Monday, August 28, 2006

JOHN LAESCH-- NATIONAL SECURITY DEMOCRAT

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If you look over at my blogroll, one of the blogs you'll see I link to is called TaylorMarsh.com When I want the best perspective on national security-related matters, anything military and anything to do with foreign affairs, that's where I go first. So what an honor it was for me last week when Taylor called and asked me if I would do a series of candidate-related pieces at her site. The series, about why America will be safer if we elect a Democratic Congress, started today.

Last week we read in the Washington Post that the Republicans have already lost the "security moms." Yesterday the Diageo Hotline Poll came out claiming "voters believe nation is safer now than before September 11 attacks, thanks to Bush and GOP." The right-leaning polling company's analysis goes on to claim that "Democrats would have made the nation less safe than it is today." This seems to fly in the face of reality, of common sense and of our most cherished hopes and dreams for our country. But, even if this poll isn't completely accurate, there seems to be a significant number of people buying in to the whole Orwellian/V for Vendetta society, where people blindly, willingly, even eagerly, trade their freedom for even the most tenuous sense of security. Terror, in the hands of people like Cheney, Rove, Big Brother or Chancellor Adam Sutler, can have a very powerful appeal for frightened, confused, struggling people.

And what do the Democrats have to offer in its place? It had better be more than our hopes and our dreams or common sense or apparently over-rated reality. I've assembled an impressive team of men and women who are experts in their fields to try to come up with an overall picture of how our National Security will look once there are some checks on the Bush Regime. The people I asked to help are more pragmatic than political. They are all about solving problems and all about making America safer. Some, like John Laesch, Jay Fawcett and Eric Massa are Fightin' Dems. Others, like Victoria Wulsin, a public health policy expert, and Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent, have had their eyes focused firmly on safety within our borders.

Last week The New York Times published an impressive editorial called "Wanted: Scarier Intelligence." It isn't what The Times wants or what the American people want; it's what the Bush Regime is demanding of our intelligence services... again. The editorial concludes with a stark warning: "The nation cannot afford to pay the price again for politicians' bending intelligence or bullying the intelligence agencies to suit their ideology."

The premise is that as we head into the election season, Bush and his rubber stamp Congress-- in this case the contemptible tool Peter Hoekstra (R-MI)-- are desperate enough to try cooking the books again to hold on to power.

That's what happened in 2002, when the administration engineered a deeply flawed document on Iraq that reshaped intelligence to fit President Bush's policy. And history appeared to be repeating itself this week, when the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, released a garishly illustrated and luridly written document that is ostensibly dedicated to "helping the American people understand" that Iran's fundamentalist regime and its nuclear ambitions pose a strategic threat to the United States.

It's hard to imagine that Mr. Hoekstra believes there is someone left in this country who does not already know that. But the report obviously has different aims. It is partly a campaign document, a product of the Republican strategy of scaring Americans into allowing the G.O.P. to retain control of Congress this fall. It fits with the fearmongering we've heard lately-- like President Bush's attempt the other day to link the Iraq war to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But even more worrisome, the report seems intended to signal the intelligence community that the Republican leadership wants scarier assessments that would justify a more confrontational approach to Tehran. It was not the work of any intelligence agency, or the full intelligence panel, or even the subcommittee that ostensibly drafted it. The Washington Post reported that it was written primarily by a former C.I.A. official [Fred Fleitz] known for his view that the assessments on Iran are not sufficiently dire.


The Hoeskstra crony and fellow rubber stamp Republican hack who heads the subcommittee, Mike Rogers, also of Michigan, is being challenged by just the kind of expert who won't let this genre of empty propaganda slip by. Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA officer-- and a classmate of Valerie Plame's-- jumped right on Hoeskstra's and Rogers' foolish campaign brochure.

"Mike Rogers has demonstrated time and again that he is out of touch with the security situation on the ground in the Middle East. His comments and his voting record make that clear. In May of 2004, Rogers described the security situation in Baghdad as being no different than 'walking in a rough neighborhood anywhere in America'... Yesterday, Rogers criticized the United States' ability to acquire intelligence, particularly nuclear intelligence. Yet three years ago, he-- a former FBI agent-- stayed silent and did nothing when a veteran CIA agent who specialized in nuclear security issues and WMD was 'outed' for political reasons. In June of 2004, Rogers voted against increased funding for counter-terrorism efforts."

Anyway, like I said, my first in the series is up now on Taylor's site. It features our old friend, John Laesch. Here's a taste of what John has to say:

"Democratic military members of Congress will insist on secure borders. The increased number of undocumented workers crossing our southern border is proof that we have left our back door open. During the Clinton presidency, the number of apprehensions at our southern border steadily increased to almost 2 million apprehensions per year by the year 2000. After Bush took over, we saw a drastic decrease in the number of apprehensions per year; by 2001 when terrorists struck the twin towers the Republicans had managed to let an additional 800,000 people slip through our borders. The effort to sell ports off to private, foreign corporations is further proof that Republicans just don't give a damn about America's economy or security."

1 Comments:

At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Tony Tyner said...

Howie,

Thanks for the great post. The repugs have been beating up the dems since 9/22 while actually doing nothing about making us safer.

Cheney and Rumsfeld have been pushing fear since the Nixon administration and they finally found a patsy in George Bush.

I'm so disgusyed with them all including John Laesch opponent - Dennis Hastert. I only hope with clean house in November.

Peace

 

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