TCS Daily


When Superman Shrugs

By Douglas Kern - June 30, 2006 12:00 AM

If you were Superman, you'd flee the earth, too.

In the new Superman movie, we learn that Superman has been missing for five years, having left our planet to explore the ruins of his home planet of Krypton. It's a wonder he stayed as long as he did. Astonishing super powers are cool, but who could bear the responsibility of being Superman for very long? After a lifetime of making wrenching life-and-death decisions that alienate more people than they save, you'd find the shattered remains of a distant planet pretty appealing, too.

Superman can't save everyone. Even a guy with flight and super speed can't be everywhere at once. But Superman can save anyone. There's no one crime he can't deter, no one battle he can't end, no one disaster that he can't prevent. How, then, does he decide what to do? Stop one crime, and you fail to stop three others. Rescue an orphanage from a tornado in Kansas, and you ignore a burning sweatshop full of workers in Cambodia. Dam the floods in India and damn the poor souls caught in the earthquakes in Pakistan. For every "thank you" that Superman hears, he must hear a hundred different cries of "Why did you help them, and not me? Where were you, Superman?" And remember: Clark Kent condemns countless innocent souls to death every time he takes in a movie or lingers over a tasty sandwich -- because every second he enjoys selfishly is a second not spent pulling babies from burning car wrecks. Superman's many super-powers don't extend to Super-Wisdom or Super Detect Worthy People to Help. The disembodied voice of Marlon Brando never provided a bloc of instruction on how many people Kryptonians can allow to die because they want to catch a two-hour Survivor that night. No man, Super or otherwise, can bear such a burden. Self-doubt and the weariness of responsibility are Superman's real Kryptonite.

Everyone knows that power tends to corrupt. We forget that power also tends to exhaust.

I sense on the left -- and, more and more, on the right as well -- a growing exhaustion with the burdens of power. I don't just mean Iraq. Reasonable people can disagree as to what kind of action America should have taken against the Iraqi regime in order to protect American interests and save Iraqi lives. But the current debate isn't really between reasonable hawks and reasonable doves. It's between those who want to have a reasonable debate about the uses of American power, and those who simply say "To hell with it."

When a senior Congressman suggests that we re-deploy our troops from the Middle East to Okinawa, and when the rest of America fails to laugh him out of public credibility consequently, we know that we have arrived at that unique moment when a widely shared mental pathology reveals itself with shocking clarity. It's not that most liberals (and despairing conservatives) want America to lose the war. They just want the war to go away -- to Okinawa, perhaps, or to outer space, or to anywhere but where it is now. They want an end to morally unsatisfying decisions about prisoners and torture and what soldiers may do to defend themselves; an end to vast expenses devoted to uncertain strategic goals; an end to agonizing choices about which corrupt regimes should be allowed to commit genocide and which should not. They want to flee to Krypton; they want to explore the ruins of old, comfortable, peacetime political arguments. The burden of power has exhausted them past their endurance.

A small but growing number of ideologues on both sides of the political aisle believe that America is simply too powerful. Some of these ideologues will say so directly; they distrust America, or even detest its culture for being fascistic and/or decadent, and they believe that the world will be a better place if America's prominence diminishes. Others strenuously deny that they want to reduce America's power, but their preferred policies achieve just that goal. If the Democratic response to the war on terror has seemed strangely disjointed, it is because many Democrats do not feel free to say what they truly believe: that America would be a kinder, richer, and safer nation if it relinquished a significant portion of its economic, military, and cultural might. Such a position isn't contemptible, but it is wrong and contrary to the beliefs of most Americans.

So Democrats don't speak it aloud. Instead, they give us policies that undermine American power in the name of American power: an Iraqi policy that favors disengagement over success; a reactive anti-terrorist policy that gives our enemies the permanent advantage of the offensive; and an excessive reliance on international institutions whose members crave nothing more than seizing power and influence in those areas from which America withdraws. The Democrats will never improve their position in national politics until they resolve the obvious conflict between their rhetoric and their actual preferences.

I suppose that Superman experiences the same kind of conflict every time he struggles against Kryptonite. Oh, he resists the deadly green mineral, as he must; he doesn't want to die, and he knows that innocents will perish if he doesn't get out of the range of its deadly radiation. And yet during that struggle, the obligations stop. No more flying to the rescue of strangers, no more retrieving kittens from trees; no more super-hearing with which to hear cries for help that he will not answer; no more telescopic vision to see atrocities that he will not prevent. With Kryptonite, there are no hard questions and no moral dilemmas; there is only survival, only a perfectly understandable selfishness, only sweet freedom from the curse of being Super.

I gather from the movie trailer that love draws Superman back to earth. Love is the only worthwhile reason to wield power, really; power is useful only to the extent that it protects good things and allows them to flourish. But make no mistake: a less powerful America would enjoy some wonderful advantages. We would have more money to spend on a better way of life. Our heroic soldiers would return safely to their homes and families. The inevitable compromises between morality and brutal realism would no longer corrupt us, as irrelevance would give us the luxury of unsullied spiritual purity. We would be happier in every way -- until the villains arrive.

Superman has learned this lesson before. Remember Superman II? Superman relinquishes his power in order to be with Lois Lane -- yet, by the movie's end, he has to reclaim his power in order to defend her and the rest of the planet from super villains whom no one else can stop. He cannot simply declare victory and repair to his Fortress of Solitude. He must forsake happiness to execute those duties that only he can perform. And it is that sacrifice that makes him a hero.

So, like Superman, we must claim our power and all the sorrows that come with it: the derision of the less powerful; the demands of the unfortunate; the burdens of expensive wars fought for untested political theories; and the dangers of irritating the world's well-armed malcontents. Like Superman, we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders by dint of the responsibility of power. How unsurprising that at least one political party should succumb to the temptation to shrug.

