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Safire: Bush's Mideast Charade
The New York Times ^ | 10/25/2001 | WILLIAM SAFIRE

Posted on 10/24/2001 9:03:28 PM PDT by Pokey78

WASHINGTON

To read the headlines, you would think a major rift was growing between the U.S. and its only dependable ally in the Middle East.

Our State Department "demands" that Israel end its forays into West Bank terrorist centers and promise never to respond punitively again. Israel "rebuffs" this angry order and "defies" the U.S. spokesman. Then Colin Powell brushes aside President Bush's cautious "as quickly as possible" and escalates the call for withdrawal to "immediate."

But the Bush administration knows full well that Israel cannot turn the other cheek when one of its cabinet ministers is assassinated. And it knows that at a moment when the U.S. is dispatching bombers and soldiers to kill the assassins of 6,000 of our citizens harbored by the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is the height of hypocrisy to demand that our ally refrain from hunting down killers harbored by the P.L.O.

Bush's advisers are also well aware that to insist publicly that Ariel Sharon do as we say, not as we do, begs for a "rebuff." Even Israel's dovish former foreign minister sees through it: "Imagine now that Sharon says, `Well, all right, I withdraw,' " notes Shlomo Ben-Ami. "Then what will be the image of Israel in the Arab world? Its deterrent capability, its steadfastness would be seriously eroded."

If the U.S. order to withdraw is both patently hypocritical and certain to be rejected, why are Colin Powell and his spokesman sent out to beat up on the Israelis?

One answer is obvious: This is supposed to show the Arab "street" that the U.S. is not pro-Israel, that we are evenhanded brokers of Palestinian peace. Our message is that it's O.K. for Pakistanis, Egyptians and Saudis to be with us against the bin Laden terrorists in Afghanistan because the U.S. does not blame Arafat when suicide bombers kill Israeli teenagers.

Another answer is "coalition building." For example: Because Iran is angry at being used as the route for the Taliban's heroin exports, and because its clerics also despise Iraq's Saddam Hussein — then maybe if we publicly castigate Israel and privately condone Iran's support of Hezbollah terrorism, "moderate" ayatollahs will not oppose our terrorist hunt in Afghanistan.

The charade in Washington is accompanied by a wink toward supporters of Israel in the U.S.: this "demand" supposedly helps Sharon politically. By making it possible for him to strike a courageous pose of standing up to the U.S. pressure, we help Sharon solidify his hard right, cool the dissension on his soft left and increase his popularity among embattled Israelis in the center. At the same time, columnists of my ilk are sent word that — Powell's ostensible tilt toward Arafat to the contrary — the president's hawkish heart is still in the right place.

All this diplomacy by deflection is too clever by three-quarters. Just as corrupt Arab potentates try to protect themselves from the fury of their downtrodden subjects by fanning hatred of the U.S. and the West, we are trying, through our charade of selective antiterrorism, to deflect that hatred over to Israel exclusively. (Don't blame us, it goes — see how we're pressuring the Jews on your behalf?)

Such buck-passing won't work. With logic, followers of Osama bin Laden will say, "By killing thousands of Americans, we got the U.S. to put pressure on Israel. In the same way, by panicking Americans with the threat of germ warfare, we will force the infidels to abandon their Jewish ally. And then . . ."

The consequence of our misbegotten diplomacy of deflection would be intensified attacks on America. The way to discourage war on our homeland is to show no weakness, to demonstrate forcefully that atrocities committed here gain no victories in the Middle East or anywhere.

This year Arafat invited the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to move from Damascus to the West Bank. The P.F.L.P. proudly claims that its hit men murdered the Israeli cabinet minister, an act of war. Israel is obliged to go after his killers just as we are duty bound to go after the killers of Americans.

The troops will withdraw in a couple of days. But the proper response to our ally's self-defense is to understand Israel's lonely anguish and applaud its resolve. Such a principled expression of presidential steadfastness should be, in Secretary Powell's word, "immediate."


