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Post by cowboyangel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:12 am

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes and fuckin Yes!!!

Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate

13 minutes ago



By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) on Tuesday selected former rival John Edwards (news - web sites) to be his running mate, calling the rich former trial lawyer and rookie senator a man who showed "guts and determination and political skill" in his unsuccessful race against Kerry for the party's nomination.


AP Photo


AP Photo
Slideshow: John Kerry

Candidate Profile: John Edwards
(AP Video)

Latest headlines:
· Bush Says He Welcomes Kerry-Edwards Ticket
AP - 1 minute ago
· Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate
AP - 13 minutes ago
· N.Y. Post Picks Wrong Kerry Running Mate
AP - 16 minutes ago



As Kerry announced his decision in Pittsburgh, a huge crowd of supporters burst into applause, waving handmade signs that mixed with professionally printed "Kerry-Edwards" placards kept under wraps until the last minute.

"I trust that met with your approval," Kerry, a smile crossing his face, said at a rally. A banner unfurled behind him with the latest campaign message: "Kerry-Edwards. A stronger America."

As he wrapped up his remarks — a vintage Kerry stump speech laced with a few descriptions of Edwards — Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" played, a reference to the first name the running mates share. Kerry later boarded a plane for a speech in Indianapolis, the aircraft sporting an Edwards' logo that had been added overnight.

By selecting Edwards, 51, Kerry went with the smooth-talking Southern populist over more seasoned politicians in hopes of injecting vigor and small-town appeal to the Democratic presidential ticket. Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran whom critics call aloof, calculated that his ticket didn't need foreign policy heft as much as a flash of pizazz.

"I was humbled by his offer," Edwards said in a statement, "and thrilled to accept it."

Edwards is a self-made multimillionaire who turned his up-from-the-bootstraps biography into a compelling story during his nomination fight against Kerry and several others.

During that campaign, Edwards did better than Kerry among Republicans and nearly as well among independents, according to exit polls conducted by The Associated Press. By comparison, among all voters in those primaries, Kerry beat Edwards 2-to-1. Edwards' voters frequently said the top candidate quality in their choice was that "he has a positive message."

President Bush (news - web sites)'s allies at the Republican National Committee (news - web sites) immediately labeled Edwards a "disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal" trial lawyer — even as Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) called to congratulate him. Spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said Cheney congratulated Edwards and told his rival that he looked forward to the vice presidential debate and "a spirited campaign."

Later, Bush used similar language to welcome Edwards to the race.

Kerry revealed his choice in an e-mail to supporters, saying he couldn't wait to see Edwards go "toe-to-toe with Dick Cheney."

Rep. Dick Gephardt (news - web sites) of Missouri, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Sen. Bob Graham of Florida emerged as finalists in a search that began four months ago with a list of about 25 candidate and a mandate to find a political soul mate who would be "ready at any minute" to assume the presidency.

Kerry called all three also-rans, and perhaps one more, shortly before the rally, an aide said. He also telephoned 2000 Democratic nominee Al Gore (news - web sites), who in turn talked to Edwards.

Kerry's choice was a bow to internal pressure: Edwards was the most popular of the leading contenders for the job, according to an AP-Ipsos poll of registered voters taken last month, and party leaders had been urging Kerry to shed his initial resistance to the North Carolina senator, elected in 1998.

In his 15-minute call to the North Carolina senator, Kerry said, "Teresa and I would like to ask you and Elizabeth to join us on our ticket to take back our country."

Edwards was at his home in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood when Kerry told the rally, "I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America, a man who has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle-class Americans and for those struggling to reach the middle class, a man who has shown guts and determination and political skill in his own race for the presidency of the United States, a man whose life has prepared him for leadership."

Bush's re-election campaign rushed to the airwaves with a television ad featuring former Republican rival John McCain and titled "First Choice," an effort to paint Kerry's running mate as his second choice. McCain, the Arizona senator, had rejected Kerry's overtures to be No. 2 on the Democratic ticket.



McCain says of Bush in the ad: "He has not wavered, he has not flinched from the hard choices, he was determined and remains determined to make this world a better, safer, freer place." Kerry's campaign rushed into production its own ad featuring the newly minted ticket.

The Bush-Cheney ad alludes to what Republicans hope will be a problem for Edwards — his lack of foreign policy experience and political seasoning. It is not a new argument for Kerry: During the Democratic nomination fight, Kerry groused to associates that Edwards had no right seeking the presidency after less than a single term in the Senate.

But aides said the Massachusetts senator steadily warmed to Edwards, first in the primary campaign, where he stood against Kerry until the end without going negative. After pulling out of the race, Edwards campaigned aggressively on Kerry's behalf and urged his contributors, mostly trial lawyers, to donate to his former rival's campaign.

Edwards' advisers, meanwhile, waged a quiet campaign on the North Carolina senator's behalf. Both Edwards and Gephardt had top aides who joined the Kerry campaign in recent weeks.

Edwards was at his home in Georgetown when Kerry called, readying his two young children for summer camp. Kerry called from his Pittsburgh home.

