September 07, 2004

We Cannot Fall Apart (Updated)

Dick Cheney is selling poison in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack.
As if we don't face the threat of another attack now. Who knew we were so safe? Not me.
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.
I don't need to tell Dick Cheney that terrorists want to hit us again no matter who sits in the White House. But I would tell Dick Cheney, if I were his advisor, that this line of argument is crude, obnoxious, and has serious backfire potential built into it. He is explicitly saying no terrorist attacks can get through if he and George W. hold the White House.

We all know this is b.s. and I shouldn't even have to point it out. It is not possible to deflect every potential attack. We could turn the United States into a totalitarian fortress and attacks would still get through.

If Dick Cheney is prepared to lay the blame of a future terrorist attack on both a Kerry Administration and even the voters (!) then his administration needs to accept the blame for terrorist attacks that occur on its watch. And that includes the attack on September 11.

I do not blame the Bush Administration for the attack on September 11. Nor do I blame the Clinton Administration. Nor will I blame a possible future Kerry Administration if it comes into being. Nor should anybody.

In The Art of War Sun Tzu famously told how to defeat an enemy's leadership: "When he is united, divide him." On that note I'd like to revisit an essay Lee Harris wrote for Tech Central Station on the second anniversary of September 11, 2001. He concludes:

The greatest damage that Al-Qaeda could possibly do to us is not to destroy our buildings or even to murder our people; it is to lure us into abandoning our sense of national unity at the very time we are most in need of it. 9/11 was not our fault, nor the fault of our leadership, of either party. Nor will the next 9/11, if it should come, be our fault, or the fault of those who might happen to be in power, and again of either party.

[...]

[N]one of us may not know for sure what we should do, we can all be absolutely positive about what we shouldn't do, and that is, we cannot fall apart. For if we in the United States fall apart, who in the world will put us back together?


UPDATE: It looks like Cheney's quote was snipped in the middle of a sentence. And the AP reporter used a period instead of ellipses to hide that fact. Here is Cheney's complete sentence:
Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war.
That is a lot less inflammatory. The AP ought to be smacked for that. Will they run a correction? I'm runing a correction since I relied on their crappy reporting, so I certainly hope so. (Not holding my breath.)

I still think Cheney is wrong. John Kerry has said he will respond to any attack on the United States, and I believe him. Why wouldn't he? He is not a peacenik.

What worries me about a Kerry presidency isn't that he won't fight back but that he doesn't have any strategy that isn't reactive. We could fight terrorism tit-for-tat forever. Bush has his eye on both pre-emption and root causes while Kerry doesn't.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 05:59 PM
Comments

Um, you only just noticed that the Administration wants to use the threat of terrorism to polarise Americans for their political benefit?

Where have you been for the last two years?

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 06:19 PM

It's only "polarizing" if you pretent to believe there is no threat of terrorism. I guess you have no choice though or you'd have to vote for Bush. For those who believe terrorism is a threat, there's nothing "polarizing" about it.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 06:28 PM

David, meet Dick. Dick, David.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 06:31 PM

A terrible, terrible statement by the VP. Will we be safer with W? I think so. But are we SAFE? That is not possible.

Shame Mr. Cheney, shame.

Posted by: spc67 at September 7, 2004 06:32 PM

Sorry, my last was indecipherable.

How about this. Are we safe now? Not absolutely no. Is a terrorist attack against the US preventable? Not absolutely no. So connecting a vote for Kerry as the only way we'll be hit is a terrible thing to say.

Do I think at the margin will we be safer under W? Yup, for several reasons. But that's not what the VP said.

Shame.

Posted by: spc67 at September 7, 2004 06:35 PM

Mork: Where have you been for the last two years?

What are you talking about? Show me where I said this is the first time this has ever happened.

After you fail, read this.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 06:35 PM

I cannot think, for the life of me, of what possibly could have been going through Cheney's mind. Shameful, and politically stupid to boot.

Posted by: Gerry at September 7, 2004 06:45 PM

"N]one of us may not know for sure what we should do, we can all be absolutely positive about what we shouldn't do, and that is, we cannot fall apart. For if we in the United States fall apart, who in the world will put us back together"--MJT

I did not care for Cheney's statement today either and I expect a 'clarification' to be issued in the near future.That said I think you are indulging in avoidance when you say that there is a united effort in the US to engage the terrorists in this 'clash of civilizations'.
There is no such unity.There is no excuse for a 'stupid' comment such as Cheney's today,but stating overtly that the current Democratic Party positions are 'questionable' in fighting this war as it needs to be fought is a perfectly acceptable tactic.
THEY ARE WEAK.Which frankly is why you abondoned the ship,is it not.It is a surprisingly fine and fragile line between contempt for a position and contempt for the holders of that position.If(or perhaps when)Beslan is repeated in America,do you think this line is likely to be seriously blurred? I fear that the answer is a resounding YES.

Posted by: dougf at September 7, 2004 06:50 PM

At a nationally televised debate on JANUARY 29, 2004, Massachusetts senator John F. Kerry delivered the idiotic assessment that the threat of terrorism had been "exaggerated" by the Bush administration.

Cheney's point is that we don't really want someone who believes as Kerry does--that the theat of terroris is overstated--to deal with our terror problem. And his point is well taken as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 06:54 PM

Show me where I said this is the first time this has ever happened.

Show me where you've ever noted that this Administration has pursued a deliberate political strategy of using the threat of terrorism to heighten internal divisions to their political benfit.

Maybe you didn't notice because your own comments weren't that far removed.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 06:58 PM

Look folks, Lee Harris is correct, as he is on most matters. But in a free-wheeling society like ours, Democrats and Republicans will always attempt to exploit the weaknesses of the other side, regardless of the issue at hand.

It is the nature of free people to NOT be paranoid, because free societies and free markets depend on a high degree of TRUST between people We do not even think about this most of the time, because we take it for granted that there will not be a nail in our hamburgers, or that our cars will not blow up when we start them. And the really scary thing about terrorism is that it is episodic, so we tend to go back to our normal lives and become somewhat complacent fairly soon after an attack. This is why terrorism is such that it is particularly dangerous to a free society. We easily slip back into partisan bickering, because, unlike WW2, the big attacks are not continuous. Then, unexpected, another attack occurs, and we are horrified.

If a 9/11 was happening every 6 months, we would not be so divided.

You don't like the Patriot Act ? NO freedom-loving person does ! So, twhat is the answer to this dilemma ? We will not survive as a free society if we become an armed camp, but we may also not survive if we become too complacent.

There is only ONE answer : kill, kill, kill these Islamist fascists until there are no more of them left to kill. Slaughter each and every one of them, BEFORE they kill us.

Now ask yourself this question, and answer it honestly : Who would these sub-animals who shoot children in the back rather see in the White House? Bush or Kerry.

You know the answer. Enough said.

Posted by: freeguy at September 7, 2004 07:00 PM

<iWho would these sub-animals who shoot children in the back rather see in the White House? Bush or Kerry.

That's an easy question: the answer is Bush.

What Al Qaeda wants is to create a clash of civilizations. It's their raison d'etre.

Bush has given it to them, and, moreover, larded it with American isolation and humiliation. Al Qaeda has every reason to be delighted with the way the last three years have gone.

But it would be dumb to vote for Kerry just because that's not what Al Qaeda would want us to do. People should vote for what's best for America.

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 07:10 PM

>>>"What Al Qaeda wants is to create a clash of civilizations."

Al-Qaida wants to see America retreat from the world stage. Kerry would oblige him. Bush has done exactly the opposite.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 07:14 PM

Speaking of b.s....

"He is explicitly saying no terrorist attacks can get through if he and George W. hold the White House. "

Please show us where he says this explicitly.

Maybe you should read passage "then the danger is" again and again until you explicitly understand the meaning of those words.

The VP is saying his camp is stronger on terrorism and has a better plan to stop it. Oooh, how awful of "Dr. Evil" to take this position to its logical conclusion and articulate what is implied in the concept.

It is a matter of pubic record that Kerry is claiming the EXACT same position. Kerry, however, apprently has not made the capital "centrist" crime of articulating its logical conclusion.

Thanks again "Mr. Centrist" for another uninformed rant.

Posted by: Usual Suspect at September 7, 2004 07:16 PM

Al-Qaida wants to see America retreat from the world stage.

What do you base that on? Did you just make it up?

Posted by: Mork at September 7, 2004 07:22 PM

'What Al Qaeda wants is to create a clash of civilizations. It's their raison d'etre'--Mork
What the REAL Hitler wanted was to establish a 1000 year Reich,and he predicated that desire upon a belief that Western Democracies were both weak and un-willing to get their hands dirty to defend themselves.
HE WAS WRONG!!
What Al-Queda wants will be yet another historical illustration of 'be careful what you wish for;you just might get it'.If it comes to a full ,all out, no holds barred,no prisoners,'clash of civilizations',it will not be his that remains and the blame will be his and his alone.

