March 25 2005
UPDATES: Scott Rasmussen sends word that Bush is going
to be down again in his sample out today. The Clarke Effect is
in full bloom. Rasumussen is also going to have some state polls
out as well, so be sure to check in for the updates. And there's
a new SUSA poll out for
WA that's showing a bit of a Nader Effect as well.
UPDATE to the UPDATES: Rasmussen
is out. - T. Bevan 11:35 am
A SIMPLE QUESTION: If Richard Clarke is really such
a patriot and if he's truly
sorry to the families of September 11 for failing to protect
their loved ones, why is he exploiting the publicity of the 9/11
Commission for profit?
find this even a little problematic from an ethical perspective?
Simon & Schuster
may be behind the final release date of the book, but if Clarke
had been in favor of delaying the date at the very least he could
have made a statement saying as much.
he could have laid out his criticisms of the Bush administration
in an op-ed for the Washington Post or NY Times and touted the
details of his "soon-to-be-released book," thereby giving
himself time to testify before the commission without having a
vested financial interest in his appearance.
of whether the charges in his book are true or not, it's beyond
despicable that this man and his publishing company are profiting
from the search for answers to America's worst national tragedy.
RICHARD CLARKE IS GOOD FOR BUSH: Now that I've gotten
that off my chest, let's move on to another point. I don't care
who makes the argument or how it is packaged, I just don't think
the public is going to buy the idea that the Clinton administration's
8-year record on the issue of terrorism demonstrates a "sense
of urgency" while the Bush administration's 8-month record
leading up to September 11 does not. We'll have to wait and see.
a worst-case scenario - which I still personally think is absurd
- is that the public may come to the assessment that both administrations
handled the issue about the same and that the Bush administration
continued the Clinton administration's policy- a policy that in
hindsight simply wasn't aggressive enough and effective enough
to prevent 9/11.
the real point. If you've watched the hearings, one thing has
been made crystal clear: the Clinton administration was unwilling
to mount an effort to take out bin Laden and the Taliban because,
as we heard ad nauseam from Madeleine Albright, of the "pre-September
11th mind set" at home and abroad. It was also made clear,
however, that the Clinton administration was more than willing
and able to make the case for intervention in Kosovo.
we knew the former was a serious national security threat to the
United States while the latter was not. So what's the difference
between the two cases? You guessed it: the acquiescence of our
the charge into military action in Bosnia at the insistence of
Europe because the European leaders deemed the use of U.S. military
force in Kosovo in a humanitarian capacity to be perfectly acceptable.
When it came
to Afghanistan, however, the Clinton folks were not willing to
risk the disapproval of Europe to use military force to do what
we now know needed to be done to protect ourselves.
To be fair,
it has to be acknowledged that prior to September 11 the Bush
administration wasn't willing to do this either. But after September
11, any reluctance we had about letting the protestations of allies
prevent us from doing what we needed to do to exterminate terrorists
went out the window - which is exactly where it should have gone.
us back to the current Presidential race. If the most important
lesson to be learned from the September 11 Commission is that
America's safety depends on the willingness of leaders to pursue
an aggressive policy against terrorism that will, at times, require
them to have the courage go against the wishes of our allies,
that's a winner for Bush, not Kerry.
is to return American foreign policy to a more "internationalist"
approach similar in almost every respect to that practiced during
the Clinton administration. If the last two days have proven anything,
it's that that line of thinking is not only ineffective, but deadly
YOU SAY AND DO: Uh oh. Somebody get
Bob Shrum on the phone:
a question-and-answer session before a Senate committee in 1971,
John F. Kerry, who was a leading antiwar activist at the time,
asserted that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being "murdered
by the United States of America" and said he had gone to
the Paris and "talked with both delegations at the peace
talks" and met with communist representatives.
Kerry, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee,
yesterday confirmed through a spokesman that he did go to Paris
and talked privately with a leading communist representative.
But the spokesman played down the extent of Kerry's role and
said Kerry did not engage in negotiations.
about the appropriateness of Kerry's saying that the United
States had "murdered" 200,000 Vietnamese annually
when the United States was at war, Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan
said "Senator Kerry used a word he deems inappropriate."
of the word "murder" is comical and convenient, but
what he said in 1971 isn't nearly as damaging as what he did.
