Discussion in 'Politics and Religion' started by lamont5123, Aug 9, 2006.
Sorry, but I called it first.........
Actually, the example most American historians would turn to would be Grant. Great general. Really lousy president!
I never said I was certain Iran had nothing to do with 9/1..... I'm not convinced several govts or sheiks or mullahs didn't know knew of the plot.... or a plot.
I never said Iran wasn't a "legitimate target".... I've just always held firm that Iraq was also a "legitimate target", same as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the list goes on.... The order of such 'legitimate targets' is the only thing we should be debating.
there are unfortunately only two major political parties in this country (there should be four: left, left-center, right-center and right). I find nothing wrong with a right wing party and a left wing party if the two are all we're gonna get. I'd consider it more unfair to have a right wing party and a right-center party (IE the lieberman democrats) and no other viable choice.
If the greens and some more conservative party (the reforms or libertarians i suppose) were allowed more of a fair shake at elections then there would be no need to worry about the direction that the republicans-lite (dems) are heading.
Mugniyah and Al-Qaeda
In 1998, American authorities captured former Green Beret advisor Ali A. Mohamed for his role in the twin terror attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa. Having been a relatively close associate of Bin Laden himself, Mohamed proved to be a treasure trove of information for American investigators. One of his statements, however, proved particularly troubling. In testimony delivered during his court case, Mohamed admitted that in 1994, he had arranged security for a momentous meeting in Sudan. There, Osama Bin Laden met Imad Mugniyah. He also stated that Hezbollah provided training for Al-Qaeda operatives in exchange for weapons and explosives. Indeed, this testimony corresponded with statements made by other Al-Qaeda officials, who told American investigators that the two had met several times in the mid 1990s, where they had discussed a greater degree of cooperation.
The two terrorist leaders may have also coordinated the attack on the Khobar Towers barracks complex in 1996. American investigators have long suspected Iran’s involvement in the bombing that killed 19 American servicemen in Saudi Arabia. The group that supposedly carried out the attacks, Saudi Hezbollah, was led in the 1990s by a close lieutenant of Mugniyah and was trained in Mugniyah run camps in Lebanon. Additionally, the explosives used in the barracks bombing originated in Lebanon. The 9-11 Commission, however, recently suggested that Al-Qaeda may have also played a role in the bombing, suggesting some degree of operational cooperation between the two groups.
The influence of Imad Mugniyah with regards to the Al-Qaeda network has continued, and has strengthened as of late. It appears that at least part of the formal leadership of Al-Qaeda has shifted to Iran, where they stay in close contact with the group’s disparate assets. Men such as Saad Bin Laden and Saif al-Adel continue to plan attacks from Iranian territory, such as the massive Casablanca bombings in 2003. Other Al-Qaeda leaders and fighters have escaped through Iran following the war in Afghanistan. Hamid Zakiri, a former member of the Iranian terrorist coordination command, stated that Mugniyah was the liaison officer to Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and various other international terrorist groups. In addition to this relationship, Mugniyah personally oversaw the escape of dozens of Al-Qaeda figures to Iran, including one of Bin Laden’s wives and her infant child. Apparently, Al-Qaeda leaders have enough trust in Mugniyah’s abilities and intentions as to place their family members into his care.
“The Master Terrorist”
“He is the most dangerous terrorist we've ever faced. He's a--he's a pathological murderer. Mugniyah is probably the most intelligent, most capable operative we've ever run across, including the KGB or anybody else. He enters by one door, exits by another, changes his cars daily, never makes appointments on a telephone, never is predictable, will show up--he only uses people that are related to him that he can trust. He doesn't just recruit people. He is the master terrorist, the grail, we are after since 1983.”
No small praise coming from Robert Baer, a 20 year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine services who once constructed a plan to kill Mugniyah in Lebanon. Imad Mugniyah, unrecognizable and relatively unknown, poses a serious asymmetrical threat to the United States and its allies. He has successfully avoided numerous American and Israeli attempts to capture or kill him. He has access to the massive amount of funding, estimated at 100 million dollars, that Iran annually provides Hezbollah annually. The secrecy surrounding Mugniyah allows him to travel relatively freely, especially in friendly nations such as Iran and Syria. His role in Hezbollah should chasten the Bush administration’s hopes that Hezbollah could eventually transform itself into a purely political organization. With terrorists such as Imad Mugniyah in charge, the idea that Hezbollah could accept a democratic Middle East is dubious to say the least. It should also be made clear to Lebanon’s Shiite population that national democratic reform cannot be sustained over the long term if an armed group like Hezbollah is involved. Instead of awaiting reform that will never come, the American government, with the help of our allies in the region, should seek to isolate this dangerous and inherently anti-democratic terrorist organization.
