What About Lieberman's Remark?

by dday

The unquestionably worst thing about this Wes Clark incident is how it has obscured the rather remarkable statement uttered by a different guest on the very same episode of Face The Nation yesterday, Joe Lieberman.

Joe Lieberman, appearing on Face the Nation today, made the case for McCain with a blunt reminder.

"Our enemies will test the new president early," said Lieberman. "Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration."

The White House, by the way, endorsed this today. Being the kinder, gentler party of the two, I don't think a single important Democrat went after Joe Lieberman for these comments. But they are procedurally similar to Charlie Black's statement that a terror attack would unquestionably help Republicans. This is the comment that the Beltway press navel-gazed last week, only to come to the conclusion that it was probably true. Therefore, when Lieberman says something like "Presidents get tested early by Al Qaeda" (as if Al Qaeda ties all of their potential attacks to the American political calendar) there's no doubt how the media receives that, how it colors their reporting, and how it's fed to the public - there will be more terrorist attacks, and we can't have on-the-job training, and so we must stick with the same failed policies, etc.

Sen. Barack Obama and his surrogates continued to criticize Charles R. Black Jr., a top adviser to Sen. John McCain, on Tuesday for saying a terrorist attack before the November election would help the presumptive Republican nominee. But behind their protests lay a question that has dogged Democrats since Sept. 11, 2001: Was Black speaking the truth? [...]

McCain has distanced himself from Black's comments, saying, "If he said that -- and I don't know the context -- I strenuously disagree."

But radio host Rush Limbaugh said aloud what other Republicans have been saying privately for months. Black's comments were "obvious," Limbaugh said yesterday on his program as he criticized McCain for distancing himself from them.

Limbaugh said in no uncertain terms that Obama would be weak in the face of terrorism. "We know damn well it's Obama who would seek to appease our enemies. We know damn well it's McCain who won't put up with another attack," Limbaugh said.

A propagandist like Rush Limbaugh is allowed to present the dominant opinion in one of the nation's paper of record on this question of whether terrorism helps Democrats. If you wonder why media stars flub Obama and Osama over and over, this is the reason. They're subliminally meant to conflate them.

Importantly, the substance of the argument here is never discussed - it's always about who among the political parties terrorism or a more dangerous world benefits, not which political party can bring about less terrorism or a less dangerous world. Because given the primary evidence, there is no possible way that answer can be Republicans.

Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to make it easier for the Pentagon’s Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda [...]

But more than six months later, the Special Operations forces are still waiting for the green light. The plan has been held up in Washington by the very disagreements it was meant to eliminate. A senior Defense Department official said there was “mounting frustration” in the Pentagon at the continued delay.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush committed the nation to a “war on terrorism” and made the destruction of Mr. bin Laden’s network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world.

The Keystone Kops would actually be an IMPROVEMENT from these clowns. The most basic initiative in this so-called war on terror, to any reasonable individual, would be to seek out those who actually committed the act. Seven years later - seven years - they have been allowed to escape, rebuild, launch attacks, nearly take over large towns in Pakistan and most of the Afghan countryside, and generally return their operation to roughly the same level of force as it was before the 9-11 attacks. There has been no comprehensive strategy in seven years to counteract this.

And I'm supposed to believe that's the party who ought to benefit from a future terror attack?

But we're too focused on whether or not a distinguished retired general hurt John McCain's feelings to grapple with this. And Democratic fecklessness in the face of the hissy fit just ensures that such a conversation never takes place. Joe Lieberman, who will speak at the 2008 RNC, probably in a starring, prime-time role, will never face pressure for the comment he made. Wes Clark, who worked to elect his opponent and is as credible a national security voice as there is in the Party, gets the legs cut out from him by its leaders.

I'm going to need a new laptop. This one's acting all screwy from the 18,000 I've banged my head against it today.