Skip to comments.Stop the Spin
Posted on 09/21/2001 8:02:08 AM PDT by Bouncer
The first matter to consider is the spinning of tales to assign blame for the terrorist bombing. Some very clear agendas have emerged. The first is a partisan agenda of blaming Clinton. The second is a financially motivated agenda blaming the reductions in the defense budget for the terrorist attack. There is even the culture wars agenda, blaming the attack on opponents of Reverends Falwell and Robertson. These claims are, very simply laughable, and have gained currency only through public ignorance.
The attempt to blame the attack on cuts in the defense budget is particularly ludicrous because the Defense Department has almost nothing to do with repelling terrorist attack except in the gathering of intelligence. Current budgets for intelligence are about $30 B . After a drop in 1990-3, it has remained constant correcting for inflation . Yet, with the fall of the Soviet Union, it became possible to devote much more of the budget to counter-terrorism, such that that spending on counterterrorism has doubled from $6B to $12B from 1995-2001 . The Clinton White House provided the leadership in insisting on funds to combat terrorism. Indeed, to promote bipartisanship, Clinton brought Republicans into his Administration, Louis Freeh to head the FBI and William Cohen to head the Defense Department.
The Defense budget, of course, is related to the response to terrorism. In inflation-corrected dollars, the Defense budget has in fact declined in the last decade. This was a direct response to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the only serious military threat to the United States. The United States spends over $300 B on defense and our close allies spend over $200 B. Our nearest potential rivals spend $56 B (Russia) and $40 B (China). Iran, Iraq, Cuba and North Korea combined spend $11 B . Afghanistan spends too little to quantify. Now, it is true that rival nations spend less on salaries, but the personnel budget is only a quarter of the total budget  and we far outclass any nation in hardware. Indeed, US spending as a share of worldwide military spending actually increased by over 10%, and now represents 36% of all spending in the world . Our close allies, of course, represent over 20%. But defense contractors would no doubt love to push spending up even in the absence of any credible threat, and one doesn't doubt that blaming insufficient spending originates among them.
There has been a furious partisan effort over the last few years to shift blame for intelligence failures to Clinton. This effort has disserved our country, verging at times on outright disloyalty. Here are some inconvenient facts for those who want to blame Clinton for the failures in intelligence and for the terrorist attack:
The point of this list is not to try to shift blame onto anyone, merely to point out that there is plenty of blame to go around. The failures were widespread and included actions and failures to act by four administrations, by both major political parties, and by numerous intelligence agencies.
A reasonable assessment of the terrorist episode would begin by saying that there was a failure by intelligence agencies to communicate to law enforcement agencies the arrival of terrorists and a failure by law enforcement agencies to communicate the information within themselves. These are not new problems. The CIA, after all, failed to predict the 1967 Middle East War and the fall of the Soviet Union, among numerous other intelligence failures. Its failure to detect Aldrich Ames was a symptom of a good old boy atmosphere that spans many decades. Reuel Gerecht, who left the CIA Directorate of Operations recently, blames its ineffectiveness on bureaucratic sclerosis and an unwillingness to engage with the situation on the ground . The FBI has been repeatedly found to be deficient, with the most recent scandal involving a spy who had been spying since about 1985. He was left in place over the last 5 years perhaps because he belonged to the same church as the (Republican) FBI Director [17, 18].
One major failure has been the handing over of airline regulation to the industry. Two of the most vocal proponents of the "blame Clinton faction of the Republican Party have been Orrin Hatch and Dana Rohrabacher. It is therefore interesting to note that Orrin Hatch -- whose position on the Judiciary Committee could have assisted recognition of the Gore Commission's recommendation that airline security be treated as an element of national security-- received $31,000 (2% of the PAC total) from the air transport industry in the 2000 election cycle, according to FEC records accessed through the Center for Responsive Politics. Those included PAC contributions of at least $1,000 from American Airlines, Boeing Co, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines and FedEx Corp. Among individual contributors, at least $7,500 in large contributions from employees of Airbus, Delta, Continental and Skywest can be identified.
Dana Rohrabacher also has feasted on air transport largesse, receiving $18,500 (18% of the PAC total) from air transport PACs and additional funds from air transport or related industries such as tourism, and plenty of Money from the Muslim Council, Arab World and other sources that evoke the phrase "glass houses". Several of his contributors only exist on the Web as contributors and at least one (AirTrac of Chicago) has been the target of regulatory action. George Bush and John McCain were the number 1 and number 2 recipients of the largesse of the air transport industry in 2000 and 16 out the top 20 recipients were Republicans. The question, of course, is what that money bought the industry. It certainly bought the industry weaker regulation and the inadequate airport security that was a laughing matter before September 11.
The greatest failures, however, have been in the pig-headed approach by US (and Israeli) foreign policy in addressing the very real problems that fester in the Muslim world. The Congress, under Republican control, steadfastly blocked US intervention in the Balkans and, after intervention, undermined US peacekeeping. A number of those nations have now been identified as havens for bin Laden's terrorists. Republicans have committed evil deeds in preventing the resolution of the Palestinian crisis in Israel, perhaps the worst of which was George Bush advisor Richard Perle urging Israeli delegation to walk out during the 2000 presidential election for the . That act, so profoundly disloyal to the United States, was but one of many examples of collusion between the far right of this country and religiously intolerant, i.e., anti-Muslim elements in Israel. But the problem is far broader than the right-wing of this country. Both political parties have supported autocratic regimes, including Kuwait, rather than giving preference to nations willing to institute democratic reforms. If we are not a beacon of hope for the world, who will be? As CIA Analyst Raymond Close has said, "What worries me most, in the final analysis, is that our attacks on the targets in Afghanistan and Sudan [in 1998] were reminiscent of what we call "vigilante justice" in American folklore. This kind of policy weakens our leadership position in the world and undermines the most effective defenses we will have against the terrorist threat: a commitment to the rule of law, dedication to fairness and evenhandedness in settling international disputes and a reputation as the most humanitarian nation in the world." 
It is impossible to rule out the possibility that we have misidentified the source of the attack. Certainly the failures of intelligence and law enforcement agencies do not contradict this view. Neither does the ever-present issue of oil politics and the Bush family involvement in it. But at a more mundane level, there have been reports that one or more of the hijackers were drinking and carousing (lap dancers!) the night before the attack, behavior at utter odds with that of presumed Muslin extremists [21, 22]. A number of the terrorists, including those who trained at US facilities, may have been Saudi nationals. Since the Saudi intelligence service cooperates extensively with US intelligence services, and is widely known for its ferocious tactics against terrorism, it is difficult to see how a terrorist could come from Saudi Arabia -- and yet they did. Indeed, 16 of the 19 suspected hijackers are now believed to have entered legally  And finally, there is the report that the terrorists knew secret code words that suggested deep infiltration of US operations . How does that happen without collaboration from high levels?
There is a great push to have us surrender our freedoms as the price of stopping terrorism. We are told that we must become like the Taliban in order to defend ourselves from them. Not only is this view laughably false, but until we know for certain that this terrible deed was not planned from within those who govern this country, we should not even consider it.
Finally, there is the question of whether a "war" will defeat terrorism. Major General Julian Thompson notes the obvious difficulties of the terrain . Legal analyst Jonathan Turley says, rightly, that war is something that states engage in and that declaring war on bin Laden merely magnifies him . A declaration of war does not facilitate anything except the usurpation of Congressional powers by the president. This effort -- to undo Constitutional protections and strip the American people of legal safeguards to their rights -- is well underway. By so doing, they have poured the blood of sacrifice of American patriots from Nathan Hale to Martin Luther King, on the ground. It is a sorry truth that our elected officials would probably rather turn this nation into an armed camp than admit that they made mistakes.
The defeat that the terrorists cannot endure is a defeat in the court of Muslim public opinion. Terrorists should be treated as criminals, albeit criminals with massive firepower. If possible, they should be captured and tried for crimes against humanity. The United States should take steps to redress massive injustices in Muslim lands, including the slaughter in Indonesia, which we facilitated . To reprise Raymond Close's penetrating words: "[T]he most effective defenses we will have against the terrorist threat [are] a commitment to the rule of law, dedication to fairness and evenhandedness in settling international disputes and a reputation as the most humanitarian nation in the world.
