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Robert Scheer: Dear Leader Brings It On

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Posted on Oct 10, 2006
nuclear test
Mike Luckovich

By Robert Scheer

Well, Bush showed them, didn’t he?

Over the past six years, our “my way or the highway” president blew up a crucial nonproliferation agreement which was keeping North Korea’s plutonium stores under seal, ended bilateral talks with Pyongyang, squashed Japan’s and South Korea’s carefully constructed “sunshine policy,” which was slowly drawing the bizarre Hermit Kingdom back into the light, and then took every opportunity to personally insult the country’s reportedly unstable dictator because it played well politically at home.

If you shun them, they will shape up—this was the essence of President Bush’s non-diplomacy, as it was in regards to Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The result? Cold War-style brinkmanship that has left the United States helpless.

The policy options left are dumb and dumber: Either passively accept Pyongyang’s defiant threats and ability to slip weapons-grade plutonium around the world, or launch an invasion that could spark a devastating attack on Seoul.

Thank you, Mr. President. I feel so much safer now that we have a wannabe cowboy in charge of the free world.

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In the ongoing story of Bush and Co.‘s dangerous leadership, the North Korea chapter is one of the least understood—and potentially the most disastrous. And, as with the sordid saga of Iraq and the “missing” weapons of mass destruction, the devil is in the details obscured by the ugly glare of tyrants such as Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.

Republican cheerleaders are now making the case that, as with every other problem in the world, this is all Bill Clinton’s fault; the line is that former President Clinton caved to the North Korean communists, who then broke their agreements. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, what happened is that Jimmy Carter, on Clinton’s behalf, had negotiated an historic deal back in 1994 to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to seal Pyongyang’s plutonium in exchange for major energy assistance in the form of fuel-oil shipments and the building of safe nuclear reactors. (Incidentally, Donald Rumsfeld was a director of one of the companies that profited from the reactor deal.)

Clinton then followed the lead of Japan and South Korea in trying to lead paranoid North Korea into the world community through baby-step agreements. (See two great timelines here and here)

Nearly a decade later, with the plutonium still safely under seal, however, Bush repudiated this approach, effectively driving North Korea to abandon all agreements and return to its pre-1994 pursuit of plutonium-based nukes. The White House rationale was that North Korea had broken the agreement by trying to enrich uranium enough to use it in weapons. However, not only are any such intelligence claims coming from this administration now highly suspect, but such a program would take a level of energy production and technical ability that seems to be beyond Pyongyang.

In any case, now Kim Jong Il and his scientists don’t have to worry about the enormous difficulties posed by enriching uranium: They have back their far, far more dangerous plutonium reserves—thanks to Bush—with enough material to make between four and 13 bombs (see this article [.pdf file])—and have missiles capable of carrying them into Alaska. Even worse, we know now that this rogue nation also benefited from key nuclear technology training provided by Pakistani nuke scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who then inexplicably was pardoned by our “war on terror” allies in Islamabad and has never been made available to U.S. investigators.

What did tough-talk Dubya do in response to this international outrage?  He dropped the sanctions previously imposed on Pakistan because of that country’s nuclear weapons program.

While there is every reason to be alarmed by North Korea’s cultish police state, it is still best to pursue a realpolitik pragmatism instead of the ideological and confrontational approach Bush and his neocons have pursued for six long years now.

The North Koreans’ test also underscores that nuclear proliferation is a growing menace to the survival of life on this planet, and that the menace of WMD should not have been turned into a partisan political ploy. The recklessness of this administration’s foreign policy is marked by the trivialization of the WMD issue, an approach epitomized by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s lauded (at the time) speech to the United Nations, in which he blurred the devastating consequence of a nuclear blast with the dangers of a meaningless vial of white powder.

Sensible Republicans must rein in the Bush administration and demand that progress take precedence over empty threats. They could start by listening to James Baker, secretary of state in Bush’s father’s administration. “I believe in talking to your enemies,” Baker said a few days before the Korean nuclear test, endorsing the resumption of bilateral talks with Pyongyang and noting pointedly that he had taken 15 trips to Syria while serving Bush’s father.

Unfortunately, the White House will almost certainly ignore this commonsense truth. It’s much easier to blame Bill Clinton.

Creators Syndicate Inc.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By how much mortgage can i afford, November 2, 2006 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Growing evidence that the economy is slowing is behind the decline in interest rates, which move in the opposite direction from bond prices. 

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By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, October 16, 2006 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As for Bush blaming Bill Clinton for his own inconceivable stupidity, so far as brains are concerned, Bush could be Clinton’s gardner; if he weren’t allowed near the shrubbery with hedge trimmers because this idiot wouldn’t know the sweet shrub from the poison ivy.  If Bush had one tenth of Bill Clinton’s brain power, we wouldn’t be in the horrific position we’re in today.
His remarks that Clinton is to blame for No. Korea obtaining nuclear weaponry are repulsive; a lame attempt to shirk yet another failure on his part.  A BIG failure!
It is stomach churning to know that the American tax dollar will have to go towards protecting this individual for the rest of his life when, in reality, he should do prison time for the rest of his life.  His crimes against the world and his own nation are cruel, inhumane and enormous in number.  There is no difference in him than any other big crime boss.  He, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Rove have systemically brought down the greatest country on Earth, all for the greed of the ignorant conglomerates who put him there.  And yes, all in the name of God.

