Mission Accomplished?

Somewhat co-incidentally President Obama announced last night that Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed in Pakistan. The co-incidence comes into play as yesterday also just happened to be the 8 year anniversary of former President George Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

I was all set this morning to write a little blurb about the “Mission Accomplished” thing but now that Bin Laden has supposedly been killed, does his death really have any significance big picture wise? Bin Laden’s followers are already vowing revenge, we are well entrenched in 2 1/2 wars with no end in sight, and American’s everywhere are being warned to be careful. Not exactly sounding like our job is or ever will be done.

The boogeyman is dead and the families of the 9/11 victims can finally get some closure. Other than that and satisfying our need for revenge, is anything really any different today from what it was yesterday?

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Dykstra Gets Threatening Letter

GOP Senate candidate Joel Dykstra’s Sioux Falls office received a threatening letter containing an unknown white substance that eventually was determined to be baby powder according to the Argus Leader.

A letter that arrived at U.S. Senate candidate Joel Dykstra’s Sioux Falls office today contained baby powder, preliminary tests show.

The letter also contained a threat to either Dykstra’s campaign or Republicans in general, said Jim Sideras, a spokesman for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The letter prompted staffers in Dykstra’s office to call 911. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue dispatched a hazardous materials team. Two members of the team suited up and went in the office to test the material with a machine that analyzes chemicals. The preliminary tests showed it was baby powder.

Dykstra joins former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle as recipients of tainted letters though luckily for the Dykstra staffers, his powder turned out to be baby powder.

UPDATE From The Dykstra Campaign:

Dykstra Holding News Conference to Respond to Threating Letter

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Republican Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra will hold a news conference today, Tuesday, August 19 in Sioux Falls to address the threating letter received in today’s mail. The event will be held at the Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters.

For media not able to attend the event there will be a news release, immediately following the news conference on the Dykstra for Senate website at www.joeldykstraforsenate.com or via email.

Dykstra will also be available for one-on-one interviews after the news conference.

Event details, times and location are as follows:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Dykstra for Senate News Conference
Dykstra for Senate Campaign Headquarters
2109 S. Minnesota Ave.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
3:00 p.m

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Bin Laden Driver Sentenced To 5 1/2 Years

For being Bin Laden’s driver.

A military jury sentenced Osama bin Laden’s former driver to 5 1/2 years in prison for aiding terrorism Thursday, making him eligible for release in just six months, despite prosecutors’ pleas to give him no less than 30 years.

Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who had faced a maximum sentence of life behind bars, gets credit for five years already served at Guantanamo Bay. He thanked the jurors for the sentence and repeated an apology for having served bin Laden.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in the Bush White House right now. They stacked the legal procedure, picked what they thought was their best case, and all they can get is a conviction for what the guy admitted to from the start. Topping it all off, they sentenced him to pretty much time served though he could end up staying in Gitmo as another of the scores of people detained there without being charged. Ouch!

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A Page Out Of George Bush's Book

In the past whenever George Bush would want an increase in power to supposedly “keep us safe” or if a mid-term election was in doubt, he would bring out the terrorism card. Either an attack was imminent or if “so and so” were elected we’d be in trouble. John McCain’s camp must have been paying attention and is now admitting that the such an attack would be beneficial, for McCain that is

On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy – this according to McCain’s chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an unfortunate event,” says Black. “But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.” As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,” says Black. (emphasis mine)

As you would expect, McCain has since distanced himself from his Charlie Black’s comments but it shows what we have to look forward to for the next few month’s. The terrorism card is about all McCain has to play and he and his advisor’s will surely put it to use as often as Rudy Giuliani played the 9/11 card if not more often. Though I would suspect the next time they will use a slightly different tact…

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The Blogosphere: The No Spin Zone This Ain't

Cross posted on KELO Blogs.

It is always entertaining to take an important political story and compare how each wing of the spectrum sees fit to spin it. The latest story to hit the spin zone deals with the just released NIE report that states that the latest evil empire on the Bush Administration’s hit list isn’t quite as evil as once thought. Of course this totally contradicts the same report from 2005 which deemed that Iran was evil and must be dealt with to which Bush and Co. had already set the wheels in motion to do just that.

Now to preface this, I have no idea how accurate this report is and given the history of our intelligence agencies lately, the only people that probably do know for sure are high up in the Iranian government but that doesn’t stop both sides from putting their own particular fingerprints on to what this report means. The left of course believes that this vindicates their calls all along that Bush and Co. will lie, have lied, and will continue to lie in order to carry out their agenda.

Sounds like the United States intel community, regardless of what it thinks of Iran’s current rulers, would rather trust them than Dick Cheney or the rest of the PNAC Platoon.

And the right, not to be outdone, has their own ideas on the accuracy of this report as well.