[End of Article]
We both know that Iran sponsored several attacks against the US through Hizbollah in Lebanon in the 80's. That makes them a more legitimate target than Iraq. Besides, I am not as certain as you that Iran had no links to 9/11. Ever heard of Imad Mugniyah? There's a lot of snippets of evidence floating around out there that this guy has met with Bin Laden on more than one occasion. Not saying that in of itself is proof, but considering Mugniyah was directly responsible for all of Hizbollah's activity against the US in Lebanon during the 80's I'm sure these guys weren't talking about the weather when they met.
And the point really is even if he had nothing to do with 9/11 or AQ operations in general it doesn't matter. His involvment in anything is Iran's involvement and Mugniyah has attacked the US on several occasions, kidnapped US citizens, etc. all without feeling the power of our wrath. He and Iran have gotten away with it for too long and there is no question in my mind that Iran would have been a much more legitimate target than Saddam based on their history of attacks against the US. Had we taken the fight to Iran, Saddam would have probably had a much easier time dismantling or proven he had already dismantled his WMD programs. Keep in mind that chemical weapons saved Saddam's ass during the Iran-Iraq war, and I fully believe he wanted Iran to think that he still had them to act as a deterrent against Iran attacking Iraq.
If we had taken on Iran first, we most likely would have been able to achieve two objectives. Iran would have been dealt with and Saddam may have been able to be more transparent about his WMD program. Also, in retrospect, we wouldn't now be dealing with the Iranian nuke situation.
By taken on Iraq first, we've given Iran a natural ally in the new Iraq and gotten ourselves so bogged down there that any other conflict, while doable, would be much harder to deal with. And although Iraq is neatly situated between Iran and Syria as you mention, that is not in of itself enough of a reason to justify us being there. Afghanistan borders Iran so we were already in place to deal with Iran and even Syria if that is determined to be the course of action we take.
Well you seemed to make the same point that most of those opposed to the Iraqi war do, that 3,000 dead Americans had nothing to do with Iraq.
Well.... Iran, Syria and just about every other ME country including Afghanistan had just about the same 'nothing' to do with 3,000 dead Americans on 9/11. The only thing Afghanistan was guilty of regarding 9/11 was that they happened to be the unfortunate country BL was residing in at the time. Then shouldn't we have bombed everyone who harbored or aided BL over the years?
I mean there's a much broader picture here than 9/11.... Like those two Israeli soldiers everyone keeps saying Israel over reacted about... 9/11 was just the impetus for us to finally do something about Islamic fascism and fanatics. It isn't just about AlQueda, just as Israels war isn't just about the Hezbollah. We have to go and do something about every govt or regime who supports this stuff and possess the ability to destabilise that region. Iraq was unquestionably one of those regimes and Iran and Syria are two others. Should we have gone into Iran first..... possibly. But then Saddam could just as easily have sent fanatics across his border in an effort to undermine the US. It's a tough logistical call but Saddam being the resident bully in the neighborhood as well as the most recent sward rattler, seemed like the logical choice. And unlike Iran where its not the case of a single dictator who's people might not be so quick to turn on, Iraq was pretty much just Saddam and his sons with a population that was being tortured and abused in which they might have been more welcoming to so called "liberators". Thus it seemed like a much easier option.
The mistake was not the invasion of Iraq, but rather it was the occupation. Notice we never really occupied Afghanistan... we helped them set up a govt and then got the fuck out.... pulled the vast amount of our troops out and sent them to Iraq. And now we get the second guessers complaining that the Taliban and AQ are creeping back into the picture there. So I guess in hindsight the best option for successful results may lie somewhere between pulling out too quickly and staying around to occupy.
Logistically speaking however.... If we do indeed have to use military force with Iran and or Syria which seems the case between the nuke issue and the Hezbollah issue..... strictly from a logitics standpoint..... having 100,000 plus troops in Iraq which sit on both the Iranian and Syrian borders isn't such a bad thing..... in hindsight.
