- the posts I had read were on other topics altogether, like libertarianism, Iraq, or B5.

Speculating about why someone was asked, unlike some other speculation, can actually be hurtful. And in this case, it's just wrong.

As far as 'cherry-picking': you also should not assume that we haven't made efforts to get other conservatives to post here.

I don't know, I thought

Not to be rude, but if you don't think Iraq posed any threat you aren't naive, just ignorant.

was on the deliberately inflammatory side. Of course, if bril doesn't have enough nous to figure out that he actually is being rude when he calls someone ignorant, I'm not sure if we can help him.

Anyway, the graph makes the assumption that terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Thailand are indeed Terrorist Attacks, and that would mean Terrorists, not Insurgents or Militants as they are often characterized. So, I am not disagreeing with the graph, I do think who we are fighting are Terrorists.

Of course, if bril doesn't have enough nous to figure out that he actually is being rude when he calls someone ignorant, I'm not sure if we can help him.

So what you're saying is if you want to be rude, "take it outside". As if there were a law against being rude on the mothership.

I think "I wonder what this blog will be like under control of the caliphate when the women are silenced and the homosexuals are sentenced to death" [link] seems a tad inflammatory as well, DaveC. Bril was given the benefit of the doubt for quite a while, but at some point if it quacks like a troll...

As if there were a law against being rude on the mothership.

I'm not sure how else to interpret 'be reasonably civil'.

This is just flatly false. We asked Andrew because we thought he'd be great to have here. I, for one, think we're lucky to have him.

Oh, gosh I missed the comment by DaveC that this responded to. I echo hilzoy's sentiment in the matter. And it's not as if Andrew's opinions are eagerly lapped up by the leftist commentariat (he said ironically); Andrew gets slammed quite as hard as I ever did. Harder, possibly, because Andrew actually says things.

No one kept Sebastian, von or myself from posting. No one keeps Charles from posting. And, DaveC, hilzoy's point that the OW management has been actively seeking out conservative commenters is correct in my experience. So I can't imagine where this remark came from.

KCinDC: Give a troll a response, and he's happy for a few minutes. Teach a troll to respond to himself, and he can carry on sock-puppet conversations for the rest of his life.

This? Is briliant.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad