The First Year of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions and Discussions

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by J-Rod, Aug 9, 2009.

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  1. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Al Qaeda in Iraq was a major force and continues to conduct horrible attacks on civilians. They weren't there when we invaded, but from 2004 to 2009, it would be accurate to claim to our soldiers in Iraq were fighting Al Qaeda.

    The Afghanistan-Pakistan border area is also home to a lot of Al Qaeda forces, who get their support from the Taliban.

    And of course, even if the Taliban was willing to renounce terrorism, we would be morally remiss in letting them have free reign to brutally oppress women and massacre minorities in Afghanistan.

    Holding our security forces in 2001 to the same standard as in 2009 is nonsensical. In 2001, we didn't even have a DHS yet, and TSA was about a month old.
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    And of course, even if the Taliban was willing to renounce terrorism, we would be morally remiss in letting them have free reign to brutally oppress women and massacre minorities in Afghanistan.

    So why aren't we in North Korea, where Auschwitz-like conditions prevail in many areas. We cannot and should not be the world's policeman. We could be in much of the world handling this or that problem and in the process of doing so, making things worse. You have to let each country figure things out for itself unless it specifically asks for aid.
  3. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Exactly. We in America seem to be experts at trying to solve other countries' problems while ignoring our own.

    And my point about Iraq was precisely that Al Qaida wasn't there when we invaded. They came because we were there.
  4. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Thinking or believing we can or should solve other countries' problems is one of the main dangers of American exceptionalism. We have a lot of exceptional people in this country, of course, but we are no better or worse than any other country in the world. We have our strengths and our weaknesses, just like every country. Every country is its people in the end, and every country has had its share of truly great people and those who are a stain on humanity.
  5. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Why we went into Iraq or Afghanistan is long in the past. The pertinent question is what to do when we're there. Saying Bush really dropped the ball in 2003 doesn't really help Obama decide the best course of action. I support our president and trust his judgment in regards to those wars.

    Afghanistan has in fact asked for aid. If we pull out of Afghanistan next year and there's a bloodbath, it will be because we abandoned a nation we said we would help, reneging our implied and explicit promises. If we do nothing in Sudan and things still are awful there, it's a different story.

    As for North Korea, if their military capabilities were half as pathetic as the Taliban regime's in 2001 or Iraq in 2003, we would be in there in a heartbeat.
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    What part of Afghanistan has asked for aid? The official government controls only a fraction of the territory and doesn't speak for a significant part of the population.
  7. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Nevertheless, diplomacy works through official governments, even if they suffer from civil war or not all the people support them. If we want to have any regard for international law and diplomacy, we must respect the positions foreign heads of state have.

    But I agree with you that American exceptionalism in general, and an overly idealistic foreign policy in specific, is unproductive and unrealistic. I do not think America has an inherent moral superiority, and our foreign policy should primarily be motivated by self interest and support of our allies.
  8. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    That's kind of a 50's mentality you've got there, pal. As has been said before?ties are outdated and unneeded. You can look just as respectful without one. Also, not wearing one gives the impression that he's a cool customer, someone that stays calm under pressure. Which is a good image to project to the rest of the world and to terrorists. That whatever they do won't faze him.


    I take terrorists about as seriously as I take the mafia. Or MS13 or any other criminal organization. Why should I think of it any differently? And before you go, ?Apples and oranges, lol!? I'll have you know that the Sicilian mafia and Pablo Escobar acted the same way these terrorists act. The only difference is that the mafia and Escobar could flaunt their wealth in public with lavish buildings.

    Overall, though, they committed terrorist acts and caused panic within their homelands. So yeah, don't get me wrong: I do think they need to be dealt with, but treating them as if they're different from any other form of thuggery is just silly. And it plays into their hands whenever you use the military to swat them down or create new 'security' measures. Or any other rights restricting measures to keep them from harming us. It's all an overreaction and I resent Americans who act like whiny little *****es whenever a terrorist attack is foiled.

    Oh, it makes perfect sense when your pal, J-Rod's, entire thesis is that we're little prepared than we were in 2001 and that we're headed for another 9/11.
  9. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I read it. I understand that Glenn Geeenwald, though, is fundamentally wrong about the mindset. It is not cowardice, it is looking for an effective counter-terror strategy. The law-enforcement model did not prove to be so, unless you count being able to get convictions afterward. It is impossible to bring back the other 277 passengers if that bomb goes off, especially if there

    Again, I backed the Bush and Cheney measures not out of cowardice, but because what Clinton did in the 1990s clearly DID NOT WORK. We handed al-Qaeda valuable information for counter-intelligence measures, as Andrew McCarthy explained:
    Justice vastly overrated its ability to control the amount of intelligence that the courts would order disclosed in the Moussaoui case. It was a circus, and if he hadn't pled guilty it might have been a disaster.

