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This Isn't America


Kooperman

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OP-ED COLUMNIST

This Isn't America

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: March 30, 2004

Last week an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin said, "This isn't America; the government did not invent intelligence material nor exaggerate the description of the threat to justify their attack."

So even in Israel, George Bush's America has become a byword for deception and abuse of power. And the administration's reaction to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" provides more evidence of something rotten in the state of our government.

The truth is that among experts, what Mr. Clarke says about Mr. Bush's terrorism policy isn't controversial. The facts that terrorism was placed on the back burner before 9/11 and that Mr. Bush blamed Iraq despite the lack of evidence are confirmed by many sources — including "Bush at War," by Bob Woodward.

And new evidence keeps emerging for Mr. Clarke's main charge, that the Iraq obsession undermined the pursuit of Al Qaeda. From yesterday's USA Today: "In 2002, troops from the Fifth Special Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq. Their replacements were troops with expertise in Spanish cultures."

That's why the administration responded to Mr. Clarke the way it responds to anyone who reveals inconvenient facts: with a campaign of character assassination.

Some journalists seem, finally, to have caught on. Last week an Associated Press news analysis noted that such personal attacks were "standard operating procedure" for this administration and cited "a behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit Richard Foster," the Medicare actuary who revealed how the administration had deceived Congress about the cost of its prescription drug bill.

But other journalists apparently remain ready to be used. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer told his viewers that unnamed officials were saying that Mr. Clarke "wants to make a few bucks, and that [in] his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well."

This administration's reliance on smear tactics is unprecedented in modern U.S. politics — even compared with Nixon's. Even more disturbing is its readiness to abuse power — to use its control of the government to intimidate potential critics.

To be fair, Senator Bill Frist's suggestion that Mr. Clarke might be charged with perjury may have been his own idea. But his move reminded everyone of the White House's reaction to revelations by the former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill: an immediate investigation into whether he had revealed classified information. The alacrity with which this investigation was opened was, of course, in sharp contrast with the administration's evident lack of interest in finding out who leaked the identity of the C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame to Bob Novak.

And there are many other cases of apparent abuse of power by the administration and its Congressional allies. A few examples: according to The Hill, Republican lawmakers threatened to cut off funds for the General Accounting Office unless it dropped its lawsuit against Dick Cheney. The Washington Post says Representative Michael Oxley told lobbyists that "a Congressional probe might ease if it replaced its Democratic lobbyist with a Republican." Tom DeLay used the Homeland Security Department to track down Democrats trying to prevent redistricting in Texas. And Medicare is spending millions of dollars on misleading ads for the new drug benefit — ads that look like news reports and also serve as commercials for the Bush campaign.

On the terrorism front, here's one story that deserves special mention. One of the few successful post-9/11 terror prosecutions — a case in Detroit — seems to be unraveling. The government withheld information from the defense, and witnesses unfavorable to the prosecution were deported (by accident, the government says). After the former lead prosecutor complained about the Justice Department's handling of the case, he suddenly found himself facing an internal investigation — and someone leaked the fact that he was under investigation to the press.

Where will it end? In his new book, "Worse Than Watergate," John Dean, of Watergate fame, says, "I've been watching all the elements fall into place for two possible political catastrophes, one that will take the air out of the Bush-Cheney balloon and the other, far more disquieting, that will take the air out of democracy."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/30/opinion/30KRUG.html?th

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This is my biggest beef - that the Bush administration played switch and bait with the terrorist threat to fuel the invasion of Iraq. Whatever the merits (questionable in my mind), they didnt tell the American people of their plan to invade Iraq before, during or after the election - and for that, they should be thrown out of office on their asses. :evil:

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Sure sounds like America to me...as far as i'm concerned you can't blame just Bush for ANY pre 9/11 garbage. Clinton f*cking ruined the CIA by his whole idea of lets not employ "undesirable or shady" people. aka people that have killed and will kill other people. This left Europe with something like 1 CIA operative that spoke Arabic...hmm...and we couldn't see it coming why again??

Bush might have dropped the ball before 9/11, but now since the wake up call, all kinds of shit are in high gear. The intelligence community is slowly but surely rebuilding.

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As far as merits...the WMDs, I bought and I still believe they are there somewhere, but when I saw the first mass grave dug up with like 10,000 bodies that were as recent as that same year I was sold...who cares why we went in, that shit has come to end which no matter what your intentions makes it a very good thing to do in my mind.

