Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

60 Minutes
Did Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link?

"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.

"Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking.

via Dan Gillmor


My wife and I watched the whole episode tonight. "60 Minutes" has been so irrelevant of late that I had to break my normal routine to sit through it. Clarke's revelations are incredible. I sat in the same chair, watching the same TV, where I watched those damn planes take down the Towers, over and over and over. I sat there dumbfounded as Clarke said over and over and over again that he warned the administration of the specific threats. "SOB," I said, "That damn SOB." Thanks to you and Dan.

I think that is becoming clearer to people is that the Bush administration did not really believe they had evidence of Iraqi involvment in 9/11 or evidence of WMD. They were convinced they would find it after they invaded Iraq.

Since they have now realized that they will never find any real evidence they have changed their story to "it was worth it anyway! The world is a better place because Saddam is no longer in power!" This is their fall back strategy.

Chris: Yes, and in fact, the world is not better and not safer. The UN was ruined, traditional allies were fooled and insulted, terrorism was ignited in Irak... and even in Madrid. I don't think that removing Saddam is worth such casualties.

So the question is: What can we do to stop this from happening again? Why traditional media is doomed as political watchdogs? Why Bush is not being impeach?

I'm watching Clarke on the TODAY show right now. It's outrageous. Once again we see George W. furthering his own personal causes, while Bin Laden goes on and on. Americans have minimal job opportunities and no healthcare. Are we safer? Maybe f Bush isn't re-elected.

And I saw Condi Rice on NBC and Fox...their line of explanation is straight out Rush Limbaugh's oxycontin-addicted's all Bill Clinton's fault. I almost spit out my tea when I heard Dr. Rice, with a straight face, say we followed the same course of action that the previous administration followed.
Let me get this straight, the Bush campaign was based on the notion that everything Clinton did was wrong. According to Clarke, as soon as the George Senior's boys came back into power under the Boy President, they "pick up where they left off eight years before...pursuing Cold War-like tactics against single regimes." As I heard Clarke say this last night, I thought, my God these people so hated Clinton that they simply wanted to erase eight years of history, pretend that the world hadn't changed.
Fast forward to this morning...send Dr. Rice, the ONLY person who might have a shred of credibility left because she's articulate, and have her claim that is was Clinton's fault. Those SOBs.

Just as an interesting note.. it seems Richard Clarke has a great track record himself:

I greatly dislike the Bush administration, but to the rational and unbiased mind, Mr. Clarke's actions appear highly suspect.

If a top official was privy to criminal and insane actions in the White House, that official should have exposed the situation immediately, no excuses. Any other action shows a lack of integrity and responsibility.

The fledgling race for the presidency is already in full heat and Mr. Clarke has just released a new book. This represents an ideal scenario for the political opportunist. Everyone should resent playing marionette to the political string pulling of any governmental faction or the press.

As much as I dislike Bush, I refuse to take Mr. Clarke's accusations seriously on principal.

You can say what you want about GW, but Mr. Clarke has an motive. he was on watch and said or done nothing. The fact that Bush had demoted him I guess meant nothing? Just cause a person goes on TV and says things it dont make it so. Why didnt the Clinton people do something? they had 8 years and nothing? And Mr. Clarke didnt think it odd? When the truth comes out I think we are going to see his motive. But then by that time his book will be a best seller and the publisher, the same people as 60 minutes will have taken the money to cyberspace.I no I no, he's just doing it for the good of us all, just like he did when he was their protecting us? He He he I love how people think that just because he goes on these news programs and say things, it got to be true. OJ said time and time again he didnt do it, and dont forget Bill telling us that he didnt have sex with that women!! I believe we seen those examples on TV also. And Hil going on Tv with the right wing, stuff. I bet you spit some tea on that one too!! he He He He

The "whistle-blower" is often pushed over the loyalty edge due to personal slight or resentment. That doesn't make the information un-true. Rather, it's the personal incentive to take the risk of exposing corruption.

Rather than dismissing Clarke based on an assumption that violates your principles, why not listen to the chorus of corraborating evidence ...
Rand Beers, terrorism advisor to the president at the National Security Agency ...
Paul O'Neil, Bush's Treasury Secretary ...
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, newly elected Spanish Prime Minister ...
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski ...
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter ....
and finally, David Kaye, Bush's handpicked weapons inspector.
How much truth does America need to hear in order to snap out of it's comma?

"How much truth does America need to hear in order to snap out of it's comma?"

It's interesting that you chose this phrase. What Clarke has to say now is old news to anyone who has been paying attention. The heart of the matter is that the timing and circumstances surrounding this so-called expose are very curious.

I really dislike Bush, but I have equal disdain for authors of inaccurate kiss-and-tell books that mainly serve the interests of powerful men who should be tending to the interests of the governed. I'm halfway done with reading a borrowed copy of Clarke's book. So far, it is rife with partisanship.

If you can find an ounce of nobility or responsibility in Clarke's recent actions, I think you should get to work on developing cold fusion, ASAP.

It's all very interesting to talk about partisanship or the money Clarke might earn from a book deal (not to mention the money 60 Minutes might have made.) These are, after all, the American Way.

(It's particularly amusing to hear about 'partisan' comments. The guy is saying that he was ordered by Bush to justify a war on false pretenses! What kind of 'unpartisan' view is possible under those circumstances? Should he be saying 'Well, I think George is a swell guy, but...' ?)

I imagine that many of us outside the USA are thinking:

1) Here is more evidence to prove what we suspected all along.
2) If it's untrue, what has the Bush Administration said about it?

I find it *particularly* interesting to see how the Bush administration and/or a large proportion of the media that were drawing clear links between Iraq and Al Qaeda during the invasion are now working just as hard saying they *aren't* linked, and that the attacks in Spain were somehow unrelated to Iraq.

For those of you in the US - who is buying this viewpoint? Are there people who support Bush, but don't believe in the links? Is the support for Bush coming from an us-versus-them mentality?

I would have thought that most of the Bush supporters firmly believed that Iraq and Al Qaeda *were* linked, and that now the message being sent out by the US president that this isn't the case would erode his support.

Or is it possible to say one thing to the domestic voter, and a completely different thing to other governments?

Mike B.,

You can add Sir Christopher Meyer, former UK ambassador to the U.S. to your list of corroborating witnesses. He told the same story almost a year ago.

And Clarke was actually telling this story to Time back in August of 2002.

Thanks for the article, Ranjit. For the record, I don't think there's any question that the Bush administration employed extremely lame and patronizing hocus-pocus work in trying to convince the US public that Saddam was the culprit. I'm shocked and ashamed that the average American either bought the story, or didn't care whether or not their government was lying to them.

I can only assume that the US government was extremely pissed off and wanted to send a message by taking an entire Middle Eastern state it didn't like anyway. Simply rounding up a band of desert rodents in Afghanistan wouldn't have satisfied them, I suppose. In the meantime, what of justice for our ~3000 dead?

If, a couple of years ago, Clarke had sounded the alarm as loudly as he is now, perhaps we would have true justice at this point. Instead, Clarke has decided to pump up the volume at a time when the President is politically vulnerable and after having published a book.

Because of his executive position as a top official who had access to classified information, Clarke's book had to be cleared by the White House to insure there would be no classified information published. The White House had Clarke's book since last November. They've only recently cleared it for publication, so now it's been published. It could have been published months ago.

But let's get to another concern. Should the President resign? Mounting global pressure points to, "Yes!". Personally, I will feel safer if he does. The President stepping down from office will be a significant show of good faith to the world that the U.S. is sorry for its horrendous actions in Iraq and the tragic loss of life that's resulted.

I will do my part to vote the present Administration out of office and actively work to establish an official Department of Peace.

Clarke is obviously lying through his teeth. Combine what Clarke said a year ago in "Losing Bin Laden" (the opposite of what he's saying now) with his association with the Kerry campaign. It's purely and simply an effort to discredit Bush by a disgruntled employee who was demoted in January 2001, and fired in October, 2001, and is now in bed with the opposition.

If Clarke is lying through his teeth, we must be facing a growing "left wing conspiracy"! In addition to the names mentioned previously we need to add career diplomats Joseph Wilson, Ann Wright, John Brown and John Brady Kiesling, General Anthony Zinni and lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, Martin Sullivan, Head of Bush's Cultural Advisory Committee, and Blair Cabinet members Robin Cook and Claire Short.

"I can only assume that the US government was extremely pissed off and wanted to send a message by taking an entire Middle Eastern state it didn't like anyway."

And in so doing, literally fulfilled bin Laden's prediction of America's imperialist intentions. Great move. Certainly, justice isn't achieved by the slaughtering of innocents.

Gawd, you people are so blind.

What about Clinton and refusing to take in Osama Bin Laden three times?

How about Clarke being on Clinton's staff?

What about Kerry's flipflop on practically every issue out there? Votes for the war then doesn't.

And of course, how about the Heinz Corp. outsourcing manufacturing to other countries?

What did Clinton do for eight years? I find it in incredulous that Hillary can say anything. It was her husband that botched the war on terrorism.

And lastly, what about the Dem's cutting the budget of the intelligence community? Real smart there.

Clarke's book could have been released a few months ago, and the White House was not clear about that when they used the timing argument. It seems there's just no end to the deception that comes out of the White House. Still, Clarke has an axe to grind and he's smart enough to account for the months of clearance time the White House needed.

6 months makes little difference anyway. I'm starting to feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here... perhaps I'm just dead wrong about this, but at the moment Clarke realized we were going after the wrong guys, he should have been waving the bloody sheet and alerting everyone as LOUDLY as he could to the coming disaster. A single article in Time wasn't enough. I for one, would have been honored to sacrifice my career for the American people in such a manner. We would have listened to Clarke since his credibility was rock solid. Instead, he waited to retire and then go through the entire process of writing a book before getting serious. I believe his main interest was to get back at the administration, not protect us from entering a war that puts the safety of every American at risk.

My Mom's friend has two sons that have been in Iraq for more than a year now. While they were risking their lives there, Clarke was editing his first draft, sipping coffee, and adjusting his reading glasses.

It seems clear to me that that Clarke is no hero. Yes, Bush is a very bad guy and yes, the war was wrong, but am I the only one who realizes how badly Clarke failed us?

What happened to the good old American ability to deal with one issue at a time, on it's own merits? I'm pretty freaked out that people aren't able to focus on this without getting sidetracked by tangential arguments about the war and Bush.

I've seen the 9/11 attacks on tv at the time they happened. I've seen the reaction of this so-called president, his behaviour, his mien. I do not believe a single word what this admin is telling us (all of us). Every word is a lie. After 30 years in terror investigation and profiling I learnt to ask questions.
First question is: Who had the highest profit of the attacks?
Bin Laden? Taliban? Afghanistan? Iraq? the oil industry? the war industry? the President? Israel?
Ask yourself ! Make up your mind! Read between the lines. Ask Micheal Moore !
Mr. Clarke's giving some answers, but only 30% of the whole story.
But who cares? How many people in the U.S. are really - I mean really - interested, what really happened?

JC ... based on your experience what conclusions have you come to?

If Clarke were the only one making claims of this nature, then perhaps you could dismiss him as a pure opportunist. But he's not. But remember, the guy's a 30 year White House staffer ... came in under Reagan ... he's an organization guy whose spent his career working in the system, not over-throwing it. Loyalty must come into play. A quick and easy decision to "out" the president would really bother me.

There's another name that should be mentioned: John O'Neill, the FBI terrorism investigator, who dedicated himself to trackiing bin Laden, finally quit in frustration (seems to be a theme, doesn't it?), only to take a job in security at the WTC and die on 9-11.


