Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush Says US Addicted To Foreign Oil!

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In the 2006 State of the Union Speech President G.W. Bush told Americans they were "...addicted to foreign oil!" That's Bush code for "Open the ANWR to oil exploration."
This from a president that has presided over cuts in miles per gallon requirements, allowed increased particulate emissions, relaxed air standards and has a family with its wealth and history wrapped in the oil industry!
And not to mention a vice president that left government office to become the president of Haliburton. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006

Message To President Bush From Ayman al Zawahiri

Miranda Decision Blamed By Right For 9-11

Andrew McCarthy Makes False Miranda, 9-11 Charges
(The following is an email received from the lefty blog Media Mattters for America)
In a NY Post book review,January 24 New York Post, Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and contributor to National Review Online, falsely suggested that, due to a position taken by the Clinton administration in 1999, the Constitution now requires that law enforcement officials give suspects Miranda warnings for confessions to be admissible in court. In fact, as the Supreme Court noted in Dickerson v. United States (2000), it was the Miranda court itself -- in 1966 -- that held that this requirement is embedded in the Constitution.In its 1999 brief in Dickerson, the Clinton Justice Department declined to defend the government's victory in a court of appeals ruling that Congress had used its power through a 1968 law to overrule the requirement -- imposed by the Supreme Court in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona -- that suspects must be informed of their right to remain silent. McCarthy, in his book review, asserted that, "thanks largely" to the Clinton administration's decision not to argue against Miranda, the Supreme Court, in Dickerson, subsequently upheld Miranda's warning requirement as mandated by the Fifth Amendment, and struck down Congress' attempt to overrule it. From McCarthy's January 24 New York Post book review of Protecting Liberty In An Age Of Terror (MIT Press, 2006) by Philip B. Heymann and Juliette N. Kayyem: "Further, the authors' extension of American constitutional rights to alien detainees is high-minded; but -- thanks largely to a position taken by the Clinton Justice Department before the Supreme Court in 1999 -- the Fifth Amendment guarantee now incorporates Miranda protections. That is hardly appropriate for wartime enemy combatants." But McCarthy's assertion ignored the actual language in the Miranda court's opinion, as noted by the majority in Dickerson. McCarthy falsely suggested that the Dickerson decision was the first time the court ruled on whether Miranda protections are required by the Fifth Amendment. But the first time the court ruled that the Fifth Amendment guarantee includes Miranda protections was in Miranda. The question in Dickerson was ultimately whether the Miranda decision was right as a constitutional matter -- whether the court went too far or had since fundamentally undermined its ruling -- and not whether the Miranda court was in fact ruling on the parameters of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. As to the second question -- whether the Miranda court was, in fact, ruling on the parameters of the Fifth Amendment, which McCarthy falsely suggested was a matter of dispute before the Dickerson court -- the Dickerson court said this was not in dispute: The Miranda court, according to the majority in the Dickerson court, had clearly set out to articulate a constitutional standard, not merely an administrative rule of evidence that could be reversed by Congress: The Miranda opinion itself begins by stating that the Court granted certiorari "to explore some facets of the problems ... of applying the privilege against self-incrimination to in-custody interrogation, and to give concrete constitutional guidelines for law enforcement agencies and courts to follow." 384 U. S., at 441-442 (emphasis added). In fact, the majority opinion is replete with statements indicating that the majority thought it was announcing a constitutional rule.4 Indeed, the Court's ultimate conclusion was that the unwarned confessions obtained in the four cases before the Court in Miranda "were obtained from the defendant under circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of the privilege." 