Obsessed with secrecy, Kerry kept his decision to himself until the last possible minute, giving Edwards no time to get to Pittsburgh. He met secretly with Edwards on Thursday — top aides for both men didn't know about the session — and the search team headed by Jim Johnson turned over its final reports to Kerry that night.

Kerry waited until Monday night to tell his top two aides, Johnson and campaign Manager Mary Beth Cahill, about his decision.

The Democratic ticket will meet up late Tuesday in Pittsburgh, where the candidates and their families will have dinner together at Kerry's estate. They fly to Ohio, a major battleground state, on Wednesday for their first joint appearance. Their multistate tour will take them to Edwards' home state of North Carolina, a GOP bastion that Kerry hopes to put in play with his selection.

Bush travels to the state Wednesday for a GOP counterpunch.

The Kerry-Edwards ticket will be nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, which begins July 26. Kerry hopes to dominate the political landscape in the run-up to the convention, fleshing out his candidacy for voters who know little about him and hopefully opening a lead against Bush. Polls show the race is tight.

Edwards was the last major candidate standing against Kerry in the Democratic presidential race. He emerged as a favorite second choice of Democratic voters, thanks to his youthful good looks, a self-assured manner and an upbeat, optimistic style. He saved his harshest criticism for Bush, whom he accused of creating "two Americas" — one for the privileged, another for everyone else.

Kerry and Edwards are both wealthy. Kerry came about his money by marriage, Edwards through jury verdicts against corporations that he says wronged middle- and lower-class Americans.

Edwards and Kerry had few major policy disagreements — both supported the decision to go to war in Iraq (news - web sites), for example, and both voted against the $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites).

One division was over the North American Free Trade Agreement: Kerry voted for it, but Edwards campaigned against NAFTA, which the Senate approved before he was elected. Edwards made trade, jobs and the economy the centerpiece of his campaign, questioning Kerry's vote on NAFTA but not pledging to seek its repeal.

They also differed in some ways on how to approach some issues. Both called for rolling back the Bush tax cuts, but Kerry proposed eliminating the tax cuts for those who make more than $200,000 a year while Edwards set the ceiling at $240,000. Kerry voted against the ban on so-called "partial birth" abortion passed by Congress, but Edwards did not vote. A more clear-cut difference was Kerry's opposition to the death penalty and Edwards' support of it.

Kerry finished first and Edwards second in the Iowa caucuses in January, surprising front-runner Howard Dean (news - web sites) and driving regional favorite Gephardt out of the race. Dean finished second to Kerry in the New Hampshire primary, and as Dean lost the next dozen delegate contests, the race became a contest between Kerry and Edwards.

Yet Edwards could never muster enough momentum to overtake his Senate colleague. He won only a single state during the competitive phase of the primary, his native South Carolina, and ended his bid following the 10-state Super Tuesday elections on March 2. North Carolina gave Edwards a victory in its first presidential caucus on April 17, but the vote meant more as a boost to his standing at the Democratic National Convention and to his potential as a running mate
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by Tancorix » Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:46 am

As a registered Democrat, I yawned this morning when I got the e-mail. Edwards doesn't inspire me one bit. But he sure as heck beats Gephardt.

Another thought I had is with the RNC testing the possibility of Cheney stepping down, a Bush / McCain ticket would be hard to beat if not impossible. If that happens, it's over for Kerry.

I also hope a certain Senator from NY gets her shot in 4 years if Kerry doesn't win this time.

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Post by cowboyangel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:53 am

well tanco.........Kerry needs a few southern states to win and now he has NCarolina. I'm not a bit worried about Bush/McCain possibility...I don't think that will happen after the hateful treatment McCain received from Carl Rove at the last election, (you know mental instability thing etc) as for the Clintons, I don't wish them death, but I truly wish they just remove themselves from the political landscape forever
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by Simply Joel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:00 am

i must admit, when democrats air their dirty laundry in public (see comments above), it just makes me more confident as a Republican...
Democrats... snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, daily!


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Post by Wind_Borne » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:16 am

Kerry and Edwards... The tax man and a trial lawyer. And you thought nothing could be worse than Bush/Cheney!
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington

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Post by Wind_Borne » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:18 am

You know I hear these dolphins are politically savvy. And good natured, too. Any dolphins running for president... you know, from the swim party.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
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Post by cowboyangel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:20 am

Simply Joel wrote:i must admit, when democrats air their dirty laundry in public (see comments above), it just makes me more confident as a Republican...
that wasn't dirty laundry but proof that progressives alow a healthy mulitpicity of views into their thinking unlike the lockstep-think-like-we-do-or-die republican borgoids
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by cowboyangel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:21 am

Wind_Borne wrote:Kerry and Edwards... The tax man and a trial lawyer. And you thought nothing could be worse than Bush/Cheney!
my dear Wind Borne...Satan couldn't be worse than bushcheney
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by Simply Joel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:43 am

cowboyangel wrote:
Wind_Borne wrote:Kerry and Edwards... The tax man and a trial lawyer. And you thought nothing could be worse than Bush/Cheney!
my dear Wind Borne...Satan couldn't be worse than bushcheney
absolutes usually get disproven.

or...

