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November 2003

Nice Trick

W doing this and pulling it off is actually very cool. It is a nice gesture, and shows some bravado and is just downright fun. The press notes below are very interesting to read….

How It All Went Down: Detailed Report Of Bush’s Secret Trip
Mike Allen’s [WASH POST] Private Notes on DrudgeReport

The event had been set up with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Paul Bremer, the chief civilian administrator. When the President arrived, the soldiers were still thinking those would be the speakers. General Sanchez said, “God bless you for all of your sacrifices,” and hurriedly introduced Ambassador Bremer. Bremer said he had Thanksgiving greetings from the President. But then Bremer, hamming it up, looked toward stage left and said, “Let’s see if we’ve got anyone more senior here.” Then the President came out and the room erupted even before he reached the stage, with soldiers standing on chairs, standing on tables to bark, hoot, yell and “Hoo-ah!” their approval.

It also caught my attention, because while I was driving from PA to MA Wednesday the news was breaking about the new Al Qaeda threat that the “countdown had begun”…

New Al Qaeda Kidnap Guide to Force Release of Detainees in US, Saudi, Yemeni Hands

…a message published over al Qaeda’s electronic channels and websites declared that the countdown has begun for the biggest operation ever carried out in the United States. “The big blow will fall very shortly. It will consist of a series of surprise attacks that will cut America off from communication with its armies in Muslim countries.” The reference is clearly to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The largest number, around 115,000 soldiers, is present in Iraq. Muslims living in the United States are urged to “take advantage of the short time left” to escape the country and harm’s way.

Talk about that had piped up on CNN in mid-afternoon, but they were mostly talking about turkey tips and if planes were delayed. I was yelling at the radio about why they weren’t talking about it. I couldn’t understand why that was not the lead story. I thought they should be talking to experts, etc. Certainly not about turkeys.

I also thought “Tell me where the president is!” has he changed his schedule. Have any events been canceled. Has he returned the the Whitehouse from Texas, does he suddenly have a “cold” (like Kennedy in the missle crisis). Etc. They were not talking about it at ALL!

A few hours later they finally talked about it a little more. Only a couple minutes though. Someone saying officials were downplaying it and saying not to worry about it that they had heard it all before and nothing happened.

Um, OK. Doesn’t make me feel better. But even if so, why is the press just taking that at face value and not doing some investigation??? It seemed like real news that was being ignored in favor of complete holiday fluff.

But one question was answered, they were not saying what the president’s reaction was and if his schedule was changed because he was ON HIS WAY TO FREAKIN BAGHDAD!

Which is still really cool. The whole lights out stealth thing and everything. I’ll give W this, he is good with the dramatic gesture.

And I guess this means he wasn’t all that worried about the “countdown”.

But still… it seems rather ominous… and officials HAVE said that there is increased chatter and all that, but they have decided not to increase the “official” alert level, but unofficially authorities have been told to ramp things up a bit. but they don’t want to put the country on alert everytime anybody puts out a statement like that if they don’t have direct knoweldge of a specific threat.

OK. I understand that. Makes sense.

But still “the countdown has begun” to the “biggest operation ever” etc does not leave one with warm and fuzzies.

Anyway, hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! :-)

(Edit: Also want to comment that when I went to write this entry early Friday I searched on Google News for references to the Al Qaeda “countdown has begun” memo and the ONLY thing I could find was the DEBKAfile entry… why is this?? CNN and Fox both mentioned it while I was driving Wednesday. They both downplayed it and gave very little attention to it, but they did talk about it. How can it not be referenced ANYWHERE other than DEBKAfile?? I was probably just seraching on the wrong things. Dunno. But you really would think that a threat like that would get a LITTLE more attention…)

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