1. Federation of American Scientist
2. Federation of American Scientists
3. Washington Post, 9/11/01, M. Dobbs
4. Center for Defense Information
5. Center for Defense Information
6. Center for Defense Information
7. The Guardian, 9/15/01, G. Foden
8. MSNBC, M. Moran
9. LA Times, 5/21/01, R. Scheer
10. Washington Post Newsbytes, 11/13/01
11. KMOV-TV, 9/12/01 J. Allman
12. B. Drogin and E. Lichtblau, LA Times, 9/16/01
13. MSNBC, 9/15/01, G. Fritz, C. Skipp, J. Barry
14. Washington Post , 9/16/01, G. M. Gaul, J. V. Grimaldi, and J. Warrick
15. Salon Magazine, 9/13/01, A. Huffington
16. Atlantic Monthy, 7/01, R. M. Gerecht
17. NY Times, 4/22/01, J. Risen and D. Johnson
18. Insight Magazine, 7/17/01, P. Rodrigues
19. London Guardian, 7/13/001, J. Borger
20. PBS, Raymond Close, 8/98
21. Associated Press, 11/14/01, C. Wilson
22. Daytona Beach News-Journal, 11/15
23. Washington Post, 9/18/01, P Slevin and M. B. Sheridan
24. NY Times, 11/16/01, D. Sanger and D. van Natta, Jr.
25. LA Times, 11/13/01, J. Turley
26. London Observer, 11/16/01, J. Thompson
27. Associated Press, 7/27/01, P. Yost
George Bush gave millions to Afghanistan this year
No, we gave NO MONEY. The millions were in the form of grain shipments and other humanitarian aid.
Why does this person find it necessary to lie about something as easily verifiable as that?
The description Tom Clancy gave of liberals last night on the O'Reilly show certainly applies here.
"The political left, they deal in symbols rather than reality. The general difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across. And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down then people die, whereas the liberals figure, we can always build a nice memorial and make people forget it ever happened and was our fault. They're very good at making people forget it was their fault. Allright? "
The mass murder count is now over 6,000 innocent Americans and foreigners. Now the left wingers are trying to keep us from destroying their buddies, the terrorists!
These same tactics cost us a lot of lives during the Nam fiasco and the war! The same rhetoric is being polished up and used now after the mass murder/butchering of over 6,000 innocent Americans and foreigners!
I love this. Spend an entire article laying the blame at the feet of anyone without a (D) after their name, but constantly cry "oh no, I'm just being fair". Yawn.
Perhaps you could explain the $43 million we just gave them in May.
What you have here is the intellectual equivalent of the 15-year-old German schoolboys who were given uniforms, rifles, and a pat on the cheek and sent a few blocks to the "front" as the Russians entered Berlin from the East and the Americans from the West. This writer is not only wrong, he is puerile and irrelevant.
As the zebra guide says in the classic Larsen cartoon, "Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along."
The (More er Less) Honorable Billybob,
cyberCongressman from Western Carolina
Clinton was not only "an unusually good liar" he was also a crook, a coward and a traitor. When faced with the terror bombing of our embassies, he blustered and promised and blew over $20 million in cruise missiles for ZIP in results, timed so as to distract from his problems with keeping his pants zipped and being caught in bald-faced lies.
They're not all the same.
Didn't you read my post????????
Your "source" is lying, just like the article.
This is one of a dozen articles concerning the aid package:
The package includes $28 million worth of wheat from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $5 million in food commodities and $10 million in "livelihood and food security" programs, both from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
We didn't send money, we sent humanitarian aid. Unless the Afghans have a new "wheat gun" we haven't heard about.
It may be true that there is plenty of blame to go around. clinton deserves plenty of it.
BTW, I understand what you are trying to do, and I don't even mind. But the humor in this article being titled "Stop the Spin" is just a little much for me.
Search for "Democrat":
Both political parties have supported autocratic regimes, including Kuwait, rather than giving preference to nations willing to institute democratic reforms.