Meeting with Communists in Paris is the stuff of parody, and it
reinforces just about every negative aspect of John Kerry you
the guy really is an "International
Man of Mystery" after all. - T. Bevan 9:45 am
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March 24 2004
ANOTHER BIG HEADACHE FOR BUSH: As if the President
didn't have enough on his plate right now - keeping the country
safe, dealing with Iraq, worrying about when the economy is going
to start producing jobs, and that little matter of convincing
a majority of the American people he should keep his job - now
he has to deal with the killing
of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.
to retaliate - not only against Israel but against the United
States. Al Qaeda is also on
board. And Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says more
targeted killings are on the way.
I can sympathize
with Israel's frustration over having to tolerate a certain level
of terrorism while it works to find a solution to end the Palestinian
conflict. It's been a difficult, elusive process that has gone
on far too long.
I can also
understand the argument that Yassin
was Israel's OBL. Underneath the fragile, wheelchair-bound
exterior was a morally bankrupt and deeply evil man. He was a
monster who got exactly what he deserved, and no one can tell
the Israelis they weren't within their right to take action against
a person directly responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of
their innocent citizens.
can't help but think the killing of Yassin was a tactical mistake.
Israel had lived with Yassin for years, so why assassinate him
now? Sharon's pull out of Gaza isn't scheduled until next year.
So why not wait? Why not take him into custody and/or put him
on trial and execute him at a later date?
hardliner Abdel Aziz Rantisi is taking control of Hamas, Israel
will probably be forced to strike him in the near future as well.
Arafat and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah are also in the
cross hairs. Yassin's assassination may have set in motion a string
of events with many consequences, intended and unintended.
To my mind,
the big question is whether Sharon's decision to take Yassin out
may adversely affect our ability to pursue the overall War on
death does lead to a huge conflagration in the Middle East, won't
that place an additional burden on the United States that will
require vast amounts of time and effort to settle?
we're already racing against the clock with everything we have
to meet the deadline for the transfer of power to the new government
in Iraq on July 1, a blow up in the Middle East right now could
be big trouble.
me wrong. I'm all for Israel's right to defend herself against
terrorists. But I'm also for taking whatever steps can be taken
at the appropriate time that are in the best interests of all
those who are battling terrorism. In other words, we're on the
if the news reports are to be believed, I'm astonished that Sharon
would conduct a dramatic, high profile targeted assassination
with such serious possible ramifications without
giving us any advance warning. If, as
some suggest, the Bush administration did give the tacit green
light to Sharon, then I think they've made a strategic miscalculation
I mean, here
is the big picture: the United States is already leading a Herculean
effort to fight terrorists around the world. We're doing it aggressively,
we're doing it in spite of heavy resistance in the international
community, and we're doing it at a very high personal cost.
there has been no greater beneficiary of Saddam's removal in the
short-term than Israel. No more SCUD
missiles just across the border and no more $25,000
checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
we're already in a difficult position on the battleground of world
opinion and we're constantly struggling to to counter the easy,
anti-American scapegoating that continues in Muslim countries.
The Yassin assassination makes that job more difficult, especially
when it causes the rest of the world including allies
like Britain to condemn it.
a responsibility to defend his people first and foremost, but
he should also act with a realization and recognition of how his
actions may affect his closest and most loyal allies.
be lost on Sharon that it is in Israel's best national security
interests to have George W. Bush occupying the White House for
another four years. Sharon shouldn't be acting in ways that make
that task more difficult (unless absolutely necessary) and Yassin's
assassination might very well do just that if it further complicates
the situation in the Middle East and strains our ability get Iraq
on solid ground by the time November 2 rolls around.
is done. The pressure that will be put on the Bush administration
is going to be intense. Now more than ever, America is both Satan
and Savior to many in the Arab world. To get a flavor of what
I'm talking about see this Arab
gloves are off. Nothing can be ruled out. At this critical time,
the Palestinians stand united against Israel; so do the Arabs.
But that is not enough. There must be a determination at last
to force Israel to halt its murders. It has canceled a meeting
with Qorei. It must be forced to the negotiating table, forced
into concessions. There is only one state that can do this.
demand action by Washington to rein in the Israeli murderers,
to stop Israeli terror. Is Washington sincere in its commitment
to justice, or is it as usual only going to mouth platitudes
and do nothing? To quote George Bush, if it is not with us,
it is against us.
As I said,
another big headache for President Bush.- T. Bevan 12:01
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COMMISSION: Former Senator Bob
Kerrey was particularly devastating in his questioning
of Madeleine Albright.