Posted by: dougf at September 7, 2004 07:23 PM

Mork,

I guess Osama's demand that the U.S. withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia and the middle east was a bit too subtle to penetrate your thick skull? Also, you must have been on vacation when he demanded we abandon the zionists. U.S. withdrawing support for "infidel" Arab governments was next on his list of demands.

How bout you back up some of your own drivel for a change.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 07:39 PM

David -

Speaking of backing up your own drivel:

At a nationally televised debate on JANUARY 29, 2004, Massachusetts senator John F. Kerry delivered the idiotic assessment that the threat of terrorism had been "exaggerated" by the Bush administration.

Could you explain how the debate transcript backs up your idiotic assessment of it?

BROKAW: We're back on stage at the Peace Center for Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina, with the seven presidential candidates contesting for the Democratic presidential nomination. South Carolina's primary is next Tuesday.

Senator Kerry, let me ask you a question. Robert Kagan, who writes about these issues a great deal from the Carnegie Institute for Peace, has written recently that Europeans believe that the Bush administration has exaggerated the threat of terrorism, and the Bush administration believes that the Europeans simply don't get it.

Who is right?

KERRY: I think it's somewhere in between. I think that there has been an exaggeration and there has been a refocusing...

BROKAW: Where has the exaggeration been in the threat on terrorism?

KERRY: Well, 45 minutes deployment of weapons of mass destruction, number one.

Aerial vehicles to be able to deliver materials of mass destruction, number two.

I mean, I -- nuclear weapons, number three.

I could run a long list of clear misleading, clear exaggeration. The linkage to Al Qaida, number four.

Posted by: Not David at September 7, 2004 07:43 PM

Usual Suspect: Thanks again "Mr. Centrist" for another uninformed rant.

I'm sorry. Since when does "centrist" mean "partisan Republican?"

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 07:56 PM

Cheney's point is that we don't really want someone who believes as Kerry does--that the theat of terroris is overstated

Bull hockey. Kerry has said no such thing. You don't help your case by making stuff up.

Posted by: kc at September 7, 2004 07:56 PM

Not David,

and here's how John Edwards responded to him:

"It's just hard for me to see how you can say there's an exaggeration when thousands of people lost their lives on September 11,"

Maybe you should nominate me to the Dem ticket.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 07:57 PM

Aha, thanks, NotDavid. So Kerry agreed that the threat from IRAQ was overstated. And Kerry was right.

Posted by: kc at September 7, 2004 07:59 PM

I agree with Mork that the terrorists probably would prefer Bush. It is in the very nature of terrorism to attempt to provoke a strong response - with the hope that the response results in great misery and death to many innocents, and that the innocents then look to the terrorists as their protectors and champions. The more blunt, the more unfocussed, or misfocussed the response the better. Anyone doubt that the Iraq invasion plays right into their hands? Irrespective of what our motives were, the muslims of the world see that a handful of their own, mainly from SA, trained and supported in Afghanistan, committed a great crime, but all of a sudden the US is occupying Iraq, which is the site of the worlds second biggest oil reserve. You dont think that every al-Q member in the world is going around saying "told ya so" to every poor, unemployed young man in the developing world?

The last thing the terrorists want is an American leader who can inspire a global alliance to oppose them, who has the judgement to know when and where to apply force, and when and where to use other methods. A leader who understands the complexities of the real world. I hope Kerry can be such a leader, and i have reason to suspect that he may. Bush, I am rather convince, is not.

Posted by: Tano at September 7, 2004 08:07 PM

Good God, this election is getting nasty. We all thought it was nasty before. I guess we haven't seen anything, yet.

I'm still waiting for the debates. A fist-fight might break out or something. This election season is the complete inverse of Election 2000.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:11 PM

Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties. Just in case anybody was unaware.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:13 PM

Tano,

How does Kerry inspire a "global alliance" by referring to the British, Japanese, and Italians as "Phony allies" and "countries you could buy on eBay"?

Face it, mr. "diplomatic" is actually rude, abrasive, and poisonous to Americas real alliances. How dare that asshole talk like that about people who have sacrificed dozens of lives for our mission in Iraq! Germany and (especially) France are NOT allies.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 7, 2004 08:15 PM

>>>"Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties. Just in case anybody was unaware."

Only? By now there was going to be 100,000 casualties the naysayers told us.

Yeah yeah, I'm "insensitive". But you were wrong.

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 08:16 PM

Tano: You dont think that every al-Q member in the world is going around saying "told ya so" to every poor, unemployed young man in the developing world?

Osama bin Laden told people we were a paper tiger, that we would not fight back, that we could be defeated for that reason.

He (if he is still alive) will not be able to say "I told you so" to that. And that is nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 7, 2004 08:17 PM

All of you really should read David Brooks' OP-Ed in
the Tuesday NYT.

We still refuse to call this terror war by its real name. Note how quickly the old-guard establishment media refuses to use the word "Islamist", or "Islamic fascism". They are "rebels", "separatists", etc.

Yea right. Whatever.

The truth is that about half of the US population still has not INTERNALIZED the FACT that we are fighting WW4. And it is unlike any conflict we have ever faced.

I have news for the editorial board of the NYT, the Boston Globe, Slate, and MTV : Metrosexuals cannot win this one.

Posted by: freeguy at September 7, 2004 08:33 PM

What the hell do metrosexuals have to do with it?!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:39 PM

>>>"Metrosexuals cannot win this one."

LOL, no they can't. Osama will take extra pleasure in sawing their heads off.

>>>"WW4"

Norman Podhoretz, neocon extraordinaire.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/podhoretz.htm

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 08:39 PM
Anyone doubt that the Iraq invasion plays right into their hands?

Yep, I do. What's Al Q going to say to all those poor unemployed young men four months from now when Iraqis go to the polls and elect their own leaders? From Zarqawi's memo:

How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext, after the Americans start withdrawing? The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority. This is the democracy, we will have no pretext.

No pretext. The attacks will continue but how do you think that'll play with the rest of the Muslim world? After thirty years of Saddam and two years of American rule, Iraq will finally be captain of its own ship -- and they'll still be getting hit. Not something you'd want on the recruiting poster if you're Osama.

The last thing the terrorists want is an American leader who can inspire a global alliance to oppose them, who has the judgement to know when and where to apply force, and when and where to use other methods.

Yeah, "other methods." Like this. I also don't have the slightest idea how you've managed to gauge Kerry's "judgment" in applying force, unless you simply mean to say that he's likely to apply it less frequently than Bush. On that point we have no argument.

Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties. Just in case anybody was unaware.

No! For real? I didn't see that in 50-point type on Drudge today. Your point is well taken, though: No war is worth fighting where soldiers actually die, especially when the casualties over 18 months exceed one-third the amount that were lost in ninety minutes on 9/11. Thanks for pointing this out!

Posted by: Allah at September 7, 2004 08:40 PM

"Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties. Just in case anybody was unaware."
No! For real? I didn't see that in 50-point type on Drudge today. Your point is well taken, though: No war is worth fighting where soldiers actually die, especially when the casualties over 18 months exceed one-third the amount that were lost in ninety minutes on 9/11. Thanks for pointing this out!--Allah

As always Allah,creator of worlds,sums things up succinctly.All the defeatists were out in force today CELEBRATING the 1000th death in Iraq.
Yeah,yeah,I know the use of " CELEBRATING" is perjorative. SUE ME.Because that is, in effect, what they were doing by using it as an implied criticism of the Iraq policy.These deaths are NEVER the price of victory or the defense of our freedoms or even the price paid for killing Islamists.They are ALWAYS a hymn to the VICTIMS of GWB's war!
That is why they dwell on these stats and EVERYONE knows it.

Posted by: dougf at September 7, 2004 08:51 PM

No offense, Michael, but I'm not so sure either you OR Osama are correct.

I don't think anyone can reasonably much make the claim that we've been acting like a paper tiger, lately. But how well have we been fighting back? After Afghanistan, we mobilized in a massive effort to attack...Iraq. Not Iran. Not Saudi Arabia. Not Syria. Not Libya. But Iraq: A country with very few ties to Al-Qaeda or even radical Islam, for that matter, especially when contrasted with the above said list of nations.

The more I think about it, maybe Howard Dean was right when he said that Iraq was the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:51 PM

And, hey, you know what guys? When I said over 1000 have died in Iraq, I meant just that. That over 1000 have died. I wasn't implying anything. I wasn't making any comment on the War, itself. And I sure as hell wasn't "celebrating" (which is a pretty sick and disturbing charge I might add).