5 Id., at 491. McCarthy suggested that had the Clinton administration argued vigorously in favor of the position McCarthy thinks it should have argued for, the Dickerson court would have found -- contrary to the above statement -- that "the majority opinion" was not "replete with statements indicating that the majority thought it was announcing a constitutional rule." Persuading the court of a different interpretation of the law is one thing; persuading it that the facts are the opposite of what the court would otherwise have concluded they are is quite another.The specific question in Dickerson was whether Congress had the power to reverse Miranda legislatively, which it attempted to do in 1968 by statute. Prior to Miranda, the Supreme Court had said that a confession was admissible if it was voluntary, to be judged by "the totality of the circumstances"; after Miranda, a confession was presumed to be involuntary (and therefore inadmissible) if a suspect had not been given his or her "Miranda warnings." In 1968, two years after Miranda, Congress passed a law, Section 3501, which stated that the courts were to use the "totality of the circumstances" test that Miranda had repudiated. The law received little attention until a 1999 decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that Miranda had not, in fact, enunciated a constitutional requirement but had merely set out a rule for the federal courts, which Congress has the power to overwrite. The 4th Circuit ruled that Congress did just that in 1968, by passing Section 3501. The Supreme Court reversed the 4th Circuit, ruling that the court's decision in Miranda was a determination of a constitutional right which cannot be abrogated by Congress, and that the court's decision in Miranda was correct as a matter of constitutional interpretation.In arguing Dickerson, the Clinton Justice Department chose not to argue to defend the 4th Circuit ruling that the 1968 statute should be upheld. But contrary to McCarthy's suggestion, the case did include an advocate for upholding the 4th Circuit decision. The Supreme Court asked law professor and current U.S. District Judge Paul G. Cassell, who had advocated through his legal scholarship the overturning of Miranda, to argue the position that the 4th Circuit decision should be upheld. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court upheld the original Miranda decision in Dickerson and reversed the 4th Circuit.McCarthy's suggestion that the 4th Circuit decision was reversed because of the Clinton administration's refusal to defend it is further undermined by the reasoning the court gave for ultimately ruling as it did. The majority opinion in the case, written by the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, indicates that the court's decision rested on factors different from the merits of the 4th Circuit's ruling. Rehnquist wrote that -- essentially regardless of the merits of the 4th Circuit's ruling or of the original Miranda decision itself -- Miranda would be upheld largely because it has "become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture": Whether or not we would agree with Miranda's reasoning and its resulting rule, were we addressing the issue in the first instance, the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now. ... While" 'stare decisis is not an inexorable command,'" State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U. S. 3, 20 (1997) (quoting Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U. S. 808, 828 (1991)), particularly when we are interpreting the Constitution, Agostini v. Felton, 521 U. S. 203, 235 (1997), "even in constitutional cases, the doctrine carries such persuasive force that we have always required a departure from precedent to be supported by some 'special justification.'"[...]We do not think there is such justification for overruling Miranda. Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture. See Mitchell v. United States, 526 U. S. 314, 331-332 (1999) (SCALIA, J., dissenting) (stating that the fact that a rule has found "'wide acceptance in the legal culture'" is "adequate reason not to overrule" it). While we have overruled our precedents when subsequent cases have undermined their doctrinal underpinnings, see, e. g., Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U. S. 164, 173 (1989), we do not believe that this has happened to the Miranda decision. If anything, our subsequent cases have reduced the impact of the Miranda rule on legitimate law enforcement while reaffirming the decision's core ruling that unwarned statements may not be used as evidence in the prosecution's case in chief. And, even though the Justice Department declined to argue against Miranda in the case, the court did hear that argument from Cassell. From Dickerson: Because no party to the underlying litigation argued in favor of [Section] 3501's constitutionality in this Court, we invited Professor Paul Cassell to assist our deliberations by arguing in support of the judgment below. Contact: Andrew C. McCarthyContact: New York PostNew York Post New York Post 1211 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036-8790 Main Office: (212) 930-8000