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By Josh, October 15, 2006 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Impeach BushCo. in ‘07 and send all of the war criminals to the Hague, then bring home the troops and let the Iraq people decide their fate, then compensate and apologize to their government for the harm done to them. This is how the US can start to regain it’s morality in the 21st century.

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By Bernard, October 14, 2006 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You folks need to get over yourselves.  China will handle this.  The USA is no higher than 5th on the list of countries who need to worry about this—Japan, China, South Korea, Russia.  We should agree to provide whatever muscle these folks decide is appropriate to deal with this problem.  They are the ones most at risk here.

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By tokathy, October 14, 2006 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Kathy:

Imagine if he indeed stole the two elections, knowing he was NOT chosen /by/ the people, how much will he be willing to do things /for/ the people?  In that case, he has no moral obligation to return us a favor <we didn’t choode him>.  He is not /of/ the people.

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By Brad, October 13, 2006 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Washington was right.. have no alliances, be friendly to everyone and trade with everyone..
the US does not need to have troops stationed in 132 countries around the world. the US does not need to give billions in foreighn aid to every country around the world. All the US needs to do is take care of the US. Why should we worry about a communist north korea?? Let South Korea fight its own battle… if its taken over by the north… who cares?? I don’t!  if freedom is precious to the south koreans then they will fight for it. Threw the war on terror the only thing that is being terrorised is the constitution of the greastest Country ever known in the history of the world. All we Stupid Americans care about is what that tramp Madonna or britney spears or some other vomitus moron is doing… our freedoms and liberties are being wiped out before our very eyes.. we sit and are silent.. there is not spit worth of difference between the democrats and republicans.. lets call them demopublicans… and my goodness if someone calls this country a democracy again i’m going to PUKE! WE ARE A REPRESENTATIVE REBUBLIC… don’t believe me… say the pledge of allegiance!.. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and to the REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS. ONE NATION UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!! WAKE UP STUPID AMERICANS… our so called conservative leaders are turning our country into the third reich all over again… look at Bushes sighning statements. then go look and see what hitler did on his ascent to power… ARE WE THAT BLIND.. time to vote 3rd party….vote for the libertarian or the constitution party… only vote for rebulicans who have our nations freedom and soveirghnty at the formost of their work.. like Ron Paul or Tom Tancredo…. ITS TIME TO STAND OR BECOME SURFS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT THAT OUR FORFATHERS CAME HERE TO ESCAPE OVER 200 YEARS AGO! The CONSTITUTION MUST BE THE LAW OF THE LAND AND MUST NOT BE CHANGED FOR ANY REASON INCLUDING TERRORISM… THE ONLY TERRORISTS ARE OUR OWN GOVERNMENT!  GOD BLESS OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN THE ARMED FORCES… I HOPE AND PRAY YOU WILL ALL BE HOME SOON.

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By Hondo, October 13, 2006 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kathy, you poor deluded soul! Those elections weren’t stolen. Bush just kicked some liberal butt! Don’t take my word for it, just listen to the Civil Rights Commission, which investigated the wacky liberal complaints and found nothing.
As for trying to blame Bush for the North Korea mess, nice try! Take a look at the link for some actual truth concerning the history of North Korea and nukes. I know, all of you wacky liberals will have a fit because the link is for a Rush Limbaugh article. If you find one inaccuracy in the article (you won’t) just let me know.

http://download.premiereradio.net/guest/rushlimb/pdf/nailing.pdf

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By kathy, October 13, 2006 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To #28527 by darby1936:  we didn’t choose Bush two times; he stole the election two times, remember???  They might steal the election again!!

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By darby1936, October 12, 2006 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How did the supposedly smartest, most powerful nation on earth, choose this guy two times?

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By felicity, October 12, 2006 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SPINOZA

Ah, yes, the ideologues, unfortunate folks whose blind pursuit of their precious myths eventually, if history can be believed, leads to their doom.  If they just didn’t take whole nations and untold thousands of other people with them, we could just write them off as harmless fools.

We should all be very afraid.  Once a government, especially one controlled by ideologues, adopts a policy and implements it, all subsequent activity becomes an effort to justify it. In such an environment, reason becomes a heresy and must be silenced.

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By coal_train, October 12, 2006 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To criticize the Bush non-policies as failures assumes that peace and stability are the goals shared by everyone. If we instead assume that instability and regime change are the goals of the Bush regime, then we see that the policy of sowing chaos has been successful. Moving from one crisis to the next helps them maintain the insecurity that they need to justify their security clampdown and rallies Americans against a common, demonized enemy. Iraq is turning Americans against him, so it is time to roll out a new enemy so we can rally behind the president again.