That's a good point you made about Clarke being a solid organization guy as opposed to some knee-jerking, self-righteous staffer. Your last post is making me rethink my opinions about him. Yet, out the President Clarke eventually did. And he pulled no punches. Archibald Cox once outed Nixon quite openly and it was the right thing to do. Cox didn't wait until after retirement; he took it on the chin and accepted his wrongful termination. We're all better off thanks to his courage.

"As soon as 9/11 happened, I predicted this “stunning revelation”: within weeks investigators would uncover several “smoking memos” that warned about the very attack that was unleashed on 9/11. In fact, let me go on record as guaranteeing this outcome for every “unforeseeable attack” this country ever suffers in this global war on terrorism. The real question isn’t whether or not some analyst in the vast universe of the intell community saw this one coming, because they always do. It’s what the national security establishment does in terms of prioritizing such analytic flows over time." Inform yourself...

Those of you who believed the 60 Minutes sham interview should be very very angry with the way you were manipulated. Clarke lied and the ABC program knew it! He contradicted statements he had made - in a press briefing to ABC reporters - in August 2002. In that briefing, he claimed that Clinton had some ideas, but too many issues to make a plan. He also stated - with dates to back up his position - that Bush had Immediately placed priority on assualting terrorism and getting bin Laden - on Jan 1, 2001!!!! In addition, despite Bush's transition delays (remember the Dem FL fiasco?) he had a plan scoped out and implemented by summer '01!! Eight yers of inaction by Clinton and 8 months into Bush's admin and you are blaming him?! Get real!

Mike B,

Agreed regarding Archibald Cox. And certainly the climate in this country was quite similar to our present state. But I can't fault Clarke for making a buck, or for any hesitancy. From the NY Times:

''It's important, when you read the inevitable attempts to impugn the character of the latest whistle-blower, to realize just how risky it is to reveal awkward truths about the Bush administration. When Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress that postwar Iraq would require a large occupation force, that was the end of his military career. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV revealed that the 2003 State of the Union speech contained information known to be false, someone in the White House destroyed his wife's career by revealing that she was a C.I.A. operative. And we now know that Richard Foster, the Medicare system's chief actuary, was threatened with dismissal if he revealed to Congress the likely cost of the administration's prescription drug plan.''

Critt ...
The outgoing National Security Advisor telling the incoming Advisor that al-Queda is the biggest fish in her ocean is a far cry from low-level, frustrated analysts pounding their office walls ... although there seems to be no shortage of 'em pounding the exact same issue.

mway ...

"60 Minutes" is on CBS.

fbnb: when listing the silenced whistleblowers,
don't forget Congresswoman McKinney, who called for an investigation into the intelligence failures in late 2001 -- and was labelled unpatriotic, a conspiracy nut, and "a looney" by her state's Democratic Senator, before losing her seat.

Seems pretty clear that until recently, those who did speak out -- or those who gave them a voice in the media -- quickly found themselves out in the cold, safely out of a position of any influence.

Come on you people! You are such puppets of the media. Richard Clarke is not saying anything new -- just read his interviews with Time magazine from August 2002. The only difference is that NOW he is putting an anti-Bush spin on everything, which, combined with the timing of his book, can only point to suspect political motives. Nearly two years ago he was telling everyone that the Bush administration had made important changes in the war against terrorism, going from a "roll-back" approach to an "eradication" approach. It was Richard Clarke who first said that George W. Bush told them to "stop swatting flies" and get rid of the terrorist problem. Two years ago Clarke was saying this was a very high priority for Bush, now he is spinning it the other way, and he IS aligned with the Kerry campaign and WAS aligned with the Clinton adminstration. Anyone who can look at a career bureaucrat like Clarke and discern no political motives is deliberately blind.

