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Bush's Peril: Shifting Sand and Fickle Opinion [Quagmire flashback] "Is his luck about to turn?"
New York Times ^ | March 30, 2003 | By R. W. APPLE Jr., Mr. Quagmire himself

Posted on 04/04/2003 5:28:56 AM PST by JohnHuang2

March 30, 2003

Bush's Peril: Shifting Sand and Fickle Opinion

By R. W. APPLE Jr.

NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON, March 29 — Though the scion of a family steeped in politics and public service, George W. Bush remains a young president who came to the White House with relatively limited knowledge of the world and its ills. Yet for two years he has ridden high in public esteem, thanks to confident leadership after Sept. 11 and a surer political touch than his detractors give him credit for.

Is his luck about to turn in the winds and sands of Iraq?

It is quite true, as administration officials say with metronomic regularity, that coalition forces have scored singular successes in the early days of the war, and it is too early to rule out a speedy conclusion. But there have been military surprises and diplomatic shortfalls.

With every passing day, it is more evident that the failure to obtain permission from Turkey for American troops to cross its territory and open a northern front constituted a diplomatic debacle. With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriya and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein.

Already, the commander of American ground forces in the war zone has conceded that the war that they are fighting is not the one they and their officers had foreseen. "Shock and awe" neither shocked nor awed.

Other potential perils lie ahead. Among senior Washington political figures of both parties, four are mentioned most, as follows:

The war could last so long that the American public loses patience, having been conditioned by predictions from American officials (to quote one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney) that Mr. Hussein's government would prove to be "a house of cards." This has not happened yet; the polls indicate that nearly three of four Americans remain unshaken in their support of Mr. Bush's war policies, despite surprises on the battlefield. The White House believes that public patience, often fickle in recent years, was fortified by 9/11.

Street-by-street fighting in the rubble of Baghdad and other cities — an eventuality that American strategists have long sought to avoid — now looks more likely. Mr. Hussein's aides have promised savage resistance. If it materializes, it could produce large coalition casualties, challenging American resolve, and equally large Iraqi civilian casualties, with dire consequences for the coalition's attempt to picture itself as the liberator of Iraq. A heart-rending picture of a wounded 2-year-old was widely published today after a Baghdad market was ripped apart by an explosion Iraqi officials attributed to a coalition bomb.

Saddam Hussein could escape, denying the war effort a definitive totem of victory. It sounds improbable, given the terrifying array of force available to the coalition, but other notorious figures remain at large despite intensive manhunts, including the wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Al Qaeda mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

The hunt for weapons of mass destruction could prove futile — a development that would make the war look like a wild-goose chase.

Of course, all that is a worst case prognosis. As the war in Afghanistan showed, hard military slogging can give way suddenly to victory. But will victory in Iraq take the shape the United States so badly needs?

Mr. Hussein seems to have decided that he can turn this war into Vietnam Redux. He appears willing to take casualties and to give away territory to gain time. Over time, his strategy implies, he thinks he can isolate the United States and build a coalition of third world nations. Already he is seen as less of an ogre and more of a defender of Islamic honor across the Arab world.

Most Republicans radiate confidence in not only military but also political and diplomatic success.

The longtime Republican pollster Robert Teeter said recently, "If we've gotten rid of Saddam and stabilized Iraq, then things will look pretty good." Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, steadfast in his argument that that is precisely what will happen, told the naysayers on Friday that "it's a bit early for history to be written."

Democrats are more dubious.

"Saddam won't win," said Richard C. Holbrooke, the former United States representative at the United Nations. "Unlike L.B.J. in Vietnam, Bush won't quit. He's a different kind of Texan. He'll escalate and keep escalating. In the end his military strategy will probably succeed in destroying Saddam.

"But it may result in a Muslim jihad against us and our friends. Achieving our narrow objective of regime change may take so long and trigger so many consequences that it's no victory at all. Our ultimate goal, which is promoting stability in the Middle East, may well prove elusive."

Mr. Bush came to office determined, by his own account, not to swagger and not to overreach. "If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us," he said in the second presidential debate against Al Gore in 2000. "If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us." That was a promise to check hubris at the door, an effort to guard against the temptation to believe that because he had such awesome power at his fingertips, he could and should use it to achieve grandiose objectives.

Like remaking a chaotic region in our own democratic image.

The very term "shock and awe" has a swagger to it, no doubt because it was intended to discourage Mr. Hussein and his circle. But it rings hollow now, and there are other signs of overconfidence. A reserve officer was told some time ago, for example, that he would be needed as part of a provisional government in Baghdad, on March 28.

For the moment, Mr. Bush seems secure. People like him. None of his possible Democratic opponents loom as a major threat, not so far.

Still, for presidents, especially for wartime leaders, political capital can drain quickly from the White House account. After the guns fall silent, voters' eyes turn elsewhere, often to social and economic needs. It happened to Winston Churchill late in World War II, and as this president remembers better than most, it happened to his father, too.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraqifreedom
Friday, April 4, 2003

Quote of the Day by PogySailor

1 posted on 04/04/2003 5:28:56 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: xm177e2; mercy; Wait4Truth; hole_n_one; GretchenEE; Clinton's a rapist; buffyt; ladyinred; Angel; ..

2 posted on 04/04/2003 5:30:55 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
"George W. Bush remains a young president who came to the White House with relatively limited knowledge of the world and its ills."

Good God. Even now, after all the evidence to the contrary, the left still clutches desperately to it's manufactured fantasy that paints GW as some dumb hick. At this point, no one but the stupidest drone is buying it any longer; no one with half a brain believes this crap any more than the leftmedia itself.

This is good, actually -- nothing gives the battle away quicker than underestimating one's opponent. And these losers continue to wonder why they're such... losers!


3 posted on 04/04/2003 5:35:18 AM PST by Joe Brower (http://www.joebrower.com/)
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To: JohnHuang2
Breathtaking defeatism. If we keep losing this badly we will have conquored all the evil in the world before the allstar break.
4 posted on 04/04/2003 5:36:04 AM PST by Aeronaut (Love the Lord with all your heart and mind.)
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To: JohnHuang2
With every passing day, it is more evident that the failure to obtain permission from Turkey for American troops to cross its territory and open a northern front constituted a diplomatic debacle. With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriya and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein.

Oh, this guy really nails it. He's got the two big reasons we lost this war and had so many of our troops slaughtered. Maybe nexy time we'll let the leftists run the diplomatic and military affairs.

5 posted on 04/04/2003 5:37:04 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: JohnHuang2; SierraWasp
This is just more documentation that the NY Slimes and its mentally ill writers, editors, publishers, and owners are the lead PR arm of the Axis of Internal Evil.*

*Axis of Internal Evil! Borrowed from Sierra Wasp, and then modified a little.

John, maybe you can refer to all of the American anti GW mobsters as the Axis of Internal Evil in future writings.

6 posted on 04/04/2003 5:37:12 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Anti America Americans are outing themselves as their side loses in Iraq!)
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To: Grampa Dave
John, maybe you can refer to all of the American anti GW mobsters as the Axis of Internal Evil in future writings.

Excellent suggestion, Grampa *Wicked grin, from ear-to-ear*

7 posted on 04/04/2003 5:38:18 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Will all these naysayers come out and admit how wrong they were? .... Nah, didn't think so.

Someone (the RNC?) should run an ad on national TV that says, "The following people or organizations were against the war, said we would lose, didn't support our troops or our president or hoped for our defeat. Just thought you should know." and then scroll down the names ... John Kerry, Tom Daschle, RW Apple, etc. etc. etc.

8 posted on 04/04/2003 5:39:36 AM PST by benjaminthomas
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To: JohnHuang2
Newt claimed that no matter what the facts are these guys will never admit they are or ever were wrong. Even so, Johnny Apple must be having a BAAAAD week!
9 posted on 04/04/2003 5:41:04 AM PST by Pharmer
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To: JohnHuang2
At least the handwringer who wrote this, who is pulling hair out by the roots, assuming the fetal position in abject dispair over US military successes and President Bush's high poll numbers, had the sense to add: "Of course, all that is a worst case prognosis."

I LOL when I read the left describe President Bush's grand design to take over the world. I remember when the media was making fun of candidate Bush because he didn't know geography, didn't know world leaders' names, and didn't seem interested in anything outside our own borders. The media made fun of him because he wasn't sophisticated enough to engage in world affairs, and would be an isolationist president.

The American people didn't believe the media then, and they don't believe them now. They understand President Bush's motives for this war, they know it has nothing to do with imperialism, revenge, or greed.

10 posted on 04/04/2003 5:42:05 AM PST by YaYa123
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To: YaYa123
The American people didn't believe the media then, and they don't believe them now. They understand President Bush's motives for this war, they know it has nothing to do with imperialism, revenge, or greed.

