[bin Laden] 'It's only a question of time'

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by ObiWan506, Jan 19, 2006.

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  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Hysteria is not a method of combating terrorism. Unraveling the safeguards of the breadth of the executive branch's power because of a "clear and present" danger is not wise method, either.

    True, but neither is resorting to a conspiracy-based abandonment of logic. Do the examples above represent "hysteria," or do they represent a less sinister frame of mind?

    "Racial profiling" is a vague concept that can apply to various anecdotal situations.

    Regarding the NSA wirtapping operation, how does it compare to situations when the NSA doesn't need a warrant in the first place?

    Which provisions of the Patriot Act do you view as invalid? The entire thing? Certain sections? How does the Patriot Act compare to case law that already exists?

    The dangers with issues like these are that a person can base how they react to them on nothing but their own perception.

    An extreme privacy advocate might believe that something like a warrant must be used in every situation, with no exceptions. However, society as a whole has allowed and accepted numerous exceptions to the above based on the situation. If that's the case, which view is more extreme? Neither is automatically more "correct" than the other, except a person's perception shouldn't ignore reality.

    There can certainly be concerns raised about any of the above, but concerns can be raised about any action, law, or belief. The difference applies when that concern is viewed with a critical eye, instead of falling back on "so and so is evil because I don't like it!"
  2. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Actually, he really only provided some minimal ideological and logistical training and a vague outline.

    But the key here is to ask ourselves, all of us - did Osama bin Laden carry out the attacks on the World Trade Centre?

    Of course he didn't.

    Others did it for him. Without the means to train and indoctrinate them, or even recruit them, bin Laden completely lacks the ability to launch strikes against the US or it's allies.

    It's like taking the US army away from the CiC - you're not left with a threatening military power.

    What bin Laden has got going for him is that his ideology and methods have spread. The terrorists who embrace it aren't, thankfully, as well trained (Spain, London) and so they're less devastating but really, bin Laden's safely contained. We've got bigger fish to try.

    E_S
  3. heels1785 Jedi Draft Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 6
    I agree, completely, and that is exactly what the President was saying in that press conference. I just think, as he often does, the President left himself open to attack because of the many around the country who take every opportunity they can to launch an attack on his character through dramatic "sound bytes", often without reading what he truly said.
  4. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    No, heels, I don't think posting that isolated sentence really removed it from context - Dubya has repeatedly stated that he is "focused on the larger picture" and that it's bad to "focus on just one man." Of course, he said this after bin Laden had escaped Tora Bora. This is also after he promised to deliver him, "dead or alive". So he back-tracked, decided not to make good on his promise, and doesn't really think about him anymore.

    Fundamentally, I don't believe Bush really cares about bin Laden or finding him. I think he's milking terrorism as a catch-all term now for political purposes and for consolidating his power. This is in line with the emerging pattern of his narcissistic, callous, and hypocritical domestic and foreign agenda.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Quix, I think you're being unfair.

    Ever since the Pure Spawn of Satan that is Dr Paul Wolfowitz and his band of baby-sacrificing, goat-worshipping neocons were booted from governmental influence Bush has actually had some sound ideas.

    It's just people are either unwilling, or worse still, unable to separate Bush + Neocons in 1st Term from Bush in 2nd Term. He's made some very sound policy decisions this time around but they recieve bugger all media attention, because they're not the same black-and-white, ridiculous rubbish that he was saying last term and thus not as sensationalist.

    You don't have to like the guy, Quix, but give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't have voted for Bush if I lived in America (touch wood :p ;)) but I'm still going to be fair.

    E_S
  6. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I base my assessment on his domestic and foreign policy record.

    He creates federal standards for education (No Child Left Behind), but severely underfunds the program and penalizes schools that can't meet the costs. He further slashes the student grant/loan programs that allow for underprivileged students to go to college.

    He claims to be "pro-military", but then slashes military spending for armor and other requisites, as well as slashing funding for the VA and veteran's benefits, so when they come home, battered and maimed, they have no support network.

    He claims to be a "uniter, not a divider", but he consistently pursues a very polarizing domestic and foreign agenda.

    He claims to be concerned about senior citizens, and then slashes and changes Medicare, which was confusing for seniors initially, so that many of them found themselves to be without prescription drug coverage.

    He claims to be conservative, but he is pushing a spending policy that has drawn criticisms from his own conservative base.

    This is just a sampling of his hypocrisy, so I stand by my assessment.
  7. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    So you're unwilling to be objective in your criticisms?

