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Old 07-09-2007, 12:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Can Partisan Spin Rehab 3rd Consecutive GOP President's "Rep" But Kill Our Pol.Forum

Over on the <b>"It's Time"</b> thread, I watched this exchange taking place.
After powerclown first posted, and then insisted... that Edwin Meese III and Peter Ferrara were "journalists". I did some checking to refresh my recollection of Meese....and my "take" on what I found, is that the same tactics.....and spin...from many of the same pundits who attacked republican Lawrence Walsh as "partisan", as he investigated, prosecuted, and made determinations about the truthfulness and of the degree of complicity of members of the Reagan and Bush '41 administrations in the violations of law that was grouped as the "Iran/Contra Scandal", ...are observed now, in an intensely deja vu filled moment....right down to the similarity of the pardons granted to members of the Reagan and Bush '41 administations, who were indicted, convicted, or who came under Judge Walsh's suspicion as yet to be indicted co-conspirators.....with the way Libby's prosecution and pardon, is "spun" in the present.

Now as then...the cries go up from the pundits and the faithful that "it's partisan", and the poor republican appointed prosecutor is attacked and dismissed, just as judge Walsh was, 15 to 20 years ago. All of the unfounded "noise" and "spin", ushers in the legitimacy of presidential clemency, as a "fore gone" conclusion.

The questions I would like to examine here are:
<h3>Am I correct</h3>....is what I described happening, again....for a third time...will they get away with it...or is my "take" wrong....<h3>am I missing something?</h3>...were Lawrence Walsh, and now....Patrick Fitzgerald, Judge Walton, and Appeals Panel Judge, David Sentelle,...all Bush or Reagan appointees....somehow engaging, as the "spin" sez....in baseless, partisan "witch hunts", against innocent members of the admins of both Bushes and Reagan?

...and...is "the spin"...accompanied by the practice of "shunning" the "offerings" of carefully examined, mainstream media's reporting.......is the spin and the "shunning"....the biggest threat to the country, and certainly, to the future of this forum? Is "the spin" the reason why no lesson seemed to be learned from the Vietnam experience. Was it simply "spun" into a "noble war", and that became a root cause for our current mired down military position in Iraq, today?

Did the success of "the spin", in burying the findings in Judge Walsh's 1994 Iran Contra report, embolden the current republican administration to gamble that it could get away with anything it wanted...including outing Plame, and now, the Libby sentence commutation, and transforming DOJ into a vote suppression "Op"?


Quote:
Originally Posted by powerclown
http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...0&postcount=42
Update: I would use opinions from these journalists as further argument against impeachment of W at this time. There is another side to TSP and FISA and surveillance in general which I don't think is being accurately represented in this thread.

"<a href="http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=19369&keywords=fisa">Reagan Would Have Ordered Terrorist Surveillance</a>
by Edwin Meese III
Posted: 02/12/2007

This is the eleventh in an occasional series of exclusive articles in which leading conservatives who served in the Reagan Administration explain how they believe the principles of Reagan conservatism ought to be applied today and in the coming years. This week, Edwin Meese, who was Reagan’s first presidential counselor and then attorney general, addresses the necessity of intercepting terrorist communications and its constitutionality.....
...and dc_dux responded: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...5&postcount=43
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
Journalists?

Is this the same Ed Meese, counsel to Pres Reagan, who resigned under a cloud in the Iran-Contra investigation?

And the same Peter Ferrara, who took money from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and wrote op-ed articles favorable to Abramoff?

The FISA law is pretty clear about obtaining a warrant, even after the fact in emergency cases, and it was violated at Bush's direct actions and orders.
....and powerclown came back with:
Quote:
Originally Posted by powerclown
http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...7&postcount=44

Same Ed Meese. You don't value his opinion? He went to Yale and UC-Berkeley. He's an intelligent guy. Were you looking for the purest journalistic pontifications of Jesus Christ himself? Meese must know *something* about what he's talking about. Is it that we don't want to read Ed Meese's political opinions, or is it that we don't want to read American conservative opinion in general? How about this: if you don't approve of this next journalist, you give me the name of a conservative journalist you do trust and I'll track down one of his/her articles....
....and dc_dux, one more time:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showpos...8&postcount=46

Journalists dont express opinions....they are supposed to report facts.

IMO, Meese's opinion of the limits on the executive branch are tainted by the excesses of the Reagan administration re: Iran/Contra, in which he played a significant role. BTW, Hillary went to Wellesley and Yale Law School. Does that make her equally intelligent and "must know 'something' about what she is talking about". (Meese's education is a specious argument to say the least)

I value many conservative opinion makers, George Will and Willliam Buckley, among them, although I rarely agree with either and I dont consider them to be journalists.
Meese was a close friend of Reagan's who coveted the white house COS position that went to James Baker. If you set aside "the spin", IMO, Meese was on a par, as far as his sense of duty to his office, his regard for the truth, and for the law, and his understanding of the law, with Gonzales.

I don't want to read a description/opinion of Gonzales, 20 years from now, as glowing and misapplied, as the one powerclown posted about Meese. I want the corruption and the damage that it is doing to the country, to stop, and I want the law breakers in the current administration, investigate, indicted when the evidence justifies it, and convicted, without pardons to follow.

I think that we are so divided and our executive branch is unaccountable because of the spinning of descriptions of present and past events. <b>The ubiquity of the internet seems to be aggravating the problem via information overload......but without the internet, how could I ever make a presentation.....similar to this one?</b>

Quote:
PROSECUTOR: MEESE LIES ON IRAN-CONTRA
Chicago Tribune Co. Jan 20, 1994

Former Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese "is arrogant and unabashed" and has repeatedly misstated the factual record on Iran-contra during TV appearances, special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh said Wednesday. Meese saved himself from being considered for indictment in the affair by saying he was unable to recall key events in which Meese played a major role, Walsh said in an interview. Walsh's report, released Tuesday, says that Meese spearheaded an effort to falsely deny that President Ronald Reagan had known about one of the arms-for-hostages deals with Iran, a shipment of Hawk missiles which Reagan aides feared had been illegal. The tactic, according to the Walsh report, was designed to protect Reagan from the political fallout of Iran-contra. Meese called Walsh's conclusion "preposterous." The prosecutor is trying to "cover up the fact that he got virtually nothing out of seven years and $100 million of investigation," Meese said Tuesday night on "The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour."
Quote:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...03/ai_n8733309
Iran-Contra: The press indicts the prosecutor
Columbia Journalism Review, Mar 1994 by Byrne, Malcolm, Kornbluh, Peter

On January 19, the day after independent counsel Lawrence Walsh released his final report on the Iran-contra scandal, The New York Times ran a front-page news analysis headed THE SCANDAL THAT FELL FLAT. Written by David E. Rosenbaum, the article dismissed Walsh's final report as adding "nothing but small details to what was already known." The issues, he wrote, were "basically lost on the American public," and key culprits emerged from the hearings "as patriots.