"make sure you know what you are asking for, you may actually get it."
Democrats... snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, daily!


slap my salmon, baby

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Post by ebaynelson » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:43 am

cowboyangel wrote:Kerry needs a few southern states to win and now he has NCarolina.
If Gore can lose his home state as the candidate for President, then Edwards can certainly lose his hom state as the VP candidate. I don't think NC is a given for the Dems at all.

I was a Dean supporter for nearly a year. Then he scapegoated Joe Trippi, and I couldn't abide by that. I ultimately went with Edwards: young, charismatic, bright. People love to harp on the fact that he was a trial lawyer, but what's wrong with that? As another lawyer (but in state govermnent), I will always be on the first to fault my profession for creating a litigious society, but believe it or not, trial lawyers have done a lot of good for our country. Even personal injury lawyers, who are easy targets, have helped make consumer and worker safety a priority nationwide, and everyone is safer because of their work. Read or see A Civil Action, a true story about a trial lawyer who went after an industry whose pollution resulted in birth defects and dead children, then tell me that trial lawyers are all evil.

I'm sorry, but I just can't understand how anyone can support Bush/Cheney. What's the motivation? I would love to hear some reasons for supporting them. And don't just criticize Kerry or Edwards - I'm perfectly willing to respect different opinions, but not if they're entirely based on faulting the opponents.

I hereby welcome an intellectual, informed discussion of why people should vote for one side or the other (or neither).
[/u]
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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:10 pm

The tax man and a trial lawyer
vs. the failed oil man (well, failed everyman) and the war profiteer.

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Post by Simply Joel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:16 pm

stuart wrote:
The tax man and a trial lawyer
vs. the failed oil man (well, failed everyman) and the war profiteer.
a discussion on ethics, anyone?
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and you now you know why i am against socialized healthcare

Post by Simply Joel » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:55 pm

"The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills." -- Thomas Jefferson- October 1776
Democrats... snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, daily!


slap my salmon, baby

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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:17 pm

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible.
David Brin

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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:19 pm

We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.
Stewart L. Udall

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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:19 pm

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
William Hazlitt

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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:24 pm

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Thomas Jefferson

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Post by stuart » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:27 pm

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Thomas Jefferson

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Post by samtzu » Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:37 pm

Tancorix wrote:
Another thought I had is with the RNC testing the possibility of Cheney stepping down, a Bush / McCain ticket would be hard to beat if not impossible. If that happens, it's over for Kerry.
Actually, if that happens, McCain should seriously consider a different running mate...

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The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing ~~ Eric Hoffer

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Post by Wind_Borne » Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:46 am

stuart wrote:Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind...
Thomas Jefferson
Said experience must be narrow. Many creatures prey on their own kind.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington

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Post by ebaynelson » Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:00 am

Image

And we thought detainess were only a Republican issue...
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Christopher Hitchens on 911

Post by cowboyangel » Wed Jul 07, 2004 10:22 am

Unfairenheit 9/11
The lies of Michael Moore.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004, at 12:26 PM PT

Moore: Trying to have it three ways
One of the many problems with the American left, and indeed of the American left, has been its image and self-image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring. How many times, in my old days at The Nation magazine, did I hear wistful and semienvious ruminations? Where was the radical Firing Line show? Who will be our Rush Limbaugh? I used privately to hope that the emphasis, if the comrades ever got around to it, would be on the first of those and not the second. But the meetings themselves were so mind-numbing and lugubrious that I thought the danger of success on either front was infinitely slight.

Nonetheless, it seems that an answer to this long-felt need is finally beginning to emerge. I exempt Al Franken's unintentionally funny Air America network, to which I gave a couple of interviews in its early days. There, one could hear the reassuring noise of collapsing scenery and tripped-over wires and be reminded once again that correct politics and smooth media presentation are not even distant cousins. With Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, however, an entirely new note has been struck. Here we glimpse a possible fusion between the turgid routines of MoveOn.org and the filmic standards, if not exactly the filmic skills, of Sergei Eisenstein or Leni Riefenstahl.

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.



In late 2002, almost a year after the al-Qaida assault on American society, I had an onstage debate with Michael Moore at the Telluride Film Festival. In the course of this exchange, he stated his view that Osama Bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty. This was, he said, the American way. The intervention in Afghanistan, he maintained, had been at least to that extent unjustified. Something—I cannot guess what, since we knew as much then as we do now—has since apparently persuaded Moore that Osama Bin Laden is as guilty as hell. Indeed, Osama is suddenly so guilty and so all-powerful that any other discussion of any other topic is a dangerous "distraction" from the fight against him. I believe that I understand the convenience of this late conversion.


Fahrenheit 9/11 makes the following points about Bin Laden and about Afghanistan, and makes them in this order:

1) The Bin Laden family (if not exactly Osama himself) had a close if convoluted business relationship with the Bush family, through the Carlyle Group.

2) Saudi capital in general is a very large element of foreign investment in the United States.

3) The Unocal company in Texas had been willing to discuss a gas pipeline across Afghanistan with the Taliban, as had other vested interests.

4) The Bush administration sent far too few ground troops to Afghanistan and thus allowed far too many Taliban and al-Qaida members to escape.

