March 15, 2004

Home Again

I just got back from spending four days in the lovely city of Vancouver, British Columbia. It's after midnight and I'm too tired and out of the news loop to write anything. Blogging will resume shortly.

I couldn't help but notice this, however. Maybe I'm woefully behind the news curve, but are people aware that the bombings in Madrid happened 911 days after September 11?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2004 12:11 AM
Comments

912, with the leap day.

Welcome back.

Posted by: Mithras at March 15, 2004 01:08 AM

Um, actually 912 days.

That's not important. What is is that it happened 3 days before an election, and swung the result.

Posted by: parallel at March 15, 2004 01:09 AM

Yeah, that keeps going around.

Except:

1) It was 912 days. Leap year.

2) In Europe, and pretty much all the world but the United States, the WTC/Pentagon happened on 11/9/03, and the events in Madrid happened on 11/04/03.

3) How many al Quaeda members grew up using Romance languages, rather than Arabic, Urdu, and many other non-Romance alphabets?

4) I forget #4, because it's late.

Posted by: Gary Farber at March 15, 2004 01:14 AM

You can't really blame the Spanish for their cowardly display of appeasement. After all, why should they stand steadfast in what many see as America's problem? With John Kerry ahead in the polls, it looks possible if not likely that America is also about to display a tragic capacity for cowardly appeasement. Why should Spain stick out their necks on our behalf when we look like we are going to unilaterally surrender anyway by voting for Kerry?

A vote for Kerry is a vote for Bin Laden's choice for President.

Posted by: HA at March 15, 2004 03:38 AM

Fun city, Vancouver. If they don't have the best seafood in the world, I don't know who does. A little light on good bars-n-pubs, maybe, but I'll be back.

Posted by: R C Dean at March 15, 2004 04:54 AM

I believe that Muslims use a different dating system to the West, so the date might have some relevance. Would looking at the Muslim calender and comparing the dates of 9-11 and 11-3 show any special significance. I admit that this is pure speculation so it may all be complete garbage for all I know. But it is an ingteresting question.

Posted by: sam at March 15, 2004 06:20 AM

My prediction is that chicken doves will replace the hawks, here and in Europe, but terrorists will keep hitting us. Then the blinders will finally begin to come off the peace in our time appeasers.

They will finally understand that it isn't what we do that the jihadists hate so much, but who we are.

More people will then start to learn about the history of jihad and of islamic dreams to ressurect the Caliphate (something you NEVER read about in the mainstream press; it would be too un-PC).

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 06:21 AM

Vancouver is a great city. I love going up there when I have a chance. Don't miss Wreck Beach near UBC on warm sunny days.

On the "11" subject, it already seems highly likely al Qaeda was involved, so it's probably not unimportant. 3/11, 9/11 events might be a prelude for 6/11, 11/11, 12/11, etc. What difference does it make if it was 911 days or 911+1? Or 911 days passed and 3/11 marked the beginning of the next 911 days? It might be significant to them for some reason.

Posted by: d-rod at March 15, 2004 08:18 AM

Michael, you should have mentioned you'd be in town. I could have treated you to an ice-cream cone at Casa Il Gelato (200+ flavours, including garlic, avocado, Jack Daniels, and my fave, gorgonzola, blue cheese, and pear).

Or a beer. We have those too.

Posted by: Stu at March 15, 2004 08:49 AM

You seem to travel quite frequently. Although we would probably disagree a bit, I would be honored if you look me up the next time you are in L.A.

Posted by: Steve Smith at March 15, 2004 09:51 AM

HA sez:

You can't really blame the Spanish for their cowardly display of appeasement.

And you probably shouldn't, since a major reason cited for the change was the attempt by the PP to force ETA culpability for the bombing, even as al-Qaeda linkages began to build.

This wasn't a referendum on fear of terrorism; it was a referendum on using fear and manipulation in an attempt to validate policy. The approach was soundly rejected, and I think is a harbinger of what we can expect in the US in November.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 11:47 AM

This wasn't a referendum on fear of terrorism; it was a referendum on using fear and manipulation in an attempt to validate policy.

