It’s BUSH who is soft on terror and national security!

I don’t know whether or not the new FISA bill will be a sell-out, a capitulation, or a clever strategy, but I do know what bothers me most about it- the framing of its selling. More important than any particular instance, or possible instance, of Democratic weakness is the rationalization for the weakness. It’s not just about Democrats being weak in confronting Bush as a means of proving that they are not weak, it’s that Bush himself is the weakness!

As noted by BarbinMD, the New York Times reported this:

If it had stalled, that would have left Democratic lawmakers, long anxious about appearing weak on national security issues, facing an August spent fending off charges from Republicans that they had left Americans exposed to threats.

And, in a different article, this:

As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.

And this is what infuriates me, because it’s not about weakness, it’s about stupidity. The Democrats need to stop playing political defense on national security issues and start simply referring to the facts. Because the facts prove that it is Bush who is soft on national security, so opposing Bush is not weakness, it is strength.

The correct Democratic response to any such charge should begin with another story in today’s news. As diaried by redhaze, as reported by the Washington Post:

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within half an hour, intelligence agencies were downloading the video. By mid-afternoon, the video and the transcript had been leaked by the Bush Administration to cable news.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group’s communications network.

Oh well. It wasn’t done to destroy the career of a whistleblower’s wife, but the effect was the same.

“Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless,” said Rita Katz, the firm’s 44-year-old founder, who has garnered wide attention by publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites, while attracting controversy over the secrecy of SITE’s methodology. Her firm provides intelligence about terrorist groups to a wide range of paying clients, including private firms and military and intelligence agencies from the United States and several other countries.

Is it that hard to explain that the Bush Administration’s incompetence and/or political vindictiveness is destroying important security assets?

I will now, once again, post a handy little guide about the Bush Administration’s record on national security. It would be nice if both the Democratic Party leadership and the national media could manage to understand these facts.

The Terrorism Index

Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress conducted a survey on national security issues. They call it The Terrorism Index:

Surveying more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy experts-Republicans and Democrats alike-the FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index is the only comprehensive, nonpartisan effort to mine the highest echelons of the nation’s foreign-policy establishment for its assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror.

How bad is the Bush Adminstration?

Nearly every foreign policy of the U.S. government-from domestic surveillance activities and the detention of terrorist suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to U.S. energy policies and efforts in the Middle East peace process-was sharply criticized by the experts. More than 6 in 10 experts, for instance, believe U.S. energy policies are negatively affecting the country’s national security. The experts were similarly critical of the CIA’s rendition of terrorist suspects to countries known to torture prisoners and the Pentagon’s policy of trying detainees before military tribunals.

No effort of the U.S. government was more harshly criticized, however, than the war in Iraq. In fact, that conflict appears to be the root cause of the experts’ pessimism about the state of national security. Nearly all-92 percent-of the index’s experts said the war in Iraq negatively affects U.S. national security, an increase of 5 percentage points from a year ago. Negative perceptions of the war in Iraq are shared across the political spectrum, with 84 percent of those who describe themselves as conservative taking a dim view of the war’s impact. More than half of the experts now oppose the White House’s decision to “surge” additional troops into Baghdad, a remarkable 22 percentage-point increase from just six months ago. Almost 7 in 10 now support a drawdown and redeployment of U.S. forces out of Iraq.


More than half say the surge is having a negative impact on U.S. national security, up 22 percentage points from just six months ago. This sentiment was shared across party lines, with 64 percent of conservative experts saying the surge is having either a negative impact or no impact at all.

They rate the handling of the war as a 2.9 on a scale of 10.


Only 12 percent believe that terrorist attacks would occur in the United States as a direct result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The Bush Administration’s incompetence and negligence allowed the September 11 terrorist attacks to happen

Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and the National Security Council’s counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke warned Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney and Stephen Hadley in January 2001 that: “You’re going to spend more time during your four years on terrorism generally and al-Qaida specifically than any issue.” They were ignored.