In other words they don’t know (and that can be said with high confidence now) if Iran has their weapons program ongoing now or not – even if Iran claims they do! It looks like some decided to push their views over those of others and stage a media event.

The same righty quoted above apparently isn’t someone willing to pass up a good conspiracy theory when they can manufacture one either. He even sees a connection between the unfavorable to his position NIE report and the spy who wasn’t really a spy even after she was outed as a spy, Valerie Plame.

I have listed a lot of coincidental and circumstantial evidence in this post folks. I feel compelled to warn everyone when I see links to this NIE and Valerie Plame!

Talk about a leap of Grand Canyon proportions! What did our parents do for entertainment before the internet and blogs came into being?

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This Is Who We Have Piloting Our Airplanes?

9/11 conspiracies are nothing new especially in the fringe but the latest conspiracy theory is really out there and to top it off it’s coming from someone that is tasked with our safety in the skies.

Field McConnell is convinced the 9/11 terrorist attacks are being covered up. The Northwest Airlines pilot from rural Glyndon, Minn., said a second attack is imminent and conspirators already have aborted their plan once this year. Those beliefs prompted him to begin writing for a Web site where like-minded people gather and to file a lawsuit …

read more | digg story

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Can't Discredit The Message So Go After The Messenger

In the wake of the Bush Administration’s release yesterday of the synopsis of the classified NIE report, reaction has been swift and as can be expected varied depending on who is doing the reporting.

The Left feels that even the miniscule 3 plus page summary declassified out of the 30 page report backs up the assertion being made after the initial leak that the invasion in Iraq has managed only to increase the number of radical terrorists hell bent on the destruction of America. The paragraph in the summary that tends to back up that assertion does appear prominently in that report.

“The Iraq conflict has become the ’cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”

Of course on the Right, most pretty much ignore that paragraph and instead concentrate on other bullets in the report or in a few instances they attempt to discredit the report itself. A case in point is the reaction by a blogger over at South Dakota Politics. Jason Heppler, instead of addressing that paragraph directly, states the obvious when he quotes other conservatives such as Andrew McCarthy, Glenn Reynolds and John Hinderaker.

Jihadists hate us because they hate us, not because of Iraq.

While most of that statement is quite true, he fails to address the more damning implication that the invasion of Iraq has made more of the “Jihadists that hate us” than had existed before the invasion. The NIE report is documenting that while there were plenty of militants that wanted to do us harm before we invaded, the act of the invasion itself has radicalized many more and instead Heppler concludes that from the only 3 pages released that those in our intelligence service who wrote the report and then leaked a portion of it should be summarily fired for producing a “a meaningless document full of empty bureaucratic twaddle.

Now the full report could in fact be the “meaningless document full of empty bureaucratic twaddle.” as Heppler so eloquently states but one would wonder how anyone could honestly come to that conclusion based on only 10 percent of it being made public?

The main criticism of the Bush policies regarding the tangible results of the invasion of Iraq coming from the NIE report appear to be confirmed by it’s release but as is usually the case in politics when someone attempts to discredit a political agenda, the party under attack goes after the messenger instead of the message.

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See For Yourself – Updated

UPDATED BELOW
A leaked portion of the NIE report that supposedly reports that the Bush invasion of Iraq has actually fueled more terrorism was made public today at the request of President Bush whom has been getting criticism that he attributes to election year politics.
Many have criticised the leak including Bush himself saying that those opposed to the administration in the intelligence community had leaked only selective parts just to make Bush and the GOP look bad. Even with the 30 page report shortened to the 4 pages released today the main crux highlighted by the Bush detracters still holds a prominent part in the report.
“The Iraq conflict has become the ’cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”
And potentially even more damning for Bush and Co. was the announcement this morning by California House Democrat Jane Harman that a second report exists that exclusively deals with Iraq and contains an even more grim view of the situation.
“This morning at the National Press Club, Jane Harman did say that there is an [National Intelligence Estimate] on Iraq,” her spokesman, Ari Goldberg, confirmed. Golberg said he had not read the report, but believes it may be grim. Sources at the event say the document is not officially an NIE, although it was prepared by the National Intelligence Council, an community-wide intelligence body whose primary function is to prepare NIEs.
If in fact this report does exist how much do you want to bet it will never see the light of day, at least that is until after November.
UPDATE: White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend acknowledged the existence of the second report that deals exclusively with Iraq and as I had surmised he also reports that it will not be ready until January 2007…After the November elections, quite convenient don’t you think?

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The Results Of The Bush Terror Plan

For those that think that torture and the foregoing of due process when handling terror suspects is the way we need to proceed, which is exactly what the Bush Administration is pushing for in Congress, should probably talk to former terror suspect and Canadian citizen Maher Arar. He has first hand knowledge of those policies.

Arar, now 36, was detained by U.S. authorities as he changed planes in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan — where he never has been — and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found.

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