5) The Afghan government, in supporting the coalition in Iraq, was purely risible in that its non-army was purely American.

6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted. (This I divine from the fact that this supposedly "antiwar" film is dedicated ruefully to all those killed there, as well as in Iraq.)

It must be evident to anyone, despite the rapid-fire way in which Moore's direction eases the audience hastily past the contradictions, that these discrepant scatter shots do not cohere at any point. Either the Saudis run U.S. policy (through family ties or overwhelming economic interest), or they do not. As allies and patrons of the Taliban regime, they either opposed Bush's removal of it, or they did not. (They opposed the removal, all right: They wouldn't even let Tony Blair land his own plane on their soil at the time of the operation.) Either we sent too many troops, or were wrong to send any at all—the latter was Moore's view as late as 2002—or we sent too few. If we were going to make sure no Taliban or al-Qaida forces survived or escaped, we would have had to be more ruthless than I suspect that Mr. Moore is really recommending. And these are simply observations on what is "in" the film. If we turn to the facts that are deliberately left out, we discover that there is an emerging Afghan army, that the country is now a joint NATO responsibility and thus under the protection of the broadest military alliance in history, that it has a new constitution and is preparing against hellish odds to hold a general election, and that at least a million and a half of its former refugees have opted to return. I don't think a pipeline is being constructed yet, not that Afghanistan couldn't do with a pipeline. But a highway from Kabul to Kandahar—an insurance against warlordism and a condition of nation-building—is nearing completion with infinite labor and risk. We also discover that the parties of the Afghan secular left—like the parties of the Iraqi secular left—are strongly in favor of the regime change. But this is not the sort of irony in which Moore chooses to deal.

He prefers leaden sarcasm to irony and, indeed, may not appreciate the distinction. In a long and paranoid (and tedious) section at the opening of the film, he makes heavy innuendoes about the flights that took members of the Bin Laden family out of the country after Sept. 11. I banged on about this myself at the time and wrote a Nation column drawing attention to the groveling Larry King interview with the insufferable Prince Bandar, which Moore excerpts. However, recent developments have not been kind to our Mike. In the interval between Moore's triumph at Cannes and the release of the film in the United States, the 9/11 commission has found nothing to complain of in the timing or arrangement of the flights. And Richard Clarke, Bush's former chief of counterterrorism, has come forward to say that he, and he alone, took the responsibility for authorizing those Saudi departures. This might not matter so much to the ethos of Fahrenheit 9/11, except that—as you might expect—Clarke is presented throughout as the brow-furrowed ethical hero of the entire post-9/11 moment. And it does not seem very likely that, in his open admission about the Bin Laden family evacuation, Clarke is taking a fall, or a spear in the chest, for the Bush administration. So, that's another bust for this windy and bloated cinematic "key to all mythologies."

A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations. (What is that about, by the way? Isn't he supposed to be an unceasing planner for future aggressive wars?) But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair. I say "shows," even though this photograph is on-screen so briefly that if you sneeze or blink, you won't recognize the other figure. A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.

The president is also captured in a well-worn TV news clip, on a golf course, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive. Well, that's what you get if you catch the president on a golf course. If Eisenhower had done this, as he often did, it would have been presented as calm statesmanship. If Clinton had done it, as he often did, it would have shown his charm. More interesting is the moment where Bush is shown frozen on his chair at the infant school in Florida, looking stunned and useless for seven whole minutes after the news of the second plane on 9/11. Many are those who say that he should have leaped from his stool, adopted a Russell Crowe stance, and gone to work. I could even wish that myself. But if he had done any such thing then (as he did with his "Let's roll" and "dead or alive" remarks a month later), half the Michael Moore community would now be calling him a man who went to war on a hectic, crazed impulse. The other half would be saying what they already say—that he knew the attack was coming, was using it to cement himself in power, and couldn't wait to get on with his coup. This is the line taken by Gore Vidal and by a scandalous recent book that also revives the charge of FDR's collusion over Pearl Harbor. At least Moore's film should put the shameful purveyors of that last theory back in their paranoid box.

But it won't because it encourages their half-baked fantasies in so many other ways. We are introduced to Iraq, "a sovereign nation." (In fact, Iraq's "sovereignty" was heavily qualified by international sanctions, however questionable, which reflected its noncompliance with important U.N. resolutions.) In this peaceable kingdom, according to Moore's flabbergasting choice of film shots, children are flying little kites, shoppers are smiling in the sunshine, and the gentle rhythms of life are undisturbed. Then—wham! From the night sky come the terror weapons of American imperialism. Watching the clips Moore uses, and recalling them well, I can recognize various Saddam palaces and military and police centers getting the treatment. But these sites are not identified as such. In fact, I don't think Al Jazeera would, on a bad day, have transmitted anything so utterly propagandistic. You would also be led to think that the term "civilian casualty" had not even been in the Iraqi vocabulary until March 2003. I remember asking Moore at Telluride if he was or was not a pacifist. He would not give a straight answer then, and he doesn't now, either. I'll just say that the "insurgent" side is presented in this film as justifiably outraged, whereas the 30-year record of Baathist war crimes and repression and aggression is not mentioned once. (Actually, that's not quite right. It is briefly mentioned but only, and smarmily, because of the bad period when Washington preferred Saddam to the likewise unmentioned Ayatollah Khomeini.)