Clarke later testified that “the administration did not consider terrorism an urgent priority before the September 11, 2001, attacks, despite his repeated warnings about Osama bin Laden’s terror network.

Although Predator drones spotted bin Laden at least three times in 2000, Bush did not fly them over Afghanistan for the first eight months of his presidency.

The Bush Administration ignored the two and a half year Hart-Rudman U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century’s warnings about terrorism, choosing, instead, to conduct their own study.

Neither Bush nor Cheney made good on an announced plan to study the consequences of a domestic attack.

Obsessed with missile defense, the Bush Administration thought it was wrong to even focus on Osama bin Laden.

Throughout the summer of 2001, Tenet, Clarke, and several other officials were running around with their “hair on fire,” warning that al-Qaida was about to unleash a monumental attack.

In July, 2001, CIA Director George Tenet warned Rice “that ‘the system was blinking red,’ meaning that there could be ‘multiple, simultaneous’ al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. interests in the coming weeks or months.

On August 6, 2001, Bush received a Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.”

Bush’s response to his CIA briefer was: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”

Meanwhile, Don Rumsfeld was vetoing a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism.

Not to be outdone, just a day before the attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft turned down “F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators.”; instead, he “proposed cuts in 14 programs. One proposed $65 million cut was for a program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants for equipment, including radios and decontamination suits and training to localities for counterterrorism preparedness.”

The Bush Administration’s incompetence and negligence allowed Al Qaeda and the Taliban to get away with it, and because of that, both groups are now growing stronger and more dangerous.

Bush Administration incompetence allowed bin Laden to get away, when he could have been caught or killed, at the battle of Tora Bora.

The failure to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban is now complete.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are growing stronger.

They’re also growing stronger in nuclear armed Pakistan, threatening to overrun the government.

Al Qaeda has also regrouped, and is growing stronger in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A recent assessment by the National Counterterrorism Center, was even titled “‘Al-Qaida Better Positioned to Strike the West.”

The failure is so complete that both Afghanistan and Pakistan are now having to negotiate reconciliation with the Taliban


655,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqis killed, at least 3818 American and 301 allied military personnel killed, at least 27,753 American military personnel wounded, and some 8,000,000 Iraqis in need of emergency aid.

The war is damaging our image around the world.

According to a Global Market Insite report, it’s damaging our businesses.

It’s spawning a new generation of terrorists.

And terrorism is on the rise, all around the world.

The administration stopped the military from attacking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before the start of the Iraq War.

A year later, he founded “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and pledged allegiance to bin Laden.

Our detention camps in Iraq are breeding grounds for new terrorists.

Bush’s overhaul of security at federal buildings may be making federal employees less secure.

“The most successful international team ever assembled to probe suspected WMD activities is shutting down this week, thanks to U.S. and British insistence. The team (the U.N. commission initially acronymed UNSCOM and then UNMOVIC) spent 16 years uncovering and destroying Saddam Hussein’s chemical, biological and missile weapons programs. The U.S. invasion of Iraq proved that the U.N.’s intel-overruled by the Bush administration-had indeed been correct: Saddam no longer had WMD. But late last month, the U.S. and British governments pushed through the U.N. Security Council a vote to halt funding for UNMOVIC.”

The Pentagon has lost track of 190,000 assault weapons given to Iraqi security forces.

A British commander in southern Afghanistan even asked U.S forces to leave the area, because the high level of civilian casualties is understandably alienating the locals.

A new Cold War?

“Missile Defense” has provoked Russia into ceasing to comply with a treaty on conventional arms.

It’s also provoking Russia to re-target its missiles at Europe.

Destroying our military

As of the beginning of 2006, Stop-Loss policy had prevented at least 50,000 troops from leaving the military when their service was scheduled to end.

Multiple deployments are adding to the troops’ stress.

Nearly two-thirds of polled veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars consider the military over-extended.