"As for Mr. Walsh," Rosenbaum continued, "he himself may turn out to be the most widely scorned figure in the whole affair."....

<h3>.....To understand how individuals who perpetrated the scandal are still able to warp the facts</h3>, consider how former Attorney General Edwin Meese, who emerged as the point man for rebutting the report, handled the press--and how the press failed to handle him. Recall also that he is the man who introduced the Iran-contra scandal to the nation on November 25, 1986...

...At that time, Meese told the nation that the president did not know in advance of the November 1985 missile shipment to Iran. Reagan, he said, only "later learned in February 1986 details about [the] shipment."

That was then. Now, speaking on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Meese claims that the president did know about these arms shipments, which Meese now says were legal, and therefore did not necessitate a coverup plan. "The more the president knew, the more he was able to authorize this and...give it the sanctions it needed to go ahead," Meese told Robert MacNeil. In a mirror image of what he himself was doing, Meese stated that Walsh had "distorted the facts, he has misled the American people, and he has arrived at a fraudulent claim."

Neither MacNeil nor Charles Gibson nor Bryant Gumbel pushed Meese to explain the discrepancy in his accounts. Instead, he was allowed to attack Walsh's integrity, as well as his report.....
Quote:
Iran-Contra Report Castigates Reagan; Impeachment `Should Have Been Considered,' Prosecutor Says
The Washington Post Company Jan 19, 1994
by George Lardner Jr., Walter Pincus

A seven-year investigation of the Iran-contra scandal produced "no credible evidence that President Reagan violated any criminal statute," but concluded that Reagan "set the stage for the illegal activities of others" by encouraging them to win freedom for American hostages in Lebanon and arm the contra rebels in Nicaragua, independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh said yesterday.

Once the public learned in late 1986 of the secret arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran and the clandestine funding for the contras, "Reagan administration officials deliberately deceived the Congress and the public about the level and extent of official knowledge of and support for these operations," Walsh said in his final report on the affair, released yesterday.

While he uncovered no proof that Reagan committed any crimes, Walsh said at a news conference that impeachment "certainly should have been considered." In his report, Walsh said it is appropriate to consider impeachment "in cases of conduct involving political objectives rather than venal objectives" because impeachment "brings into play the political judgment of both houses of Congress."

Reagan, Walsh said, "created the conditions which made possible the crimes committed by others by his secret deviations from announced national policy as to Iran and hostages and by his open determination to keep the contras together `body and soul' despite a statutory ban on contra aid."

A congressional investigation of Iran-contra, Walsh said, went down the wrong paths, in part because of the Reagan administration's coverup. Walsh said Congress's 1986-87 inquiry had been complicated by the withholding of literally thousands of "contemporaneous notes and documents" by top government officials - a factor that he said also unduly prolonged his own inquiry.

Walsh said his investigation discovered "large caches of previously withheld contemporaneous notes and documents, which provided new insight into the highly secret events of Iran-contra. Had these materials been produced to congressional and criminal investigators when they were requested in 1987, independent counsel's work would have proceeded more quickly and probably with additional indictments."

Walsh's 566-page report was made public by the new members of the special three-judge panel that appointed him in December 1986. Also released were a volume of supplementary material and a 1,150-page compendium of responses from Reagan and others who took issue with the findings, often denouncing Walsh for accusing them of crimes he couldn't prove in court. Another volume of classified material, primarily concerning CIA activities in Central America, was not released.

<h3>In his report and in his news conference, Walsh was particularly critical of former president George Bush, who served as Reagan's vice president.</h3>

At the press session, Walsh called Bush's decision to pardon former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and five other Iran-contra figures on Christmas Eve 1992 "an act of friendship or an act of self-protection"; the pardon prevented a trial of Weinberger at which Bush would have been called as a witness. Walsh had envisioned the Weinberger trial as his best chance to establish a high-level coverup by using long-withheld documents, such as notes kept by Weinberger, former secretary of state George P. Shultz, former White House chief of staff Donald T. Regan and former White House counsel Peter Wallison.

In his report, Walsh said his investigation did not find evidence proving that Bush "violated any criminal statute" but said Bush had refused to cooperate in the final stages of the independent counsel's investigation.

"Do you think that Presidents Reagan and Bush still have a lot to answer for?" Walsh was asked at his news conference.

"I think President Bush will always have to answer for his pardons," Walsh replied. "There was no public purpose served by that. . . . President Reagan, on the other hand, was carrying out policies that he strongly believed in. He may have been willful, but he, at least he thought he was serving the country in what he did, and the fact that he disregarded certain laws and statutes in the course of it was not because of any possibly self-centered purpose."

In a 126-page response, Reagan called the report "an excessive, hyperbolic, emotional screed that relies on speculation, conjecture, innuendo and opinion instead of proof."

Bush's lawyer, former attorney general Griffin B. Bell, said in reply that Bush "fully cooperated" with Walsh's office.

The Iran-contra scandal came to light in October and November of 1986 with the exposure of two secret Reagan administration operations: the provision of lethal aid for the contra rebels during a congressional ban on such assistance, and a series of secret arms-for-hostages deals with Iran in violation of stated U.S. policy. The two covert actions merged in late November 1986 when the White House disclosed that some of the profits from the arms sales had been diverted to the contras.

<h3>Walsh, an 82-year-old former federal judge and a lifelong Republican, ended up prosecuting 14 individuals and investigating 17 others.</h3> His report, required by law to include his reasons for not prosecuting subjects of his inquiry, contains many new details, including previously secret grand jury testimony and excerpts of diary entries and notes kept by Reagan and other top officials in his administration.

The chief focus of Walsh's report is on what he says was the Reagan administration's deliberate deception of Congress and the public "about the level and extent of official knowledge of and support for" the arms sales to Iran and the contra resupply operation.

Walsh said his investigation in its final years resulted in the discovery of "significant evidence" about the coverup that began in November 1986. In the end, Walsh said he concluded that "the president's most senior advisers and the Cabinet members participated in the strategy to make National Security Council staff members {Robert C.} McFarlane, {Oliver L.} North, and {John M.} Poindexter the scapegoats whose sacrifice would protect the Reagan administration in its final two years."

One of Shultz's former top aides, Charles Hill, kept voluminous, painstakingly detailed notes of conversations between high-level State Department officials and Shultz's reports of meetings he had with the president and other top administration officials. It was Hill's notes that led to the discovery in 1991 of Weinberger's notes and ultimately to the indictment of the former defense secretary on charges of perjury, false statements and obstruction of a congressional investigation.

Hill's notes also led to discovery of notes kept by Nicholas Platt, another high-ranking State Department official. Together, Walsh said, the State Department documents contradicted Shultz's own congressional testimony in 1986 about the arms sales to Iran. In re-interviews in 1992, the report said, Shultz "acknowledged the accuracy of the Hill notes, agreed that they were relevant and should have been produced, and stated that if he had reviewed them prior to his testimony before Congress, his testimony would have been very different.