I was simply saying, hey, over 1000 have died. My first thought was, "yeah, and it sure as hell could of been alot worse". My second thought was, "even so, I can't really wrap my mind around even that many people my age coming back dead". My third thought was, "I'm really happy none of the dozen or so people I know over there has died".

It wasn't a political statement.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:59 PM

And, for the record, the comment that followed, the one that quoted Howard Dean, was not in any way an endorsement of Howard Dean. If you know the first thing about me or my politics, you'd know as much.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:02 PM

"It wasn't a political statement." GM

I can accept that from you but you phrased it badly and in context in certainly appeared to be 'political'.
My comment was not directed at you but at the media which is willfully engaged in a campaign to discredit the administration's efforts,and is using the casualties as just another tool in that 'defeatist'effort.You just happened to be collateral damage due to what you confirm was inadvertent phraseology.
My apologies.

Posted by: dougf at September 7, 2004 09:08 PM

Grant,

is there anything else you'd like to apologize for?

Posted by: David at September 7, 2004 09:09 PM

Speaking of Screaming Howard Dean, can you all imagine the extent of the defeat, had he been the Dems nominee ?

Anyone care to hazard a guess ? What do you think ?

65% Bush, 35% Dean ? Or worse ? LOL

Posted by: freeguy at September 7, 2004 09:11 PM

David...

Hey, man, I just don't want people accusing me of "celebrating" the deaths of American troops. If I seemed overly apologetic, well...fuck all of you guys. Better?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:18 PM

What Al Qaeda wants is to create a clash of civilizations. It's their raison d'etre.

Bush has given it to them, and, moreover, larded it with American isolation and humiliation. Al Qaeda has every reason to be delighted with the way the last three years have gone.

But it would be dumb to vote for Kerry just because that's not what Al Qaeda would want us to do. People should vote for what's best for America.

Posted by Mork at September 7, 2004 07:10 PM
************************************************
How many millions more have to die before you are willing to admit there is already a "Clash of Civilizations" in effect?

I know Descartes said "Existance is Perception" but refusing to see what exists does not make it go away.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 7, 2004 09:36 PM

Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties. Just in case anybody was unaware.

Posted by Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 08:13 PM
*************************************************
Takes a War and a Political Battle for the folks to notice serviemen and women dying.

One thousand is about the same number we lose yearly to training accidents in Peace Time.

No one ever notices those sacrifices.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 7, 2004 09:40 PM

Dan...

First of all, kudos for quoting Descartes. Secondly, is that really around how many die in training accidents?! I had no idea, seriously, I mean you just don't hear about that sort of thing. I guess that kind of advances your point.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:47 PM

It's hard to find I did get a source once for the Defense Dept Fatalitys for 94 I think it was about a little over 2000 deaths that year half training accidents.

I can't give you a clean URL to go to, but I am not making it up. I grew up on Navy bases and I
recall vividly one day the sirens went off at the air strip and my Dad and some of his friends Ran towards the field came back looking quiet and grim and the next day a few of my schoolmates were not in class.

Training for War is one of the most dangerous occupations there is and there is NO way to make it safe.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 7, 2004 10:17 PM

I think you're missing the fundemental point of the speech Mr. Totten. You quote Sun-Tzu, but fail to apply it fully.
THe Bush admin talks of a pro-active policy. TO apply Sun-Tzu's principle of keeping the forces from coalescing to be able to attack. Sun-Tzu wasn't only talking about morale.
THe Kerry people talk about reactive policy. Trying to rely on defenses to protect(which can never be complete, ask a cop about burglars and he'll tell you that if they want in bad enough they'll get in)us and a legalistic minded policy for redress. This doesn't really prevent anything, and that's the core of the Veep speech.

Posted by: ry parsons at September 7, 2004 11:21 PM

I think its an over-reaction to suggest that Cheney suggested any future terrorist attacks will only occur under a Kerry presidency.

His exact words talked about "the danger", and he believes that there is a greater danger of a terrorist attack compared to his own party.

Now thats hardly a poisonous viewpoint !

Posted by: Jono at September 7, 2004 11:36 PM

I mean you just don't hear about that sort of thing. I guess that kind of advances your point.

Posted by Grant McEntire at September 7, 2004 09:47 PM
*************************************************
https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/Library/Atlas/atlas.html

Atlas of Injuries in the U.S. Armed Forces

Supplement to Military Medicine vol 164, no 8 August 1999

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 8, 2004 01:13 AM

In the summer of 1975 I was on the US carrier Kitty Hawk for 6 weeks (midshipman training). One F14 Tomcat, with a pilot and navigator, went into the water on takeoff. Bodies not recoverd.

What is the probability of Iran getting nukes in the next 4 years?
If Kerry is elected - 40% (?) 20% (?)
If Bush is elected - 1%. (Ultimatum followed by regime change)

Michael, what are YOUR guestimates?
Note that Bush re-election WILL be interpreted as support for military regime change "if necessary".
And anti-war Kerry supporters will claim Bush was wrong, we need to get along, more talk, etc. -- they, like Clinton/Carter in No. Korea, will make some agreement with Iran and allow Iran to get nukes.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 8, 2004 01:26 AM

Enh. The way I see it, all Cheney was saying was that Kerry's soft on terrorism and has the wrong plan and if we do things Kerry's way our odds of getting hit again are higher.

Given what I've seen of Kerry's plans, I have to say I quite agree. Some of the things he's proposing, in my view, do raise our odds of suffering more attacks. It's why I can't vote for him.

Given, really, all the things Kerry's said about how the Bushies haven't made us safer, "mis-lead," and so on and so forth, I have a hard time getting mad at Cheney saying that if Kerry's elected, we'll be in more danger. Maybe Cheney's wrong, maybe Kerry's wrong, but it's hardly wrong to bring the argument up.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at September 8, 2004 02:54 AM

Grant,

After Afghanistan, we mobilized in a massive effort to attack...Iraq. Not Iran. Not Saudi Arabia. Not Syria. Not Libya.

After Pearl Harbor, we mobilized in a massive effort to attack...Vichy France in North Africa. Not Japan. Not Germany. Not Italy.

Come on, Grant. You used to be sensible. What happened to you? I think you are exhibiting signs of Stockholm Syndrome after being locked up too long in a poly sci looney left star chamber.

You know Iraq was the logical next step. Far more so than attacking the French (not that there is anything wrong with that!) after Pearl Harbor. Leaving Saddam and his spawn in power after 9/11 was unacceptable. Period.

BTW, Cheney's statement was assinine. But I'm still not voting for Kerry. At least Cheney didn't smear the military as successors to Genghis Khan. At least Cheney didn't smear his country. At least Cheney didn't say there was no moral difference between communism and democracy. At least Cheney didn't attend a meeting to consider assasination schemes. At least Cheney didn't become an enemy agent and spew KGB authored propoganda. At least Cheney didn't serve on the executive committee of a communist sponsored and directed organization like the VVAW. At least Cheney didn't travel to Paris and meet with the leaders of our nation's enemies while still in the Naval Reserve, and return to our country and act as an enemy agent. At least Cheney never served as an agent for the Soviet backed Sandinistas. At least Cheney never opposed every significant weapan system at the height of the Cold War. At least Cheney didn't vote to go to war in Iraq and then vote to abandon the troops and lose the war. At least Cheney didn't vote to gut our intelligence services after the '93 WTC attack. At least Cheney doesn't squeal like a stuck pig every time his record is questioned. Given Kerry's disgraceful record, the Democrat's whining about Cheney's dumbass statement isn't going to change a single vote.

Posted by: HA at September 8, 2004 03:03 AM

Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties

Over 1000 deaths, many more injuries. Not to mention the many thousands of Iraqis who have been killed.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 03:21 AM

This is all rather silly, is it not?

This is the normal propagandising garbage one gets in election campaigns. The Republican Party has set as many policies as possible within a "secuity" cloak and plays on the security issue relentlessly - the use of fear is tried and tested method in politics.

This is all to be expected.

But the decision is the American peoples.

If the American people cannot see through all this crap and vote for George W Bush, then they will get a President they deserve.

The rest of the world will look on with a mixture of amusement, disgust and horror.

And the terrorist? They won't give a shit.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 8, 2004 03:40 AM

Oh, and there are now over 1000 casualties

Over 1000 deaths, many more injuries. Not to mention the many thousands of Iraqis who have been killed.

Posted by kc at September 8, 2004 03:21 AM
*************************************************
Against the tens of thousands of Iraqis who did not die.

I also seem to recall this statement by David Key

""The world is far safer with the disappearance and removal of Saddam Hussein"

"I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein. I have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought. I think when we have the complete record you're going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt. Individuals were out for their own protection. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood at some point in the future of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated with what may turn out not to be a fully accurate estimate."