Troops stationed in Germany are increasingly going AWOL rather than be cannon fodder for Bush’s insanity.

The army had to revise updwards its understated desertion rate.

West Point graduates are leaving the military at the highest rate in three decades, as repeated tours of Iraq drive out some of the army’s best young officers.

Both Republican and Democratic governors warned Bush that using National Guard troops for his escalation was overburdening units already stretched to their limits.

Two army brigades had to forgo their desert training to accomodate Bush’s escalation schedule.

Deployed single parents are having to fight to retain custody of their children.

In April of this year, tours of duty were extended from 12 to 15 months.

Republicans killed Senator Webb’s attempt to give troops more down time between deployments

A 2006 study showed that eighty percent of marines killed from upper body wounds would have survived, if they’d had adequate body armor.

Troops have been having to improvise their own vehicle armor, because the military hasn’t been providing the real thing.

Even as the escalation began, thousands of Army Humvees still lacked FRAG Kit 5 armor protection.

The Veterans Administration knew as early as 2004 that there were serious problems with the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center- and did nothing.

The Department of Defense also knew about the problems long before public exposure and the resulting outcry forced them to actually do something about it.

Veterans are receiving fewer medical disability benefits now than before the war.

Up to twenty percent of Iraq Vets may be suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A Pentagon task force concluded that the available medical care for those troops suffering psychological problems is “woefully inadequate.”

Wounded soldiers classified as medically unfit for battle were being reclassified as fit, so they could be sent back into battle.

These reclassifications were done to provide enough manpower for Bush’s escalation.

Even soldiers with acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were being sent back to Iraq.

“Soldiers who have served — or are serving — in Iraq are killing themselves at higher percentages than in any other war where such figures have been tracked.”

The army has the highest suicide rate in 26 years.

Bush is soft on terror. Opposing Bush strengthens America. On the war, on Iran, on FISA, on torture- every time the Democrats fear being labeled as soft for opposing Bush, they need just haul out these facts. It’s the correct political strategy, and it also happens to be the truth.


Skip to comment form

    • MO Blue on October 10, 2007 at 02:28

    for our Dems. They have gotten so comfortable bending over and grabbing their ankles that they cannot imagine doing anything different just because they have a majority.

    This is how our great fearless Dem leadership represent us:

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) says Democrats are willing to give President Bush much-desired immunity in the new FISA bill. But first, they want to know what those telecoms have actually been doing. [http://www.tpmmuckra…]

    With Dems like Hoyer, the Republican’s dream of one party rule by the Republicans can be realized no matter whose candidates win the elections.

  1. is they are afraid of looking weak so they BECOME weak! I just don’t get it.

  2. As I’ve already discussed with Stranger, Rita Katz gets paid to produce phony terror reports.  Using highly questionable sourcing and methods, she manufactures and overhypes alleged terror threats, which she then promotes to win juicy government and business contracts.

    The New Yorker had a profile on her here.

    This is one of my favorite Rita moments:

    That month, Katz went on “60 Minutes” to promote “Terrorist Hunter,” and to talk about her investigation into terrorist financing. Wearing a wig, five hours’ worth of makeup, and a large fake nose to conceal her identity, Katz also suggested that Mar-Jac Poultry, a Georgia chicken farm, was sending money to terrorists. She speculated that the company had hidden the transfers by selling chickens that it had recorded in its books as dead. Mar-Jac sued Katz and CBS. (The suit is still pending.) “This woman knows nothing about money laundering, and she sure as hell knows nothing about poultry,” Mar-Jac’s lawyer, Wilmer Parker, told me.

    There’s plenty more where that came from.  Like the time lovely Rita nearly brought the Alaskan pipeline to a standstill when she published what she claimed was a terrorist attack manual found while trolling Islamic chat rooms.

    She’s a useful goof for Terror Inc., but she doesn’t have any business being quoted as an authority on al-Quaeda, Jihadists, or anything else for that matter.

