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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:21 PM
Original message
Clinton's anti-terrorist performance; commentary from the front
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 10:22 PM by frogcycle
Dennis Hastert is Playing Politics With Terrorism, Again.
Submitted by john on Tue, 09/26/2006 - 4:32pm.

I started writing this Blog after I watched Bill Clinton defend his record on terrorism. I did not know that the same week would also bring America the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report and an attempt by Dennis Hastert to silence the debate on terrorism in Congress.

Terrorism is a serious and growing problem and it is an American issue, not a political issue. Congress should make the NIE report a top priority before they adjourn this fall. But according to Hasterts spokesperson, Ron Bonjean, Congress should not have any oversight.

In a letter to Dennis Hastert, Nancy Pelosi wrote:

"We therefore call on you to direct the committees of jurisdiction to hold immediate oversight hearings this week and next on the new National Intelligence Estimate and its ramifications for U.S. policy."

According to, Bonjean responded to Pelosi:

"Democrats calling for terrorism hearings will only lead America to conclude that Democrats have not done enough to help Republicans fight terrorism,"

This is exactly how Republicans politicized the debate in 1998 when Bill Clinton first went after Usama Bin Laden read on to get an eye witness account of Operation Infinite Reach.

I will never forget the day that two bombs exploded at U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of 1998.

The blasts killed more Africans than they did Americans, but the message was clearly from Usama Bin Laden and directed towards the United States and "United States sympathizers."

By 1998, I had become the leader of our small Crisis Action Team at COMUSNAVCENT (forward deployment of CENTCOM), based in Bahrain. Following the bombings, our office churned with activity for the next few days while local analysts worked with counterterrorism experts in Washington D.C. to figure out, "who done it?"

On August 16, a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of the watch floor analysts showed up at my apartment for a short conversation. Were sharpening our missiles and the N2 has a project for you," she said.

I knew that we had received orders from Washington and it didnt take me long to make my way to the military base.

Clinton Attacked Bin Laden - Republicans cried, Wag the dog."
My first job was to make sure that a cruise missile route from a sea-based platform would have clear sailing over Pakistan and all the way to Afghanistan.

It was an easy task because the Pakistanis dont have a solid air defense network. By the 1800 briefing time, I had completed my first pre-mission assignment and sat back while the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, ONI and a long list of other intel/ops types worked out a plan via VTC. By the way, this is what they call joint warfare intelligence agencies sharing information to complete a mission.

During the strategy session, it was decided that we would scratch one of the economic targets, a tannery, from the hit list. Two destinations were selected for cruise missiles. We went after Bin Laden himself by striking multiple terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the second target in Sudan, a pharmaceutical plant, was targeted to take out one of Bin Ladens sources of income.

After the VTC meeting, the N2, Capt. Mike Noll, (you can see a letter of recommendation here) laid out a list of things to do for the rest of the NAVCENT staff.

My job was to analyze the post-strike reaction from all of the other AOR (Area of Responsibility) countries.

On August 20, 1998, cruise missiles pummeled terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. The strike was largely successful, but we missed Bin Laden.

Bin Laden dropped off of the radar screen following the attack and analysts continued to speculate about his whereabouts. Days later we learned that Bin Laden had probably escaped one of the camps with about 20 minutes to spare. Please keep in mind that the credibility of these sources is often difficult to evaluate, but we know for a fact that Bin Laden disappeared from all "chatter."

Back to Post Strike
In addition to compiling all of the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) reports and briefing slides, I was tasked with evaluating the international response to the strikes.
I was shocked to learn that some daring Republicans all cried, "wag the dog," implying that the strike was a diversion from the Lewinsky scandal. Of course this fueled speculation in the international community and my job was fairly easy.

My post-strike analysis of other countries reactions to Operation Infinite Reach was, "wag the dog." The Republican Congress played politics with terrorism because throwing mud at Clinton was more important than protecting our country.

I am dying to know where these bold Republicans are now hiding. I did think that these "wag the dog" claims reflected amazing levels of ignorance by elected officials, but I didnt think in political terms those days.