"He admitted that portions of his testimony were wrong," Walsh added.

In 1992, Walsh also found notes of Reagan that had not previously been produced. <h3>According to the report, these showed that former attorney general Edwin Meese III stated at a crucial White House meeting that a November 1985 shipment of Hawk missiles to Iran was probably illegal.</h3> The Regan notes, along with an account of the same meeting given to Hill by Shultz, became the basis for a renewed 1992 investigation by Walsh into Meese's role in the alleged coverup.

Still other evidence concerning Meese, the report said, came from notes kept by Wallison, a close associate of Regan and the top White House lawyer in November 1986. Wallison was convinced that the 1985 shipments had been a violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. Wallison wrote in his diary that he was "unhappy" with a public statement issued by the White House in November 1986 asserting that no law had been violated by the Iranian arms sales.

"I was told that this is what the AG {Meese} wanted said," Wallison recorded in his diary. According to Walsh, Wallison later raised concerns about a conflict of interest when he was told Meese had been designated by the White House to investigate the arms sales to Iran.

Walsh said he did not learn of Meese's key statements at the White House until late in his investigation. "Six years after the pivotal events had occurred, the trail was cold," Walsh said in his report. "With the principals professing no memory of often critical events, the OIC {Office of Independent Counsel} did not uncover sufficient evidence of an obstruction to justify a prosecution."

In an important sense, Walsh said, the strategy to make North, McFarlane and Poindexter the scapegoats succeeded. "Independent Counsel discovered much of the best evidence of the coverup in the final year of active investigation, too late for most prosecutions," the report said.

In his response to the report, Meese said that "at no time did the attorney general initiate or participate in any coverup of any aspect of what has become known as the Iran-contra matter." He denounced the report as not only "a grand delusion riddled with false statements, <h3>but an unconscionable act of deception intended to cover up Walsh's own unethical and illegal conduct."

At his news conference, Walsh said it was "very disturbing" for him to be pointing fingers at people he didn't prosecute, but justified it as a requirement of the independent counsel law designed to make such prosecutors fully accountable for their actions, both in what they did not do as well as what they did.</h3> He said the provision was enacted out of congressional concerns following the Watergate investigation when special prosecutors issued "a rather condensed report" and then went on to write books about their work.

Walsh also acknowledged that he made "some mistakes of judgment" in the course of the $36 million inquiry, particularly at the beginning when "I thought I could handle it with 10 lawyers." He said he did not expand his staff significantly until Congress began talking of granting immunity to key figures such as North and Poindexter, a step that ultimately resulted in the voiding of their criminal convictions.

For the first time, Walsh publicly discussed his view that Reagan believed he was acting in the public interest, even if wrongheadedly. Walsh said the bare facts would suggest Reagan had "knowingly participated or at least acquiesced" in a coverup, but "such a conclusion runs against President Reagan's seeming blindness to reality when it came to the rationalization of some of his Iran and hostage policies. . . .

<h2>"The simple fact is that President Reagan seems not to have been ashamed of what he had done," Walsh said.</h2> "He had convinced himself that he was not trading arms for hostages."

Recalling his last questioning of Reagan in July 1992, Walsh said the former president's "memory had obviously failed. He had little recollection of the meetings and details of the transactions" even when his own diary notes were read back to him.

By contrast, Walsh charged in his report that Bush apparently "had little intention of cooperating with the independent counsel" in the final stages of the investigation. According to a 1993 FBI interview with a former associate White House counsel for Bush, Janet Rehnquist, lawyers in the White House had decided to tell Walsh's prosecutors to "pound sand" in response to interview requests.

"Their position was that interviews had already been done, that an election was going on and that enough was enough," the FBI report of the intervew stated. After the election, Bush insisted that any interview be limited to his failure to tell prosecutors until mid-December 1992 about a diary he kept during the Iran-contra period.

As a result, Walsh said, "the criminal investigation of Bush was regrettably incomplete." He said his only recourse, a grand jury subpoena of the former president, would have been inappropriate, in part because it would have smacked of retaliation for the pardons.

Responding for Bush, Bell said that Walsh "refused to consider any reasonable limitations" on the scope of the questions.
Quote:
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/

FINAL REPORT OF THE
INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR
IRAN/CONTRA MATTERS
Volume I:
Investigations and Prosecutions
Lawrence E. Walsh
Independent Counsel
August 4, 1993
Washington, D.C.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

Division for the Purpose of
Appointing Independent Counsel
Division No. 86-6

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_31.htm Chapter 31
<b>Edwin Meese III: November 1986</b>

Attorney General Edwin Meese III became directly involved in the Reagan Administration's secret plan to sell weapons to Iran in January 1986, when he was asked for a legal opinion to support the plan.1 When the secret arms sales became exposed in November 1986, raising questions of legality and prompting congressional and public scrutiny, Meese became the point man for the Reagan Administration's effort, in Meese's words, ``to limit the damage.'' 2

1 Meese, Select Committees Testimony, 7/28/87, pp. 2-9; 21-36. Meese also supported the plan. (Ibid., pp. 5-7.)

2 Meese, North Trial Testimony, 3/28/89, pp. 5747-48.

Meese began with an attempt to justify legally President Reagan's failure to notify Congress of the arms sales for more than a year. His efforts led to a November 21-24 fact-finding investigation focused on the President's involvement in the November 1985 HAWK missile shipment to Iran.

The Select Iran/contra Committees criticized Meese for departing from ``standard investigative techniques'' in his fact-finding mission because he failed to protect National Security Council documents, many of which were altered or destroyed as he conducted one-on-one interviews with senior Administration officials without taking notes.3 The Select Committees also faulted Meese for ``incorrectly'' stating in his November 25, 1986, press conference, at which he disclosed the Iran/contra diversion, that President Reagan did not learn of the 1985 shipment until February 1986. The Select Committees viewed this as an isolated error. It was not.

3 Select Committees Report, pp. 10-11, pp. 20-21, pp. 306-07, p. 311, pp. 317-18.

Meese was conducting the November 21-24 investigation as ``counselor'' and ``friend'' to the President, not as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. Independent Counsel concluded that he was not so much searching for the truth about the November 1985 HAWK shipment, as he was building a case of deniability for his client-in-fact, President Reagan......
Quote:
MEESE SAYS COURT NOT LAWMAKER;
Chicago Tribune Co. Oct 24, 1986

Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese said Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution are not "the supreme law of the land." He said officials should be guided by their own views of that document rather than always deferring to the court's.

While a Supreme Court decision "binds the parties in the case and also the executive branch for whatever enforcement is necessary," he said in a speech, "such a decision does not establish a 'supreme law of the land' that is binding on all persons and parts of government, henceforth and forevermore."

Asserting that the court itself had sometimes aggrandized its own role by seeming "to equate the judge with the lawgiver," Meese assailed what he called a tendency of some senators and others to place judicial rulings "on a par with the Constitution" itself.

The speech expanded on critiques of the court's constitutional rulings that Meese has made over the last 15 months by suggesting that only the parties to particular cases were bound by them. The speech was delivered at Tulane University in New Orleans Tuesday night and was made public here Wednesday.

Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement Thursday that "Edwin Meese is fast establishing himself as the most dangerous public official since Richard Nixon."

Glasser called Meese's remarks "an invitation to lawlessness and a breach of constitutional duty to uphold the law."

In his previous speeches, Meese has criticized both particular decisions of the court, such as its expansion of the civil liberties of criminal defendants, and what he calls the majority's overall approach of reading its own policy preferences into the Constitution rather than following the "original intentions" of the framers.

The latest speech focused, instead, on the question of how much respect should be given to Supreme Court decisions by those who disagree with them, and it implicitly rebuked those who have criticized Meese and other administration officials for refusing to defer to the court's constitutional rulings.

Noting that the Supreme Court can and has overruled its own rulings, he said citizens and officials need not assume, as the former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes once quipped, "that the Constitution is 'what the judges say it is.' "

Rather than "submit to government by judiciary," he said, "we as citizens may respond to a decision we disagree with." He said legislators might properly propose bills contrary to Supreme Court decisions in recognition "that these decisions do not necessarily determine future public policy."

"Each of the three coordinate branches of government created and empowered by the Constitution--the executive and legislative no less than the judicial--has a duty to interpret the Constitution in the performance of its official functions," Meese said.

Quoting Charles Warren, a constitutional historian, he said, "However the court may interpret the provisions of the Constitution, it is still the Constitution which is the law, not the decisions of the court."

Meese also quoted similar statements by Abraham Lincoln and other leaders who have assailed various Supreme Court rulings, including James Madison's statement that each branch of government "must in the exercise of its functions be guided by the text of the Constitution according to its own interpretation of it."

Meese did not say how far political figures should carry this logic; whether, for example, legislators should feel free to repeatedly pass legislation identical with laws the court has recently struck down or whether a president should feel free to defy a court order to surrender confidential executive branch documents.

Terry Eastland, Meese's chief spokesman, said in an interview Wednesday that he could not answer hypothetical questions about whether there might be situations in which Meese's logic would support presidential defiance of a direct order from the court.

"In general terms, our view is that when the executive branch is a party and there is a direct order to the executive branch, it should obey that order," he said. He said the main point of the speech was "that when one believes a constitutional decision was wrong, one should not feel shy or inhibited about responding to it in a responsible fashion."

John Killian, a senior specialist at the congressional research service at the Library of Congress, said Thursday that Meese's speech is "incomplete. It inadequately addresses the situation."

"What it doesn't talk about is that a court decision is precedent," Killian said. "It establishes a meaning of the provision of the Constitution and future decisions are decided in accordance with that."

Killian acknowledged that a Supreme Court decision, as Meese said, does not bind people who are not parties to the case, "but it does govern; like cases will be decided by other courts in a like manner."

He said that the remedy for someone who disagrees with a decision is to ask the court to overturn it, and he noted that the Supreme Court has overturned its own decisions more than 180 times.

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...eme%20Court%20

WASHINGTON TALK; MEESE AND THE STORM OVER THE COURT
STUART TAYLOR Jr., Special to the New York Times.

Oct 27, 1986

Jefferson said it. Jackson said it. So did Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

But when Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d said in a speech last week that officials and citizens need not give unswerving deference to the Supreme Court's interpretations of the Constitution, alarm bells went off among civil libertarians.

''An invitation to lawlessness'' was what Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, branded the speech. He called Mr. Meese ''The most radical and dangerous Attorney General in this century.'' Mr. Glasser was far from alone. Why the Commotion?

Why such a commotion about what was, in the view of several scholars of diverse political persuasions, a rather unremarkable disquisition on somewhat abstruse questions long debated by constitutionalists?

Part of the answer is that when the Attorney General of the United States, particularly one who has already criticized the Supreme Court more boldly than any predecessor in more than 40 years, speaks out on the Court's authority, speculation runs rampant among friends and foes alike about what kind of message he really means to send.

What was the hidden agenda? Was there one? Was he simply restating familiar truisms? Or hinting at something bigger? Why did he start down this or that line of analysis without saying how far he would carry it? What did he mean by assailing the reasoning of a 1958 decision aimed at quelling massive resistance by Southern whites to school desegregation? Charge and Denial

The answers are not self-evident. And so the speculation proliferates, with Mr. Meese's liberal critics quick to assume, and his aides quick to deny, that he is flirting with radical assaults on settled legal principles.

Mr. Meese's speeches about the Court and the Constitution have been especially provocative of such speculation, because he often makes potentially far-reaching but fundamentally ambiguous statements about issues of great profundity and complexity without spelling out what he means.

Narrowly interpreted, most of these statements would hardly be controversial. Expansively read, they can be seen as rallying cries for fundamental change.

Mr. Meese's speech at Tulane University was a case in point. He plunged into a debate about the Supreme Court's role in enforcing the Constitution that goes back to 1803, when the Court asserted the authority to strike down an Act of Congress as unconstitutitional. He Sees Bad Equation

Mr. Meese endorsed this doctrine of judicial review, but said the Justices, and liberals who had savaged conservative critics of the Court as though it was sacrosanct, had wrongly equated the Court and its rulings with the Constitution itself.

While a Supreme Court ruling ''binds the parties in the case and also the executive branch for whatever enforcement is necessary,'' he said, it does not ''establish a 'supreme law of the land' that is binding on all persons and parts of government, henceforth and forevermore.''

Mr. Meese also stressed that ''we as citizens may respond to a decision we disagree with,'' and that the executive and legislative branches should follow their own views of the Constitution rather than always bowing to the Court's.

To the extent that these comments say there is nothing wrong with publicly criticizing Supreme Court rulings, or with urging the Court to reconsider, or with a President's vetoing a bill he deems unconstitutional even if the Court would not so view it, few constitutional scholars would disagree. What Are Implications? But Mr. Meese's remarks also seemed susceptible of a more controversial meaning. Was he suggesting officials and citizens could disregard Supreme Court precedents until they were personally dragged into court? Was he encouraging resistance to unpopular rulings by those not directly subject to them? Was he hinting that a President should defy a direct Supreme Court order that conflicts with his view of the Constitution?

No, no and no, answered Terry Eastland, Mr. Meese's chief spokesman. And while ambiguities remain, Mr. Meese qualified his speech in a television interview two days later by saying that the Court ''does set down the law of the land, if you will, even though not the supreme law of the land like the Constitution is.''

More questions were raised by Mr. Meese's sharp criticism of the Court's statements in the 1958 decision, Cooper v. Aaron, which grew out of the effort in 1957 by Gov. Orval Faubus of Arkansas to obstruct desegregation of the schools in Little Rock. He sent the Arkansas National Guard to keep blacks out of a white school. President Eisenhower had to send Federal troops to enforce a lower Federal court's desegregation order. Faubus Position Rejected

The Supreme Court, ordering that desegregation proceed despite continuing turmoil, said the state's obstruction must not be allowed to succeed. It rejected Governor Faubus's argument that he was not bound by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision requiring school desegregation, because Arkansas had not been a party in the Brown case.

