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You think I'm being funny?  You think I'm going over the top?  I'm not laughing.

In as direct a way as anyone not actually on board the planes that day, the patron saint of conservatives is responsible for the events of 9/11.  Possibly more so than Osama bin Laden.

Here's the history of a quarter century, written out in blood, oil, good intentions, bad execution, foolish pride, and visions both broad in narrow. This is how we all followed St. Ronald down the road to 9/11.

The first step to that awful morning in September came quietly, while no one was paying attention.  In fact, it was so subtle that now the date is hard to pinpoint.  Somewhere around 1970, the United States passed peak domestic oil production.  That year, the annual domestic oil production in the United States hit 4.1 billion barrels.  It never would again.  By 2000, that number would be down to 2.8 billion barrels.

In 1970, the United States already imported 22% of its oil.  By 1973, that number had almost doubled to 36%. We were increasing our total energy consumption by 5% a year, and practically all of that energy was flowing in from overseas.  Even then, America slept right through the growing dependence as Vietnam and the first inklings of something funny happening at a Washington hotel played out in the news.  We were about to get a wakeup call.

The alarm went off while Americans were still learning the vocabulary of Watergate. While we were pondering "Deep throat," Egypt and Syria were building up forces along their disputed borders with Israel.  On October 6, 1973 both countries launched the opening movements of the Yom Kippur War.  The Israelis were outnumbered on both fronts, and for four days they suffered heavy losses as opposition forces advanced.  Then on October 10, they turned the tide and won upsets on both fronts.  The Soviet Union began sending aid to Egypt and Syria.  The United States countered by upping aid to Israel.  For 18 days, the
three armies feinted, skirmished, pounded holy hell out of each other, and stood proxy for the Cold War.

In the end, Israel held the field, but only at very high cost.  They had lost 6,000 soldiers and 150 planes.  Their opponents had lost more (8,500), but the real casualty was the idea, left over from the 1967 war, that an Israeli soldier was worth a hundred Arabs.  Far from being upset at the results of this war, Arab spirits soared.  Though they had gained no land, it was looked on in "the street" as a victory.

Buoyed by their initial success in this slugfest, and enraged at US involvement in the war (which was blamed as the only reason the Israelis were able to hold on), the Arab nations turned to an institution that had been around for over a decade, but was generally regarded as a joke: the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.  While the bullets were still flying, on October 17th, 1973, OPEC announced an embargo on the sale of oil to countries that had aided Israel.

Though the war served as a convenient excuse, it wasn't the only reason the OPEC states took action.  Then, like now, oil was valued in US dollars, and with the US stuck in "stagflation," OPEC was looking for a way to force a price increase.  The embargo and subsequent price adjustments accomplished this goal.

Overnight, the price of oil doubled, then tripled as demand outstripped supply.  The United States learned that its energy supply, and its economy, was terribly vulnerable to an attack that had little to do with bombs and planes.  By the start of 1974, shortages were beginning to be felt in prices the pump.  The United States, along with the rest of the world, slipped into recession.

The shock to the system was so abrupt, that government took previously unimaginable steps.  Even Nixon, who was busy dealing with his own personal scandals, woke up enough to issue a stack of executive orders.  Congress was also active, passing emergency legislation.  It's no exaggeration to say that the political reaction to the oil embargo and resulting shortages was much more severe than anything related to 9/11.

In short order, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was authorized, to get at oil around Prudhoe Bay. By November congress had passed the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act, embracing government regulation of energy, a national petroleum reserve, and government intervention in the petroleum markets.  A national speed limit of 55 mph was slapped on every road in America.   There was year-round daylight savings time.  The Federal Energy Administration was created.  'Project Independence,' was created in hopes of freeing the U.S. completely from foreign oil dependence by 1980.  

At the height of the shortage, rationing was put in place.  Drivers of vehicles with license plates having an odd number as the last digit could purchase gasoline only on odd-numbered days of the month.  Drivers with even-numbered license plates could purchase fuel only on even-numbered days.