    WaPo should be ashamed of themselves.

    • KrisC on October 10, 2007 at 03:34

    That chic Valerie Plame is my hero!  She and Joe are the main arteries in this foul body politic BushCo, once cut open, they will drain the life blood of the whole damn thing…
    Thanks for the link to Larry Johnson’s Diary, now on to the rest of your brilliant diary….

  3. but now I think they are purposefully using that frame as a dodge. They agree with what they are doing and do not work for us. They’ve done this too many times in a row to be accidental or just stupid. This is what they want and they are doing it.

    I think we got lucky when we took both houses of congress and it caught them by surprise. Lucky for us in that it shows in stark relief just how corrupt and insulated from their constituents they really are. The crazy thing is they are doing all this with the cameras rolling and everyone watching! They actually don’t care!

    It is the simplest explanation. Any other takes too much rationalization for me.

    • snud on October 10, 2007 at 04:42

    I don’t think this is the reason the Dems are bending over and grabbing their ankles for Dubya.

    I’m not sure what it is – but no matter what a Dem says or how he or she votes, they will be labeled as “soft on terror” anyway.

    They know that.  Fox Noise won’t suddenly say that “Democrat So-and-so is a real ass-kicker now!” no matter how much So-and-so might kiss Bush’s ass. It’s just not gonna happen.

    I guess I’m wearing a tin foil hat here but I think something else is rotten in Denmark and the Dems aren’t voting the way the are because of the perception of being weak on terrorism. I really just have a gut feeling that something more sinister is afoot.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  4. You guys keep talking about what the Democrats need to do to win…what the democratic voters want the Democratic representative to do…

    The elected representative don’t get elected by the people at all anymore…they get elected by the amount of money they can amass. So the elected representative are not interested in what the people think anymore….the more money you have the more advertising, the more advertising the more likely you will be elected.

    The representatives don’t care about the people…they will take whichever candidate has the most money and they will take them because the people do what advertising tells them.

    The people believe in quantity of advertising, not quality. Whoever has the most money can manipulate the outcome through advertising…advertising in it’s many forms.

    This is not about issues, it’s ONLY ABOUT MONEY.

    Issues aren’t in the news…it’s about how much money the candidates are collecting and who is winning on the money front. MSM favors whoever has the most money…not whose doing well in any poll.

    • GoRight on October 10, 2007 at 15:47

    Is it that hard to explain that the Bush Administration’s incompetence and/or political vindictiveness is destroying important security assets?

    This is pretty amusing coming from the party that cheered as both the Terrorist Surveillance Wiretapping Program and the Terrorist Financial Transactions Program were both leaked and exposed by, presumably, someone that was Bush’s political enemy (i.e. a Democrat).

    Both of these were substantive programs which lead to truly covert intelligence against the enemies of our country, as opposed to “publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites.”

    Yea, I bet that the extremists are putting all of their sensitive communications on public chat rooms and Web sites.  Brilliant!

    Even IF, and that is an extremely generous IF, I accept your premise that this scouring of public chat rooms and Web Sites provides any truly substantive value (i.e. like obtaining an advanced copy of a terrorist propaganda film literally days ahead of its scheduled release) in terms of actual leaks which damage our intelligence gathering capacity the score still seems to be Democrats 2, Republicans 1.

    Oh well. It wasn’t done to destroy the career of a whistleblower’s wife, but the effect was the same.

    Here are a few inconvenient facts on your Plame reference:

    (1) As the testimony of Victoria Toensing before Congress clearly highlights, Plame was not covert under the definition in the law.  An allegation that Waxman promised to contest at the time but has subsequently failed to provide any refutation thereof.

    (2) After a long and protracted investigation into the matter, Patrick Fitzgerald never charged anyone with outing Plame, and as we now know (and in fact Fitzgerald almost immediately knew) the source of the so called leak was Richard Armitage, not anyone connected with the White House.  The leak was purely inadvertent on Armitage’s part.

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