In the only opinion in history that all nine Justices personally signed, to emphasize their unanimity. The Court said ''the Federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution,'' and therefore the Brown decision was binding on all state officials as ''the supreme law of the land.''

It was this broad language that Mr. Meese criticized last week as ''at war with the Constitution, at war with the basic principles of democratic government and at war with the very meaning of the rule of law.'' Frankfurter's Opionion

What should the Supreme Court have done in the case? Mr. Meese did not say. <h3>Did he agree with the Faubus position that he could ignore the Brown decision because he had not been a party to it? His speech did not say; Mr. Eastland, when asked, said no.</h3>

While quoting with approval Justice Felix Frankfurter's statement in another context, ''The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself,'' Mr. Meese did not mention that the same Justice had joined in Cooper v. Aaron.

''Our kind of society cannot endure,'' Justice Frankfurter said in a separate concurrence, ''if the controlling authority of the law as derived from the Constitution is not to be the tribunal specially charged with the duty of ascertaining and declaring what is 'the supreme law of the land'.''
Quote:
<b>Poindexter Persuaded Meese to Delay Probes of Arms Shipments to Contras</b>
By Andy Pasztor and John Walcott. Wall Street Journal.
Dec 19, 1986

WASHINGTON -- Former White House National Security Adviser John Poindexter persuaded Attorney General Edwin Meese to sidetrack criminal investigations of arms shipments to Nicaraguan insurgents in late October by asserting that the probes endangered efforts to free American hostages in the Middle East.

Earlier that month, on the same day that Nicaraguan troops shot down a cargo plane ferrying supplies to the Contras, Felix Rodriguez, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative with close ties to Vice President George Bush, notified former White House aide Lt. Col. Oliver North that the plane was missing, according to administration officials.

The officials said Lt. Col. North immediately flew to El Salvador to prevent details of the Contra supply mission from becoming public and to arrange death benefits for survivors of the two Americans killed in the incident.

The new disclosures suggest that at least some administration officials knew more about the Contra resupply effort than the White House has admitted. They also raise questions about the role Mr. Meese, some of his top aides and the Federal Bureau of Investigation played in the Iran-Contra affair.

Justice Department spokesmen yesterday confirmed that Mr. Meese agreed to go along with Mr. Poindexter's highly unusual request. Federal investigators believe the request was part of a broader effort by Mr. Poindexter and other administration officials to try to hold off criminal investigations that they feared could hinder release of the hostages or expose links between secret arms sales to Iran and shipments of arms to the Contras.

Lt. Col. North, who at the time was one of Mr. Poindexter's top aides, made a similar request in October to Oliver "Buck" Revell, an executive assistant director of the FBI, according to these investigators.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials said they now suspect that as much as $40 million involved in the U.S. arms sales to Iran was shifted among a complex web of secret bank accounts in Switzerland and the Caribbean. Mr. Meese previously said that between $10 million and $30 million in funds raised in the arms sales may have gone to the Nicaraguan insurgents.

But administration officials acknowledged yesterday that the total amount of money involved in the complex transactions almost certainly will prove to be much higher after detailed bank records and other documents are reviewed.

At least some of the profit from the arms sales apparently was combined with millions of additional dollars provided by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Brunei and other sources to help the anti-Sandinista rebels, according to an official familiar with the investigation.

The flow of money from the arms sales, along with the the Justice Department's handling of the Contra investigations,<h3> is certain to be a major concern of the independent counsel that an appeals court panel is expected to appoint to unravel the complex affair. Administration officials said Lawrence E. Walsh, a former American Bar Association president and Justice Department official, is likely to get the job, perhaps as early as today.</h3>

The latest disclosures came as the Senate and House Intelligence Committees tried unsuccessfully to resolve conflicting versions of how President Reagan authorized the first of the controversial shipments of U.S. arms to Iran in 1985.

Appearing for the second time before the Senate panel, Robert McFarlane, Mr. Poindexter's predecessor as national security adviser, repeated his earlier testimony that Mr. Reagan orally authorized the shipment before it was sent in August 1985.

But White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan, repeating his version of events, told the House Intelligence Committee that the president only sanctioned that shipment in October, two months after it had occurred.

In his testimony to the House panel, Mr. Regan reiterated that the president didn't have prior knowledge of the diversion of arms-sale funds to the Contras. And he bluntly described the diversion as a "mistake," according to sources.

Sources said Mr. Regan sought to downplay Lt. Col. North's stature in the Reagan administration. But separately, an intelligence source said CIA Director William Casey earlier had instructed his subordinates to obey instructions from Lt. Col. North, who he said was acting on Mr. Casey's authority and that of Mr. Poindexter. And a senior Justice Department official said Lt. Col. North and Mr. Meese "used to talk fairly regularly" about terrorism and other national security issues.

The Justice Department's confirmation that Mr. Poindexter sought to sidetrack investigations of arms shipments to the Contras follows a report in The Wall Street Journal last Friday that senior department officials sought to delay the probes. Mr. Meese's spokesman said the attorney general "had absolutely no reason to wonder about" Mr. Poindexter's motives in seeking a delay.

But by the time the cargo plane was shot down Oct. 5, Mr. Poindexter knew that funds were being diverted to the Contras, according to administration officials. Mr. Meese has asserted that he was never told about the diversion -- or even suspected it -- until he started looking into the matter around the last week of November.

The Contra supply operation has been linked to Southern Air Transport, a Miami-based cargo airline. The airline, which the Reagan administration hired to ship arms to Iran, also was part of criminal investigations in October by the FBI and the Customs Service into alleged gun-smuggling to Nicaragua rebels.

Terry Eastland, Mr. Meese's chief press aide, said Mr. Poindexter specifically asked the attorney general to "delay" criminal investigations of Southern Air, citing "national security interests" and the fact that "certain personnel of (the airline) were scheduled to perform a mission in the Middle East" related to release of the hostages.

Law enforcement officials familiar with the sequence of events said Mr. Poindexter apparently was referring to a shipment of arms that a Southern Air Boeing 707 was scheduled to take to Iran near the end of October or in early November. Federal investigators believe that the shipment did occur. American hostage David Jacobsen was released Nov. 2.

Following his discussion with Mr. Poindexter, Mr. Meese told Associate Attorney General Stephen Trott to ask FBI director William Webster to delay the bureau's probe of Southern Air, according to Justice Department officials. Officials said that Mr. Trott made the request to Mr. Webster in Mr. Meese's name, and that the FBI chief agreed to it after some discussion.

Mr. Trott, or another of Mr. Meese's aides, also sought assurances that the Customs Service, which is an arm of the Treasury Department, would suspend an investigation it was conducting into Southern Air's operations, according to investigators. The investigators said the Customs Service agreed.