Also, as for whether Bush knew or should have known about the 9/11 attacks, think about what you are saying. It is absurd to think that ANY President would have ignored credible evidence of such an attack. The incessant chantings of "there's going to be something big this year" are NOT intelligence sufficient to act on. And look at Bush's critics now -- they are all criticizing him for going to war in Iraq based on failed or inaccurate intelligence, and they are all criticizing him for any type of "preemptive" strike against Saddam. But out of the other side of their mouths they are saying he SHOULD have waged some type of preemptive strike (where, in Afghanistan?) or he SHOULD have taken action based upon vague or questionable intelligence prior to 9/11. Don't these people see their internal inconsistency? Which is their choice? Preemptive strikes based upon intelligence that might or might not be accurate? Or wait for an attack to occur and then find oneself sitting before some pompous COngressional committee answering questions later?

And let's not hear any more about the WMD and how we were "misled" by Bush's "false pretenses". David Kay said HE too believed that Saddam had WMD -- and so did Clinton, and so did France, and so did Germany, and so did, at one time, the UN. We now realize that this may have been a deliberate misinformation campaign by Saddam himself -- but let's be fair here -- George Bush believed that the WMD existed because of intelligence that was provided to him,and many others believed it as well -- including David Kay. If you want to criticize the President, you should get your facts straight and argue your points with credibility. Citing Michael Moore as a reference destroys your credibility -- your agenda is showing.

One more thing, if the intelligence available was SO clear that the 9/11 attacks were going to happen, why didn't RICHARD CLARKE warn people? Why didn't he alert the media? Why didn't he give his friend O'Neil a warning against going to the WTC that day? Come on!! NOTHING would have been better for George Bush's reputation than to thwart a massive terrorist attack in NYC and DC. If he had had the opportunity or the ability to do it, even you Michael Moore conspiracy theorists would have to agree that an opportunistic President would have acted to prevent such an attack. I agree with those of you who recognize how manipulative the mainstream media is, and those of you who buy their so-called "news" hook, line, and sinker, should be embarrassed that you don't care enough to educate yourselves about the truth, or even to think through your own arguments logically.

Justin ... I had forgotten Cynthia McKinney. She's a great example of the disincentive for honesty in politics.

Jag ... I agree that thinking through an argument logically is very important, for example:

"NOTHING would have been better for George Bush's reputation than to thwart a massive terrorist attack in NYC and DC."

Except that's not what happened. 3,000 died and Bush's miserable ratings skyrocketed, which must be why Bush referred to 9-11 as one-third of "hitting the trifecta". I'm not suggesting that "Bush knew", only that some guys have all the luck.

"Luck is the residue of design" - John Milton
"Follow the money."

Haliburton, Bechtel, Caryle Group, the PNAC; there's residue all over Washington, isn't there.

Perhaps it would be better to follow the blood, 'cause that trail leads so much closer to home for most of us. So by all means, trumpet the deceit of those who wrap the flag around their vault. It's in your best interests, right? A media puppet? So who's hand is up your backside?

For irony fans everywhere:
Richard Clarke is suspect because he stands to make money from book sales.

But the Bush family, who's partners include members of the bin Laden family, and the Saudi royal family (while their attorney, James Baker, represents the Saudi royals against the 9-11 families) ... well, they're the poster boys for credibility.

Uh-uh ... some people call it a slingblade ...

Go eat your biscuits and mustard. (j/k)

Richard Clarke is suspect because we have proof that he has lied on these specific issues, since his current statements directly contradict his earlier detailed statements. Just listen to the tape of his background briefing from Aug. 2002.

Also read the documents released by Rep. Chris Shays, chair of the House subcommitte on National Security - he wrote to Condoleeza Rice on Jan. 22, 2001 (note the date), complaining that Richard Clarke, when briefing the subcommittee, "stated there is no need for a national strategy" to combat terrorism, and that it was very difficult to get information from him. Shays also released a copy of a letter that he wrote directly to Clarke on July 5, 2000, complaining that the information Clarke had provided to the subcommittee was "less than useful" and complaining that Clarke said that it would be "silly" to believe that a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism could be developed.

Clarke was an ardent fighter for what he believed in, and he wanted to fight Al Qaeda (he wanted to bomb not just Al Qaeda camps, but all Taliban power centers, even before 9/11!). But he also had a very narrow view, one that would never allow him to see any even remote linkage between Al Qaeda and State Sponsors of Terror (he thought it was "silly" to take a broad view of terrorism).