    Now, however, we have eight years of experience, including the cautionary Moussaoui tale. There are no longer any excuses; the right answer is obvious: If preventing terrorist attacks is our priority, we have to be in a law-of-war rather than a criminal-justice model.


    Bill Kristol also points out:
    I?d add that this is a guy who?s been in very recent touch with important people in terror networks in -- at a minimum -- Africa, Yemen, and London. It?s hard to believe he wouldn?t have operational intelligence he could give us that would help us -- perhaps help us a lot. But we?re not treating him as an enemy combatant, and therefore not treating his capture as an intelligence and counter-terrorism opportunity, but instead as a matter for the criminal justice system!


    The information that the would-be Flight 253 bomber has in his head could save a lot of lives. But instead, Obama won't even TRY to get it. Instead they are bound and determined to return to a 9/10 mentality. We avoided losing Flight 253 by luck and the guts of passengers. Obama is already taking some heat over his dismantling of the defenses Bush put up.

    And just as the raptors from Jurassic Park are testing the fence, the terrorists are testing the lowered defenses. They're figuring out the weak spots. And Obama is not taking the threat seriously. We are doing nothing to find out what the current batch of planners are thinking. Obama's counter-terror policy is banking on luck - and he fails to keep in mind that if that is the case, America needs to be lucky every time; al-Qaeda (or other groups) just need to be lucky once.

    Obama has a chance to reverse course, but I don't see him doing so. A successful attack could easily be to Obama what Katrina was to Bush. Particularly when the warnings have been sounding over the dismantling of the defenses.
  10. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Because... as we all know... standard and (more to the point) LEGAL methods of interrogation Neeeeeeeever work, and so this dude will keep his trap shut unless someone like Cheney steps up and attaches his you-know-whats to a car battery. Right? JS, stop living in a Chuck Norris movie and embrace the real world. Please. If your insinuations were even remotely within the bounds of reality, very few criminals and accomplices would ever have been caught in this country, except of course for those actually caught in the act of doing it.

    If I were a fan of your McCarthyist notions of who is and isn't a threat, I'd be asking myself right now how it is that YOU know precisely what "the terrorists" are doing.

    And how do you know Obama's administration, the nation's law enforcement agencies (state and federal) and the LEs of our allies are "doing nothing to find out what the current batch of planners are thinking"? Is it because they haven't publicized their every move? Or is it because one guy boarded a flight in Amsterdam without getting patted down, which is indicative of the entire Intelligence Network sitting its laurels?

    Channeling the desires of Dick Cheney again, I see. Be careful; when he passes away, he's likely to come looking for a willing host to possess.

    Edit: missed this part...

    Two things: A) In what world (besides the one in your head) does the successful investigation, arrest, indictment AND convictions of those who perpetrated the 1993 NYC bombing equate to "DID NOT WORK"?? And B) What valuable information, preciesly, was handed to al Qaeda? Are you now saying that Clinton himself leaked classified intel to a group known to be out to see harm the country and its populace? What info did he give? Name it, since it's obviously already public knowledge, since you know about it.
  11. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Oh, Chevyo, you have no idea how much I needed to read a post like that. You have my gratitude for the rest of the year.
  12. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    No, Smuggler, your arguments reek of cowardice and insecurity. Neither of which is surprising. Just looking at what you've posted. Especially from that little Weasel Bill Kristol. Yeah, he backed Palin so you know what kind of judgment that guy has.
  13. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    In the sense that Al Qaeda was not deterred or prevented from conducting catastrophic attacks on us in Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in the next ten years. Indeed, the experience of the 1990s arguably shows us that simply going after those responsible for previous attacks is insufficient, that extensive action is needed to degrade the abilities of Islamic extremist groups. When the Bush administration went after Al Qaeda after 9/11, its abilities were severely degraded, and Al Qaeda proper has struggled to attack Western targets ever since.

    Two key points: I'm not saying "Bush is great, Clinton and Obama suck." Bush was as complacent as anyone else before the 9/11 attacks. Also, it is important to seek justice or retribution for the specific perpetrators of each attack, and progress has been made on that front.
  14. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Smuggler, David Brooks tried to reach you and was unable to. He wrote this column instead:

    During the middle third of the 20th century, Americans had impressive faith in their own institutions. It was not because these institutions always worked well. The Congress and the Federal Reserve exacerbated the Great Depression. The military made horrific mistakes during World War II, which led to American planes bombing American troops and American torpedoes sinking ships with American prisoners of war.

    But there was a realistic sense that human institutions are necessarily flawed. History is not knowable or controllable. People should be grateful for whatever assistance that government can provide and had better do what they can to be responsible for their own fates.

    That mature attitude seems to have largely vanished. Now we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved. We seem to be in the position of young adolescents ? who believe mommy and daddy can take care of everything, and then grow angry and cynical when it becomes clear they can?t.