This mail was sent by Media Matters for America

Take Ann Coulter...Please!

The Ditzy, Blonde Neo-Fascist Ann Coulter is at it again!
Latest Crazy Statement From
A Right Wing Nut Case!

She removed her head from where the sun don't shine long enough to firmly insert her foot.
Coulter, speaking at a lecture, said there weren't enough conservatives on the Supreme Court so she thought it would be just peachy if someone administered rat poison to Justice Stevens. Well! That's an interesting political philosophy, worthy of Lucretia Borgia! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dracula In The Senate!

Frist transforms Before Your Very Eyes!

Senate Majority leader Bill Frist revealed his true character as he dodged,
deceived and diverted interviewer Tim russert on NBC's Meet The Press Sunday Morning, January 29. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bush As Patton!

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Friday, January 27, 2006

G.W.'s Legacy

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

CNN Poll Gives Bush 58% Unfavorable Rating

According to a CNN poll announced today President Bush's disapproval rating is at 58%!
This indicates that most of the American people now recognize that the Bush presidency has been a disaster. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bush's Nose Keeps Growing!

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President Bush Once Extolled FISA

President Bush and his spinners are now on a campaign to politicize the domestic wiretap spying scandal in an attempt to paint his opponents as unpatriotic and to portray the illegal wiretaps as justified in the action Congress passed authorizing his war on terror.
This is not what he said in a speech he gave in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 2004. Following is an excerpt from that speech. This text is from the official White house web site.

For Immediate Release April 19, 2004
Remarks by the President
on the USA PATRIOT Act
Hershey Lodge and Convention
Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania,
3:20 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thanks for letting me come. (Laughter.) It's good to be here in Hershey, Pennsylvania. For a fellow who likes chocolate -- (laughter) -- this is a special place.
...And you and I know what our first responsibility is;... is the safety of our citizens.That's a solemn duty we have, to work together to make sure that our nation is as secure as it can possibly be.
For years, law enforcement used so-called roving wire taps to investigate organized crime. You see, what that meant is if you got a wire tap, by court order and, by the way, everything you hear about requires court order, requires there to be permission from a FISA court, for example.
The Patriot Act authorizes what are called delayed notification search warrants. These allow law enforcement personnel, with court approval, to carry out a lawful search without tipping off suspects and giving them a chance to flee or destroy evidence. It is an important part of conducting operations against organized groups.

It is clear that the President then recognized the necessity of obtaining a court order for wiretapping from the FISA(Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act) court. He seemed to be OK with that in 2004. He is now saying he has the power to ignore the law.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Orwellian Deception From White House

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The White House refuses to come clean on the domestic spying scandal.
On recent media outlets and in newspapers and magazines Bush spinners continue to pretend that administration critics are attempting to prevent intelligence gathering against terrorists. That is a false argument.
The objection is not spying but spying without a court order!

There is a mechanism in place to cover emrgency situations. The Foreign Intelligence and Surveilance Act permits a wiretap to be in place up to 72 hours before a warrant is issued and also makes it possible to get court approval for wiretaps as needed in certain future cases. In other words, if there is a suspicion a wiretap may be needed the court order can grant authority for it in advance to be used when needed. So there is no excuse to bypass the legal mechanisms. Instead in this, as in other situations, the Bush administration acts as if it is exempt from the law.
Not only is Karl Rove and other Bush spinners trying to obfuscate the issue they are trying to score political points by claiming their critics are soft on terrorism.
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Michael Brown Wins the "Brownie Award!"

Michael Brown is the winner for the first annual Brownie Award!
It is entirely appropriate that Michael Brown, the former FEMA Director, should win the first Brownie Award!
Who can ever forget President Bush's immortal words in the wake of hurricane Katrina "Your'e doing a heckuva a job Brownie!"
Brown will be long remembered as will others in the future who receive his namesake recognition.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Nagin Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot!

Nagin Says What....?

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Provides Another
Example Of Why Politics And Religion Shouldn’t Mix!

Speaking at an event honoring Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 16, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said that hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other storms were a sign that "God is mad at America"
He added that black communities were targeted also because of violence and political infighting.
"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country,"
On a roll Nagin continued "Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."
Nagin then said that New Orleans will be a "chocolate" city again.
"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans. The one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," the mayor said.
"This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."
Nagin said he imagined a conversation with Martin Luther King. "I said, `What is it going to take for us to move on and live your dream and make it a reality?' He said, `I don't think that we need to pay attention any more as much about other folks and racists on the other side.' He said, `The thing we need to focus on as a community – black folks I'm talking about - is ourselves.'"
Nagin said he also asked: "Why is black-on-black crime such an issue? Why do our young men hate each other so much that they look their brother in the face and they will take a gun and kill him in cold blood?"