That’s utter bullshit Torrid Joe. 90% of the people were against the war. The economy is what kept Aznar and the conservatives afloat. This just gave people the pretext to do what they did. This nonetheless exposes a true societal weakness on the Spaniards part. This is no more legitimate than the WMD shit thrown around to de-legitimize Bush’s policy, it does more to expose our anti-War crowd as well.

Posted by: Samuel at March 15, 2004 12:49 PM

This wasn't a referendum on fear of terrorism; it was a referendum on using fear and manipulation in an attempt to validate policy.

Aznar was less than honest in his blame of ETA, that much is true.

But they didn't reject him because of that. They rejected him because they blame the bombings on his support for Bush's Iraq policies. The people of Spain have stated as much when they said "las bombas que caen en Iraq estallan en Madrid". Translated: the bombs that fall in Iraq explode in Madrid.

For you to say that Spaniards didn't cave in to Al-Qaida but rather voted against Aznar's "manipulation" is pure spin if I ever saw it.

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 12:51 PM

Someone else said it better than I could:

If we were looking for Churchill to step from the rubble, we got instead Daladier. The Spanish electorate immediately and overwhelmingly connected the horror with its present conservative government’s support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. If the United States went to Afghanistan in 26 days following the murder of 3,000 of its citizens to hunt down their killers and remove the fascists who sponsored them, Spaniards took to the streets with Paz placards and about 48 hours later voted in record numbers to appease the terrorists.

By a wide margin the citizenry elected a Socialist cabinet that had previously promised to distance itself from the United States and its Iraqi operations. The terrorists, although they had childishly cited Spanish culpability from the Crusades to the Reconquista, vowed to keep striking until the Spanish people did in fact what they just did. Indeed the appeasement almost anticipated the formal terrorist communiqué itself, in what must have made even the ghost of Neville Chamberlain rise up from his grave. Since most interviewed on the street expressed greater anger with the United States than they did with Islamic terrorists, let us hope that their pique extends to asking American air and naval forces to leave their shores as well—but then so far that has not been one of the mass murderers’ demands.

Victor Davis Hanson

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 12:58 PM

Stu and Steve,

I do travel a lot, it's true. And it's nice to see two of my staunchest critics trying to make a friendly connection in the real world. You guys are all right. :)

Thanks.

Michael

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2004 02:23 PM

not that it matters, but it's possible that the terrorists (muslim extremists or not) meant for it to be 911 days after, but forgot about leap day and simply counted wrong. note that islam does have its own calendar, so familiarity with leap day would be low. besides which, many high school students would make a similar error on a math test.

Posted by: L Day at March 15, 2004 02:44 PM

in reply to charges of "bullshit" and spin, read yesterday's El Pais, starting here:
http://www.iht.com/pdfs/elpais/ep1.pdf
(links to all 8 pages here)
http://www.iht.com/global.html

it's not like I made it up.

The leap from anger at administration policy and chicanery, to "appeasement of terrorism" crosses a chasm I wouldn't want to attempt even with Bob Beamon's legs.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 03:05 PM

it's not like I made it up.

It's spin, whether it comes from you, or whether it comes from a paid appeaser at El Pais.

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 03:14 PM

"It's spin, whether it comes from you, or whether it comes from a paid appeaser at El Pais."

does not the possibility exist that Spaniards aren't as easygoing about being lied to as Americans seem to be?

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 03:16 PM

What lie are you referring to Joe?

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 03:20 PM

that indications strongly pointed to ETA, and that seeking answers from other sources was tantamount to treason.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 03:26 PM

Torrid Joe: does not the possibility exist that Spaniards aren't as easygoing about being lied to as Americans seem to be?

Now that's spin.

Posted by: Michael Hall at March 15, 2004 03:28 PM

Joe, are you saying that americans think the spaniards were lied to, and are ok with it,or are you referring to americans being lied to in general?

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 03:35 PM

No, I'm saying that Spaniards feel they were lied to by their government regarding the culprits of the Madrid bombings, just as Americans were lied to about the strength of intelligence regarding WMDs and the connections to global terrorism.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 03:42 PM

That's what I figured you meant Joe. I hope you include scores of world leaders, 2 american administrations and most prominent members of congress including John Kerry, on your list of liars.