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/archive/index.php/t-1638.html

So do you REALLY want to contemplate the possible TENS OF THOUSANDS or maybe even greater American lives which might have been lost if we had not ended that regime.

You might want to use the URL above and look at the rest of his testimony.

The problem with security matters if if you do eliminate a threat you can create the impression that no action was necessary because nothing happens later.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 8, 2004 04:32 AM

Oh the above statment was in responce to Ted Kennedy's pathetic attempt to make political points. I would say he failed miserably but most Americans just read the NYT headlines and miss things like this exchange.

I think I will repeat part of it and add the question.

Senator Kennedy: "Many of us feel that the evidence so far leads only to one conclusion: that what has happened was more than a failure of intelligence, it was the result of manipulation of the intelligence to justify a decision to go to war..........."

David Kay: ".......All I can say is if you read the total body of intelligence in the last 12 to 15 years that flowed on Iraq, I quite frankly think it would be hard to come to a conclusion other than Iraq was a gathering, serious threat to the world with regard to WMD."

"Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441"

"In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities: one last chance to come clean about what it had. We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material."

"Iraq was in clear and material violation of 1441. They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their program. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing that was illegal. I hope we find even more evidence of that."

"The world is far safer with the disappearance and removal of Saddam Hussein"

"I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein. I have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought. I think when we have the complete record you're going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt. Individuals were out for their own protection. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood at some point in the future of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated with what may turn out not to be a fully accurate estimate."

Analysts were not pressured

"And let me take one of the explanations most commonly given: Analysts were pressured to reach conclusions that would fit the political agenda of one or another administration. I deeply think that is a wrong explanation. And never -- not in a single case -- was the explanation, 'I was pressured to do this.' The explanation was, very often, 'The limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that there's another explanation for it' ...... And each case was different, but the conversations were sufficiently in depth and our relationship was sufficiently frank that I'm convinced that, at least to the analysts I dealt with, I did not come across a single one that felt it had been, in the military term, 'inappropriate command influence' that led them to take that position."

"Absolutely no doubt" Saddam harbored ambitions to develop and use WMD

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 8, 2004 04:36 AM

Well, America will never be safe as long as news agencies such as the NY Times refuse to recognize EVIL Islamic terrorism. Nor will we be safe as long as the morally confused relativists pacify EVIL.

The American public reads 'rebels'and 'freedom fighters' instead of who the enemy really are: EVIL Islamic Fascists.

To have left Saddam Hussein(an EVIL dictator who praised Islam numerous times in his speeches given all throughout the 90s) contained to wrought terror upon the people of Iraq is no different than allowing those Islamic Terrorist to wrought terror upon the contained innocent children in that Russian school house.

I do know for a fact President Bush is confronting the evil, whereas, morally confused pacifists wish to defend the evil.

The movement of Pacifistic Moral Relativism around the world is allowing innocent children contained in a schoolhouse to be shot in the back while fleeing from evil terror just as they allowed Iraqi children to be buried alive in an underground prison.

Pacifists say "Why should we be the policemen of the world?"

Pacifists say 'It's not our problem, we need books for our own children.'

Pacifists say 'Everything was find because Saddam was contained'.

Pacifists call the evil enemy 'freedom fighters and rebels, while demanding justice for EVIL dictators'.

Pacifists politicize their support of evil by attacking the actions of those who are confronting evil.

Being against the efforts to confront evil is, in itself, evil.

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 05:40 AM

You don't see me defend Cheney too often but when the defining issue of the election is national security, then the whole thing becomes "you'll be safer under our leadership than under their leadership."

Personally, I think Bush has performed very badly in the war on terror and I'll be safer under Kerry. Cheney obviously believes just the opposite.

Posted by: Oberon at September 8, 2004 05:50 AM

Syn

Wow! Its good against evil, is it?

And here's me thinking that its just a bunch of millionaires trying to get elected.

I didn't know it was that exciting, it really passed me by!

Posted by: Benjamin at September 8, 2004 06:03 AM

I havn't read the other comments yet (only have a couple minutes...) but I took Cheney's comments to mean that IF and WHEN we are attacked again, having a Kerry administration would be a bad thing -- not that a Kerry administration would cause us to be attacked.

Posted by: Mason at September 8, 2004 06:15 AM

Totten has gone off the deep end - maybe he can say "Hi" to Kos, Atrios and Oliver Willis when he splashes down:

1) READ WHAT CHENEY ACTUALLY SAID, NOT REPORTER. No where does Cheney explicitly claim that "no terrorist attacks can get through if he and George W. hold the White House." He only said the DANGER increases.

2) Here is what he said...Essentially Candidate A claims he has the better plan to counter terrorism. Implied in this concept is that Candidate B's plan is less safte, i.e. B = more terrorism.

3) Kerry's position is the EXACT same, he has just not come out and said it - Candidate B claims he has the better plan to counter terrorism. Implied in this concept is that Candidate A's plan is less safte, i.e. A = more terrorism.

4) Totten has his panties over a bunch over Cheney, EVEN THOUGH KERRY CLAIMS THE EXACT SAME THING.

5) Look, if you disagree that A is safer than B (or vice versa) then come out and say it. But calling out Cheney for saying his plan is better (in a different way, but still the same concept) and not holding Kerry to the same standard is a contridiction and invalidates your arguments.

6) But even worse, you claim that A vs. B ISN'T EVEN AN ISSUE FOR YOU, i.e. IT IS A NON-ISSUE AS YOU HAVE NO PREFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO. Essentially you are saying terrorism (and the plans to stop it) are a non-issue. Reading your other posts I find this hard to believe.

7) Maybe you and Sullivan should go back on vacation.

Posted by: Logic Cop at September 8, 2004 06:18 AM

Benjamin

There is more to this life than mere 'money'.

I am so sorry you have let this pass you by in your life, how empty you must feel.

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 06:22 AM

Cheney's comment was stupid. But I would agree with this statement. "If John Kerry is elected our chance of being hit by a catastrophic nuclear attack is greatly enhanced." Why? Because I believe the only way to prevent the continued and ultimate escalation of this horror is to treat this war like a war and win it by removing the state sponsors of international Jihad. Whatever its failings, the Bush administration recognizes this and slogs on in the face of opposition, nay...obstructionism from the left, right, jackasses from the CIA and State Department and so-called foreign "friends." I have no doubt that this effort will cease with the election of Kerry. In the short term, terrorist attacks are probably equally likely from either administration, although constant Democratic attacks on our proactive law enforcement, including the Patriot act, the one thing keeping us safe, frightens me. But it is the long term that I fear for and I suspect many moderate ex-Democrats feel the same way. I have said it before and I believe it still. We cannot win this war by playing defense. All the radiation detectors in the world will not be enough. Let Kerry give the slightest indication of how he plans to fight the war on terror.

Posted by: Doug at September 8, 2004 06:25 AM

>>>"And here's me thinking that its just a bunch of millionaires trying to get elected."

Benjamin,

the real humour here is that you probably do think it's just about a bunch of millionaires trying to get elected.

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 06:35 AM

On second thought, ALL Cheney critics should define at least one question, like Iran getting nukes, or like a WMD going off, or a WMD going off in America, and give their probabilities of that event under Kerry or under Bush. If they think it’s less probable under one, than the other, they should vote accordingly.

++ from the article: If Kerry were elected, Cheney said the nation risks falling back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that terrorist attacks are criminal acts that require a reactive approach.

A "criminal acts" mindset means reacting After. After getting hit. I do think Kerry has this mindset, and it means a much higher probability of getting hit.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 8, 2004 06:57 AM

It's interesting that Bush and Cheney get accused of politicizing the war when that's what Dems have been doing for the past year. That's what Howard Dean's candidacy was all about. That's what Kerry has been doing ever since he decided he needed to get the anti-war Left on board in order to win. Cheney may be guilty of feeding the fire, but the house was already engulfed in flames when he started.

Posted by: Ben at September 8, 2004 07:00 AM

Michael,

You are reacting to the way that the writer wrote the piece, rather than what actually was said. What was actually said: "...if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again...".

Maybe I'm being picky, but I don't see why this was not fair game, considering the garbage coming out from the Left. I suspect that it is what the Vice-President really believes, and I'm sorry to say, that I concur.

Posted by: Jim Bender at September 8, 2004 07:13 AM

<i."If John Kerry is elected our chance of being hit by a catastrophic nuclear attack is greatly enhanced."

People with actual expertise regarding nukes say otherwise.

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_09/Ferguson.asp

Posted by: Oberon at September 8, 2004 07:51 AM

Hi Michael,

I held off commenting on this, because you were all upset about something printed in a newspaper, fer chrissake. From the AP, no less. Jeez, you need to learn to question authority :-( So I waited for more to come out. You may want to read the full quote here.