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1 posted on 10/24/2001 9:03:28 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78; JohnHuang2
bump
2 posted on 10/24/2001 9:09:51 PM PDT by ambrose
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To: Pokey78
I agree 100%, just Global politics at it's best, or worst. Depends how you look at it.
3 posted on 10/24/2001 9:12:08 PM PDT by MJY1288
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To: Pokey78
****All this diplomacy by deflection is too clever by three-quarters. Just as corrupt Arab potentates try to protect themselves from the fury of their downtrodden subjects by fanning hatred of the U.S. and the West, we are trying, through our charade of selective antiterrorism, to deflect that hatred over to Israel exclusively. (Don't blame us, it goes — see how we're pressuring the Jews on your behalf?)****

How can so many freepers not wonder at the Bush administration when it acts this way? It is just so gutless.

4 posted on 10/24/2001 9:13:34 PM PDT by mercy
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To: Pokey78
Piss on the Coalition!

The coalition prevented the US from taking out Saddam in '90

The Coalition prevented Israel from retaliation on Iraq when Saddam launched scuds into Israel

The coalition will not feed and protect me an my kids!

Go Israel and help us stop this nonsense! Israel alone could take out Saddam, the Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians and in less than one month!

5 posted on 10/24/2001 9:13:57 PM PDT by Kay Soze
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To: mercy
I wonder all the time.
6 posted on 10/24/2001 9:19:52 PM PDT by L`enn
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To: mercy
Powell/Rummy; good cop/bad cop, depending on the audience

a smart strategy

7 posted on 10/24/2001 9:19:58 PM PDT by Praxeologue
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To: Pokey78
this is simple, everyone can say whatever they want israel doesn't act militarily without our blessing, they are working up one side of the terrorism list and we are working down the other, israel won't withdraw until they are sufficiently satisfied that they have made their statement, and bush is telling these guys behind closed doors to go get them. terrorists as an organized group are finished, the shroud of them being other than special forces funded and trained by foriegn governments has been lifted and countries engaging in terrorist tactics are being singled out one by one. iran has moved out of palestine, syria and egypt will be out before israel withdraws, or they will be killed. it is their right to protect themselves against attacks from foriegn governments
8 posted on 10/24/2001 9:21:22 PM PDT by veryconernedamerican
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To: Kennard
I don't think it's smart at all. I think it looks weak and equivocal. I think it IS weak and equivocal. I think Bush does not have control of his State Dept. and he needs to kick some ass, long and hard.
9 posted on 10/24/2001 9:31:28 PM PDT by mercy
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To: mercy
bump
10 posted on 10/24/2001 9:33:47 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: mercy; Kennard
You really don't understand this President at all. Pres Bush has complete control of the situation. The poster that put up good cop/bad cop is right on the money IMO! Only way to keep everything together and the Israeli's know it! Just the same way Sharon is offering a deal to Arafat -- one he can't refuse but one Arafat won't be able to keep! Then Sharon gets free reign to go in and wipe out the terrorists.
11 posted on 10/24/2001 9:35:37 PM PDT by PhiKapMom
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To: mercy
words, lol. actions are the only thing that matters now. we can tell anyone to do anything in public, but we are giving them 2 billion/year in military aid. this is our way of giving the finger to all muslim states that are doing the same to us. looks don't mean sh#t, again action is the key. this is classic, no, no, yes, yes.
12 posted on 10/24/2001 9:41:19 PM PDT by veryconernedamerican
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To: PhiKapMom
**** Pres Bush has complete control of the situation. ****

I was on one of my last few nerves when the news hit the other day that Syrians were coming into DFW to attend flight school. Though I support President Bush I am in great disagreement with him at this time.

I wholly fail to see the wisdom of not deporting ME visitors, let alone allowing Terrorist states like Syria to send more possible terrs into our country. This to me is madness.

I also don't want to hear any more of this 'Islam is a religion of peace' crap. We are not in Kansas any more Dorothy. President Bush is acting like just another pol in a long long line of pols who have lead us down the garden path. Deport Now!

13 posted on 10/24/2001 9:48:52 PM PDT by mercy
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To: mercy
I don't think it's smart at all. I think it looks weak and equivocal. I think it IS weak and equivocal. I think Bush does not have control of his State Dept. and he needs to kick some ass, long and hard.

I think you are correct in the first part but wrong on the second. Like Safire states, Bush is knee-deep in the deception too. Also like Safire states, it's all for the coalition and image.

All of this is typical government-speak. Like Bush getting up and saying in front of the whole world that the CDC acted promptly and swiftly...yada yada, when two postal workers up and died over the weekend while congress critters were full of Cipro and in their Maine cabins.

Was a time when we all nodded and winked at this sort of thing but the time is not now. Every other week they're putting out serious alerts, lying about Israel, saying one thing and doing another. Goodness knows the Clinton administration made spinning into a major art form.

But the American public is sick of this especially at this time. Everyone ought to take a page from Dick Cheney and tell the truth.

We can handle it.

14 posted on 10/24/2001 10:00:18 PM PDT by Pat Fish
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To: Kennard
I agree with your assessment - 100%. It's a clever little game and only we know it's a game!!
15 posted on 10/24/2001 10:19:28 PM PDT by Sueann
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To: mercy
The truth is we know little of what is really going on. I'm going to give Bush the benefit of the doubt until a significant aspect of the war turns into a major blunder.
16 posted on 10/25/2001 1:15:38 AM PDT by DB
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To: DB
Well, if you trust the ruling elite to tell us the truth, I have some nice lake front property for you to buy in Death Valley. Note: If their lips are moving they are lying.
17 posted on 10/25/2001 1:35:02 AM PDT by TaZ
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To: TaZ
I have some bad news for you...

You don't know the details of what is going on and neither do I... No matter how much either us want to find out we can't. The information is hidden from us. Therefore we have no choice but to accept what they say to a major degree. If as time goes on the truth comes out and is substantially different than what they claimed we have the obligation to hold those who lied to us accountable. We have no other choice.

You can't conduct a war with our intelligence, troop movements and strategies out in the open. Not unless of course you want us to lose and die…

Trusting your elected representative with the tough choices is one of the basic foundations of our Republic. If you have a better idea, spill the beans…

18 posted on 10/25/2001 1:50:40 AM PDT by DB
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To: mercy
How can so many freepers not wonder at the Bush administration when it acts this way? It is just so gutless.

bump

The same goes for conservative pundits (Brit Hume, Fox News, John Podhoretz- I'm looking in your direction).

You know, Safire takes a lot of criticism (to use a nice word) for being too "wishy-washy". Yet he has been FAR more willing to dish out authentic, conservative criticism of the Administration's (Powell in particular) middle-East policy than most other conservative columnists. I especially like when Safire says, "At the same time, columnists of my ilk are sent word that — Powell's ostensible tilt toward Arafat to the contrary — the president's hawkish heart is still in the right place." In other words, "You guys are a bunch of suck-ups." I wonder which columnists he was referring to specifically.

19 posted on 10/25/2001 2:42:52 AM PDT by sarcastro
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To: veronica
FYI
20 posted on 10/25/2001 4:39:35 AM PDT by vrwc54
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To: mercy
How can so many freepers not wonder at the Bush administration when it acts this way? It is just so gutless.

As opposed to your brave heros in the Clinton administration that really did want to screw Israel?

21 posted on 10/25/2001 4:43:16 AM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: Pokey78
Safire must lurk on FR. I said over a week ago that we were winking at Israel while criticizing them.
22 posted on 10/25/2001 4:55:27 AM PDT by alley cat
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To: Pokey78
I think I have as good pro-Israeli credentials as anyone around here, but in Dick Cheney's famous words, Sharon screwed up 'big time.'

The big fault of Sharon in reaction to the assassination is that he obviously acted with his heart and not his head. He never declared what the IDF was doing in the first place. Was it to end the PA, now and forever, as Ghandi's assassination was the last straw? No, he didn't say that. Was it a preventative act--in other words, we're so sure that the Palestinians are about to go and assassinate more ministers, I have to do this to protect my buddy Shimon Peres. No, he didn't say that either.