    E_S
  8. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Yep. I'm horribly biased towards reality. ;)
  9. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Regarding the NSA wirtapping operation, how does it compare to situations when the NSA doesn't need a warrant in the first place?

    Which provisions of the Patriot Act do you view as invalid? The entire thing? Certain sections? How does the Patriot Act compare to case law that already exists?


    From my perspective, we are already near the bottom of the slippery slope, and you're asking us to argue why this particular stage is worse than the half-step immediately above.

    Government powers of surveillance and government's claims to entitlement to secrecy were already frighteningly overbroad before 9/11. Now they're just insane.

    As my girlfriend put it "Prior to any of this, I thought the secret FISA courts issuing their retroactive secret warrants were Orwellian enough! But he didn't even bother to get a retroactive secret warrant from the secret court, which I was already against! Holy $#!%, this guy is unbelievable!"

    Government surveillance and especially government secrecy need to be scaled way the hell back. They've never, at any point in history, been what you would call "good," but we are so far from "good" we can't see it any more.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I can tell, by the way you're unwilling to accept Bush's very sane statement on bin Laden. :p

    E_S
  11. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But your illustrations are also illustrating precisely what I mean.

    He creates federal standards for education (No Child Left Behind), but severely underfunds the program and penalizes schools that can't meet the costs. He further slashes the student grant/loan programs that allow for underprivileged students to go to college.

    But state education programs have always been controlled by individual state standards along with specific school boards. As you mention, the federal requirements only control how federal funds are used. Many people believe that the federal government shouldn't even be funding educational programs, and it should fall to the smallest authority possible.

    It's a loose analogy, but your complaint is like saying people are penalized for not playing the lottery compared to lottery winners because the government sets the rules to play. No one should feel entitled to lottery winnings in the first place.

    He claims to be "pro-military", but then slashes military spending for armor and other requisites, as well as slashing funding for the VA and veteran's benefits, so when they come home, battered and maimed, they have no support network.

    Armor? like in body armor? Again, this is a much more complicated issue than simply issuing everyone the best possible armor available. First off, bullet resistant vests aren't magic, and there are all sorts of secondary issues relating to mission requirements, mobility, and useage.

    However, the "armor issue" has become so politicalized, I think the original point has been long lost.

    And there are many differences between the VA as an organization, and "veteran's benefits.

    He claims to be conservative, but he is pushing a spending policy that has drawn criticisms from his own conservative base.

    You mean like being criticized for not providing excess body armor to any US soldier, regardless of need? But wait, wasn't that mentioned above?

    Where does one draw the line? Is it all hypocrisy, or simply an example of personal perception?

    As I have always said Quix, this doesn't mean that all of your above examples can't be critically examined, but they aren't intrinisically different in that regard to any other political decision and/or policy.

    And Diz:

    As my girlfriend put it "Prior to any of this, I thought the secret FISA courts issuing their retroactive secret warrants were Orwellian enough! But he didn't even bother to get a retroactive secret warrant from the secret court, which I was already against! Holy $#!%, this guy is unbelievable!"

    This is also what I mean.

    "Secret FISA courts?" Regular criminal warrant decisions aren't open to the public either, but that is what has been long accepted. What makes one sinister, while the other is simply basic policy? What are the differences between the FISA authority and the authority used in regular criminal courts?

    By the nature of the quote you provided, your girlfriend seems to be fearful of her idea on something, rather than what actually exists.
  12. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    On the subject of taking out Osama

    Pakistan 'delay let bin Laden escape US raid'
    By Massoud Ansari in Karachi

    Prevarication by the Pakistani government cost America the chance to kill Osama bin Laden in an airstrike near the Afghan border two years ago, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.

    A CIA lead that the al-Qaeda leader was hiding in a remote province was squandered because the Pakistani government delayed giving permission for the attack on its soil, according to a senior Western diplomat.

    By the time US officials got the go-ahead, bin Laden had left the suspected hideout in Zhob, in the Baluchistan province of south-west Pakistan.

    The near-miss was cited by the diplomat as the reason why America chose not to consult Islamabad before the US missile strike in Pakistan's Bajaur region two weeks ago. The January 13 attack, prompted by a tip that bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was hiding in a local village, killed 13 civilians.

    Speaking of the Zhob attack, the diplomat, who asked not to be named, said: "For unknown reasons, Pakistani officials delayed in giving permission...which ultimately gave these militants time to move to an unknown location."