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 03:59 PM

I do not, specifically. None of them told me there was no doubt Iraq had WMD, that nuclear programs were active, that they knew exactly where WMD were hidden, and that connections to global terrorism were clear and abundant, in service of policy goals to invade Iraq.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:01 PM

Joe,

I've heard and read enough from people in Spain commenting about the elections to know WHY they voted for the socialists/Al-Qaida.

The first time I heard that it was because of Aznar "manipulations" came from YOU and your recent El Pais commentary. And it sounds like spin because nobody likes to be called an appeaser, or be accused of having voted for Al-Qaida.

And make no mistake about it, the Socialists did not win this electin--Al Qaida and terrorism won a victory yesterda. Keep your eye on other elections in the near future that terrorist bombs will decide.

Shame on the spanish. SHAME.

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 04:02 PM

John Kerry said saddam hussein has weapons of mass distruction. Was John Kerry lying when he made that statement?

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:05 PM

Joe, many lefties said Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Don't make me google.

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:08 PM

then perhaps you just aren't looking hard enough:

http://volokh.com/2004_03_14_volokh_archive.html#107937019778104920

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=475302&section=news (near the end)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=1&u=/ap/20040314/ap_on_re_eu/spain_17 (money quote: "not because of the attacks, but because of the responsibility of the Popular Party. They gave out information drop by drop. It would have benefited them if it were ETA.")

http://www.iht.com/articles/510216.html (money quote: "I would never have gone into the streets for a demonstration like yesterday except that I felt like they were not telling us everything.")

that's a sample.

Furthermore, the entire idea of terrorist appeasement in the vote has a serious logical flaw--many of the people opposed to Iraqi invasion, felt so because it was viewed as a diversion from the war on terror. If the people who were angry with the Aznar government weren't of the mind that Iraq represented a terrorist threat, how does removing forces from Iraq reflect appeasement to terrorism? If anything, it might suggest anger over missed opportunities to actually confront terrorism directly, rather than in a diversionary mission. Note that no one seems to be saying that M-11 was payback for Spain's support of the US-Afghan war, in which there WAS a direct assault on terrorism.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:18 PM

"Joe, many lefties said Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Don't make me google."

Stipulated. But belief is not the same thing as presentation of facts without doubt, or as a basis of precipitation to act.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:20 PM

When Clinton said Iraq had WMD's I believed him.

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:24 PM

George Tenet, the guy who was out on a limb the furthest, didnt not seem to have a problem with the interpretation of the intelligence. At least that's what he told Ted Kennedy last week.

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:28 PM

"George Tenet, the guy who was out on a limb the furthest, didnt not seem to have a problem with the interpretation of the intelligence. At least that's what he told Ted Kennedy last week."

that's not quite right. He admitted that he had to speak up when administration officials micharacterized the intelligence, and specifically named Cheney as someone who appeared to be STILL making statements that Tenet believed Cheney should know are not true.

In any case, a reading of the NIE makes plain the areas in which the administration "mischaracterized" the information.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:33 PM

'But belief is not the same thing as presentation of facts without doubt, or as a basis of precipitation to act"

So what your saying is that it's ok to make false assertions if you dont really plan on doing anything about it?

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:35 PM

What is the false assertion being made in this case, by (for example) Bill Clinton?

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:35 PM

To the people who are arguing that Aznar initially was less than forthcoming about Al Qaeda's responsibility for the attack, you're completely full of shit.
Here's a news report from the early afternoon of the day of the attack;

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040311/ap_on_re_eu/spain_tape_found_9

the Interior Minister wasted no time in calling a press conference to announce the discovery of the detonators and Koran and to declare that Al Qaeda was now a suspect.

Let's not apologize for Spain's craven appeasement by playing revisionist historian, okay?

Posted by: ansar at March 15, 2004 04:41 PM

I said nothing about "initially." As the ETA links became fewer, and al-Qaeda links greater, the Aznar government took specific steps in order to keep the ETA theory at the forefront, regardless of developments. I provided documentation to this effect.

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:44 PM

And even then, if they were ready to entertain al-Qaeda as the culprit that day, why did Span go to the UN seeking a resolution blaming ETA?

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 04:49 PM

Joe, you said,

"But belief is not the same thing as presentation of facts without doubt, or as a basis of precipitation to act"

This was in response to my saying lefties (John Kerry and Bill Clinton) said Hussein has WMD.