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Im not saying that Saddam isnt a bad guy, or that we shouldnt have gone in--I'm glad he's gone. But I object to how the Bush administration used the fear of 911 to do so, rather then being upfront about their own personal agenda. A lot of this had to do with the failure of Bush, Sr to finish the job the first time around... Well, they either didnt tell the truth to us, or they were so off in their own prognications, that we should be concerned on how they tackle the bigger problem of the real terrorist threat--Al Queda

Is the world safer? I'm not so sure...

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Clinton f*cking ruined the CIA by his whole idea of lets not employ "undesirable or shady" people. aka people that have killed and will kill other people.

This is just not true--where do you get your facts?

Clinton wanted to get Bin Laden more than anyone. In fact, Sandy Berger and others pressed Condeliza Rice and the incoming Bush regime to go after him. But, as Richard Clarke, the anti-terrorism head, just testfied--Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. were preoccupied with Iraq.

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ooops Koops...gotta stop ya right there..

Last week an OPINION piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin said, "This isn't America; the government did not invent intelligence material nor exaggerate the description of the threat to justify their attack."

So even in Israel,THE WRITER'S OPINION IS THAT George Bush's America has become a byword for deception and abuse of power. And the administration's reaction to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" provides more evidence of something rotten in the state of our government.....

also...Thanks ASU for saving me the typing...

As far as merits...the WMDs, I bought and I still believe they are there somewhere, but when I saw the first mass grave dug up with like 10,000 bodies that were as recent as that same year I was sold...who cares why we went in, that shit has come to end which no matter what your intentions makes it a very good thing to do in my mind.

Edited by MikeHunt
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ASUman...." the same year I was sold" ...hmmmm

...does this mean you will be askin for reparations too??

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I just meant sold on the fact that it was definitely a good thing what we did relating to Iraq

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ooops Koops...gotta stop ya right there..

Last week an OPINION piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin said, "This isn't America; the government did not invent intelligence material nor exaggerate the description of the threat to justify their attack."

So even in Israel,THE WRITER'S OPINION IS THAT George Bush's America has become a byword for deception and abuse of power. And the administration's reaction to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" provides more evidence of something rotten in the state of our government.....

To begin with, you're not going to stop me from doing anything. Secondly, I'm going to tell you this for the last time...when I post an OP-ED column, I clearly leave the OP-ED tag on the column....most people who read opinion columns have sense enough to know it's not a wire report by AP or whoever, but for clarity's sake I leave it up at the top. OP-ED means opinion editorial. Despite this, you persist in posting notes implying that I'm trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes by posting a news report when it's actually an opinion piece. It's clearly labeled...look at it...see it...if you understand it, then chances are real good that everyone else understands it also. Newspapers have news reports and they have editorial columns as well. Because a columnist or a newspaper has an opinion which differs from yours does not make it invalid or deceptive. If you continue to harass opinion columns that I post I will, from this point on, consider it to be flaming.

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If anyone is interested in seeing notes and references on the evolution of the CIA in the 1990's, this is a good spot

http://intellit.muskingum.edu/cia_folder/c.../cia90stoc.html

If anyone is interested in seeing the type site which does the Clinton CIA emasculation stories, see here:

http://www.patrobertson.com/NewsCommentary/RobertBaerCIA.asp

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If you continue to harass opinion columns that I post I will, from this point on, consider it to be flaming.

MikeH probably didnt see the OpEd notice when he read the article. He questioned some of my pieces, too, so... MH--its time for those old glasses buddy, or Im gonn have to dump some cold water on Kooper to keep him cool :lol:

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He's playing spin games, and I don't play games. I clearly post the OP-ED pieces so that readers can assess the columnist's views and comment if they agree or disagree. There's no flummery or deception involved. In this particular instance it's clearly stated by the author of the piece that he's quoting an opinion piece.

Edited by Kooperman
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Wow...some good info koop...