    According to his account, which was backed by sources within Pakistani intelligence, the CIA picked up electronic traffic suggesting that bin Laden and his bodyguards had sought temporary shelter in Zhob, which is dominated by Pathan and Baloch tribesmen sympathetic to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Fearing that a commando raid would cause massive casualties to both sides, with no guarantee of success, the US decided to launch a strike by laser-guided missiles, fired from Predator drones.

    The reason for the delay is not clear. While Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, has vowed to eliminate terrorists operating within his country, elements within Pakistan's ISI intelligence service may have sought to protect bin Laden.

    If he was in Zhob at the time it would have been the first known occasion that he had been firmly in America's sights since his escape from Tora Bora in Afghanistan, where he slipped through a cordon of US troops in 2001.

    Gen Musharraf last week described the strike against al-Zawahiri as a "violation of sovereignty", although he said other al-Qaeda figures had died in the raid.

    Al-Zawahiri is thought to have cancelled his visit, possibly after spotting CIA drones in the area.



    Of course these types of stories should be treated with caution but it does sound quite reasonable.
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Well, I wouldn't be surprised, and this is one time I'm not terribly fussed about the US violating the sovereignty of another state.

    E_S
  14. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    No, this is entirely disanalogous - state funds are hardly a safe bet for many schools and school districts, so mandatory federal standards without funding will automatically penalize schools endeavoring to make do with limited resources. Further, by penalizing these schools, it suggests that the problem is with them, instead of with the standards and lack of funding. And exactly why does an appeal to "many people" constitute a valid basis for disallowing federal funding when just as "many people" believe that the federal government ought to fund education? Your disanalogy is simply a representation of one political ideology, not a collective opinion.

    Then I will make it explicit - he has cut funding for armor, both magical and otherwise, after he put our troops in the line of fire. Politicized or not, it is his signature at the end of the day which removed funding for body and vehicle armor. Further, he has made cuts to both veterans benefits, making it harder to qualify for benefits and lowering payments to veterans, as well as to the VA itself, so it has had to cut or reduce the services it has offered, including both clinical and psychiatric care. So, on top of reducing the VA's ability to offer PT/OT to maimed veterans, he has also slashed funding for the treatment of their PTSD. Clearer?

    Hey, not what I was arguing, so don't suggest I was saying we need to armor everyone, regardless of need.

    "I am pro-troop" =/= Cutting funding for protective services (armor) and rehabilitative services (VA/benefits).
    "I am pro-education" =/= "You must jump through these new hoops on your broken legs, and if you can't, you get penalized or closed."
    "I am a conservative" =/= Profligate spending, to the point where your own party decries it.

    This isn't just my perception, 44, this is consistent "Say one thing, do another" and it's all on record. The spin you try to put on it just doesn't
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    All I am saying is that I don't think blanket statements really represent the issue, except maybe to illustrate your own perception.

    For example, I'm a veteran, and my VA benefits have steadily increased ever since I've been using them, so I don't know how you can universially say "VA benefits have been cut.." Are you suggesting that I'm somehow a fluke, and everyone's else's benefits have been cut while mine have increased?

    As another example, I know in many cases, VA health benefits have been contracted out to locally based clinics. So the massive VA institutions might be downsized in certain areas, but veterans are able to go to smaller, more efficient health care providers instead of waiting all day at a few large hospitals.

    Now, I haven't used every benefit available to me, so I can't comment on every one, but that's all I meant when I said the actual situation isn't so casually dismissed.

    Were any of the above taken into account when you universially exclaimed "as well as slashing funding for the VA and veteran's benefits, so when they come home, battered and maimed, they have no support network," or are there specifics that perhaps you are leaving out, or aren't examining?

    Which is better? Maintaining funding for large, outdated insitutions just so it looks good on paper, or finding less costly alternatives?

    Is it better for the federal government to give out money to schools with no strings attached, or try and establish criteria for the funding even though it might not be achieved?

    I don't know, but those all are complicated issues, which all represent something more than the blanket statements used to describe them.
  16. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I wish it were so, but I base my comments upon the actual figures presented to Congress in the budget, as well as bipartisan analyses of what is covered and what is not. I base it upon discussions with the teachers who were forced out of jobs or no longer considered for particular positions because of the new federal standards requiring cross-certifications in education and special education. I base it upon more than my own take on the matter.

    Yes, you are part of the statistical minority not overtly affected by the cuts. That does not invalidate the argument, nor does it detract from the published impact statements, nor the testimonies of the individuals affected by the cuts.