Nixon went out, Ford went in, and the US continued its attempt to arrest the slide.  In 1975, the US put in place the first fuel economy standards - standards that were designed to double the fuel efficiency of American cars and trucks within ten years.  Muscle cars began to be replaced by small hatchbacks in the dealer's showrooms.  Japanese imports started moving up the sales charts.

The embargo officially ended in March of 1974, but oil prices didn't drop to previous levels.  In fact, OPEC continued to fiddle with supply and contracts, keeping oil at four times what it was selling for before the embargo.  By the time James Earl Carter took office in 1976, gas lines were less common, but they were still not unknown.  Gas stations were still occasionally shut down by temporary shortages, and prices fluctuated 100% over a few days.

Energy conservation crept into public discourse for the first time since World War II.  Public programs emphasized turning off the lights, car pooling, and using public transit.  For much of President Carter's term, programs continued as they had been defined after the 1973 crisis, then a second wakeup call came.

In 1979, the Iranian Revolution sent the Shah on the run, left US diplomats stranded as hostages in Tehran, and damaged the Iranian oil industry.  With Iran all but off line, demand once again outstripped supply and oil prices soared.  At one point in 1979, the price reached the equivalent of $80 a barrel in 2005 dollars.

With shortages and lines at the pumps for the second time in five years, ration cards were printed (though never issued).  Some rationing was imposed by local governments, but it never became widespread.  

Faced with fresh evidence that the US was not decreasing its dependence on foreign oil and was still as vulnerable as ever, President Carter declared that the fight to control our energy sources was "the moral equivalent of war."  The FEA was elevated to the Department of Energy, and its head made a cabinet position.  A comprehensive energy plan was put in place for the first time.  Programs were established for creating synthetic oil from coal and other sources.  Programs were created for alternative fuels, including biofuels.  Programs were created to boost the US solar power industry, and for wind energy.  Research into electric cars and high mileage vehicles was kicked into overdrive (pun intended).  Perhaps most importantly, incentives were created for conservation and a schedule of increasingly tough mileage standards was created.

One thing that President Carter did that might come as a shock to many - he argued for, and got, deregulation of the oil industry, in hopes that this would provide incentives for further domestic production.  The industry had been regulated by Nixon during the 1973 crisis, and oil companies blamed this regulation for inability to meet demand.  However, when prices continued to move up after deregulation, many people began to call the 1979 crisis a "fake" engineered by the oil companies to raise prices.

In addition to more practical steps, President Carter made symbolic gestures toward saving energy.  He began to give his speeches to the nation wearing a sweater to show that the White House thermostat had been turned down.  He installed a wood stove in the living quarters of the White House.  He had a set of solar water heating panels installed on the White House roof.

For the period of 1973 to 1980, the United States refused to walk the 9/11 highway.  Rising energy prices lead the charge for near run-away inflation, and the economy wandered in and out of recession as it was battered by energy shortages.  Many of the programs of that time were misguided.  Some were flat out silly.  But for a few years, Americans showed that they were still willing to make big changes in their lifestyles to meet the challenge of a safer, cleaner world.

Then came Ronald Reagan.  

The same crisis in Iran that sent oil prices through the roof, floored President Carter's run for a second term.  While Carter campaigned on a program of fiscal responsibility and energy saving, his opponent ran on a platform that encouraged consumption, massive government spending on defense, and tax cuts as a way out of the country's problems.  In the second debate between the two candidates, he put off OPEC as just another excuse for why the economy wasn't doing well.  Faced with a choice between a candidate who asked for further sacrifices in the name of long term prosperity and security, and a candidate who proclaimed it was "morning in America," the voters went with the later.

What happened then was the single most critical moment in American political history in more than fifty years.  It didn't happen at a meeting with a foreign leader.  It didn't happen on the eve of a war.  It happened right in Washington D.C. and it happened before the confetti of the inaugural balls had been swept from the roads.  In his very first official act as president, Reagan ordered the solar panels removed from the White House.  

Those panels were symbolic, but they were symbolic of very real programs and very real progress being made toward changing the energy mix in the United States.  Almost as quickly as he had moved to take down the solar panels, Reagan moved to stop research into solar energy and alternate fuels.  Incentives for conservation were ended.  

