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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bloggers for Accountability - London Edition

Posted by Bob Brigham

Today many progressive bloggers responded to the London attacks like angry shareholders. The angst level was visible, the people were pissed -- why is Bush failing America in the War on Terror?

Today, many a blogger focused on accountability, here is a sampling:

Steve Soto:

[A]s Tony Blair oversees the carnage and anger in his country, he may want to ask his good buddy George W. Bush why his administration crippled Blair’s domestic anti-terror efforts to track down and stop Al Qaeda cells inside Great Britain by exposing a known Al Qaeda asset at a time when the Brits were very close to nailing a ring of Al Qaeda cells inside the country? With today's tragedy in front of them, don't you think that British intelligence would have wanted to finish their work last fall in smashing London's Al Qaeda cells before the Bush Administration blew a covert operation just so Bush could be reelected?

But as the Plame case shows, the Bush Administration has never let national security here or abroad get in the way of their Number One priority anyway, have they?


Bush's latest rationale for maintaining the course in Iraq adventure has been the "flypaper strategy" -- it's better to fight the terrorists over there than at home. Nevermind that the Iraqis never asked to have their country turned into a dangerous den of terrorism, insurgency, violence and death. For war supporters looking for an excuse, any excuse, to justify the continued disastrous American presence in Iraq, the flypaper rationale was as good as any.

Except that it's not working. The war isn't making the West any safer. In fact, it's creating a whole new class of terrorists. Today it was London. Next time it could easily be the United States. And waging the war in Iraq, rather than make us safer, is further motivating Islamic terrorists to strike at the West. [...]

But Bush (and Blair) took their eyes off the prize -- neglected to finish the job in Afghanistan, let Al Qaida off the hook to rebuild and reorganize, and helped swell its ranks with an unecessary and inept campaign in Iraq.

There are consequences to the mess in Iraq. And today, we're seeing one of them. Unfortunately, it won't be the last.

Steve Gilliard:

George Bush decided to place a significant number of this country's resources and effort into Iraq. Every Delta Force member, every CIA paramilitary and officer in Iraq, is one which is not hunting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Central and South Asia. In the two years we have been bringing democracy training terrorists in Iraq, Al Qaeda has attacked our allies in Iraq at home, first the Spanish, now the British. This is no surprise, since it has been expected for years that the British would be attacked in some way. [...]

And of course, our ineffectual right wing, who, like teenage girls, like the fashion of the moment, will call for something ot be done, but because Iraq hangs around our neck like a massive security albatross, Al Qaeda has freedom of movement and there is little to do. If Osama had a couple of divisions chasing his ass, this wouldn't be happening. Or at least we wouldn't be seeing him on video in the next few weeks gloating.

What will we do? Arrest a few naive, angry young men, toss them in jail, and have American idiots blather about "Islamofascism" and puff their chests up, while keeping their kids safe at home. AQ knows the content of the character and it is that they will fight for nothing, do nothing, except talk. They blather and whine, and America's real enemies see this and understand this. When these cowards talk of the right to their opinion while not serving, people see that, they understand that, and they see how willing we are to leave Afghanistan to molder.

AmericaBlog's Michael in New York:

Bush's failure to make our country safer is a sign of weakness and incompetence.

It's been 4 years since 9-11 and we STILL don't have a combined list of terrorists that can be checked against people coming into our country by plane, car or boat. It was crazy we didn't have this before 9-11. It's criminal that we don't have it now.

It's been 4 years and Bush has failed to strengthen security around our highly vulnerable chemical and nuclear energy plants. Why? Because big business doesn't want to pay for increased security and Bush is putting their concerns ahead of the safety of America.

It's been 4 years and Bush is delaying the strengthening of our coastlines and ports to two and a half DECADES. Any reasonable person would speed up the strengthening of our coastlines and ports. Why isn't Bush?

It's been 4 years and Bush has failed to hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden.

It's been 4 years and Bush can't even ferret out a felon in the White House.

What else has Bush failed to do in this country to make our nation safer?

The American people aren't worried they'll lose the war on terror. They're worried that Bush is too weak to win it.

Talking Points Memo:

The threat of terrorism is very real, especially in major cities. But with respect to the folks who want to lasso this into a pillar of support for a disastrous policy in Iraq, frankly, we already knew terrorism was real. Most people are sick to death of our bumbling in Iraq because it's distracted us from actually defending ourselves.