Now that I am a candidate, I understand how political messaging works and I think that it is pretty sad that people are willing to silence an honest debate on Iraq during the election cycle.

How did Clinton Crack Down on Terrorism?

1996 I arrived in Bahrain shortly before the Khobar Tower bombings in 1996. This was one of the first terrorist attacks on a U.S. military facility that killed U.S. servicemen and women; 19 to be exact.

The bomb was so powerful that we felt it across the bridge in Bahrain. My first operation stemmed from this event and my experience with terrorism grew.

In response to Khobar Towers, Clinton responded by putting FBI agents on the ground in Saudi Arabia and other things that I can not talk about. Additionally, we saw concrete barricades go up around our base and more Marines were added to the force protection unit. All military bases overseas saw similar changes.

1998 In 1998, Bin Laden took out an advertisement in the local newspaper, claiming that he would attack Americans in nightclubs.

Clinton responded by putting our base on "lockdown" and teams of analysts poured into the little island. Soldiers were not allowed to visit bars or nightclubs and greater force protection measures were taken. By now the intelligence community was starting to really understand just how well networked Al Qaeda was. Bin Laden had declared a Jihad (holy war) and the network was starting to move against the United States.

In response, the United States added new analysts to the growing terrorism threat and for the first time, our office put together a wall-size diagram that connected terrorists links and nodes. The network was expansive and touched every continent.

Next came the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania see above.

These things all happened on Bill Clintons watch.

I departed the Arabian Gulf region in 1999 just prior to the bombing of the USS Cole. I was in Bethesda Naval Hospital (the best socialized medicine in the world) recovering from my second knee surgery when the Cole was bombed.

I want to underscore that I was an Iranian analyst instead of a counterterrorism analyst. However, as a key member, and later leader of the Crisis Action Team we responded to every crisis that came into the CENTCOM AOR.

Please take note of a significant difference between Clinton and Bush.

Terrorists attack on Clintons Watch and Clinton uses a measured response and greater force protection of U.S. military facilities and embassies.

Terrorists attack on Bushs watch and Bush ignores the culprit, ignores border security, sells our ports to Dubai and attacks Iraq.

And now a non-partisan report claims that Iraq has grown the terrorist threat and the Republican Congress refuses to debate the issue and seek solutions.

I am here to say that the first step to winning the war on terror is getting out of Iraq. I do not need to see the NIE report; I have been saying this all along.

Because George Bush has been a diplomatic failure, it is time to transfer peacekeeping duties over to the international community, get our troops out of Iraq, stop building permanent military bases in Iraq, stop playing world dictator and start rebuilding our own democratic form of government!

John Laesch
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BlueStateGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick. Thanks for posting this and Welcome to DU!
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. Welcome to DU frogcycle. Nice to have you aboard.
:bounce: :hi: and K&R Thanks for the post & you're gonna love it here.

Bill Clinton lived up to my beliefs. What a difference between Bill and George and to think bush* has the nerve to blame Clinton. What more could he have done with the hound dogs after him and that unpatriotic Rethug congress.
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Buck Laser Donating Member (566 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. John Laesch is Hastert's democratic opponent in IL.
I lived in Denny Hastert's district from the time he first got elected in the 80s until we moved back to TX in 2004. I never understond how, inarticulate and bumbling oaf that he was, Denny ever got elected. I have high hopes that his current mess with the Foley affair may do him in.

It's remarkable that the democrats were able to find a candidate with real on-the-ground experience in combatting terrorism to go up against the dumb ass wrestling coach!
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. The democrats didn't find him
Refreshingly, this is not a case of a party machine going out and finding the right plastic candidate to put up against the other machine's plastic candidate.

This is a case of an earnest young man who wants to help fix the mess the cabal has gotten us into.

In all honesty, I suspect the only reason he had a shot at actually winning a nomination to US Congress with no prior political experience is that it is (was) a written-off race. One of those districts where people enter the race as a hobby rather than actually thinking they have a shot.

But he had made significant headway against Hastert BEFORE the page thing broke.