    If only it were so simple - these clinics have different hours of operation, different capacities, different certifications and specialties, and, more ominiously, might not actually exist. Closing a VA does not guarantee that there will be a facility in the area (or even reasonably close) that is willing and able to take on the additional patient load. The "smaller and more efficient" clinic idea also necessarily includes the "smaller, less well-equipped, and overburdened" clinics.

    But you are putting an "It's not so bad" gloss over these documented concerns, which I think is inappropriate.

    No, I was summarizing the bipartisan impact papers I read on the manner. I have no doubts that I've not discussed minutiae, but the general thrust of my suggestion is fairly accurate. Individuals who returned from Iraq did find that they were not covered, or were covered at a greatly reduced level (e.g., pulling in significantly less money from disability claims than they would have before losing their limbs), or did not have access to that same psychosocial services that were available prior to the rebudgeting.

    False dilemma - the choice you propose isn't what actually occurred. Your characterization fails to address the quite real situations many combat veterans face and faced when they return/returned home. The VA could not provide the services they needed due to cuts in federal spending. It's not about looking good on paper, it's about alleviating pain and suffering of veterans put in harm's way by the nation they were defending. When the "less costly alternative" leads to increased rates of PTSD, Depression, and a host of other psychiatric problems, on top of the cases of little to no disability coverage for grievous wounds that would previously have qualified, we hardly have the choice you propose.

  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Has any of this documented, empirical data been presented in this thread? If not, I don't see how it can be ignored.

    EDIT: and I mean that more than the standard "PPOR" response.

    Because you're raising complex matters but not providing the framework for discussion.

    My current salary is paid for by the city I work for out of taxes collected for that purpose. I'm past the probationary period, so unless I do something that's a gross violation, I'm not going to be fired, but the city budgets for my salary every year.

    However, if 3 new people were suddenly hired, but the only way their salaries could be paid for was through federal grants, I don't know if that represents good stewardship by the city. Federal grants are always subject to the terms in which they are given, and if the city doesn't budget for it, I would be concerned if I were those new hirees.

    So, what you are claiming is that it is somehow the federal governmment's fault that there are states who hired more teachers than they could afford to because they relied on nothing but federal money, and when that money was subject to conditions, those states fired the teachers.

    I would prefer that any level of government not simply throw money at a problem and then ignore how it is being used. I would say that the feds have every right to put conditions on the grants that it gives out, especially since states don't have to accept them.

    Again, to me that's a complicated issue, much more so than the "positive spin" I'm supposed to be putting on the issue. It's more of a federal government vs smaller unit of government argument.
  18. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    As bad as this sounds, you're going to have to wait for the data. Some of these were hard copies sent to me, some were published by the local paper, and others were online - I'll have to hunt for the online sources, and see if I can track down the paper copies amongst the stacks of papers I have in my apartment. I do understand and appreciate your desire for documentation however, and I will do my best to provide it to you.

    In regard to your "hiring too many teachers" argument, that is simply a fallacious characterization. Schools experience budget deficits not simply because they hire too many teachers, but also because they have to accomodate the students from schools that have already been shut down, teachers retiring or moving to other school districts, or by having to budget for basic learning instruments to provide for already overcrowded classrooms. The people I knew who suffered from this policy (one staunch Republican, on staunch Democrat) both were eminently qualified before NCLB, but were screwed after (the former was qualified to teach Special Education, but not mainstream students, while the latter was qualified (with Master's Degrees in both History and Education) to teach mainstream kids but not special ed). Their positions were occupied by less qualified/competent people who happened to possess certifications before NCLB kicked in (i.e., these teachers received lateral promotions, despite not having a grasp of the material beyond the certs).
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    QS, I'm not totally disagreeing with your here. It is a complicated issue, with many possible problems and/or solutions.

    But the main point is that no state has to be subject to the requirements of NCLB, only those that recieve federal grant money for that purpose.

    Let's look at a parallel example. The federal government gives highway funds to states that meet certain requirements. One of these requirements is to have a drinking age set at 21. For the longest time, Wisconsin was one of the last states to keep a drinking age at 18. Wisconsin wasn't required to follow the federal guidelines, and as long as they didn't, they weren't able to collect that portion of their highway funds. In that case, it isn't the federal government's "fault" that roads in Wisconsin weren't getting fixed because Wisconsin budgeted their own funds. Eventually, Wisconsin raised their drinking age to 21, and met the federal guidelines for their grant.