Posted by: chuck at September 8, 2004 08:04 AM

Sorry to kill your high horse, Michael, but Cheney's "quote" was dowdified by the AP and NYT. The original one probably didn't meet their standards of objectivity or something.

Patterico found the full quote, and it has a very different meaning from the edited quote that angered you.

Posted by: michael parker at September 8, 2004 08:08 AM

Yep, to spin their story the AP cut the quote mid-sentence leaving off "and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war".

Though Cheney's language could have been more exact a full sentence context makes the VP's point that Kerry would view any future attack as a law enforcement matter thereby not embracing preemption. In fact, the whole paragraph’s intent is to parallel the administration's preemption strategy with our 40 year Cold War bi-partisan history. In short, if we don't get together on this one the "danger is that we'll get hit again".

Did I miss a previous "crowd boos Clinton" post?

Posted by: Jonathan at September 8, 2004 09:02 AM

Kerry has just given a 'foreign policy' campaign speech in which he, in essence, criticized Bush for spending $200 million on the Iraq War yet has done nothing for the 8 million Americans without jobs.

The irony in his statement is the fact that jobs are available in America, however, some Americans feel that working, even if only temporary, at a McD-like job is far beneath them.

America has a trillion dollar economy, Iraq is attempting to build, day-by-day, an economy from absolutely nothing.

How can we Americans complain of our needs when we spend millions a year on 'designer tennis shoes', while millions of destitude Iraqis have no shoes,

when we spend billions a year on education alone, while Iraqis haven't books to read,

when we spend billions on established law-enforcement while Iraqis have just begun basic training.

when we spend billions upon billions on entertainment merely an opiate for the masses, while Iraqis live real life wondering when the next terrorist(aka rebel, freedom fighter) will attack.

I am not ashamed to say that the paltry $200 million spent in Iraq is money worth spending.

We will pull ourselves together by re-building our Nation to believe that sometimes sacrificing ourselves for the greater good is right and that the costs are worth the expense.

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 09:23 AM

My apology, the correct number is '$200 billion on Iraq.'

ANd, I still do not have a problem.

Posted by: syn at September 8, 2004 09:32 AM

michael parker at September 8, 2004 08:08 AM

First Reuters, now the AP, thanks alot, now my faith in the news media is completely shattered.
;-}

A question based on the earlier conversation:

Re the 1000 deaths: There is a number for each of you in your hearts where you would count the cost of freeing Iraq and establishing this foothold for fighting Islamofascism as too high, is there not?
Just asking.

Posted by: jdwill at September 8, 2004 09:34 AM

Sorry, Michael, but I think this blog entry does a better job on Dick Cheney's speech.

http://qando.net/archives/004038.htm

Posted by: John Davies at September 8, 2004 09:39 AM

With respect to Iran, You (meaning some of the posters) want regime change, so do I but you might want to consider the, wait for it, intricacies (now I know you Rightists don't do detail....wish you did, Iraq might have worked out better. Should have put us Brits in charge, Iraq would look like Sweden by now but enough tub thumping for the Worlds Best Army)

Back to my point,
1, Iran has a large, liberal opposition, part students, part educated urbanites, part unemployed youth. Iraq did not have anything like
due to SH Regime been even more brutal then Irans.

2, The Iranians are a fiercely proud and welcoming people. There is a strong streak of Iranian patriotism.

3, Iran has a large, tenuously supporting the Regime just about majority in the population - who perhaps don't like the
Mullahs as much as they did 10 years ago but are still Iranians first. This country was not invented by British diplomats in the 20's, these people still talk about Alexander The Great like it was yesterday.

4, So, if we have a situation where second term Bush or Kerry, if he's elected, try to bully Iran or threaten military action and invasion, the Iranians, unilke the Iraqis, are likely to rally round their elected government and maybe even the mullahs. They are far less likely to collapse. They will lose eventually but they will fight.

5, Unless your're willing to go back to 1.5M men under arms then you haven't the resources to do this anyway.

The Iranian people need to live in a free country and hopefully that will happen. In this case though I'm fairly sure that 'jaw-jaw' will carry us further for now then 'war-war'. The EU (stop groaning at the back there) has achieved much through dialogue and continues to do so.

It is basically a long way to go before we reach the stage of massing armies for regime change.

And as I'm saying this don't think for a second I don't think dialogue shouldn't be backed up with a mailed fist - it should.

What I am saying is that perhaps the best way towards change is not to cut the ground from under the Iranian opposition by forcing the moderate masses to choose between either surrendering to US/Coalition force of arms or their own elected Government. After all, if positions were reversed, what would you choose?

Cheers

Neil W

Posted by: Neil W at September 8, 2004 09:58 AM

Neil W,

Well Said, Sir!

While our march into Iraq was a cakewalk, we were fighting an army that had been under sanctions for over a decade. Iran, on the other hand has not had such strictures. Taking Terhan may be a much more bloody proposition, not to mention keeping the peace afterwards.... something tells me that Sadr is applesauce compared to what we'd find in Iran... and we couldn't even get him to leave the mosque.

Let's hope sanity prevails.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 10:31 AM

Dick Cheney is a sick man who isn't worthy of cleaning out the toilets in a dog house, let alone as the second most powerful
person in the world. It is almost treasonous for the vice president of the United States to flat out say that should he and his partner fail to gain reelection that America will be attacked.

Such a disgusting slur transcends party. The dirty little nonsecret of the Bush administration is that 9/11 happened on their watch. It was Bush/Cheney that decided clearing brush on his ranch in Texas was a higher priority than classified memos talking about the Bin Laden threat. Cheney is now saying a vote for John Kerry and John Edwards, two men as patriotic as they come, is tantamount to a vote for terrorists.

It's filth. It's slime. It's a slur.

Cheney, stand by your damn words. People like you, you hate this country. You hate what we stand for, and you'll do anything possible to get around the American people. You're the worst sort of slanderer, because you're a coward. You sit in Washington, in your secure and undisclosed location, sending our soldiers off to die, enriching the pockets of your buckraking pals at Halliburton who fleece us, making up crazy theories to justify your misdeeds, and now you allege that the current leadership of the Democratic party is one with terror? You have no shame, no soul, no humanity.

May you rot. May your hollow husk of a being shrivel up and be discarded in the dustbin of history, along with all of humanity's mistakes and missteps. You've got no right. No God damn right.

Posted by: Cheney is Anti-American at September 8, 2004 10:36 AM

Cheney is Anti-American reminds me of why this long time Democrat has taken a vow to never vote Democratic again. I want the party to die.

Posted by: chuck at September 8, 2004 10:39 AM

The full quote in context is no less odious. I notice Patterico conveniently failed to place "on November 2" in bold.

Face it, there's no spinning this. Cheney's meaning was obvious and ugly.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 10:39 AM

So do you REALLY want to contemplate the possible TENS OF THOUSANDS or maybe even greater American lives which might have been lost if we had not ended that regime.

That possibility didn't exist. Iraq posed no threat to us, certainly not a short term threat of any kind. let alone one of a magnitude justifying our invading without doing adequate planning for the aftermath. Heck, without doing ANY planning for the aftermath.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 10:45 AM

Michael,

I too have read the Cheney quote in full. The AP, NYT and others cut his statement off in mid sentence. Cheney was talking about how he believed Kerry would respond in a pre 9/11 manner, not that having Kerry would necessarily lead to another strike getting through. Of course the implication is that such a response might lead to more attacks, which is certainly fair game. One might also disagree that such a response would be inappropriate or is actually how Kerry would respond. Nevertheless it is not the smear that was initially reported. It isn't your fault, but the media outlets spreading the smear against Cheney.

Posted by: Lance at September 8, 2004 10:48 AM

kc,

Now don't start filling their heads with reason and fact... they'll get confused. The President says Iraq was a direct threat, so it must have been. Sure the Iraqis were pretty much reduced to throwing sand at us, but sand can be itchy when it's in your swimming trunks...

Think of the Children and Their Swimsuits!!!!

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 10:50 AM

Tosk and Neil W.

Chill out. The U.S. is not going to invade Iran. In case you haven't noticed, we're already fighting Iran in Iraq... they are funding terrorism with guns and money and they are losing.

Posted by: d-rod at September 8, 2004 10:53 AM

d-rod,

Let's hope so.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 10:54 AM

First the Republicans booo Clinton while the man is going into the hospital (and Bush did nothing to stop them), now this.

It is clear which side should be ashamed of the hate, fear and outright lies they spread.

Posted by: Adam Greenfig at September 8, 2004 10:57 AM

Re Spain, 3-11 Who lied

http://barcepundit-english.blogspot.com/2004/09/march-11-commission-will-have-extended.html

The sensation that many people were getting that they were lied was due because the media particularly the pro-Socialist leading media group PRISA, owner of the leading TV and radio networks, and the main newspaper, El País, were feeding false information and then blaming the government for not telling the truth.