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By Spinoza, October 12, 2006 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is right on the money.

The Mushroom Cloud over the U.N.

By Mike Whitney

10/11/06 “Information Clearing House”——The Bush administration has repeatedly rejected North Korea’s appeals for a “non-aggression” pact. Bush believes that he has the inherent right to attack whomever he chooses if it is in the national interest, which is to say, if it furthers his ambitions for global domination.

Bush has openly supported “regime change” in North Korea and placed the country on his axis of evil list. On a personal level, Bush stated that he “loathes” Kim Jung-il and has referred to him as “a pygmy”.

These provocations have been duly noted in North Korea. Kim knows that he’s a top candidate for a preemptive attack unless he develops a credible deterrent. Any sane person would draw the same conclusion even if they hadn’t been humiliated in public as “evil”.

That’s why Kim has anticipated the worst and made plans to defend himself; that’s the basic message behind Sunday’s nuclear blast. Kim’s weapons program is the logical upshot of Bush’s belligerence. If there was no threat, there would have been no explosion.

No one wants North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But, then, no one wants the United States to develop a new regime of “tactical” low-yield, bunker-busting nuclear weapons. We need to examine the intention behind the development of these weapons if we really want to know which is the greater risk. In North Korea’s case, the building of a nuclear bomb is clearly intended to deter the US from an unprovoked attack. In Bush’s case, the plan is to develop bunker-busting nukes that will actually be used in first-strike attacks on heavily-fortified underground sites. There’s a big difference between offensive and defensive nukes and, clearly, Bush is the much greater threat.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has surrounded himself with “like-minded” men who believe strongly in using nukes depending on battlefield conditions. This has led to speculation that Bush will use these weapons in a future attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is frightening to think that Bush would be willing to break a 60 year-old taboo on the mere suspicion that Iran may have a secret nuclear weapons program.

Kim Jung-il poses no such threat. We can be reasonably certain that he will not use his nukes in a first-strike initiative. In fact, for the last 6 years he has endured the most withering abuse and humiliation and never responded violently.

That’s restraint.

President Bush has created a problem that he now expects the world to fix. If we look at Afghanistan, Haiti, and Iraq, we see that this is a familiar pattern with the Bush troupe. They topple regimes and spread mayhem, and then call on the UN or NATO to clean-up the mess. This isn’t the proper role for the UN.

Bush never should have been allowed to speak at the United Nations. He’s been involved in too many wars and coup d’etats to be given an open platform to make an appeal for sanctions. He’s has flaunted the rulings of the Security Council, (which never authorized the invasion of Iraq) and perpetuated human rights abuse at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and countless other detention centers across the globe. The moral legitimacy of the United Nations is seriously undermined by allowing a war criminal to address the General Assembly.

Even so, we don’t want to trigger a nuclear arms race because of the reckless behavior of the Bush administration. Nuclear weapons in the hands of autocrats only increase the likelihood of a tragic mistake. The problem must be dealt with skillfully and evenhandedly.

The Security Council should ignore the administration’s bluster about “additional sanctions”. We should disregard the judgment of people who are only-too-willing to starve others to achieve their political objectives. Millions of innocent civilians died in Iraq due to American-backed sanctions just as Palestinians in Gaza are suffering now. Nothing is achieved by cruelty which disguises itself as justice.

North Korea will not abandon its nuclear weapons until the threat of American aggression has been removed. That much is certain. Therefore, the best approach would be for the UN to convene bilateral negotiations between the warring parties. If the Bush administration refuses, as it has for 6 years, then the issue should be dropped. It is not the function of the UN to carry out Washington’s directives, but to provide a forum where disputes can be resolved in an atmosphere of impartiality and justice.

The Security Council should ignore the demagoguery and threats of the Bush administration and assume its proper role as a neutral arbiter. That is the only way it can regain its credibility and provide leadership when crises arise.

The current standoff is more important in terms of the future of the United Nations than it is in resolving the nuclear dust-up between the US and North Korea. In an imperfect world, international institutions are crucial for establishing the standards for resolving disputes through non-violent means. The Bush administration’s coercive tactics at the Security Council; (particularly in stalling a ceasefire during the US-Israeli 34-day attack on Lebanon, as well as forcing through resolutions against Iran) shows that the UN is little more than a rubber-stamp for America’s imperial aspirations. That has to change.

The world is looking for steadfast and judicious leadership to confront the impending problems of global warming, peak oil, nuclear proliferation, poverty and disease. Instead, we are left with an ineffective “debating society” that has been hopelessly corrupted by the unrelenting arm-twisting and intimidation of the United States. The UN can’t possibly meet the challenges of the new century if it continues to act solely in the interests of one war-mongering state.

