Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Brandishing Steel

Dan Balz reports on the latest Democratic demands for resignation: Karl Rove said some things that they didn’t like, so of course, he should resign. If that weren’t enough Ted Kennedy, the quagmire driver (as in deep water), called for Rumsfeld to resign. I especially note here that the attack on Rumsfeld came one day before the
Prime Minister of Iraq arrives to talk with President Bush. Tacky.

As for the Rove comments, I think he could have been a bit gentler. I think I would have. Yet, it amazes me how liberals are taking this up. This is a mistake. Here is the critical paragraph from Rove: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
I agree with
Jonah Goldberg: "And a dumb thing for the Democrats. Pounding the table about how Democrats aren’t insecure therapy-seeking wimps doesn’t seem like a very helpful argument for the Democrats to be having in the national media."

Discussions - 36 Comments

The day after 9/11 I had a letter published in the locl paper where I said something like:
I no longer care if others love us, I don’t ever care that they reespect us, but I want them to fear us.

I was disowned by the local libs.

Way to go Walter - you told it like it is!!! Let’s face it, Ann Coulter got it right, not only do we need to go after the terrists, we must go after liberals too, and intimdate them with possible execution. Not that there’s ANY difference between liberals and terrists, mind you!! (haha) After 9/11 (Never Forget!), we have been in a situation where we must be the tough guy on the playground, who will slap any other kid in the face who might even be THINKING about throwing that stick at us - and we’ve GOT to be the kid who carries a Colt .45. Really, we have no choice. God bless us!

Mack, what grade are you in?

Umm, so Peter Schramm would have been a bit "gentler?" How would you gently say that liberals are complete wimps who just wanted to give those mean ol’ terrorists some therapy and ask them not to do it again? There’s really no gentle way to say something that ridiculously over-the-top. I don’t really recall any liberals/Democrats saying anything like this. Ever. I do recall the President getting nearly total support for his invasion of Afghanistan (as well as a lot more Democratic support than he should have for his little adventure in Iraq).

I would like to know why Dick Durbin was rabidly attacked by hysterical Repubs when he QUOTED an FBI agent, but when Rove says some nutty crap based on no facts or evidence... no problemo!

Sorry, Mr. Thompson, I’m ONLY a high school graduate. I know you liberal elites look down on me for that! I think the fact that I’m an enthusiastic reader of No Left Turns says a great deal about my thinking levels, though, don’t you??

The more I think about it, the more this Rove speech bothers me. He twists the phrase "moderation and restraint" to mean "let’s give terrorists therapy." That phrase came from MoveOn.org, not the Democratic Party or EVERY liberal in the U.S. And it was hardly meant to say "let’s remember that terrorists might have had bad upbringings and we should be sensitive to their feelings," as Rove is trying to make it seem. Moderation and restraint means that we shouldn’t get carried away and invade countries that DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING to do with 9/11. You know, like Iraq. After 9/11, I heard people saying things like "let’s nuke the whole Middle East and be done with it." That kind of comment calls for someone to counter it with a suggestion of restraint.

I have never heard a single liberal, anywhere, ever say that we should prepare indictments and give terrorists therapy. I haven’t heard it on television, I haven’t heard friends say it, I haven’t seen it on protest signs, nothing. Why does Rove get away with this?

I guess it’s ok to say insane stuff like this as long as you’re not slandering the military.

And as for this specious argument offered by Ken Mehlman, "Rove didn’t say Democrats, he said liberals," come ON! So exactly which liberals was Rove referring to? He named Howard Dean and Dick Durbin in his speech. I’m pretty sure they’re Democrats.

I wanna fight a conservative SO bad.

Mr. Thompson


The war on terror is less of a military operation, and far more of an intelligence-gathering law enforcement operation. -- John Kerry

M. Shawn Anderson,

Regarding the Kerry quote - so what? I only wish we would have tackled the problem from the angle that Kerry suggested at the time of this quote (although at some point - later? - he was talking about increasing troop levels, so who knows...). At least PRIOR to the Bush administration’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, there weren’t countries of terrorists. Terrorists don’t generally organize into armies and line up in trenches opposite your troops! They lurk, plan and occasionally execute a terrorist act. Had the Bush administration (and, fine, maybe the Clinton administration as well - I’m not playing the partisan b.s. game here) taken some warnings from the intelligence community seriously, perhaps 9/11 could have been avoided in the first place, and we would have nothing to "never forget." Wouldn’t that be nice?? Bush’s "crusade" against terror has lapsed into an amorphous War Against Evil that is of primary use for domestic political purposes (as in his re-election, for example). As it is now, the War Against Terror serves to weaken our military, recruit more terrorists, and get us stuck with the task of rebuilding a nation that we largely destroyed in an unnecessary, elective war against a country which posed no danger to us, and had no serious links to Al Qaeda or 9/11 - despite delusional fantasies by the right that are on par with their "Terri Schiavo could be tap-dancing tomorrow with the proper therapy from a faith-based neurologist" nonsense.

Wow, M. Shawn, you got me there! Typical response from you lot- ignore most of my post and only address the part you think you can get me on. Where’s the "let’s give terrorists therapy?" Show me that statement.

And as Mr. Ritter said, since terrorists are not exactly forming a Wehrmacht-style army for us to engage in combat, Kerry actually had a decent point. There is no Terrorstan for us to bomb, which is a large part of the reason that Bush and friends were able to get so many Americans to go along with the Iraq war. Many people were so eager for revenge after 9/11 that they went for the not-so-subtle suggestion that Iraq had something to do with it.

The point is, liberals do want to catch bin Laden, and not just to ask him why he’s so mean. What we don’t want is to get carried away with all of this "Never Forget" rhetoric and fight pointless wars that cannot be won. And Karl Rove shouldn’t be saying otherwise.

At least PRIOR to the Bush administration’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, there weren’t countries of terrorists. Terrorists don’t generally organize into armies and line up in trenches opposite your troops! They lurk, plan and occasionally execute a terrorist act.

There may not be "countries of terrorists," but there are countries that aid and abet terrorism (and they aren’t limited to Afghanistan and Iraq). The fact is that terrorists need a place to lurk and plan, and therefore need friendly regimes to tolerate their presence. Really, you may claim that you want to catch bin Laden, but how can that be accomplished without targeting the regimes that harbor him? Shall we just close our eyes and wish really hard that he happens to show up on American soil?

Had the Bush administration (and, fine, maybe the Clinton administration as well - I’m not playing the partisan b.s. game here) taken some warnings from the intelligence community seriously, perhaps 9/11 could have been avoided in the first place, and we would have nothing to "never forget." Wouldn’t that be nice??

Comments like these are about as helpful as telling someone suffering from the flu that he should’ve worn a sweater. Thanks, Grandma, I’ll keep that in mind for next time, but right now I have this flu to fight off.

It is disengenuous for liberals to claim, on one hand, that there were many amongst themselves who supported military action after 9/11; while on the other hand, they continue to support their party leaders (Kennedy, Pelosi, et. al.) both explicitly and implicitly. To us conservatives, it is perfectly clear that the Dem leaders’ hatred of GWB has obliterated any concern they may have for the security of the US. And it’s a good question whether any concern was ever there.

Let me clarify that a little: am I saying literally that Nancy Pelosi does not care whether there is a new 9/11 in say, San Francisco. No. But by your statements ye shall be judged. There has been such a litany of pronouncements by the Dem leaders that are merely anti-administration while offering nothing constructive of their own, that after a while one has no alternative to the conclusion that the hatred of GWB trumps all.

John - I think that terrorists can lurk and plan nearly anywhere, regardless of any welcome mat thrown out by the countries they may reside in. The reality of this can be seen in the 9/11 terrorists themselves. Weren’t a fair number of them living right here in the U.S. before they executed their plan? I don’t think it would be accurate to say that the U.S. was harboring, aiding or abetting terrorists or terrorism (incompetence and a lack of vigilance might have been an issue, but nothing intentional, as those words infer). The terrorists did a lot of work in Germany, yet we never "brandished" our "steel" in their direction. I don’t see where a military response to non-military attacks from non-government entities is either effective or morally justifiable. As dreadful as it was, we haven’t been shown a link between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda or 9/11. The links between the former government of Afghanistan and the 9/11 attacks seemed less substantial than those between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks. Additionally, in both cases, Iraq and Afghanistan, too many civilians suffered from our military chainsaw-through-butter approach, and these sorts of events, be they intentional or not ("collateral damage"), serve as recruitment tools for terrorist organizations.

As for your second response, I trust you’re merely trying to defend the current U.S. president rather than compare the 9/11 attacks to a case of the flu. When one forgets to wear a sweater they MIGHT be putting themself, one person, at risk (although I thought it was exposure to the virus, not if someone felt warm or cold, that caused it). When a President doesn’t respond appropriately to reports of terrorism threats, significantly more people are at risk.

Criticism of a president’s response to terrorist threat reports shouldn’t be required to be "helpful", although I think much of it is or could be. Would you offer the same "Grandma" snap if you knew I’d lost a loved one on 9/11 ?

Derek, I think you’re a prime example of what Rove was talking about...whadda we do about state-sponsored terrorists...use harsh language? The fact is, there’s a big difference between a democratic state that suffers from terrorist parasites due to its civil liberties and one that actively recruits and/or harbors terrorists (e.g., Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria...probably North Korea, but that’s speculation). And yes, there is documentation to prove that each of these states I list knowingly harbors terrorists. Hell, Saddam was subsidizing Palestinian terrorism. When these states refuse to cooperate in irradicating terrorist cells (as both Iran and Syria are doing now), what can you do but intervene militarily?