So its not just here (the AP). Might explain the IHT (NYT really) poll showing huge dislike of Bush.

Posted by: jdwill at September 8, 2004 10:59 AM

Adam Greenfig, you ignorant slut.

Posted by: chuck at September 8, 2004 10:59 AM

I Call Shenanigans!

I just saw Totton's update to the story, and I'm going on record calling it shenanigans.

Let's take a look at the whole context:

We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again. That we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.

Notice the connecting logic here.

1. When wartime hits Americans must make decisions. You must make a decision on November 2.

2. If you make the wrong choice on Nov. 2 then the danger is that we'll get hit again.

He is very cleary saying that Americans must choose on Nov 2 (obviously referencing the election), if Americans make the 'wrong' choice on Nov 2, then (meaning as a result of the wrong choice) there is a danger we'll get hit again. The logic of the statement is, then, that making the right choice will keep us out of said danger.

This is very disingenious. No matter which group is in the White House we may get hit again.

And don't give me crap about pre-emptive versus reactive. We are being pre-emptive in Iraq, wehat if the current Terrorist plan is being fomented in Saudi Arabia? No matter how pre-emptive we're being, they would not be affected.

Cheney was spreading Fear, Uncertianity and Doubt. FUD is the weapon of choice in corporate America, I'm not surprised that he'd pull it out now.

Again, I Call Shenanigans!!

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 11:07 AM

Cheney is Anti-American,

are you questioning his patriotism???????????

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 11:47 AM

d-rod Chill out. The U.S. is not going to invade Iran. In case you haven't noticed, we're already fighting Iran in Iraq... they are funding terrorism with guns and money and they are losing.

Um, aren't they about to go nuclear? Isn't that a bit more alarming than any meddling in Southern Iraq, and worthy of dealing with in some way? And any likely action on part of Israel is likely to be treated as action by US-proxy and destabilize the shaky but US-friendly Pakistani government.

Also, I think that the assertion that they're losing might be debatable. Recent reviews of the latest CSIS report on Iraq indicate that things are going very, very badly for the Iraq occupation and reconstruction.

Depressing news all round. Let's hope that the upcoming capture of Bin Laden cheers us all up a bit.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 8, 2004 11:49 AM

++ug

Well, I wouldn't mind if the EU sent in a bomber or two to take out the Mullah's nukes. Hey if France did it unilaterally, I might even forgive them for betraying us.

Posted by: d-rod at September 8, 2004 12:10 PM

M.J.T. "I still think Cheney is wrong. John Kerry has said he will respond to any attack on the United States, and I believe him. Why wouldn't he?"

Cheney didn't say Kerry wouldn't respond. He said Kerry might respond by treating terrorist attacks as "just criminal acts" rather than as acts of war.

Posted by: MDP at September 8, 2004 12:17 PM

Ratatosk: I Call Shenanigans!!

You're calling shenanigans on my correction?

Cheney did not say what I thought he said. He certainly used sloppy language, but his point was clearly not what I first thought it was. I had to run a correction because what I wrote about him no longer makes sense in light of the full quote.

It's one thing to quote someone out of context. Chopping a sentence in half without using ellipses is akin to fabricating a quote.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 12:27 PM
d-rod:

Hey if France did it unilaterally, I might even forgive them for betraying us.
Betraying you?

What, did they ever swear an oath of allegiance to the USA?

Posted by: J. Christian Feddern at September 8, 2004 12:32 PM

They have apparently taken an oath to be anti-USA. I notice that German is not their national language today so maybe they shouldn't have such an attitude.

Posted by: d-rod at September 8, 2004 12:38 PM

Michael,

I appreciated your revision. The AP seems to be doing an abominable job, lately (such as the supposed boos in Wisconsin, about President Clinton). They seem to be in the process of totally trashing their reputation.

Posted by: Jim Bender at September 8, 2004 12:38 PM

MJT

Look, I am pro-choice, pro-Gay Marriage, and the brother I am closest to is Gay. I say that because on this web-site I find such a natural display of prejudice towards anyone who is perceived to be part of the right, despite your support of the WOT, that it causes me to appear much more to the right then I am. If I were to tick off a list of policies I believe we would agree on at least 90% of these policies. That being said your usual negative assumptions and tendency to accept the darker portrayals from the MSM concerning “the right” is hard to ignore. When such stories come from the AP and/or the general MSM, a grain of salt should be the order of the day for anyone that follows the media regularly. So why no grain of salt? I suspect Michael they tweaked your natural prejudices. If the AP should as you say "be smacked" then so should those who should know better then to pass on their pap without verification. Just food for thought.

Posted by: Samuel at September 8, 2004 12:43 PM

MJT,

Nope, I'm calling Shenanigans on the idea that the full context changed what Cheney was saying.

He was very clearly, at least in my reading of the entire bit, linking a vote for Kerry as a Vote for another attack.

"If we make the wrong decision[on Nov 2 per his previous sentence], then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

He didn't say "We will probably get hit again and a poor response could be disasterous." He said that the wrong choice on Nov 2 could present the danger of another attack. By saying this, he intimated that the Right Choice (apparently 4 more years for Bush and Co) on Nov. 2nd, would somehow avert this danger.

I Call Shenanigans!

(Yes the AP cut the story and should have used ellipsis, but the import of the statement is unchanged by the context.

Unless someone wants to spin it.

That seems to mepoison, nothing in the context changes the message.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 12:47 PM

>>>"It's one thing to quote someone out of context."

See Farenheit 9/11

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 01:16 PM

The AP seems to be doing an abominable job, lately.

Well, I suppose that depends on what their job is. They may in fact be doing an excellent job. Sure looks like it from here, Adam Greenfig just spouted off about the made up boos. I suspect that both of these AP stories (sic) will become widespread. Michael may well, and justifiably, feel used since he got sucked into promoting a bad quote.

Posted by: chuck at September 8, 2004 01:17 PM

"See Farenheit 9/11"

You'll get no argument from me on that one David. F9/11 is propaganda just as much as Cheney's speech.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 8, 2004 01:24 PM

He is not a peacenik.

Ah, Micheal. I, for one, have no idea what Kerry is, or rather, what he might do. I am glad that someone does.

Posted by: chuck at September 8, 2004 01:26 PM

Thank you Tosk. Finally.

Posted by: David at September 8, 2004 01:30 PM

I don't know if one of the previous 101 comments brought this up...

Seems like the AP did a Maureen Dowd on Cheney's comments (took out the imortsnt parts)

http://www.thatliberalmedia.com/

"AP readers are not told that the AP snipped Cheney's quote in the middle of his sentence, in a way that supports the AP's interpretation of Cheney's remarks as an argument that a Kerry presidency will lead to another terrorist attack. When you read Cheney's quote in its full context, it is highly questionable whether the AP's interpretation is correct."

As they say, read the rest.

Posted by: Mike at September 8, 2004 01:34 PM

So do you REALLY want to contemplate the possible TENS OF THOUSANDS or maybe even greater American lives which might have been lost if we had not ended that regime.

That possibility didn't exist. Iraq posed no threat to us, certainly not a short term threat of any kind. let alone one of a magnitude justifying our invading without doing adequate planning for the aftermath. Heck, without doing ANY planning for the aftermath.

Posted by kc at September 8, 2004 10:45 AM
*************************************************
Read the transcript of Kay's Testimony before the Senate again or did you miss?

"Senator McCain: "So the point is, if he were in power today, there is no doubt that he would harbor ambitions for the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Is there any doubt in your mind?"

David Kay: "There's absolutely no doubt. And I think I've said that, Senator."

"We have learned things that no U.N. inspector would have ever learned given the terror regime of Saddam"

"I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein. I have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought. I think when we have the complete record you're going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt. Individuals were out for their own protection. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood at some point in the future of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated with what may turn out not to be a fully accurate estimate."
**************************************************
That possibility didn't exist. Iraq posed no threat to us, certainly not a short term threat of any kind.
*************************************************
Didn't exist or you would prefer to wait til we had to dig mass graves before doing anythin?

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 8, 2004 01:39 PM

First the Republicans booo Clinton while the man is going into the hospital (and Bush did nothing to stop them), now this.

It is clear which side should be ashamed of the hate, fear and outright lies they spread.

Posted by Adam Greenfig at September 8, 2004 10:57 AM
**************************************************
The media outlet which reported that incident had to make a retraction.

Suppose you missed that? Umm that usually IS the purpose of making up or distorting news the public only remembers the first.

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at September 8, 2004 01:44 PM

While everyone is focused on the issue of whether Bush vs Kerry plans will prevent terrorism, there is also the question of whether terrorists, regardless of whether they are able to, would choose to strike in the US.