Doug Kern is a lawyer and TCS contributor.

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209 Comments

Good Article, Doug
There is probably a lot of truth to this analysis of the liberal side of the isle. I would add that they would like the Iraq to be over or out of site, so that they can pursue their big government agenda - something that is difficult to do when there is a war going on.

I think, bottom line, no only do they want difficult moral choices to go away, they want to pursue a domestic policy which gives the more power. Being out of power and having a war going on, doubly prevents this return to the domestic agenda.

Moral Questions Never Go Away
Those who wish America to become "less powerful" fail to see that some other country will assume power in our place. Then they will be the ones to interfere in our affairs. And, because we have less power, we will be helpless to do anything about it. Sorry but I trust other nations and international institutions to safeguard my well being and that of my family and friends far less than I trust my own.

That said, even with less geopolitical power, the moral questions don't "go away". We are forever trapped on this planet with our enemies. The only thing that less power accomplishes is that our ability to respond to their attacks is diminished. That means more suffering, more death, more violence and more of our precious freedoms and rights lost to those who would do us harm. The least powerful nations on earth are subject to the most violence, poverty and suffering. No thanks.

The problem is incompetence, now power-weariness
The criticism of most liberals is not that U.S. power is used, but that it is used incompetently, that it is being squandered on poorly executed ideological fixations, and as a result, the U.S. is becoming weaker.

We do not strengthen the nation by a our-way-or-the-highway attitude toward longtime allies. We don't strengthen the nation by appointing political hacks to oversee a critical government function -- emergency management -- with catastrophic results. We don't strengthen the nation by misrepresenting intelligence to start a war that is now costing us $10 billion a month and shows no signs of being over, even though we've now been fighting longer than we fought the Germans.

Liberals are not shirking the burders of power. They are longing to have people who know how to use it back in government, instead of political hacks, liars, and incompetants.

Dusty Arguments
They haven't worked so far, so keep on bringing them out, repeating the same stuff even though it's failed over & over again.

Do I have to point out every way this post is incorrect? The left despises the fact that the US is the only true superpower & wants to see this country brought down to size - whatever that means. The US is not becoming weaker by standing up to terrorism; if we took the white flag approach of the left & democrats, we would become weaker.

Our longtime allies to whom you refer were armpit-deep in corruption with Saddam & the UN in the oil for food outrage. "Brownie" may not have been the best choice for FEMA; though the true scandal is the horrific lack of leadership shown by the local & state officials in New Orleans magnified by the dependents in the populace looking for government to save them. That is from where the catastrophic results came! To accuse of misrepresenting intelligence - with all the information that has come out since the war on terrorism in Iraq started - is to display either willing ignorance or a penchant for outright lying. Also, while the war on terror will be a long fight that will take courage & perseverance, progress is occurring & has occurred. Remove the blinders to see this.

The left/democrat party does want power back, that is true. They wield their power in a way that would make the most corrupt union boss green with envy. They want the power, but do shirk the responsibility for their failed programs. Your house of glass is full of political hacks, liars, & incompetent bufoons. Independent thought in the democrat left, anything out of the leadership lockstep, is met with condemnation & discrimination.

Spiderman
I prefer Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility.

How right you are ... but
But there is a difference between destroying the bad guy to protect the ones you love and altruistically assuming the burden of helping those who hate your guts.

Our problem isn’t our strength——not unless you are a Marxist and believe in “from each according to his ability.” Our problem is an unearned guilt and over generous nature.

In Iraq it took less than 200 fatalities to remove the threat: Saddam. But we’ve suffered 2000 fatalities to offer our enemies a liberal democracy on a “silver platter.” We could have easily put in another dictator and left after a few months. Our self-defense was achieved early on——Quadaffi got the message and so would the new dictator.

Enough altruism! It’s time for Superman to shrug.

RE: The problem is incompetence, now power-weariness
Incompetence like the string of tentetive and ineffectual liberal administration uses of power that lead America's opponents to believing that a war with America was feasible? Like the oh-so-effective strategies of cutting and running from Somalia, or dispatching a cruise missile after Osama, or offering a heartfelt apology after allowing genicide in Rwanda?

Progressives claim to want competence, but their definition of competence is essentially a war guarantee; if all goes well, they're free to hop on the bandwagon, but if the war has any mistakes, setbacks, or problems they reserve the right to disavow it and withdraw support. Truly understanding the burdens of power would mean that progressives understood that one of the most effective and efficient military actions in history isn't a quagmire or a debacle just because criminals can still figure out ways to commit murder. They'd understand that just because Superman (the Feds) exists, doesn't absolve the Gotham PD (state/local government) of it's responsibility to do their job (disaster planning, evacuations). They'd understand that the real world isn't a court of law, where threats have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Protectors sometimes have to go with limited, deliberately manipulated, or plain wrong info, best guesses, hunches, or gut feeling, because the consequences of giving bad guys the benefit of the doubt and being wrong are unthinkable, wheresas the downside of assuming the worst is still the net positive of dead bad guys. Therefore the entire philosophy of the modern progressive movement is about shirking the real burden of power, responsibility. It's all about moving the responsibility for actually making a decision to someone else, be it a court, the UN, some "global test"; anything to avoid actually making a call and potentially being wrong. Well, there are worst things in this world than being wrong.

The Narcotic of "power",
"The criticism of most liberals is not that U.S. power is used, but that it is used incompetently, that it is being squandered on ,poorly executed ideological fixations and as a result, the U.S. is becoming weaker."

True, liberals love power. They tax to corral economic power, deceive and engage in fraud to obtain legislative power, and when all else fails, seek their ends in courts that are similarly disposed and equally ill-disciplined in the exercise of restraint in the pursuit of "poorly executed ideological fixations".