And I agree with John Moser..."would a/could a" arguments are utterly useless as guides to current policy. They are sniping, and that’s all they are. I’ve yet to hear a single high-level Democrat propose viable strategies or tactics for the War on Terror. Rove was right to criticize all these Leftist snipers.

Weren’t a fair number of them living right here in the U.S. before they executed their plan? I don’t think it would be accurate to say that the U.S. was harboring, aiding or abetting terrorists or terrorism (incompetence and a lack of vigilance might have been an issue, but nothing intentional, as those words infer). The terrorists did a lot of work in Germany, yet we never "brandished" our "steel" in their direction.

You’re kidding, right? As Dain has pointed out, there’s a world of difference between terrorists operating secretly on a country’s soil, and operating openly, under the protection of that country’s government. Had we known what the 9/11 hijackers were up to, we could have rounded them up. Had Osama bin Laden been in the United States on 9/12, do you think he’d be a free man today? If he had been in Germany, or any other state that is friendly to the United States, he would have been extradited. As it was, bin Laden wasn’t just hiding out in Afghanistan; the U.S. government asked the Taliban to hand him over, and they refused. They put him under their personal protection. That, by any definition, qualifies the Taliban as a regime that aided and abetted terrorism.

When a President doesn’t respond appropriately to reports of terrorism threats, significantly more people are at risk.

In fact, Derek, I’m not trying to defend the administration. Somebody screwed up big time, and it may well have been George W. Bush. But since then there’s been a presidential election, and apparently a solid majority of voters have decided to forgive him for that. So let it go, already. My point was that this kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking is useless; we don’t have a time machine so that we can jump back to 9/10. The question is what needs to be done now.

At least PRIOR to the Bush administration’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, there weren’t countries of terrorists.


This may be the most inaccurate, dislodged-from-reality comment I’ve ever read. What exactly was Afghanistan if not a "country of terrorists?" Well, only al qaeda’s base of operations. Then there’s Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq etc. It should be noted that the 9/11 attacks were being planned years before Bush was in office, and that we were attacked in one form or another by Muslim terrorists at least five times during the previous administration.

I love it when libsters come on the web to act as de facto lawyers for the Taliban. Another Kerry voter for the "global test" and legalistic/therapeutic nonapproach to dealing with terrorism. Too funny. Keep it up, guys, and keep obstructing Bush’s judicial and other nominees . . .I can feel the big six-oh coming for the Senate GOP delegation. What are you gonna do then? Have Fat Teddy the Arch-Defeatist hold his breath on the Senate floor when Bush puts up a nominee whom Teddy and his NARAL/ACLU string-pullers don’t like? I understand that Teddy is good at holding his breath. Too bad Mary Jo Kopechne wasn’t, eh?

Hi Dain - now look, it was cute when you were making up your own words in 7th grade, but now you’re a big boy, socking it to all the liberals who happen to stray onto this obscure conservative blog. If you were the president, perhaps I could overlook words like "irradicating." But Dain, you’re not the president. It’s e-r-a-d-i-c-a-t-i-n-g. Your fictional term must have come from combining your childhood obsession with irradiation and nuclear weapons, and the Bush administration’s noble war to eradicate terror.

I’m not trying to defend the administration. Somebody screwed up big time, and it may well have been George W. Bush. But since then there’s been a presidential election, and apparently a solid majority of voters have decided to forgive him for that.

Too bad Clinton didn’t have the benefit of an election after his dalliances with Monica were revealed, if impeachable crimes - negligence leading to the deaths of 2,700+ Americans - can be forgiven by the electorate and subsequently overlooked by the legislative bodies that can impeach. Get real, Moser!!

Yeah, that’s what we need right now--an impeachment! Everyone knows that the real enemy isn’t Osama bin Laden, it’s George W. Bush!

Ah, teach, I like irradicate because it combines the verbs "eradicate" with "irradiation." I mean, that’s a cool neologism, isn’t it? If George Bush can come up with cool new words, why can’t I? Ain’t this America?

The word irradiation is a noun, not a verb, Dain.

Moser said "My point was that this kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking is useless; we don’t have a time machine so that we can jump back to 9/10."

Nothing like having an historian tell you that discussing and debating what happened in the past is "Monday-morning quarterbacking"!!