Just because they didnt act or plan on acting upon their assertions doesnt make it true or untrue that Hussein had WMD's. Kerry and Clinton both said he had WMD's. Were they lying?

"He admitted that he had to speak up when administration officials micharacterized the intelligence, and specifically named Cheney as someone who appeared to be STILL making statements that Tenet believed Cheney should know are not true"

I didnt want to google but.....

Kennedy asked if Tenet believed the administration had misrepresented facts to justify the war.

"No, sir, I don't," Tenet said

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 04:57 PM

I'll ask again: did Clinton or Kerry ever say there was NO DOUBT Iraq had WMDs, and that it was known specifically where they were?

Posted by: Torrid Joe at March 15, 2004 05:01 PM

Torrid,

I have not denied Aznar's duplicitous desire to blame ETA. In fact, immediately upon hearing about the bombing, I suspected Aznar of minimizing Al-Qaida in favor of ETA because of the elections coming up.

Why would Aznar prefer to blame ETA? Because Aznar KNEW that an Al-Qaida bomb would harm his re-election bid; whereas an ETA bomb would not. This is why Aznar "manipulated", and he was correct in his belief (though not his actions).

Why would it harm his reelection bid? Because as one spanish protester put it, "the bombs falling in Iraq explode in Madrid."

This is all about Iraq, not "manipulations."

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 05:02 PM

"I'll ask again: did Clinton or Kerry ever say there was NO DOUBT Iraq had WMDs, and that it was known specifically where they were?"

I dont know, but for the sake of moving the argument along, No.

Now answer my question, Clinton and Kerry both stated that Iraq has WMD's. Were they lying?

Posted by: mnm at March 15, 2004 05:05 PM

Torrid,

If Bush lied, then so did Bill and Hilary, Wesley Clark, Jacques Chirac, Robert Byrd, Barbara Boxer, Tom Daschle, Dick Gephart, etc.

For a complete list of big names who warned of WMDs, click here:

http://www.rightwingnews.com/quotes/demsonwmds.php

Learn your facts before you make stupid comments like Americans were "lied to." Idiot.

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 05:15 PM

What Spain shows is that the existence of world war will again be denied until two cities, one in Europe and one in the U.S., lose at least 10,000 people each. Until then we will call the war a "police action," especially after Bush is shown the door, and we will also cut down on the number of troops needed for decisive victory. (It all sounds so familiar.) As a result, the war will be much worse than it needs to be. Instead of a string of constitutional democracies stretching across the Middle East, there will be devastation. We'll support the commander-in-chief in wartime by re-electing Kerry in 2008. By 2012 the image of his face on TV will be inextricably associated with death, poverty, and depression. The worldwide economic depression will kill millions. Their stories will be forgotten in view of even more gloomy turns of events.

The only bright spot is that one of the kingpins, Saddam, has been taken out early and relatively cleanly, which probably saved us many American lives.

Posted by: Jim at March 15, 2004 05:48 PM

David--your invective disqualifies you as a serious correspondent, but I'll give you another chance. Please review the correspondence between mnm and myself, before making another attempt at valid discourse.

Posted by: Torridjoe at March 15, 2004 06:00 PM

MnM--to answer your question, without specific comments you're referring to I can't rightly say. But I do not recall statements which suggest active and knowing disregard for the truth in that vein from either. If you have some examples, lay 'em on me.

Posted by: Torridjoe at March 15, 2004 06:03 PM

Torrid,

allow me to lay them on you:

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." -- John Kerry, October 9, 2002

And more:

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ...And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." -- John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

We were "lied" to?

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 06:12 PM

I don't understand why so many of the posters need to accuse the Spanish of voting for appeasement. They made a judgement that the war in Iraq was a needless waste of resources on the war on terror. Al Queda was responsible for this dastardly act, but the actions of "Coalition of the Willing" made this act possible. If George Bush had been serious about taking the fight to Al Queda, he would have allocated all the necessary resources towards that goal.