It seems to me during the Clinton administration there were
two big mistakes and I wonder if you'd comment on them. The
first is that from 1993 through 2001, the United States of America
was either attacked or we prevented attack by radical Islamists
close to a dozen times, either where the attack was successful
or whether we interrupted the attack. And that during that period
of time, not only did we not engage in any single military attack
other than the 20th of August 1998 -- there was no attack against
al Qaeda during that entire period of time. Indeed, the presidential
directive that was -- the operative one of 62, that was written
and signed in May of 1998, didn't give the military primary
authority in counterterrorism. They were still responsible for
supporting the states and local governments if we were attacked
and they were still providing support for the Department of
Justice and doing investigations.
seems to me especially -- you cited the '93 case with Iraq,
the bombing of Iraq -- it seems to me that that was a terrible
mistake. Indeed, the commission has seen evidence that people
at lower levels of the Department of Defense and Dick Clarke
himself were preparing analyses suggesting more aggressive military
efforts and it went nowhere.
mistake number one that I think was a big one. And the second
one was after we had reason to believe that the Saudis were
financing terrorists who were at least indirectly connected,
if not directly connected, with killing Americans on the 7th
of August 1998, that we didn't threaten to freeze their assets
or actually freeze their assets; something that my guess is
would have a dramatic impact on the kingdom's willingness to
continue to behave in that fashion. So those are the two mistakes
that I think were made during the Clinton administration.
one, I think, is a really large one. Honestly, I don't understand
if we're attacked and attacked and attacked and attacked, why
we continue to send the FBI over like the Khobar Towers was
a crime scene or the East African embassy bombings was a crime
scene. You said we had balance between military effort and diplomacy.
And frankly, I've got to say, it seems to me it was very unbalanced
in favor of diplomacy against military efforts.
... very difficult to assess what the targets would have been.
And in many cases, some of the linkages that have been made
now were not evident at the particular time. And to bomb at
random or use military force I think would have created a situation
that would have made our lives, American lives, even more difficult
within the Muslim world. These are judgments that have to be
made. And I think I'm known well enough inside and outside the
government as somebody who was always willing to match diplomacy
with force. And so, I do believe that we used force when it
was appropriate, and strongly. So I think that...
Madam Secretary, with great respect, after August of '98 you
and I both know what we did. I think it's a straw man to say
that we're going to have random bombing or indiscriminate bombing.
That's not what we're proposing at all. I keep hearing the excuse
we didn't have actionable intelligence. Well, what the hell
does that say to al Qaeda? Basically, they knew -- beginning
in 1993 it seems to me -- that there was going to be limited,
if any, use of military and that they were relatively free to
do whatever they wanted.
As I said,
TO BLAME?: The truth is both the Clinton and Bush Administrations
blew it prior to 9/11. Why Democrats are seeking to score political
points against President Bush and blame him for not preventing
9/11 is beyond me.
analysis of the critical years before 9/11 shows the Clinton Administration
far more culpable than President Bush. All the spinning and the
Richard Clarke books in the world aren't going to change the fact
that Clinton presided over eight years that included the first
WTC bombing, Khobar Towers, the African Embassy attacks, and the
USS Cole where the strongest military in the history of the world
did just about nothing to respond.
Bush had eight months and no attacks prior to 9/11. It's a joke
that the Democrats think this is a playing field where they feel
they can score political points.
issue for the country isn't who's to blame. The issue is what
went wrong, so we can learn form our mistakes and decide how best
to go forward with the War on Terror.
KERREY: I had always liked Bob Kerrey when he was a member
of the Senate. If the Democratic Party had more members like him
and less members like Nancy Pelosi the party would be in a much
better position to compete nationally.
have a 6-8 week period that is almost unforgivable, right before
the 2000 election and in the immediate aftermath when he uncharacteristically
became a partisan hack of the worst sort. Before the election
he accused Bush of being AWOL and then in the Florida fiasco
he was an active participant in the Gore campaign's attempt to
undo the Florida results.
Kerrey was unsure on whether he would seek the 2004 nomination
and he thought this was a easy way he could score points with
the hard-left of the Democratic base.
the rejection of Joe Lieberman, maybe Kerrey has finally accepted
the reality that his form of Democratic politics (especially on
security and national defense issues) no longer comports with
where the Democratic Party is today.
ALBRIGHT: I found Albright's testimony to
be particularly obnoxious. Our friend Hugh
Hewitt does a good job exposing her self-serving remarks:
DECEPTION: Senator Gorton, on why nothing was done after 1998
to try and stop bin Laden:
many other potential covert or cruise missile kinds of responses
were considered, all ran up against an objection that the
intelligence wasn't actionable, that you didn't know what,
ah, that there was no appropriate target, or that there'd
be collateral damage, so every such suggestion was, you know,
frustrated and came to naught before 9/11, is that not correct?
