Patterico's Pontifications

8/7/2004

Bush Invites International Observers to Monitor Election

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 6:05 pm

Feeding into the perception that he won the Presidency in an unfair election, Bush has invited a team of foreign observers to monitor the upcoming election. Observers will come from nations including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States.

This [allowing such monitoring in a presidential election] is an unprecedented (and, in my view) boneheaded move. It’s not a good idea to leave the question of whether our election is perceived as legitimate in the hands of a bunch of European liberals.

(Via Baldilocks.)

UPDATE: When I called this “unprecedented” I meant for a presidential election. A commenter notes that a similar team monitored the 2002 elections — a fact that is stated in the linked article. Since my use of the word “unprecedented” could be read as suggesting that no such team has ever monitored an election before, I have added the bracketed material to make the post more clear.

The 2002 monitoring was indeed the foot in the door. But I think that using such monitors in a presidential election is a different situation entirely. In the 2002 elections, there was unlikely to be the kind of controversy over any particular election result that there has been (and may be again) over a presidential result. If there is a controversy, I want it resolved by our country’s legal processes, and I don’t want the input of European liberals.

Swift Boat Vets 1, Kerry 0

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 4:22 pm

Who’s lying? John Kerry? Or the Swift Boat Vets?

Advantage: Swift Boat Vets.

Alleged Refutation of the 59 Deceits

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 3:11 pm

This guy claims to have debunked Dave Kopel’s article listing the deceits in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

The alleged refutation is hard to read, because the guy hasn’t bothered to put all his rebuttals at one link. But after having waded through some of it, it looks like he leaves an awful lot of Kopel’s points completely unrebutted.

Bloggers Publish in Mainstream Press — In Iraq

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 12:49 pm

Omar at Iraq the Model has the story.

Ranting Prof Interviews Homeland Security Expert

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:27 pm

Don’t miss the interview, with Col. Randall Larsen, USAF (Ret.).

I found the answer to the first question particularly interesting (and unsettling):

This is the most serious and credible threat indications we have seen
since July 2001. Believe me, not all of the information has been released (or leaked).

Read The Whole Thing.

CNN Reporters: Clueless as a Box of Rocks

Filed under: Media Bias,Morons,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:03 am

For days, I have been pointing out that, if you don’t read the media reports carefully, you might have thought that the Bush Administration had possessed the intelligence supporting the latest terror threat for years. Of course, everybody understands the truth by now. Right?

Wrong. Cori Dauber reports that some CNN “journalist” explicitly made that exact mistake just this morning. Dauber explains:

Talking about the question of whether the alerts were politically motivated (and giving the question far too much legitimacy by treating it as an open question, in my opinion) Maria Hinojosa asks the reporter who’s supposed to be “in the know” on the alerts question that since there’s been great crititicism of Tom Ridge, why he didn’t just come out when he first announced the alerts and just say “you’ve had this information for four years.”

Now, that’s just flat false, and a tremendously misleading statement. The information they got was in some instances two, three, and four years old, but it had only just then come into American hands. Which is a far different question and frames the decision to suddenly call an alert in a far different light when the subject at hand is whether the alerts are being timed the way they are for political reasons.

Does the reporter who supposedly knows all about the story correct her? No.

She goes into a riff on how “You’ve got to be honest with the American public.”

Pathetic.

Indeed. The facts on this have been known for days — indeed, I somehow managed not to be confused about it even when the Washington Post and New York Times were. But even those papers now seem to understand what Prof. Dauber just explained: that the intelligence was old, but recently acquired.

Can someone please explain that to these supposedly knowledgable reporters on CNN, so they stop spreading falsehoods to the American people?

Kerry and Swift Boats

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 2:24 am

Don’t get me wrong. I admire John Kerry’s decision to volunteer for Vietnam. However, a lot of speakers at the DNC said that he volunteered for swift boat duty knowing it was dangerous. Not so.

Kerry initially hoped to continue his service at a relatively safe distance from most fighting, securing an assignment as “swift boat” skipper. While the 50-foot swift boats cruised the Vietnamese coast a little closer to the action than the Gridley had come, they were still considered relatively safe.

I didn’t really want to get involved in the war,” Kerry said in a little-noticed contribution to a book of Vietnam reminiscences published in 1986. “When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling and that’s what I thought I was going to be doing.”

But two weeks after he arrived in Vietnam, the swift boat mission changed — and Kerry went from having one of the safest assignments in the escalating conflict to one of the most dangerous. Under the newly launched Operation SEALORD, swift boats were charged with patrolling the narrow waterways of the Mekong Delta to draw fire and smoke out the enemy. Cruising inlets and coves and canals, swift boats were especially vulnerable targets.

Yet Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and others said that Kerry volunteered for the duty knowing it was dangerous. What’s more, Kerry’s biography on his own campaign website makes the same deceptive claim:

In 1968, John Kerry began his second tour of duty, and volunteered to serve on a swift boat, one of the most dangerous assignments of the war.

All literally true, I guess — but very misleading.