That this—his pro-American moment—was the worst Moore could possibly say of Saddam's depravity is further suggested by some astonishing falsifications. Moore asserts that Iraq under Saddam had never attacked or killed or even threatened (his words) any American. I never quite know whether Moore is as ignorant as he looks, or even if that would be humanly possible. Baghdad was for years the official, undisguised home address of Abu Nidal, then the most-wanted gangster in the world, who had been sentenced to death even by the PLO and had blown up airports in Vienna* and Rome. Baghdad was the safe house for the man whose "operation" murdered Leon Klinghoffer. Saddam boasted publicly of his financial sponsorship of suicide bombers in Israel. (Quite a few Americans of all denominations walk the streets of Jerusalem.) In 1991, a large number of Western hostages were taken by the hideous Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and held in terrible conditions for a long time. After that same invasion was repelled—Saddam having killed quite a few Americans and Egyptians and Syrians and Brits in the meantime and having threatened to kill many more—the Iraqi secret police were caught trying to murder former President Bush during his visit to Kuwait. Never mind whether his son should take that personally. (Though why should he not?) Should you and I not resent any foreign dictatorship that attempts to kill one of our retired chief executives? (President Clinton certainly took it that way: He ordered the destruction by cruise missiles of the Baathist "security" headquarters.) Iraqi forces fired, every day, for 10 years, on the aircraft that patrolled the no-fly zones and staved off further genocide in the north and south of the country. In 1993, a certain Mr. Yasin helped mix the chemicals for the bomb at the World Trade Center and then skipped to Iraq, where he remained a guest of the state until the overthrow of Saddam. In 2001, Saddam's regime was the only one in the region that openly celebrated the attacks on New York and Washington and described them as just the beginning of a larger revenge. Its official media regularly spewed out a stream of anti-Semitic incitement. I think one might describe that as "threatening," even if one was narrow enough to think that anti-Semitism only menaces Jews. And it was after, and not before, the 9/11 attacks that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi moved from Afghanistan to Baghdad and began to plan his now very open and lethal design for a holy and ethnic civil war. On Dec. 1, 2003, the New York Times reported—and the David Kay report had established—that Saddam had been secretly negotiating with the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il in a series of secret meetings in Syria, as late as the spring of 2003, to buy a North Korean missile system, and missile-production system, right off the shelf. (This attempt was not uncovered until after the fall of Baghdad, the coalition's presence having meanwhile put an end to the negotiations.)

Thus, in spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all. Now look again at the facts I have cited above. If these things had been allowed to happen under any other administration, you can be sure that Moore and others would now glibly be accusing the president of ignoring, or of having ignored, some fairly unmistakable "warnings."

The same "let's have it both ways" opportunism infects his treatment of another very serious subject, namely domestic counterterrorist policy. From being accused of overlooking too many warnings—not exactly an original point—the administration is now lavishly taunted for issuing too many. (Would there not have been "fear" if the harbingers of 9/11 had been taken seriously?) We are shown some American civilians who have had absurd encounters with idiotic "security" staff. (Have you ever met anyone who can't tell such a story?) Then we are immediately shown underfunded police departments that don't have the means or the manpower to do any stop-and-search: a power suddenly demanded by Moore on their behalf that we know by definition would at least lead to some ridiculous interrogations. Finally, Moore complains that there isn't enough intrusion and confiscation at airports and says that it is appalling that every air traveler is not forcibly relieved of all matches and lighters. (Cue mood music for sinister influence of Big Tobacco.) So—he wants even more pocket-rummaging by airport officials? Uh, no, not exactly. But by this stage, who's counting? Moore is having it three ways and asserting everything and nothing. Again—simply not serious.

Circling back to where we began, why did Moore's evil Saudis not join "the Coalition of the Willing"? Why instead did they force the United States to switch its regional military headquarters to Qatar? If the Bush family and the al-Saud dynasty live in each other's pockets, as is alleged in a sort of vulgar sub-Brechtian scene with Arab headdresses replacing top hats, then how come the most reactionary regime in the region has been powerless to stop Bush from demolishing its clone in Kabul and its buffer regime in Baghdad? The Saudis hate, as they did in 1991, the idea that Iraq's recuperated oil industry might challenge their near-monopoly. They fear the liberation of the Shiite Muslims they so despise. To make these elementary points is to collapse the whole pathetic edifice of the film's "theory." Perhaps Moore prefers the pro-Saudi Kissinger/Scowcroft plan for the Middle East, where stability trumps every other consideration and where one dare not upset the local house of cards, or killing-field of Kurds? This would be a strange position for a purported radical. Then again, perhaps he does not take this conservative line because his real pitch is not to any audience member with a serious interest in foreign policy. It is to the provincial isolationist.