The UN’s first obligation should be to address the issues which pose the greatest threat to world peace and security. That means that their primary focus should be on resolving the dispute between Israel-Palestine and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nations, like Israel, that consistently defy clearly-stated UN resolutions should be brought before the General Assembly for a vote to decide whether it should be removed from the world body. That is simply the last “peaceful” option for dealing with persistent violations to international law, and it is an option which the UN must pursue to regain its credibility.

Second, the General Assembly should decide on a plan for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both conflicts have caused tremendous suffering and death while destabilizing the entire region. Whether the Bush administration is receptive to this plan or not is irrelevant. It is the duty of the UN to provide the leadership, the guidance and the moral authority by creating sound alternatives to the daily carnage and despair generated by these crises. The first priority is to stop the killing, remove American troops from Sunni-dominated cities, and convene immediate negotiations with members of the former government, the Iraqi resistance, Shiite leaders, and representatives from the Kurdish leadership.

If the UN’s primary goal is peace and security, then it should insist on a timetable for the withdrawal of all American troops, the closing of all American bases, the relinquishing of all laws initiated by occupation forces, the canceling of all claims to Iraqi resources or capital assets, and a prospective plan for reparations for the damage inflicted on Iraqi society.

The same rule applies to Afghanistan. American intervention has only made conditions worse. There is no reconstruction, no “Marshall Plan”, no democratically-elected government with a broad popular support. It is a drug colony and a hell-hole made worse by American occupation. It’s time to get out. War is not foreign policy. It is an expression of moral corruption.

Will we really wait until Afghanistan degenerates into Iraqi-type horror before we call for an end to the occupation?

These are the issues that really beg for the attention of the United Nations. North Korea and Iran are merely diversions; the next names on Bush’s endless “hit list”

Will the UN continue to waste its time placating the US or will it regain its footing and offer some faint hope for a world that is drifting toward disaster?

The present confrontation with North Korea is another opportunity for the U.N. rise to the occasion, carry out its mandate and show that it can act in a way that is consistent with universally-accepted standards of justice. It must avoid caving in to pressure from the superpower and devote its energy to more pressing issues. The choice could not be clearer; the UN must either further align itself with the criminal state or speak up for the people it is supposed to serve.

Its time to choose.

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By Christopher Scheer, October 12, 2006 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rubaggio: I’ll check out the Daily Show (yea Tivo!) but here’s Bloomberg News:

Bush Denies Iraq Shifted Focus From North Korea’s Nuclear Plans

By Janine Zacharia

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg)—North Korea’s reported nuclear test has again put President George W. Bush on the defensive about Iraq: this time over accusations that the war undermined his key foreign-policy goal of denying such weapons to rogue states. . . .
. . .  He rejected appeals from critics—including James Baker, secretary of state under Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, and Republican Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania—to engage in bilateral dialogue with North Korea to persuade Kim’s regime to abandon its nuclear program.

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By Jon, October 12, 2006 at 7:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know the man likes to talk to god, alone. The problem is, there are humans living in this planet and most if not all humans talk to each other to iron out problems. You can’t start bombing and shooting before you utter a word to the opposing party.

Please, no more war on god’s directives revealation. We are not living in stone age when suupernatural occurrences happened daily and there were more flying angels than birds.

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By Spinoza, October 12, 2006 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

>>>>I, and perhaps others on this site, would really appreciate it if you, Mr. Scheer, would tackle the question of why.  Is it for political gain?  Is it for monetary gain?  Is it sheer stupidity?  Are they all severely challenged psychologically?  In my many readings I have not found anything close to an answer<<<<<<


You would have to understand American politics/ideology to understand some policies which make no sense.  There are two branches of the far right in this country.  One Branch is now led by Pat Buchanan and these people (Lou Dobbs for example) are no longer on the far right. There origin was in the America First movement and many were sympathetic to Fascism as a conservative but non violent movement. Some were associated with Father Coughlin and his anti Semitism/anti foreigner ideology.

Another group of the far right was associated with large scale business interests like Henry Ford and the right wing of the Republican party. There major ideology was promoting anti-communism and free trade and something they called FREEDOM which when teased out meant the ability to extract profits with no limits.  The third force of the far right was not right wing in the 40’s-50’s but a part of the Socialist Party which favored progressive economic policies but were extreme ant-communists. They first allied themselves with the far right of the Democratic Party and after Reagan came to office became the so called neoCons.  What is different about these people is that they are mainly Jewish.  Most of the Far Right in this country are associated with religious groups and mostly the Catholic Church.

The unifying force behind the far right is anti-Communism. In the Bushite regime you have pulled together many of the elements of the far right.  We on the left call them fascists but these people are worse than the fascists as they also believe in neo-liberal, extreme capitalism

The underlying philosophical position of all of the right is called Social Darwinism.  All of the right believes they represent a higher order of people who are “fittest” and it is fair game to kill “commie gooks” who don’t understand that competition is what decides who is to live and die on earth. No one on the right would negotiate with inferior beings (unless forced to). Inferior beings are those that refuse to be controlled by right wingers.