When Reagan took office in 1981, the demand for imported oil was actually trending downward, and a few months later, it hit its lowest point in a decade.  

With the end of any attempt at conservation, and with no threat of a domestic alternative fuel source, import volumes and prices climbed.  By the time Reagan left office, the United States was using 10% more imported oil than it had before the 1973 crisis.  Plans for cutting that percentage had been thrown out the windows, standards for mileage had been weakened, and almost every trace of President Carter's energy plan had been eradicated (all but the deregulation, Reagan completed that soon after he took office).

In 1980, the United States had been at a fork in the road, facing either a path of energy independence that required short term sacrifice for the long term good, or a path of energy dependence that took short term gains with no concern for the long term.  Reagan steered the country onto that second path.  Under his guidance, we took the biggest step toward 9/11.

But we were still only partway there.  The dependence on foreign oil that kept the United States heavily invested in the Middle East was only half of the forces that brought us to disaster.

To find the other steps, you have to start again in 1973, and you have to go to the other side of the world.  For forty years, Afghanistan had a period of relative peace under the reign of King Zahir Shah.  The country was considered very modern, and visitors often commented on the popularity of western music, freedom of women, and the open culture.  But in 1973, the King was overthrown by his brother-in-law.  Five years later, communists launched a second coup and took over the government.

Almost immediately, the United States began funneling money and arms to opposition forces in Afghanistan.  It was under President Carter's administration that the first contacts were made in 1978.  The opposition forces enjoyed great early success - so much so that in 1979, the Soviet Union sent its army into Afghanistan to prop up the crumbling communist government.  The United States protested this action and continued to fund the mujahideen guerillas.  

Among the mujahideen, were many foreign fighters who had come to Afghanistan out of a sense of "Muslim unity."  This group featured many of the future leaders of Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden.  

Fighting the Soviets gave these men a extensive course in how to fight against a modern, mechanized army, but funding them wasn't really the problem.  The real problem came when the Soviets withdrew.  By 1989, the USSR was out, and the rebels backed by the US were in control.  It was at this point that the United States could have moved to provide further support - support for schools, for roads, for all the infrastructure of peaceful government.  It did not.

To be sure, the last Soviet troops didn't leave Afghanistan until two weeks after Ronald Regan left office, but long before that, the mujahideen were in control of the bulk of the country.  Still, Reagan's action was directed at the Soviets and the Soviets alone.  With their forces driven away, little thought was given to the future of Afghanistan.

Very quickly, fighting broke out between mujahideen factions.  It wasn't Soviet troops who destroyed the Afghan cities, it was fighting between the warlords who appeared in the gap after the Soviets withdrew.  The fighting continued for years, leading to the near total destruction of Kabul and the death of 10,000 people in 1994.

By then, the Afghani people had had enough.  They were willing to turn to someone, anyone who could offer a break from the fighting.  That someone turned out to be the Taliban.  Backed by Pakistan and Arab states, the Taliban eventually took power in 1996.

And now we're there.  We've taken the final, crucial steps.

On the one hand, you have an America so dependent on imported oil that it can't help but embroil itself in the Middle East.  On the other hand, you have Afghanistan held by a radical Islamic group willing to act as hosts for even more radical terrorists.  You have terrorists trained with United States money.  And you have men who have already seen that they can bloody the nose of a giant with nothing more than good planning and ruthless action.

9/11 follows as surely as night follows day.

Of course, it's not really right to blame Reagan for making 9/11 happen, any more than it's right to blame the parents of a child turned serial killer for the actions of their offspring.  Reagan didn't make it happen.  He only put all the pieces in place, and then gave his famous smile.

When they're laying out the designs for those Ronald Reagan dimes, they should give serious consideration to what goes on the back.  How about a nice image of the twin towers?

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Thu May 05, 2005 at 09:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Actually Henry Ford caused 9/11 (1.61)
    Because cars use gas, and uhhh, the egg, and chicken, and then a fish walked on land, so whoever created movement caused 9/11.

    Im sure you have good points, and I will read them tomorrow.