I have already said that Moore's film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it's much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex," and the use of "spin" in the presentation of our politicians. It's high time someone had the nerve to point this out. There's more. Poor people often volunteer to join the army, and some of them are duskier than others. Betcha didn't know that. Back in Flint, Mich., Moore feels on safe ground. There are no martyred rabbits this time. Instead, it's the poor and black who shoulder the packs and rifles and march away. I won't dwell on the fact that black Americans have fought for almost a century and a half, from insisting on their right to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Civil War to the right to have a desegregated Army that set the pace for post-1945 civil rights. I'll merely ask this: In the film, Moore says loudly and repeatedly that not enough troops were sent to garrison Afghanistan and Iraq. (This is now a favorite cleverness of those who were, in the first place, against sending any soldiers at all.) Well, where does he think those needful heroes and heroines would have come from? Does he favor a draft—the most statist and oppressive solution? Does he think that only hapless and gullible proles sign up for the Marines? Does he think—as he seems to suggest—that parents can "send" their children, as he stupidly asks elected members of Congress to do? Would he have abandoned Gettysburg because the Union allowed civilians to pay proxies to serve in their place? Would he have supported the antidraft (and very antiblack) riots against Lincoln in New York? After a point, one realizes that it's a waste of time asking him questions of this sort. It would be too much like taking him seriously. He'll just try anything once and see if it floats or flies or gets a cheer.

Trying to talk congressmen into sending their sons to war
Indeed, Moore's affected and ostentatious concern for black America is one of the most suspect ingredients of his pitch package. In a recent interview, he yelled that if the hijacked civilians of 9/11 had been black, they would have fought back, unlike the stupid and presumably cowardly white men and women (and children). Never mind for now how many black passengers were on those planes—we happen to know what Moore does not care to mention: that Todd Beamer and a few of his co-passengers, shouting "Let's roll," rammed the hijackers with a trolley, fought them tooth and nail, and helped bring down a United Airlines plane, in Pennsylvania, that was speeding toward either the White House or the Capitol. There are no words for real, impromptu bravery like that, which helped save our republic from worse than actually befell. The Pennsylvania drama also reminds one of the self-evident fact that this war is not fought only "overseas" or in uniform, but is being brought to our cities. Yet Moore is a silly and shady man who does not recognize courage of any sort even when he sees it because he cannot summon it in himself. To him, easy applause, in front of credulous audiences, is everything.

Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet. Some right-wing hack groups, I gather, are planning to bring pressure on their local movie theaters to drop the film. How dumb or thuggish do you have to be in order to counter one form of stupidity and cowardice with another? By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

Some people soothingly say that one should relax about all this. It's only a movie. No biggie. It's no worse than the tomfoolery of Oliver Stone. It's kick-ass entertainment. It might even help get out "the youth vote." Yeah, well, I have myself written and presented about a dozen low-budget made-for-TV documentaries, on subjects as various as Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton and the Cyprus crisis, and I also helped produce a slightly more polished one on Henry Kissinger that was shown in movie theaters. So I know, thanks, before you tell me, that a documentary must have a "POV" or point of view and that it must also impose a narrative line. But if you leave out absolutely everything that might give your "narrative" a problem and throw in any old rubbish that might support it, and you don't even care that one bit of that rubbish flatly contradicts the next bit, and you give no chance to those who might differ, then you have betrayed your craft. If you flatter and fawn upon your potential audience, I might add, you are patronizing them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (…), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anything that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its significance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised. At no point does Michael Moore make the smallest effort to be objective. At no moment does he pass up the chance of a cheap sneer or a jeer. He pitilessly focuses his camera, for minutes after he should have turned it off, on a distraught and bereaved mother whose grief we have already shared. (But then, this is the guy who thought it so clever and amusing to catch Charlton Heston, in Bowling for Columbine, at the onset of his senile dementia.) Such courage.

Perhaps vaguely aware that his movie so completely lacks gravitas, Moore concludes with a sonorous reading of some words from George Orwell. The words are taken from 1984 and consist of a third-person analysis of a hypothetical, endless, and contrived war between three superpowers. The clear intention, as clumsily excerpted like this (...) is to suggest that there is no moral distinction between the United States, the Taliban, and the Baath Party and that the war against jihad is about nothing. If Moore had studied a bit more, or at all, he could have read Orwell really saying, and in his own voice, the following:

The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States …

And that's just from Orwell's Notes on Nationalism in May 1945. A short word of advice: In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence. It's also incautious to remind people of Orwell if you are engaged in a sophomoric celluloid rewriting of recent history.

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.

Correction, June 22, 2004: This piece originally referred to terrorist attacks by Abu Nidal's group on the Munich and Rome airports. The 1985 attacks occurred at the Rome and Vienna airports. (Return to the corrected sentence.)




I place this here to stir the pot....I have alot of respect for Hitchens, though I disagree with his Iraq invasion stance. I think Hitchens is missing the forest through the trees here..... his critique of Moore's film makes strong points that should give the documentarian a schooling in thoroughness, yet I believe he misses the glaring points of incompetance and shady business relationships that poison this particular presidency and it's doctrine of preemption. Moore tells his story imperfectly, he's not a scholar, nor does he pretend to be....I think Moore does ask many questions that the American public deserves to know, that unfortunately, the American press seems incapable of covering...... The Hitchens article takes a necessary focus on detail and the need for exhausting research when putting a position out...something both the left and the right can find useful.
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by DVD Burner » Wed Jul 07, 2004 1:28 pm

It's about time!