Nagin said King answered "We as a people need to fix ourselves first."
These are noble sentiments expressed by Nagin but his kind of whacko persona surely will not help him in being taken seriously!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bush Pounds Pakistan

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Bush Launches Unauthorized
Strike In Pakistan
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An attack by Predator drones with Hellfire missles and US F-16's apparently failed to kill the target, Ayman al-Zawahri, believed to be the number two man in Al-Qaida.
Three houses were leveled by the attack on Damadola, a village near the Afghan border.
Pakistan has lodged an official protest, Islamabad insists it does not allow the armed forces of the United States to cross the border in the hunt for Taliban or Al-Qaida fighters.
Pakistani officials say innocent people were among the 17 men, women and children killed in Friday's attack and al-Zawahri was not there.
There are some reports claiming up to 11 extremists were believed among the dead.
Reportedly some were taken away for DNA tests to determine victims' identities.
Protests agains the U.S. and the attacks have occurred in Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and elsewhere.
The government led by General Pervez Musharraf has been an ally, if somewhat imperfect, of the United States in the war on terror. Musharraf's hold on the government is made even more shaky with this action.
As reported by Bob Woodward in his book Bush at War(reviewed on my blog a few entries back) President Bush expressed disdain for Bill Clinton's anti terrorist efforts as "Pounding Sand!" This was in reference to a failed attack by cruise missiles on Osama Bin Laden's hideout in Afghanistan. Reportedly that attack did little damage, killing some camels and destroying some tents. This was a source of amusement and derision from the right for Clinton's policies.
It was not widely noted that intelligence reports said that Bin Laden had left the camp only thirty minutes earlier.
There were many anti terrorist efforts mounted during the Clinton administration but most were kept secret, as they should have been. Much intelligence had been developed about Al-Qaida and their activities in the United States prior to 9-11. Most of this was ignored by the incoming administration because they arrogantly wanted nothing to do with Clinton era programs or intelligence.
Advertising covert effors in public and macho crowing about "strength and decisiveness" is counterproductive!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cannibal Finds Film "Distasteful!"

I came across this headline and story on the net and somehow it struck me as, well, kind of funny! I'm sorry!
Armin Meiwes, who was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for eating a man he met over the Internet, is trying to stop production of a film about the crime he was convicted of. His lawyer said his client did not give permission to producer Atlantic Streamline to fictionalize his story.
"I feel used," said Meiwes, who filmed the killing and confessed to the crime but denied it was murder since his victim volunteered to be eaten.

Crazy Pat Is Banned From Israel Business Dealings!

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Israel To Cut Ties With Robertson

Pat Robertson is full of apologies today as it has been revealed that the government of Israel is breaking ties with Robertson on plans to build a Christian tourism center in that country.
I wonder if he thinks that is Divine Retribution?
The planned site was to be built with an expected $50 million raised from a number of evangelical Christian groups. It is not clear if this project will go ahead but if so it will probably be without Robertson and his 700 Club.
Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson said he gave instructions to "stop all contact" with groups associated with Robertson. But Hirchson said the order did not apply to "all the evangelical community, God forbid."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tom Delay's Comedy Act!

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Tom Delay may be able to go into standup comedy after he leaves Congress, which may be sooner than he thinks! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Crazy Pat!

Oh Pat! There You Go Again! Pat Robertson Up To Old Tricks!

Crazy Things Pat Robertson Said!
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On the Iraq War:
Robertson said that President Bush told him;
''Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.''

About Sharon:
Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land" -- giving Gaza to the Palestinians.

About Chavez:
"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

To Dover, Pa.
“I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover, if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected Him from your city.''
"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

On Christian Love:
"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions."

On strong women:
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

On the State Dept.:

Robertson suggested the nuclear incineration of the State Department while interviewing Joel Mowbray, a columnist for National Review, about his book, Dangerous Diplomacy. How the State Department Threatens American Security, a right-wing diatribe charging the State Department with “anti-Americanism.”
“When you get through you say, ‘If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom [the Washington, D.C., neighborhood where the State Department’s building is located]. I think that’s the answer,’” Robertson declared. “I mean, you get through this and you say, ‘We’ve got to blow
that thing up.’”