This is the problem world wide. The “left” is under the gun of the right.  It is my view that the left needs to get lots and lots of guns and bigger ones than the right.

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By Grachan Moncur, October 12, 2006 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The appeasement of dictators never works.

“No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb.” Franklin D Roosevelt

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By Jan, October 12, 2006 at 5:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“But since he was more focused on getting his D**K sucked my Monica, we now have this. Thank you liberal scumbags.”

You better thank your rightwing scumbag media friends for keeping this non-story on their collective front pages for 2 years instead of focusing on things that really matter. Get your facts straight and STFU.

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By Paul M Smith, October 12, 2006 at 1:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here is something to consider, and unless King George jumps the gun with an ‘October Surprise’ regarding Iran or North Korea, could make his errant positions on these matters moot issues:

I seem to do some of my clearest thinking while water is running over my head in the shower. Trying problems get solved almost miraculously, seemingly intuitively, and revelations come in a flash.

Yesterday I was so dumbstruck by a concept I almost fell out of the tub.

Regardless what the champion of lies, spin, & dirty tricks (Karl Rove) trys to foist on the American public about the Repugnants holding on to Congress in the upcoming elections, numerous polls point to an opposite conclusion. Perhaps his cohorts in the papertrail-less electronic voting machine industry have given him some inside information that the ‘fix’ is in once again, a serious probability considering the highly suspect results of the previous two presidential elections. With 28 states mandating the laws of their lands require a paper record it should make it much more difficult to steal another election, but very likely not impossible (I am most interested in seeing a comparison of exit poll accuracy between states requiring a paper record and those who don’t).

Disregarding Rove’s attempt to project a positive outlook on the results of the upcoming elections for he and his treasonous un-patriotic cronies, all reasonable signs point to a Democratic take-over of the House & possibly the Senate also. Americans, finally, seem to have become rightfully suspicious & distrustful of the current administration, and it looks like they will carry this anger with them to the polling booths.

Should the Democrats effect the probable take-over (or take-back) of congress we might all be in line for a first, and I’m not talking about one side or the other being able to regain control of the government. This has happened numerous times in our history, and can be attributed to the pendulum swinging out to the extremes radical right or left, but always reaching equilibrium somewhere near the center, wherein the true majority opinions reside.

Here is the first. Should Democrats take control there is the very real possibility Bush & Cheney could not only find themselves impeached, but standing in the docket on criminal charges as well. The speaker of the house would likely end up being Nancy Pelosi, and since this position assumes the presidency in an instance when the president & vice-president become ‘un-available’, we could actually witness our first woman President of the United States. I doubt that even on her worst day she would mis-manage this country as badly as BushCo has done. Negotiation would finally rise above the war crime of pre-emptive attack as a proper tool for foreign policy.
Comment by Paul M Smith on 10/11 at 8:58 am

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By denk, October 11, 2006 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the yanks cant live with an enemy shortage,
they see china as the solution to their “enemy deprivation syndrome”,

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By Christopher Scheer, October 11, 2006 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Should also be noted that when Bush took over the White House, Colin Powell said some very nice things about the Clinton policy on N. Korea but he was sharply reined in by the unilateralists (Cheney, etc.) who later drove him out of the Administration.

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By Tumerica, October 11, 2006 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush’s cavalier attitude toward the threat from above the 38th parallel makes me wonder: has he been double-dog daring North Korea to move forward with their nuclear proliferation in order to futher the U.S. war machine? Otherwise, Bush’s blythe dismissal of threats from Pyongyang is so brutally dumb, it defies imagination. We’re not playing comboys and indians with cork guns, we’re playing it with technology that is a “menace to the survival of life on this planet.”

And this is the world I dared to bring a child into three years ago? This morning I showed her a photo of Kim Jong Il and told her that he is a “very bad man who has some terrible bombs.” She affixed me with her blue-green eyes and said, “Mama, is that man a bomb?” I guess he is, honey, I guess he is. Along with the leader of our own country, they make up a duo of dumb and dumber—only these two have the most dangerous toys of all.

From http://tumerica.blogspot.com

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By ed_tru_lib, October 11, 2006 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob Scheer-what a pleasure to see straight-forward, clear-thinking, AUTHENTIC journalism on this most critical of issues. I wish I could say I wasn’t at least a little surprised. And but for the extreme, even naderesque, leftyloon positions I have had to see you express about Israel’s self defense against the blood-drinkers who would destroy it, and the last hope for freedom and democracy in the part of the world that is the birthplace of same, I wouldn’t be. Please keep up THIS area at least of your great work. We old-enough progressives, who once had the veritable buffet of Sinclair, Krock, Murrow, Cronkite, Kuralt, Lippman, and Scheer, and are now reduced to Sheer on his best days(aka forgetting about the mideast), Olberman (superb, but more the Murrow of Person-to-Person, than that of CBS Reports), and of course Stewart (honest and effective, but just too financially enslaved to his comedy base)
We miss you at your best ,Bob, and like the country, and the LA Times, which I refused to read since they fired you, need you and your truth. Keep up the good work, and good fight, and try to get a little help about Israel’s fight for freedom and survival against islamonazis and their apologists. Hopefully Joe Lieberman will have a lot of free time soon to tutor you on this, the one issue he isn’t totally repuglicrap about.