Today's poll shows he still has a ways to go, but there's almost a month and I'm betting on him. He is not a slick pol; he is not an orator, he is just a really nice, well-intentioned, bright, accomplished young man who wants to make things better for his district, for the country, and the world. He has a perspective on the politics of the mideast from having served there that few aspiring first-time congressmen are likely to have. If we can get him AND Tammy Duckworth (from my district) and our other young democrat veterans now running elected, maybe this country has a chance to redeem itself on the world stage.
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
4. Laesch is a vast improvement over Hastert.
This very eloquently dispels the Dems are weak on terror meme.

Welcome to DU!
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Who is this John Laesch?
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 11:42 PM by frogcycle
To those unfamiliar with the name, this young man is the Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives from the 14th Congressional District in Illinois. Yes, Dennis Hastert's district! I attended one of his town meetings today, got to hear him describe the above, as well as his observations of his mental early warning system kicking in right after 9/11 as he saw where the administration was heading.

He is running an uphill campaign against The Machine. A poll taken today has Hastert ahead, 52% to 42%. Sound bad? That would, I think, be Hastert's narrowest victory ever, as "The Coach" is accustomed to being patted on the butt* and sent back to DC with 65-75% of the vote, to continue wheeling, dealing, enriching himself, ramming through congress whatever The Machine tells him to, and killing everything else.

*please forgive the imagery

Laesch has gotten this far on a shoestring. The national party says he hasn't raised enough money for them to take him seriously; they apparently wrote him off as a Don Quixote months ago.

Well let me tell you - THIS Don Quixote is a pretty impressive kid. He served his country admirably in the military, returned home, saw what was becoming of our government, and said "I gotta do something", and got into politics. And believe me - he is NOT tilting at windmills! He has a comprehensive platform, and his is the quintessential American political campaign - local folks saying "we're mad as hell and not going to take it any more!" Most of the people at the town meeting were old enough to be his parents, some his grandparents. One of the active participants, though is 18. One of the frequent contributors to his blogsite is just now applying to colleges; I assume she is about to be a high school senior.

Go look at his website read about him and his platform, and


While I was at his town hall meeting, GWBush was at a fundraiser for Hastert at the Hilton in Chicago.

Two years ago Hastert spent $5m on his campaign; his opponent spent $18,000.
His opponent got "only" 33% of the vote. Put another way, thoug, one out of three people in this bedrock republican district voted AGAINST Hastert two years ago with virtually no campaign against him. So let's send money, help get out the vote across the state, including Reagan's home town of Dixon, Illinois, and send the entire world a message!


He was on Hardball the other day, on the Ed Schultz show today, is getting national attention, probably largley because the press is smelling blood in the water. Too bad he could not get that attention just for being a refreshingly optimistic, patriotic young man who wants to make his country better.


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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Howard, are you listening?
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Check this out
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-18-06 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. kick -
Edited on Wed Oct-18-06 12:51 AM by frogcycle

Kerry has said he'll help with funding, but nobody else has. The Dem machine is still ignoring, largely because Hastert supports Mayor Daley's airport project. Old-time cronyism

read the Chicago Reader article:

...32-year-old Democrat Jonathan John Laesch is playing David to Hasterts Goliath this election year. Hes a Jeep-driving navy veteran, the son of Lutheran missionaries and brother of a GI currently on duty in Iraq, and an aggressive, confident campaigner with a door-to-door strategy. He may be a long shot, but a Democratic victory here would be an upset of biblical proportions... What are his chances of winning? It depends on how much money I can raise. He figures he needs half a million to make the race; so far hes raised less than a tenth of that, and most of it has been spent...


and see how much this guy can use your donations. His is a grassroots/netroots campaign to take back America.

He is close enough and Hastert is vulnerable enough that we CAN make this happen!

He started running his first ad a few days ago; has more planned, but will only be able to do what we pay for.

Check out this cool UTube link; it has variants for several candidates.

And here's his actual ad now on local TV: Laesch Ad
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-18-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Local paper endorses Hastert purely based on pork; gets slammed
A LOT of people in Hastert's supposedly "captive" gerrymandered district are fed up.
I just LOVE comments like "I'm going to give the kid a chance..."

This is what democracy is supposed to be!

Read these comments, and then help push this bandwagon over the top!

We can do this, people!
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