Would they strike in the US with Bush in power, ready to have a serious word with whichever country they crawled out from?

If Kerry won the election would they stike the US just to see what his reaction would be?

Overall, this is a moot point, especially in the full version of the quote. According to the left, if Bush is re-elected, the economy will get worse (of course unless you are a fat-cat cigar smoking republican CEO laughing while signing the pink slips). Taking it to its logical conclusion, with a worse economy, we have more crime and I'm more likely to get my throat slit by a mugger, or lose my home, and any other of the endlessly dark scenarios the left would like to paint for me.

I see Edwards has classified the remark as 'Un-American', once again indicating their need to whine at every criticism made against them.

Remind me again which party is attacking patriotism?

Posted by: DelphiGuy at September 8, 2004 03:02 PM

Depressing news all round. Let's hope that the upcoming capture of Bin Laden cheers us all up a bit.

Posted by double-plus-ungood at September 8, 2004 11:49 AM
***************************************************
That is not a magic bullet for the War against Terrorists.

Nor mor than the deaths of Yamamoto and Rommel were the end of WW2.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 8, 2004 03:33 PM

Um, you only just noticed that the Administration wants to use the threat of terrorism to polarise Americans for their political benefit?

Where have you been for the last two years?

Posted by Mork at September 7, 2004 06:19 PM
*************************************************
We haven been watching the Democrats trying to polarise the American Public by pretending the threat does not exist or is not that serious.

Or at least not as serious as their desire for power?

Oddly enough they may have more confidence in America than the Republicans. They play political games with maybe the idea that no serious damage will occur.

Old story goes as far back as the American Civil War for that party. They were doing the same things 140 years ago.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at September 8, 2004 03:36 PM

I just watched the national news on the East Coast. They treated the quote just as the AP did and cut off the VP right in the middle of the sentence. Nah, no bias there.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at September 8, 2004 04:21 PM

Sorry, Daniel Kaufman, "harboring ambitions" didn't make him the kind of threat that justified what we did.

Many immediate threats have gone unaddressed while we've been floundering around in Iraq.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:03 PM

You hit the nail on the head, we need to be proactive and not reactive. What some people fail to see is that diplomacy is not something that is going to solve the problems we face.

It is going to be a combination of diplomacy and force. Our adversaries need to understand that we don't just bark, we bite.

At the same time we need to recruit other nations to our side and work together to eliminate the refuges and assistance that the terrorists receive. Destroy the infrastructure and it becomes more difficult for them to achieve success.

Posted by: Jack at September 8, 2004 06:08 PM

Unbelievable. Michael Totten's "update" leaves OUT the inflammatory part of the quote and proclaims Cheney's statement is a lot less inflammatory than he was led to believe by the evil AP.

We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again

Please. The implication is CLEAR. TO make excuses or pretend that comment means anything else makes one . . . well, to use one of y'all's favorite words, an "apologist" for a political hit man who has no decency.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:08 PM

KC,

Don't be hysterical.

In the first version Cheney "said" we would be terrorized because John Kerry is in the White House. In the second version he said Kerry would under-react to an attack. Those are very different statements.

In your comment above, you chopped Cheney's sentence off in the middle. You have to follow it all the way to the period. Otherwise, you're Dowdifying him.

Also, in your comment above you said: Cheney's statement is a lot less inflammatory

See how that works? I completely distorted what you said by not citing your complete sentence.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 06:14 PM

Uh, the AP didn't snip his quote in the middle of the sentence. They cut in the middle of the paragraph. Bejus, people. If you read the whole damn thing, it's no less odious than it initially appeared to be.

I can't believe all this frantic spinning by you all to pretend that Cheney didn't say something you all plainly agree with anyway.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:16 PM

Also, KC, if I were an apologist for Dick Cheney I would never have posted the pre-updated part of this post in the first place. So cool it with the silly accusations, thanks.

I could call you a Kerry apologist. But that would be a pretty lame thing to say, don't you think?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 06:16 PM

KC: I can't believe all this frantic spinning by you all to pretend that Cheney didn't say something you all plainly agree with anyway.

Jesus, man. I argued with the revised version of Cheney's quote, too. I said, quote: I still think Cheney is wrong.

I don't see why you're having such a difficult time with this.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 8, 2004 06:18 PM

KC,

Don't be hysterical.

Mr. Totten, don't be pissy AND obtuse. Read your own post, for cryin' out loud.

Do you not know that a period signifies the end of a sentence?

Put the whole thing - the whole quote, the whole paragraph together, and it's toxic.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:19 PM

Also, KC, if I were an apologist for Dick Cheney I would never have posted the pre-updated part of this post in the first place

I said "you all;" that's plural (to me). I was referring to some of the posters earlier on in the thread.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:21 PM

Jesus, man. I argued with the revised version of Cheney's quote, too. I said, quote: I still think Cheney is wrong.

I don't see why you're having such a difficult time with this.

I guess I'm just a hysterical fairy. Sorry. ;) You're absolutely right. You DID say he was wrong. I'm just still kind of baffle that anyone could think the whole thing was any less disgusting than the part.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 06:23 PM

"I guess I'm just a hysterical fairy" -- KC

Way, way ,way ,too much information.Are the Kerry supporters aiming for the 'victim'vote now as a desperate last resort?

Posted by: dougf at September 8, 2004 06:57 PM

How do you know it was a period? Maybe it was a semi-colon. Maybe it was even a comma. Do you know? No, you don't. Because you didn't hear the speech, you were spoon fed pap by some hack reporter.

What is funny here is how all of you have been taken for a ride by the AP. Samuel says to take what they say with a 'grain of salt'. But its worse than that, they're just plain out lying.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 8, 2004 07:02 PM

How do you know it was a period? Maybe it was a semi-colon. Maybe it was even a comma. Do you know? No, you don't

Yeah, I do. It's on the freaking White House website.

Posted by: kc at September 8, 2004 09:02 PM

Michael,

Thanks for having the integrity and civility to go back and update your post when you obtained better information.

That puts you a big one up on both the old media and many bloggers out there.

I appreciate your willingness to get the facts correct even if I don't agree with your argument.

Posted by: CalDevil at September 8, 2004 09:22 PM

Michael, good update.

I, too believe Kerry will respond to another attack, but the main point is pre-emption. Will Kerry respond BEFORE an attack? "he doesn't have any strategy that isn't reactive"

In other words, ONLY after an attack will Kerry actually DO something. Oberon's link (#80?) says Kerry has even tougher talk than Bush. Kerry's response to any threat is like Clinton's (N. Korea)--more talk, sell out to get some agreement, claim victory and go home (kinda Nixon like, too).

A President Kerry WILL invade Iran to stop them from getting nukes, or else Iran will get them.

A President Bush WILL have some ultimatum, prolly about the same words as Kerry but including verifiability -- and Iran will have a real choice to give up nukes, or get invaded.

I actually think they'll "give them up" -- wait for the next Pres -- because, after Iraq, they WILL believe Bush will invade if inspections don't show negative.

Bush invaded Iraq because Iraq failed to comply, fully, with UN 1441. The Left's "no WMD" junk weakens the power of any inspections. No surprise, the Left wants to depend on words, and weakens them -- its rotten core is Lies (so they accuse a straight shooter of it!)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 9, 2004 02:08 AM

Reading most of this thread tonight is reminding me of why I can't stand party loyalists on either side, right or left. I'm not too keen on voting for Kerry, but I do find Bush's claim to own national security as an issue pretty odious. First of all, 9/11 happened ON HIS WATCH. How has everyone glossed over this little piece of trivia? I'll take a cue from the bi-partisan 9/11 commission and spread the blame to Clinton just as equally, but guess what? I can't vote against Clinton in November. What I can do is hold the present administration accountable. Now I'm not saying we all need to turn back to clock to 1997 and pretend like there's no one trying to do us harm. But of all the possible places we could have spent $200 billion and 1000 lives, Iraq should have been way down the list. 1) Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida gets the lion's share of its funding and recruits from madrassas that the Saudi royal family tolerates. Bush prides himself on making hard choices in defending America. Here's a hard choice he failed. 2) During the lead-up to the war, N. Korea was openly admitting they were enriching uranium. Their nuclear program is now well underway, and what kind of initiative has Bush taken on this? 3) N. Korea isn't the only nuclear threat Bush has practically ignored. He's actually cut funding for a program to help secure loose nuclear material throughout the former Soviet Union. This is the man who says he's proactive instead of reactive? I can't imagine anyone seriously commited to non-proliferation of WMD ignoring this.
Never mind his domestic policy. Less job creation that any administration in 80 years is not a record to be proud of. Neither is the highest deficit in history. This is what conservative means these days? Guns and butter? Passing the largest tax cut in history during wartime? Votes matter more to this president than fiscal common sense.
This election year has really shaken my faith in American democracy. It's always been a choice of the lesser of two evils, but this year we have the worse choices I've ever seen. I'm about to just write-in my political philosophy teacher and call it a day. I'm one of that rare breed this year, Kerry's too slippery to trust and I want too much to see Bush held accountable for some piss-poor decisions to want to re-elect the guy. Anyone know anything about the Libertarians this year (and that's only half a joke)?