On the Supreme Court:

Liberal Supreme Court justices present a greater threat to the nation than "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." Robertson said the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were a natural outcome after America "insulted God" with its secularism and lack of morality. As for the Supreme Court, he twice urged prayer marathons asking God to create "vacancies" on the high court.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Twas The Night Before Indictments And All Through The House...

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“Why he gave it to us, we didn’t know. But You
May be sure there was no “Quid pro quo! ”
“We have strict rules about ethics and such.
The cost for us to break them? Oh not so much!”
“Need environmental exemption, more emissions per ton?
Just put a large sum of money in my re-election fund!”

A new round of corruption is ready to break
On the shores of the Potomac and the capitol lake.
Trips to the Bahamas and cash payments revealed
In exchange for laws with a higher cash yield.
A Beemer, a boat, maybe a trip to Las Vegas
This kind of graft is really outrageous.

These guys were smug,“They said man you can’t knock it
We have all these congressmen well in our pocket!”
They drove a brand new Lincoln or maybe a Lexus
They did as they pleased including redistricting Texas!
They passed out lots of money from homeland defense
But they spent it in places that didn’t make sense.

It got to be when a congressman wanted extra pay
He had to be willing to play ball with old Tom Delay
He could get what he wanted but he had to give in
And join in the game paying with the wages of sin.
When you see such shenanigans you then see just why
You always get the best Congress that money can buy!

Churchill, A Biography

I have been under the weather lately and
haven't been able to keep up on my blog. In the meantime I thought I would post some book reviews I did in the now defunct local monthly, The Observer.
These are not current titles but they were interesting for history buffs. I hope you find them useful.
Roy Jenkins passed away year before last. His life is worthy of a book as he was a contemporary of Winston Churchill and a longtime member of Parliament.

Churchill, A Biography
By Roy Jenkins
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux ,