Notice how the length of time spend fighting the "germans" is held up as the barometer of acceptable duration of the war. We could point out that the actions of the left routinely taken would have merited prosecution in the 1940's as agents of the "Reich".


Secretly, the left experiences nocturnal emissions at the mere mention of Hitler, since the key part of National Socialist-is SOCIALIST. Hitler managed to combine a vacant ideology, a seriously disordered personality, an utter lack of discernable talent, (save incendiary oratory) and persuade enough of the foolish and the brutal to acquire absolute, unchecked power. Hitler, in his relentless narcissim, persuaded the Germans that he and he alone could tap the hidden teutonic glory.

Thats what the left wants and why they are so dangerous. Its no accident their rants have the vitriol and venom of the little twerp in front of the swastika.

National Interest
It was in our national interest to establish democratic styles of government in Germany, Japan and Korea after WWII.
It is in our national interest now to establish democratic governments in the middle east.
It is not altruism. It is self interest.

" Said Smith: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.""

http://www.econlib.org/library/ENC/bios/Smith.html

Not tired, just angry that they missed the boat on abusing power and distributing wealth.
Washington has gone too far in just about every direction and big government types of all persuasions outside those of the current regime are simply angry over it. This current regime was not satisfied with just one foreign war so they got us into two. They were not satisfied with Medicare and Social Security so they got prescription drugs. They were not satisfied with judge given search warrants so they ignored the requirement.

In total the ruling part has squandered hundreds of billions in wealth and thousands of lives and destroyed major parts of our liberty. So the party not ruling has a lot less left to play with.

All of the fun things are ending: running huge deficits, paying for deficits with devalued currency, detaining citizens without charges, detaining foreigners forever, spying on law abiding citizens, having foreigners supply goods lowering in price faster than you can devalue the currency, etc.

So in my own words: George Bush is the most incredibly successful big government president ever and he has beaten the progressives at their own game. And that is why the progressives are angry NOT tired.

Vintage bogus arguments
From what planet is this posted??

>Do I have to point out every way this post is incorrect?

You'll have to do better than you do in your post

>The US is not becoming weaker by standing up to terrorism;

The war in Iraq is not "standing up to terrorism," it's provoking, encouraging and abetting terrorism. Sucking up to terrorist supporting or extremist Islamic governments like those of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia is not "standing up to terrorism" either.

>
Our longtime allies to whom you refer were armpit-deep in corruption with Saddam & the UN in the oil for food outrage.

And so were many Americans. That doesn't mean that invading Iraq was a wise or well-conceived plan.

>"Brownie" may not have been the best choice for FEMA; though the true scandal is the horrific lack of leadership shown by the local & state officials in New Orleans magnified by the dependents in the populace looking for government to save them. That is from where the catastrophic results came!

The bipartisan congressional commission investigating the event came to very different conclusions.

>To accuse of misrepresenting intelligence - with all the information that has come out since the war on terrorism in Iraq started - is to display either willing ignorance or a penchant for outright lying.

On what planet??? On this one we were told we were going to war because Saddam Hussein had WMDs and (hinted) that he was aiding Al Qaeda. Both assertions have been proven absolutely wrong by intensive investigations. We were also told that the Iraqis would
welcome our troops, and people who questioned this were subject to character assassination.

Your characterization of what Democrats want is as utter a crock as your recital of "facts."

I see: it was Clinton who ignored the intelligence report, "Al Qaeda determined to strike in America
When Bush took office, he got a complete briefing about Al Qaeda, because American intelligence had just traced the attack on the Cole to Al Qaeda. Bush was warned that Al Qaeda was active, and dangerous. The Bush adminstration completely ignored the warnings, and was caught completely flatfooted by 9/11.

This is hallucination:

>Truly understanding the burdens of power would mean that progressives understood that one of the most effective and efficient military actions in history isn't a quagmire or a debacle just because criminals can still figure out ways to commit murder.

The problem isn't the military, it's the political and diplomatic end, who didn't know the situation going in, refused to commit enough force, and haven't been able to rconstruct the econmy even to the pathetic state it was in under Saddam Huseein. There's less electric power now, less water, less everything.

>hey'd understand that just because Superman (the Feds) exists, doesn't absolve the Gotham PD (state/local government) of it's responsibility to do their job (disaster planning, evacuations).

The bipartisan commission investigting Katrina wasn't looking for Superman, they were looking for simple, ordinary competence and ability to make and execute plans. Do you really think this is an impossible request.

> Protectors sometimes have to go with limited, deliberately manipulated, or plain wrong info, best guesses, hunches, or gut feeling, because the consequences of giving bad guys the benefit of the doubt and being wrong are unthinkable, wheresas the downside of assuming the worst is still the net positive of dead bad guys.

that's not what happened in Iraq. What happened there was Bush and company made up what they wanted to believe, and ignored facts, over and over -- did character assassionation against people pointing out unpleasant facts.

>It's all about moving the responsibility for actually making a decision to someone else, be it a court, the UN, some "global test"; anything to avoid actually making a call and potentially being wrong. Well, there are worst things in this world than being wrong.

So why aren't you calling for the Bush administration to take responsibility for its goofs, instead of blaming the U.N., liberals, courts, local government, criminals and everyone else in the world??

Why not try thinking and looking instead of just hating? And not hating terrorists, but fellow Ameri
There's not a fact or an argument in this tissue of hate-filled namecalling.

And the WWII stuff is hallucination.

>We could point out that the actions of the left routinely taken would have merited prosecution in the 1940's as agents of the "Reich".

It was not the left that was calling for the U.S. to cozy up to Germany before the War. It was not the left that was trying to keep Roosevelt from helping Britain.