Posted by: An Independent at September 9, 2004 04:14 AM

Yeah, the Libs are wearing black on Sept. 11 for all the wasted American lives of Bush. Maybe you'll fit in. Not me, not anymore, not after 9/11.

Iraq IS the second step, after Afghanistan, to doing something against Saudi Arabia. If Bush gets flak for going against Iraq, how can you seriously expect him to invade SA first? Which UN resolution have they violated?

N. Korea IS a problem, created by Clinton's wink wink 94 agreement -- either invade, agree to something they'll cheat on (the Dem way) ... or wait, trying to get up some alliance of neighbors. China really does NOT want Japan to go nuclear, in defense against China's little N. Korea client genocide egomaniac. What does Kerry suggest different?

(3) Is a really good critique on proliferation. Stupid Bush-hate has been drowning out the good critiques; Kerry et al should have been complaining about it since Sept. 12. It's likely Kerry WOULD be doing better on this front than Bush has done.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 9, 2004 05:48 AM

Michael, have you read Michael Crichton's speech on the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect? If not, I suggest you do.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 9, 2004 05:54 AM

Well, Michael, it seems a further update is in order. According to an article in this morning's Washington Post, it was not the AP that originally placed a period after "we'll get hit again", but rather the original version of the OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE TRANSCRIPT.

from the article:
Kerry Rips Cheney Statement
Edwards Urges Bush to Disavow Remark on Terror Risk

By Spencer S. Hsu and Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 9, 2004; Page A06
In a change that highlighted the sensitivity of Cheney's statement, the White House yesterday released a revised version of the transcript of his remarks. The official transcript, posted on the White House Web site Tuesday afternoon and e-mailed to reporters, said: "(I)t's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

In a version released Tuesday to reporters traveling with Cheney, however, the period at the end of "hit again" was removed and replaced with a comma, which linked his blunter statement to his standard stump language expressing concern that future attacks would be treated as "just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war."

Yesterday, the transcript on the White House Web site was altered to make Cheney's remarks one sentence. Cheney's White House spokesman, Kevin Kellems, issued a statement saying that the first official transcript "contained a typographical error" and was an "interim draft." "These types of corrections are not uncommon in the transcription of verbal statements," Kellems said. "The final transcript accurately reflects the statement as delivered, which is clear when watching video of the event."

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 9, 2004 07:04 AM

"Iraq IS the second step, after Afghanistan, to doing something against Saudi Arabia. If Bush gets flak for going against Iraq, how can you seriously expect him to invade SA first? Which UN resolution have they violated?"

They violated a non-existent resolution that we failed to bring up. The one that could have said 17 of the hijackers were from SA, the one that could have said that madrassas are working with the tacit approval of the Saudi royal family. I think SA or N. Korea should have been the second step right after Afghanistan, and if we had taken a stand on SA I suspect Hussein would have been neutered (with all the force we could muster right next door).
As far as the Libertarians wearing black or whatever, that just sounds retarded. There's been way too much symbolic, sentimental posturing from the opposition in the last few years and not enough rational critique (I moved to Santa Cruz, CA last year, so I know a lot about fuzzy-minded protests).
And I second you on Clinton's 94 agreement with NK. It was a straight-up hustle, blackmail all the way. I just wish Bush would own this issue instead of leaving it to a very under-appreciated Colin Powell.
I also agree that Kerry might do more to work with the former Soviet states to secure loose nukes. I understand the Republicans' belief that this is a new kind of war to be fought in new ways. The problem is they've only got it half right. Pre-emptive war might be necessary in some cases, but we can't burn all of our bridges along the way. Intelligence is more important now than ever, and this new threat crosses national borders. Do we really want to antagonize the Europeans to the point that they don't share intel on the next possible attack, and share it immediately? We've burned bridges over some dubious issues, like not allowing any other NATO members to help in Iraqi reconstruction. When Bush did that, he basically confirmed the world's (mistaken) belief that this is a war for oil, that to the victor go the spoils.

Posted by: An Independent at September 9, 2004 07:18 AM

The AP has become an entirely unreliable source of information, having apparently sold its journalistic integrity in favor of a Kerry win. After the bogus report of boos when Bush asked a crowd to pray for Clinton's recovery (which AP had to retract, it being an utter fabrication) and this bogus report of Cheney's remarks, it is quite clear that the AP cannot be relied upon for any information about this election.

Posted by: Smaack at September 9, 2004 07:35 AM

Smaack,

Yeah, damn that AP newswire for trusting The White House official Transcript as an information source. Definately can't rely on them!!!

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 09:45 AM

I haven't read all the comments above, so I apologize if several people said this already, but:

"John Kerry has said he will respond to any attack on the United States, and I believe him."

If you can't tell what's wrong with this statement, Michael, that's scary. That statement alone disqualifies Kerry for the presidency and I'm surprised the Bush campaign hasn't aniled him to the wall for it yet.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 9, 2004 09:50 AM

Yehudit,

Stupid Kerry, saying that he would react to any attack on the United States, what sort of President would he be? Can you imagine the gall of a presidential cannidate saying that he would respond to any attacks on America? Terrible.

It is a much better policy to attack small nations that might someday, if the stars align correctly, actually get the resources, in order to begin to build weapons, that may at some future point be used against us.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 10:15 AM

Tosk I'm confused.

Please explain the picture on this website to me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Halabja1.jpg

Michael,

Thanks for the correction, you bloggers have so much more credibility than the MSM because you actually give a damn about the truth!

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 9, 2004 01:42 PM

Matthew,

I think that was a 'day-after' picture of one of the All Night Hafla and Orgies that they had in Baghdad back in the heyday of Iraq's history. Those guys look dead tired.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 9, 2004 02:06 PM

Over at thatliberalmedia they got it wrong. look at the update.

Posted by: Tom Murphy at September 10, 2004 01:28 AM

Tom Murphy, I looked at your link. There were multiple updates but none that appeared to indicate any change in position. They don't appear to admit to getting anything wrong.

Is it that they are still claiming it was AP that put in the period instead of the comma, instead of the White House staff, and have still not noticed their mistake?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 10, 2004 07:24 PM

I don't get what all the fuss is about there being a period on the original version of the White House transcript. With the period there or not, it doesn't make the sentence/phrase in question any less pertinent to the phrase/incomplete sentence that follows it. Having a period between the two clauses may have originally been a typographical error or it may not. There is no way to really say, since with the journalese grammar of today it's fine to break a sentence in two where it really makes no grammatical sense to do so.

So can anyone really tell me if they feel that the meaning of this statement:
"Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States. And that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."

...is radically different from the meaning of this statement:
"Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."

You can't.

In fact, the former quotation's second sentence (as is created by the end-mark) is not even a complete sentence. It therefore makes absolutely no difference whether a period goes there or not, at least as far as meaning goes.

Either way, the part about getting "hit" again
is not a clause of result; it is acting as a subjunctive-type clause of possibility (hence the future tense). The statement means more precisely: "If we elect Kerry, then the danger is that IN THE EVENT THAT we get hit again, hit in a way that is devastating to the U.S., that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set, etc..."

I'll admit Mr. Cheney's grammar here is lamentably sloppy (not just because it spawned such partisan bickering; I really wish that public figures these days knew something about the art of rhetoric. I know Bush is bad at it, but I really can't think of any modern figure who has used a style of learned classical rhetoric. The last I can think of is Winston Churchill, and the only modern President who has even approached Churchill's grandeur of rhetorical style has been J.F.K. And I certainly don't mean Kerry.) Anyway, the AP should certainly have printed the follow up to the statement regardless of any period on the White House website.

Okay, I've rambled on long enough.

P.S. If you disagree with me on anything stated above, please don't bite my head off. If you respond courteously and cogently, I'll consider you a respectable person, no matter how wacky I find your opinions.

Posted by: Kevin at September 10, 2004 11:17 PM

Kevin, I like your take on it.

I think that democrats who're ready to think the worst of Cheney read it as "if you vote for Kerry the terrorists will attack" or even "if you vote for Kerry we will fake another terrorist attack".

And the phrasing makes that a plausible read, if you think it's plausible he'd say such a thing.

Your reading is much more plausible to me. Cheney would not publicly make such a threat. Yes, he should have been more clear.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 12:36 AM
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