Churchill, by Roy Jenkins, is the latest book about a much written about subject, Winston Churchill. There is little doubt that Churchill deserves such attention. He could be considered as the Man of the Twentieth Century. It was due to Churchill’s leadership in World War II, especially the early years, that the Nazis were checked in Western Europe, paving the way to ultimate victory by the Allies, Great Britain, The Soviet Union and the United States.
Author Roy Jenkins has produced eighteen books covering many great figures and historical subjects. He is currently President of the Royal Society of Literature. He served as Chancellor of Oxford University and a member of Parliament. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1948 as a member of the Labour Party. He held several seats in the government, Minister of Aviation, Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1987 He was seated in the House of Lords as Lord Jenkins of Hillhead.
At 912 pages, plus 89 pages of references and an index, this is a formidable volume. Jenkins has thoroughly indexed his obviously pains taking research. This book is for serious history buffs and Churchill historians. The casual reader may get lost in the unfolding lexicon of Twentieth Century British politics with which most American readers will be likely unfamiliar.
Churchill, his wife, daughter, son and just about all of their associates, left voluminous letters, journals and writings. From these, the many books on Churchill and countless interviews Jenkins had much material to draw from. Sometimes the book seems to bog down with possibly a bit too much minutiae, but the reader will get a comprehensive look at a very complex individual. A plus for the book is the fact that author Jenkins held government positions and served in Parliament, as a member of the opposition, with Churchill in the post war years.
Churchill was born into privilege. His family was aristocratic but always struggling to maintain the proper lifestyle expected of a family in their class in a highly stratified English culture. It was natural that he followed into a political career in the footsteps of his famous but not highly regarded father, Lord Randolph Churchill. His mother, Jennie, was an American from a wealthy New York family, the Jeromes. There was also a younger brother, Jack. The two didn’t have a close relationship but there was affection between the two. Churchill lived at some distance from his father but formed a bond, if a somewhat tenuous one, with his mother. Jennie, with her movie star good looks, was a darling of the social world and center of many rumors. Her life was filled with entertaining, dinner parties, theater, trips to the continent and other places. Churchill was sent to boarding schools, college at Harrow and then the military academy at Sandhurst, very much like other youths of his social standing.
Lord Randolph died on January 24, 1895 and in February Churchill began his career path with a second lieutenant’s commission in the 4th Hussars. He saw his first unfriendly fire in Cuba, as an observer of a revolution there. Next he was sent to India to serve the empire. He saw action in the putting down of a native uprising in Malakind. This led to his first dispatches to the Daily Telegraph for which he received a small stipend. The modest pay was welcome to the financially strapped young officer. Upon his return he published his first book, The Story of the Malakind Field Force. With help from his mother the book was published and was rather well received. He was paid a good sum of money for the book and his path in the literary world was set. For the rest of his life Churchill would be a prolific writer and as he settled into his political life he became a talented painter as well.
The four volume A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Marlborough: His Life and Times, also four volumes, and his The Second World War, at six volumes, are perhaps his best known works. Churchill’s writings would eventually make him a wealthy man and leave an estate for his heirs. He was a masterful writer who was nearly constantly attended by a staff of secretaries, researchers and dictation takers as he worked on his projects.
Churchill first gained national notoriety during the Boer War in South Africa, near the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century. During the war Churchill was captured by the Boers, along with several other officers. Though he was well treated by his captors Churchill managed to escape and completed a long trek from inside Boer territory to the east coat of South Africa and safety. His story became a big story at the time and even a bit controversial as some officers claimed he struck out on his own contrary to their escape plans. But overall he was hailed as a hero.
Jenkins goes on to describe Churchill’s early political life, with its many ebbs and flows, World War One saw Churchill go from the Lord of the Admiralty, in charge of the Navy, to a field command leading troops in the trenches late in the war. Churchill was removed from his cabinet position following the debacle of the Dardanelles campaign.
There was a period between the wars when Churchill was out of office and out of the government, much to his dismay. He liked being in the thick of things, he liked making decisions and influencing others. That he continued to do with a series of articles and speeches warning strongly against communism and the rise of German militarism. His was like a voice in the wilderness as he railed against military weakness and appeasement with Germany.
Churchill finally rose to the top political job in the land as World War broke out and Prime Minister Chamberlain’s policies concerning Germany were shown to be hollow and weak.
From here most are familiar with Churchill’s wartime leadership and his inspiring speeches, which kept England resisting the onslaught even while alone on the continent and with no help from the United States. The story of Churchill and Roosevelt and their meetings, including those with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, make fascinating reading.
Following the war Churchill’s story, with a couple of exceptions, was anticlimactic, with Churchill being thrown out of office, regaining power and spending his last years completing his literary works and traveling until his death on January 24, 1965.
Churchill was a giant figure of the twentieth century. Perhaps the greatest of the century. He was a complex person, full of vigor and action with a tremendous intellect and a will to match. He could see clearly the state of world affairs as they pertained to not just Britain but the entire globe. He was far from perfect, he could be vain, arrogant and pretentious as well as kind, jocular and caring. He was not right on everything but his staunch stand against the dark powers of fascism and communism and his inspired leadership during Britain’s, and indeed the world’s darkest hours, will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bush At War, A Book Review

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Bush at War, by Bob Woodward
Reviewed by Dicky Neely