This 'we will treat the PA as a terrorist organization' unless the assassins are handed over implies that, according to the IDF rules of engagement, Arafat is a legitimate target. But, right after the PA tells the Israelis to go screw themselves, the whole government tells the whole world that, no, Arafat is not a target.

In fact, it's pretty clear that he's backing away from the whole extradition concept in any event. Now, they're going after the killers, which is fine, and I'm totally happy with the action last night. But why wasn't that the goal in the first place? Why give Arafat time to meet a demand he wasn't going to meet?

As the IDF tanks inevitably withdraw tomorrow, Sharon will have to eat many words--not good, for Israel's deterrent capability. The Arabs--correctly--will realize the IDF can be held in check by a few well placed phone calls to Foggy Bottom. Since the Palestinians act in one-day attacks, and not sustained movements, this gives them yet another leg up on Israel in the assymetric warfare.

Sharon must be the worst chess player in the world, he doesn't even think one move in advance. LIke the Chamberlain comment. If he felt compelled to say it publicly, why did he back away the very next day? Did he think Bush would appreciate the comment? Or, if he really doesn't want to tick off Bush, then why say it in the first place?

This is why the last election featured one of the worst turnouts in Israeli history. It's obvious the vote was, 'Get rid of Barak,' and not, 'Bring on Sharon.' Because Sharon's leadership skills are pretty horrible.

23 posted on 10/25/2001 5:03:56 AM PDT by mmmmmmmm....... donuts
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To: vrwc54; Cachelot
Yeah I read this. Reuters (barf) had a similar piece. MUGGER, my fav at the NY Press too.

I love Safire...he's a jewel (-;.

24 posted on 10/25/2001 6:04:03 AM PDT by veronica
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To: mmmmmmmm....... donuts
As the IDF tanks inevitably withdraw tomorrow, Sharon will have to eat many words--

WRONG.

Israel had a very successful foray into the West Bank.

LOTS of baddies captured, killed, whatever. Over 20 terrorists nailed, two assasins found....AND THAT WAS THE POINT.

If Arafat won't nail them Israel will. AS WE WOULD.

25 posted on 10/25/2001 6:06:55 AM PDT by veronica
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To: Kennard
a smart strategy

No it's not. As Safire says, it will get Americans killed.

Sends the message that the more Americans you kill, the more you harm US/Israeli relations.

Imagine a different message to the terrorists. The US and Israel are together. Come against any one of us and separately and together we will destroy you. They have big mouths but watch them run (as they have always done when faced with force instead of appeasing words)

26 posted on 10/25/2001 7:15:57 AM PDT by Sabramerican
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To: veronica
did sharon say or not say that he'll treat the PA as terrorists if they didn't have over the assassins? if they're terrorists, then you flush them out. i don't see too many planes being revved up for tunisia. do you?
27 posted on 10/25/2001 9:19:07 AM PDT by mmmmmmmm....... donuts
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To: VA Advogado
****your brave heros in the Clinton administration****

your???? YOUR?!?!?!?

Them's fightin words buddy. Retract or die. [:~|

28 posted on 10/25/2001 9:50:17 AM PDT by mercy
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To: DB
Gee, allowing ME terrs to run free in America is NOT a major blunder?

How about ESTABLISHED TERR NATION'S ongoing present day immigration?

Encouraging terrs worldwide with criticism of Israel?

Causing outright celibration in Islam by advocating a terr/pali state?

Let me know when I get close.

29 posted on 10/25/2001 10:07:55 AM PDT by mercy
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To: VA Advogado
As opposed to your brave heros in the Clinton administration that really did want to screw Israel?

I think comments like that were mercy's point. I mean, Bush has been very disappointing about Israel- it has been his worst issue by far. And yet you're interested in just bashing Clinton! Yes, Clinton tried to sell Israel down the river- Clinton tried to sell EVERYONE down the river. But Bush has been a MAJOR disappointment when it comes to Israel. And many conservatives have been a MAJOR disappointment when it comes to criticizing George W Bush.