Nobody called these folks on these misleading statements — until Spinsanity did. As they say: “Despite Kerry’s decorated service record, the circumstances surrounding his request for swift boat duty should not be mischaracterized.”

Bush Administration Blows Identity of Undercover Al Qaeda Operative?

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:48 am

Did the Bush Administration blow the cover of an Al Qaeda operative working with the Pakistanis to catch Islamic terrorists? That what Pakistan is saying.

Apparently the Administration felt the need to respond to the overwrought response of the media to the latest terrorist alert.

But that’s no excuse. If the accusations in the article are true, this is a stunningly stupid move.

(Link via Kevin Drum.)

UPDATE: Cori Dauber points out that this astounding blunder can’t be blamed on the media reaction, as the name was released a couple of days before the media started screwing this issue up. I stand corrected — and the Bushies don’t even have that tiny fig leaf left (though it wasn’t much of a fig leaf to begin with).

UPDATE x2: For some reason, the name “Valerie Plame” keeps popping into my head right now. I can’t figure out why, exactly.

UPDATE x3: Kevin Drum lists three open questions relevant to the story.

UPDATE x4: Turns out it was Pakistan, not the U.S., that probably outed the guy to the press. Funny, Kevin Drum doesn’t seem to have noted this wrinkle.

How to Paint a Big Target on Your Back

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:23 am

An interesting article in The New Yorker (h/t Dean Esmay) has this sobering passage on the Islamist terrorists’ plan to drive countries out of Iraq:

The day of the bombings [in Spain], analysts at the Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt, a Norwegian think tank near Oslo, retrieved a document that they had noticed on an Islamist Web site the previous December. At the time, the document had not made a big impression, but now, in light of the events in Madrid, it read like a terrorist road map. Titled “Jihadi Iraq: Hopes and Dangers,” it had been prepared by a previously unknown entity called the Media Committee for the Victory of the Iraqi People (Mujahideen Services Center).

The document, which is forty-two pages long and appears to be the work of several anonymous authors, begins with the proposition that although Coalition forces in Iraq, led by America, could not be defeated by a guerrilla insurgency, individual partners of the Coalition could be persuaded to depart, leaving America more vulnerable and discouraged as casualties increased and the expenses became insupportable. Three countries—Britain, Spain, and Poland — formed the European backbone of the Coalition. Poland appeared to be the most resolute, because the populace largely agreed with the government’s decision to enter Iraq. In Britain, the war was generally deplored. “Before the war, in February, about a million people went out on a huge march filling the streets of London,” the document notes. “This was the biggest march of political protest in the history of Britain.” But the authors suggest that the British would not withdraw unless the casualty count sharply increased.

Spain, however, presented a striking opportunity. The war was almost universally unpopular. Aznar had plunged his country into Iraq without seeking a consensus, unlike other Coalition leaders. “If the disparity between the government and the people were at the same percentage rate in Britain, then the Blair government would fall,” the author of this section observes. The reason Aznar had not yet been ousted, the author claims, was that Spain is an immature democracy and does not have a firm tradition of holding its rulers accountable. Right-wing Spanish voters also tended to be more loyal and organized than their leftist counterparts. Moreover, the number of Spanish casualties in Iraq was less than a dozen. “In order to force the Spanish government to withdraw from Iraq, the resistance should deal painful blows to its forces,” the writer proposes. “It is necessary to make utmost use of the upcoming general election in Spain in March next year. We think that the Spanish government could not tolerate more than two, maximum three blows, after which it will have to withdraw as a result of popular pressure. If its troops still remain in Iraq after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured, and the withdrawal of the Spanish forces will be on its electoral program.” Once Spain pulled out of Iraq, the author theorizes, the pressure on Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, to do the same might be unbearable — “and hence the domino tiles would fall quickly.”

The document specifies that the attacks would be aimed at Spanish forces within Iraq — there is no call for action in Spain. Nonetheless, the authors’ reading of the Western political calendar struck the Norwegian researchers as particularly keen. “The relation between the text and the bombings is unclear,” Thomas Hegghammer, a researcher at Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt, told me. “But, without the text, we would still be asking, ‘Is this a coincidence?'”

. . . .

The Internet document suggested that a new intelligence was at work, a rationality not seen in Al Qaeda documents before. The Mujahideen Services Center, whatever that was, appeared to operate as a kind of Islamist think tank. “The person who put together those chapters had a clear strategic vision, realistic and well thought out,” Amirah says. He told Hegghammer, “This is political science applied to jihad.”

And it worked — perfectly.

My friends in Britain, it appears you are next.

Germany Paid Terrorists Ransom

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:03 am

You thought the Phillipines and Spain were the main appeasers out there? Add Germany to the list. The German government paid ransom to an Algerian Islamic group thought to have ties to Al Qaeda. One of the group’s leaders told Deutsche Welle:

“We made a promise to the German government not to divulge the amount.” He added that “most was spent buying supplies for our brothers in Algeria. We also bought weapons and ammunition.”

As Davids Medienkritik observes: “Looks like the Islamic fundamentalists found a working business model.”


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