    John Kerry 2008, the leader of the youth of America.

    by desiunion on Thu May 05, 2005 at 09:45:19 PM PDT

    •  The 2-cents plain version (3.92)
      For 9/11 to occur, you needed a country where people who were pissed off at the US could organize and train.  And you needed a casus belli that grew out of our thirst for Texas tea served outside of Texas.

      Reagan's actions assured that both those things were in place.

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Thu May 05, 2005 at 09:58:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You left a few things out (4.00)
        Saddam, for one thing. The single glaring offense that caused Osama bin Laden to direct his ire toward the United States was the establishment of US military bases in Saudi Arabia. Those bases were needed to contain a dictator/CIA Asset gone bad

        Ronnie created Saddam to challenge the Islamic revolution in Iran, and George H W Bush lost control of ronnie's puppet, causing a need to reign in Saddam. The other half of the 9/11 equation is Osama's training at the hands of CIA assets in Afghanistan

        if you're interested, I once heard of a military operation called "Hard Surface", supposedly ordered by Eisenhower, and executed in the 1950s. It was said top be the first time America's military assets were used directly to defend Saudi Arabia's oil fields. I don't have any details, except to say that I think it involved mostly fighter aircraft

        if your theory about America's oil dependence being the root cause of 9/11 is correct, then the beginnings of the disaster lie way before ronnie to control

        •  beginnings of the disaster lie way before ronnie (3.14)
          and after Ronnie

          He also missed the 8 years Clinton was in the White House. How can anyone say Clinton did not have an impact on world events.

          •  Exactly. (4.00)
            This is not a one person blame game. Many are responsible for it. The author missed a lot of the facts concerning the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East (which came out of the disgust many respected Isalmic figures felt concerning Western overindulgence, particularly in the 50's), as well as the rise of Christian fundamentalist in the United States (the rise of the Neo-Conservatives that almost matches the rise of Middle East Islamic fundamentalism). The articles also misses the calls for peace by Arabs after years of this brutal Islamic fundamentalism, and the heavily renewed interest in it post 9/11 (strange how that seemed to work the same way in this country, eh?).

            There are many pieces to this puzzle, not one man to blame it on. Some are more guilty than others. If anything, American citizens are also to blame for not caring about the Middle East until a post 9/11 world.

            "In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners." -Albert Camus.

            by BrianL on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:49:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  missed a lot of the facts (2.50)
              Lets just say, his FACTS are all one sided.

              But thats how some think the world runs, perfectly fine (didn't Clinton and Carter have superior Energy Policies?) when their guy is in office, and down the tubes when the other takes over. The reality just never hits them that BOTH are to blame.

              •  If it's any comfort (3.88)
                I thought Clinton's efforts at energy sucked rotten eggs.  There was a recognition that we were falling further and further into dependence on foreign oil, but the issue never got the priority it deserved (but then, I'm an energy wonk, energy is always my #1 issue).

                However, he was hampered by a congress that seemed hell-bent on defeating anything that looked like a reasonable compromise.  Watching Kit Bond stand up and rail against the CAFE standards, then argue just as loud that we have to open up the Arctic Refuge... Heck, I wish I could blame Reagan for him, too.

                (maybe I can.  Let's see, connect tab A to slot B, insert wooden dowel...hmm)

                TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

                by Mark Sumner on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:08:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good answer (4.00)
                  but you put more thought into this one response than this guy has put into all his comments here taken together.

                  "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

                  by jlb on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:58:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Good connection of the dots (none)
                  And if the Dem position on Energy is so good why don't I have a clue on what it is?

                  By the way, energy had a solution. The politics just will not let it happen by either party.

                  •  I'll give this a try and see if we can be serious (none)
                    [This is from a comment to samddoberman about going back to change the 1 I gave you to a 2 but finding that a TU had already troll-rated your comment, and with it the whole thread, out of existence]

                    Part of the answer is that the media bought so totally into the idea of Reaganism being absolutely necessary (see Mark Hertesgaard's book On Bended Knee), that they ignored or ridiculed Gore's serious ideas about this matter - he wrote a whole book dealing with the environment and energy - and Kerry's detailed energy policy positions during his campaign. That's why you haven't heard anything about it. And because, as I think you're saying, the energy, auto, and highway industries are enormously powerful and hugely subsidized by us. The opportunity cost of 1980 was that 70's trauma, like the Great Depression, could have made a real change possible.