>Its no accident their rants have the vitriol and venom of the little twerp in front of the swastika.

You must mean Anne Coulter. I quite agree.

No Subject
Interesting. You accuse me of not holding Bush accountable, yet completely dismiss the fact that the reason AQ was an active and dangerous threat that he had to be briefed about was because of the previous administration's incompetence. I'd be more than willing to hold the light to every failure of the Bush administration if you'd be honest and admit that Bush largely inherited the AQ situation because of Clinton's ineffectiveness. If you can't/won't then all your talk of simple accountability is just partisan noise.
The problem isn't the military, it's the political and diplomatic end, who didn't know the situation going in, refused to commit enough force, and haven't been able to rconstruct the econmy even to the pathetic state it was in under Saddam Huseein. There's less electric power now, less water, less everything. So the goal was Iraqi economic redevelopment? Because if it wasn't what does the state of the Iraqi economy have to do with the price of tea in China? The goal was to remove a terrorist haboring/supporting rogue state. That was done, the Iraqi military was dismantled, for a couple hundred combat deaths, and less than 3,000 occupational deaths. The enemy hasn't had the ability to confront us in greater than platoon strength since the first couple weeks of the operation. Name any other major war, any other conflict of any size, as successfully conducted as this one and I'll concede that I'm dreaming. Otherwise you're just talking out the side of your neck.

Further, give me an example of any war, any conflict, in history where our intelligence was so perfect that we knew the exact situation on the ground, were able to poll and survey the public as to their reaction to our intended action, and thereby calculate to the man exactly how many troops would be required. Yet I'm assuming that all those actions were failures as well since we didn't use the vaunted Gulliver Troop Ratio.
The bipartisan commission investigting Katrina wasn't looking for Superman, they were looking for simple, ordinary competence and ability to make and execute plans. Do you really think this is an impossible request.It was very possible. So explain to me way when Ray Nagan (you know, the person actually elected to run NO, and the senior elected official on the scene) had a years to plan, rehearsals and projections that told him that the city's contingency plans might not be workable, and multiple chances to order and execute the evacuation plan that was on the books, we're not suppose to expect competence from him? When did the federal government get into the local disaster planning business, and doesn't that mean that NO taxpayers are getting screwed since they're paying for one layer of government, apparently only responsibile for silly walks or paper hats, or the Mardi Gras bead supply, on top of the Feds, who are actually responsible for running things?
that's not what happened in Iraq. What happened there was Bush and company made up what they wanted to believe, and ignored facts, over and over -- did character assassionation against people pointing out unpleasant facts. So, let me get this straight... Bush made up the fact that Saddam consistently violated UN resolutions, and refused to cooperate with inspectors. Bush and Co. used their mind rays to make Clinton, Gore, Albright and most Western intelligence agencies believe that Saddam was reconstituting or trying to reconstitute his weapons program. And Bush assassinated the character of lovable ole' Saddam, whom we know would've never used WMD's and hadn't ever tried to get his hands on any.

Seriously, this is your argument? You claim to value competence and then lecture me with tired nonsense and quack logic? You realize this is why no one takes progresives seriously, right?
So why aren't you calling for the Bush administration to take responsibility for its goofs, instead of blaming the U.N., liberals, courts, local government, criminals and everyone else in the world?? Unfortunately, Bush is the only one I see commited to actually accomplishing something in Iraqi. And where I come from "taking responsibility" means doing what you need to do to make sure the job you started gets finished. It doesn't mean endless public self flagellation followed by going home in a huff. It doesn't mean forming a commitee, issuing a finding, or writing a strongly worded letter that, if ignored, will be followed by an even more strongly worded letter. You're not talking about competence or taking responsibility, you're not talking about the best way to achieve a goal, you're talking about excuses and blame and recrimination. you're talking about tea ceremony government, where the outcome doesn't matter as much as the window dressing and the "process". 'Well yes, a million people got hacked to death with machettes, but we didn't act unilaterally, didn't proceed on iffy intel, we followed the process, so we're good.'

the bottom line is total failure. why is this acceptable?
"Al Qaeda determined to strike in US" -> zero reaction

Nice long post, but without any solid argument. Sure, intelligence is hard. That doesn't excuse the Bush administration for ignoring intelligence that didn't fit their preconceptions.

>The goal was to remove a terrorist haboring/supporting rogue state.

sorry, no. Iraq had nothing, zero, to do with Al Qaeda and 9/11. If the goal was to remove a terrorist harboring/supporting state, we should have invade Saudi Arabia.

>Further, give me an example of any war, any conflict, in history where our intelligence was so perfect that we knew the exact situation on the ground, were able to poll and survey the public as to their reaction to our intended action, and thereby calculate to the man exactly how many troops would be required.

This isn't hard. Shinoseki looked at situations like Bosnia etc. need more troops. Cheney & etc. we will be welcomed..

>Unfortunately, Bush is the only one I see commited to actually accomplishing something in Iraqi.

Of course he is. He was the one to argue we had to invade.

> And where I come from "taking responsibility" means doing what you need to do to make sure the job you started gets finished

Where I come from, it also includes providing for consequences for people whose bad decisions have created problems. This hasn't happened.

>You're not talking about competence or taking responsibility, you're not talking about the best way to achieve a goal, you're talking about excuses and blame and recrimination.

I'm talking about the most lowest common denominator issues of basic competence and holding peopole responsible for their judgements and actions. As they would be in the businss sector.

In terms of "excuses," you've got the market cornered. IN terms of blame and recriminations -- I'd be happy if I felt that people on the scene seemed to know what they were doing. As of now, they don't pass this test. Why doesn't this register on your screen.







What threat?
hello?

>In Iraq it took less than 200 fatalities to remove the threat: Saddam.