Bush at War, Simon&Schuster, 2002, by famed journalist Bob Woodward, gives an incredible view into the inner workings of the Bush administration during the 100 days following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
Using his amazing access for interviews with the principals involved, notes taken as he was able to sit in on National Security Meetings and other sources, he explains his methods in the introduction, Woodward has produced an unmatched narrative with a deep insight into the making of recent history.
Someone, (regrettably forgotten) said his book has a “fly on the wall” quality about it. Quite true, as the narrative unfolds the reader is made a witness who observes, seemingly unknown, as decisions are reached at the highest level in the land. Indeed, the President and his inner circle, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield, C.I.A. Director George Tenet, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, are presented in vivid living color, showing strengths, weaknesses, tempers and jealousies, in other words as complicated, intelligent human beings. There are many other characters in this drama, some also rise to a high level of interest.
The book reads like a combination of a Tom Clancy thriller and the TV series “West Wing,” all the more stunning because it covers real events still being played out today.
The book begins on that terrible September 11, 2001. George Tenet is having breakfast with former Oklahoma Democratic Senator and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, David Boren. Amazingly they were discussing Osama Bin Laden. Tenet had told Boren that Bin Laden was his biggest worry of our foreign enemies. The CIA had been after him for more than five years. But no clear plan had emerged because of the ban on assassinations in force in the U.S. Government. As they ate a C.I.A. security guard approached, and after being given permission to speak in front of Boren, informed that the World Trade Towers had been attacked.
Tenet was handed a secure cell phone and he ordered a meeting at C.I.A.’s Langley headquarters. “This has Bin Laden all over it,” stormed Tenet to Boren as he made his exit. Woodward writes that Tenet immediately recalled the case of Zacharias Moussoui, the Morrocan/French citizen who was then, and still now, under arrest after acting suspiciously at a flight training school.
An informed reader might recall that in the wake of the attacks there were attempts to lay blame and point fingers in some quarters. This passage reveals that Osama Bin Laden was clearly on the radar screen and that Al Qaeda was being watched with expectations of a major event being launched. Also some statements were made in the immediate aftermath that “We could never anticipate they would use an airplane in their attacks.” This was clearly erroneous as that was known as a distinct possibility.
Woodward’s book is objective and draws few conclusions but the manner in which he presents his information enables the reader to judge for himself the way things were done in the Bush White House. Bush supporters and opponents will have interpretations of the book colored by their own political viewpoints.
The inner circle and the president seemed confused and unfocused in the scenes shortly after the Trade Towers attack. The President wanted action but had to temper his desire for vengeance when it was clear that there were big holes in their intelligence and no usable military assets or access in place when it was decided to carry the war to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Bush and company often expressed disdain for Clinton's anti-terrorist efforts, emphasizing they didn't to be seen as "pounding sand," a disdainful reference to the unsuccesful cruise misslile attack on Bin Laden during that administration.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book dealt with CIA activities in theater as they used special teams to go into Northern Afghanistan and pay off the Northern Alliance, a group of warlords actively opposing the Taliban. The CIA reportedly spent about $70 million in this effort and gained important allies. Today it remains to be seen if these “allies” will stay on our side now that the Taliban has been subdued.
Turf wars abound between the “inner circle”, Cheney and Rumsfield clash, Powell and Rumsfield clash. Rice attempts to sooth the waters and present their suggestions to the President as a unified team. During one tumultuous group discussion Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage blurted “Who’s in charge here anyway?” This resulted in one of those pregnant moments as everyone looked at each other and then at the obviously piqued President, who emphatically asserted “Well. I’m in charge!”
Throughout all the anecdotal episodes in the book President Bush is pushing for action. He enjoys salting his talk with phrases like “boots on the ground,” a term for having special operations and other specialized land forces in place. The president also appears to be obsessed about not appearing “Clintonesque.” He refers often to the failed attacks against Bin Laden that had been launched with cruise missiles during the previous administration as “pounding sand.” That phrase recurs throughout the book.
The president appears proactive but he is dependent on his inner circle for information, advice and direction. Indeed, if this depiction is accurate, the decision making process is rather insular and Rumsfield comes off as a “big dog” in the pack. The friction here between defense and state is clear in the book and recent events, such as Newt Gingrich’s recent attack on the State Department, many thought at the behest of Rumsfield, reinforces such an impression.
Woodward writes as if he were an eye witness to the events. Many fault him for this. Some of his critics point out that he refuses to name his sources. He also does not use footnotes or list those he interviewed. The reader is forced to either believe in his credibility or not. Woodward says he must promise not to name his sources or he would not be given the access he seems to enjoy with even the highest public figures.
His methods must be working because his version of events have only rarely been challenged.
Bush at War is a book for political junkies. It is a good read and the pages turn quickly. Political junkies will not find any revelations or exposes in the book. They will find a fascinating sketch of characters and method in the Bush White House. There is grist here for Bush supporters, they can say he is portrayed as a decisive leader with a steady compass, ready for action in the war on terror. His detractors may find support here too, he seems to be uninformed about most military matters and the kinds of logistics and political arrangements with other nations necessary to project massive power to isolated areas of the globe. Also they might be able to maintain that Bush is too heavily influenced by his inner circle who always tries to interpret events in a way that supports their own agenda.