Kenny boy got indicted today huh?

Now the big Q is weather he goes to prison. If he does then Bush wack and Cheney can be worked on.
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Post by cowboyangel » Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:04 pm

Kenny-Boy and George
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 07 July 2004

You have to love the irony: Since Kerry announced his VP choice of John Edwards, the Bush campaign has broadbanded the anti-Edwards slam that he is nothing more than your basic gutter-dwelling trial lawyer. This comes blithely on the heels of Bush hiring his own trial lawyer to protect him during the 70-minute Oval Office interrogation he endured regarding the Valerie Plame CIA-outing case some weeks ago. Everyone hates lawyers until they need one, it seems.

Perhaps Bush doesn't like trial lawyers because a team of them failed to keep his long-time friend and financial backer, Kenneth Lay, from getting his hide nailed to the shed in Houston. According to CNN, Lay was indicted by a Texas grand jury today for crimes relating to the apocalyptic Enron scandal. The indictment is sealed until further notice, so no determination of the exact criminal charges can be made.

Damn lawyers.

For those who cannot quite recall the specifics of Ken Lay and Enron, a bit of background is in order. Lay, along with Andrew Fastow, Jeffrey Skilling and some dozens of other high-flying bosses from Enron, are accused of insider trading, securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, manipulation of earnings reports to hide the fact that Enron was hemorrhaging cash from every pore while they reaped massive salaries and bonuses, and finally, manipulation of the California energy market for no other reason than to wring pin money out of grandmothers who were forced to live in the dark because they couldn't afford to pay their Enron-inflated energy bills.

Tape recordings of Enron energy traders were recently aired by CBS News. In one segment, the traders can be heard discussing the ins and outs of manipulating the California energy market. "They're fucking taking all the money back from you guys?" complains one Enron employee. "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?" The response: "Yeah, grandma Millie, man." Another response: "Yeah, now she wants her fucking money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her asshole for fucking $250 a megawatt hour."

Charming.

In filing the largest bankruptcy claim in the history of the universe, Lay and his merry men cost investors somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 billion. This wiped out retirement benefits not just for the Enron employees who were forbidden from selling their stock (while Lay et al. happily shucked theirs off to the tune of a $1.1 billion profit), but also wiped out the retirement portfolios of millions of Americans who had put their savings into Enron stock. The resulting carnage on Wall Street, which erased the accounting giant Arthur Andersen, did even more financial damage.

Martha Stewart was convicted of crimes that seem quaint by comparison, and meanwhile Mr. Lay has been walking free and happy. How did the priorities of the Justice Department get so far out of whack on this one? The Enron debacle happened in December of 2001, and it has taken them almost a thousand days to get an indictment returned on Lay.

Hm.

Enron made campaign contributions totaling more than $5.7 million between 1989 and 2001. Republicans received 73% of this money. Ken Lay was an ardent supporter of George W. Bush during Bush's time as Governor of Texas. During the 2000 campaign, Lay allowed Bush to use Enron corporate jets to fly from stump speech to stump speech. So close were these men that Bush granted Lay a nickname: 'Kenny-Boy.'

Some 15 high-ranking Bush administration officials owned Enron stock in 2002. The stockholders included Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, political advisor Karl Rove, deputy EPA administrator Linda Fisher, Treasury Undersecretary Peter Fisher and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Zoellick. Army Secretary Thomas White was a vice-chairman for Enron before assuming his post, and owned between $50 million and $100 million in Enron stock.

Two other officials had professional connections to Enron. Former White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey was a consultant for Enron while serving as managing director of Economic Strategies Inc., a consulting firm. Zoellick also served on the Enron advisory council, earning $50,000 a year.

Enron, in many respects, set about to write the Bush administration's energy policy. Ken Lay gave the White House a list of his personal recommendations for key federal energy posts. Lay pushed his list of suggested members of the federal energy regulatory commission in the spring of 2001. Two of the people he suggested - Pat Wood and Nora Brownell - were appointed by Bush to positions that would directly affect the fate and fortunes of Enron.

Lay himself was on the short list of potential appointees for the position of Energy Secretary. The CBS Enron tapes reveal one trader looking forward to a Bush win during the 2000 campaign. "It'd be great," says one. "I'd love to see Ken Lay Secretary of Energy." Another trader responded by saying, "When this election comes, Bush will fucking whack this shit, man. He won't play this price-cap bullshit."

The infamous secret energy policy meetings run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the substance of which he still refuses to reveal, were riddled with Enron officials and Enron priorities. It has been speculated that one of the reasons Cheney refuses to divulge the elements of those meetings is that Enron was wielding the drafting pen as Bush's energy policy was created. It has also been speculated that the secrecy surrounding these meetings is due to the fact that the not-yet-begun Iraq war, and the resulting petroleum/pipeline profits to be reaped, played a large role in the discussions.

The beat goes on and on in this fashion, leading to an inescapable conclusion. Enron was certainly among the most crooked, corrupt, twisted companies ever to hang a sign in the American marketplace. Enron was, simultaneously, umbilically tied to George W. Bush and vast swaths of his administration.