Albright : "I have no way of judging what happened inside
the Bush Administrating from January to September..."
Gorton: "But you do know nothing happened?"
"Well I do know that, but I also, um, do know that many of
the, ah, um, policy issues that we had developed were not
followed up, and I have to say with great sadness, ah, to
watch an incoming Administration kind of take apart a lot
of the policies that we did have, whether it had to do with
North Korea or the Balkans, was difficult. So I think, ah,
ah, I think you have to ask people that were in the Bush Administration
as to how they saw things on this particular issue, but I
do think, ah, in all fairness, that 9/11 was a cataclysmic
event ah, that changed things and that they must have had
similar reactions. But clearly there are many issues and many
questions now about how they were responding ah, to the terrorist
threat and how seriously they took it. You are going to have
some other witnesses here, ah, who will be more capable of
responding to that question than I because I know nothing
beyond what I read."
repugnant in the depth of its deception and sophistry. Asked
tough questions, Albright shifted the subject from what the
Clinton Administration didn't do and then to the Bush Administration
abandonment of Clinton's North Korean and Balkan policies (thank
goodness we gave up on the benefits of being hornswaggled by
Kim Jong Il) to leave the impression, implicit only, that the
Bush Administration abandoned anti-al Qaeda initiatives as well.
Initiatives like not trying to take him out when the drone spotted
him in the fall? This is a hearing for the historians to mull
over, and when they do, it will not go well for Madame Secretary.....
were operational long before January 20, 2001. The opportunity
to stop them came and went sometime in the mid to late '90s,
when the Clinton gang couldn't be bothered to try anything with
al Qaeda that didn't begin and end with an indictment and a
subpoena. For eight years it was talk, talk, talk; posture,
posture, posture; campaign, campaign, campaign. And the plans
were hatched and matured. Period.
a political standpoint it is astonishing that the Democrats feel
there is something in this entire story that is beneficial to
AHMED YASSIN: I'm glad he is dead. Yesterday's Chicago
blares the headline "Hamas: War is Opened." Gee,
really? This may be news to some people but Hamas' War was opened
a long time before yesterday.
Stephens had a good article on this which headlined the site
yesterday, it is worth a read if you missed it. NRO's
John Derbyshire had a couple of good points as well.
This is one of the front-page
headlines in today's New York Times; "Medicare
Overseers Expect Costs to Soar in Coming Decades." Why is
this a surprise to anyone? - J. McIntyre 7:55am | Link
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March 23 2004
Short on time this morning, back in a bit with more. Updated polls
here and here.
Election 2004 News here.
MARRIAGE UPDATE: No big rant today, just some tidbits
from around the country:
sponsors of the FMA, Congresswoman
Marilyn Musgrave and Senator
Wayne Allard have changed
the wording of the amendment to "leave state legislatures
with the unambiguous right to recognize civil unions."
Atlanta the other day, a group of about two dozen African-American
the ban on gay marriage currently under consideration in the
Georgia state house. One pastor said, "to equate a lifestyle
choice to racism demeans the work of the entire civil rights movement."
people showed up on the steps of the state capitol in St.Paul
yesterday for a "Minnesota for Marriage" rally in advance
of Wednesday's vote on a Constitutional ban.
Corps poll (done by GQR) shows the public remains unfavorably
disposed to the idea of gay marriage by nearly 40 points (23-61).
The public is evenly split on the question of whether homosexuality
is a way of life that should be "accepted" or "discouraged"
by society (45-48). Finally, by a substantial 20-point margin
those polled say they are NOT in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution
to ban gay marriage (36-56).
Ricardo Pimentel has a column in today's Arizona Republic
demonstrating just how slippery the slope we're on will be.
NEW SPECIAL OPS GUY: Not quite Pat
Tillman territory, but still
pretty cool. - T. Bevan 8:55 am | Link
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March 22 2004
THE FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT: I don't recall seeing
a more well-orchestrated, well-timed, full frontal assault on
a political figure than what we're seeing the Democrats do to
President Bush right now. Forget references to Richard Clarke
as "a Reagan appointee," that's nothing but window dressing.
are well aware that President Bush's most favorable political
attribute is his determined pursuit of the War on Terror. Approval
for his leadership in the War on Terror remains well
above sixty percent and he holds a substantial
lead lead over John Kerry on the issue.
to have any chance at all of winning in November, Democrats know
they have to destroy Bush's standing as a War President and they
have to do it fast - before the Bush team can plant the image
in the public's mind that John Kerry is soft on national security.
this daunting task, Democrats have resorted not just to an argument
of process (i.e. Bush has made progress battling terrorism but
would be doing a better job if not for mistakes X, Y & Z)
but have coalesced around what I would call "The Big Lie:"
that Bush is and has always been soft on terror.