                    And yes Clinton didn't do much of anything about this probems, except of course catch a number of Islamic terrorists and prevent at least one major terrorist act in the US and really try to make peace in the Middle East. But as anyone who reads anything on dkos knows, the Dems have been part of many problems.

                    The moral signifigance of this matter is best conveyed here, I think, in BenGoshi's "Last Clear Chance" comment, if blame is the issue more than clear causes. If you have a real chance to prevent something bad from happening and you say I didn't start this chain of events and so I don't have to stop it and can even profit from it, then the effective blame is yours. When I think of Iraq now, I often think of Reagan's budget chief David Stockman saying in 1981, "We don't need alternative fuels, we just need Strategic Reserves and Strategic Forces" - there couldn't be a line to the present any clearer or straighter than that.

                    "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

                    by jlb on Sat May 07, 2005 at 07:10:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Look I read the enery policy (none)
                      from Kerry's web site. You have to be kiddin if one can call more coal burnin, no windmills in my back yard, and the rest of you conserve for me, an energy policy.

                      An energy policy, if there was one by either party, would GROW, the amount of energy available, in significant amounts.

                      I have yet to see one.

                      The problem with the easy way out is that it has already been mined. Murphy's Laws of Combat

                      by Sub Hunter on Sat May 07, 2005 at 01:09:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Conservation (none)
                        doesn't do it for you, then? Waiting for cold fusion? Or "the market" to come up with something once the Texans have gouged every time they can out of this country? Looking forward to that 6 months of energy 7 or 8 years from now from the ANWR? Because that's about it otherwise, which makes me think that you're not that serious about the issue. If the bottom line is you like - and still like - Reagan's call to uncontrolled consumption, and you're down with oil wars, then you maybe need to come clean about it instead of pretending that it's something else. You might be more coherent that way. As it is, you sound like a partisan Republican trying ineptly to pass himself as open-minded and dissapointed. Best of luck to you - hope you don't have an ARM.

                        "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

                        by jlb on Sat May 07, 2005 at 03:47:07 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You answer (none)
                          with accusations, not debate. I am for an energy policy that's really an energy policy.

                          I.E. it grows the amount of ENERGY.

                          Think out of the box, and quite yellin your platitudes. Every energy source should be considered, from nuke, coal, renewable etc. But just make a policy that's a real policy.

                          Yea, when I see the dem's say they want renewable energy sources, just not in my back yard. Well. That means they are just pontificating again.

                          Its not an energy problem, it's a political problem. Where is the politician with GUTS, willin to actually do something?

                          The problem with the easy way out is that it has already been mined. Murphy's Laws of Combat

                          by Sub Hunter on Sat May 07, 2005 at 07:33:19 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Fine (none)
                            you're getting more specific. What mix of coal, nuclear, etc. and for how long since coal is filthy and nuclear - as it's done in the US - is simply not safe from terrorists? (They order these things better in France.) And how much domestic drilling, considering there's not really not much left that's profitable, unless all other alternatives are squelched through politics? And why are you so opposed to conservation, which was the main point of the diary that you never addressed? Great gains were made in efficiencies, and it actually stimulated business. If you're, say, a loyal sub/exurbanite and your lifestyle and the value of your home are completely dependent on cheap gas or if you own an SUV delareship or whatever, that should be made clear. And if you're fine with oil wars for the rest of our lives and beyond, then just say so. But enough of this. Vaya con dios.

                            "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

                            by jlb on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:21:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  conservation (none)
                            Did you notice that conservation was always for the other guy to accomplish? Lets see here, we can tax the other guy, we can force CAFE on the other guy.... Wow, nothing thats a policy, just make "the other guy do it policy".

                            NO thanks. A real policy would not care how I use energy, but would seek to make USA energy rich, thus independent.

                            Also you missed the real point. We can drop oil use. But the political will is just not there.

                            By either party.