What "threat?" We now know that Saddam didn't have WMDs and wasn't supporting Al Qaeda. The "threat" was drummed up by ignoring all intelligence that didn't support administration preconceptions, and by vilifying and personally attacking Americans who pointed this out.

>We could have easily put in another dictator and left after a few months.

No, we could not, because the invasion created the threat of a totally destabillized Iraq.

>Our self-defense was achieved early on——Quadaffi got the message and so would the new dictator.

sure they did: just like the Iranians and North Koreans got the message.

and as far as the decision to go to war
sorry I neglected to go through this:

>Bush made up the fact that Saddam consistently violated UN resolutions, and refused to cooperate with inspectors.

He was cooperating with inspectors, according the inspectors that were on the ground at the time.

>Bush and Co. used their mind rays to make Clinton, Gore, Albright and most Western intelligence agencies believe that Saddam was reconstituting or trying to reconstitute his weapons program.

Sure, lots of people thought that. That's why the U.N.acted in 2002, and put inspectors into Iraq. The inspectors were able, quickly, to determine that Iraq didn't have a nuclear program, and found no indications anywhere that he was "reconsistuting or trying to reconstitute" his WMD program. Cheney didn't like these findings, and force the invasion.

>And Bush assassinated the character of lovable ole' Saddam, whom we know would've never used WMD's and hadn't ever tried to get his hands on any.

We know he used WMDs because we were helping him when he did. Rumsfeld went to Baghdad and shook his hand when he was using them against the Iranians. The issue wasn't what he had in the 1980s, but what he had in 2003. And he had nothing. And we were learning he had nothing when instead of listening we closed our ears and invaded.

So now we're bogged down in Iraq. You say it's a great success story with low casualties: " The enemy hasn't had the ability to confront us in greater than platoon strength since the first couple weeks of the operation.

Gee. than almost all the casualties should have occurred in the first couple weeks of the operation, right, in the period before Bush landed on the aircraft carrier next to the big "Mission Accomplished" sign?

"Name any other major war, any other conflict of any size, as successfully conducted as this one and I'll concede that I'm dreaming."

You don't have to "concede" that you're dreaming: it's obvious from what you say.



Clinton's Terrorism Legacy
Somalia:

"In 1993, 18 U.S. soldiers, part of a contingent sent on a humanitarian mission to famine-struck Somalia, were murdered by street fighters in Mogadishu. Bin Laden later claimed that some of the Arab Afghans were involved. The main thing to bin Laden, howev er, was the horrified American reaction to the deaths. Within six months, the U.S. had withdrawn from Somalia. In interviews, bin Laden has said that his forces expected the Americans to be tough like the Soviets but instead found that they were "paper ti gers" who "after a few blows ran in defeat."
http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101010924/wosama.html

OKC Bombing:

"There is another confirmed incident that suggests something more sinister. Two of the 11 September conspirators held a crucial meeting at a motel in Oklahoma City in August 2001. The motel's owner has since identified them as ringleader Mohammed Atta and Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, who has known links with shoebomber Richard Reid.

The motel is unremarkable - except for one thing. It is where a number of Davis's witnesses are sure they saw McVeigh drinking and perhaps plotting with his Iraqi friends. "
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/1678779

First WTC Bombing:

" Indeed, that state sponsorship can be irrelevant to a criminal prosecution was explained most clearly by the federal prosecutors in the New York bombing conspiracies, the lead prosecutor in the trial of Sheikh Omar et al., and the lead prosecutor in last year's Trade Center bombing trial, who will also prosecute Ramzi Yousef. When I put it to them that Iraq was probably behind the Trade Center bombing, they replied, "You may be right, but we don't do state sponsorship. We prosecute individuals." Asked who does "do" state sponsorship, they answered, "Washington." "Who in Washington?" No one seemed to know.[6]

Yet by responding to state-sponsored terrorism solely by arresting and trying individual perpetrators, the U.S. government, in effect, invites such states to commit acts of terror in such a way as to leave behind a few relatively minor figures to be arrested, tried, and convicted. Done adroitly, this makes it unlikely that the larger, more important, and more difficult question of state sponsorship will ever be addressed.

The problem is illustrated vividly in the case of Ramzi Yousef since his arrest in February 1995. The Justice Department has passed on very little information to other bureaucracies. The FBI's typical response to any question about Yousef is: "We can't tell you much because of the trial." [7] As a result, the State Department, which is responsible for determining whether a terrorist act had state sponsorship, lacks the most basic information-- even, for example, a point as simple as what passport Yousef was traveling on when he was arrested in Islamabad.

The details of the World Trade Center case are chilling. From the outset, the Justice Department refused to share key information with the national security agencies. The government had two sets of relevant information--foreign intelligence, gathered by the CIA from watching terrorist states such as Iran and Iraq, and evidence gathered by the FBI largely within the United Stares for use in the trial. The FBI flatly told the national security bureaucracies that there was "no evidence" of state sponsorship in the World Trade Center bombing. When the national security agencies asked to see the evidence themselves, the FBI replied, "No, this is a criminal matter. We're handling it." Thus, all that the national security agencies had available to decide the question of state sponsorship was foreign intelligence they themselves had collected."

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/iraq/956-tni.htm

Remember Jamie Gorelick? "Memos show Gorelick involvement in 'wall'"
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040429-122228-6538r.htm


And don't forget two US Emabssy bombings where an individual I know was blinded and contracted AIDS because she was working in at the embassy in Kenya when it was bombed.

But the bottom line is Clinton was President for 8 years. Early in his Presidency the USA was attacked and Clinton's respsonse encouraged more attacks.
Clinton had the world's top terrorist, Arafat at the White House more times than any other president.