Unfortunately, he misdirected many intelligence and military resources towards the war in Iraq, which has made us weaker, not stronger. The U.S. had no idea this attack was about to happen. That fact alone scares me more than anything I have discovered since 9/11. I think we are even more in the dark on the war on terror than I feared. Bush and Co. have mismanaged this war by going after the Japanese (Iraq) first, instead of the Germans (Al Queda). It is 1944, and the Japs are out of the war, but do the Germans have a nuke?

The Spanish made a decision that plan Z was not working, and to try a different and hopefully better plan A. I live outside of DC and our "wartime" President scares the beejeezus out of me, because he only treats this as a war for political purposes. If he treated this threat with the seriousness it deserves, he would be much more urgent in his repsonses.

Posted by: Scott at March 15, 2004 06:21 PM

Scott, you're assuming that we have, but are not using, sufficient intelligence resources to avert big terror attacks here and in Spain. I find that hard to believe. It's more likely that we're doing all we can to discover al Qaeda's next move, while also liberating the Middle East, not to mention putting robots on Mars, revamping medicare, and deciding about gay marriage. Have you any idea how many al Qaeda attacks our intelligence has averted recently?

Posted by: Jim at March 15, 2004 06:43 PM

Scott,

I don't understand why so many of the posters need to accuse the Spanish of voting for appeasement.

You don't think this is appeasement? Do you really think that the Spanish Socialists will now get serious about terrorism? What do you suppose the citizens of al-Andalus will do when Al Qaeda demands the release of the bombers?

Mark my words. Under threat of further attacks, Spain will now become a staging area for further terrorist attacks in Europe. Spain has shown cowardice and surrendered their sovereignty. They will pay the price. Al Qaeda feeds on weakness and they found fresh meat in al-Andalus.

Posted by: HA at March 15, 2004 07:29 PM

Having read all of the above (and as an adjunct professor I know all about "All of the above.") I have determined that AQ has accomplished a number of goals, perhaps as important to the Europeans as 9/11 was to us. First, regardless of why anyone thinks it happened, the murders of 3/11 roused the Spanish people to change their government. The Spaniards were angry at their PM for involving them in Iraq. But, the War on AQ (Terror is just a euphemism - AQ and the entire Wahhabi sect of Islam is the enemy) involves ANYONE who supported the US in their determination that the AQ should be eliminated, whether they fought in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. Thus, by attacking when they did, a result was observed. That the result of the elections was influenced by the attack cannot be questioned. Motives may be questioned, but motives be damned, it's behavior that is observable. Second The Spanish change in govt. will encourage AQ to attempt a mass murder attack just before our elections, just before the Brits parliamentary elections and at least in the case of England, may have the desired effect. I don't understand why people don't understand that AQ and the Wahhabi sect want us infidels dead and they really don’t care how it’s done. Third and last if anyone thinks that AQ would not like Kerry to win as opposed to Bush to win, just isn’t thinking. And you can spin this all you want, the AQ is determined, vicious and well financed. Kerry and Company needs to understand, our “allies” in Europe won’t lift a finger to save us, hell, they won’t lift a finger to save themselves. Appeasement is part and parcel of their foreign policy towards the AQ, their fear of their own Muslim immigrants is patent and observable in many, many news articles. You don’t have to agree with me, but, if I were you, I wouldn’t want to bet your kids lives on it.

Posted by: gmroper at March 15, 2004 07:50 PM

David--which parts of any of those quotes did you mean to identify as active and knowing disregard of the truth?

HA--doesn't the removal of Spanish investment from Iraq provide a positive opportunity to discontinue involvement in a bad war of vanity, and focus resources on the task at hand: prosecuting terrorism within the Spanish sphere?

gmroper--I think you're correct that observable behavior is important, and it's absolutely true that the bombings impacted the elections. But that's not at all the same thing as Spaniards "voting for appeasement." I have yet to see a single Spaniard, government rep or civilian, say that they voted in order to make peace with al Qaeda and afford them their gains. THAT'S what appeasement is, my friend. Giving away a country to an aggressor in hopes they won't ask for more later. Spain has given nothing to al-Qaeda--10 million Spaniards marching tells me that. That doesn't look like a nation riven; that looks like a nation determined.

Rejecting Bush/Blair's Iraqi paradigm for fighting terrorism is NOT by opposition an act of appeasement, and the continued purveyance of this false dichotomy is starting to bug me a little. This is exactly the same line of argument that turned off the Spanish voters--"if you ain't with us, you're agin us."

