did you boys ever hear the story of the pawnbroker with the glass eye

Insert big yawn here, GOP ’06 Strategy Hinges on Iraq, Terrorism. In a take on the old adage, are you better off now then you were eight years ago; is America safer now then it was eight years ago?

Republicans are resorting to their tired tactics of distort, distract and divide. Instead of actually doing something to protect our nation, such as implementing the 9/11 commission recommendations or hiring more border control agents, they are doing what that always do: trying to incite fear and attack Democrats. It won’t work.

From conservative newspaper pundits, to right-wing blogs, to republican shock jocks, to quasi-news analysis at Faux the re-frame is the same, do not look at the fact that conservatives own the circus and the tent and they still can’t run the show. Like well disciplined parrots they just keep gawking that Democrats are weak on terror, but Democrats in reality have done nothing to stop Bush and his congressional harlots from doing whatever they want to fight anywhere any way they want ( Aside from making a little noise about torture). So whether Democrats are or are not cheering loud enough for the quagmire of Iraq that has nothing at all to do with conservative’s failure to deal effectively with a gang of thousands, An ‘F’ For Antiterrorism

These pessimistic public perceptions could easily be attributed to the high cost, in both treasure and lives, of counterterrorism efforts. After all, Americans are constantly being told by their elected leaders that their pessimism is wrong, that the war is being won. But they’re also told that another attack is inevitable. Which is it? To find out, Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress teamed up to survey more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy experts—Republicans and Democrats alike. The Foreign Policy/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index is the first comprehensive effort to mine the highest echelons of America’s foreign-policy establishment for their assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror.

Despite today’s highly politicized national security environment, the index results show striking consensus across political party lines. A bipartisan majority (84 percent) of the index’s experts say the United States is not winning the war on terror. Eighty-six percent of the index’s experts see a world today that is growing more dangerous for Americans. Overall, they agree that the U.S. government is falling short in its homeland security efforts. More than eight in 10 expect an attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade. These dark conclusions appear to stem from the experts’ belief that the U.S. national security apparatus is in serious disrepair.

I say gang because the best estimates are that are about 20,000 actual members under Al Queda’s direct control with maybe 100,000 hardcore sympathizers. Actual members represent less then .000004 of the world’s population and adding in the sympathizers we’re at a still very fractional portion of the world’s population. Yet we’re spending about 9 billion dollars in Iraq alone where even the Pentagon estimates that al-Queda fighters, that Bush allowed into the country by not using a large enough force, represent maybe 10% of of the threat. Let’s be generous and use that 100,000 figure; that would mean we’re spending 90,000 dollars a month per Al-Queda fighter if there were that many in Iraq. The American public is not getting a great return on their tax dollars with conservatives in charge. That 9 billion doesn’t include Afghanistan or any other place or general expenses. I generally cringe at those that go off on some theory about war profiteers and how certain corporations and individuals are profiting from our current exploits, but it is easy to see where some people would get those types of ideas. You can’t spend what is well over 90,000 a month per terrorist and while claiming that you are the grand pooh paahs of anti-terror. Conservatives have become among many other things the party of comic tragedy. They’re the Stooges, the Keystone Cops and Buster Keaton all rolled into one. If they want to run on their anti-terror record Democrats should just say bring it on. The part that the conspiracy minded have all too right is how the big inflated boogie-man of terrorism is something that conservatives find useful purely for their political ends and we’re starting to see that while Al-Queda and their like minded are dangerous, on close examination they are not as big and bad as the terrorists and conservatives would have us believe, The Myth of Al Qaeda

Were these people potentially lethal? Yes. One doesn’t have to graduate at the top of one’s class to set off explosives in a satchel on a subway. Were most of them capable of hatching a minutely timed scheme to obtain and detonate a nuclear bomb in a city, or launch a biowarfare attack? No. “In an open system like a network, the bumbler level is always going to be high because of the ease of entry,” says John Arquilla, an intelligence expert at the Naval Postgraduate School. “That’s how someone like [American Taliban supporter] John Walker Lindh can walk into the high councils of Al Qaeda and meet bin Laden. And recently the bumbler factor has gone up considerably.” Ironically the most competent “Al Qaeda” leader in recent years, at least since the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003, was Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who came close to subverting the American project and creating a sectarian war in Iraq. But he did that largely on his own, facilitated by the fortuitous conjoining of Iraq with the war on terror. Before the Iraq war Zarqawi was a nobody, hiding out in northern Iraq, largely unconnected to Saddam’s regime even though Colin Powell, in his infamous Feb. 5, 2003, United Nations Security Council speech, claimed that Saddam had given Zarqawi “harbor.” And he was not part of bin Laden’s group. Would he have attacked U.S. interests at some point, somewhere? Almost certainly. But the Iraq invasion gave Zarqawi a chance to blossom on his own as a jihadi.

Eleanor Clift on the conservative Political Theatre

The current President Bush has raised the stakes, threatening prosecution and jail time for reporters and editors who broke the story about a program to track the financial records of those with suspected terror ties. Most of the administration’s ire has been focused on The New York Times, the paper they view as exhibit A of the liberal media elite. The Times did break the story, but others were close behind, including The Wall Street Journal, an administration favorite. Considering what many see as the Times’s role in promoting phony stories about WMD in Iraq, lending its imprimatur to bad intelligence and smoothing the way to war, it’s hard to think of the newspaper as a liberal crusader.

Isn’t that nice, Right-Wing Blog Asks Readers to “Hunt Down” Info About NYT Editors’ Children

Say, did you boys ever hear the
story of the pawnbroker with the
glass eye?

No Matt, what is the story about
the pawnbroker with the glass eye?

Well, I’ll tell you. A fellow went
into this shop to pawn his watch.
The pawnbroker said, “I’ll give
you $50 for it, if you can tell me
which is my glass eye.” The fellow
said, “All right, I’ll do that.
It’s the right one.” The pawnbroker
said, “That’s correct. But how did
you know it was the right one?”
The fellow said, “well, it’s got
more sympathy than the other one.”

from the screenplay AMERICAN MADNESS by Robert Riskin