I'll try to link this info if I can find it on the web, but I got some tid bits from books I have as far as info:

Robert Baer, who worked for the CIA for two decades, says he was in charge of Central Asia operations for the CIA in the 1990s, he says he had no human sources (of intel). He wrote a book "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism" some selected snipits: (all from the book...I can't verify his data, at least right now, i'll search the net for a bit, but take this as you will)

The CIA's London office "couldn't claim a single Arabic speaker" (clearly my bad for what I said earlier...thanks for keeping me honest DAIC)

British authorities prevented the CIA from recruiting sources in their country--even Islamic fundamentalists

The CIA was shrinking throughout Europe by the mid 1990s and lacked the manpower to place sufficient numbers of officers in Middle Eastern communities. Those who were available for such placement were undertrained and unmotivated

The same was true in the Middle East, where rarely were more than two officers assigned to any one country (SCARY)

"In 1995 the CIA made an analyst with no experience overseas, the director of operations. His successor was a retiree, who was followed by an officer with a similiar death of 'spying experience,' having risen to his position through his political skills. The agency, for all practical purposes, had taken itself out of the spying business."

If at all interested in the book, Baer claims that the Reagan and Bush sr. admins made the first mistakes, but he is clearly toughest on the clinton-gore admin...such choice quotes as:

"Whether it was Osama bin Laden, Yasir Arafat, Iranian terrorism, Saddam Hussein, or any of the other evils that so threaten world, the Clinton administration seemed determined to sweep them all under the carpet"

"the mantra at 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue seemed to be: Get through the term. Keep the bad news from the newspapers. Dump the naysayers. Gather money for the next election--gobs of it--and let some other administration down the line deal with it. Worst of all, my CIA had decided to go along for the ride. NOw that such horrendous neglect has come home to roost in such misery-provoking ways, I take no pleasure whatsoever in having been right"

Fairly harsh harsh...apologies for any offense (none intended)...

Now...about the getting rid of shady agents, I could only find the one I remember from Sean Hannity (which will complete discredit it to some i'm sure) but nonetheless, it is balanced IMO and cited...

"After listening to Representative Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat (and now a US Senator) rant and rave about how evil the CIA was for using creeps and crooks and scum as informats, the Clinton-Gore administration instituted a series of so-called reforms that tied the hands of US intelligence agencies engaged in keeping and recruiting foreign spies, despite the crucial importance of these human assets to effective intelligence gathering.

" The crippling effect of these reforms was corroborated by 'The Hill,' the DC newspaper covering Congress and the White House, based on October 2001 interviews with members of the House Intelligence Committees. 'In the wake of disclosures of Torricelli that a Guatemalan colonel linked to the murder of an American was on the CIA payroll, the agency fired one-third of its informants-roughtly 1,000 "assets" and instituted new rules on the recruitment of sources.' The conclusion: "The CIA's ability to gather intelligence in the Middle East has been injured by reforms triggered in 1995 by then-Representative Robert Torricelli."

Take that as you will, I hope I didn't step on anyone or anything, and i'll try to get more concrete of sources...though seeing how politics is being debated on other threads I might just stay out from now on...

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KOOP...F U C K YOU...

i'M OUTTA HERE...

THIS IS WHY....FUKIN PRICK

To begin with, you're not going to stop me from doing anything. Secondly, I'm going to tell you this for the last time...when I post an OP-ED column, I clearly leave the OP-ED tag on the column....most people who read opinion columns have sense enough to know it's not a wire report by AP or whoever, but for clarity's sake I leave it up at the top. OP-ED means opinion editorial. Despite this, you persist in posting notes implying that I'm trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes by posting a news report when it's actually an opinion piece. It's clearly labeled...look at it...see it...if you understand it, then chances are real good that everyone else understands it also. Newspapers have news reports and they have editorial columns as well. Because a columnist or a newspaper has an opinion which differs from yours does not make it invalid or deceptive. If you continue to harass opinion columns that I post I will, from this point on, consider it to be flaming.

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He's stated his opinion very succinctly.

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Wow...some good info koop...

I'll try to link this info if I can find it on the web, but I got some tid bits from books I have as far as info:

Robert Baer, who worked for the CIA for two decades, says he was in charge of Central Asia operations for the CIA in the 1990s, he says he had no human sources (of intel). He wrote a book "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism" some selected snipits: (all from the book...I can't verify his data, at least right now, i'll search the net for a bit, but take this as you will)

The CIA's London office "couldn't claim a single Arabic speaker" (clearly my bad for what I said earlier...thanks for keeping me honest DAIC)

British authorities prevented the CIA from recruiting sources in their country--even Islamic fundamentalists

The CIA was shrinking throughout Europe by the mid 1990s and lacked the manpower to place sufficient numbers of officers in Middle Eastern communities. Those who were available for such placement were undertrained and unmotivated

The same was true in the Middle East, where rarely were more than two officers assigned to any one country (SCARY)

"In 1995 the CIA made an analyst with no experience overseas, the director of operations. His successor was a retiree, who was followed by an officer with a similiar death of 'spying experience,' having risen to his position through his political skills. The agency, for all practical purposes, had taken itself out of the spying business."