I never said that Iraq was definitely wrong, but I do question the strategy used to achieve our goals there.
And I've made it pretty clear elsewhere that Iran should have been dealt with a long time ago so I don't need to repeat myself here.
recent polls suggest it may be a landslide for JL and a win-win for the rep.
only time and money will tell.
this particular race has the potential to back fire on the dems. big time.
its look like they may have chosen the wrong guy!!
If Afghanistan was a no brain-er and Iraq was definitely wrong.... Where does Iran and Syria fit in to the scheme of things?
So because BL never set up residence in either of those countries does that mean they're not part of the bigger problem which is the support of terrorist groups that seek to destroy the west... specifically America and Israel?
The point is that most if not all these countries are a major problem regard the war on terror. They all are breeding ground for this type of hatred and support these militia on the snide, and because the rest of the world and many Americans are to stupid or blind to see whats really going on they often get away with making fools of us all. If we had never gone into Iraq we most certainly would have seen more of an insurgency or resistance in Afghanistan or any other country we sent troops into. The only reason it wasn't so bad in Afghanistan was because we too quickly pulled most of our troops out and set them to Iraq. If we had kept the mass of our troops in Afghanistan we would have had the same problems we have now in Iraq in regards to our troops having a huge target painted on them. The secular fighting in Iraq is probably the one thing you can blame on the US that might not have occurred in other countries.
I don't think anyone has questioned GWB's decision to attack Afghanistan. That was a war that had to be fought and I haven't seen much, if any criticism of the decision to fight that war.
Iraq is a different matter altogether and the fact that 3,000 of our citizens died on September 11th really had nothing to do with Iraq. I think it is probably wars like Iraq that merit the kind of criticism MICS44 was making.
Afghanistan was a no brainer, we had to go. I can't say the same for Iraq.
Funny thing about that. When an enemy kills 3,000 of your civilians, the usual response is military force. Why should the leader's own military experience or lack thereof have anything to do with it? It's just complete and utter rubbish to even introduce such a niggly and small arguement.
Can you imagine the conversation if our leaders thought this way?
GW: Well ... um.. ahh.. Dick.... um ah.. those asshole towel heads have killed 3,000 of out hard workin folks... um ... ahhh... but after all, I never served in combat..um ...ahhh.. so it would be politically impossible for ME to send troops.
Cheney: Yes Mr. President. I recognize that the military's main role in this brave new world is to not DIE. I think we probably should consider a military response, but I too have never served in combat and what's worse, I have never sent any of my children into combat. So, it's just off the table. I suggest we turn the whole matter over to the FBI....
Sounds like a Democratic Think Tank
The Astor/Gates anecdote is something I read a couple of weeks ago and for the life of me I can't remember where. But I did a quick search and found a review of a biography of John Jacob Astor that puts it this way: "He died owning $1 out of every $15 of personal wealth in America." That works out to 6.67%, pretty close to what I wrote.
I couldn't find a similar measure of Gates' wealth, or a figure for what the total personal wealth of the U.S. is today.
But sorry for not sourcing that and for being imprecise.
I can't really speak to the wealth/GNP ratio. My understanding was that accurate figures for the GNP don't even exist before the 1930s. In any case, GNP is obviously quite different than the sum of a nation's personal wealth.
As to your other points, I stand by my post. But thanks for a thoughtful reply.
Carter had a different problem, he was an engineer, and they tend to make lousy Presidents. (Herbert Hoover, anyone?)
The point that I was trying to make, FDR and Lincoln aside, is that I find it curious that guys like Cheney, et al. always are pushing so hard for a military solution, when they used everything available to avoid service themselves. I guess they think American troops lives are cheap, unless of course, it was their own lives.
And I don't think all that much of Clinton either, because of his draft avoidance, and morals of a snake, before you try to beat me over the head with him.
As for JFK, I think his wartime exploits were overrated. A better commander wouldn't have lost his PT boat the way he did.
As for your data that the top 1% pay 33% of all the taxes, that's because they all make an obscene amount of money. NO CEO should make 200 or more times the wages of his employees. It's indefensible, especially when the company doesn't do well. But that doesn't seem to stop some of these guys from still raking in the bucks.
