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Old 09-17-2007, 07:56 PM   #346
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I think in the long term (meaning the next 5 to 25 years) - the war in Iraq will make us more safe. Having forces smack in the heart of the Middle East to prevent any kind of Caliphate is good. Having forces to prevent a group like al Queda from having control of an oil producing nation is good.
Or it could give all of the radical sectarians the perfect recruitment argument: "Look at these Americans, they've marched in here, spreading government without our permission, a government we don't want and never have had, and have turned Iraq into complete chaos. They are pure evil."

That's the tagline they have. And, quite frankly, a lot around the world feel similarly about the US right now. They feel we've over-stepped our boundaries.
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:42 AM   #347
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I hardly think Kerry, Edwards, and Hillary Clinton, 3 American people that supported this fiasco by voting for it, listen to Rush Limbaugh. (and neither do I, for the record)
Aeon. . .come on now. . .surely you read the whole post. You know that I hold Kerry, Edwards, and Clinton responsible and you know in what way. I think I made that pretty clear.

I referenced three different groups, and the last was the ordinary Americans who drank the right-wing-talk-radio kool-aid. Let's face it, a majority of the American people supported this action and they were wrong. . .they allowed themselves to manipulated by the emotional jingoism that's come to pass for "news" for many in this country. Those of us who thought the war was a bad idea were in the minority. So the average American who supported this war has to take responsiblity as well.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:12 AM   #348
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I referenced three different groups, and the last was the ordinary Americans who drank the right-wing-talk-radio kool-aid.
I did read your whole post - and I will once again remind you that the "War Fever" was created by the leaders of both parties that made a connection between Iraq-WMD-and Terrorism in a post 9-11 world.

To suggest the war is the fault of Right Wing talk radio is ridiculous and to accuse any 'ordinary American' who supported the war as some AM Radio Automaton is insulting.

In the leadup to war - all the major news channels were saying the same thing. I don't think the 75% of the 'ordinary American' population (the percentage of Americans that supported the war in March, 2003) were all persuaded by Rush Limbaugh.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:00 AM   #349
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I did read your whole post - and I will once again remind you that the "War Fever" was created by the leaders of both parties that made a connection between Iraq-WMD-and Terrorism in a post 9-11 world.

To suggest the war is the fault of Right Wing talk radio is ridiculous and to accuse any 'ordinary American' who supported the war as some AM Radio Automaton is insulting.

In the leadup to war - all the major news channels were saying the same thing. I don't think the 75% of the 'ordinary American' population (the percentage of Americans that supported the war in March, 2003) were all persuaded by Rush Limbaugh.


this simply isn't true. a greater percentage of viewers of Fox News thought there was a link between Iraq and 9-11, and i didn't see any Democrats talking about connections between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. that is indeed the fault of right wing radio and armchair soldier "patriots" looking for any excuse to start a fight.

there is no question that the drumbeats for this debacle, this failure, were started by the Republicans who were in control of the presidency and both houses of congress. Democrats can be faulted for not fighting back harder, and they should, but to paint a picture as if the Dems and the Reps stood on the steps of Congress and held hands and sang this piece-of-shit-country song, "have you forgotten," (gee, wonder what the racial and political demos are for country music), is simply a lie:

[q]They took all the footage off my T.V.
Said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it everyday
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
After 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten? [/q]

good gosh, looking back, it's almost beyond pardoy.

thank goodness "Mr. Show" already did. years and years ago:
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:15 AM   #350
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I know, this is very long. But the link will die and I think it is worth reading.



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman John P. Murtha, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, delivered the following remarks yesterday at the National Press Club:

Last week Americans heard the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. General Jones and the GAO have reported their findings to us. Americans listened to the president's prime time address. Despite the mixed reports, moving benchmarks and morphed messaging, this administration remains committed to U.S. troops in Iraq for an indefinite period. Rather than taking ownership of its own failed policy, this administration asks our military to carry the full burden and now to defend it politically. Rather than taking immediate corrective action, this administration now appears content with running out the clock.

On November 17, 2005, I said that the president's war in Iraq is a "flawed policy wrapped in illusion." Although his slogans might have changed, the president's most recent appeal is still more of the same. More flawed policies and more illusions.

I joined the Marine Corps as a private in 1952. It was the middle of the Korean War, but also towards the end of the Indo-China war. In 1953, as the Korean War ended, General Navarre, commander of French Forces in Indo-China said, "A year ago none of us could see victory. There wasn't a prayer. Now we can see it clearly -- like light at the end of a tunnel."

A year later, in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu the French were ignominiously forced out of Indo-China.

In 1966, I went to Vietnam. At that time, President Johnson said, "most of all, we must give them (the Vietnamese) our understanding, our support, and our patience."

When I left Vietnam in 1967 General Westmoreland said, "the morale of the South Vietnamese forces is better than ever. They are improving the quality of their force and they are fighting better than they did two years ago."

At the same time, President Johnson said, "I believe that we are making progress."

Two years later, President Nixon said, "As our commanders in the field determine that the South Vietnamese are able to assume a greater portion of the responsibility for the defense of their own territory, troops will come back."

When I came to congress in 1974, I believed General Westmoreland. The first speech I made on the floor of the House was in support of the appropriations to the South Vietnamese.

It took me a long time to recognize that a military solution could not work in Vietnam.

We learned the lessons of Vietnam and applied what we learned to Desert Storm under Bush I: the execution of a limited military mission, with a well-defined strategy that would lead to a clear-cut and achievable outcome. The mission, then, was to diminish Saddam's power, while maintaining a buffer between Iran and Syria.

In Afghanistan, during the 1980s, the Soviet Union stated that it "would fulfill to the end its duty of providing assistance to friendly Afghanistan."

And at that time, even their Communist allies criticized Soviet officials for not having a timeline for withdrawal. My point here is that even the military strength of superpowers has limitations.

If you look back at what Napoleon learned in Spain, what the French learned in Indo-China and Algeria, what the Soviets learned in Afghanistan, and what the U.S. learned in Vietnam, the lessons of history are clear: there is a limitation to military power. Economic, political and diplomatic challenges must be solved. They can't be solved by military means and they shouldn't be distorted by rhetoric.

Rhetoric, spin and slogans do not win wars. Likewise, the war in Iraq will not be won with charts, projections or sound bytes saying, "we will return on success."

The administration claims we are witnessing another turning point in Iraq. They claim progress is being made and now depending upon the "conditions on the ground," more troops will come home.

But we have heard this before. The same predictions were made with Saddam's capture, the adoption of the constitution, with national elections, and with the capture and killing of several terrorists in Iraq.

A week ago on a Sunday talk show, a reporter expounded on a personal moment with the president in the White House when she asked him, "Mr. President, how do you continue to press forward when the war is so unpopular and things seem to be going so wrong in Iraq?" The president responded, "Because I am right."

Right about what, Mr. President?

Right about weapons of mass destruction?

Right about Saddam's involvement in 9-11?

Right about mission accomplished?

Right about thinking he could fight this war on the cheap?

Right at the ease at which Iraq could be transformed into a pillar of democracy?

We've heard the rhetoric, now let me talk about the facts.

To date, there have been more than 3,700 Americans killed in Iraq. For every American soldier that dies, nine are wounded, many with catastrophic trauma with long term effects. This translates into an additional expenditure of $350 to $700 billion in medical and disability costs to veterans, not to mention the countless suffering of thousands of American families for years to come.

We on the appropriations committee required the Defense Department to submit status reports on Iraq beginning in the fall of 2003. From these reports, I have seen no progress. At least 70,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the beginning of the war, with many believing the numbers are actually in the hundreds of thousands. Two million Sunni Arabs have left the country, mostly to Jordan and Syria and many of them members of the educated middle-class. An additional two million have been internally displaced in what I believe is ethnic cleansing.

Oil production has never been above pre-war level. What does oil production mean? Oil production is financial capital their government uses for its own revenue. Oil is their cash crop. It represents 95 percent of their national income.

Electricity production is two to six hrs a day in Baghdad when the temperature is 130 degrees. 30 percent of Iraq's population lives in Baghdad. Imagine what summer would be like in Washington D.C. without refrigeration or air conditioning. Only 30 percent of homes and businesses in Baghdad are connected to water lines. By most reports, 50 percent of Iraqis remain unemployed with no benefits from the government. Sixty-one percent of Iraqis say their lives are going badly, and more than 60 percent say they want us out of their country.

Finally, the United States military is viewed as occupiers by the Iraqis. Our headquarters are in Saddam Hussein's palaces and we have our own city in the Green Zone where we protect their legislators. As the Times of London said during the British occupation of Iraq in 1920, "How much longer are valuable lives to be sacrificed in the vain endeavor to impose on the Arab population an elaborate and expensive administration which they never asked for and do not want?" Nearly a century later we are struggling with the same questions.

Forty-seven months ago I spoke on the floor of the House and said that "we need either more active-duty troops or we need to find a way to have foreign troops, Coalition forces, to replace our troops" in Iraq. I wrote in my additional views to the supplemental spending report in October 2003, just seven months after the initial invasion, that "the United States, the Iraqi people, and the international community must work to undo the damage done by the architect's miscalculations and quickly stabilize Iraq." And, I concluded that, "we could face a long and more costly guerrilla war -- a heavy price for our soldiers and their families to pay."

Almost two years ago, I publicly voiced my concerns about the U.S. policies in Iraq -- concerns I started having from visiting the region five months after the initial invasion. I wrote to Secretary Rumsfeld on the urgent need for body armor, electronic jammers, Kevlar blankets for humvees, and a severe shortage of vehicle spare parts. I sent a letter to the president saying that we "severely miscalculated the magnitude of the effort we are facing, and that we must Energize, Iraqatize, and Internationalize our efforts." I told him I agreed with an assessment completed by former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre that said we have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver progress in terms of economic infrastructure, security and basic services.

Seven months later I received a reply from a Deputy Under Secretary at the Department of Defense who ignored my concerns and told me that, "we have made substantial progress in the very ways that you suggest."

In the next two years I made additional visits to the region and again came home and reported to my colleagues and the administration what I found to be the facts on the ground. I watched in disbelief as the pictures of abuse and torture began surfacing from Abu Ghraib in 2004. To this day we have not recovered the international credibility that we lost because of these heinous and disgraceful acts.

After having no success privately voicing my concerns and suggestions to the administration, I publicly stated in November 2005 that the war in Iraq was a "flawed policy wrapped in illusion." In that speech I said that "our military and their families are stretched thin" and that the "burden of this war has not been shared equally -- the military and their families are shouldering this burden" not most Americans. Our military has accomplished its mission, and as I had been saying for over a year before this speech, "Iraq can not be won militarily."

Twenty-one months ago I spoke about my concerns of an overstretched Army that had to lower recruiting standards to meet its recruiting goals. I concluded that "it would be almost impossible for the U.S. to meet the current military strength deployment schedule without sending combat units back to theater with less than one year of rest."

Nineteen months ago I wrote a letter to the president outlining my plan to redeploy, replace, reallocate, and reconstitute. "The longer our military stays in Iraq, the more unwelcome we will be. We will be increasingly entangled in an open-ended nation building mission, one that our military can not accomplish amidst a civil war."

Sixteen months ago I said that "we must change direction because the nature of the war has changed. We have gone from fighting Saddam's army, to fighting insurgents, to being caught in the middle of a growing civil war." I also noted that, "Although the president touts the political milestones as a success in Iraq, in reality we have not made the progress we anticipated nor have we met the high expectations of the Iraqi people. Indeed when it comes to this war, we have lost the hearts and minds of both the Iraqi people and as polls indicate, the American public."

Fourteen months ago I held a press conference with Chairman Dave Obey and outlined the deterioration of our Army's readiness. We discovered that non-deployed units here in the United States "are critically short of equipment and personnel" and "most of the Army units here in the U.S. don't have the right equipment and ammunition to train on before going to war."

Ten months ago the American people rejected this Administration's argument for a strategy of "stay the course" and elected Democrats to change the direction of the war in Iraq.

When letters go unanswered, when suggestions go ignored, when the pleas of the public fall on deaf ears, how are the American people expected to continue to support flawed policies and undefined missions? Today we have a clear choice between responsible Congressional oversight and this administration's blindness.

There's a real difference between strategy and tactics. The president touts the surge as a long-term strategy while many of our military commanders recognize the surge to be a temporary tactic.

But this war will not be won by a boatload of patchwork tactics presented without a definite and achievable strategy for guiding the boat. That leaves me with two questions: If we don't know where we're going, how can we get there? And, how long does this administration expect to continue this disastrous voyage?

The purpose of the surge was to provide enough security for political progress to be made by the Iraqis. Unfortunately this has not been the case. When the Iraqis don't perform, what happens -- we step forward and take their place. As the Jones Commission recently reported, "There is a fine line between assistance and dependence." I believe that we have crossed that line and the Iraqis have become far too reliant on U.S. forces.

I am convinced that nothing in Petraeus's testimony, nor the Jones Report, or the president's speech will change the way the American public feels about this war. They want this war to end. Yes, many Iraqis consider us the occupier, but it is also true that Iraq is occupying us. We are bleeding money at a rate of twelve billion dollars a month.

We hear talk today about a national mortgage crisis, yet we are mortgaging our future with this war. This war is warping our priorities, disfiguring our national debates, shortchanging health care -- 1,500 Americans die every day from cancer, yet the NIH only spends $5.5 billion per year on cancer research. This war is shortchanging education -- 33 percent of people in our nation's capital are classified as functionally illiterate, and China is graduating 600,000 engineers per year while we graduate only 70,000. And this war is shortchanging our infrastructure -- there are more than 70,000 structurally deficient bridges throughout our nation

I frequently visit our military hospitals and bases throughout the world and speak in detail with our troops and their families. In doing so, I have come to the conclusion that our involvement in Iraq can be described as the tale of one America with two families:

The military family, stressed to the limits, who have gone without their loved ones for far too long, whose children are suddenly performing poorly in school, who live everyday in fear of that dreaded phone call or knock at the door that could forever change their lives.

Then there is the other family, clearly a majority of America. They support the troops, they display yellow ribbons, they are patriotic Americans, but they have not been asked to make the same blood sacrifice.

For the past six years, this country has funded this president's war on credit. Down the road, both families will feel the pain when these enormous payments finally come due.

Today we have over 160,000 U.S. servicemen and women serving in Iraq, not to mention thousands more serving in Afghanistan. Almost 40 percent of our active ground forces are deployed, many for the second, third, and even fourth time. This is the first conflict in my lifetime that we have not surged our force structure to fight a protracted war.

In the 2008 House Appropriations mark-up for Defense, the committee I chair, set a new course for the Department of Defense.

In the introduction to the report I stated, "Our national conscience is justifiably focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Committee and the country are deeply grateful and inspired by the dedication, service, and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families and those who support them. Yet, we cannot let this concentrated national focus distract our attention from the needs of our service members and their families here at home, and the imperative to prepare our forces for current and future conflicts."

I believe more than ever that our national security interests are not being served while our military remains over 160,000 strong in Iraq. We do not have the force available to confront other potential threats in the region or the world.

We are faced with growing threats in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa and South and Central America. In Africa, we have significant strategic interests, but no influence. Russia, China and India are advancing their global interests while we are bogged down in Iraq. There is uncertainty with respect to future energy supplies and those who control the world's supply of these resources. China's military might is expanding and we need to be continually watchful of the nuclear ambitions of rogue states, like North Korea and Iran. Just because this administration wears blinders, we cannot afford the limitations of their short-sighted world view.

Our military is stretched thin today policing the streets of Baghdad. In this one year alone, the American taxpayer will contribute over $1 trillion in defense spending, and by the end of this year, we will have provided $750 billion for this war. While we continue to spend at this colossal rate in Iraq, with questionable results, our military chiefs advise that as a nation we must be concerned about the eroding strength of our military. They estimate it will take 100s of billions of dollars to rebuild our capability to deter and prevail in future conflicts.

As a trustee of the American people, I cannot defend spending another $750 billion of our nation's treasure, nor can I tolerate the loss of thousands more of our sons and daughters to a war without end and to a war that only the Iraqi people can resolve.

In the end, what the president asks is for our military to be committed to an open-ended Iraqi civil war. Let us not forget that over 35,000 troops died in Vietnam after General Westmoreland stated, "Backed at home by resolve, confidence, patience, determination, and continued support, we will prevail in Vietnam."

The longer our military remains in Iraq, policing their streets, providing weapons, training and funds to whoever our alliances are for the moment, the longer and bloodier their war will be. If security and stability is the final goal, it will never be accomplished under continued U.S. occupation, the continued propping up of a paralyzed Iraqi government or the continued dependence on the Iraqis for U.S. military support.

Many have threatened that there will be chaos, a bloodbath, when the United States redeploys from Iraq, and this in fact may be the case. But it will not happen as a result of U.S actions, but rather as a result of Iraqi inaction. It is up to the Iraqis to decide. If they continue to choose to spill blood it will not be on the conscience of the U.S. and its heroic military. It will instead be a continuation of decades of its own conflicts, which they and they alone can solve.

This administration has again given the American people a false choice: EITHER we stay in Iraq indefinitely OR, they say we face chaos, genocide, and an Iraq whose biggest export is terror not oil. There are many other choices that haven't been tried, such as concerted regional diplomacy coupled with strategic redeployment of troops. I believe redeployment is the way forward. They say, 'what happens if we leave?' and I say 'what happens if we stay?'
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:08 AM   #351
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Quote:
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I did read your whole post - and I will once again remind you that the "War Fever" was created by the leaders of both parties that made a connection between Iraq-WMD-and Terrorism in a post 9-11 world.

To suggest the war is the fault of Right Wing talk radio is ridiculous and to accuse any 'ordinary American' who supported the war as some AM Radio Automaton is insulting.

In the leadup to war - all the major news channels were saying the same thing. I don't think the 75% of the 'ordinary American' population (the percentage of Americans that supported the war in March, 2003) were all persuaded by Rush Limbaugh.
I disagree.

The "War Fever" was created by the Bush Administration and supported by craven Democrats who didn't want to be "out of step" with the rest of the country.

I am not suggesting that the war is the fault of right wing talk radio. I am saying that the SPIRIT which pervades much of right wing radio and television had a lot do with many of my fellow citizens buying into this war. The 'ordinary American' is no sacred cow. . .if 75% of the nation bought into this crap then 75% of America was wrong and I don't think there's anything wrong with saying so. THe point is the situation in Iraq was not--and is not--simple. It's very much about nuance and complexity. It would make a terrible blockbuster film. But that's not how the situation was approached--it was approached, and sold to the American people, with bravado, hard-charging righteousness, and oversimplification. And apparently the majority of the people in this country bought that version. . .I've always said the Republican party makes a better movie--snappy comebacks, white hats vs. black hats, and a muscular kick-ass-and-take names response is much more entertaining than a lot of long-winded consideration, gray areas, and measured responses.

I love my country and despite what it might sound like, I don't "look down" on my fellow Americans. I just think, we, as a country could have done better.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:25 PM   #352
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Originally posted by maycocksean

I love my country and despite what it might sound like, I don't "look down" on my fellow Americans. I just think, we, as a country could have done better.


i agree.

and don't forget the pure fear experienced in the wake of 9-11. i think there are times when we forget just how dark and scary the 18 months after 9-11 were.

it is, easily, the most politically exploited tragedy in the history of the United States. the public in 2005 would never have bought Bush's sack of lies.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:31 PM   #353
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[q]Poll: Public not swayed by Petraeus
By Susan Page, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — A plurality of Americans say Gen. David Petraeus' proposal to begin withdrawing some U.S. forces from Iraq is on the right track, but his long-awaited testimony to Congress last week failed to change fundamental attitudes toward the war.
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday found essentially no shift in views on whether U.S. forces are likely to win the war — two-thirds predict they won't — and if the United States should set a firm timetable to remove troops.

In the days before Petraeus' appearances and President Bush's speech to the nation last week, 60% supported setting a timetable for withdrawal and sticking to it "regardless of what is going on in Iraq at the time." Now 59% do.

The findings underscore how attitudes toward the war have solidified 4½ years after the U.S.-led invasion.

POLL RESULTS: Complete results from USA TODAY/Gallup Poll
"In terms of public opinion, it seems like Petraeus didn't really change anyone's mind," says Christian Grose, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University who studies the impact of the war on voting behavior. "He may have bought the president some time in Washington … but not in the public's eyes."

The number of Americans who say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq ticked up to 58% from 54% in the USA TODAY Poll a week earlier.

The results are consistent with a Pew Research Center poll taken last week. In that poll, 57% of those who heard something about Petraeus' report approved of his recommendations, but just 16% said his testimony made them more optimistic about the war.

Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told House and Senate panels that as many as 7,000 U.S. troops could be withdrawn this year. By July, he said, the additional U.S. forces deployed this year could be pulled out, leaving about 130,000 U.S. troops on duty there.

"President Bush has accepted Gen. Petraeus' recommendations to bring troops home, based on the return on success our troops have achieved in Iraq," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said when asked about the poll findings. "The plan is to continue to solidify that success and push the trend lines to steeper gains so that the Iraqis get the reconciliation and less violence they need and deserve, and so that eventually, based on conditions, even more of our troops can return home."

In the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll:

• Forty-three percent say Petraeus' plan would withdraw "the right amount" of troops; 36% say it withdraws too few; 9% says it withdraws too many. Similarly, 42% say the plan would withdraw troops at the right pace; 33% call it too slow; 12% call it too fast.

• An overwhelming majority wants more U.S. pressure for political progress in Iraq. Seven in 10 say the United States isn't doing enough to hold the Iraqi government accountable.

• Among those who support a timetable to pull out U.S. troops, 70% prefer a gradual withdrawal, 30% an immediate one. That reflects a slight shift — albeit within the survey's margin of error — toward gradual withdrawal.

• Neither Bush nor congressional Democrats get high marks as someone who can be trusted to recommend the right thing on Iraq. Congressional Democrats are trusted by 35%, Bush by 27%. More than one in four trust neither.

The partisan divide on that question is extraordinarily sharp: Just 4% of Democrats trust Bush to recommend the right thing; just 9% of Republicans trust congressional Democrats to do so. Only one in 10 Americans trust both.[/q]
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:17 PM   #354
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I admit I haven't read thru this thread, but I did get this email/link today, and feel I need to post it.

http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?...&f=00&fg=email

I will try & read up more on the posts here when I can (so as not to be a hit & run type thing)
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