"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Saturday, December 03, 2005

President Bush's Address To The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

"The time has come for the administration to stop serving up platitudes and present a plan for finishing this war with success and honor. I reject a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit, and I reject an open timetable that has no ending attached to it. Instead, I think we need a plan for winning and concluding this war, and the president can begin by taking responsibilities for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of this war.

Senator Hillary Clinton, Saturday, December 03, 2005, Louisville, Kentucky.

(note by Republicus: Where has she been?)

Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, November 30:

President Outlines Strategy for Victory in Iraq
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks, please be seated. Please be seated. Thanks for the warm welcome. It's good to be back at the Naval Academy.

(note by Republicus: the image above of President George W. Bush and the cadet was taken-- by White House photographer Paul Morse--on his previous visit, during graduation ceremonies there on Friday, May 25)

I'm pleased to provide a convenient excuse for you to miss class.

This is the first year that every class of midshipmen at this Academy arrived after the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. Each of you has volunteered to wear our nation's uniform in a time of war -- knowing all the risks and dangers that accompany military service. Our citizens are grateful for your devotion to duty -- and America is proud of the men and women of the United States Naval Academy.

I thank Admiral Rempt for his invitation for me to come and give this speech. I appreciate Admiral Mike Mullen. I'm traveling today with a man who's done a fine job as the Secretary of Defense -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Navy aviator, Don Rumsfeld. I'm proud that the Governor of the great state of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, and his wife, Kendel, is with us. Thanks for being here, Governor.

I so appreciate that members of the United States Congress have joined us, starting with the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner of the state of Virginia. Former Secretary of the United States Navy, I might add. Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Pete Hoekstra. From the state of Arizona, Congressman John Shadegg. And from the state of Indiana, Congressman Mike Pence.
I'm honored you all came, thanks for being here.

I appreciate the Mayor of the city of Annapolis, Mayor Ellen Moyer, joining us. I want to thank all the state and local officials. I want to thank the faculty members here. Thank you all for letting me come by.

Six months ago I spoke to them about the importance of their service in the first war of the 21st century -- the global war on terror.

I told the class of 2005 that four years at this Academy had prepared them morally, mentally and physically for the challenges ahead. And now they're meeting those challenges as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Some of your former classmates are training with Navy SEAL teams that will storm terrorist safe houses in lightning raids. Others are preparing to lead Marine rifle platoons that will hunt the enemy in the mountains of Afghanistan and the streets of Iraqi cities. Others are training as naval aviators who will fly combat missions over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. Still others are training as sailors and submariners who will deliver the combat power of the United States to the farthest regions of the world -- and deliver compassionate assistance to those suffering from natural disasters. Whatever their chosen mission, every graduate of the class of 2005 is bringing honor to the uniform -- and helping to bring us victory in the war on terror.

In the years ahead, you'll join them in the fight. Your service is needed, because our nation is engaged in a war that is being fought on many fronts -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. This war is going to take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefield. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, and so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.

As we fight the enemy in Iraq, every man and woman who volunteers to defend our nation deserves an unwavering commitment to the mission -- and a clear strategy for victory. A clear strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face.

The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists. The rejectionists are by far the largest group. These are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein -- and they reject an Iraq in which they are no longer the dominant group.

Not all Sunnis fall into the rejectionist camp. Of those that do, most are not actively fighting us -- but some give aid and comfort to the enemy. Many Sunnis boycotted the January elections -- yet as democracy takes hold in Iraq, they are recognizing that opting out of the democratic process has hurt their interests. And today, those who advocate violent opposition are being increasingly isolated by Sunnis who choose peaceful participation in the democratic process. Sunnis voted in the recent constitutional referendum in large numbers -- and Sunni coalitions have formed to compete in next month's elections -- or, this month's elections. We believe that, over time, most rejectionists will be persuaded to support a democratic Iraq led by a federal government that is a strong enough government to protect minority rights.

The second group that makes up the enemy in Iraq is smaller, but more determined. It contains former regime loyalists who held positions of power under Saddam Hussein -- people who still harbor dreams of returning to power. These hard-core Saddamists are trying to foment anti-democratic sentiment amongst the larger Sunni community. They lack popular support and therefore cannot stop Iraq's democratic progress. And over time, they can be marginalized and defeated by the Iraqi people and the security forces of a free Iraq.

The third group is the smallest, but the most lethal: the terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda . Many are foreigners who are coming to fight freedom's progress in Iraq.

This group includes terrorists from Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and Iran, and Egypt, and Sudan, and Yemen, and Libya, and other countries. Our commanders believe they're responsible for most of the suicide bombings, and the beheadings, and the other atrocities we see on our television.

They're led by a brutal terrorist named Zarqawi -- al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq -- who has pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Their objective is to drive the United States and coalition forces out of Iraq, and use the vacuum that would be created by an American retreat to gain control of that country. They would then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, and overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain.

That's their stated objective. That's what their leadership has said.

These terrorists have nothing to offer the Iraqi people. All they have is the capacity and the willingness to kill the innocent and create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will to achieve their stated objectives. They will fail. America's will is strong. And they will fail because the will to power is no match for the universal desire to live in liberty.

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.

To achieve victory over such enemies, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq.
Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy -- how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we're doing to achieve it. So today, we're releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This is an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website -- I urge all Americans to read it.

Our strategy in Iraq has three elements.

On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will.

On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.
As we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight -- and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.

And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq.

In doing all this we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states in helping Iraqis build their future.

In the days ahead, I'll be discussing the various pillars of our strategy in Iraq.

Today, I want to speak in depth about one aspect of this strategy that will be critical to victory in Iraq -- and that's the training of Iraqi security forces. To defeat the terrorists and marginalize the Saddamists and rejectionists, Iraqis need strong military and police forces. Iraqi troops bring knowledge and capabilities to the fight that coalition forces cannot.

Iraqis know their people, they know their language, and they know their culture -- and they know who the terrorists are. Iraqi forces are earning the trust of their countrymen -- who are willing to help them in the fight against the enemy. As the Iraqi forces grow in number, they're helping to keep a better hold on the cities taken from the enemy. And as the Iraqi forces grow more capable, they are increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists. Our goal is to train enough Iraqi forces so they can carry the fight -- and this will take time and patience.

And it's worth the time, and it's worth the effort -- because Iraqis and Americans share a common enemy, and when that enemy is defeated in Iraq, Americans will be safer here at home.

The training of the Iraqi security forces is an enormous task, and it always hasn't gone smoothly.

We all remember the reports of some Iraqi security forces running from the fight more than a year ago. Yet in the past year, Iraqi forces have made real progress. At this time last year, there were only a handful of Iraqi battalions ready for combat. Now, there are over 120 Iraqi Army and Police combat battalions in the fight against the terrorists -- typically comprised of between 350 and 800 Iraqi forces. Of these, about 80 Iraqi battalions are fighting side-by-side with coalition forces, and about 40 others are taking the lead in the fight. Most of these 40 battalions are controlling their own battle space, and conducting their own operations against the terrorists with some coalition support -- and they're helping to turn the tide of this struggle in freedom's favor.

America and our troops are proud to stand with the brave Iraqi fighters.

The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year's assault in Fallujah.

In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine coalition battalions made up primarily of United States Marines and Army -- with six Iraqi battalions supporting them. The Iraqis fought and sustained casualties. Yet in most situations, the Iraqi role was limited to protecting the flanks of coalition forces, and securing ground that had already been cleared by our troops. This year in TAL Afar, it was a very different story.

The assault was primarily led by Iraqi security forces -- 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support. Many Iraqi units conducted their own anti-terrorist operations and controlled their own battle space -- hunting for enemy fighters and securing neighborhoods block-by-block. To consolidate their military success, Iraqi units stayed behind to help maintain law and order -- and reconstruction projects have been started to improve infrastructure and create jobs and provide hope.

One of the Iraqi soldiers who fought in TAL Afar was a private named Tarek Hazem. This brave Iraqi fighter says, "We're not afraid. We're here to protect our country. All we feel is motivated to kill the terrorists."