Even taking Clarke at his word regarding what Bush said to him about Iraq just after 9/11, Clarke only claims that Bush told him to look again, to find out for sure if there was any linkage. Given that Clarke was known to have blinders when it came to any kind of comprehensive view, it would have been negligent for Bush to accept Clarke's casual first response on the matter. Bush told his advisors to check, to find out, to make sure they had looked at everything. After that, when they met on Sept. 15 and Bush was told that they had not found any Iraq link, Bush declared Iraq off the table for the moment and proceeded against Afghanistan.

Summary: Clarke gave a knee-jerk reaction based on his well known biases. Bush told him to go out and find the truth, to dig, to make sure. This shows that Bush wasn't doing his job?

Ann ...
My response to your post has been repeatedly bounced back with the error message, "your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content".

Since I have no idea what this refers to, I'm unable to "correct the error in the form below".

Trust me, it was a great read.

My post was originally bounced back with the same message about "questionable content", which was a surprize. I finally removed the links to the actual documents that I was recommending that other people read, and the removal of just those links made the message acceptable.

Do you still have the response? I'd like to see it.

Also, did anyone else hear Clarke on Meet the Press say that "If Kim Il Sung were gone, it would be a good thing"? I would expect a terrorism expert to have heard that the "Great Leader" has been dead for about a decade.


That's scary. I suppose it's easier to point a nuclear arsenal at somebody if you haven't even comitted their name to memory.

Ann ...
I thought I had saved it out, but it appears my hard drive devoured it. Chances are I dreamt the whole thing. I can't find my car either, and I woulda sworn it was in the laundry room.

Anyway ... I have a sincere question for you, based on an assumption. If the assumption ... that you're a supporter of GW Bush ... is wrong, please set me straight. If it's correct, would you mind relating the basis for your support?

I ask, because I'm mystified by the depth of the polarization in America ... a divide that seems to be growing ever wider. I read the Time "Love Him/Hate Him" cover story, which identified the gap, but didn't do much to explain it. It sometimes seems like a matter of perception ... like if you put all Americans in the same backyard, half would tell you it's sunny and half would tell you it's raining, with no "partly cloudy" inbetween.

Yes, I'm a supporter of Bush, and you're probably right that much of the gap is perception. I wasn't wild about Bush at first but wouldn't have considered voting for Gore after he and Clinton took money from the Chinese military (the "People's Liberation" Army) and allowed massive transfers of military and dual-use technology to the Chinese Communist Party, which then sold it to our enemies everywhere. American companies gave technology to Chinese companies like Hua Wei which then sold that technology to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, and the Taliban. Iraq bought the technology to improve their ability to shoot down US planes in the no-fly zone, all with the tacit approval of Clinton/Gore.

I've liked Bush more and more since he came into office. I agree with him when he talks about the "quiet bigotry of low expectations" and tries to fix the education system so that disadvantaged children learn something. Granted, the details of No Child Left Behind may not be perfect, but I agree with the focus on accountability and performance. I've taught undergraduate and master's students at public universities that admitted unqualified minorities but did nothing to help them learn, and the "low expectations" and focus on appearance over reality seemed to me to perpetuate prejudice. I firmly believe that minorities are capable of performing, and that we're not doing them a favor by giving them degree after degree without helping them earn it.