Here is the
anatomy of the assault. Paul
Krugman launched the attack last week (duly noted on this
very blog) accusing Bush of being "weak on terror."
Yglesias followed up shortly thereafter repeating the Big
Lie in The American Prospect online - saying
on his blog, ironically enough, that the only problem with
Krugman's effort was that "he's just not shrill enough about
moved into high speed over the weekend. Leading up to his testimony
before the 9/11 commission, Richard Clarke appeared on 60
Minutes and laid into Bush. There was no discussion of the
terrorist attacks during the Clinton administration, no critical
analysis of how the previous administration's response (or lack
thereof) to those events may played a role in changing Clarke's
mind about the urgent nature of the threat posed by al-Qaeda.
Nothing but blame for Bush.
on the other side of town former Clinton Chief of Staff John
Podesta got his hands on internal FBI and DoJ budgetary memos
showing the Bush administration not fully acceeding to the FBI's
request for an additional $1.5 billion funding for counter terrorism.
Podesta leaked the documents to Dana
Milbank at the Washington Post, who wrote the story up today
on page A6 in a tone not much different from the partisan hit
job that appeared on the Center
for American Progress' own web site.
The New York Times, CBS News and The Washington
Post flooding the zone with interviews featuring and talking
points distributed by former Clinton officials. And liberals complain
that Fox News is a pipeline for the RNC? At least Condi Rice got
a chance to respond on the
WaPo op-ed page.
is whether Richard Clarke's dog can hunt. I don't think it's necessarily
fair to paint him as just a "disgruntled employee" but
it is fair to note that he's out to try and sell books. I will
say this: I can understand that someone who's job is to walk around
and bang the drums about terrorism all day might get good and
upset when people don't give him the attention he thinks he deserves.
of the matter is that Clarke wanted to push the same plan (actually
it wasn't even a cohesive plan but a set of ideas) already rejected
by his former bosses in the Clinton administration, that I believe
included trying to assissinate Osama bin Laden and forcibly remove
way we've seen liberals react to George Bush's aggressive handling
of the War on Terror, I think it's fair to say we would have had
a national vein-popping epidemic on our hands if Bush had said
to Clarke in early 2001, "you're absolutely right Dick, OBL
is an imminent threat to our national security and we need to
preemptively bomb the piss out of Afghanistan, invade the country
and take him out."
is so ridiculous (and audacious) about this entire ploy. For the
better part of three years we've been listening to liberals whine
that Bush is an overly aggressive cowboy, a unilateralist Nazi
trampling on our civil rights at home and the feelings of our
European friends abroad in pursuit of a "war" that many
on the left have repeatedly said did and does not exist.
months before the election and we're getting a full 180 degree
pivot from the same people accusing Bush of being soft on terror.
It's as fake and phony as the wrinkle-free skin on John Kerry's
forehead. - T. Bevan 6:27 pm | Link
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RICHARD CLARKE & THE TERRORIST THREAT: I've
got Richard Clarke on Tivo and I'm going to watch his appearance
a second time
before writing up some comments for a special PM Edition of the
RCP Blog - so be sure to check in again later today.
aside the whole l'affaire du Clarke for a moment and get down
to brass tacks: are we making progress against the threat of terrorism
or not? It looks to me like one of those "absolutely yes,
up a good number of al-Qaeda's leaders over the past two years
and they are a weaker organization as a result. But,
as the CS
Monitor reports this morning, the Madrid investigation is
revealing an amorphous terrorist network throughout Europe that
seems to have generated (or regenerated) over the past year or
two and may have few direct links to al-Qaeda. Here are three
attack has revealed "an accumulation of strata from different
networks that had been damaged but which managed to fuse, a
patchwork of leftovers" that re-generated itself, says
Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French secret service agent now
investigating Al Qaeda for lawyers representing relatives of
fusion illustrates how "the threat of terrorism has shifted
from Al Qaeda to associated organizations" inspired by
Osama bin Laden without necessarily waiting for his orders,
says Rohan Gunaratna, author of "Inside Al Qaeda: Global
Network of Terror." "Al Qaeda has become a movement,
it is no longer a single group."
key, Dr. Gunaratna argues, is closer international cooperation
among intelligence services. "European security services
are still looking at terrorist networks as national problems,"
he says. "They have not matched the integration Al Qaeda
has achieved in combining networks."