I know this is jumping all over the place, but it's late and I'm tired, so forgive me the stream of consciousness like reply.
I usually don't read these threads because I know much less about politics than the usual crew here and couldn't contribute much.But,argelby,you know that there are standard left responses to your standard right assertions and that the bottom line is which parameter you consider important.One side will always maintain that the important parameter is the one that currently is moving in a direction that corroborates their economic/political philosophy.
So,one might respond that while the unemployment rate is low it doesn't reflect the more important employment rate which is poor(i.e. jobless recovery),deficits,in fact, are a problem because combined trade,federal,state and local government deficits make the US more dependent on foreign financing...it's really wealth distribution not income distribution.....yada yada yada,ad infinitum.
Anyway,I was wondering what reference you had for that Astor/Gates comparison.The word you used was controlled which is kinda vague.A quick googling gave me a link which cited a book that gave Astor's wealth/gdp ratio of about 1% (I think that's at death about 160 years ago,which may not be at his richest) and Gates ratio at about 0.25% (1995) and 0.7% (1999,so it may be less now).That's quite different from the numbers you cited.Considering the inception of income tax was after Astor's death,Gates' (and his tax lawyers') accomplishment is even more remarkable.BTW,John D. Rockefeller is at the top with a ratio of about 1.6%
I don't know if source I read is correct or if I'm even reading it correctly.I don't know if the book he cites is correct or if the authors or the web host himself has an agenda.It's just that your numbers intuitively seemed off to me.
Johnson has his own 'swift boat" issue.
The fact is he was awarded a "Silver Star" the US armed services third highest honor. Whether or not you think it was awarded for a combat mission he was part of on June 9, 1942, of a Japanese base in Lae, New Guinea... Or as an undeserved show of gratitude or bribe by FDR is your own opinion. At least Johnson never threw his away.
He absolutely did have a silver star and he wore it on his lapel his entire life, most notably seen in the infamous Air Force One photo of him being sworn in with a still bloody Jackie standing next to him.
He was also the first active member of congress to enlist and see combat in WWII.
Actually, LBJ was no hero either. He was indeed awarded a prestigious medal (silver star?) after a single combat mission in which he experienced little risk. At the time he was FDR's liaison to MacArthur, and MacArthur, being a political general par excellence, awarded the medal to LBJ to appeal to his vanity and maximize his likelihood of staying on FDR's good side.
My bad... Carter wasn't a decorated WWII hero... don't know what the fuck I was thinking.
He did serve in the military as a grad of the Naval academy ('46) and an adviser for the navy, was even at one time offered a position on one of the country's first nuclear subs and later was considered for the Chief of Naval Operations... So he had plenty of experience... just not in any actual battle conditions.
Not to keep harping on this point but since I have these thoughts in my head.....
LBJ... Decorated WWII hero (Silver Star) and a military advisor to FDR during WWII. Great president who accomplished probably as many domestic and civil rights issues as any president before or since. But he'll forever be more remembered for killing an awful lot of US soldiers over some rice fields.
JFK... Decorated WWII hero, an officer with vast military experience who's memorable exploits I need not mention. Didn't serve long enough to judge his presidency, but one of his greatest blunders for which he'll always be remembered besides not putting the top up on a chilly November afternoon, will be the Bay of Pigs. Talk about your military disasters. JFK also shoulders some of the Vietnam blame while passing around that fiasco's credits.
Jimmy Carter... Decorated WWII hero. Lot of good that did when some half assed students took down the most powerful nation on earth without firing a shot.... and got away with it. That military man Carter also didn't listen to his advisers or the Israeli's and doomed a rescue mission and soldiers lives when he sent ill equipped choppers to fly in a sand storm.
Actually if history is any judge... presidents with military backgrounds have been failures for the most part. Ike being a great example. Sure the country went thru great ecomical growth which had more to do with the post war era than any decisions he made. But in the years after WWII Ike dismantled the military and weakened our fighting forces so much that we could even beat a couple of third world countries sitting in a rice patty less than a decade after the greatest military achievement in this planets history.
Then there's Teddy Roosevelt.... a hugely successful president, yet his most memorable footnote in military history has often been called into question... actually I think pretty much accepted as a fallacy.
Presidents need not be military heros or minds.... The best of them weren't. Nor need they be economic wizards..... thats what their advisors are for.
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