September 2006

The Clinton Legacy

I’ve been thinking more about the Clinton/Chris Wallace blow-up. While I don’t think that there’s any use in trying to ‘pin the blame’ on any one person (since there is plenty of actions that went around in those years that all led up to 9/11 and since), I’m certainly not for leaving the record muddied. I know there are many who think that the explosion was planned in order to embolden the Democratic base, to show Democratic politicians to be tough on national security, or to belittle Fox News. If any of that is true, then Clinton is nothing more than a poser. Some think that Clinton is so concerned about his ‘legacy’ that he can’t stand anything that might tarnish it. If that’s true, then I fear it’s a little too late for him.

It’s only an uneducated guess, but I think the real reason that Clinton got so mad is because he feels guilty about everything that has happened. I’m sure that he would have acted more aggressively if a specific threat to hijack multiple airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center was known, and it was clear that the death of Bin Laden would prevent it. But no one really knows if Bin Laden’s death would have stopped 9/11. And the President rarely gets a ’cause and effect’ scenario laid out so perfectly, making it obvious what to do next. That’s why they get ‘paid the big bucks’. Bin Laden did not pilot the boat when the Cole was attacked. He did not pull the trigger himself. It wasn’t 100% sure that he was inside a building at a particular hour and the Air Force could not guarantee 100% that the mosque next door wouldn’t have any damage when the cruise missile flew in. Maybe some in the Middle East would denounce us if we took the opportunity to grab him up when he was being kicked out of Sudan. No wonder there was so much angst, and the bar set so high that it prevented action at the time. No one could make things 100% sure. Now in hindsight it looks those might have been some of the best chances to eliminate bin Laden’s threat. “I tried…” (But, if only I’d known then when I know now…)

Not that he needs any council from me, but I don’t think Clinton can worry about that now – it’s in the past. He is not to be sainted and Bush should not be bedeviled. We must all admit that the US did some things and failed to do others… that’s just how we came to arrive on the that day on 9/11. Do I wish that it had worked out differently? Of course. Does Clinton? I’d wager that he does as well.

When Clinton started pointing and jabbing his finger in Chris Wallace’s lap, he did directly invite everyone to take a closer look at his claims and all that is publicly known. A most-excellent recap summary is available today at Newsbusters: The Bin Laden’s-Still-Alive Blame Game. Maybe this explains a little about how we got here as well:

Maybe this was to be expected given the utter failure of the 9/11 Commission to dispassionately look at all of the information that was available to it, and give the nation an honest and nonpartisan assessment of what truly happened in the years leading up to the attacks.
Instead, what we received was a purely political report that tap-danced around specifics to protect both presidential Administrations involved from embarrassment. As a result, we ended up with more questions than answers, wasting a lot of time and taxpayer money in the process.

I think that the problem is that we are still too close to the event to expect that a political body could possibly look dispassionately at the situation. And with all of the leaks and in-fighting, are our intelligence agencies and government administrative bodies also unable to dispassionately assess the current situation? I’m not so sure that they can. I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat, pro- or anti- war, etc. — if you feel the need to leak top secret material in order to support a cause, then you don’t belong in the intelligence services. Period.

This battle is over much more than the legacy of either George Bush or Bill Clinton, or the number of seats in Congress held by their respective political parties.

The Good Old Days

If I’m feeling especially cynical, I’m tempted to think that this is the 1970’s again. You know, the “good old days” when it was “us vs. them” with the Soviet Union. The Vietnam War fresh in everyone’s minds, especially the Baby Boomers.

Don’t we all sometimes wish we could go back in time to when we were young and invincible? When we weren’t burdened with knowing too much, so it seemed easier to go off on quixotic quests? At that age you feel smarter than all of those ‘old men’ and couldn’t be more convinced that whatever path you are on is the right one.

Anyway, I think it would be fair to say that the mid/late-1970’s was not a time of optimism in the United States. We ended up with Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy which seemed to be saying that the Soviet Union was just impossible to overcome. This was as good as it could get. We should unilaterally disarm (give up). Maybe we could just find a way to coexist. Of course, if anyone gets out of line, let’s keep our athlete’s home from the Olympics in protest! And really, maybe they are not so bad after all if we could just come to understand them. After all, we had been provoking them since the Second World War.

Were things safer using that kind strategy? Maybe… if you use the definition of ‘safe’ that means ‘less risky’. For the moment.

When all we shoot for is the status quo, the arrow doesn’t get very far.

Is that what those who want a quick exit from Iraq are suggesting? Behind all of the bluster of “Bush lied” and stripping away all of the denouncements of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeldt… what is there? Is it that same feeling that the ‘Islamic condition’ is just impossible to overcome? Is this as good as it can get? Should we unilaterally disarm? Should we just hope that we can find a way to coexist? Maybe we can figure out what we’ve done to rile them, and then keep our heads down and maybe they’ll leave us alone? Maybe we deserve exactly what we’re getting?

I would ask those who think this way to think about it again. It wasn’t true about the Soviet Union, and it’s not true now.

I don’t know if the government of the Soviet Union have collapsed by itself if it hadn’t been for Ronald Reagan. But I think it’s a safe bet that it wasn’t “status quo” that would have done it. Has it been perfect in the lands of the ex-Soviet Union since the collapse? Not by a long shot. Pretty dang risky. But people have got a taste of something pretty special: freedoms.

The Devil Made Me Do It

Other than as a standard election-time stunt, the NIE nonsense seemed to be focused on retelling one of the big lies: the United States deserves terrorism because we are doing [insert whatever your cause is here]. Maybe you’d like to fill-in-the-blank with the Iraq war, or support of Israel, or that the US drives the world’s economy, or that we went to Kosovo without a UN resolution, or that you prefer corrupt dictators who invade their neighbors and *really* torture their own people but who are able to provide Oil-for-Food kickbacks, or the fact that we don’t immediately turn our treasury over to a socialist “one-world” government so that peace and joy can fill the Earth, or failure to sign the Kyoto treaty, or that George W. Bush is the sulfur-scented devil incarnate.

What did we do to deserve this terrorist reaction? Are we really doing things that make people like us less?

Let me say this: It’s kind of like thinking that the US is wearing a skirt that’s too short, inviting ourselves to be attacked. We are not making people into jihadists. Just because some people may use our actions as an excuse to try to recruit people to their twisted cause… well, they would find something else to “fill-in-the-blank” with if we try to take away one reason. Because that’s still their cause. House of Eratosthenes is right on:

The problem I’m really having with it, is that if you are a jihadist, you are a nut. Well, I grew up in Bellingham, Washington; I know nuts don’t have to be “stoked.” If you’re a nut, by definition, your gears are already stripped. I say that because of the plain insanity of what you are planning to do. That you would follow through on it, says far more about you than it does about whatever motivated you.

And I frankly don’t care how many people fall into that class. Targeting civilians to make a point, is nuts.

A guy on the radio put it the best way I’ve heard so far: You are never in more danger of being stung by hornets, than when you knock the hornet’s nest down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

We tried leaving the hornet’s nest up. We tried it. We know where it gets us.

Hornets get pretty pissed when their nest is knocked down. That shouldn’t provide us with an argument for leaving the nest up. What it should do, is make us more and more grateful to the men and women who are closest to the nest — and the leaders who made the decision to knock it down. That would qualify us for the definition I have in mind for the word “civilization.”


We’ve been lectured so much in the last couple of years about nuance, although it’s usually mentioned as a concept that only the intellectually superior are capable of comprehending (“intellectually superior” is defined as “someone who is not George W. Bush and his neocon cabal”). As I am just a simple man, I will not pretend to be an expert in nuance.

But I have heard a distressing number of people who are twisting things. For example, a blogger named Dean Esmay recently ranted at Michelle Malkin and others. The arguments from him and few others seem to be: (a) Not all Muslims are terrorists but ‘right-wing’ bloggers want to destroy all Muslims, or else (b) By acknowledging that ‘fundamentalist’ Islam is not very free, ‘right-wingers’ mean to declare war on Muslims throughout the world. Not very nuanced… I know.

On the surface, these arguments purport to expose some religious intolerance. But, in addition to being mischaracterizations of most bloggers’ positions completely, the arguments don’t make a lick of sense. Of course all people of the Muslim faith do not ascribe to all of the same beliefs or practices. Neither so all Christians, nor all Jews. Nor do I suspect do all agnostics, nor atheists. That’s one of the reason’s why George Bush referred to “Islamic Fascists” to differentiate between those who want to destroy in the name of Islam, and all he got in return was a nasty press release from CAIR saying that he was promoting “hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community”. And which side in the “Radical Islam” vs. “the West” is taking an intolerant view of religion? It’s those same fascists who see no distinction between government and religion and seek to both destroy non-believers as well as to install governments to enforce a single religious viewpoint.

I’m sorry, but those people who sit around worrying that we are compromising the idea of ‘separation of church and state’ by letting a Cub Scout den use a room in a government school should look up at some real examples of the mixture of government-sponsored religious tactics.

With respect to declarations of war, look no further than the latest from Al Qaeda encouraging the kidnapping of Westerners in order to try to blackmail for the release of terrorists and the recruitment of nuclear scientists and explosives experts to participate in their ‘holy war’. The relationship with Iraq? “The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases [in Iraq] are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them.”

Is Islam fundamentally anti-West? If you want a good scorecard of some of the things that should concern our more liberal friends, the Independent Conservative has a much better rundown than I could put together. But far from being a religious battle, the actions in the Middle East are about defeating facism, not religon. The antidote to the radicalism is not easy to give. It requires exposing the people to freedoms. For many in the region, these freedoms are things that neither they nor their parents nor their grandparents may have ever experienced. This is not easy. This is not without risk. This is not safe. And it means that some who have spent their lives entrenched in power may not stay in power. And you can bet they will fight very hard to keep that from happening.

This very well may be an ‘inflection point’ in history. The status quo just doesn’t work at times like that.

Just because it’s not safe, doesn’t mean we can afford not to take the side of freedom. Maybe that’s more risky. Maybe it’s more scary. Maybe that will even make some people mad at us. Maybe we will be wounded again before this battle is over. But it’s the right thing to do., History, the Devil, and Nuance digg:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance spurl:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance wists:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance simpy:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance newsvine:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance blinklist:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance furl:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance reddit:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance fark:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance blogmarks:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance Y!:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance smarking:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance magnolia:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance segnalo:Legacy, History, the Devil, and Nuance

The story from CNN was a surprise: Saudis plan fence to block Iraq’s terrorists . To quote:

In a sign of regional concern over terrorism, Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with plans to build a fence along its entire 560-mile (900-kilometer) border with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering the kingdom from the chaotic north. The barrier, which likely will take five to six years to complete, is part of a $12 billion package of measures, including electronic sensors, bases and physical barriers, to protect the oil-rich kingdom from external threats, said Nawaf Obaid, head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, an independent research institute that provides security advice to the Saudi government.

First of all, don’t the Saudi’s know that there are no terrorists in Iraq, only insurgents and freedom-fighters?

The United Arab Emirates is building a similar wall along its border with Oman — mainly to keep out illegal migrants.

Don’t they know — the migrants are only looking to do jobs that UAE citizens don’t want to do?

I’m sure we’ll hear the same people present criticisms of the proposed wall as spoke out against a barrier between the US and Mexico and the Israeli security fence in the West Bank.

“You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border.” – Gov. Janet Napolitano

While we wonder how well it will work or whether it’s worth the money, I guess there are a couple of other countries who think it’s worth a try! Making Better Neighbors digg:Fences Making Better Neighbors spurl:Fences Making Better Neighbors wists:Fences Making Better Neighbors simpy:Fences Making Better Neighbors newsvine:Fences Making Better Neighbors blinklist:Fences Making Better Neighbors furl:Fences Making Better Neighbors reddit:Fences Making Better Neighbors fark:Fences Making Better Neighbors blogmarks:Fences Making Better Neighbors Y!:Fences Making Better Neighbors smarking:Fences Making Better Neighbors magnolia:Fences Making Better Neighbors segnalo:Fences Making Better Neighbors

It used to be that every once in a while a post on this blog used to fail to show up in the Technorati index. Now since September 12th, it refuses to update. The automatic ping mechanism . But even a manual ping via the Technorati website fails to awaken the beast.

The blog bizhack also discusses the sound of one blog clapping. Many people seem to fall into this bizarre state for extended periods of time.

There has been a lot of speculation about WordPress versions, plug-ins, and the like… but I haven’t heard any definitive statement from anyone (especially from Technorati, who is the only one who can actually know for sure what’s happening) where you experience this, or have solved the condition? Technorati Self-Destructed? digg:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? spurl:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? wists:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? simpy:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? newsvine:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? blinklist:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? furl:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? reddit:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? fark:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? blogmarks:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? Y!:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? smarking:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? magnolia:Has Technorati Self-Destructed? segnalo:Has Technorati Self-Destructed?

The verbal gymnastics over competing interpretations of a the NIE are starting to fade now. Let’s face it: from the leak, to the New York Times’ piece, to the rest – this was not really about the War in Iraq and its effects (however you define that term) on the global war on terror… this was about writing a good hit piece on the administration.

There I said it. (OK, maybe borrowed it a bit from President Clinton). I don’t say this because I support the War in Iraq (which I do) or because I believe that the MSM is always wrong and the President always right (which I do not). It’s the same kind of ‘journalism’ which is so pervasive: instead of presenting objective facts, it presents opinion/editorial on the news pages, hiding behind pretend reporting of secret conclusions and anonymous sources.

And what of the document itself? Hugh Hewitt sums up the reactions from the de-classified NIE:

The heavily awaited National Intelligence Estimate has turned out to be “The Heaven’s Gate” of government reports. I say this not because The Estimate vindicates the Bush administration and humiliates the New York Times. The Estimate is such a dud because it is so wondrously uninteresting, and so magnificently obtuse. If this is the best our intelligence community can produce, we might consider shutting the whole intelligence system down and instead funneling the funds saved into crash Arabic lessons for the American populace.

Instead, once the NIE was exposed to the light of day, many could see this was much ado about nothing. Instead, immediately it was the Bush administration bashed again because it didn’t release the entire NIE (where are all of the CIA security leak worriers from the Pflame affair?) or because draft reports of the next installment of the NIE haven’t been rushed to press before they are even finished being written.

Regardless of the quality of the work or the route it took to get out, it shows that there are many who are desperate for anything that can be used in the effort to discredit George Bush. I guess in some bizarre world it also maybe tries to create a legitimate position for all of the new Democratic Congressional candidates who campaign on the platform of being against the War in Iraq… although logically it doesn’t make any sense. What exactly are they proposing besides running away?

But this is not about logic. It doesn’t matter whether the assessments in the NIE are correct or not. It doesn’t matter whether or not the news stories are fabricated using pieces cherry-picked from here or there. It doesn’t matter whether the claims from Clinton’s Sunday outburst are dissected point by point. It’s not about facts… it’s about emotions.

And clearly there are some very raw emotional appeals being put out there.

When I think of the objectivity of the press, I think it’s kind of like social security. I’m not young anymore, but I have known all of my working life that I am required to contribute via FICA, but there will likely not be any social security benefits there for me when I finally retire. I have to arrange for my own retirement on top of what the government takes from each paycheck. It may not seem fair, it may not seem fiscally appropriate. But it’s the way it is. I can still get mad about it and also push for there to be changes such as personal retirement accounts which might help others, but I have to accept my situation. And for me, the same is to be said for the main-stream media. Of course I would like for them to be fair and objective as possible. But I know the score. And I have to make sure I do not pretend they are objective and make sure I remain as educated as I can be.

So I no longer expect better behavior from the New York Times or Washington Post. That’s just the way it is. Apparently, they can either do no better for their readers, or have come to understand that their readers expect them to act in this way.

But I do expect more of the ‘insiders’, whether it’s people within the CIA or State Department that are constantly the sources for much of this material. Of course, to hear some say – there are ‘good leaks’ and ‘bad leaks’. And the mother of all leak investigations ended up not working out to be the smoking gun that the media hoped for when it pointed to the wrong guy.

But there are clearly some who are actively working with other goals in mind. Whether it’s pushing out sensitive information to reporters or working on your own book deal behind the scenes, it’s the axe-grinding of the so-called “professionals” that’s so disappointing. They should be above the political fray, not feeding it… from any side.

This is not a game. and Leaks digg:Drips and Leaks spurl:Drips and Leaks wists:Drips and Leaks simpy:Drips and Leaks newsvine:Drips and Leaks blinklist:Drips and Leaks furl:Drips and Leaks reddit:Drips and Leaks fark:Drips and Leaks blogmarks:Drips and Leaks Y!:Drips and Leaks smarking:Drips and Leaks magnolia:Drips and Leaks segnalo:Drips and Leaks

Just in case the other topics today were too heavy, here’s a link for your general enjoyment: Men Who Look Like Kenny

Enjoy! or Post-Botox? digg:Pre- or Post-Botox? spurl:Pre- or Post-Botox? wists:Pre- or Post-Botox? simpy:Pre- or Post-Botox? newsvine:Pre- or Post-Botox? blinklist:Pre- or Post-Botox? furl:Pre- or Post-Botox? reddit:Pre- or Post-Botox? fark:Pre- or Post-Botox? blogmarks:Pre- or Post-Botox? Y!:Pre- or Post-Botox? smarking:Pre- or Post-Botox? magnolia:Pre- or Post-Botox? segnalo:Pre- or Post-Botox?

Latest news is that the George Bush is going to declassify parts of the National Intelligence Estimate.

Of course, we don’t know what the report really says, other than the summary conclusions provided this weekend by the New York Times. Durbin and Kennedy immediately start yelling more about the war in Iraq. I think this should be a warning to everyone – Republican and Democrat – from waving incomplete information too quickly.

I’m guessing that once revealed, the report is not going to be quick as incendiary as some would like to believe. Of course, the leaked synopsis – that the War in Iraq creates a possible recruiting tool, thereby creating more potential terrorists will end up, of course, to be a theory, not a qualitative

But let’s say for the moment that it’s all true. More disgruntled Islamic people have been recruited by terrorist organizations because they are upset about the US involvement in removing Saddam as dictator of Iraq. What does that mean?

Neal Boortz gives a good analogy:

Let’s turn the clock back a generation or so, to the beginning of the civil rights movement. Just a quick question for you. What if the New York Times ran a headline which read: “Civil Rights Movement Said to Worsen Threat of Racism.” The article tells you “Efforts by the Justice Department to end racial discrimination in the South has helped spawn a new wave of racial animosity.” You read further and discover that recruitment of members into the Ku Klux Klan has increased since the federal government stepped up its efforts to bring the vote to Southern blacks. Tell me .. .would it be time to pull back and let the racists and bigots just have their way? Or would our determination to go forward with the civil rights struggle merely be strengthened?

An interesting question indeed!

More from Boortz:

Look closely at the Democratic position here. They are saying that we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq because it is causing more terrorism. In other words, we made them mad. We shouldn’t fight wars because it might make the Islamic terrorists upset. That being the case, can you imagine how mad the Islamic fascists would be if we caught or killed Osama bin Laden? That is, if he isn’t already dead. Maybe we should call off the hunt for Osama, Mullah Omar, and the rest of them! After all, if we catch them it’s just going to piss these pissants off. Can’t have that, can we?

Our strength is not in retreat from the problem. NIE and me! digg:The NIE and me! spurl:The NIE and me! wists:The NIE and me! simpy:The NIE and me! newsvine:The NIE and me! blinklist:The NIE and me! furl:The NIE and me! reddit:The NIE and me! fark:The NIE and me! blogmarks:The NIE and me! Y!:The NIE and me! smarking:The NIE and me! magnolia:The NIE and me! segnalo:The NIE and me!

An interesting twist in enforcing identity theft laws: The Georgia Supreme Court must decide whether an illegal immigrant from Mexico should be held liable under the state’s identity fraud law. Apparently Nohe Gomez Hernandez used the name and Social Security number from a real person, Jason Smith, to falsify his information when get got employment.

The defence argues that ‘identity theft’ occurs when someone assumes someone else’s identity in order to steal their money or credit. This, of course, is true… and probably was the main thinking behind the Georgia law. According to the statute:

A person commits the offense of identity fraud when without the authorization or permission of a person with the intent unlawfully to appropriate resources of or cause physical harm to that person, or of any other person, to his or her own use or to the use of a third party he or she:
(1) Obtains or records identifying information of a person which would assist in accessing the resources of that person or any other person; or
(2) Accesses or attempts to access the resources of a person through the use of identifying information.

Still, Mr. Smith found out about the phony when he filed his income taxes, and was told he owed more money. The mysterious ‘second job’ eventually led to Mr. Hernandez. I’m no lawyer, but it would certainly seem that while Hernandez was not out to steal directly from Smith in one sense, he was misusing his personal information and certainly would have indirectly cost him money due to taxes on his salary!

‘‘Mr. Hernandez, he wanted a job. He wanted some money to raise his family. He didn’t know how to do it,’’ [Defense attorney Jana] Whaley said.

News flash: the way you do it is not to enter the country illegally and lie about your identity!

Interestingly, the AP reports:

Hernandez “was known by his employer as Jason Smith and even had the nerve to meet with law enforcement in a smock that had the name ‘Jason’ sewn on. No doubt, the appellant intended to assume the identity of the victim,” Assistant District Attorney James Webb wrote in a court brief.

Regardless of whether or not the Georgia State Supreme Court decides to uphold the conviction, let’s hope the “Jason” Hernandez is returned to Mexico, this time for good. for a Job digg:Stealing for a Job spurl:Stealing for a Job wists:Stealing for a Job simpy:Stealing for a Job newsvine:Stealing for a Job blinklist:Stealing for a Job furl:Stealing for a Job reddit:Stealing for a Job fark:Stealing for a Job blogmarks:Stealing for a Job Y!:Stealing for a Job smarking:Stealing for a Job magnolia:Stealing for a Job segnalo:Stealing for a Job

It’s been a day since Bill Clinton’s infamous blowup at a Chris Wallace question, and I just want to say:

Bill Clinton is not entirely responsible for 9/11. Anyone who claims so is dishonest.

George W. Bush is also not entirely responsible for 9/11. Anyone who claims that he is has probably seen too much Michael Moore or ‘Loose Change’.

Neither can we place the full weight of 9/11 blame on John Kerry, Dick Cheney, Sandy Berger, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Jimmy Carter, Karl Rove, George H.W. Bush, nor Al Gore.

But there’s enough blame to go around for all of us. Despite the fact that bin Laden had declared war on us, nobody was fighting back with the same intensity. Not the political leaders. Not the intelligence services. Not the military. Not the people.

Could Clinton have done more to catch Usama? Did we have the closest opportunities to get bin Laden under Clinton’s watch? Maybe true. But it’s only with hindsight that we can see what the cause and effect might have been. No one knows for sure if the 9/11 plot would have been avoided or delayed if bin Laden had been killed or captured one of those earlier days, but it certainly would not have hurt. That’s why it’s so intriguing to play ‘what if’ and imagine if all of this could have been avoided.

And I’m positive that both Bill Clinton and George Bush would have been more aggressive with certain actions if they knew that have the opportunity to stop the 9/11 attack. If either could go back in time, I’m sure they would try different things. But the world and the threat doesn’t work that way. Both Clinton and Bush (and the Presidents before them) knew of general threats, but not of an attack of this scale with that kind of specificity.

Of course mistakes were made many times over the years. And our nation’s course was one more concerned with diplomacy, image, and law enforcement than quick actions. We were primarily reactionary instead of proactive. And these mistakes spanned many years, and many adminstrations.

Was the US right in the way it handled the bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? Or the first World Trade Center bombing? Or the USS Cole? Or the Khobar Towers ? I think that most would look back now and say “No”. But that’s history now. These were part of the opening acts of this drama. They happened and we had certain reactions right and wrong. But we can’t change them now. It’s important now to figure out how we end the story.

Looking back can be a helpful tool in trying to understand our foe. But if we use things like the 9/11 Commission Report simply as a weapon to play the “blame game” or score some political points, the exercise becomes worthless. That’s true for both Republicans and Democrats. Understanding the facts of history are important. Understanding how the enemy acts is important. But this need not be played out like a soap opera. I think it’s tempting to do so because we want to hang this one someone so that we have a good scapegoat.

Clinton was wrong to blow up at the question from Chris Wallace. Wallace was not performing a “hit-job” or anything else. In fact, after the theatrics over the ABC miniseries earlier this month, he should have been expecting an even more “loaded” question. Clinton was not being accused of being the sole reason 9/11 occurred. But you wouldn’t have known that just observing Clinton’s reaction to the question. But the truth is: Clinton was neither completely perfect nor imperfect in his actions in office. He should not be so concerned about his legacy that he can not admit that the conditions under which he was operating were different and that with the benefit of hindsight, he might have done things differently. His adminstration is not blameless in being part of the conditions that spawned all of this. That’s the part that’s hard to admit. (And what possibly drives someone like Sandy Berger to stuff documents from the National Archives into his pants in order to remove unpleasant reminders).

But can you imagine if somehow bin Laden had been captured in the mid-1990’s in some remote part of the world? What would Clinton have been able to do with him? Would he have been brought to the US to stand trial if Afganistan or somebody else decided to howl in protest? What would the “rules” be for his trial? How long would it have taken for former attorney general Ramsey Clark to rush to become his chief lawyer? Even after 9/11, it was Howard Dean who claimed “I’ve resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found.” and “I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama we should do our best not to prejudge jury trials.” No wonder Clinton was trying to have the Saudis take care of this mess. Or find some irresistable force that could unite opinion on bin Laden… which did not come, Dean excepted, until after the horror and reality of 9/11. I don’t think that we had the stomach at the time to do it. Unfortunately I’m not entirely sure we have it even today.

So really, let’s not hang the blame for 9/11 on Clinton’s neck. And Clinton Supporters – let’s not leave reality and forget that mistakes were also make on his watch. No one is blameless. Let’s admit it and be done.

Now, let’s move on from here and finish this fight. Back at Bill Clinton digg:Looking Back at Bill Clinton spurl:Looking Back at Bill Clinton wists:Looking Back at Bill Clinton simpy:Looking Back at Bill Clinton newsvine:Looking Back at Bill Clinton blinklist:Looking Back at Bill Clinton furl:Looking Back at Bill Clinton reddit:Looking Back at Bill Clinton fark:Looking Back at Bill Clinton blogmarks:Looking Back at Bill Clinton Y!:Looking Back at Bill Clinton smarking:Looking Back at Bill Clinton magnolia:Looking Back at Bill Clinton segnalo:Looking Back at Bill Clinton

It makes for a very interesting read when you see the results of actual enforcement of the immigration laws. Still rare, it can be very stunning.

About a week and a half ago, the Asssociated Press published a story about an illegal immigration roundup in Stillmore, GA. Many newspapers around the country picked up the AP report, usually under the headlines of “Immigration raid cripples Ga. town”, “Messy aftermath of immigration raids outrages small Ga. town”, or “Immigration raid devastates Ga. town”.

Apparently it was meant to describe the anger and economic devistation that would occur when hard-working illegal immigrants were ’rounded up’

Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer and cigarettes just weeks ago. This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since Sept. 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants. The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.

You see, the illegal immigrants were working at the local Crider chicken plant. Eventually, 120 workers were arrested in the Labor Day raids.

“This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up,” [Stillmore Mayor Marilyn] Slater said.

With that story we were even treated to photos of a trailer-park owner who was displaying an American flag inverted as a show of protest.

At the time, Jim Wooten correctly asked: “what’s the story here?”. With the illegal workforce removed, the plant actually had to raise wages to attract workers. As he noted:

The Associated Press story is presented because I think it will illustrate how differently we see the illegal immigration issue. I read it and am appalled that 700 of 900 workers may have been illegal and that, even with substanial prior warning, feds were still able to round up 120 illegals in a community of less than 1,000 — clear evidence that immigrations laws have no meaning. But I’m curious from others: What is the message you draw from the Stillmore story? And, if you’re empowered to fix what you see, how do you do it? My prediction is that liberals and conservatives see at least two distinctly different stories here.

Well now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has sent their reporters to the scene to get a first-hand story which appeared today, Raid of illegals hits home in Georgia town: Immigration issue ripples both ways.

First, we hear that the town is “heartbroken” and there’s going to be a march to the state Capitol on September 30th, presumably in support of illegal immigration. Can’t wait!

Interestingly, this article also included another quote from Mayor Slater (of the Nazi/Gestapo quote above):

Many others in Emanuel County agreed [to the need for enforcing immigration laws], including Stillmore Mayor Marilyn Slater, who said the immigrants should be legal and pay taxes. Slater noted that some illegal immigrants rented housing that was an eyesore and that with so many immigrants living together, it may have added a burden to the town’s already taxed water and sewer system.

You see, the Crider plant employed around 1000 people. As many as 700 were suspected of being illegal.

The Crider poultry plant was at the center of the raid. Last spring, ICE agents arrested a local man for making fake green cards. The man had worked at Crider, company president David Purtle said.

After a review of employee documents in May, ICE estimated 700 of the plant’s 1,000 workers were using fake IDs. The government gave Crider 10 weeks to set the matter straight. Crider began checking documents and confronting employees. Many were fired and hundreds of illegal immigrants left town on their own throughout the summer.

Where these people went is unclear (may not be back to Mexico, but somewhere else in the US). But here is a situation that was months coming. People knew if they were working using false papers. They knew that ICE was cracking down on their employer. Over many months (and with written warning) they knew that everyone’s immigration status was being checked.

So forgive me if I don’t find it as easy to apply the “Nazi” analogy to the situation when they are (months later) arrested.

As I’ve said before, I do feel sorry for families that are torn apart because some of their members are here in the USA, trying to make a better life. I feel sorry for families that may also be torn apart because one of the members is deported back to their homeland because they are caught as “undocumented” workers. I feel sorry for the many immigrants who having spending years going through the legal process who have to see others demand their “rights” when they have not followed the correct process. I feel sorry for all of the people who are trapped in jobs with below-market compensation because they can not produce a valid I-9 form.

I can feel sorry for them and their personal situations… but it was their choice to break the laws in the first place that put them into this situation.

If one wants to move away from being part of this exploited “underclass”, you have to do so legally. The previous amnesty programs have done nothing but encourage more massive violations of our borders by more people who expect eventual citizenship by virture of their sheer numbers.

This is why we need to get serious about enforcing the laws we have, working to improve the system and suppliment our control of the borders., Georgia digg:Stillmore, Georgia spurl:Stillmore, Georgia wists:Stillmore, Georgia simpy:Stillmore, Georgia newsvine:Stillmore, Georgia blinklist:Stillmore, Georgia furl:Stillmore, Georgia reddit:Stillmore, Georgia fark:Stillmore, Georgia blogmarks:Stillmore, Georgia Y!:Stillmore, Georgia smarking:Stillmore, Georgia magnolia:Stillmore, Georgia segnalo:Stillmore, Georgia

For your weekend viewing pleasure, what happens when you have 101 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos, and way too much time on your hands? Watch. Fun digg:Weekend Fun spurl:Weekend Fun wists:Weekend Fun simpy:Weekend Fun newsvine:Weekend Fun blinklist:Weekend Fun furl:Weekend Fun reddit:Weekend Fun fark:Weekend Fun blogmarks:Weekend Fun Y!:Weekend Fun smarking:Weekend Fun magnolia:Weekend Fun segnalo:Weekend Fun

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