    If there is a school district that has a balanced budget without federal aid, they are free to set their own requirements and aren't subject to NCLB. Only those school districts that accept federal money are subject to terms of its use. Such a reality might be "easier said than done," but such are the tough choices that have to be made all the time. Raise taxes or accept federal money? Hire more teachers, or have more cross-training? None of it is easy.

    Is NCLB perfect? No, issues are going to develop, but issues also developed when the federal government simply threw money around without any kind of restrictions.

    Perhaps this is getting too specific relating to this educational issue. Poor Obi506's original bin Laden thread has been ignored, but I understand your concern.
  20. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    It's hard to say....I really wouldn't want to see another major terrorist attack happen because we were unwilling to bend a few laws, but I also wouldn't want to see our democratic ideals destroyed during the War on Terror. Because fighting the war on terror pretty much violates all our ideals. We're killing civilians. Yes, they happen to be very well-armed and dangerous, but when we attack an insurgent safehouse in Iraq, we're denying them the right to live, to have a voice in society in general. And who gets to define to society which individuals are beyond redemption? The President, the intelligence agencies. The question becomes, can we trust these people to uphold our democratic values for years to come?
  21. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    I have to say this: NCLB is a train wreck.

    My father works in my younger brothers' schoolboard. It's a very small school, and had perfect attendance two years in a row. NCLB demands that attendance increase by one percent every year. The second year, the school was almost cut off from all federal funding because attendance didn't improve past 100%. It took thousands of man-hours to plead the school's case with the authorities, man-hours that could have been spent, oh, I don't know, educating children.

    Need I mention NCLB's goal that all students test at average or above? That's mathematically impossible. Teachers know that; anyone with a basic grasp of math knows that. For there to be an average, half the figures involved have to be below it. Do policy makers (I'm looking at you, Bush) not understand this? Are they just ignoring it?

    NCLB is the worst thing that ever happened to public education. Either those behind it are the ones in greatest need of a good education, or they're out to sink the school system deliberately. One or the other.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    My father works in my younger brothers' schoolboard. It's a very small school, and had perfect attendance two years in a row. NCLB demands that attendance increase by one percent every year. The second year, the school was almost cut off from all federal funding because attendance didn't improve past 100%. It took thousands of man-hours to plead the school's case with the authorities, man-hours that could have been spent, oh, I don't know, educating children.

    Which school board was this?

    Just like another famous law, a lot of criticism on NCLB seems to be based on nothing but anecdotal examples, or third party stories.

    EDGOV

    First off, NCLB doesn't mandate that "school attendence increase every year." NCLB ties federal funding to adequate yearly progress. Below High School, it's up to the states to choose which method to use.

    If the school in your example chose attendence as one of the measuring tools, it did so on its own. However, if the school already had perfect attendence, what was it getting Title I aid in the first place for? (Title I is federal aid designated for underperforming/disadvantaged schools)

    Secondly, and which formed the cornerstone of the above example, schools that are flagged as "needing improvement" aren't immediately cut off from funding, but are required to undertake actions like sending students to better performing institutions.

    TITLES

    Without knowing anything elese about the above example, there has to be more to the situation.

    Need I mention NCLB's goal that all students test at average or above? That's mathematically impossible. Teachers know that; anyone with a basic grasp of math knows that. For there to be an average, half the figures involved have to be below it. Do policy makers (I'm looking at you, Bush) not understand this? Are they just ignoring it?

    Again though, that's not what the regulation says, so you are mischaracterizing this aspect. The goal doesn't state that "everyone must perform above average," the program sets a baseline that everyone must perform above by a certain year. (2014, I believe)

    Those are two completely different goals. If you're in charge of a fitness camp, and the baseline is 10 push-ups, you certainly can work toward having all the participants do 10 push-ups by the end of the camp. In this example, 10 push-ups is the baseline goal, not necessarily the average.

    So it looks like your 2 main criticisms about this don't really exist in the first place.

    There are valid criticisms, mind you:

    One is that it forces the states to pay for the catch up requirements themselves, the other being that it may make teachers "teach to the test."

    But there is a reason why 2 prominent democrats (George Miller of California, and the famous Edward Kennedy) had a hand in the creation of this. Because more than anything, it consolidated the way federal education aid was being handled.
  23. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    It's an elementary school in San Mateo County, CA. If you'd like more information, I can try and find it.
  24. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Ahem... topic... back on... :p

    E_S
  25. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Per the title of the thread..

    Oh wait, you mean this thread isn't about Bob bin Laden, Principal in Pawtucket, Rhode Island?

    :eek: :p
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