Now that Lay has been indicted, those Enron stockholders still experiencing the length, breadth and depth of the shaft can hope for a measure of justice. For the rest of us, we citizens who have to live in a country whose energy policy was essentially written by Lay and his pals, we citizens who have to wonder if our current adventure in Iraq somehow plays a central role in that Enron-birthed policy, we can perhaps hope that a thousand days is enough time to wait before we hear the truth about Kenny-Boy and George.

William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believe is false."- William Casey, CIA Director 1981

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Post by Simply Joel » Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:56 am

LONG LIVE THE PUBLIC
By William F. Buckley Jr.

Public demonstrations measured by crowd sizes are not absolutely reliable epistemological demonstrations of public favor or disfavor. There were moments in the events that followed the death of Ronald Reagan that gave the tribute to his memory a special force. Indeed, the recognition of the special qualities of the man and the president disarmed most of Reagan's conventional critics.

But the naysayers weren't silenced. One of them was driven to remind us, and, one supposes, the Guinness Book of World Records, that the death of Warren Harding brought out more people to line the streets of sorrow than the death of Ronald Reagan. From which one is supposed to deduce something, I guess -- that Reagan may in the future emerge as a lesser figure than Warren Harding.

But only two weeks after the Reagan funeral we had the Clinton book. New York is a pretty blase city, but grown men and women swooned with admiration, love and reverence when Mr. Clinton came to town to sign copies of his book. One observer once again relied on comparisons. He said that the crowds, and the intensity of their devotion, exceeded what was done for the Beatles back then, or could be done for Madonna today.


What were they looking for? People who have read the book and reported on it haven't unearthed what the worshippers are after, but then that's because they are not after anything at all. They are, simply, full-time altar boys in the cathedral. They want to love Bill Clinton, who wants to be loved, and would probably be president today but for the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. You can spend all year shaking that tree hoping for droplets of reason or wisdom, but they wouldn't come down, wouldn't even if the book were 10 times the unreadable length it now is.

Then, too, there are crowds not of Reagan/Clinton size but large on the scale on which critical-event crowds are measured. Notable is the critical crowd attendant on the release of the movie-documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11." It is the production of comic ideologue Michael Moore. Its thesis is, approximately, that Bush and Cheney are war criminals, and capitalist tools engaged in war for profit.

Left-leaning columnist Christopher Hitchens is given to wayward excesses, but he devotes sharp attention to the Moore crowd pleaser in Slate magazine, in an article titled "Unfairenheit 9/11." It makes pretty good reading, and it's unfair to go to the last chapter, but life is short, and therefore I disclose it. "Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of 'dissenting' bravery."

You got that?

But the article isn't mere obloquy. It is analytical. Consider the golf scene. "The president is captured in a well-worn TV news clip, on a golf course, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive."

Moore's idea, of course, is to communicate President Bush's insouciance by juxtaposing war and golf. Here is how Hitchens handles that: "Well, that's what you get" --boilerplate response -- "if you catch the president on a golf course. If Eisenhower had done this, as he often did, it would have been presented as calm statesmanship. If Clinton had done it, as he often did, it would have shown his charm."

Yet those who are impatient, who were dismayed by the crowds that sought the inside story of the Kennedy assassination by viewing Oliver Stone movies, reasonably refuse public despair. The display of thoughtful grief over Mr. Reagan's death is a better measure of ultimate sobriety than Clinton at Barnes & Noble, or Michael Moore, prophet of Bush showing off his golf drive and revealing his soul.

President Bush keeps saying that he has confidence in the good judgment of the American people. This isn't just political obsequiousness. The American people can't be counted on for unerring political judgments, but they are ever so much more reliable than Michael Moore, and they can weather, in the longer seasons, even the charm storms of William Jefferson Clinton.
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Post by DVD Burner » Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:20 am

Much better picture.

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Post by ebaynelson » Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:27 am

See, I knew he was into that kinky shit. What with a name like Lay...
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Post by stuart » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:18 pm

nice sour grapes Mr. Buckley.

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Post by Simply Joel » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:39 pm

"DESERTER"

Missing Marine Safe at Embassy in Beirut

By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon - A U.S. Marine who was reported missing in Iraq more than two weeks ago is alive and at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, where American officials are meeting with him, authorities said Thursday.

CPL Wassef Ali Hassoun is safe and appears to be in good health, said a Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Hassoun made contact with U.S. officials and arranged a meeting place. "We went to pick him up and brought him back to the embassy," he said.

Boucher said Hassoun arrived at the embassy around 6 p.m. (11 a.m. EDT,) but he had no other details and no information on Hassoun's immediate plans. As for his military status, Boucher said that would be up to the Defense Department.

When reached at his West Jordan, Utah, home Thursday morning, Hassoun's brother, Mohamad, said he had no comment.

Contradictory reports have surrounded the fate of the 24-year-old Lebanese native since his disappearance June 20.
Democrats... snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, daily!


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Post by DVD Burner » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:42 pm

Simply Joel wrote:"DESERTER"
Yeah right. :lol:
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