If at all interested in the book, Baer claims that the Reagan and Bush sr. admins made the first mistakes, but he is clearly toughest on the clinton-gore admin...such choice quotes as:

"Whether it was Osama bin Laden, Yasir Arafat, Iranian terrorism, Saddam Hussein, or any of the other evils that so threaten world, the Clinton administration seemed determined to sweep them all under the carpet"

"the mantra at 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue seemed to be: Get through the term. Keep the bad news from the newspapers. Dump the naysayers. Gather money for the next election--gobs of it--and let some other administration down the line deal with it. Worst of all, my CIA had decided to go along for the ride. NOw that such horrendous neglect has come home to roost in such misery-provoking ways, I take no pleasure whatsoever in having been right"

Fairly harsh harsh...apologies for any offense (none intended)...

Now...about the getting rid of shady agents, I could only find the one I remember from Sean Hannity (which will complete discredit it to some i'm sure) but nonetheless, it is balanced IMO and cited...

"After listening to Representative Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat (and now a US Senator) rant and rave about how evil the CIA was for using creeps and crooks and scum as informats, the Clinton-Gore administration instituted a series of so-called reforms that tied the hands of US intelligence agencies engaged in keeping and recruiting foreign spies, despite the crucial importance of these human assets to effective intelligence gathering.

" The crippling effect of these reforms was corroborated by 'The Hill,' the DC newspaper covering Congress and the White House, based on October 2001 interviews with members of the House Intelligence Committees. 'In the wake of disclosures of Torricelli that a Guatemalan colonel linked to the murder of an American was on the CIA payroll, the agency fired one-third of its informants-roughtly 1,000 "assets" and instituted new rules on the recruitment of sources.' The conclusion: "The CIA's ability to gather intelligence in the Middle East has been injured by reforms triggered in 1995 by then-Representative Robert Torricelli."

It's pretty clear that Clinton picked poor CIA heads up until Tenet, who's still there and ironically taking lots of heat now for his Bush era performance.

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Try to keep more cool Mike. Say whatever you want but stop using foul language man

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The provocations should have been handled by pm..not on the boards. Personal opinions are fine..but they shouldnt get personal.. In general, I try to stay clear of heated debates...I prefer the music and fun stuff. No use getting upset about politics...

***

Well, I have to agree with you ASU and Koop, that Tenet didnt seem to be a very good choice. Clinton didnt get on well with the FBI director, either. The reason I dont blame Cllinton as others have, is that he did attempt to get rid of Bin Laden. I also heard a radio address by him on the subject of terrorism, and it was clear to me that it was a subject that he was very concerned with.. but its easy for us to become quartnerbacks when we really dont know what its like on the firing lines...

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If you'll recall Clinton's early Presidency, he brought a lot of his core group to Washington to fill cabinet positions. For positions he couldn't fill from that core group he took some good and some bad advice on nominees. His first few months were a one step forward, one step back proposition. Eventually he got some good people in most of the spots, but CIA for the first term was shaky.

And you're correct, the Clinton administration as a whole recognized Bin Laden as a major problem and tried to deal with him, albeit unsuccessfully. It's very easy to say, judging from what we know now, that we should have killed him then and there. But those two towers weren't leveled on top of a couple thousand people back in the late 1990's, and the moral indignation wasn't there to support that type action then.

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At least he tried to get Bin Laden. Why didnt people get on George Bush for not going after Bin Laden earlier, if Clinton is fair game?

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Being the young guy I am, i'm probably not up on the Bush Sr. stuff as y'all (I didn't follow politics real real close until Clinton), so i'm not sure why Bush Sr. is getting off.

Seems funny now, since I don't even really remember the first gulf war that much (first/second grade), that he didn't take care of Saddam then...looking back on it from a historical point of view (hindsight 20/20)...what a dumb decision!

I don't know why Tenet is still in there...thats the real weird thing about this whole admin...I seriously love some of the people Bush surrounds himself with like Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld...but Ashcroft and Tenet...c'mon. What gives??

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