In addition, senior Treasury Department officials confirmed a Washington Post report that an administration official from outside the Justice Department, whom they declined to identify, engaged in what they called an "improper" effort to delay the Customs Service probe into Southern Air. A Justice Department official said investigators suspect the official was Lt. Col. North or someone else from the National Security Council.

Mr. Eastland said the attorney general agreed to delay the FBI probe after determining that doing so wouldn't "compromise the investigation or potential prosecution."

Justice Department and FBI officials have maintained that the investigations resumed after a delay of about 10 days. Moreover, a grand jury was set up in Miami several weeks ago to investigate suspected illegal arms shipments to Central America. The grand jury is known to be looking at possible involvement by Southern Air.

FBI agents and the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility also are investigating Lt. Col. North's separate request to the FBI's Mr. Revell. The bureau said Mr. Revell, who had worked with Lt. Col. North on two administration anti-terrorism committees, voluntarily removed himself from the Iran-Contra investigation weeks ago, citing his previous association with Lt. Col. North.

FBI spokesmen and Mr. Revell declined to comment yesterday. Lt. Col. North's attorney declined to comment and Mr. Poindexter's lawyer didn't return a call seeking comment.

The Reagan administration has denied any involvement in the clandestine and supposedly private Contra supply effort. But Mr. Rodriguez's warning to Lt. Col. North that the cargo plane was missing raises new questions about how closely the administration monitored the operation.

In addition to calling Lt. Col. North, Mr. Rodriguez -- a close friend of Donald Gregg, Vice President Bush's national security adviser -- alerted another Bush aide that the C-123K cargo plane was missing, according to an account made public this week by Mr. Bush's office. The other aide, Army Col. Sam Watson, passed the word to the White House situation room, according to the vice president's chronology.

Still another U.S. official, Army Col. James Steele, appeared before a congressional committee yesterday in a closed hearing to explain whether he helped oversee the Contras' resupply network while he was the top U.S. military adviser in El Salvador.
Here is a little background on the other writer, Peter J. Ferrara who powerclown defends as a "journalist":

Quote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2005Feb21.html
Private-Account Concept Grew From Obscure Roots

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page A01

Twenty-five years ago, Peter J. Ferrara was a Harvard Law School student with what he called "the craziest idea in the world." In a paper he wrote before graduating, he suggested converting the government-run Social Security program into a web of private investments.

The paper caught the eye of Edward H. Crane, a former head of the Libertarian Party who had recently started the Cato Institute, which has a stated mission of encouraging "limited government." To him, Ferrara's idea wasn't crazy at all, but a way to challenge Washington's largest and most revered social program.

With Crane's backing, the proposal by the 24-year-old Ferrara began an improbable journey from the fringes of public policy into the mainstream. Today, far from its origins in the political wilderness, the notion of creating Social Security personal accounts is at the top of President Bush's domestic agenda and stands to spark the year's biggest legislative battle.

None of this would have happened without the persistence of conservative operatives, the explosive growth of the stock market in the 1990s and the eventual adoption of the idea by big business.

The story is peopled with quirky characters such as Ferrara, a brilliant and notoriously unkempt wonk, and Crane, one of the prickliest critics of Washington's bureaucracy. It also has its irony: After years of struggle in obscurity, the free-marketers are now at war with themselves. Crane, Ferrara and the business interests that have become the effort's primary financial supporters are at each other's throats over how to structure and promote the accounts.....

......Wearing a lint-flecked suit and wing-tip shoes badly in need of polish, Ferrara ripped into this opinion as he strode down K Street. "The staff didn't do such a good job of developing the president's proposal," he said. He also scolded his former colleagues at Cato. "They are misreading public opinion if they think people want a laissez-faire, tear-it-down system."

"Peter's a difficult personality," said Cato's Boaz. "Then again, some might say that Ed [Crane] is a difficult personality, too."
Quote:
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/...1037_db016.htm

DECEMBER 16, 2005
By Eamon Javers

Op-Eds for Sale
A columnist from a libertarian think tank admits accepting payments to promote an indicted lobbyist's clients. Will more examples follow?....
...and I'll have much more illuminatiing and troubling background on Peter Ferrara in my next post....

Last edited by host; 07-09-2007 at 01:09 AM..
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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More irrelevant spin fit for the disintegration machine, or relevant adult conservative opinion deserving of inclusion in the American political conversation? I would offer up the opinion that many, many, many Americans hold these exact same views. Referring to millions and millions of people's opinions as irrelevant strikes me as naive.


Setback for the ACLU

By THE EDITORS
July 9, 2007 6:30 AM

In a welcome decision, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a Detroit federal judge’s ruling from last summer which purported to invalidate the Bush administration’s Terrorist Surveillance Program. The TSP, which is no longer in effect, involved eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, without court warrants, on communications into and out of the United States by suspected members of al Qaeda.

Notwithstanding relentless efforts by administration critics to mischaracterize the program as “domestic spying,” it proved to be popular with the public, which understood that for terrorist operatives inside our country to take directions from overseas requires communication.

Despite their criticism of President Bush’s alleged lawlessness, Democrats made no serious effort to end the program by cutting off funding. Most said they believed such communications should be monitored; their sole objection, they claimed, was that they wanted it done within the “rule of law” — by which they meant they wanted it done only with judicial blessing under a 1978 statute Congress had enacted. They rejected the notion that the president, as commander-in-chief, maintained the inherent authority to order the surveillance as a way to protect the nation from foreign attack during wartime. But all wartime presidents have exercised this authority (once the technology made this sort of surveillance possible), and all courts that have considered the issue have concluded the chief executive indeed has this constitutional power.

What we really had, in other words, in the TSP controversy was a simple policy dispute over the proper balance between concern for our safety and concern for our privacy. Such disputes are supposed to be decided in the political process. Elected representatives make the judgment calls, and are then rewarded or punished at the ballot box by the people whose lives are at stake. That is called democracy.

Decisions on national-security matters are not supposed to be imposed on us by unaccountable judges, issuing rulings in lawsuits brought by activist plaintiffs who pretend to represent “the public” but, in fact, represent only their own agendas. They certainly have a right to fight for their views— but only by persuading us in the political arena, not usurping our self-determination through the courts.

That is what the Sixth Circuit majority has held. The federal courts are limited by a doctrine called “standing.” Essentially, it means that a litigant cannot bring a lawsuit unless he can show that the actions of a party, including the government, are harming him in a specific and unique way. If he is just another concerned citizen who thinks his taxes are too high or worries that his police department’s policies may someday result in actions that are too aggressive, that is not grist for a lawsuit. If it were, all policymaking would be transferred to the courts. The standing doctrine is not legal procedural arcana; it is a bedrock limitation on judicial power designed to protect democratic self-determination.