Nine months after the taking the oath of office, the USA was attacked again. The administration launched an assault on Afganistan and Iraq and assisinated some responsible for the USS Cole attack.
Since Afganistan and Iraq were liberated, elections have been held in both countries, Libya has given up its nuclear weapons program, Syria has evacuated Lebanon, Arafat was removed from power and the Palestinians have now come out of the closet. By electing Hamas to lead them in Gaza, they can no longer hide.
All of this occured in less than five years.

So far, Clinton's legacy is to perpetuate a problem, Bush's is to resolve the problem by whatever means necessary.

Oh, and don't forge about Freeh's disgust with Berger and Clinton's repsonse to Al Kobar. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008563

And North Korea? Clinton planned to build reactor's for DPRK, sent Albright to drink champainge with the the dear leader and hindered missile defense.
Bush insists on 6 party negotiations and deployed and is supporting missile defense systems.

Long and winding road
"30 NOV 2000 Iraq rejects UN Secretary-General offer to discuss weapons inspections"

http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/iraq/timeline3.htm#2001

Iraq had certainly demonstrated their willingness to cooperate.
With such a record, it is easier for the liberals to trust Sadaam than the president of the USA.
You can judge people by their enemies. If liberals see GW as the enemy, then I know who my friends are.

What do Democrats want?
"Our nation stands as a shining example to all the world of freedom and democracy, a unique honor that comes with a responsibility to lead.

Democrats believe that strong international alliances are the cornerstone of our foreign policy. The threat from international terrorism and rogue states requires a new era of alliances led by the United States, based on mutual respect and shared vision."

That is the only statement from the DNC. The rest is all news stories.
Any specifics?
http://www.democrats.org/a/national/strength_overseas/


"President Bush is committed to keeping the nation strong and secure through strengthening our military, deploying a missile defense system, strengthening the NATO alliance and supporting military families and veterans.

Strengthening Our Military

* President Bush has increased defense spending by more than one-third – the most in a generation.
* President Bush signed into law landmark legislation that better prepares our defense establishment to meet the challenges of the 21st century. A military that was designed for the challenges of the mid-to-late 20th century is being transformed into a lighter, more flexible, more agile, and more lethal force - one better able to deal with new threats to our national security.

Deploying A Missile Defense

* The United States will soon deploy a functioning missile defense system to protect Americans from nuclear threats posed by rogue regimes - and will deploy the first land and sea-based system.
* The United States is acting with the support and cooperation of Australia, Britain, Japan, and other nations to establish a missile defense capability with support sites on multiple continents.

Strengthening NATO

* President Bush has been a leader in transforming NATO to make it effective in the 21st century and the global War on Terror.
* The Alliance commands the International Security Assistance Force (consisting of more than 6,000 troops) that is helping secure and rebuild a free Afghanistan. Afghanistan is NATO's first mission outside of Europe.
* NATO allies are contributing troops to the coalition in Iraq and NATO leaders have agreed to help train Iraq's new security forces.

Supporting Military Families And Veterans

* Since President Bush took office, basic pay for service members has increased by more than 20 percent - and the increase in payments for food and housing combined has reached 50 percent.
* The President's budgets have allowed 2.5 million more veterans to enroll for health care; outpatient visits to increase from 44 million to 54 million; the number of prescriptions filled to increase from 98 million to 116 million; and 194 new community-based clinics to open.

Homeland Security

* President Bush has nearly tripled homeland security discretionary funding.
* More than $18 billion has been awarded to state and local governments to protect the homeland.
* The Bush Administration developed a comprehensive National Strategy for Homeland Security, focused on six key areas: intelligence and warning; border and transportation security; domestic counterterrorism; protecting critical infrastructure; defending against catastrophic threats; and emergency preparedness and response.
* For the first time, the President has made countering and investigating terrorist activity the number one priority for both law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Bush Administration has transformed the FBI into an agency whose primary mission is to prevent terrorist attacks and increased its budget by 60 percent.

Continued Progress in Iraq

* President Bush has ensured the safety of Americans by taking the fight to the enemy abroad before they have the opportunity to attack the homeland.
* Victory in Iraq is vital is central to the Global War on Terror to ensure that those who would harm the United States suffer total defeat.
* Sovereignty was restored to the Iraqi people and they held free elections. On June 28, 2004, Iraqis regained control of the governance of their country. Less than seven months later, in January 2005, more than eight million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time."

This is closest match on the RNC website. Certainly more specific.

http://www.gop.com/Issues/SafetyAndSecurity/


If Kerry is still the leader of the democrats, it is no wonder they cannot make a decision.

Power
The criticism I have of liberals is that they believe that they can control government power.
Name one liberal that believes in a smaller government.
There are conservatives that do believe in smaller, limited government. Most are not in power now.

"Liberals are not shirking the burders of power. They are longing to have people who know how to use it back in government, instead of political hacks, liars, and incompetants."

The only liberals who do have respect, like Lieberman, are rejected by the democrats.

Oh, please
The fact remains that, following the Security Council vote, Saddam admitted inspectors and was - per Hans Blix, the leader of the inspection team - cooperating. As a result, by February, Mohammed ElBaradei, leader of the nuclear component of the inspection, was able to report, flatly, that Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program.
Cheney said, flatly, that ElBaradei was wrong. Guess who was right.

And as for this:

>You can judge people by their enemies. If liberals see GW as the enemy, then I know who my friends are.

Osama Bin Laden is an enemy. George Bush is an American politician who many Americans distrust and believe is incompetent, not an "enemy."

Much verbiage, no substance
You can say whatever you want about the Clinton record regarding terrorism. Let's take every word said above about his failings as gospel. Let's ignore that the drone missile strike on Osama's camp in Afghanistan missed him by 15 minutes.

