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Old 12-29-2003, 06:04 PM   #1
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Mass. Dems Breaking Ranks....look out!!!!

A Democrat breaks with tradition

By P. Amy MacKinnon

MARSHFIELD, MASS. When I was growing up, the family dinner was a tradition. Above the clatter of plates, my parents discussed the world around us from their perspectives at either end of the great oak table. Together, we'd review the news of the day put into context by the events of yesterday, and always we'd think about tomorrow. Politics was a main course, and being a working-class family from Massachusetts, we were fed a healthy serving of Democratic Party principles.
I carried those beliefs along with me when I worked for Democrats in both the US House of Representatives and the Massachusetts state legislature. More important, I've always carried them with me into the voting booth.

But I expect to break with that tradition. Come November, I'll be casting my vote for George Bush.

When Mr. Bush first ran for president in 2000, I found both his politics and his campaign methods anathema to the American concept of justice. I was with the many who questioned whether his intellect, interest, and experience were commensurate with the demands of being the leader of the free world. I didn't approve of his so-called middle-class tax cuts, nor his incorporating nuclear power into his energy plan, nor his judgment in appointing an attorney general inclined to sheathe immodest works of art.

But then Sept. 11 happened. Our nation needed the strength of a leader, and I wondered where we'd find one.

It wasn't until the president stood with firefighters and rescue workers at ground zero that I began to wonder if perhaps I'd misjudged him. Previously wooden while delivering prepared speeches, the man who shouted into the bullhorn from where the World Trade Center had stood demanded to be heard. And I listened - the whole world listened.

I began to hope that our country finally had a leader who'd have the moral fortitude to say to our enemies around the world: Enough.

For nearly 25 years, America has been under attack by Muslim fundamentalists - attacks virtually unanswered by all presidents as far back as Jimmy Carter.

We've somehow confused the systematic massacre of Americans for random acts of violence, though the collective onslaught - catalogued even incompletely - seems in retrospect to be a clear declaration of war:

1979 - The US Embassy in Iran was overrun by Islamic extremists who captured 66 Americans and held 53 of them for 444 days.

1983 - The US Embassy in Beirut was targeted by a truck bomb that killed 63.

1983 - The US Marine barracks in Beirut was destroyed by a truck bomb that killed 242 Americans.

1988 - US Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins, on a UN mission in Lebanon, was abducted, tortured, and hanged.

1988 - A bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 went off over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and 11 people on the ground.

1993 - Terrorists drove an explosives-laden truck into the basement of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six.

1993 - Followers of Osama bin Laden killed 18 American soldiers in an ambush on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.

1996 - The Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was destroyed by a tanker-truck bomb killing 19 Americans.

1998 - US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were simultaneously attacked by truck bombs killing 301.

2000 - The USS Cole was attacked in the port city of Yemen; 17 died.

Halfhearted rescue attempts, trade embargoes, and a smattering of cruise missiles thrown at the problem by former leaders had no follow-through, no long-term commitment necessary to stave off the continued systematic attacks. Not until George Bush vowed to protect the US from those who sought to destroy it - even if he had to stand without the support of UN allies.

I can't rely on the contenders from my own party to follow Bush's course. Only three of the nine running in Democratic primaries are viable candidates, and none is willing to risk political comfort to pledge a presidency to the messy business of routing terrorists and their sponsor nations. Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, and John Kerry are now all against the war in Iraq, though both General Clark and Senator Kerry supported it once, and may again.

But I'm tired of presidents fluent in the language of doublespeak.

Bush isn't timid about disappointing a nation used to instant gratification. He has reminded us repeatedly that the war on terror will be long, and people will die in the process. Many on both sides have died already. Yet Bush was resolute when he began by defending America in Afghanistan following Sept. 11. He then brought the fight to Iraq at a time when experts around the world were convinced Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was actively pursuing a nuclear arsenal.

And let's not forget the geography of the region.

Iraq borders Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, with Qatar not far away. We know that 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis. We know there's increasing dissatisfaction with the House of Saud among their own countrymen because of the family's ties to the US. We also know that terrorist attacks within Saudi borders are on the increase by those emboldened by Muslims' discontent. Middle Eastern experts speculate that all this points to cracks in the palace walls of the House of Saud.

Imagine if Saudi Arabia had been overtaken by Islamic extremists while Hussein was still in power. A significant portion of the world's oil reserves would be controlled by those bent on destroying the US. It's conceivable Hussein would have attempted another invasion of Kuwait.

The forward-thinking, big-picture scenario demanded the US protect itself from enemies gaining control of America's access to oil because oil still controls America.

It's a lesson we should have learned following the oil crisis of the '70s, but again we chose to ignore the inevitable at our own peril. Imagine if our enemies had been so empowered; what would the impact have been on the US?