The panel reasoned that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the TSP in court. Led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American Islamic Relations, and various other activists, these plaintiffs were a collection of lawyers, journalists, and Muslim interest groups. They had no idea — nor could they, since the program is classified — whether their communications had actually been intercepted by the NSA. Rather, they purported to fear the possibility, which they portrayed as a likelihood that they could be overheard. They claimed harm from being shunned by the people with whom they wanted to communicate — the kind of people the government might suspect of al Qaeda connections because, well, they just might have al Qaeda connections.

This claim of a “chilling effect” was never persuasive. After all, even if there were no TSP, the government could monitor the very same people by getting judicial warrants. That, however, is almost beside the point. There is nothing that makes these plaintiffs so special that they, unlike the rest of us, are uniquely affected by having to worry that their conversations with our enemies in wartime might be monitored. They just don’t like the idea of George W. Bush managing a war. That’s a perfectly acceptable position to take, but it is a political position, not a legal one.

Typically, the mainstream media has been quick to label the appeals-court ruling as a setback for civil liberties. No, it is merely a setback for the ACLU. The most important civil liberty is our right to govern ourselves. The Sixth Circuit’s judgment takes wartime surveillance of the enemy out of the courts and back into the political arena, where it belongs.




How Bush Lost the Right by Waging the Wrong War
by Chuck Muth
Posted: 10/31/2006

It’s a given that Republicans have lost the confidence of conservatives over issue after issue; unfulfilled promise after unfulfilled promise. From spending to immigration; from expanding rather than eliminating the Department of (Mis)Education to the creation of the new prescription drug entitlement. But when you hear that conservative support for the war in Iraq is a major reason the GOP may lose control on Congress next week, you have to wonder if that’s true or just left-wing media spin.

Sadly, it’s true.

But not for the reasons the Left would have you believe. It’s not that the Right doesn’t still support the war on terror or even the war in Iraq. It’s that the White House is losing the Right’s support for not aggressively pursuing the war; for pussy-footing around and waging a politically correct “sensitive” war.

This erosion of support started almost immediately after 9/11, and has decreased steadily ever since. Let me suggest six key turning points which have helped chip away at conservative support for President Bush’s war effort.

The first missed opportunity was the president’s post-9/11 statements. Instead of telling the American people to get back to their normal lives, he should have called for sacrifice. And he should have stoked the public’s righteous anger into support for doing whatever was necessary to wipe this militant Islamic scourge from the face of the earth. And his very first action should have been to announce to the world that he was rescinding the Executive Order which bans assassinations of foreign leaders.

I’m not saying he necessarily should have used it; but he should have declared it. He should have sent the unmistakable message that America would not fight this war with one hand tied behind its back. And that if one of our Marine sharp-shooters gets a shot at a dirtbag, that dirtbag is going down. End of story. Case closed. Hello, 72 virgins.

Then the world would have known we were serious. Dead serious.

The second decision which began a slow erosion of conservative support for the president’s war on terror was the president’s new war on grannies and toddlers. I’m talking about combining a bunch of big federal agencies into one HUGE federal agency – the Department of Homeland Security. Oh, and its evil spawn, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Conservatives instinctively know that expanding the government bureaucracy is never the answer to a problem. By taking private airport security screeners and making them government workers, Republicans asked for – begged for – the backlash they’re getting now. The longest lines in the United States today are government-created: the DMV and the TSA. Thanks, Republicans.

But wasn’t just the federalizing of an entire workforce. And it’s not just the inconvenience. It’s the pure stupidity. It’s watching little old ladies and tots in strollers being patted down while 18-to-34 year old Middle Eastern men are shuffled right on through for fear of being accused of “profiling.” A nation serious about winning a war isn’t worried about offending the sensitivities of those who just happen to match the description of those most likely to do us harm.

As for going into Iraq, conservatives aren’t having second thoughts about that. They’re not buying the liberal line that “Bush lied and people died.” Saddam Hussein was one of the bad guys. In fact, he was one of the worst of the worst bad guys. Given the chance he’d have gladly financed, if not organized, additional attacks on America (or Israel). Saddam gave us reason, cause and opportunity to make an example out of somebody. And lo and behold, almost the minute Saddam went down, Muammar Khadafi gave up all his hidden, secret weapons of mass destruction. Go figure.

Which brings me to the third big mistake the Administration made in the war. We knew Saddam was one of the bad guys, and we knew we were going to take him out. But instead of doing so immediately, we pussy-footed around with the United Nations and the Democrats for months. Months in which Saddam had plenty of opportunity to hide weapons that everybody, including the hapless Bill Clinton, knew he had (after all, he’d USED them already on his own people in Halabjah).

The Air Force and the Navy’s rockets red glare should have lit up Baghdad in October, not March.

And just think, as a White House spokesman said at the time (which landed him in a heap of trouble), one sniper’s bullet back then could avoided this whole thing.

Taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan and taking down Saddam in Iraq WAS the original mission of our military. So yes, THAT mission WAS accomplished…no matter how much and how often the Left continues to deny it. The problems which have eroded conservative support for the war effort have occurred afterward.

The first major sign that the Administration wasn’t taking prosecution of the war seriously was when Americans learned that pilotless Predator aircraft were patrolling the battlefield armed with Hellfire missiles but let one of the bad guys go. We learned that a Predator had Taliban leader Mullah Omar in its sights, but as USA Today noted, “military lawyers could not decide whether he could be struck.” Instead of taking the dirtball out, the Predator’s missiles “were ultimately fired near him, but not to kill him.”

What? A declared enemy of the nation could have been taken out, but our military wasn’t allowed to do so because of…lawyers? Is that insane or what? No wonder conservatives are ticked off. Who’s running this show…the Pentagon or the ACLU? If it’s the ACLU, “Check, please.”

And then there was Fallujah.

Americans were told that the Iraqi city of Fallujah was Insurgent Central. It was a terrorist swamp. Indeed, the top leaders of the opposition were believed to be holed up in Fallujah. The military’s mission: Drain the swamp. Exterminate the vermin. And if that means blowing up a mosque or two in the process, so be it.

But, nooooooo.

Political considerations entered the picture. Some in the new Iraqi government – which wouldn’t even BE there if not for the United States military – objected. So the swamp-draining mission into Fallujah was postponed…and by the time we finally did go in, most of the terrorist roaches had already checked out.

Wonderful.

But I think the biggest mistake we made was in capturing Saddam Hussein. Not in actually capturing him, but in not immediately giving him a firing squad instead of a two-year (and counting) circus trial for all the world to see. Where’s Judge Roy Bean when you need him? (“Bring that guilty man in here so we can give him a fair trial and a proper hanging before dinner.”)

THAT’S what Saddam deserved. THAT’S what he should have gotten. And if Americans didn’t have the stomach for it, they should have just turned him over to the Kurds in Halabjah.

If Republicans are losing conservative support for the war in Iraq or the war on terror, it’s not because conservatives don’t support the notion of the war in Iraq or the war on terror. It’s because conservatives no longer believe this administration is willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to WIN the war.