30 posted on 10/25/2001 12:58:39 PM PDT by sarcastro
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To: sarcastro; mercy
I think comments like that were mercy's point. I mean, Bush has been very disappointing about Israel- it has been his worst issue by far.

No, Mercy, after reading Safire's article, still took a cheap shot at Bush by calling him/his administration/his actions on Israel gutless. Safire made it clear (and I still don't know how true this is) that Bush is just playing to the arabs with the Israel bashing. I was pointing out to Mercy (who seemed to be ok with the Safire premise) that Bush's approach is better than Clinton's, who really did want to screw Israel

31 posted on 10/25/2001 4:30:53 PM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: mercy
Them's fightin words buddy. Retract or die. [:~|

Apologize first for calling our Commander-in-chief gutless.

32 posted on 10/25/2001 4:31:55 PM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: VA Advogado
Not until he thoroughly renounces NWO globalization and openly sheds all such tendencies.

Deporting ME visitors and halting all ME immigration as presently practiced would be telling evidence of such.

33 posted on 10/25/2001 4:43:00 PM PDT by mercy
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To: Pokey78
Yes and no. The problem is that each country has its own agenda, as well it should. Israel's agenda is the protection of Israel (which is why it has spied on us - remember Pollard?) and ours is the protection of the US. Most often, these interests will coincide, if only because Israel is the most "European" of the Middle-Eastern countries and is not a Muslim country. However, there are times when they don't, and unfortunately, Israel seems to be unable to understand this.
34 posted on 10/25/2001 4:49:30 PM PDT by livius
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To: DB
I'm going to give Bush the benefit of the doubt until a significant aspect of the war turns into a major blunder.

Im going to give Bush and the Pentagon the benfit of the doubt but it will expire unless we unleash hell upon are enemy and take control of Afganistain before Ramadanadingdong.

McCain said one intelligent this this evening. If its between a quick win and chaos or a long war and a agreed upon government I pick the quick win and chaos

35 posted on 10/25/2001 4:56:22 PM PDT by cynicalman
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To: sarcastro
But Bush has been a MAJOR disappointment when it comes to Israel.

He has if you believe that WORDS mean anything in this situation.

Bush still has not had a sit-down with Arafat, and probably never will.

Don't pay attention to what Bush says; watch what he does.

36 posted on 10/25/2001 5:05:07 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: mercy
Deporting ME visitors and halting all ME immigration as presently practiced would be telling evidence of such.

Stop being such a rock head. What does his immigration policy have to do with his Israel policy? Go back to your cave Osama Bin Buchanan.

37 posted on 10/25/2001 8:06:10 PM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: VA Advogado
First it's 'your' Clinton regime. Now it's Pukeanon. Just because I am presently deeply dissapointed in President Bush does not mean I fit in your convenient pigeon holes.

I'm not ticked off over some narrow political difference. I was once pretty much a Bushie however I have always feared, and posted so two years ago, that he might just be his daddy's boy.

I have not, nor ever will I, forgive Bush41 for betraying the Reagan Revolution.

Bush is headed in a very dangerous direction and his seemingly PC politics regarding immigration could get a lot of us killed and is heading this entire nation towards oblivion.

38 posted on 10/25/2001 8:18:45 PM PDT by mercy
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To: mercy
I'm not ticked off over some narrow political difference. I was once pretty much a Bushie however I have always feared, and posted so two years ago, that he might just be his daddy's boy.

Yes you are. You have a narrow, myopic grudge that is eating you from the inside out. Its poisonous.

Bush is headed in a very dangerous direction and his seemingly PC politics regarding immigration could get a lot of us killed and is heading this entire nation towards oblivion.

This is a crock of BS and you know it. Watch what he does, not what he says. He's DONE nothing offensive on immigration. If he can appease the left by SAYING he wants to expand immigration, yet DO nothing to expand it, he should get credit from pebble heads like yourself.

39 posted on 10/26/2001 4:30:46 AM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: mercy
The administration relies on calculations for optimum results. However, in a fight of good against evil, calculations do not apply, because to be good requires faith, not calculations of whether we will lose or win the war that way.