Iraqi forces not only cleared the city, they held it. And because of the skill and courage of the Iraqi forces, the citizens of TAL Afar were able to vote in October's constitutional referendum.

As Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead in the fight against the terrorists, they're also taking control of more and more Iraqi territory. At this moment, over 30 Iraqi Army battalions have assumed primary control of their own areas of responsibility.

In Baghdad, Iraqi battalions have taken over major sectors of the capital -- including some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. Last year, the area around Baghdad's Haifa Street was so thick with terrorists that it earned the nickname "Purple Heart Boulevard." Then Iraqi forces took responsibility for this dangerous neighborhood -- and attacks are now down.

Our coalition has handed over roughly 90 square miles of Baghdad province to Iraqi security forces. Iraqi battalions have taken over responsibility for areas in South-Central Iraq, sectors of Southeast Iraq, sectors of Western Iraq, and sectors of North-Central Iraq. As Iraqi forces take responsibility for more of their own territory, coalition forces can concentrate on training Iraqis and hunting down high-value targets, like the terrorist Zarqawi and his associates.

We're also transferring forward operating bases to Iraqi control. Over a dozen bases in Iraq have been handed over to the Iraqi government -- including Saddam Hussein's former palace in Tikrit, which has served as the coalition headquarters in one of Iraq's most dangerous regions. From many of these bases, the Iraqi security forces are planning and executing operations against the terrorists -- and bringing security and pride to the Iraqi people.

Progress by the Iraqi security forces has come, in part, because we learned from our earlier experiences and made changes in the way we help train Iraqi troops. When our coalition first arrived, we began the process of creating an Iraqi Army to defend the country from external threats, and an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps to help provide the security within Iraq's borders. The civil defense forces did not have sufficient firepower or training -- they proved to be no match for an enemy armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars. So the approach was adjusted.

Working with Iraq's leaders, we moved the civil defense forces into the Iraqi Army, we changed the way they're trained and equipped, and we focused the Army's mission on defeating those fighting against a free Iraq, whether internal or external.

Now, all Iraqi Army recruits receive about the same length of basic training as new recruits in the U.S. Army -- a five-week core course, followed by an additional three-to-seven weeks of specialized training. With coalition help, Iraqis have established schools for the Iraqi military services, an Iraqi military academy, a non-commissioned officer academy, a military police school, a bomb disposal school --and NATO has established an Iraqi Joint Staff College. There's also an increased focus on leadership training, with professional development courses for Iraqi squad leaders and platoon sergeants and warrant officers and sergeants-major. A new generation of Iraqi officers is being trained, leaders who will lead their forces with skill -- so they can defeat the terrorists and secure their freedom.

Similar changes have taken place in the training of the Iraqi police. When our coalition first arrived, Iraqi police recruits spent too much time of their training in classroom lectures -- and they received limited training in the use of small arms. This did not adequately prepare the fight they would face. And so we changed the way the Iraqi police are trained. Now, police recruits spend more of their time outside the classroom with intensive hands-on training in anti-terrorism operations and real-world survival skills.

Iraq has now six basic police academies, and one in Jordan, that together produce over 3,500 new police officers every ten weeks. The Baghdad police academy has simulation models where Iraqis train to stop IED attacks and operate roadblocks. And because Iraqi police are not just facing common criminals, they are getting live-fire training with the AK-47s.

As more and more skilled Iraqi security forces have come online, there's been another important change in the way new Iraqi recruits are trained. When the training effort began, nearly all the trainers came from coalition countries. Today, the vast majority of Iraqi police and army recruits are being taught by Iraqi instructors. By training the trainers, we're helping Iraqis create an institutional capability that will allow the Iraqi forces to continue to develop and grow long after coalition forces have left Iraq.

As the training has improved, so has the quality of the recruits being trained. Even though the terrorists are targeting Iraqi police and army recruits, there is no shortage of Iraqis who are willing to risk their lives to secure the future of a free Iraq.

The efforts to include more Sunnis in the future of Iraq were given a significant boost earlier this year. More than 60 influential Sunni clerics issued a fatwa calling on young Sunnis to join the Iraqi security forces, "for the sake of preserving the souls, property and honor" of the Iraqi people. These religious leaders are helping to make the Iraqi security forces a truly national institution -- one that is able to serve, protect and defend all the Iraqi people.

Some critics dismiss this progress and point to the fact that only one Iraqi battalion has achieved complete independence from the coalition. To achieve complete independence, an Iraqi battalion must do more than fight the enemy on its own -- it must also have the ability to provide its own support elements, including logistics, airlift, intelligence, and command and control through their ministries.

Not every Iraqi unit has to meet this level of capability in order for the Iraqi security forces to take the lead in the fight against the enemy. As a matter of fact, there are some battalions from NATO militaries that would not be able to meet this standard. The facts are that Iraqi units are growing more independent and more capable; they are defending their new democracy with courage and determination. They're in the fight today, and they will be in the fight for freedom tomorrow.

We're also helping Iraqis build the institutions they need to support their own forces. For example, a national depot has been established north of Baghdad that is responsible for supplying the logistical needs of the ten divisions of the Iraqi Army. Regional support units and base support units have been created across the country with the mission of supplying their own war fighters. Iraqis now have a small Air Force, that recently conducted its first combat airlift operations -- bringing Iraqi troops to the front in TAL Afar.

The new Iraqi Navy is now helping protect the vital ports of Basra and Umm Qasr. An Iraqi military intelligence school has been established to produce skilled Iraqi intelligence analysts and collectors. By taking all these steps, we're helping the Iraqi security forces become self-supporting so they can take the fight to the enemy, and so they can sustain themselves in the fight.

Over the past two and a half years, we've faced some setbacks in standing up a capable Iraqi security force -- and their performance is still uneven in some areas. Yet many of those forces have made real gains over the past year -- and Iraqi soldiers take pride in their progress.

An Iraqi first lieutenant named Shoqutt describes the transformation of his unit this way: "I really think we've turned the corner here. At first, the whole country didn't take us seriously. Now things are different. Our guys are hungry to demonstrate their skill and to show the world."

Our troops in Iraq see the gains that Iraqis are making. Lieutenant Colonel Todd Wood of Richmond Hill, Georgia, is training Iraqi forces in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. He says this about the Iraqi units he is working with: "They're pretty much ready to go it on their own ... What they're doing now would have been impossible a year ago ... These guys are patriots, willing to go out knowing the insurgents would like nothing better than to kill them and their families ... They're getting better, and they'll keep getting better."

Our commanders on the ground see the gains the Iraqis are making. General Marty Dempsey is the commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command. Here's what he says about the transformation of the Iraqi security forces: "It's beyond description. They are far better equipped, far better trained" than they once were. The Iraqis, General Dempsey says, are "increasingly in control of their future and their own security-- the Iraqi security forces are regaining control of the country."

As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing and they are taking on tougher and more important missions on their own. As the Iraqi security forces stand up, the confidence of the Iraqi people is growing -- and Iraqis are providing the vital intelligence needed to track down the terrorists. And as the Iraqi security forces stand up, coalition forces can stand down -- and when our mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation.

This is a goal our Iraqi allies share. An Iraqi Army Sergeant named Abbass Abdul Jabar puts it this way: "We have to help the coalition forces as much as we can to give them a chance to go home. These guys have been helping us. [Now] we have to protect our own families."

America will help the Iraqis so they can protect their families and secure their free nation. We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission. If our military leaders tell me we need more troops, I will send them.

For example, we have increased our force levels in Iraq to 160,000 -- up from 137,000 -- in preparation for the December elections. My commanders tell me that as Iraqi forces become more capable, the mission of our forces in Iraq will continue to change. We will continue to shift from providing security and conducting operations against the enemy nationwide, to conducting more specialized operations targeted at the most dangerous terrorists. We will increasingly move out of Iraqi cities, reduce the number of bases from which we operate, and conduct fewer patrols and convoys.

As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists. These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.

Some are calling for a deadline for withdrawal. Many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing our troops are sincere -- but I believe they're sincerely wrong. Pulling our troops out before they've achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory. As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would "discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people."

Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America.

To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief.

And as we train Iraqis to take more responsibility in the battle with the terrorists, we're also helping them build a democracy that is worthy of their sacrifice. And in just over two-and-a-half years, the Iraqi people have made incredible progress on the road to lasting freedom.

Iraqis have gone from living under the boot of a brutal tyrant, to liberation, free elections, and a democratic constitution -- and in 15 days they will go to the polls to elect a fully constitutional government that will lead them for the next four years.

With each ballot cast, the Iraqi people have sent a clear message to the terrorists: Iraqis will not be intimidated. The Iraqi people will determine the destiny of their country. The future of Iraq belongs to freedom. Despite the costs, the pain, and the danger, Iraqis are showing courage and are moving forward to build a free society and a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East -- and the United States of America will help them succeed.

Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, "stay the course." If by "stay the course," they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by "stay the course," they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban -- a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America -- they are right, as well. If by "stay the course" they mean that we're not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong.

As our top commander in Iraq, General Casey, has said, "Our commanders on the ground are continuously adapting and adjusting, not only to what the enemy does, but also to try to out-think the enemy and get ahead of him." Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy.

Victory in Iraq will demand the continued determination and resolve of the American people. It will also demand the strength and personal courage of the men and women who wear our nation's uniform.

And as the future officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, you're preparing to join this fight. You do so at a time when there is a vigorous debate about the war in Iraq. I know that for our men and women in uniform, this debate can be unsettling -- when you're risking your life to accomplish a mission, the last thing you want to hear is that mission being questioned in our nation's capital.

I want you to know that while there may be a lot of heated rhetoric in Washington, D.C., one thing is not in dispute: The American people stand behind you.

And we should not fear the debate in Washington. It's one of the great strengths of our democracy that we can discuss our differences openly and honestly -- even at times of war.

Your service makes that freedom possible. And today, because of the men and women in our military, people are expressing their opinions freely in the streets of Baghdad, as well.

Most Americans want two things in Iraq: They want to see our troops win, and they want to see our troops come home as soon as possible. And those are my goals as well. I will settle for nothing less than complete victory. In World War II, victory came when the Empire of Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri. In Iraq, there will not be a signing ceremony on the deck of a battleship. Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation.

As we make progress toward victory, Iraqis will take more responsibility for their security, and fewer U.S. forces will be needed to complete the mission.

America will not abandon Iraq. We will not turn that country over to the terrorists and put the American people at risk. Iraq will be a free nation and a strong ally in the Middle East -- and this will add to the security of the American people.

In the short run, we're going to bring justice to our enemies. In the long run, the best way to ensure the security of our own citizens is to spread the hope of freedom across the broader Middle East. We've seen freedom conquer evil and secure the peace before.

In World War II, free nations came together to fight the ideology of fascism, and freedom prevailed -- and today Germany and Japan are democracies and they are allies in securing the peace.

In the Cold War, freedom defeated the ideology of communism and led to a democratic movement that freed the nations of Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet domination -- and today these nations are allies in the war on terror.

Today in the Middle East freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair. And like fascism and communism before, the hateful ideologies that use terror will be defeated by the unstoppable power of freedom, and as democracy spreads in the Middle East, these countries will become allies in the cause of peace.

Advancing the cause of freedom and democracy in the Middle East begins with ensuring the success of a free Iraq. Freedom's victory in that country will inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, and spread hope across a troubled region, and lift a terrible threat from the lives of our citizens. By strengthening Iraqi democracy, we will gain a partner in the cause of peace and moderation in the Muslim world, and an ally in the worldwide struggle against -- against the terrorists. Advancing the ideal of democracy and self-government is the mission that created our nation -- and now it is the calling of a new generation of Americans.

We will meet the challenge of our time. We will answer history's call with confidence -- because we know that freedom is the destiny of every man, woman and child on this earth.

Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and we've lost some very fine men and women in this war on terror. Many of you know comrades and classmates who left our shores to defend freedom and who did not live to make the journey home. We pray for the military families who mourn the loss of loves ones. We hold them in our hearts -- and we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine.

One of those fallen heroes is a Marine Corporal named Jeff Starr, who was killed fighting the terrorists in Ramadi earlier this year. After he died, a letter was found on his laptop computer. Here's what he wrote, he said, "[I]f you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so they can live the way we live. Not [to] have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of Corporal Starr and his fallen comrades -- and that is to take up their mantle, carry on their fight, and complete their mission.

We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.

You all are the ones who will help accomplish all this. Our freedom and our way of life are in your hands -- and they're in the best of hands.

I want to thank you for your service in the cause of freedom. I want to thank you for wearing the uniform. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.


Blogger John said...

Wow. That cadet looks like Peretti, doesn't it?

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

In "Escape from Freedom", Eric Fromm (1941) proposed that loyalty to charismatic leaders results from a defensive need to feel a part of a larger whole, and surrendering one's freedom to a larger-than-life leader can serve as a source of self-worth and meaning in life. Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973) posited that when mainstream worldviews are not serving people's need for psychological security, concerns about mortality impel people to devote their psychological resources to following charismatic leaders who bolster their self-worth by making them feel like they are valued participants in a great mission to heroically triumph over evil.

Reminded me of you Republicus..

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Is Bush the worst President ever?

By Richard Reeves Fri Dec 2, 8:13 PM ET

PARIS -- President John F. Kennedy was considered a historian because of his book "Profiles in Courage," so he received periodic requests to rate the presidents, those lists that usually begin "1. Lincoln, 2. Washington ..."

But after he actually became president himself, he stopped filling them out.

"No one knows what it's like in this office," he said after being in the job. "Even with poor James Buchanan, you can't understand what he did and why without sitting in his place, looking at the papers that passed on his desk, knowing the people he talked with."

Poor James Buchanan, the 15th president, is generally considered the worst president in history. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was one of the most qualified of the 43 men who have served in the highest office. A lawyer, a self-made man, Buchanan served with some distinction in the House, served as chairman of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secretary of state under President James K. Polk. He had a great deal to do with the United States becoming a continental nation -- "Manifest Destiny," war with Mexico, and all that. He was also ambassador to Great Britain and was offered a seat on the Supreme Court three separate times.

But he was a confused, indecisive president, who may have made the Civil War inevitable by trying to appease or negotiate with the South. His most recent biographer, Jean Clark, writing for the prestigious American Presidents Series, concluded this year that his actions probably constituted treason. It also did not help that his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be homosexual.

Whatever his sexual preferences, his real failures were in refusing to move after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter, and in supporting both the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott class declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.

He was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents.

There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan.

This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:

# He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;

# He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;

# He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;

# He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;

# He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (
Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);

# He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;

# He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;

# He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.

Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President
Dick Cheney.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

Ok, let's see if I am following this right. Concerns about mortality would seem to fit a nation that has had its people slaughtered by Islamic-fascists. Now, are you saying that you hold the Islamic-fascists views to be the mainstream worldview? That seems a bit radical.
I am not at all clear on the idea that defending a nation's people from outside threats is merely a need for psychological security. It seems to me that if a physical threat becomes a real item, then people will look for physical security from the government, charismatic or not. (You really think Bush is charismatic? That is one word I would have not thought to use.)
My concern is that by using Becker this way, any war can be reduced to a psychological need for security, whether or not an enemy has actually attacked a nation. The quoted passage can apply, I think, to things like MacArthyism or National Socialism, because they describe political movements around charismatic leaders. I do not think the same criteria can be applied to the current conflict because we remember all too well how terrorism in the middle east has spread in the last four decades to become a real and tangible threat to our physical well-being here in the United States and around the globe. Ideas?

11:45 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yeah, good luck talking sense into him, Phelonius.

Lee Harvey here is in the cult of Bush-Haters and has a need to feel a part of a larger whole, and the concern about the mortality of his own world-view impels him to devote his psychological resources to following "charismatic leaders" (which, in his case, are Leftist intellectuals who can explain to him, in psycho-babbling terms, why everyone else is crazy but he is not) who bolster his self-worth by making him feel like he is a valued participant in a great mission to heroically triumph over evil (i.e. Bush).

What, he was projecting?

Of course.

His "expertise" on what he just threw around can be summed up in this article he read from the APS *Observer* (which he plagiarised from):

A New Study Suggests a Relationship Between Fear of Death and Political Preferences (note by Republicus: You can call it "Putting America on the Couch")

By (Lee Harvey's own "charismatic leaders") Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski

In the Wake of 9/11
The Psychology of Terror
By Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon, and Jeff Greenberg

"Republican leaders said yesterday that they would repeatedly remind the nation of the Sept. 11 attacks as their convention opens in New York City today ... "
(The New York Times, August 30, 2004)

Following the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the popularity of President George W. Bush increased dramatically. We have conducted a series of studies that offers an explanation for this phenomenon and demonstrates that for Americans, reminders of 9/11 and of death in general continue to increase President Bush's appeal. This research is based on the idea that reminders of death increase the need for psychological security and therefore the appeal of leaders who emphasize the greatness of the nation and participation in a heroic victory over evil. We would characterize this as a kind of charismatic leadership.

Terror Management Theory and 9/11

In our book In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror (2003), we presented an analysis of the causes and consequences of the events of 9/11 based on terror management theory, or TMT. TMT posits that although human beings share with all life forms a biological propensity toward survival, humans are unique in their awareness of the inevitability of death, that death is certain and can occur at any time for reasons that cannot always be anticipated or controlled, and that we are corporeal creatures perhaps no more important or enduring in the ultimate scheme of things than barnacles, beets, and beavers. To assuage the potentially paralyzing terror engendered by this knowledge, humans embed themselves in cultural worldviews: humanly constructed beliefs about reality shared by individuals in groups that provide a sense of meaning and significance and promises of symbolic and literal immortality to those who adhere to the standards of value prescribed by their culture.

Empirical support for TMT has been obtained in over 200 experiments by researchers in 13 countries, primarily by demonstrating that reminders of death (mortality salience) in the form of open-ended questions, death-anxiety questionnaires, pictures of gory accidents, interviews in front of funeral parlors, and subliminal exposure to the words "death" or "dead," instigate cultural worldview defense. For example, after mortality salience, people: 1) have more favorable evaluations of people with similar religious and political beliefs and more unfavorable evaluations of those who differ on these dimensions; 2) are more punitive toward moral transgressors and more benevolent to heroic individuals; 3) are more physically aggressive toward others with dissimilar political orientations; and 4) strive more vigorously to meet cultural standards of value. In addition, research has shown that mortality salience does not influence conscious affect or physiological arousal, and its effects are greatest following a delay, when death thought is highly accessible but outside of focal attention. Recent work has demonstrated that it is the potential for anxiety signaled by heightened death thought accessibility, which motivates worldview defense and self-esteem bolstering, which in turn reduces death thought accessibility to baseline levels.

In our book, we explained the actions of the terrorists and their supporters as resulting in large measure from their adherence to a cultural worldview in which heroic martyrdom against evil confers death transcendence (e.g., 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta wrote in a letter to his co-conspirators: "Pledge allegiance to die … understand what God had prepared for the faithful - He prepared an everlasting paradise for the martyrs."). We also asserted that the attacks of 9/11 constituted a massive mortality salience induction combined with a symbolic threat to the American cultural worldview: "The World Trade Center towers were the ultimate tangible representations of American prosperity and economic might. The Pentagon is a universally recognized architectural emblem of the United States' globe-dominating, unassailable-at-home-or-abroad military power." Americans, not surprisingly, responded by asserting their patriotism and the greatness of their nation, attempting to help the victims of the attacks in any way they could, seeking vengeance and justice, and increasing their affection for political leaders such as Rudolph Guiliani and George W. Bush. But what makes such leaders so appealing when death is in the air?

Fatal Attraction

Allegiance to charismatic leaders may be one particularly effective mode of terror management. In Escape from Freedom, Eric Fromm (1941) proposed that loyalty to charismatic leaders results from a defensive need to feel a part of a larger whole, and surrendering one's freedom to a larger-than-life leader can serve as a source of self-worth and meaning in life. Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973) posited that when mainstream worldviews are not serving people's need for psychological security, concerns about mortality impel people to devote their psychological resources to following charismatic leaders who bolster their self-worth by making them feel like they are valued participants in a great mission to heroically triumph over evil.

Fatal Attraction
The effects of mortality salience on evaluations of charismatic, task-oriented, and relationship oriented leaders

Sheldon Solomon, Skidmore College, Jeff Greenberg, University of Arizona, and Tom Pyszczynski, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, along with Florette Cohen, Rutgers University, and Molly Maxfield, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, are the authors of a research study suggesting that reminders of death influence voters. The report is scheduled to appear in the December 2004 issue of Psychological Science.

Available in the December 2004 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.
Avaialble in-press online at:

To test this hypothesis, we and our colleagues Florette Cohen and Molly Maxfield conducted an experiment that will appear in the December 2004 issue of Psychological Science, in which students were asked to think about their own death or a control topic and then read campaign statements purportedly written by three political candidates in an upcoming gubernatorial election. The candidates varied in leadership style. The charismatic leader stated: "You are not just an ordinary citizen, you are part of a special state and a special nation." The task-oriented leader stated: "I can accomplish all the goals that I set out to do. I am very careful in laying out a detailed blueprint of what needs to be done so that there is no ambiguity." The relationship-oriented leader stated: "I encourage all citizens to take an active role in improving their state. I know that each individual can make a difference."

After reading these statements, participants selected the candidate they would vote for in an election. Results were striking. After thinking about a control topic, only four of 95 participants voted for the charismatic candidate, with the rest of the votes split evenly between the task and relationship oriented leaders. However, following a reminder of death, there was almost an 800 percent increase in votes for the charismatic leader (31); votes for the task-oriented leader were unaffected, but the relationship-oriented leader's votes significantly declined.

Analogous to these findings, President Bush's popularity soared after the massive mortality salience induction produced by the attacks of 9/11; since then, Bush has emphasized the greatness of America and his commitment to triumphing over evil, whether represented by Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, or the entire "axis of evil." Do reminders of mortality increase the appeal of such a leader? Studies published in the September 2004 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggest that they do. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction dramatically increased support for President Bush and his policies in Iraq. In Study 2, subliminal reminders of 9/11 or the World Trade Center increased the accessibility of implicit thoughts of death; for Americans then, even non-conscious intimations of the events of 9/11 arouse concerns about mortality. Accordingly, in Study 3 participants were asked to think about death, the events of 9/11, or a benign control topic; both mortality and 9/11 salience produced substantial increases in support for President Bush among liberal as well as conservative participants. Finally, in Study 4, whereas participants rated John Kerry more favorably than George Bush after thinking about being in intense pain, after a reminder of death, evaluations of Bush increased and Kerry decreased, such that Bush was more favorably evaluated than Kerry. From a TMT perspective, this may reflect the psychological security afforded by the consistency of Bush's public image, his message of good versus evil, his high status as President, the psychological insecurity associated with the popularized image of Kerry as a waffler, or a combination of these factors.

(note by Republicus: Here come the disclaimers, which Lee Harvey ignored and instead opted to interpret the above study as an absolute gospel truth and an explanation as to why Bush got elected--because he played headgames!)

Interpreting the Findings (*italics* and parentheticals by Republicus)

How should these findings be interpreted? *With some degree of caution.* (Lee Harvey had none)

First, although the mortality salience-induced boost to President Bush's popularity has been obtained at three very different institutions, *the participants in these studies are hardly representative of the American electorate.*

(What does that mean to you, Lee Harvey?)

*We also do not mean to imply that all support for President Bush is necessarily a defensive reaction to concerns about death.*

(That is not only what Lee Harvey meant to imply, but is explicitly what he accused, that Republicus is politically defined by such primal, defensive, and irrational impulses)

And although it is a matter of public record that President Bush's re-election campaign has been carefully crafted to emphasize the war on terrorism and domestic security, *the strategic use of fear to advance political agendas has a long history in American politics (all politics for that matter) and is by no means confined to the Republican Party.*

(Lee Harvey, of course, is part of the historically-illiterate "America We Remember" crowd and thinks that the Bush Administration is some heretofore unseen anamolous freak)

(Those disclaimers being said, these Lefties couldn't leave it at that but had to finish off the summary with an opinionated conclusion):

However, the fact that a subtle, brief manipulation of psychological conditions (asking people to think about their own death or the events of 9/11) produced such striking differences in political preferences (for charismatic leaders in general and President Bush in particular) suggests that close elections could be decided as a result of non-rational terror management concerns. We'd like to think that Americans across the political spectrum would agree that this is antithetical to the democratic ideal that voting behavior should be the result of rational choice based on an informed understanding of the relevant issues. National elections are no guarantee against totalitarian outcomes.

The best antidote to this problem may be to monitor and take pains to resist any efforts by candidates to capitalize on fear-mongering. As David Myers so eloquently put it in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times: "It is perfectly normal to fear purposeful violence from those who hate us. When terrorists strike again, we will all recoil in horror. But smart thinkers also will want to check their intuitive fears against the facts and to resist those who serve their own purposes by cultivating a culture of fear." As a culture, we should also work to teach our children and encourage our citizens to vote with their "heads" rather than their "hearts." And it may also be helpful to raise awareness of how concerns about mortality affect human behavior. Hopefully, such measures will encourage people to make choices based on the political qualifications and positions of the candidates rather than on defensive needs to preserve psychological equanimity in response to reminders of death.


Cohen, F., Solomon, S., Maxfield, M., Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (in press)....

What does that little political finish ("We would like to think..." which means, "We're disappointed that what we think is apparently not the case since such a fear-mongering president prevailed on Election Day) indicate?

It indicates that the Left--and they're Leftists--does not think that a concern or fear of Islamo-fascism is well-founded or rational, and any politician who "reminds" people of that is therefore a fear-monger who exploits irrational impulses.

And that right there, Phelonius, shows one of difference between the antiwar crowd (particularly the Bush-hating type, who don't argue out of any isolationist or non-intervensionist philosophy, but of sheer malice for the Republicans and conservatives and Bush in particular) and those on the right who support the effort to civilize the Middle East as the best antidote for terrorism:

They don't consider it a threat (Bush is the REAL threat, you see), while the second group (which Republicus obviously belongs to) understands it as such-- and as was spectacularly demonstrated one fine day on 9/11.

That is an appropriate reference. The 9/11 terrorists were not some exceptional group of young Turks.

They were applauded in the Arab Street from the Palestinians in Israel to Baghdad and beyond.

But precisely because the Bush-hating Left is too fixated on "the threatening dangers" Bush poses to them to recognize the proper enemy in the War on Terror, that enemy is accordingly diminished--if not even championed, since the enemy of their enemy, President Bush, is their friend-- and 9/11 isolated as some fluke of a diplomatic breakdown, and hence any reference to 9/11 as a rational reminder to what we are dealing with is considered "fear-mongering" and an appeal to irrationality.

2:05 PM  
Blogger John said...

Phelonius said...

"Ok, let's see if I am following this right. Concerns about mortality would seem to fit a nation that has had its people slaughtered by Islamic-fascists. Now, are you saying that you hold the Islamic-fascists views to be the mainstream worldview? That seems a bit radical."


Jeff, a "bit radical?"

According to him he's "mainstream" and represents "The People."

Anyway, don't waste your time, Phelonius. He can't reason that way.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

Well, I did find the Becker quote interesting, as I have spent some time in his book "The Denial of Death." I would point out that Becker's reference to a heroic stand against perceived evil is a major theme of the book itself. When one is confronted by one's mortality, Becker says that we all have a "hero image" of ourselves where we give ourselves the qualities that we percieve will give us the ability to overcome all adversity, even unto death itself. It is similar in some respects to the 'uber-mensch' of Nietche, but for Becker it is pretty much only a defensive construct of the mind.

It is clear, though, that people DO choose leaders (given the ooportunity) that provide the most security in their minds. What rational being would vote for a leader that would be clearly suicidal from their point of view? It is in this sense only that Jeff's use of Becker can be said to be valid, but only if he admits that he does the same thing (to be consistent within the Becker construction).

As to whether Bush is the worst president in hitory I can only say that this seems to be an excercise in semantics. The reason that he was elected a second term was that there were enough people around to vote for him, so he must be connecting with a majority. If the minority wishes to claim that he is "evil" then that is their right, but there does seem to be a group of folks out there that are really dedicated to this question. I tend to be a bit neutral there, and I think a lifetime of watching presidents and being a student of history have made me so. There is a good argument that Grant was possibly the worst ever, but "worst" and "best" are subjective terms in the best of circumstances.

If the minority wishes to have a better president, all the whining in the world will not do a thing. They must come up with a platform and a candidate that will sway the opinion of the majority of voters. It really is that simple. If the majority wish to cut and run from Iraq, then it will ultimately happen. If they do not, then we will not.

Jeff did say, to his credit, that the legacy of this administration will take time to analyze. That is true. I am not a big fan of some of the things he has done, but I do think that he has done enough to hack off both the far right and the far left that this will be a complicated issue. I do not really care. Even with a Libertarian point of view, when someone or something, or group of things and someones, attack us here on our own ground, somebody has to pay and pay heavily. Why should a Texan care about what happens in New York? Because we are joined by political and cultural ties even beyond the fact that innocents died there. Our president may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he is our son-of-a-bitch and those people in NY were ours also.

Now, if the minority can become a majority, then that son-of-a-bitch (or daughter??) will be our president and we will have to accept the will of the majority. Until that happy time, remember to vote Libertarian and if you don't then "I told you so!" ;-)

3:21 PM  
Blogger John said...

Phelonius said...

"Well, I did find the Becker quote interesting..."

Sure it is.

"I would point out that Becker's reference to a heroic stand against perceived evil is a major theme of the book itself. When one is confronted by one's mortality, Becker says that we all have a "hero image" of ourselves where we give ourselves the qualities that we percieve will give us the ability to overcome all adversity, even unto death itself. It is similar in some respects to the 'uber-mensch' of Nietche, but for Becker it is pretty much only a defensive construct of the mind."


"It is clear, though, that people DO choose leaders (given the ooportunity) that provide the most security in their minds. What rational being would vote for a leader that would be clearly suicidal from their point of view?"

No rational being would, naturally.

"It is in this sense only that Jeff's use of Becker can be said to be valid, but only if he admits that he does the same thing (to be consistent within the Becker construction)."

He wouldn't admit it. He's not presenting it--properly, as you just did--as a normal and even healthy psychological dynamic geared for survival, but is suggesting that it is a morbid psychological condition which explains the democratic election of Bush (and therefore, under those conditions--in league with pregnant chads in Florida and Diebold machines in Ohio-- making his election illegitimate).

Apparently, to Jeff, choosing Bush IS suicidal, and therefore an act of irrationality, or the product of manipulation--i.e. "fear-mongering"-- that compels the choice by exploiting an irrational fear when there is really, rationally, nothing to fear...

...except Bush himself.

Phelonius. Jeff is what Michelle Malkin would describe as "unhinged" over Bush.

I'm just talking about his politics, and how Bush, Republicans, and conservatives hit some kind of nerve and knocks him off his rocker.

It's the "visceral reaction" Gergen said Clinton aroused in people, but multipled by ten.

Look at my November 20 post, "The Bush-Hater." It consists of one quote.

Those are his words.

"Jeff did say, to his credit, that the legacy of this administration will take time to analyze."

Those aren't his words. It's the opinion of the material he plagiarized and cut and paste as his own.

His mind is made up. There's nothing to analyze. Bush is, as far he's concerned, "the worst president in history," and he "hopes" he gets assassinated. That's what he said. That's what I'm dealing with.

I'm hoping he snaps out of it.