I support Bush because I care about world poverty and think that it's a horrible waste. The liberal approach to ending poverty is to reward third world dictators by offering them more cash if they can produce more poor and/or sick people - in other words, end poverty by giving those in power an incentive to perpetuate it. To argue that the only or the best way to help poor countries is by encouraging them to take money from the rich is, IMO, arguing that those people are worthless, that they can't build or create anything themselves. Compare Africa and Asia - Asia has lifted massive numbers of people out of poverty in the last few decades, not by confiscating wealth from others but by streengthening people's rights to keep what they produce and to make their own decisions. We should look at legal, political and financial systems as technology and study "international best practices". What system has done the most to lift people out of poverty (and, by the way, to protect native cultures and give people the chance to pursue their own goals)? Capitalist democracies. Countries should adopt the system that has worked in a wide variety of settings. It's technology, just as cell phones, the internet and electric lights are technology. Countries don't say "it's not part of our culture to talk into small, hand-held, battery-operated devices", so why should they worry about whether a modern economic or legal system is part of their "traditonal culture"? Capitalism and democracy are cutting edge technology and they work. Our ancestors didn't have modern economic, legal and political systems for the same reason that they didn't have electric lights - because they hadn't thought of it yet.

Back to Bush - I support him because I think he'll help people around the world. I think Iraqis deserved hope, deserved a life. The recent BBC poll shows that things are already better for most Iraqis, and that they finally have hope that things will get even better. And the example of Iraq has already helped with Libya and will, IMO, encourage the development of more and more peaceful, productive democracies in the Middle East and elsewhere. The terrorists hate us because they consider our culture inferior, and yet we are richer and more powerful. The terrorists themselves are often personally rich, but they're humiliated by the lack of success of their countries. Unfortunately, thanks to the attitude that "it's always someone else's fault", the refusal to focus on fixing obsolete systems and the insistence on demonizing big business while ignoring governments, the terrorists think that the way to fix their own countries is to blow up ours, so that we won't keep "holding them back". Long term, if countries around the world get their acts together, the terrorists won't feel humiliated and won't keep trying to kill us. I think that there's hope for the entire planet in the Bush model, while Europe and the UN offer only corruption and economic stagnation.

I support Bush because he spoke out against North Korea and called Kim Jong Il evil. Under Clinton, it made me sick to see Madeline Albright drinking champagne and giggling with the Dear Leader, when we all knew that North Koreans were starving to death (and they still are). There have been rumors of "special meat" in North Korean marketplaces that haven't had meat to sell for a long time - your child plays alone too close to the wrong house, and you never see him again, but there's "special meat" for sale. Doesn't anyone care? I think that George Bush genuinely cares, but that Kerry is more offended by the suffering of Americans that have to pay an extra 20 cents a gallon for gas (unless the rise is due to higher gas taxes, because then it's "fair").

Bottom line, I can't understand a philosophy in which businesses that offer decent jobs to people in India are considered evil, but that dictators that commit mass murder, torture, rape and mutilation shouldn't be judged. I want to see a world in which people have a chance to build lives for themselves, and we won't get that from the UN, which is an "I'm OK, you're OK" mutual support group for brutal thugs.

On Iraq, I think we did the right thing, and that liberating Iraq is part of the long term solution to the war on terrorism. The European approach is to perpetuate and feed off of world poverty - who cares how many dark-skinned foreign children Saddam kills, as long as he pays us to look the other way? I support George Bush because he's willing to say that mass murder is unacceptable, and he's not willing to sell his own conscience to win the approval of the French and Communist Chinese.

Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know. Those that don't like Bush probably see Iraqis as victims of the war and even believe that Bush went there because of oil. But if all he wanted was oil and UN approval, Bush could simply have made a deal: "I'll support lifting the sanctions if you cut me in on the contracts". Yes, the French and Russians would have complained a bit about him horning in on their territory, but they would have felt comfortable with someone whose morality was flexible (they loved Clinton). And China would gladly be our best friend if we'd just agree that Asia is theirs. China would support the US invading Mexico and Canada, as long as we supported them on Taiwan, the Spratlys and the Diaoyu/Senkakus (plus additional territories to be named later). International support and allies are easy to buy, if you're flexible. Opponents of Bush tend to distrust moral "extremism", whereas I like him precisely because he did what he believed in on Iraq regardless of the disapproval of both corrupt dictators and corrupt European politicians (the "world community").

Ann ...
On the contrary, I appreciate your taking the time to respond in detail. It's disheartening however, that despite the detail I'm unable to locate more than a square foot of common ground to share. Disheartening, but not altogether surprising.