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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-23 - 2:55 p.m.

Come Clean, Mr. President



I wish more than anything that I could believe a word that comes out of the mouth of our President. I find it disheartening to have been deceived so many times that I’m now questioning the veracity of Mr. Allawi, too. It sounded as though he, a puppet of the US, read the words of Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, a scripted speech to support the President in his campaign in his speech before Congress. I don’t like feeling so skeptical, but there you have it…the way I feel. Four years ago, George Bush assured us that HE would be much more careful of committing our troops than Gore. WMD…no, it’s democracy…why am I not so sure that is the motivation? If the United States does not mean to stay in Iraq, why is it building 14 "enduring" military bases?

2000: WE DON'T BELIEVE IN WAR AND NATION BUILDING. During a debate with Al Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator Jim Lehrer, where candidate George W. Bush stood when it came to using force for regime change, he sounded almost like a pacifist.

“I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I--I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility seriously.” --October 3, 2000

Speaking of flip-flopping, Michael Moore has written a steaming letter to President Bush, including a version of the preceding quote from the Gore/Bush debate.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! – George Bush, May 1, 2003

We are succeeding in Iraq. – Iyad Allawi, Prime Minister of Iraq, September 23, 2004

DUBIOUS DREAMS ABOUT IRAQ: Sounding like Mark Twain mischievously insisting that Wagner's music is better than it sounds, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is not known for drollery, says events in Iraq are better than they seem. Speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Allawi said the insurgency is "still raging" but that is a good sign -- a sign that "it's not getting stronger, it's getting more desperate." George Will

ALLAWI ABETS PRESIDENT IN PUTTING BEST FACE ON IRAQ:"The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story. … Kerry cited conflicting statements made by administration officials -- including Bush who said a few days ago that there were just a "handful" of insurgents -- and a report by the former deputy director of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq who wrote that the United States was "losing the peace."

"We have an administration in disarray," Kerry said. "The secretary of defense saying one thing and being corrected. The president saying one thing and being contradicted by the Prime Minister. The secretary of state saying one thing and being contradicted by the president."

"America needs leadership that tells the truth," he said.

Kerry, who has accused Bush of living in "fantasy land" on Iraq, said the White House needed to convene an international summit and bring in other countries to help with security and reconstruction."

"A president's true test of leadership is how to respond when things are going wrong," Kerry said. "You need to be prepared to tell the truth. I think that a president who fails to admit his mistakes is a president who proves that he doesn't know how to make the course correct." – John Kerry, September 23, 2004



COMING CLEAN ABOUT THIS WAR: “At one time I would have ruled out anything less than what might be called a U.S. victory in Iraq -- a secure nation governed by democratically elected rulers. I would have argued that no matter how the United States got into Iraq, it simply could not preemptively pull out. To do so would have great and grave consequences. It could plunge the country into civil war, Shiites against Sunnis and Kurds against them both. It would cause the country to disintegrate, maybe dividing into thirds -- a Kurdish north, a Sunni center and a Shiite south. Where things are not so ethnically neat, expect a bloodbath -- and expect outsiders to join in.

“Now, though, we all have to face the prospect that Iraq will end up a mess no matter what. The administration's own national intelligence estimate raises the possibility that civil war may erupt by the end of next year. That's the direst prediction, but it now seems more likely than the one President Bush once envisioned: an Iraq with some sort of Jeffersonian democracy. That ain't about to happen and bit by bit, Bush has been scaling back his rhetoric. The truth is that we'd now settle for a pro-American strongman such as Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf or Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Both countries are essentially military dictatorships.” – Richard Cohen, Sept. 21, 2003


BUSH ENFORCES NEW US DIPLOMACY: President George W. Bush has rewritten US foreign policy during four years at the White House, with the war on terror now taking priority and doubt cast on some traditional alliances. A unilateralist culture and a readiness to use force has been stamped on foreign policy.


THE CHOICE ON IRAN: High on the list list of issues so far absent from this year's presidential campaign debate is Iran, home to a militant Islamic regime that openly sponsors terrorism, foments anti-American resistance in Iraq and has confessed to a secret campaign to acquire the technology needed to produce nuclear weapons. The winner of November's election may well face the question, during the next four years, of whether to acquiesce in Iran's achievement of a nuclear capability or take dramatic action to prevent it. Yet it's no wonder that neither President Bush nor John F. Kerry is eager to talk about it: Neither has developed a convincing plan for avoiding that dilemma. -



OUTSOURCING OF JOBS: No issue is going to strain the political process in the United States more than trade. Here's one illustration: today nearly 25 percent of the clothing Americans buy is manufactured in China. The percentage would be higher except that quotas are imposed on some Chinese imports. Those quotas are set to expire next year. Even with strict enforcement of anti-dumping statutes, it is likely that millions of jobs in the United States will not survive the competitive reach of Chinese factories.

These losses have been putting pressure on low-skilled, low-wage workers in the United States for years. As China and India continue their phenomenal growth, the pressure will grow and expand into the ranks of skilled, middle-class workers. The effect is that millions of Americans will become poor, dependent on the government, uninsured and increasingly desperate. Correctly observing the benefits to consumers of inexpensive foreign goods does not mean we do not need a response other than to spend more tax dollars to support those who have been hurt. From Trading Up by Bob Kerry


Many party activists who send me e-mail messages would like to see Mr. Kerry paint a better picture of Mr. Bush as a stubborn man wedded to ideology, oblivious to any facts that contradict his worldview. He places personal loyalty above performance. No faithful aide, Cabinet member or government employee is ever held accountable for any mistakes, no matter how grave. Time and again, for example, before and after the invasion of Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld overrode objections of military leaders so he could follow his own minimalist blueprint for victory.

But victory remains elusive. In the final weeks of this campaign, Mr. Kerry should take a page from the playbook of Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist. Mr. Rove often advises his clients to attack their opponents on the very issue they perceive as their own greatest strength. From Donna Brazile’s Trust Your Gut, N. Y. Times


MATCH IRAQ POLICY TO REALITY: If controlling Iraq's oil was not our purpose, they ask, why was the oil ministry the only building (not excluding Baghdad's nuclear complex) that U.S. soldiers had orders to guard against looting? If the United States did not intend to dismember the Iraqi State, why did it dissolve the Iraqi army? If the United States does not mean to stay, why is it building 14 "enduring" military bases? If it did not mean to control Iraq's politics, why would it appoint a Prime Minister who spent two decades on the CIA payroll? If it is not pursuing a classic policy of imperial divide-and-rule by exacerbating sectarian differences, why does it continue to insist on minutely balancing Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkmen, Christians and others on every appointed council? – Jessica Mathews

Even though the President and Mr. Allawi suggested the media is overplaying the violence in Iraq, that it is just in a very small section of Iraq, Jessica Mathews' report coincides more with the CIA's report and what I read on blogs from Iraqis on the ground.







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