Couldn't have been said better ;)

11 posted on 04/04/2003 5:43:53 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Nice piece, Sun Tzupid.
12 posted on 04/04/2003 5:44:14 AM PST by Jhensy
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To: Pharmer
Newt claimed that no matter what the facts are these guys will never admit they are or ever were wrong. Even so, Johnny Apple must be having a BAAAAD week!

Terrible, terrible week..hehe

Intrepid prediction: Johnny crawls back into his scummy hole, like he did after Kabul fell to the Allies two weeks after his Afghan quagmire article.

13 posted on 04/04/2003 5:45:55 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Mr. Apple proves with "metronomic regularity" that he's a clymer.
14 posted on 04/04/2003 5:46:15 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (Let's Roll)
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To: Aeronaut
Breathtaking defeatism. If we keep losing this badly we will have conquored all the evil in the world before the allstar break.

I nominate this for quote of the day!

15 posted on 04/04/2003 5:46:40 AM PST by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: benjaminthomas
Re: #8 -- Great idea. RNC should seriously consider doing it.
16 posted on 04/04/2003 5:46:46 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
Note to Mr. Apple: Well you've finally done it. You have taken an historic American victory (I know I'm a little premature here) and turned it into your own personal defeat. What a sad life you must live, to have to look past the good works our government and our soldiers are doing and grasp at defeat. Too bad you can't share the happiness of us other Americans, it truly is an uplifting experience.
17 posted on 04/04/2003 5:47:08 AM PST by ladtx ("...the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country." D. MacArthur)
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To: jriemer; Aeronaut; RJayneJ
Jayne, check out #4...we've got a winner ;)
18 posted on 04/04/2003 5:47:38 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: ladtx
hehe, Johnny wrote this before this week's tour-de-force U.S. victory ;)
19 posted on 04/04/2003 5:48:58 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: benjaminthomas
Will all these naysayers come out and admit how wrong they were? .... Nah, didn't think so.

Someone (the RNC?) should run an ad on national TV that says, "The following people or organizations were against the war, said we would lose, didn't support our troops or our president or hoped for our defeat. Just thought you should know." and then scroll down the names ... John Kerry, Tom Daschle, RW Apple, etc. etc. etc.

You won't be able to fit all that into a 30-second TV ad unless you run the names really fast or have the font really small

20 posted on 04/04/2003 5:50:52 AM PST by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: JohnHuang2
I figured he probably had. So much for op-ed lead times.
21 posted on 04/04/2003 5:51:22 AM PST by ladtx ("...the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country." D. MacArthur)
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To: JohnHuang2
Thank God none of these people have any real say-so. They would have us enslaved to anybody who wanted a piece of us.
22 posted on 04/04/2003 5:52:46 AM PST by trebb
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To: JohnHuang2
John Kennedy rode into town and failed miserably, his first summit with Kruscheve was a disaster, Kennedy was in way over his head. Then the Bay of Pigs was another fiasco. I do not recall the Times having anything derogatory to say.
23 posted on 04/04/2003 5:53:28 AM PST by cynicom
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To: JohnHuang2
I really wish I had a link to the article written in advance of the war as someone pretending to be a liberal wrote about how the left would handle this. It really nailed it.
24 posted on 04/04/2003 5:57:23 AM PST by VRWC_minion (Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and most are right)
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To: JohnHuang2
John, again, you are exactly right. Of course, the press, even when wrong, can fall back on a false claim that but for the intervention of the media Bush would have taken Iraqi oil and declared Iraq as the 51st state. Evidence, of course, be damned. I do believe, though, as you state, that the people are beginning to see through this media deception. At least those who WANT to see.
25 posted on 04/04/2003 6:02:11 AM PST by NCLaw441
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To: JohnHuang2
The war could last so long that the American public loses patience, having been conditioned by predictions from American officials

No matter how Apple takes Dick Cheney out of context, it is not true this administration predicted a "cakewalk".

Many of us have documented it was none other than bill clinton, who was saying time and again in the week or two leading up to the beginning of the war, who predicted this. Obviously in a bid to set up a "false" expectation that Dubya wouldn't be able to meet.

Oops.

26 posted on 04/04/2003 6:04:47 AM PST by cyncooper ("Some of the Iraqis... 'told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start.'")
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To: JohnHuang2
Weren't there awards given after 9-11 or the Afghan War (Sullivans or something) for the most stupid articles right before major events exposed them as Frauds? Didn't Dowd get one?