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By Rubaggio, October 11, 2006 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

James Baker has clearly said that the U.S. should not engage in bilateral negatiations with North Korea.  Reference his interview on the Daily Show from 10/9/06.  Otherwise, good article.

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By Puppet Master, October 11, 2006 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Felicity, the answer to your question is China. Those Neocons are laying down groundwork for the future war with China.

It is not about nuclear proliferation. Those Neocons have argued since the cold war times that the U.S. can execute and win a limited nuclear war. North Korea having couple of A bomds doesn’t matter to them. For that matter, the North Krean bomb triggering a nuclear proliferation in northeast Asia doesn’t matter, either. In any case, they will have a nuclear war there, and they think they can win. This exlains their barely contained grin when they talk about recent nuclear test by North Korea.

Nuclear armed North Korea is what the Neocons have wanted all along. They did everything in their power to make it sure that North Korea is left with no options other than nuclear armarment. This way those Neocons will have nice testing ground for their lmited nuclear war doctrine.

Of course, they will not attack Not Korea in the near future. They will just maintain Korean penninsular as an unstable hot spot until they decide that time is propitious to make a war with China. That time will come in 10 to 20 years.

As a Korean national, I shudder to my bones at the prosepct of such a war. Because there would be no Krean left alive after such a war.

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By Mad as Hell, October 11, 2006 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Dear Sirs,

If Clinton would have just gave that little N. Korean scum the ultimatum, disarm or we will bomb in 10 days, he would have done the job. But since he was more focused on getting his D**K sucked my Monica, we now have this. Thank you liberal scumbags. Now our children will have another war that YOU created, and we have to finish.

Thaks alot..;-(”

Tim. You are a complete moron. Try getting a brain and a life. Try THIS on for size: Do you REALLY think China and Russia would allow a major bombing of their next-door neighbor and client-state, North Korea. Say that slowly…C-H-I-N-A, R-U-S-S-I-A.

Since Mad King George and his band of Merrie Fascists took office they said “Clinton stuff? Bad! Not Clinton stuff? Good!”  They never asked “Is it RIGHT even if it’s Clinton Stuff?”

Following this, Mad King George and the MFs therefore assumed that ALL of Clinton’s policies toward North Korea were bad and had to be reversed.  Therefore, it’s Clinton’s fault.  Not theirs for never bothering to REVIEW the policy…

Clinton should have had BAD policies toward North Korea so that when MKG and MFs came in they would reverse THAT and have a good sound policy.

So it’s all Clinton’s fault for tricking them by having a GOOD policy that they then had to reverse to get a bad one.  That’s Tim Logic!

And this is the arrogant, ignorant incompetent chimp we have trusted to run our country????????

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By chanceny, October 11, 2006 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe, if Pres. Clinton goes on the Sunday talkies and proclaims his belief that the only way to deal with ‘L’il Kim’ is to completely ignore him, boy-king wannabe W will decide (I mean, hi IS the ‘Decider’, no?), to order immediate negotiations.  Or maybe, if Pres. Clinton started advocating ‘blow ‘em up real good’, bushco would retaliate against such possibly calamatous advice, the use of such horrific force, he would ‘decide’ to go all diplomatic on his ass!  W seems to listen only to a higher power who seems to be prosilitizing for the imminent end of days by appointing his own worthless self to be in complete charge of our predestined outcome. But, sinner that he is, he has an obvious jealous hatred for Bill-the- Competent.  He and his army of chickenhawk fear mongers happily and oh so salaciously reversed all Clinton’s tried and tested intelligent policies, from clean air initiatives to diplomatic resolutions to problematic foreign affairs.  They continuously blame all their failures on their sorry inheritance of Clinton’s blunders, incompetence and cowardice.  Their base, those 30 sumpthin percent that would swear to their lord that they witnessed W actually walking on water, would nod the round bumps ‘tween their shoulders (‘heads’ - though I wince acknowledging they truly are attached to one), and they’d dutifully spread the word of the newest anti-Clinton-demonizing tactic.  I mean, how much worse can things get if we know Henry Kiss-of-Deathinger is the ‘Decider’s’ trusted advisor!  I bet the Chinese are clicking their chopsticks as they watch a paper tiger bluster at the wily maniac, L’il Kim, now armed to his sharp teeth, as W points his effin finger in an embarrassing show of his true strength.  The Chinese can bear witness to this historical drama for, whatever the outcome, they have already been rewarded.  They are holding a massive mortgage on our economic stability. So, maybe, just Maybe, Pres. Clinton will again enlist his services to our beleagured country, and pay a little friendly visit to the oval office resident de jour.  He could graciously bring some Chinese food to alleviate the possible tension W might suffer cause an actual adult was in the room!  The conversation could spark a defiant W, secretly planning his strategery as he pretended to listen intently as Clinton spoke. He would embarrass Clinton by going on record declaring how he had outwitted Clinton by deciding to pursue the exact opposite strategy that the ex-president he so loathes had advised.  I know, I’m nuts.  Grasping at straws.  Won’t breathe easy till after elections.