There’s nothing at all wrong with "discussing and debating what happened in the past." My problem is with doing it as a substitute for meaningful thinking about what we should do about the present situation. By all means, let us learn from the pre-9/11 intelligence failings, as it may (repeat, may) help prevent future attacks, but if we develop a strictly defensive response--a modern-day version of the French "Maginot mentality" of the late 1930s--then we leave the initiative with our enemies. If we try to develop a foolproof system for avoiding another 9/11, the terrorists will find a different means of striking; that’s the nature of human ingenuity. The only long-term means of dealing with terrorist is to seek out and destroy the terrorists--wherever they may be hiding.

"The only long-term means of dealing with terrorist is to seek out and destroy the terrorists--wherever they may be hiding."

But they WEREN’T in Iraq, were they? And there’s pretty good evidence that they WERE in Saudi Arabia. If this "war on terrorism" were really just about catching terrorists, we wouldn’t be wasting time fighting wars in countries that weren’t involved in terrorism.

Well, Mike, you are completely wrong. Check out the website below:

Hussein and Terror

Anyone who can ignore the existence of Salman Pak south of Baghdad isn’t worth arguing with.

As for Saudi Arabia, they have cooperated to some extent (particularly after some of their own got blown up). You liberals...so funny. When we cooperate with governments in a Kerry-esque fashion, then we aren’t doing enough. When we invade sovereign nations, we are fascists. Sounds to me like there’s just no winning with some people. Rove WAS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

But they WEREN’T in Iraq, were they? And there’s pretty good evidence that they WERE in Saudi Arabia. If this "war on terrorism" were really just about catching terrorists, we wouldn’t be wasting time fighting wars in countries that weren’t involved in terrorism.

Mike, I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not the invasion of Iraq was the right move. My point was in response to those like Derek Ritter, who apparently oppose any kind of military response against regimes that support terrorism.

I suspect that the reason the administration made so much about WMDs in Iraq was that the president’s advisors were hesitant to use Saddam’s terror links to justify the invasion. Not because such links didn’t exist, but because, as you say, there are quite a few other regimes out there, like that of Saudi Arabia, which are at least as complicit. The administration felt as though it needed a forward base in the Middle East from which to wage the War on Terror, and Saddam’s Iraq probably seemed like the easiest mark. Of course, it also had the added benefit of getting rid of one of the world’s most revolting tyrannies.

Dain- what part of the country do you live in? I’d LOVE to meet you.

Well, Phil, I come from lots of different places. After some of the things you said on the Schiavo thread a while back, I can’t imagine why you’d LOVE to meet me (unless you intend to bring your buddies along... Smith and Wesson?). You can just think of me as one of those nameless, faceless rightwing reactionaries blistfully dragging my knuckles in the dirt of one of the many Red States out there. :)

That’s b-l-i-s-s-f-u-l-l-y, Dain.

What are you, teach, a walking dictionary? I meant blistfully -- we ain’t got shoes nor gloves where I’m from, and we gets lots of blisters!

Rove’s characterization of the liberals as inwardly sympathetic to terrorism and Al Qaeda is a slander. But his depiction of Democrats as cowardly and mealy-mouthed is apt when it comes to their role as the so-called opposition to the Bush administration.

JT: A Democratic Party so "cowardly and mealy-mouthed" that it can’t even properly fulfill the normal duties of an opposition party to the Administration certainly can’t be trusted with the far more arduous task of fighting savage transnational terrorists. Therefore all Americans who care about our security should vote against Democrats.

John Moser - "The only long-term means of dealing with terrorist is to seek out and destroy the terrorists--wherever they may be hiding."

Look, I think just about everyone - right, left and in-between - loathes terrorists and their tactics. Because terrorists have come from the right, the left, the religious and the anti-religious. But this idea that we can ELIMINATE them just by a worldwide "search and destroy" mission seems rather delusional. Humanity, including the U.S., still hasn’t even found a way to eliminate rats or cockroaches. What’s the best way to keep rats and cockroaches from bothering you? Keep a clean house.

Robin, I once had a townhome, and we kept it very clean, but we had waves of roaches. Why? Because of next-door neighbor was a slob. Sometimes the neighborhood drags you down with it. I find your analogy extremely naive.

I honestly don’t know if hunting them down and killing them will work. I do know that symbolism matters. In the Arab world, weakness invites aggression (e.g., Saddam and Kuwait), and the same may be true of the Islamic world (e.g., Iran and Jimmy Carter, ca. 1979). Had we not responded to 9/11 in a resolute and violent manner I think we would have been attacked again and again. Indeed, I think it was Billy Clinton’s cowardice that invited two attacks on the World Trade Center (and a number of attacks besides those).

I’m sorry, but this collision between the West and the Arab/Islamic world has been coming since the founding of Israel. I honor Bush for standing up and taking actions that might bring it to a head. Oil complicates the whole mess, but the fact remains that Islam has yet to make peace with the modern world (maybe it shouldn’t, given the decadence...but that’s another matter). To coexist, they need to learn we are resolute...that is what they respect, I’m afraid.

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