The immediate answer to this is to hunt down the people immediately responsible, root out the primarily-non-state terror networks that support, plan and make these attacks possible and start getting about serious homeland defense -- port security, rail security, nuclear power plant security.

On that last count, what we've accomplished in the US over the last few years has been painfully inadequate, largely because of our focus on nation-states that have only a tenuous connection to this threat -- a lot of lies, mumbojumbo, and scurrilous and dark motives by the usual suspects notwithstanding.

David Sirota:

The idea that, because our troops are in Iraq, terrorists will only attack us there and not "in the streets of our own cities" is, first and foremost, an insult to our troops because it treats them as if their entire mission is to serve as bait for terrorists. That's not what our troops – or America – was told this was all about.

Secondly, are we really supposed to believe the same terrorists who masterminded the 9/11 attack can't walk and chew gum at the same time? I mean, maybe George W. Bush and the dolts around him are so intellectually impaired they can't do two things at once – but Al Qaeda sure can, and any sentiment to the contrary is idiotic.

But the fact that this line of reasoning insults our intelligence shouldn't be the biggest concern with it. The fact that this rationale has justified spending billions on a war in Iraq while shortchanging basic homeland security is what's really troubling. For years now, experts have begged the Bush administration to adequately fund key homeland security priorities - but they have been rejected at almost every turn.

Instea, the White House has knowingly left our ports, our borders and yes – our transit systems – totally vulnerable to terrorist attacks because they have refused to spend adequate resources, even as they have insisted on cutting taxes for the wealthy and plunging us into a war in Iraq. When Democrats have tried to reduce those tax cuts to pay for critical homeland security needs, they have been voted down. Meanwhile, GOP leaders in Congress have gone along: for instance, just a few weeks ago they gutted funding for transit security.

James Wolcott:

Whoever carried out these attacks managed with a minimum of expense and a modest amount of planning and ruthless execution to upstage the G8 Summit, instantly deflate London's euphoria over winning the Olympic nod for 2012, and wipe the smile off of Tony Blair's face--Blair, for whom the G8 summit was to be his big comeback stage and an opportunity to get out from under his poodle image by taking the high moral ground over Bush on the issues of global warming and African relief. It's been over three years since 3000 Americans died on 9/11, Bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is turning into quicksand, oil has crested $60 a barrel, and yet the Steadfast and Resolute politicians and pundits still insist on underestimating the strategic and tactical intelligence of Al Qaeda. Why, I don't know.

Quantifiably, the numbers prove Bush and the Radical Right are losing the War on Terror. We are losing because Bush values the Radical Right more than winning the War on Terror.

Today, my train ride was better than normal. This morning, there were bomb dogs when I got on (yet not this afternoon). But the entire security system on this critical rail line -- the commuter line through Silicon Valley -- is a mess. There is no security system, today's security was provided by an officer from AmTrak and by the Sheriff's Department (of the next county over). It was an emergency show of force, it wasn't adequate, and regular commuters will tell you it was not the norm (in fact, the TV camera suggested that covering one stop of the rail through Silicon Valley was newsworthy). The only reason it happened was based on a formula put in place when the Terror Level was raised for cities with mass transit. Yesterday, this critical artery of the new economy, was completely unsecured.

In the days following 9/11, we all knew we need to secure America -- Bush has failed.

After Madrid, we all knew we had more to do to secure our transportation infrasture -- yet Bush failed.

Now that we've seen this attack on BOTH of the major countries who invaded Iraq, how can we question whether we should stop wasting time and money in the War on Itaq when we need to focus our energy in the War on Terror.

Bush fucked up and Bin Laden reigns free. Democracy requires accountability. I'm proud to see bloggers carrying the responsibility of the press, but it would be nice if the press could at least do their jobs when lives are being lost.

Most bloggers, but not Kevin Drum:

A WISH....If I could have one small wish for today, it would be for the blogosphere on both left and right to refrain from political point scoring over the London attacks. Just for a day. Isn't tomorrow soon enough to return to our usual arguments?

I have a giant fucking problem with people who wish for politeness instead of justice. People are dying and Drum's one wish is to refrain from accountability? This premium on getting along instead of getting it write right is a major reason why Washington Democrats are so fucked up.

My wish is for reporters to focus upon accountability as well as most bloggers have been doing today.

Posted at 06:01 PM in International, Scandals | Technorati