                            The problem with the easy way out is that it has already been mined. Murphy's Laws of Combat

                            by Sub Hunter on Mon May 09, 2005 at 01:31:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  tall buildings (none)
              Osama said he got the idea of attacking "tall buildings" in the US when he saw the Israelis strike the buildings of Beirut.
          •  JHC (4.00)
            Did you read the entire diary, or just it's title?  If you had done more than perused the piece before criticizing it you would know that the diarist traces the issue's history to a point prior to the Reagan Presidency.

            Second, this is a diary, not a book, the diarist is attempting to summarize a few quick points in order to invite a deeper discussion.  Of course all the facts aren't here.  We don't know all the facts to begin with, and furthermore it seems as if you couldn't do more than skim this short article, why would you have read a longer essay?

          •  yes, beginnings lie way before RR (none)
            OBL has stated, and his followers truly believe that 9/11 was only one salvo in their war, which is really a clash of civilizations.  

            They see this as a hundred year struggle and trace its roots back to ancient times.  For the west, maybe for some it's really about oil, but this is really a cop-out (admittedly, not an easy one) for what this "war" is really about.

            As it stands now, the US (thanks mainly to W) has found itself in a truly "Vonnegut-esque" position where the past, present and future have intermixed, almost at random.  Sample world opinion now and you find a growing number of people who believe the US deserved 9/11.  How sick and wrong and untrue is that? but almost even more disturbing, as we expend our energy here trying to right things, is the notion that some of us can truly understand this point of view.  And we're left to wonder what in the hell is left to do about it all.

        •  "History is the study of the (none)
          improbable becoming the inevitable."

          This story is people's evidence 1.

          Feel free to use the quote, pass it around.  It's gonna be big one day.

        •  Saddam antedates Reagan (2.50)
          Re: Ronnie created Saddam to challenge the Islamic revolution in Iran

          Wasn't Hussein already in power by the beginning of the Reagan presidency?
          I don't doubt that for a while American foreign policy saw Iraq as a good countreweight to Iran, but I think that began earlier than 1981.

        •  re: You left a few things out - Afghanistan (4.00)
          The whole idea to use foreign fighters motivated by religious solidarity was the brainchild of the U.S. Apparently, the most likely ethnic group for an indigenous nationalist insurgency was considered a threat to our ally, Pakistan.

          So the worldwide Islamic jihad was our very own Frankenstein monster. Talk about Karma. Terrorism against the Soviets = "Freedom Fighters." Terrorism against us = ...umm  ...! a great way to manipulate the American public! (Sorry. I digress.)

      •  Please ignore (4.00)
        The loony tunes comments clustered here at the top by people incapable of appreciating good analysis. I'm absolutely certain that the disciples of St. Ronnie who are trying to lay the thing off on other players have either not read your post or are incapable of understanding it. Excellent job, a rec and 4.

        Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:01:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Three decades sleepwalking to 9/11 (4.00)
          I agree.  You can play the chain of connections game back to the lungfish leaving the ocean, but what was the critical turning point that put us on the path to 9/11?  It was when the warning from Carter went unheeded - the country decided to ignore Cassandra.

          And Clinton didn't do near as much to help the situation as I expect from someone claiming to be a Dem, even allowing that he had to deal with a republican congress much of the time - we all just kept the frat party going like it was 1999.

          And now we're hung over and the postman is on the way with our Visa bill...

          Unfortunately, this seems to be a flaw in our programming as a species - we overrate the danger of the immediate threat (like "terror") and underrate the distant or slow, long-term threat (like running out of oil).  

          It worked well in the ice age, when the goal was to reproduce before the saber-toothed tiger got you at the venerable age of 32, I guess.  But being aware of this flaw we need the wisdom to fight the impulse to go for those quarterly profits at the expense of investing in alternate technologies - and we didn't, for which our descendants will curse us.

          The diarist hit the nail on the head as to when the fatal error was made - what we're quibbling about here is whether to blame the pied piper or the other rats when we all end up shut inside the mountain outside Hamlin town.