Search for "Republican":
The Clinton White House provided the leadership in insisting on funds to combat terrorism. Indeed, to promote bipartisanship, Clinton brought Republicans into his Administration, Louis Freeh to head the FBI and William Cohen to head the Defense Department.
He was left in place over the last 5 years perhaps because he belonged to the same church as the (Republican) FBI Director.
Two of the most vocal proponents of the "blame Clinton faction of the Republican Party have been Orrin Hatch and Dana Rohrabacher.
George Bush and John McCain were the number 1 and number 2 recipients of the largesse of the air transport industry in 2000 and 16 out the top 20 recipients were Republicans.
(BTW, I love blaming the airline Industry for this. It makes so much sense, as you can see the wonders it's done for their profits...)
The Congress, under Republican control, steadfastly blocked US intervention in the Balkans and, after intervention, undermined US peacekeeping.
Republicans have committed evil deeds in preventing the resolution of the Palestinian crisis in Israel, perhaps the worst of which was George Bush advisor Richard Perle urging Israeli delegation to walk out during the 2000 presidential election for the .
Search for "right":
This effort has disserved our country, verging at times on outright disloyalty.
That act, so profoundly disloyal to the United States, was but one of many examples of collusion between the far right of this country and religiously intolerant, i.e., anti-Muslim elements in Israel. But the problem is far broader than the right-wing of this country.
Legal analyst Jonathan Turley says, rightly, that war is something that states engage in and that declaring war on bin Laden merely magnifies him .
This effort -- to undo Constitutional protections and strip the American people of legal safeguards to their rights -- is well underway.
Yes, it is. It started right after the signing of the Articles of Confederation and has proceeded in fits and starts since then. Regarding the declaration of war, it is unnecessary. It was made so by the Hero of the Glorious Revolution, FDR. Check March 9, 1933, beginning of the American Empire. We have been under emergency powers since, and no one even talks about it. I'm paranoid about the gov't, and until I looked it up on findlaw.com, even I didn't believe it.
Actually, Republicans have done extremely little to blame clinton for this fiasco. This is a sorry attempt at fending off the possibility that someone may do so in the future. Bush has refrained, from the very start of his campaign, from making any attacks at clinton's expense. I think he has been very smart to do so. Let people realize for themselves what kind of president clinton was. If anything, articles like this will be counterproductive--like Janet Reno's recent visit to Waco to give a campaign speech--because they will remind people of what kind of president clinton was. In the words of one general who was fired for speaking his mind, he was a "draft-dodging, womanizing liar." After the Trade Center catastrophe, that kind of reputation doesn't look any too good.
Seriously though, if you do the research you'll not that not a single DOLLAR of that aid is provided directly by the USA. 100% is funneled through various United Nations agencies and NGO's. The U.S. admits that we don't have anyone on the gound inside Afghanistan to see how that aid is being applied. We do know that the largest portion is in fact food stuffs (i.e., not cash) and is applied to Afghani refugees in Pakistan where we can monitor what the result of our aid is.
Also, a portion of our aid $$$ (a little less than 20%) are cash payments earmarked for various self-improvement programs for farmers and villagers. But again, we have no one inside Afghanistan verifying that every single $$$ goes where it is supposed to.
Given our history of covert operations, training and arming Afghani's don't you think it's just a little bit possible that some of that aid is finding it's way to the Taliban? I think to believe anything less is just a bit naieve.
P.S. For future reference, Freepers can only reference FoxNews, NewsMax.com, Drudge and graduates of the EIB University. CNN and the like belong to us liberals!
And exactly WHAT would the Taliban do with wheat? You keep implying that there is money being exchanged in this transaction, when there isn't.
Also, your first post trashed the administration for GIVING $43 million to the Taliban. That is completely false.
Allies, critics say Clinton fell short in terror fight
WASHINGTON - The dual bombings ranked as one of the most insidious acts of terrorism ever committed against the United States: two American embassies in Africa decimated, more than 300 dead, and a shadowy prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, bragging that the battle had just begun.
So it wasn't surprising that President Clinton's words, back in August 1998, tumbled forth with uncommon fury. ''No matter how long it takes,'' he vowed, ''or where it takes us, we will pursue terrorists until the cases are solved and justice is done.''
Now, one infamous day and more than 6,000 deaths later, some in the capital are pointedly, though quietly, critical of Clinton's failure to elevate his actions toward his lofty rhetoric. Some wonder whether he wasn't distracted by the legal and political quagmire of the Monica S. Lewinsky case. And even former Clinton aides now regret that the battle with bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization was never fully joined.
''Clearly, not enough was done,'' said Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. ''We should have caught this. Why this happened, I don't know. Responsibilities were given out. Resources were given. Authorities existed. We should have prevented this.''
Said Nancy Soderberg, a former senior aide in Clinton's National Security Council, ''In hindsight, it wasn't enough, and anyone involved in policy would have to admit that.''
Sorry, I'm not good at posting links. Just go to the Globe web site for the rest.
O'Reilly: Was there a reason why Turner and Carter wanted a weaker Intelligence?
Clancy: It's politically correct.
O'Reilly: Simple as that?
Clancy: I think so. The political left, they deal in symbols rather than reality. The general difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across. And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down then people die, whereas the liberals figure, we can always build a nice memorial and make people forget it ever happened and was our fault. They're very good at making people forget it was their fault. Allright? The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don't like Intelligence operations... and as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we lost 5,000 citizens last week.
O'Reilly: How about the FBI... they don't seem to be nearly as efficient and effective as they used to be... same situation?
Clancy: Disagree. The FBI is one of our premier agencies...and they've developed a whole lot of information in this case already,... they're probably the best police agency in the whole world... but you know... a police agency by its very nature is reactive rather than proactive. It's not an intelligence gathering organization - it reacts to crimes, investigates crimes.
O'Reilly: ... one of the charges of the FBI is to protect us from internal terrorism... as you know...
Clancy: ...they're awfully good at it...
O'Reilly: ...well, and they were clueless this time, and then they had the big spy that was operating for 15 years for Russia, and they had all the problems in the agency with Mr. Clinton, and they couldn't get a straight answer out of him, ummm, I don't know I'm not there.
Clancy: OK Bill, hang on, how perfect is the news media?
O'Reilly: Not perfect at all... but our charge isn't to protect anybody...
Clancy: The trouble with any human institution is that it's vulnerable to imperfections... there aren't too many perfect people in the world
O'Reilly: So you are confident that the FBI is up to protecting us internally?
Clancy: ohhh, they're the best in the world... without a doubt.
Call me crazy, but if I wanted to blame someone for this, Jimmy Carter wouldn't the first guy on my list. I don't know why if the CIA was so gutted by Carter that it was never restored by Reagan nor Bush senior.
Thanks for the suggestion, but, no, I'll continue to just post the ones I like. The ones I quoted were relevant to this thread so thats all I posted. I linked the other thread where you can see the whole thing in context... where it still means the same thing.
No, as I already told you, it was $28 million, with 5 million in food commodities and $10 million in "livelihood and food security" programs.
I can get it directly from the State Department website if you'd like.
I truly don't mean to sound condescending but, trust me, it isn't always as it's reported via CNN, the State Department and other [liberal or conservative] sources.
Of course "it" (whatever "it" is) isn't always reported via CNN. But since "this" was, your point is irrelevant. If you want to claim we are covertly aiding the Taliban with cash or military aid, go ahead, you won't be the first. But don't insult our intelligence by claiming that a well publicized humanitarian aid package, was somehow secretly converted by the UN into cash to prop up the Taliban.
I'm not really being fair here. I should tell you that I work for an 'NGO' in Washington that occasionally distributes 'foreign aid'.
Yea? And? If you are that in the loop, how could you not know that the $43 million you spoke of was NOT cash, but humanitarian aid. That is a pretty easily verifaiable fact.
While I have no particular knowledge in this instance
I have enough personal experience in the area to believe my Grandfather's admonishon to "don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see".
Which is why I choose to believe NOTHING you tell me.
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