This article from the old Gray Whore gets my nomination for the award. As usual, there are thousands of likely suspects. Nothing but pure Anti-American propoganda.
27 posted on 04/04/2003 6:07:06 AM PST by RobFromGa (Real Americans Support our Troops 100%)
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To: JohnHuang2
The biggest threat President Bush has is thinly veiled attack pieces like this, designed to introduce doubt, exaggerate difficulties, and sow the seeds of "despite all his successes, the President really doesn't know what he is doing" crap.

To wit:

It is quite true, as administration officials say with metronomic regularity, that coalition forces have scored singular successes in the early days of the war, and it is too early to rule out a speedy conclusion. But (THE BIG BUT!) there have been military surprises and diplomatic shortfalls.

Ah yes. The NYTimes editorial staff could have done it so much better. Maybe more support for the President when dealing with the UN might have helped sway opinion in our direction, but not from the "paper of record." Bah!

With every passing day, it is more evident that the failure to obtain permission from Turkey for American troops to cross its territory and open a northern front constituted a diplomatic debacle. With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriya and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein.

Hmmm. Seems like this piece was written before the recent permission from Turkey to allow troops and ammo through. Problem pretty much solved. As for Basra and Nasiriya, a couple of extra days to secure these towns and liberate the oppressive regime there hardly seem to be "gross" misjudgments. The recent rescinding of the fatwa against the coalition the chief Shiite cleric was forced to issue has greatly resolved the Shiite issue, both in Iraq and perhaps elsewhere.

The war could last so long that the American public loses patience, having been conditioned by predictions from American officials (to quote one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney) that Mr. Hussein's government would prove to be "a house of cards." This has not happened yet; the polls indicate that nearly three of four Americans remain unshaken in their support of Mr. Bush's war policies, despite surprises on the battlefield. (Should be written: This has not happened, yet the polls indicate that more than 3 out of four Americans etc..) The White House believes that public patience, often fickle in recent years, was fortified by 9/11.

So much wishful thinking by the NYTimes!! Last night's surrender of 2500 "elite" Republican guard soldiers and the slow realization that Saddam is dead or deserted the country lends credence to the "house of cards" theory of the vice president's.

Street-by-street fighting in the rubble of Baghdad and other cities — an eventuality that American strategists have long sought to avoid — now looks more likely. Mr. Hussein's aides have promised savage resistance. The "mother of all wars again?" If it materializes, it could produce large coalition casualties, challenging American resolve, and equally large Iraqi civilian casualties, with dire consequences for the coalition's attempt to picture itself as the liberator of Iraq.

Whoa!! Major doom and gloom!! The might want to talk to some Iraqis in Basra etc, and ask them how they feel about the liberation. A heart-rending picture of a wounded 2-year-old was widely published today after a Baghdad market was ripped apart by an explosion Iraqi officials attributed to a coalition bomb.

Well, if you can't believe Iraqi officials, who can you believe? The NYTimes? LOL! The coalition is pretty convinced that the Saddamites set that explosion themselves.

The hunt for weapons of mass destruction could prove futile — a development that would make the war look like a wild-goose chase.Better check last night's news.

Of course, all that is a worst case prognosis. As the war in Afghanistan showed, hard military slogging can give way suddenly to victory. But will victory in Iraq take the shape the United States so badly needs?

Could the NYTimes be grudgingly admitting that we might actually win?! Without the help of the UN and France? I guess they want to continue their fine record of achievement in predictiong doom for this operation.

Mr. Hussein seems to have decided that he can turn this war into Vietnam Redux. He appears willing to take casualties and to give away territory to gain time. Over time, his strategy implies, he thinks he can isolate the United States and build a coalition of third world nations. Already he is seen as less of an ogre and more of a defender of Islamic honor across the Arab world.

There it is!!! The inevitable reference to Viet Nam!! I guess they have to recycle it from their Afghanistan stories. At least it will give "Ameircan regime change Kerry something to talk about!

The longtime Republican pollster Robert Teeter said recently, "If we've gotten rid of Saddam and stabilized Iraq, then things will look pretty good." Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, steadfast in his argument that that is precisely what will happen, told the naysayers on Friday that "it's a bit early for history to be written."

It is always too early to predict victory, but never seems to be too early to predict defeat, as the bulk of this article proves.

Democrats are more dubious.

Understatement of the year. Fortunately, their predictions are as ill founded as the NYTimes (or identical for that matter).