The fact remains that the Clinton administration delivered to the Bush administration, as they came in, the fact that the attack on the Cole had been the work of Al Qaeda. The Bush administration did nothing about this. Not even after intelligence sent a report, "Al Qaeda determined to strike in the U.S."

Sure, after 9/11, Bush acted. How could he not? But not before. As was documented by the 9/11 commission, in detail.

theory v practice
We aren't talking theory here, we're talking practice. The Bush administration is not using the powers it has effectively, efficiently or in a fiscally prudent fashion.

>Name one liberal that believes in a smaller government.

Just about all do, when it comes to getting government out of people's bedrooms and out of women's decisions about their bodies.

Thank you for the GOP cut and paste
Sounds good on paper. The problem is, in the real world, there's a record of abject failure, across the board, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, New Orleans and elsewhere.

A river in Egypt
Denial.

Examples of liberals who what smaller goverment?
Give me examples of liberals who have led the charge to lower taxes and cut programs?

A river that you're up without a paddle
Again: Bush was in office for nine months after receiving word that Al Qaeda was behind the Cole attack. He did nothing at all about that attack - not even after receiving a briefing, "Al Qaeda determined to attack in U.S."

It's not me denying the bottom line of that equation.

cut programs?
You may remember someone named Bill Clinton, and what he did with welfare.

As far as "cut taxes" -- is cutting taxes and making up the difference with borrowed money really sound conservative policy?

No argument about our interest: the problem is competence
Even assuming -- and that's a long assumption -- that we had to invade Iraq, the political handling of the situatin in Iraq postwar has been a complete fiasco. We foresaw nothing, made an endless series of stupid decisions in reaction to what we found, and the end isn't in sight yet. Sure, it's in our interest to have secular democratic states in the Middle East. This administration isn't able to achieve that goal or, really, any other, it's demonstrated over and over again.

How are the Ds going to get what they want?
Parties used to have a platform. What is the democrat's platform?

Al Queda Attacked the USA long before 9/11/01
As noted by FAS, Al Queda were involved in Somalia and with the first WTC bombing.

Clinton had nearly 8 years to destroy Al Queada. What did he do?

Thank God for a Republican Congress
Did Clinton propose cutting welfare?

I did say initiate.

They want to nationalize health care.

Iraq, Afganistan, Lebanon
Iraq and Afganisatan have had elections, more than once and have stood up governments in less than 3 years.

"This administration isn't able to achieve that goal or, really, any other, it's demonstrated over and over again."

Looks like they are accomplishing the goal in spite of democrats actively supporting the terrorists.

Why not ask them?
Or look online. Is that really complicated?

Among other things, came within 15 minutes of killing Osama Bin Laden
And the Clinton administration, particularly toward the end of the administration, made operations against Al Qaeda a high priority. When the Bush administration came in, they decided it was no big deal. They took almost no action on the Cole. Even when Bush got a memo, "Al Qaeda dtermined," there was still not reaction until 9/11.

Now you're just equivocating
Clinton took over and pushed through welfare reform. You can credit a Republican congress - but if you do, you're going to have to credit it with the current mounting deficits, created by tax cuts.

As far a "nationalizing health care," no. The idea was a universal health insurance system, which is a totally different thing. Right now the U.S. spends more of its GDP - about 15 percent- than any other advanced country, and gets poorer public health numbers in return.

DNC
I looked at the DNC website.

What I posted WAS their statement on foreign policy. Very definitive.

If you can find a platform on the website, good luck.

8 years and missed?
Clinton had 8 years and allowed Al Queada to grow in strength.

Excuse me???
> spite of democrats actively supporting the terrorists.

This is pure hatespeech and slander. What democrats support, actively or any other way, terrorism.

Why can't discuss issues without bringing up this unsupported slime?

Regarding elections, great. Now all the elected governments have to is stop the daily killings and bombings. And that's just around the corner, isn't it?
But wait -- why are there killings? Didn't Cheney say we'd be welcomed with open arms? Wasn't the original plan to be mostly out after 6 months, with all our costs paid for by Iraqi oil??

And Bush has had 6
And terrorism the world over is stronger than it ever was, and Bin Laden is still around sending in radio messages.

Again: In particularly the last two years of the Clinton administration, Al Qaeda had become a major priority. When Bush took over, it is was downgraded, despite the fact that the attack on the Cole had been traced to them. Bush did nothing, despite his warming in August "Al Qaeda determined to strike in US."

Just read the NYT
The publish all the battle plans.

Murhta condemns Marines before they are even tried.

Democrats, by their actions, have not supported, only sniped, at efforts in Iraq.

You need to decide do you hate Bush more than you love the USA?

This is delusion
What battle plans have been published??? The Bush administration was bragging about how it was following a money trail.

Murtha did not support terror by saying Marines shouldn't commit atrocities.

Democrats criticism of administation incompetence, bad faith and mistakes in Iraq are not support for terrorism: they are criticism of incompetence, bad faith, and mistakes.

And Bush is not the United States. For many people, it is precisely love for the United States that leads them to criticize a President who is damaging the nation.

Let's say it again: disagreement with the administration is not support for terrorism. That is my flag too that you're wrapping yourself in. And you using our flag to defame fellow citizens who live it as much as you do shows total lack of patriotism.

Did That
I did that.

Look up a few posts.

Do you read what I write?