    After Sept. 11, we Americans indulged our faith in the god of technocracy. We expanded the country?s information-gathering capacities so that the National Security Agency alone now gathers four times more data each day than is contained in the Library of Congress.

    We set up protocols to convert that information into a form that can be processed by computers and bureaucracies. We linked agencies and created new offices. We set up a centralized focal point, the National Counterterrorism Center.

    All this money and technology seems to have reduced the risk of future attack. But, of course, the system is bound to fail sometimes. Reality is unpredictable, and no amount of computer technology is going to change that. Bureaucracies are always blind because they convert the rich flow of personalities and events into crude notations that can be filed and collated. Human institutions are always going to miss crucial clues because the information in the universe is infinite and events do not conform to algorithmic regularity.

    Resilient societies have a level-headed understanding of the risks inherent in this kind of warfare.

    But, of course, this is not how the country has reacted over the past week. There have been outraged calls for Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security to resign, as if changing the leader of the bureaucracy would fix the flaws inherent in the bureaucracy. There have been demands for systemic reform ? for more protocols, more layers and more review systems.

    Much of the criticism has been contemptuous and hysterical. Various experts have gathered bits of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab?s biography. Since they can string the facts together to accurately predict the past, they thunder, the intelligence services should have been able to connect the dots to predict the future.

    Dick Cheney argues that the error was caused by some ideological choice. Arlen Specter screams for more technology ? full-body examining devices. ?We thought that had been remedied,? said Senator Kit Bond, as if omniscience could be accomplished with legislation.

    Many people seem to be in the middle of a religious crisis of faith. All the gods they believe in ? technology, technocracy, centralized government control ? have failed them in this instance.

    In a mature nation, President Obama could go on TV and say, ?Listen, we?re doing the best we can, but some terrorists are bound to get through.? But this is apparently a country that must be spoken to in childish ways. The original line out of the White House was that the system worked. Don?t worry, little Johnny.

    When that didn?t work the official line went to the other extreme. ?I consider that totally unacceptable,? Obama said. I?m really mad, Johnny. But don?t worry, I?ll make it all better.

    Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration has t
  15. SHAD0W-JEDI Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    Funny how it is a LOT tougher when you have to actually LEAD, and not just make sanctimonious speeches. We know where the buck now stops. Rough, huh?

    Shadow



  16. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    How would McCain or Palin be better?

    It is always easier to be in opposition than to be the establishment.
  17. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7

    Obviously because they would've been Real Americans?. And Real Americans? lead. Unless of course their claim to fame is being the mayor of a little crappy town in Alaska prior to being governor and McCain whose biggest claim to fame was being a fighter pilot and getting shot down over Vietnam. I thought evolution meant that things get better, but it's clear the GOP has regressed to neanderthal status and frothing at the mouth. Obama's no saint and he has his faults and I'm really disliking him right now, but the alternative would've been Grandpa Simpson and his future trophy wife.
  18. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    If you're going by qualifications, McCain had Obama beaten by a mile.
  19. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Yeah, his daddy was an admiral. Bingo bango.
  20. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm not sure how you make the case that Obama was more qualified or experienced than McCain. Obviously, you can say he had the wrong ideas about what to do, but he had plenty of experience backing him. I'd say McCain and Biden both had lots of experience, Obama and Palin had little.
  21. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    I was actually referring to his quarter century in the Congress, but than you probably already knew that.

    Frankly, we should move beyond the politics of personal scorn, especially when campaigns are long over. You don't have to like Senator McCain or his policies, but to say he hasn't done anything of note is unreasonable.
  22. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    I never made a case about Obama's experience. Just the moron twins that the GOP decided to put up to run against him. The alternative wasn't much better than Obama--probably even worse. And I'd argue that McCain's length of time in congress has poisoned him more than it's made him a credible leader. I had more respect for him before 2004. Then afterwards...'ehh...he just decided to kiss a lot of ass. It was rather pathetic. Then he chose Palin and you knew his judgment was screwed.
  23. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Well, that makes a lot more sense than, "McCain is famous for being a fighter pilot and POW, thus he sucks."
  24. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
  25. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    [face_laugh] =D=

    Epic. Win. The image of Johnny Mac walking around squealing about "Matlock!" will make the rest of my day. (And FTR, I've always liked John McCain. I voted for Obama because I liked him better. And because I'm a big ole' leftie and thought that Obama was too.)

    I am also not real happy with Obama right now and have wondered how different things would be with McCain, mostly because, unlike Obama, McCain would not have handed the most important piece of legislation of his career over to the corporate shills in Congress. He would have done what FDR did, and what I wanted Obama to do--written a bill, sent it to Congress, and said, "Here, vote on this and get it back to me so I can sign it."

    But that being said, I'm not sure I'd like what a McCain/Palin health care bill would have looked like. There were some good ideas coming from the Republican side, but not enough overhaul of the system on their end.
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