This is why we tolerate "friends" like Saudis while they terrorize women there. We simply calculate that if we let them do that, if we offer to the Saudi gods sacrifices of our principles, we will win, or at least lose much less according to calculations.

Safir has got it right, it is a charade, and in this charade we try to serve various gods instead of the One God, only to find ourselves servants of other successful gods. The danger is that once directly oppressed, a people cannot fight back the regime, only direct intervention from God as in Egypt would allow that to happen, but if God does not want to help us, we're screwed. Islamism and socialism are gods to be reckoned and avoided, else they will rule us for the next 1000 years.

40 posted on 10/26/2001 4:56:00 AM PDT by lavaroise
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To: Pokey78
For all freepers having trouble with understanding what the American government is up to, first work out why America has a presence in the Middle East, then you will understand the reasoning behind the present Middle East policy.

Tony

41 posted on 10/26/2001 5:05:46 AM PDT by tonycavanagh
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To: VA Advogado
****Yes you are. You have a narrow, myopic grudge that is eating you from the inside out. Its poisonous.****

There you go again. And now you've called me a 'pebble head' tsk tsk tsk. It's not narrow and it's not a grudge. It's broad, deep and much more significant than a grudge.

I voted 'with extreme prejudice' to fire his father because THAT man raised taxes and went back on his word. (amoungst many other betrayals of the Reagan Revolution)

Over taxation is the main tool of the slave master beurocrats that suck the life's blood out of our nation.

Bush 43 is utterly failing to deal with a terr army HERE on our own soil.

Bush 43 is failing to collar his out of control traitorous Secretary of State.

Bush 43 is proceeding with a disastrous 'Islam is a religion of peace' PC campaign that is going to get a lot of us killed.

Bush 43 is continueing with a 'back-stabbing-terr-encouraging' clintoonisque Israel policy that may cripple our only real ally in the ME.

This nation may not survive this presidency. If you Bush worshipping sycophants don't help us change these disastrous policies is surely will not.

42 posted on 10/26/2001 9:47:46 AM PDT by mercy
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To: cynicalman
I'm going to give Bush the benefit of the doubt until a significant aspect of the war turns into a major blunder.

I am giving him the benefit until I am killed by a terrorist that he didn't deport...That walked in across the border...and was a known suspect...

43 posted on 10/26/2001 10:17:20 AM PDT by Mr.E
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To: PhiKapMom
Thanks. Needs to be repeated:

You really don't understand this President at all. Pres Bush has complete control of the situation.

44 posted on 10/26/2001 10:24:02 AM PDT by MaeWest
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To: mercy
This nation may not survive this presidency. If you Bush worshipping sycophants don't help us change these disastrous policies is surely will not.

Who's to save us? Pat Buchanan?

45 posted on 10/26/2001 2:56:36 PM PDT by VA Advogado
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To: Pokey78
This is all so complicated. I hope that the Bush Administration, and those that follow, can find the way through the thickets.
46 posted on 10/26/2001 2:58:46 PM PDT by DrunkenDotter
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To: VA Advogado
Just for the record. I have been a RABID anti-Pukeanon man since patty graduated (and abandoned) from the RWR school of thought.
47 posted on 10/26/2001 5:05:19 PM PDT by mercy
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To: mercy
Just for the record. I have been a RABID anti-Pukeanon man since patty graduated (and abandoned) from the RWR school of thought.

If you're not for Bush and you're not for Buchanan, and you hate right wingers you're either a drunken liberal, or a supporter of the most unpatriotic candidate in 2000 elections. John McSHAME.

48 posted on 10/26/2001 8:15:35 PM PDT by VA Advogado
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: veronica
I love Safire...he's a jewel

He sure is. He considers Sen. Patrick Leahy, the SCUMBAG from Vermont, to be a "good Senator" and one of his best friends. If I had a friend like Leahy, I suck on a .38.

Safire has a bit of trouble deciding if he is an American or an Israeli. And - in spite of what a lot of people think - there is really a difference.

50 posted on 10/26/2001 8:35:01 PM PDT by jackbill
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