Still, for presidents, especially for wartime leaders, political capital can drain quickly from the White House account. After the guns fall silent, voters' eyes turn elsewhere, often to social and economic needs. It happened to Winston Churchill late in World War II, and as this president remembers better than most, it happened to his father, too.

And you can bet that the NYTimes was in the thick of it, predicting disaster for the allies, like a good little fifth column.....

28 posted on 04/04/2003 6:08:46 AM PST by SpinyNorman
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To: jriemer
I was thinking maybe a one-hour infomercial. LOL.
29 posted on 04/04/2003 6:11:00 AM PST by benjaminthomas
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To: JohnHuang2
Though the scion of a family steeped in politics and public service, George W. Bush remains a young president who came to the White House with relatively limited knowledge of the world and its ills.

The first sentence has rendered this article so out of touch I am not even going to read the rest of it.

30 posted on 04/04/2003 6:22:30 AM PST by lawgirl (Running from the Grand Ennui)
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To: JohnHuang2
The war could last so long that the American public loses patience,

AAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!
Now I feel better.

31 posted on 04/04/2003 6:45:21 AM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
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To: JohnHuang2
Thanks for the heads up!
32 posted on 04/04/2003 6:55:26 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: JohnHuang2
Dear New York Times;

What "knowledge of the world and its ills" did Clinton come to office with?

As to Basra, Nasiriya and the Shiite Muslims, it was "because" President Bush 41 FOLLOWED UN mandates that dictated when we had to withdraw, that the people of Iraq were left behind after being told to "rise up" and take over their country. That uprising, with any lack of backing or support from ANYONE in the UN, cost the Iraq people many lives. Many were and are being tortured to this very day. You're a big paper.. have you not heard of the "death squads"? Did you know women and children are being used as human sheilds? Yet you expect them to be out there waving their hands and screaming for joy? A woman was just killed and dragged through a town for waving at a helicopter....

It's hard to change hearts that have been filled with fear and now distrust for so many years. Self preservation steps in, so we need to let these people know we won't abandon them this time. Which is exactly what our troops, this administration and that of the Britsk, Aussies and our other allies are trying to do.

As one British Colonel said.. "We are patient".

It would serve the New York Times and others well, to realize that as a citizen, I've NEVER heard My President, or anyone in his administration say this would be all done in a week, or two, or even in two months.

They have never put a time limit on doing this operation the right way.

They are absolutely AWESOME.

We'll see how "polls" and President Bush's presidency is judged at a later time.. for now we are a little busy with more important matters than hostile bitter liberals who are messing themselves because they fear the popularity of this President since 9/11, and will become even more vocal as his popularity continues to rise when the dust from this war settles.

It must be a very strange and lonely place being a liberal with an intelligent man like President Bush in control. We can see they just don't know how to "act or react" to the horrifying situation they find themselves in. (I'm not talking about war,..but about us having a Republican President) Sad huh?

It must be very frightening to see a Commander in Chief who the troops love.

It must be perplexing to imagine a world that will eventually be a hell of a lot safer thanks to the brave and courageous leadership of this President.

But as an American, it feels really good.

VETS

33 posted on 04/04/2003 7:25:26 AM PST by Vets_Husband_and_Wife
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To: JohnHuang2; Grampa Dave
Hay! I wants ROYALTIES!!! (not)

Them ain't internal axles uv evul, they be the danged INFERNAL DIFFERENTIALS UV EVUL! (in uther wurds... da rear-ends!)

34 posted on 04/04/2003 9:30:39 AM PST by SierraWasp (Media Advisory: Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see!!!)
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To: jriemer; Aeronaut; JohnHuang2; b4its2late; Molly Pitcher; ABG(anybody but Gore); Dog; ...
If we keep losing this badly we will have conquored all the evil in the world before the allstar break. - Aeronaut

Pretty good? Well, I liked it.

5.56mm

35 posted on 04/04/2003 4:44:22 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: JohnHuang2
political capital can drain quickly from the White House account

This much at least, is certainly true.

36 posted on 04/04/2003 4:56:12 PM PST by thepitts
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To: JohnHuang2
Democrats are more dubious.

LOL, tell me when they aren't.

37 posted on 04/04/2003 6:37:42 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: JohnHuang2
These left-wing wacko's just don't get it ... we've snuffed a 100K of their elite forces, we're in Baghdad and that's not "shock and awe" ... give me a break.

Go GWB, You're The Man!

Let's Roll!
38 posted on 04/05/2003 1:09:13 PM PST by blackie
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