We get a
similar assessment from today's Dallas
Morning News. In a piece titled "Al-Qaeda: Its true nature
eludes West," reporter Tod Robberson writes:
Beaver, a defense analyst and editor of the newsletter Homeland
Response, suggested the impact of Mr. Zawahiri's potential capture
could be minimal because al-Qaeda's leadership and command are
they do in terms of planning and recruiting is done individually.
One of the problems you've got now is that this is an evolving
organization," he explained. "It's like a bacteria.
Every time we find an antidote to it, it evolves into a new
Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political
Thought in London, said it is wrong to think of al Qaeda as
a single, definable entity.
increasingly convinced that we are not dealing with one organization,"
he said. "Al-Qaeda is probably nothing more than Osama
bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and a few others working with them.
This [broader network] is much, much bigger than anything Osama
bin Laden objectively is capable of directing."
take on these developments is obvious - not to mention obviously
political: the reconstitution of al-Qaeda and affiliates is evidence
the Bush administration has failed in the battle against terror.
A further assertion would be that the world is more dangerous
now than it was two years ago and George W. Bush's policies are
fact that al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been forced to mutate
at all is proof that we've been successful in damaging their operational
If it is
true that what we have now is Osama and Ayman in a cave in Pakistan
and a ragtag network of groups getting together and freelancing
when and where they can around the globe, that's certainly a formidable
problem. But it's a problem created by progress, not passivity.
In a very
short time we've eliminated centralized training camps for would-be
terrorists, we've disrupted their ability to move money around
the world to finance attacks, and through the use of military
force and diplomacy we've assured that terrorists will get no
more protection - and significantly less tolerance - from governments
in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
that the world is more dangerous today than it was two years ago
only exists because we've shed the false sense of security we
lived with for so long. Now that we've accepted the reality that
there is a group of people who spend every waking moment plotting
our destruction, it's beyond dispute that our government has taken
action over the last two and a half years to make the country
and the world a safer place.
of the moment is whether they could have done even more, both
before and after September 11. That's a debate we're going to
have over the next 8 months and, as we can already see, it's going
to involve a lot of finger pointing, accusations about who did
what when, and blame-laying.
It's a debate
we absolutely must have as a country, too, but we should take
care not to let it distract us from what's truly important or
to let it become so divisive that it gives our enemies hope.
BULLY LEFT BEHIND: Stories like
this leave a big, fat pit in my stomach.
In the last
six months, teachers in Chicago's public schools have reported
970 incidents of being verbally or physically abused by their
students. That works out to more than five incidents a day as
represents a 25% increase versus year ago. Physical assaults alone
are up seventeen percent.
As with most
of these types of statistics, their release is accompanied by
officials say the numbers show that more teachers are reporting
offenses, not that there are more incidents.
do have higher numbers than last year, no doubt about it,"
said Andres Durbak, the head of safety and security for the
district for the last two years. "We are encouraging teachers
to report [incidents] more. We don't want teachers to hide things."
many teachers and officials from the Chicago Teachers Union
say the number of assaults is probably much higher than what
is reported. They say many incidents go unreported because teachers
fear retaliation or loss of their job. Some say they feel pressured
by school administrators to just let the incident go.
these things are swept under the rug, kept in-house," said
Karl Sundstrom, a colleague of a teacher who was attacked at
Westinghouse High School. "It's one of those dirty little
secrets. Maybe it would bring disrepute upon the school or the
school system at large. It's just bad publicity."
seeing an increase in actual abuse or just an increase in the
reporting of abuse, the numbers still stink.
arguments you may hear from liberals and NEA members, no amount
of money can fix this problem. I take that back. Theoretically,
I guess we could spend tens of billions of more dollars militarizing
our public schools and turning them into thousands of mini-Guantanemo
Bay look-a likes, putting a security guard in every classroom,
along with those already patrolling the playgrounds and manning
the metal detectors at every door. Plenty of America's public
schools already look close to this anyway.
Or we could
radically rethink how we go about educating children in this country.
We could recognize that a monopolistic public school system operating
without the rigors of competition leaves millions of children
trapped in a helpless, hopeless, and in some cases, dangerous
situation. For many inner-city kids today America's public education
system is a limitation on their future rather than a passport
to a better life. - T. Bevan 9:39 am | Link
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