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tiptap
09-11-2004, 08:58 AM
http://slate.msn.com/id/2106484/

Seventy-five years ago in the Rose Bowl, a University of California football player named Roy Riegels picked up a fumble by the opposing team, spun around, and started running for the end zone. Unfortunately, he was heading the wrong way. He ran with such purpose that people in the stands, including the play-by-play announcer, doubted their own sanity. When a teammate tried to stop him, Riegels—who would go down in history as "Wrong-Way Riegels"—shook him off. He was a man on a mission.

This is what's now happening in Iraq and the presidential campaign. President Bush and Vice President Cheney are framing the election as a choice between playing "defense" and going on "offense" in the war on terror. The attacks of 9/11 presented the United States with a grave new challenge. Bush picked up this football and started running with it—toward Iraq. But Iraq wasn't among the states closely linked to 9/11 or al-Qaida. Nor did it have the weapons of mass destruction Bush advertised. We've spent more than 1,000 American lives and close to $200 billion running the wrong way.

Here's how Cheney put the argument three days ago:

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We also have gone on the offense on the war on terror. But the President's opponent even seems to object to that. Senator Kerry has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we live in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.

And here's how Bush put it a week earlier:

We have a difference of opinion on the enemy, it seems. My opponent said that going to war with the terrorists is actually improving their recruiting efforts. The logic is upside-down. I think it shows a misunderstanding of the enemy. See, during the 1990's, the terrorists were recruiting and training for war with us long before we went to war with them. They don't need an excuse for their hatred. It is wrong to blame this country for staying on the offense. See, we don't create enemies and terrorists by fighting back; we defeat the terrorists by fighting back.

Those two quotes encapsulate the central question of this election. In the Bush-Cheney worldview, all foreign adversaries blur into one: "the enemy." All U.S. options simplify to two: "offense" or "defense." Going on offense shows "strength" and defeats the enemy. If the president starts running with the ball, and you criticize him, you show "weakness" and invite terrorism.

But what if there's more than one enemy? What if the enemy we're "fighting back" at isn't the one that struck or threatened us? What if the president turns away from the team that was trying to score on us, and he starts heading for another team that's sitting in the stands, behind our own end zone? What if his "offense" is losing yards with every stride?

That's the lesson of three years of investigations. The 9/11 commission has found "no evidence" of "a collaborative operational relationship" between Iraq and al-Qaida. Bush's handpicked chief weapons inspector, David Kay, says there "were no large stockpiles of WMD." What has this diversion done for the war on terror? A year ago, U.S. intelligence officials told reporters that "as much as half of the intelligence and special forces assets in Afghanistan and Pakistan were diverted to support the war in Iraq." While we've been bogged down in Iraq, Iran has revved up its own nuclear program, and North Korea has acquired the fuel for as many as eight nukes.

Bush screwed up. He picked the wrong target. He's been running the wrong way.

Bush says, "The world is a safer place with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell." That's true. Every arrest of a bad guy makes the world safer. But the world is full of bad guys, and we have limited resources. The arrest of Saddam has cost us about $200 billion, absorbed our attention, and forced us to pull American troops from other countries. That means other bad guys have gone unchecked. Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst attack on the U.S. mainland, remains at large. In North Korea, the world's worst proliferator, Kim Jong-il, has built more nukes. Saddam had no nukes and never attacked the U.S. mainland.

Bush says, "Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentment and breed violence for export." That's true, too. But it will take a lot more time, money, and American casualties to transform Iraq into a free society. It would take still more time and money—and perhaps more casualties—to spread that transformation to the countries that contributed to the 9/11 plot. Even if this were possible, it's a very long and roundabout way of getting to a result that could be addressed more immediately by pursuing the people who struck us on 9/11 or threaten us today.

Is Bin Laden upset that we're spending our time, money, and resources in Iraq? Ask the coach whose team Roy Riegels was playing against in that Rose Bowl. "He's running the wrong way," the coach told his players as Riegels whizzed by. "Let's see how far he can go."

When the president runs the wrong way, the first thing to do is show him the evidence and hope he'll change course. That's what the weapons inspectors and the 9/11 commission tried to do. The evidence that Iraq's WMD programs had decayed to impotence has shaken many people, including me, who originally supported the war. I thought Saddam should be ousted for jerking around the weapons inspectors he accepted as part of the Gulf War cease-fire. I still think so. But that was an international offense and deserved an international response. We shouldn't have made the laziness of France and Russia our problem. Without the WMD, there was no direct threat to the United States and no need for us to punish Saddam now, at the price of so much American blood and treasure, while graver threats to us brewed elsewhere.

But Bush and Cheney refuse to listen. "Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision" to invade Iraq, Bush repeated last week. He continues to confuse Saddam with Bin Laden. The choice in Iraq, according to Bush, was, "Do I forget the lessons of September the 11th—trust a madman—or take action to defend America?" Cheney blurs the same distinction. He proposes to remake "places like Iraq and Afghanistan so they never again become breeding grounds for the terrorists that launched those deadly attacks, not only against the United States, but obviously, for the kinds of terrorist attacks that we've seen around the world."

When Roy Riegels was heading the wrong way, one of his teammates chased him and pleaded with him to stop. Riegels blew him off. "Get away from me," he said. "This is my touchdown." So at the 3-yard-line, the teammate did the only thing he could: He grabbed Riegels and held him until Riegels was tackled, 1 yard shy of the end zone.

There isn't much we can do now about the damage the Iraq war has done to our campaigns against al-Qaida and WMD proliferation. But there is something we can do at election time about a president who persists in running the wrong way despite all pleas and evidence: We can tackle him.

The next time Bush or Cheney brags about going on the "offense" in the war on terror, remember Wrong-Way Riegels. Sometimes the worst defense is a bad offense.

William Saletan is Slate's chief political correspondent and author

Mr. Kotter
09-11-2004, 09:47 AM
:rolleyes:

ZZZ

Baby Lee
09-11-2004, 10:08 AM
So, aside from naming Osama and Jong-Il, the premise is basically "surely there is something better to do?"

The variables concerning the handling of Osama and Jong-Il have been hashed and rehashed.
Osama is probably dead, and if he isn't his organization has been crippled and he is hiding deep in a cave network in the most inaccessable mountain range on earth, which traverses numerous nations.
Re: Jong-Il, it is axiomatic that you treat the guy who HAS nukes much differently from the guy who is SEEKING nukes, or doesn't have nukes and is seeking other forms of WMD.
Absent those two, this guy's got NOTHING.
Sure Saddam is bad and his capture is good. Sure a free Iraq is a great vision, but it's just SOOOO HARD. Boo-fuggin'-hoo.
So, aside from Jong-Il who is an established power with the big boy toys already in his arsenal, and Osama who is either dead beneath the earth, or alive way beneath the earth, who is this supposed 'greater threat?'
Where SPECIFICALLY have we squandered opportunities in the past year?
What other IMMINENT THREAT to our shores have we allowed to gather strength?

I'm sick to fuggin death of these condemnations with generalities.

"Surely doing something else would be better" is NOT a reasoned critique.

jettio
09-14-2004, 10:37 PM
So, aside from naming Osama and Jong-Il, the premise is basically "surely there is something better to do?"

The variables concerning the handling of Osama and Jong-Il have been hashed and rehashed.
Osama is probably dead, and if he isn't his organization has been crippled and he is hiding deep in a cave network in the most inaccessable mountain range on earth, which traverses numerous nations.
Re: Jong-Il, it is axiomatic that you treat the guy who HAS nukes much differently from the guy who is SEEKING nukes, or doesn't have nukes and is seeking other forms of WMD.
Absent those two, this guy's got NOTHING.
Sure Saddam is bad and his capture is good. Sure a free Iraq is a great vision, but it's just SOOOO HARD. Boo-fuggin'-hoo.
So, aside from Jong-Il who is an established power with the big boy toys already in his arsenal, and Osama who is either dead beneath the earth, or alive way beneath the earth, who is this supposed 'greater threat?'
Where SPECIFICALLY have we squandered opportunities in the past year?
What other IMMINENT THREAT to our shores have we allowed to gather strength?

I'm sick to fuggin death of these condemnations with generalities.

"Surely doing something else would be better" is NOT a reasoned critique.


:holdman: :holdman: :stupid: :holdman: :holdman:

DenverChief
09-14-2004, 10:42 PM
Re: Jong-Il, it is axiomatic that you treat the guy who HAS nukes much differently from the guy who is SEEKING nukes, or doesn't have nukes and is seeking other forms of WMD.
.

So if Saddam had WMD how is he any diffenet than lil kim?

Pitt Gorilla
09-14-2004, 10:48 PM
Re: Jong-Il, it is axiomatic that you treat the guy who HAS nukes much differently from the guy who is SEEKING nukes, or doesn't have nukes and is seeking other forms of WMD.
I've been assured by many on here that Saddam had nukes.

Loki
09-14-2004, 10:48 PM
So if Saddam had WMD how is he any diffenet than lil kim?

well, they both have man-boobs.... :shrug:

DenverChief
09-14-2004, 10:49 PM
I've been assured by many on here that Saddam had nukes.:shrug: must be short term memory loss

DenverChief
09-14-2004, 10:49 PM
well, they both have man-boobs.... :shrug:

:Lin:

MadMax
09-15-2004, 12:17 AM
So if Saddam had WMD how is he any diffenet than lil kim?
hair-do?? buck teeth?? :p

patteeu
09-15-2004, 12:31 AM
So if Saddam had WMD how is he any diffenet than lil kim?

Bio/chem WMDs are quite a bit different than nukes, don't you think?

Gas masks and nerve gas antidote aren't effective against the incinerating heat or crushing pressures of a nuclear blast. And radioactive fallout over Seoul is probably a little more of a problem than a cloud of mustard gas disipating in the desert. But these are just minor details, right?

Joe Seahawk
09-15-2004, 12:36 AM
:Lin:


Are you confused?.. ;)

DenverChief
09-15-2004, 01:34 AM
Bio/chem WMDs are quite a bit different than nukes, don't you think?

Gas masks and nerve gas antidote aren't effective against the incinerating heat or crushing pressures of a nuclear blast. And radioactive fallout over Seoul is probably a little more of a problem than a cloud of mustard gas disipating in the desert. But these are just minor details, right?

Nigerian yellow cake? High strength aluminum tubes?

Minor details

DenverChief
09-15-2004, 01:35 AM
Are you confused?.. ;)
:LOL:

fat is fat gay or straight...unless your endelt :p

patteeu
09-15-2004, 08:15 AM
Nigerian yellow cake? High strength aluminum tubes?

Minor details

A nuclear program doesn't explode. You have to actually develop nuclear weapons to get that effect. No wonder you are so disappointed by the results of the Iraq war. Your expectations were unrealistic.

Baby Lee
09-15-2004, 09:15 AM
I've been assured by many on here that Saddam had nukes.
1. I doubt that you were ASSURED that he HAD them by anyone, but if you say you were, that's good enough for me.
2. Are you then saying that the Bush admin now totes the water for representations made to you by posters on a Chiefs football BB?
3. The case the admin itself made was not that he HAD nukes, but that he was pursuing the intel and materials to OBTAIN nukes as soon as he could.

As patteau referenced, if your expectation was that we'd cross the Iraqi border and the streets would be lined with fully functioning ICBMs, no wonder you are so pissed.

Braincase
09-15-2004, 09:52 AM
SO, we're on the offensive. When do we invade Saudi Arabia and the Sudan?

DenverChief
09-15-2004, 11:22 AM
A nuclear program doesn't explode. You have to actually develop nuclear weapons to get that effect. No wonder you are so disappointed by the results of the Iraq war. Your expectations were unrealistic.

ROFL


WTF do you think they were doing with this stuff? making pound cake?

KCWolfman
09-15-2004, 12:36 PM
I've been assured by many on here that Saddam had nukes.
You are taking the word of people here?

Hell, I was told by both the last Republican and Democrat POTUS that he had WMDs. Seems like all of Congress is a bunch of liars according to your terms.

KCWolfman
09-15-2004, 12:37 PM
SO, we're on the offensive. When do we invade Saudi Arabia and the Sudan?
Has Saudi Arabia broke a treaty signed with us and shot at our soldiers?

Baby Lee
09-15-2004, 12:41 PM
1. I doubt that you were ASSURED that he HAD them by anyone, but if you say you were, that's good enough for me.
2. Are you then saying that the Bush admin now totes the water for representations made to you by posters on a Chiefs football BB?
3. The case the admin itself made was not that he HAD nukes, but that he was pursuing the intel and materials to OBTAIN nukes as soon as he could.

As patteau referenced, if your expectation was that we'd cross the Iraqi border and the streets would be lined with fully functioning ICBMs, no wonder you are so pissed.
[crickets]

DenverChief
09-15-2004, 01:04 PM
ROFL


WTF do you think they were doing with this stuff? making pound cake?http://www.allpropestsvcs.com/cricket.gif

jettio
09-15-2004, 10:30 PM
A nuclear program doesn't explode. You have to actually develop nuclear weapons to get that effect. No wonder you are so disappointed by the results of the Iraq war. Your expectations were unrealistic.

What were your expectations?

Weapons?

Insurgency or Liberation?

Post-war Planning?

Prisoner Abuse?

I was pizzed that Bush was a dunderhead phony with the UN and his failure to build a coalition, but their level of incompetence and the farce of no weapons found was beyond imagination.

Who among the hawks could now pretend that this Iraq fiasco went as expected?

patteeu
09-15-2004, 10:38 PM
What were your expectations?

Weapons?

Insurgency or Liberation?

Post-war Planning?

Prisoner Abuse?

I was pizzed that Bush was a dunderhead phony with the UN and his failure to build a coalition, but their level of incompetence and the farce of no weapons found was beyond imagination.

Who among the hawks could now pretend that this Iraq fiasco went as expected?

I didn't expect nuclear weapons, did you?

jettio
09-15-2004, 10:53 PM
I didn't expect nuclear weapons, did you?

Well, Duh.

Of course not.

Everybody knew that Stooges and Condi were lying about that. I don't know why they decided to be misleading, but it was pretty easy to figure that they were full of it on that.