"...remember to vote Libertarian and if you don't then "I told you so!" ;-)

Republicus recommends checking out a lively discussion of Libertarianism--as hosted by Joe Richie and M.C.'d by Phelonius here, Libertarians both-- at:

9:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

Richard Reeves is the kind of "charismatic leader" who Lee Harvey considers a Fount of Absolute, Objective Truth:

"# He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process."

Nonsense. Irresponsible.

"# He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich."

"Bankrupting." "Aggressive." "The Rich."

Hyperbole meant to be taken seriously and vile class warfare.

He's disqualified right there.

"# He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state"

"Deliberately." "Dangerously." Attacked."

Enough. This is junk.

This is Larouchian rabble-rousing without even Lyndon's grasp of history to make you think.

Reeve's is a joke. If he truly believes what he's saying, then he's paranoid, too.

Maybe he doesn't, but is intentionally sensationalizing everything because he knows his audience is and they suck this stuff up and keep him published.

10:52 PM  
Blogger John said...

BTW, Lee Harvey, what the hell does any of that have to do with Hillary's asking for a plan and Bush's comprehensive delivery of one days before she asked?

I ask you, reader, is she clueless, or just think that you are?

11:12 PM  
Anonymous jeff said...

Computer Outs WH: Poltical Hack wrote victory Plan
by Magorn Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 03:18:10 PM PDT

When will the evil Geniuses at the WH learn not to skip IT training classes?

Thanks to a bit of actual reporting by the NYTimes; a nasty security hole in Adobe Acrobat has revealed a much worse glitch in our National security:

namely that our "Comprehensive Strategy for Victory in Iraq" was basically slapped together by a professional poll-watcher working for Bushco.

Although White House officials said many federal departments had contributed to the ...35-page National Security Council document titled, "Our National Strategy for Victory in strongly reflected a new voice in the administration: Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who joined the N.S.C. staff as a special adviser in June

Actually, Dr. Peter "Johnny" Feaver basically wrote the whole damn thing and we have the Doc codes to prove it:

The role of Dr. Feaver in preparing the strategy document came to light through a quirk of technology. In a portion of the document usually hidden from public view but accessible with a few keystrokes, the plan posted on the White House Web site showed the document's originator, or "author" in the software's designation, to be "feaver-p."

So who the hell is Dr. Feaver and why the hell is he in Charge of our Iraqi Strategy?

Well, basically, He's a poltical animal; a professional poll-watcher for the president:

Despite the president's oft-stated aversion to polls, Dr. Feaver was recruited after he and Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.

In other words what the president means when he says "I don't follow polls" is " What? are you kidding me? all them numbers and graphs and such? No I got a man I hired to do all that for me

In the grand tradition of our current cronocracy, Dr. Feaver, now apparently our Iraqi War Czar, has expertly done the Sycophant Shuffle to land his current Job:

You Just Jump on the Left:

He worked on military issues on President Clinton's National Security Council staff in 1993 and 1994, but he has written critically of Mr. Clinton and other Democrats

Then Suck up to the Right:

Last year in an op-ed article in The Washington Post, noting Mr. Bush's determination to invade Iraq in 2003 in the face of doubts, Dr. Feaver wrote, "Determined commanders in chief have the mind-set and the resolve to act in spite of the political climate and military resistance."

(let's do the Iraq War again!)

But what really clinched him the job was his "kill all you want they'll make more" analysis of the Public opinion polls about the war:

Dr. Feaver was recruited after he and Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. They concluded that Americans would support a war with mounting casualties on one condition: that they believed it would ultimately succeed.

So, if you are the president, after receiving this news, do you :

A) Convene a top to bottom strategic review of your war efforts in Iraq, seeking feedback from commanders in the fields, expert military strategists and the Pentagon to ensure you are on the right track for ultimate victory; or

B) Deliver a fake "Major Address on the War" on a stage with Quasi-Facist Set Dressing in front of a crowd of uniformed soldiers legally required to cheer for you and then release a propaganda document disguised as a strategic plan whose every third word is "Victory"?

If you have any question which road this White House took, let me be the first to congratulate you on your recent recovery from a five year coma:

That finding, ....was clearly behind the victory theme in the speech and the plan, in which the word appears six times in the table of contents alone,

"This is not really a strategy document from the Pentagon about fighting the insurgency," said Christopher F. Gelpi, Dr. Feaver's colleague at Duke and co-author of the research on American tolerance for casualties... The document is clearly targeted at American public opinion."

According ... Adobe Systems, which makes the Acrobat software used to prepare the document, that entry indicated that Dr. Feaver created the original document that, with additions and editing, was posted on the Web. There is no way to know from the text how much he wrote.

However friends and colleagues say it's got his fingerprints all over it:

John Mueller, of Ohio State University, ... described... the victory plan "very Feaverish, or Feaveresque" -

However this uncertainty is the straw the WH is desperately clutching at to avoid looking like complete buffoons. Now that this has come to light, WH spokespeople Are trying desperately to spin this as a team effort:

Frederick Jones, an N.S.C. spokesman, said the document "reflects the broad interagency effort under way in Iraq" and "incorporates all aspects of American power," including political and economic as well as military efforts. He said major contributions to the plan came from the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury and Homeland Security, as well as the director of National Intelligence.
Which is a bit strange since a top military commander in Iraq stated he hadn't even seen a copy of the plan until it was made public Wednesday, much less been asked for input or comment on the plan:

In a news briefing from Iraq on Friday, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the top American military official in charge of training Iraqi troops, surprised some reporters by saying he first saw "Our Strategy for Victory in Iraq" when it was released to the public on Wednesday.

But even if this were true, it woulf not explain A) what a professional poll-reader is doing on the NSC or B) Why he, of all people would be the one to write the first draft of a strategic plan for military victory in Iraq


Playing politcs with the president's highest duties and most solemn responsibilities is probably the greatest of the manifold Sins of this current adminstration. You want to be shocked and outraged by the latest incidence but all you can seem to muster is another depressed "I told you so" to the non believers. And before we could even begin to digest this outrage another one is boilingup now in the form of The newly released E-mails from Gov Blanco to the WH
where we see the very same incredibly depressing pattern of Politics before lives:

White House senior adviser Karl Rove wanted it conveyed that he understood that Blanco was requesting that President Bush federalize the evacuation of New Orleans. . . .

"Thus began what one aide called a 'full-court press' to compel the first-term governor to yield control of her state National Guard -- a legal, political and personal campaign by White House staff that failed three days later when Blanco rejected the administration's terms, 10 minutes before Bush was to announce them in a Rose Garden news conference, the governor's aides said. . . .

"A Blanco aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the people around Bush were trying to maneuver the governor into an unnecessary change intended to make Bush look decisive.

Look, I've always know Karl Rove is a political animal first and a human being second, and its been pretty clear to me that HE rather than the W is really calling the shots at the WH. But I think in my heart of hearts ie also assumed I was exaggerating just a little bit. I thought that even in the corrupt cesspool that is our current WH there must be some residual sense of honor and responsibility. Not any more, these two most recent revelations rub my nose in the cold hard fact that there is nothing they will not subvert to their political interests.

It's an awful cliché, and I apologize but every day I feel a little more likes Joe Welch all those years ago, shaking my head and wondering:"Have you no sense of decency, sirs , at long last? Have you left no sense of decency"?

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Beyond Spin
The propaganda presidency of George W. Bush.
By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005, at 7:13 PM ET

A frequent complaint about the Clinton administration was that it tried too hard to "spin" everything in its own favor. Clinton's spin doctors had a variety of individual styles but shared a grating habit of relentlessly coloring the news to support their side in any argument. George Stephanopoulos, with whom the technique was closely identified, once defined spin as "a hope dressed up as an observation." In practice, Clinton-era spinning meant that officials seldom conceded the obvious or acknowledged losing, failing, or being wrong about anything.

George W. Bush arrived in Washington avowing an end to all that. He promised he would never parse, shade, or play nice with the truth the way that Clinton had. But if Bush has shunned spinning, it has been in favor of something far more insidious. If the Clintonites were inveterate spinners, the Bushies have proved themselves to be thoroughgoing propagandists.

Though propaganda and spin exist on a continuum, they are different in essence. To spin is to offer a contention, usually specious, in response to a critical argument or a negative news story. It does not necessarily involve lying or misleading anyone about factual matters. Habitual spin is irksome, especially to the journalists upon whom it is practiced, but it does not threaten democracy. Propaganda is far more malignant. A calculated and systematic effort to manage public opinion, it transcends mere lying and routine political dishonesty. When the Bush administration manufactures fake "news," suppresses real news, disguises the former as the latter, and challenges the legitimacy of the independent press, it corrodes trust in leaders, institutions, and, to the rest of the world, the United States as a whole.

Propaganda is the only word for the Pentagon's recently exposed secret efforts to plant positive stories in the Iraqi press. There is, to be sure, precedent for the U.S. funding democratically-minded foreign journalists, both clandestinely through the CIA and openly through agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID. Covert funding is both ethically indefensible and, in most cases, practically counterproductive. In the Cold War context, however, such efforts were often aboveboard and directed toward supporting courageous independent media and opposition voices in repressive countries.

In the Iraq cash-for-flacks scheme, on the other hand, the Pentagon did something simply stupid and wrong by hiring a propaganda-making firm called the Lincoln Group to cultivate an impression of grass-roots support for the American occupation. In this greenhouse, the gardeners did not just water and fertilize the seedlings; they handed out plastic flowers and hoped no one would notice they weren't real. American operatives paid Iraqi journalistic mercenaries to publish a farrago of puffery and outright misrepresentation. Here's my favorite quote from the Nov. 30 Los Angeles Times piece that exposed this operation: "Zaki [an Iraqi newspaper editor] said that if his cash-strapped paper had known that these stories were from the U.S. government, he would have 'charged much, much more' to publish them."

As with the torture and rendition scandals, Bush administration officials are sorry about this only because they got caught doing it. Look at Donald Rumsfeld's Dec. 5 response: The only blame he assigns is to the international news media, which has "pounded" the revelations. With one wave of the hand, Rummy excuses the government's ham-fisted propaganda effort and expresses his dripping contempt for genuine journalists, who in his mind are eternally spreading negativity, undermining support for the war on terror, and compromising military security. Like his colleagues in Bush's war council, Rummy indicates with every gesture that he simply does not accept the legitimate role of a free press.

According to a recent report in the British press, Bush last year proposed bombing Al Jazeera's headquarters to Tony Blair. This may or may not have been a joke, but given our military's record of accidental assaults on journalists in Iraq, it's not impossible to imagine that the president thinks smart-bombing would be a good way to respond to hostile coverage. At home, it's more a matter of freezing out and anathematizing organs, such as the New York Times, that are deemed unfriendly, while promulgating his own, dubious version of reality. The familiar litany of the administration's domestic disinformation efforts includes the Department of Education paying Armstrong Williams to defend the No Child Left Behind Act, HHS hiring Maggie Gallagher to promote its "marriage initiative," and both agencies sending local TV stations prepackaged pseudo-news videos advocating administration policies. Any of these incidents might be excused as an episode of poor judgment by an underling. In combination and accompanied by various presidential comments about not reading the newspaper, preferring to get his news from aides, and so on, they suggest a propaganda ethic.

For the Bush team, rolling-your-own news has the further advantage of supporting the revolving-door conservative welfare state that has flourished in five years of expanding, undivided government. The administration's need to outsource its propaganda work—for reasons of deniability, not efficiency—has promoted the emergence of a new kind of PR-industrial complex in the nation's capital. Outfits like the Ketchum's Washington Group, the shadowy Lincoln Group, and the even more flourishing, even more shadowy Rendon Group are the parasitic fruit not just of unchecked self-puffery but of a lucrative new patronage network.

In a way, what's most troubling about the Bush's administration's information war is not its cynicism but its naiveté. At phony town hall meetings, Bush's audiences are hand-picked to prevent any possibility of spontaneous challenge. At fake forums, invited guests ask the president to pursue his previously announced policies. New initiatives are unveiled on platforms festooned with meaningless slogans, mindlessly repeated ("Plan for Victory"). Anyone on the inside who doubts the party line is shown the door. In this environment, where the truth is not spoken privately or publicly, the suspicion grows that Bush, in his righteous cocoon, has committed the final, fatal sin of the propagandist. He is not just spreading BS but has come to believe it himself.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Dec. 7, 2005

Your Turn

E-mail your questions and comments to Lloyd Garver

What's next? Is the administration going to produce its own version of "The Daily Show" and call it news? The latest revelation that a public relations firm — The Lincoln Group — has been paid by the Pentagon to plant news stories that are favorable to the U.S. in Iraqi papers would be shocking if it weren't so predictable. It's not that long ago that the administration admitted paying U.S. columnists to write pro-administration columns. President Bush publicly abandoned this practice, but so far, he hasn't taken responsibility for doing the same thing abroad.

The outrageousness of planting stories in Iraqi newspapers is, obviously, heightened because this occurs at the same time that we are supposedly encouraging Iraq to promote freedom — and a true and free press is the cornerstone of that freedom. If this manipulation of the press continues, how will we ever know what is a legitimate news story or column and what is something paid for by the government? How will we know when they are sneaking their own words into stories?

Obviously, this column is not something the government would ever pay for, and we, I mean, they don't "sneak" words into stories.

We seem to be abandoning the principle that the best way to get other countries to adopt the ways of a free and democratic society is to set a good example for them. For instance, if we want Iraqis to have free speech, we can't call Americans who oppose the war traitors.

Check Garver's passport. I'll bet he's been to Red China. And check his cabinets. I'll bet he owns some Red China.

We can't use the excuse, "The other side uses propaganda in news stories, so why shouldn't we?" We're supposed to be better than they are.

We are better than they are. We are good and they are evil.

Look at the administration's attitude towards torture. When other countries engage in torture, it is barbaric and a crime against humanity. When we do it, it's "necessary for our security."

The United States does not engage in torture. At the same time, we have reservations about agreeing to abandon this important tool of ours.

Not surprisingly, the planted stories aren't even working in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. When Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, editor of one of the major Iraqi papers was asked if the Pentagon-sponsored fake news was effective, he replied, "I would spend the money another way."

Don't worry, Muhammad. We're spending it all kinds of ways.

It may be a cliché to say that "truth is the first casualty of war," but how many more times can it be mortally wounded? Remember WMDs? Remember the alleged connection between Iraq and al Qaeda? Remember Colin Powell pointing to all those "threats" at the U.N.? The Bush administration is certainly not the first to disseminate false information, whether on purpose or because of shamefully bad intelligence. But aren't you tired of hearing things that you know aren't true?

Colin Powell is not a member of the current administration. Currently, he is a private citizen who has served his country honorably, at least until we hung him out to dry.

We've been told over and over again how well the war in Iraq is going, and yet American casualties mount. We're told that we're winning the war against terrorism as the number of terrorists increase. President Bush has said repeatedly that we must "stay the course." Recently, there have been some calls to start thinking about pulling out of Iraq. First the administration viewed these calls as unthinkable. But after checking the polls, they began to choose their words more carefully. Now, there are a lot of people who would bet that significant troops will be pulled out before the 2006 Congressional elections. What will the administration tell us when they pretend that the two events are unrelated?

We do not allow polls or elections to dictate policy. On the other hand, we feel it's important to be responsive to the wants of the people.

So, the next time you're in the supermarket and you see one of those tabloids with a headline like, "Woman Gives Birth To Three-Headed Dog," don't laugh too loudly. That story probably has about as much credibility as whatever's on the front page of The Iraqi Daily News.

There is no such newspaper — at least not on the U.S. payroll.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Will the Lying Ever Stop?

By Robert Parry
December 7, 2005

Having already destroyed the credibility of his first Secretary of State, George W. Bush has now eviscerated whatever trust the world might have placed in his second Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

By sending Colin Powell to the United Nations to pitch a dubious – and ultimately bogus – case for war against Iraq in 2003, Bush unmasked the warrior diplomat as a rank opportunist who put his career and loyalty to his superiors ahead of truthfulness and the welfare of American soldiers. Powell later called the U.N. speech a “blot” on his record.

Now, Rice has suffered a similar fate, appearing before European leaders and making assertions that were known to be lies as they passed her lips.

Rice insisted that “the United States government does not authorize or condone torture of detainees.” She also asserted that the Bush administration wouldn’t ship a detainee to other countries “for the purpose of interrogation using torture,” nor to a country “when we believe he will be tortured.”

Since Rice’s statements on Dec. 5, many mainstream American journalists have danced around the l-word by suggesting that Rice might have been carefully parsing her words to avoid an outright lie. What do the words “authorize” and “condone” mean? What exactly is “torture”? Is there wiggle room in the phrases “for the purpose of” and “will be” instead of “may be”?

But it is virtually impossible to ignore the overwhelming evidence that President Bush did order the “gloves off” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and instituted a broad policy of harsh treatment not only of high-profile al-Qaeda suspects but of lesser figures, including Iraqi insurgents suspected of attacking U.S. troops inside Iraq.

Besides techniques such as “water-boarding” which simulates drowning, U.S. interrogators have employed a wide arsenal of techniques including stripping detainees naked, subjecting them to extremes of hot and cold, and forcing them into painful “stress positions” for extended periods of time. Some detainees have died from beatings.

The Bush administration also has established a worldwide policy that amounts to “disappearing” detainees. They are denied even the most rudimentary protections under the rule of law and international agreements. Some are even hidden from the Red Cross.

Human Rights Watch spokesman Tom Malinowski said Bush’s use of the practice of “rendition” differs from its earlier application, which was to ship suspects to countries where they would stand trial; now, they are put beyond “judicial interference” so they can be interrogated and imprisoned indefinitely. [Washington Post, Dec. 6, 2005]

History of Deception

In a larger sense, however, Rice’s torture denial – like Powell’s earlier deceptive case for war – represents a longstanding approach to information by the neoconservatives who dominate Bush’s foreign policy.

For decades, the neocons have followed the approach that when lacking the facts, simply lie. Then, count on your allies in the media to browbeat the doubters by impugning their patriotism. Also, recognize that America’s weakened checks and balances will seldom hold you accountable. [See’s “Neocon Amorality.”]

Those of us who covered the Iran-Contra scandal knew this strategy well. Even when one of White House aide Oliver North’s secret supply planes was shot down over Nicaragua in October 1986, the unified message from top Reagan-Bush administration officials was that there was “no U.S. government connection” to the flight.

A month later, in November 1986, when a Lebanese newspaper revealed secret arms deals between the administration and Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist government, the initial reaction from the White House, including President Ronald Reagan, was again to deny, deny, deny.

Later, Vice President George H.W. Bush insisted he was “not in the loop” on Iran-Contra decisions despite evidence that his office was a hub for both the Iranian and Nicaraguan wheels of the operation. [See Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege or Lost History.]

This pattern of confident deception has continued to the present day with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney having the temerity to accuse their Iraq War critics of “rewriting history.” To hear Bush and Cheney tell it, they are the ones standing for truth even though much of what they said about Iraq turned out to be false. [See’s “Bush’s Rewriting of History.”]

Many Americans marvel at this chutzpah. But the answer to the mystery of this stunning arrogance is simple: Bush, Cheney and their surrogates judge that they can say whatever they want because this strategy has worked so often before.

They know the powerful right-wing media apparatus – from the Wall Street Journal editorial page to Fox News to AM talk radio to the multitude of conservative writers and commentators – will embrace virtually whatever comes out of the White House. Plus most mainstream journalists are so afraid of getting pegged with the “liberal” label that the worst that will happen is that the press will present competing versions of reality.

Most Democrats – terrified of some future 30-second attack ad – will search for some politically safe middle ground. For those few who still muster the courage to challenge the administration directly, they can expect a good tongue lashing from Cheney for their “reprehensible” behavior or Fox News diatribes for their lack of patriotism.

Faced with all this contradictory chatter, millions of Americans just tune out the words or they set aside reason and simply react to the visceral arguments that juxtapose “cutting and running” with “supporting the troops.”

Critical Thinking

As my brother, William Parry, noted during a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday, there is no vested interest in the United States for teaching critical thinking.

Indeed, the nation’s march to war in Iraq put on display nearly every classic example of irrational arguments, from false dichotomies (“who are you going to believe, this mad dictator or the president of the United States?”) to ad hominem attacks on critics (“Saddam sympathizers! Why don’t you move to France!”). [For more details, see’s “Politics of Preemption.”]

Yet while there is no financial motivation to teach critical thinking, there is a huge incentive to master the techniques of manipulating the American people. Given that the United States is the world’s biggest market as well as the most powerful military force, no population has been more closely studied to determine how to influence its decisions.

Long ago, Madison Avenue’s expertise spilled into the nation’s political process from one side while the CIA’s dark arts of propaganda flooded in from the other. The American people are subjected to endless emotional and manipulative appeals.

In the absence of reasoned discourse, the key to winning a political fight is to deploy more media artillery and propaganda firepower than your opponent. That has been a strategy followed for three decades by American conservatives who built up their own media apparatus and financed attack groups to go after mainstream reporters.

The Right’s success was, in turn, compounded by the Left’s failure to build a comparable media infrastructure or even to support mainstream journalists when they came under withering fire from the Right. Instead, the Left has put the bulk of its money into local “grassroots organizing” and into social programs, such as feeding the hungry.

These differing strategies have led to an aggressive right-wing media, an intimidated mainstream press corps and an inconsequential progressive media. That dynamic, in turn, means that large swaths of the American countryside (i.e. the Red States) are inundated with TV, radio and print denunciations of liberals as people who “hate America.” [For more, see’s “The Left’s Media Miscalculation.”]

The danger from this national media predicament is that the Bush administration’s “perception management” may work domestically in the near term to keep the American people in line, but the propaganda has declining value elsewhere in the world, especially in the Middle East where U.S. credibility is scraping the bottom.

At some point, international credibility – or the lack of it – may emerge as a national security problem. In all likelihood, there will come a time when a truly dangerous threat to the United States will arise and will require a multilateral response.

If that happens, the American people might wish for a Secretary of State who is not viewed around the world as a liar.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

8:45 PM  
Blogger John said...

Subjective opinion pieces by political hitmen.

They're easy to recognize--not because Republicus is himself a partisan and therefore automatically determines that any negative coverage are "subjectve opinions by political hitmen," but because he recognizes rhetorical techniques and tactics and is sensitive to a writer's voice, tone, and angle.

Republicus will presently analyze the first of the four opinion pieces posing as journalism--the only one relevant to the post--to show you what he's talking about.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

"Subjective opinion pieces by political hitmen."

LOL, of course. Couldn't be any truth at all in there. Nothing bad about Bush allowed into your consciousness. Deflect, deflect. Clinton must have done something sometime to even out the bad Bush Press. Have fun deflecting and apologizing- er- I mean deconstructing and informing us of the actual noble intentions of your leader.

11:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

*Au contraire,* Republicus will dissect and demonstrate the depraved intentions of your leaders.

11:56 AM  
Blogger John said...

Look at this snake:

"...and informing us..."

Yes, now it's "us"--Lee Harvey and "The People"--versus a marginilized, "fast shrinking" Republicus and "his" leader: The duly-elected President of the United States of America.

You are political filth, sir.

Republicus speaks for himself, and would prefer to have even one like-minded ally over a brigade of the mindless rabble you are trying to rouse.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

"Republicus speaks for himself, and would prefer to have even one like-minded ally over a brigade of the mindless rabble you are trying to rouse."


Thats just about what you have left. LOL. Neoconism failed miserably man. They will be relegated back to the political pariah heap where they have been the past 30 years prior to this disaster of an administration soon enough. LOL

10:28 AM  
Blogger John said...

"LOL Thats just about what you have left. LOL."

That's fine. The good and the excellent have always been outnumbered, anyway, but they prevail because they're good and excellent.

And you're still a disgusting creature.

5:15 PM  

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