It's conjecture, but all a leader has to base his decisions on are the events of the past, the news of the present, and his concern for tomorrow. Remember how absurd the terrorists' goals for the first WTC attack seemed at the time?

Bush alerted terrorists around the world that the US is no longer the hesitant giant it was after the Vietnam experience. We've licked our wounds and found our footing. We are fighting back. Already Libya has responded to our new foreign policy by agreeing to forgo weapons of mass destruction and welcome inspectors to confirm this newfound truce with the West.

So in November, I'll break with tradition and vote for a Republican. I'll place my trust, fears, and future in the hands of a man who has shown the world what it means to lead a nation. It's a tradition of leadership that began with Washington and Lincoln, continued with FDR, and has been resurrected by Bush.

It's a tradition I expect our future presidents to follow.

P. Amy MacKinnon, a freelance writer, has worked for Democrats in Congress and the Massachusetts State House.
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Old 12-29-2003, 06:51 PM   #2
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Interesting. Personally I have no idea what I'm going to do with my vote yet. I just know that I will be using it, even though so far I'm disappointed with the candidates in alot of ways.
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Old 12-29-2003, 07:31 PM   #3
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Well said, but one point has me sketchy:

Quote:
1993 - Followers of Osama bin Laden killed 18 American soldiers in an ambush on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.
This attack was NOT committed by Osama Bin Laden, nor was it committed by anyone remotely affiliated with him. It was committed by the members of the Somalian Habr Gidr clan who had ties to the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The US, on a humanitarian mission, got caught up in clan warfare in Mogadishu.

As well, it wasn't an ambush either. The American Rangers and Delta Force troops were in a known hot zone and went in fully expecting a fight. They didn't expect the fight to be so fierce, but they certainly weren't ambushed.

A small point, but as I am related to one of the Rangers who was there, it gets me sometimes when people get the facts wrong about this.
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Old 12-29-2003, 07:41 PM   #4
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Hey Dave, first, my prayers to the family and thanks to the member of your family who served our country. It is people like the Rangers that make me proud to have worn the uniform, even for a short period of time.

Just to touch base on your comments....I have read in quite a few places, that Al-Qaeda was responsible for funding and training many of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's troops. They are/were closely associated on some level, maybe from when Osama was in Somalia?
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Old 12-29-2003, 08:28 PM   #5
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this is abso-friggin-lutely great... it sums up in every word how i feel about bush. i've said it before... bush was my third choice in 2000... behind mccain and bradley. those two didn't gain their nomination, so i voted for bush because i just couldn't possiably ever bring myself to cast a vote for al gore. this article sums up perfectly why i couldn't even consider voting for anyone else. bush in '04
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Old 12-29-2003, 10:36 PM   #6
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the scary thing for me is that it seems that the major al qaeda attacks occur every 2 1/2 to 3 years... it's been almost 2 1/2 years since 9/11
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Old 12-30-2003, 04:48 AM   #7
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That entire article reads like something a 16-year-old would write for a high school government class. The President has to make his decisions based on the past, the present and the future? No kidding!

The author appears to think that her point is most effectively made by simply listing terrorist attacks, some from over 20 years ago and assuming her readers will support her conclusion out of fear.

As for the idea of "enemies gaining control of America's access to oil," perhaps it has not yet occured to Ms. MacKinnon that other countries are under no obligation to allow America access to their oil reserves. Although, I suppose I should at least be grateful that she acknowledges the real reason behind the Iraq war.
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Old 12-30-2003, 10:29 AM   #8
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If you only knew why I find your comments so funny Fizz......

1st of all I remember when Carter was President and did nothing. I remember the gas lines here in the states, and I remember what it was like feeling like the nation was helpless. Yes, America is a country dependant on that region for its oil.

To ignore that Saddam was a threat to the region, to the area, is/was foolish. To ignore that the reason America was in Saudi Arabia and Kuwaitt for the past 12 years was to protect the oil supply from the threat of Saddam Hussein is foolish. To not recognize that one of, if not the MAIN reason Al-Qaeda has targeted the US is because of the troops we have stationed in SAUDI ARABIA is to not understand the events of the past 12 years. Saddam Hussein has dominated the foreign policy of the region and has put American lives at risk because of it. This foreign policy, and lack of intelligent response to Al-Qaeda(THE AUTHOR's POINT) which led to 9/11.

I have not enjoyed the past 20-30 years, watching Islamic terrosists get away with attack after attack on my country.

While you characterize her points as being that of a 16 year old or others here may say it is fear mongering, she sums up what many in the military feel and many other Americans, that war was declared upon us long ago, and we have done nothing but take it.