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By felicity, October 11, 2006 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IS ANYBODY ELSE ASKING WHY?

Granted, there probably are as many personal agendas as there are players in the Bush administration, but the fact that they all come together and agree on policies which are disastrous for this country still leaves the unanwered the question of WHY.

I, and perhaps others on this site, would really appreciate it if you, Mr. Scheer, would tackle the question of why.  Is it for political gain?  Is it for monetary gain?  Is it sheer stupidity?  Are they all severly challenged psychologically?  In my many readings I have not found anything close to an answer.

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By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, October 11, 2006 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If I didn’t know Robert Scheer and his propensity for truth, I’d say this essay was written for some other reason.  As I do know his dedication to bringing truth to the American people, this is shocking and appalling.  It is frightening as hell, too.  For all the years the republican congress has known Bush’s dnagerous tactics in dealing with our most fierce enemies, they’ve sat back and allowed him to bring us to the very brink of disaster.

From the outset of this administration, the behavior of our president has been to bully, threaten and, like a fifth grader, call names.  His efforts at making peace with rogue countries has been nil.  WHO is he to refuse to sit down for dialogue with nations he considers a threat?  Is it because he knows he doesn’t have the intellect to pull it off?  Is it his ego which is the most dangerous thing to life on Earth?

From the outset, we’ve heard of the damgers of North Korea.  Why has he let it reach the point of no return?  It seems to me that he’s simply slathering at the mouth to drop the big bomb.  When two mad men go head to head only disaster can be the result.

If North Korea looks at the past and what our country did to it, it has plenty of cause to be upset and more that plenty to want vengence.  If they’ve developed missles that will reach Alaska, all thanks to Bush, what now is the next step?

When democrats take back congress in November, they still cannot force “bull-head” Bush to do the sensible things in keeping our country safe!

I hope the supreme court who put him in office the first time are happy.  I hope the idiots who bought him the second election is happy.  I wonder if they feel that losing our country to nuclear war was worth it all.

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By JANickols@AOL.Com, October 11, 2006 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob:

In a word the USA is simply screwed until we get a new administration. President Bush openly acknowledges he has never made a mistake and so ends the dispute. Perhaps a new President can sort this mess out. Now we wait with our fingers crossed hoping the “Dear Leader” doesn’t send a nuke to Two Harbors, California.

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By Gloria Picchetti, October 11, 2006 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clintons Fault! When will it ever end? To the neocons when they lose a golf game, when their daughter marries the village drunk, when they have gas (in the intestines not the vehicle!) - it’s all Clinton’s fault. They need to fess up & come clean. Billy Clinton has not been in the White House for almost ten years. If they want to retro fault go back to Reagan. Reagan’s “tax cuts” almost put me out of my apartment & into the streets.

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By tim, October 11, 2006 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Sirs,

    If Clinton would have just gave that little N. Korean scum the ultimatum, disarm or we will bomb in 10 days, he would have done the job. But since he was more focused on getting his D**K sucked my Monica, we now have this. Thank you liberal scumbags. Now our children will have another war that YOU created, and we have to finish.

Thaks alot..;-(

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By GW=MCHammered, October 11, 2006 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry John Wayne.

Too many cowboy whoop-ass wannabes took us far off the cowtrail and deep into the cowpie. I’m not sure you would approve having been a man of both gun-slinging brawn AND intellect. Yet here we are, a nation run by cowpokes all drunked-up on trope. And just like our chief buckaroo, his compadres confuse excitement with importance; they romanticize their delusions of grandeur; and worst of all, they piss-off just about every other rodeo rider they cross paths. And now all want bigger guns. Go figure.

But I’ll sleep well, ol’ Duke. For I see a posse of sanity riding over that (capitol) hill. And it looks like you just might be the paladin leading them.

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By Becky Ellis, October 11, 2006 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wondered how long it would take for GWB and his evil conrades to play the Clinton Card.  It is so easy to just fall back and point the finger at Bill and Hillary for causing N. Korea, the Foley mess and 9/11.  Madeline Albright went to N. Korea to talk….Condi won’t even consider doing so.  Could it be that these vile folks in White House are thrilled that N. Korea has acted up at this time????  Duhhhhhh!!

