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April 4, 2004 Odd and Ends - Political Items

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THE STARBUCKS PAPERS – The policies of our government driven by girly coffee-like drinks…



Here’s the story…

See Found notes may show Bush plan on Clarke
Pamela Hess, UPI Pentagon Correspondent - Published 3/31/2004 12:37 PM

The basics -


WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- The White House was worried about the damaging testimony of a former counter-terrorism chief to a commission investigating the Sept.  11, 2001, attacks last week but was trying to let the issue die on its own, according to Pentagon briefing notes found at a Washington coffee shop. 

"Stay inside the lines.  We don't need to puff this (up).  We need (to) be careful as hell about it," the handwritten notes say.  "This thing will go away soon and what will keep it alive will be one of us going over the line."

The notes were written by Pentagon political appointee Eric Ruff who left them in a Starbucks coffee shop in Dupont Circle, not far from U.S.  Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's home. 

The notes are genuine, a Pentagon official said.  They were compiled for an early morning briefing for Rumsfeld before the Sunday morning talk shows, during which administration officials conducted a flurry of interviews to counter the testimony of Richard Clarke, President George W.  Bush's former terrorism czar who left the post in 2003.  Rumsfeld appeared on Fox and ABC. 

The Starbucks customer who found them gave them to the liberal advocacy group the Center for American Progress, which published them on its Web site Wednesday.  Included in the notes was a hand-drawn map to Rumsfeld's house, which is largely blacked out on the Web site for security reasons. 


The folks over at The Center For American Progress have these documents available here in PDF format.  (You’ll need a copy of Acrobat Reader to download them.  But that’s free – and virus free.)

I downloaded them.  They are amusing, but not that terribly interesting.  It just seems odd that this fellow managed to leave them on the table at Starbucks. 

Eric will get a scolding.  But it’s not like this is classified stuff or anything.  It’s what everyone agreed Rumsfeld should say and, damn, he said it.  No conspiracy or evil stuff here – just a careless staffer who needed a fancy, trendy coffee concoction.  Consider these notes historical minutiae – a souvenir of these heady days of empire. 

A Cool Comment On The Troubles In Spain



Ezra Klein has this to say on Spain…


The reaction the right had to the Socialist victory in Spain upset me in a way most partisan conflicts don't.  The audacity it took to demand that the Spanish continue to fight a war they never wished to enter, all for the ironic purpose of promoting democracy, astonished and offended me in a way few positions do.  Forget that the defeated Government immediately attempted to twist the attacks for political gain, forget that the Socialists were within the poll's margin of error for victory, forget that the constant proclamations that the cowardly Spanish had allowed the terrorists to win certainly reinforced any victory the terrorists might have claimed, the very idea that we could somehow evaluate their foreign policy's morality through the lens of our own interests mere days after a vicious terrorist attack showed how little these people understood 9/11.  For a group that is quick to grasp for ownership of the tragedy and quicker to remind us of its significance, they completely lost the ability to treat a grieving country with even a modicum of respect. 

That, much more than the arguments over whether or not the terrorists won, is what incited my ire.  But it's not the first time a government had given into terrorists. 

Ronald Reagan's major military action was in Lebanon, where he deployed peacekeeping troops in the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion.  Not long thereafter, a terrorist drove a truck packed with explosives into the headquarters of the First Battalion, killing 241 American servicemen.  A few months later, Reagan pulled the troops out of Lebanon, placing them on offshore ships instead.  Explained spokesman Larry Speakes: "We don't consider this a withdrawal but more of a redeployment."

So a terrorist killed hundreds of Americans in the hopes of getting us out of Lebanon and quickly succeeded.  There was no other explanation, no other motivation for the "redeployment".  In the face of terrorists, Reagan promptly gave into their demands. 

So I want to know.  Was Reagan an appeaser to terrorists?  A coward?  Unable to stand up to evil? 

And if not, then how dare you open your mouth to criticize the Spanish.






Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....