Clinton did not care

"It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

We later learned that senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Spiritual Leader's office had selected Khobar as their target and commissioned the Saudi Hezbollah to carry out the operation. The Saudi police told us that FBI agents had to interview the bombers in custody in order to make our case. To make this happen, however, the U.S. president would need to make a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

So for 30 months, I wrote and rewrote the same set of simple talking points for the president, Mr. Berger, and others to press the FBI's request to go inside a Saudi prison and interview the Khobar bombers. And for 30 months nothing happened. The Saudis reported back to us that the president and Mr. Berger would either fail to raise the matter with the crown prince or raise it without making any request. On one such occasion, our commander in chief instead hit up Prince Abdullah for a contribution to his library. Mr. Berger never once, in the course of the five-year investigation which coincided with his tenure, even asked how the investigation was going.

In their only bungled attempt to support the FBI, a letter from the president intended for Iran's President Mohammad Khatami, asking for "help" on the Khobar case, was sent to the Omanis, who had direct access to Mr. Khatami. This was done without advising either the FBI or the Saudis who were exposed in the letter as providing help to the Americans. We only found out about the letter because it was misdelivered to the spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who then publicly denounced the U.S. This was an embarrassment for the Saudis who had been fully cooperating with the FBI by providing direct evidence of Iranian involvement. Both Saudi Prince Bandar and Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who had put themselves and their government at great risk to help the FBI, were now undermined by America's president.

The Clinton administration was set on "improving" relations with what it mistakenly perceived to be a moderate Iranian president. But it also wanted to accrue the political mileage of proclaiming to the world, and to the 19 survivor families, that America was aggressively pursuing the bombers. When I would tell Mr. Berger that we could close the investigation if it compromised the president's foreign policy, the answer was always: "Leave no stone unturned."

Meanwhile, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Mr. Clinton ordered the FBI to stop photographing and fingerprinting Iranian wrestlers and cultural delegations entering the U.S. because the Iranians were complaining about the identification procedure. Of course they were complaining. It made it more difficult for their intelligence agents and terrorist coordinators to infiltrate into America. I was overruled by an "angry" president and Mr. Berger who said the FBI was interfering with their rapprochement with Iran.

Finally, frustrated in my attempts to execute Mr. Clinton's "leave no stone unturned" order, I called former president George H.W. Bush. I had learned that he was about to meet Crown Prince Abdullah on another matter. After fully briefing Mr. Bush on the impasse and faxing him the talking points that I had now been working on for over two years, he personally asked the crown prince to allow FBI agents to interview the detained bombers.

After his Saturday meeting with now-King Abdullah, Mr. Bush called me to say that he made the request, and that the Saudis would be calling me. A few hours later, Prince Bandar, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington, asked me to come out to McLean, Va., on Monday to see Crown Prince Abdullah. When I met him with Wyche Fowler, our Saudi ambassador, and FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson, the crown prince was holding my talking points. He told me Mr. Bush had made the request for the FBI, which he granted, and told Prince Bandar to instruct Nayef to arrange for FBI agents to interview the prisoners.

Several weeks later, agents interviewed the co-conspirators. For the first time since the 1996 attack, we obtained direct evidence of Iran's complicity. What Mr. Clinton failed to do for three years was accomplished in minutes by his predecessor. This was the breakthrough we had been waiting for, and the attorney general and I immediately went to Mr. Berger with news of the Saudi prison interviews.

Upon being advised that our investigation now had proof that Iran blew up Khobar Towers, Mr. Berger's astounding response was: "Who knows about this?" His next, and wrong, comment was: "That's just hearsay." When I explained that under the Rules of Federal Evidence the detainees' comments were indeed more than "hearsay," for the first time ever he became interested--and alarmed--about the case. But this interest translated into nothing more than Washington "damage control" meetings held out of the fear that Congress, and ordinary Americans, would find out that Iran murdered our soldiers. After those meetings, neither the president, nor anyone else in the administration, was heard from again about Khobar.

Sadly, this fits into a larger pattern of U.S. governments sending the wrong message to Tehran. Almost 13 years before Iran committed its terrorist act of war against America at Khobar, it used its surrogates, the Lebanese Hezbollah, to murder 241 Marines in their Beirut barracks. The U.S. response to that 1983 outrage was to pull our military forces out of the region. Such timidity was not lost upon Tehran. As with Beirut, Tehran once again received loud and clear from the U.S. its consistent message that there would be no price to pay for its acts of war against America. As for the 19 dead warriors and their families, their commander in chief had deserted them, leaving only the FBI to carry on the fight.

The Khobar bombing case eventually led to indictments in 2001, thanks to the personal leadership of President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice. But justice has been a long time coming. Only so much can be done, after all, with arrest warrants and judicial process. Bin Laden and his two separate pre-9/11 arrest warrants are a case in point.

Still, many stones remain unturned. It remains to be seen whether the Khobar case and its fugitives will make it onto the list of America's demands in "talks" with the Iranians. Or will we ultimately ignore justice and buy a separate peace with our enemy?"

Mr. Freeh was FBI director from 1993 through 2001.

Dissent becomes treason when it supports enemies
" New York Times has spread the secret of American financial surveillance of terrorists around the world, undermining or destroying this method of tracking them, as well as undermining the cooperation that can be expected in the future from countries fearful of political or terrorist repercussions.

Patriotism is not chic in the circles of those who assume the role of citizens of the world, whether they are discussing immigration or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/07/is_patriotism_obsolete.html

When your disagreement gives advantage to our enemies, then you had better think very carefully how you express your dissent.

What's your problem?
Please be specific.

That's what he says
Why not highlight his role at Waco?

Oh, please
there was no "secret" of financial surveillance of terrorism. we bragged about it.

>Patriotism is not chic in the circles of those who assume the role of citizens of the world, whether they are discussing immigration or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime."

That's what you say. YOu don't define patriotism.

>
When your disagreement gives advantage to our enemies, then you had better think very carefully how you express your dissent.

what "advantage to our enemies?" Are you saying any criticsim of Bush gives "advantage to our enemies" and therefore should be censored? If not, what's your point?

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