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By Lee Driver, October 11, 2006 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Would Mrs. Bush please call her boy in, feed him an organic meal, read a little more from Huck Finn, and tuck him in. It’s getting late.

It could be said he should be sent to bed with no dinner for poking a stick in that Korean boy’s eye, but a little compassion can go a long way.

But tomorrow, surely tomorrow, she’ll have to finally tell him he can no longer play with those older boys, Dick and Don, from down the street. Their influence has become a real problem.

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By StuartH, October 11, 2006 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I sure wish that this article and the question of what caused this crisis were widely available. Mostly the press is quoting Bush or Bolton, who are blaming Clinton.  NPR asked “Our UN Representative” about the assertion that this had been set off by the “axis of evil” speech and he dismissed that as simplistic.

The level of debate in the country on this subject is truly frightening.  Bush is not getting any real criticism for his cowboy approach and may be looking positively decisive to many people.

The general problem here is that America is pretty ignorant about what is going on beyond US borders. 

Given this, we may well see some bad results.  One can imagine many scenarios for how things could get worse.  Usually the way it really happens is unimaginable. 

Bush is the problem in the world.  The best we could hope for is that a Democratically controlled Congress limits his options so the damage he can do isn’t as bad as it could be.

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By Rob Schmidt, October 11, 2006 at 7:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As someone suggested recently, the Axis of Evil is kicking Bush’s butt.

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By Quy Tran, October 11, 2006 at 7:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At the King George dynasty’s final years, its reputation touched down to bottom. Many and many Americans though they picked a wrong King and felt sorry about their huge and inexcusable mistakes (not one but twice). King George ratings sank below Nixon’s and Carter’s worst but he’s still dancing around with his illusory glory and is exactly looking alike a chimpanzee in a velvet cage. All of a sudden the “Commander in Chief” has transformed into “The Commander in CHEF”.

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By Quy Tran, October 11, 2006 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At last the North Korea self-proclaimed nuclear test becomes reality. The King George policy against it will surely be the classic and outmoded ones : the sanctions. It was crystal clear that King George dynasty did not want to find a diplomatic solution to Pyongyang nuclear testings and obviously the King had ignored repeated offers by North Korea to hold talks. What hypocrisy ! King George dynasty demanded that Pyongyang have to stop all testings while he continued to expand his huge nuclear arsenal of thousands kinds of nukes. Moreover he also covered up and never mentioned about huge nuclear stockpiles of Israel kingdom. Diplomatic solution will never push the other side against the wall - especially other side is (are) Asian communists - and should know how to open several avenues to solve the problem. The outmoded sanctions will not be influential to Pyongyang government, and North Korea considers sanctions as kind of bogy, but the majority of North Koreans have to become victimized. One wise advise to King George and his inner staff that never fight with crazy nuts because they don’t have anything to lose. If King George really and truly wants to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons he ought to have a correct policy that is to initiate global nuclear disarmament starting the U.S. itself then banning all nuclear arsenals in all countries, friends or foes. If King George can do that I’ll vote for him this time without any hesitation. Oh, I forgot could he be applied for third term ?

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By John Earl, October 11, 2006 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the culprits in this yet another Bush debacle is John Bolton. Can he remain as our spokesman at the United Nations?

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By bob choquette, October 11, 2006 at 6:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gee, I can’t wait to see the outcome of our non-negotiations and our hardline policy towards Iran. However Iran may have an edge as their leader might read a newspaper and may have already come to the conclusion that his opponent is toothless.

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By Jane N, October 11, 2006 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Chinese are going to finesse this situation. Hmm, the Chinese, don’t we owe them a whole lot of money? Do most Americans know that? The Chinese are much smarter than we know and they’re not going to use sabers to end up the most powerful country in the world,though I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that government. George Bush seems like such a foolish, ignorant, vain bully, and oddly caricature like. It’s hard to believe he’s real. It’s tragic realizing that he is.

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By Spinoza, October 11, 2006 at 1:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Mr. Sheer for your thoughtful article. Unfortunately I saw the fascist CNN and it is totally disgusting how evil and dishonest our media is.

It is sad for the poor Korean people who have been aggressed upon by the USA terribly.  It is estimated that half the population of North Korea was killed by the American war against the “commie gooks” and that not one building was left standing in all of North Korea.  It was one of the most devastating bombings in history. Tons and tons of napalm were used. Tens of thousands were burnt to death.  We showed no mercy.  We even planned to use 30 atomic bombs on them at one point.  But then again we are a good Christian Nation. The Koreans like everyone else are perfectly right to run their own country and defend it as they see fit.  I don’t believe in Nation- States but as long as we have them each must be treated fairly and equally. The Bushites are pure evil and they should be eliminated from the planet.

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By Sy Einstoss, October 10, 2006 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I could visualize all the threatened third world countries seeking nuclear missiles from North Korea and the US sponsered sanctions being completely useless.

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