Saddam’s still alive (Spin? -ed.)…and 3,000 American servicemen and women are dead. Lawyers are calling the shots, not generals. We can’t blow up buildings where terrorists and insurgents are hiding. Military missions are delayed for political considerations.

But at least no one’s allowed to carry a big tube of toothpaste on a plane any longer.

And that’s why the war in Iraq may now be a reason why Republicans lose control of Congress next Tuesday. Get me Jack Bauer on the phone.

Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach.



Peace In Our Time?
by Chuck Freilich
Posted: 06/13/2007

If the Bush Administration would just leave well enough alone. Withdraw from Iraq, leave the Iranians to their own devices. Butt out.

Then we could all go back to the “me generation” desire to feel good about ourselves, our surroundings, other countries. Why upset allies, have a majority in Europe and elsewhere view the U.S. as the primary source of international instability and insecurity? Why not just continue sticking our heads in the ground ostrich-like, maybe the whole bloody mess will just go away?

It won’t. We live in a PC society hesitant to speak of a clash of civilizations, of cultures, of (heaven forbid, shh, make sure no one hears) religions. Our adversaries have no such compunctions, they simply blow up those who disagree with them, behead them, sow hatred, seek to undermine societies, threaten to destroy nations.

Does anyone seriously think that by withdrawing from Iraq the clash with extremist Islam will end? That it won’t follow the U.S. home thereafter? The President’s repeated efforts to make this case go unheard, drowned out by the opposing clamor of the anti-war movement for immediate gratification, bring the troops home and the future be damned!

Did U.S. problems with the extremists of the Moslem world begin with the May 2003 invasion of Iraq? 9/11 preceded the war in Iraq, as did the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, as did Palestinian terrorism (remember a time when one could fly without security measures?). Syrian terrorism (downing aircraft in 1980s), Libyan terror (downing two aircraft in the 80s and 90s), the blowing up of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, the murder of Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro in 1985, all preceded the war in Iraq.

Does the anti-war movement forget the eight year long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which hundreds of thousands died on both sides, the thousands who died due to Islamic terror in Algeria in the 1990s, or the Assad regime's highly effective means of dealing with the domestic threat posed by the Moslem Brotherhood, in which it simply shelled its own city of Hamma, killing over 10,000 citizens? How many civilians have been killed by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, Bali, Madrid, London, Tanzania, Israel, Chechnya? Do Iran’s endless denunciations of both the “Great and Small Satan” (the U.S. and Israel) and call for their downfall mean nothing?

There is a war on, whether we like it or not, and it will not end by withdrawing from Iraq. Can any one doubt the likelihood that at any given moment, maybe while you are reading this very article, al-Qaeda or some other group of nihilistic maniacs is plotting the next 9/11? Only this time they will want to do something really dramatic. Oh, blowing up a couple of skyscrapers? Big deal, “been there, done that”, now lets do something serious.

The few attempts at renewed attacks since 9/11 have been successfully thwarted and the U.S. has gotten a serious homeland security process underway, even if it is still far from complete. But maybe the various lunatics are simply biding their time, maybe it has been plain old luck. For how long?

As yet, no one has devised a fully effective counter-terrorism policy, or for winning in Iraq, or for dealing with Iran. Indeed, there probably is no one single policy, but a cumulative combination of various different approaches. Staying the course in Iraq will not do it, even a significant ongoing increase in troop strength may not suffice. But does getting out improve things? Or is just wishing the problem away a strategy?

Some may be surprised to know that a somewhat similar domestic debate took place in Israel as well, at the height of Palestinian terror in 2002. Many maintained (not incorrectly) that Israel’s security measures, as the U.S.’s in Iraq, further increased Palestinian animosity and exacerbated terror, that there was no military answer to the problem, that Israel should show greater restraint and live with it. Well, Israel took dramatic offensive measures in the March 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, which broke the backbone of the terror onslaught and then continued to pursue an ongoing offensive strategy. This has not “solved” the problem, certainly not its root causes, but it has brought it down to manageable proportions. There truly are no purely military “solutions” to terror and wars of values and belief, but they certainly help.

In 1937 at Munich, the “feel gooders” sought to appease the enemy, dismiss its aggressive designs. If only we would be reasonable and address their “concerns”, all would be well. If we just maintained our distance, disengaged. Well, it did not work then -- "peace in our time” proved to be a tragic, historic mistake -- and it won’t succeed this time either. (Judgement call: has Godwin just been invoked?)

---
Can it really all be spin?

Last edited by powerclown; 07-09-2007 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Is that a bazooka?
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Nope, fire hose. It's a scene from Weird Al Yankovich's "UHF". Great movie.

The kid just won a contest where he gets to drink from the fire hose.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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"Drink from a firehose"?
Strange "prize".
Appreciate the clarification, The_Jazz.
Things suddenly got strange there for a second...
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry, it amused me. What am I trying to say, for those who aren't familiar with the phrase, is that this is the opposite of the sound bite problem. Too much information is bad, just as too little information (or information without context) is bad.
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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Quote:
Notwithstanding relentless efforts by administration critics to mischaracterize the program as “domestic spying,” it proved to be popular with the public, which understood that for terrorist operatives inside our country to take directions from overseas requires communication.
Another conclusion without presenting evidence. When was domestic spying popular with the public? Do you have sources or statistics?

Powerclown, you're posting editorials, not news.
I hope you're aware that your editorials are posting the opinions of others, not actual verifiable news. Example above: a conclusions is drawn without evidence.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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powerclown, if you wrapped your quotes from 3rd party web pages, in quotes, I could quote the comments you make in your posts, in my responses. The way you are posting your supporting citations, I can,t quote only your actual comments...

I'll be brief...typing a post on a 700P does that to a man.....

I already responded to the core point in the NRO editorial that you posted. The NRO piece ignored the fact that appellate majorityruling commented only on the standing of the ACLU plsintiffs in the case. The one dissenting judge in the ruling, ruled that the plaintiffs had standing to sue...so he logically commented on the nearly year old Detroit circuit judge's initial, 2006 ruling, and he agreed that what the Bush admin. authorized, clearly was illegal. So, contrary to the NRO spin, the only two federal judges who examined the actual ACLU argument, and not solely the narrow generic issue of plaintiff's standing to sue.....ruled in favor of the ACLU's argument about the illegality of the Bush authorized, domestic surveillance. That is the exact opposite of what the NRO editors wanted their readers to believe that the recent appellate ruling meant...and that's spin....

Then you posted the opinuons of Chuck #1...the president of a "nonpartisan" advocacy group who hired the guy as a VP...Dan Bandow...after Businessweek reported that Bandow took payments from Abramoff to write promotional pieces for Abramoff's clients....disguised as oped articles.....:
www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/007267.php

Your last piece in your post was authored by Chuck Frielich, former asst. Israeli defense minister.....Don't tell me that you don't already know all this...but post it all, anyway....

contrast all of that with this, published yesterday by the NY Times readers' advocate:
Can you post any example of internal, organizational self criticism from any of the sites that you cite with linked articles?

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