Thanks for the opportunity.

Posted by: Torridjoe at March 15, 2004 08:35 PM

David--which parts of any of those quotes did you mean to identify as active and knowing disregard of the truth?

None. I don't consider being wrong the same as being a liar. But if you insist that the American people were lied to, then it wasn't by Bush alone obviously, but also by the top leadership of the Democratic party.

Posted by: David at March 15, 2004 08:46 PM

I don't understand, David. I gave you examples where the Bush administration lied. Your response is to say that Kerry and Clinton did too, as well as the UN. When I ask for examples, you admit they were simply wrong. What are we discussing, then?

Posted by: Torridjoe at March 15, 2004 09:51 PM

The problem with appeasement is that, from the point of view of the enemy, it’s not good enough. Al Qaeda won’t leave Spain alone unless Spain does surrender.
*************************************************
Not so. History's lessons on appeasement clearly show that you won't be left alone even with abject surrender.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at March 16, 2004 03:23 AM

Joe, did you read the examples that David posted? Are those statements lies? Is any part of any of those statements a lie. Maybe you should define lie first, and then Ill provide you with the appropriate statement that fits your definition of what a lie is.

Why do I get the feeling that the Joe "lie threshold" varies depending on who is talking?

Posted by: mnm at March 16, 2004 04:26 AM

Torridjoe writes: " I have yet to see a single Spaniard, government rep or civilian, say that they voted in order to make peace with al Qaeda and afford them their gains. THAT'S what appeasement is."

You confirmed my point amigo. Not saying anything is also behavior. Interpreting the silence however, means assigning motive. You cannot assume that the Spaniard's silence means they are not in an appeasement mode. Then too, we have the new PM mouthing off, calling other World Leaders liars and saying he'll pull Spanish Troops home. Those are actions which give AQ it's victory. More here: http://rogerlsimon.com/archives/00000769.htm

Posted by: gmroper at March 16, 2004 05:12 AM

Now that AQ has learned that it can get its way by bombing innocents, I expect they'll do this again.

Oh, all you people who are saying we should go after AQ "instead of" Iraq, aren't you wondering why AQ wanted Spain out of Iraq anyway? Hmm.

Posted by: Bostonian at March 16, 2004 08:02 AM

Now that AQ has learned that it can get its way by bombing innocents, I expect they'll do this again.

That's the bottom line. If Spain had freely voted out the PP, it would have been a setback but not a strategic disaster. But they didn't freely vote out the PP, which was leading in the polls before the bombing. They voted under pressure, and they very publicly yielded to that pressure.

This vote will cost lives, not because of the outcome, but because that outcome was obtained by killing people.

Posted by: jaed at March 16, 2004 08:10 PM

"We were 'lied' to?"

Well I suppose it depends on what your definition of "is" is.

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." -- President Bush 6/1/03

Like most of the Bush team's distortions, this untrue statement takes an intelligence finding that has not been verified (those nefarious trailers that the CIA now believes were used to make hydrogen) strips it of any uncertainty or doubt, and presents it as fact.

This is just as dishonest as Clinton's notorious word parsing. It also happens to be about an issue that sent hundreds of Americans to their deaths. We could easily make a semantic argument that these statements fall short of being "lies." We deserve better.

Posted by: Violet at March 16, 2004 11:18 PM

"We could easily make a semantic argument that these statements fall short of being "lies." We deserve better"

Violet, I saw Madeline Albright interviewed on March 16, 2004 she said she believed iraq possessed wmd. She has maintained that belief for years.

Bush may have used rhetoric and language that was strong, but when you are rallying the troops for war and trying to build a coalition, thats necessary. If Bushed believed the intelligence,(Supplied by George Tenet, see Tenets remarks to Ted Kennedy) as many democrats before him did, he did not tell a lie. Democrats also used strong language and rhetoric in regards to the iraqi threat. I dont see anyone calling the many democrats who claimed iraq had wmds, liars. Further, the argument "their statements were not a pretext to war", is not really an arguement, unless lying is excusable if you dont really plan on acting on the lie.

Your quote from Bush is after the war started,btw.

Posted by: mnm at March 17, 2004 10:09 AM

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Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn