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Friday, October 31, 2003

It's everybody else's fault, as always

"I'm clueless, but I'll keep talking anyway."

It is now undeniable that the terrorists declared war on America and on the civilized world many years before Sept. 11, 2001. The attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, the hijacking of the Achille Lauro in 1985, the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988, the World Trade Center in 1993, the attacks on American installations in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000: These and other atrocities were part of a sustained, systematic campaign to spread devastation and chaos. Yet until Sept. 11, the terrorists faced no sustained, systematic and global response. -- Condiloser Rice

NY Times reporter David Sanger correctly notes: Ms. Rice's comments make no reference to what the Bush administration itself did between Mr. Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2001, and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sanger does a good job of refuting pretty much everything that Condi had to say last night. He points out that while it is customary for Bushies to blame Clinton for the terrorism problem (very unjustifiably--see Conason and Franken, for example), it is unusual for them to also blame Reagan and Bush I. I think they're getting desperate.

I would add that the cases she cited indicate that she's unclear on the concept of terrorism. Of course we all are, since no one in the administration wants to define it clearly. They don't really want people to use Encarta's definition of terrorism: violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes. By this definition, the Bushies have been engaged in terrorism towards Iraq ever since Bush first mentioned the possibility of forcible regime change last year (threat of violence, especially bombing...for political purposes). Usually, although I didn't find it mentioned in three online dictionaries, terrorism is thought to be about attacks on civilians. When a Palestinian suicide bomber destroys an Israeli bus filled with civilians in Haifa, that's terrorism. But when an American non-suicide bomber destroys a Syrian bus filled with civilians in Iraq, that's not terrorism. The civilian part of terrorism also eliminates many of the examples Condi cites: The Marine barracks, the attacks in Saudi Arabia, and the attack on the Cole, as well as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. It's also baffling that she failed to mention the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which both fall pretty clearly under anyone's definition of terrorism, and which had pretty solid links to Osama and al Qaeda.

Condi also shows either an incredible lack of knowledge about history, or else is trusting that the American public is stupid enough to believe whatever she says. The real disconnect is here: The attacks in the '80's occurred WHILE the Reagan/Bush administrations were backing both Osama bin Laden (fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan) and Saddam Hussein (fighting the Iranians). She's saying that Reagan, Bush I, Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and everybody else involved in those corrupt administrations was actively supporting people who had already declared war on America. That is, she's saying they're all traitors.

It wasn't until the first Gulf War that either Osama or Saddam had any interest in attacking America (and there's still no evidence that Saddam ever attacked America--before 1990 he had no reason, after 1990 he had no means); the previous attacks were the work of different organizations for different reasons. I just think Rice is either incredibly stupid or incredibly deceitful (maybe both?), and our national security could hardly be in worse hands.

I pity da fool that answers Huey and Caesar's personal ad.