Now, I have no idea what you are getting at with your comments about countries having no obligation to sell us their oil. To the best of my knowledge, Saudi Arabia has not threatened to do that. To the best of my knowledge we were welcome there to build our bases and defend their soverign soil. I am thinking however, that you are ignoring the historical event of Iraq invading Kuwaitt and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Has anyone here ever thought out what the successful invasion of Saudi Arabia by Saddam would have meant in 1990?


So what is her point?

Bush took action.....He chose a course of action. He did not shoot cruise missles from afar. He brought the fight to them. He has taken action to remove the problem.

#1 Afghanistan - Removed the Taliban
#2 Afghanistan - Physically Brought the fight to Al-Qaeda
#3 Iraq - Removed the main influence on American Foreign Policy in the Middle East.
#4 Lybia opening its doors to inspections
#5 Iran opening its doors to inspections
#6 PREDICTION Syria soon to follow

Now Howard Dean can point to the Orange alert and say we are not safe....but I would say to Howard Dean....We are on the right road. President Bush has said REPEATEDLY, that this would be a long hard fight. And that too is the Author's point. Her column is directed at the Democratic Candidates. All of whom, have either not supported the course of action the administration has taken, or flip flopped so much on the issue, that they stand on shakey ground. Ground, that the author, does not wish to see the President of the US stand on. LEADERSHIP. Interesting word.

I do not see it in any of the candidates....except Lieberman, whom I would love to argue with her about.
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Old 12-30-2003, 03:55 PM   #9
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Damn Dread, You are going to get me fired! I can't stop reading your insight and my boss keeps catching me in FYM!

Rest assured I will forward this article to some of my liberal co-workers to strike up a nice inner-office debate.

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Old 12-30-2003, 04:25 PM   #10
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Interesting points, Dread.

I disagree with her when she asserts Bush is a man who knows to lead a nation. I wonder what she means by that.

I do agree with you that the Islamic radicals have been around for decades now and that it is a faction which has many times over declared war on the US, Israel and various other Western interests. That much is undeniable.

But what I would be very concerned about if I were an American is that if you put aside Islamic Fundamentalists for a moment, there is a shocking rise in anti-Americanism around the world. This includes Western Europe, this includes Canada, this includes South Asia and the Far East, etc. I'm sorry, but when you travel the world, you will hear all kinds of shocking things from people who used to be allies, but are filled with nothing but suspicion. Bush has only fanned the flames here, IMO, through his arrogant ways of dealing with the global community, to his childish punishing of those who don't agree with him, to his immature 'with us or against us' policy. The Fundamentalists are one thing, but when former friends start to look at you with more distrust than trust, then you should recognize there is a problem here. And you should also recognize that it takes two to tango - them and you, so there is probably enough blame to go around.

300 million Americans in the world and 6 billion of the rest of us. That is an astounding statistic, and without goodwill, we're all in a lot of trouble here.

Bush is not the man who regards global goodwill and cooperation as something inherently important. He may have resolve when it comes to the fight on terror, but in the long term, what are the collateral damages of his poor diplomacy? I'd rather not find out.
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Old 12-30-2003, 05:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
there is a shocking rise in anti-Americanism around the world. This includes Western Europe, this includes Canada, this includes South Asia and the Far East, etc. I'm sorry, but when you travel the world, you will hear all kinds of shocking things from people who used to be allies, but are filled with nothing but suspicion.
It would be interesting to see how much anti-Americanism there honestly is around the world. In my opinion, there probably isn't as much as many believe. Example (and this probably isn't a very good one)...The Beach Boys recently were on Bill O'Reilly's radio program and he asked them, after just coming off a European tour, what kind of reception they had received. Was there a sense of anti-Americanism. The said emphatically NO. They actually received more of an ovation than from past European tours.
Watch the 6:00 News tonight. The first 15 minutes will all be negative news of the day. A murder here, a fire there. Yet the "feel good story" won't be until the last story of the newscast after Weather and Sports. My point. We hear all the anti-Americanism in the news and from sources, but I question the fairness. Is there really that much anti-Americanism? Or is that the ONLY thing that gets reported?
I live in the Midwest and have never been out of the US, but my folks just took a trip to Europe over the Summer. They loved it. They said they were treated very nice and didn't see any signs of anti-Americanism.
Tonight we will hear about the anti-American rally's in the streets of the Middle East, or see pictures of burning of the American flag, but there will be nothing about the schools that are being built in Baghdad, or the infrastructure that is being built, or the women who can openly express their feelings without being beaten or raped, etc. etc.
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Old 12-30-2003, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Bush is not the man who regards global goodwill and cooperation as something inherently important. He may have resolve when it comes to the fight on terror, but in the long term, what are the collateral damages of his poor diplomacy? I'd rather not find out.
How do you explain the number of Nations that did/do support the actions in Iraq?

How do you explain the support James Baker is receiving from the nations he is visiting for debt relief in Iraq.


I am nervous. I believe based on my readings, that there are many in the world that hate the US so much that their press puts 139 negative headlines about Bush/Blair to 29 about Saddam. Think about it. Bush and Blair...VS Saddam? Knowing how many people the "Butcher of Bagdhad" has killed tortured and maimed.

I am 100% convinced that there are those that would prefer a world in which the US had NO influence. Those include "allies" that have forgotten who their friends are.
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Old 12-30-2003, 05:56 PM   #13
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Oh, I agre with Anitram, there is growing Anti-Americanism out there. I am not certain if it is the dislike of the President, or America itself. I ran accross this today interestingly enough, and it hit upon the theme of journalism and what anitram was saying.

[Q]"It is hard not to hate George Bush," wrote Hastings the other day. "His ignorance and conceit, his professed special relationship with God, invite revulsion. A few weeks ago, I heard a British diplomat observe sagely: `We must not demonise Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.' Why not? The US defence secretary and his assistant have implemented coalition policy in Iraq in a fashion that makes Soviet behaviour in Afghanistan in the 1970s appear dextrous."

Does that sound like a Daily Telegraph editor? Former editor, I hasten to add, thank God. Wolfowitz is a demonic figure to the anti-war types for little reason other than that his name begins with a big scary animal and ends Jewishly. But, if you want to know what he's really like, ask Ann Clwyd: "He was a very charming man, an intellectual," the Welsh firebrand told the Observer. Just so. I've been in his presence on a couple of occasions - he's very soft-spoken, thoughtful, not in the least bit lupine. He can reel off the names of gazillions of Iraqis he's been in touch with for years - Kurds, Shias, Sunnis.

Hastings mocks these contacts as "Iraqi stooges". But better a stooge than a vast anonymous tide of native extras, which is how Sir Max, whose Rolodex doesn't appear to be brimming with Ramadi and Mosul phone numbers, sees them. Where's the real "ignorance and conceit" here? No one who knows any Iraqis, as Ms Clwyd does, would compare Wolfowitz with the Soviets.

The real story of this past year is not Saddam, but something deeper, symbolised by the bizarre persistence of the "anti-war" movement even after the war was over. For a significant chunk of the British establishment and for most of the governing class on the Continent, if it's a choice between an America-led West or no West at all they'll take the latter. That's the trend to watch in the year ahead.[/Q]

The last paragraph pretty much sums up the vibe I get, many times when I come in here.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/m.../ixportal.html
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Old 12-30-2003, 06:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
If you only knew why I find your comments so funny Fizz......
Well it's good to know I can make political points and amuse the opposition all at the same time. I'll be here until Friday.

Quote:
While you characterize her points as being that of a 16 year old
Actually my point was that her writing style is that of a sixteen year old. I've read that article a hundred times in the last year. It's a template: "We're under attack! Only Bush can save us! Vote Bush!" She makes no original contribution to the debate, but merely repeats points that have been made over and over again by a number of authors.

Quote:
Now, I have no idea what you are getting at with your comments about countries having no obligation to sell us their oil.
It's simple: Countries are not obliged to supply America with oil. America doesn't have an automatic right to access oil supplies in Iraq, Saudi Arabia or any other country.

Quote:
#1 Afghanistan - Removed the Taliban
So how's Afghanistan looking today, Dread? A symbol of freedom and democracy? I suppose because Laura Bush and Cherie Blair aren't in the papers bemoaning the plight of Afghan women everything over there is sorted.
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Old 12-30-2003, 07:02 PM   #15
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It almost sounds as if you miss the Taliban. I know you don't....but still....

Nope, not a template.....but you can take it that way, and oversimplify it. It is a commentary and a contrast on the men and woman running for the office of the Presidency in comparison to the man occupying the office.

The article shows the difference between 20-30 years of inaction to 3 years of action. Contrasting that with 5 people opposed to the war, two flip floppers, and one who does not know if Osama is guilty. Lieberman she is wrong on. Nothing at all about fear mongering. The question is, do we return to the past, go with the flip flop, or stick with the person who decided to do something about the problem.

It outlines, how a person, who has worked hard for Democrats in the Congress and here in the State of Massachusetts, known for being a Liberal state, and her district within said state is especially known for electing those leaning to the left, has come to the conclusion that Bush is the person for her. Quite a journey.

Still puzzled by this oil thing. But that's fine....I do not get why point you are trying to make. I will do a web search and try and find where any representative of the US says the world owes us oil. Sounds a little hostile to me, but then again.....having lived through an oil crisis, and an economy that was in the tank, I wonder how the world economy would do if America's economy really suffered. But, I digress. Still, I am confused by the lack of historical perspective in the comment.
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