          If we trash the planet, none of the rest of this matters...

          by Dem in Knoxville on Fri May 06, 2005 at 08:33:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yea its called (none)
            slippery slope, although i said in the post that I was just being a smartass, and he probably has good points. I just sounds funny that ronald reagan would be responsible, I got a picture of him on the monkey bars in afghanistan.

            John Kerry 2008, the leader of the youth of America.

            by desiunion on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:31:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Richard Clarke agrees (4.00)
          Reagan made two moves that made 9-11 possible.

          First, we moved to outright alliance with Israel; it was in the '80s that the U.S. started joint military training with Israeli forces.

          Second, Reagan's strategy for actively going after the Soviet Union's foreign power bases was implemented without any thought to blowback. He talks about the professionals who thought it was a terrible idea to recruit and arm the mujahadeen--the "Afghan Arabs"--without putting any controls in place whatsoever, then just walking away.

    •  Well He and Firestone and Others (none)
      worked to dismantle trollies and mass transit in favor of cars and buses, so he did more than simply inventing the car.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu May 05, 2005 at 10:50:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i agree with (none)
      your dairy but carter actually passed a secret referendum allowing for the CIA to pursue avenues in afghanistan to defeat the soviets which in the end lead to 9/11
      •  Yep (4.00)
        I mentioned that it was President Carter who started actions in Afghanistan.  

        For me, the error was not so much in our involvement, as in our failure to follow through.  I like to think that had we not essentially abandoned Afghanistan to the wolves we'd help to create, there would never have been a Taliban.

        However, 20-20 hindsight, wishful thinking, etc. etc.  I'm guilty of it all.

        TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

        by Mark Sumner on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:18:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  here I agree (none)
          I don't see any reason we couldn't have educated them in democracy, and explored with Islamic intellectuals common points between democracy and Islam. Instead we just armed anyone who was "agin them Russkies" and walked away. Very short-sighted. :-(

          SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

          by Danjuma on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:45:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  are you completely ignorant to.... (none)
            to the entire afghani conflict and its aftermath perhaps you should read up abit more before making a blanket statement as ignorant as you just did.....if you still dont understand why we "couldn't have educated them in democracy" you probably not comment on any issues in regards to the middle eastern and greater middle eastern region
            •  Calm down and don't flame (none)
              I'm not saying that we could have imposed democracy. I am saying it was a mistake to simply back every anti-Soviet jihadi without discriminating and without trying to educate and inform people about American values. I'm not the only person to point out that the way we gave aid to the Mujahidin was not well done.

              AAMOF, after the whole Cold War was over, Americanism  had become so defined by blind anti-Communism that there were actually people who thought we would need a new enemy to define ourselves against. Some of them even proposed Islam.

              Be careful what you wish for, I guess. You might get it. :-)

              A laisa kadhalika?

              SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

              by Danjuma on Thu May 12, 2005 at 03:04:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Uh (4.00)
      If you have nothing to say about what's written above, why comment to say you have nothing to say?

      we gonna smash their brains in / cause they ain´t got nofink in ´em -- Linton Kwesi Johnson

      by Karl the Idiot on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not necessarily (4.00)
      Actually Henry Ford caused 9/11

      Because cars use gas,

      I'm driving a VW diesel, burning domestically produced biodiesel.  If we invested a fraction of what we've squandered in the desert in the last 3 years on alternative fuel research, we could be well on our way to energy self-sufficiency.


    •  You make a joke (4.00)
      but there was serious discussion back when mass production of automobiles started to change our way of life whether or not it was a step forward or backward for man. Just watch a movie like "The Magnificent Ambersons" to see the contention at the time. We all tend to believe that the automobile was welcomed with open arms but it wasn't.

      I'm of the camp that the it is a step backward. It's made people much more isolated. My parents live 2 hours away from me. I see them once every two months. Most people cannot even walk to the store. Some towns don't even have sidewalks! Anything that isolates the human soul to me is anti-progressive.

      Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

      by The past is over on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:50:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wish i could fix it (none)
    i accidentally hit the button twice and unreccomended

    someone else recommend this for me

    this is very interesting

  •  Excellent! (4.00)
    Very nicely laid out, this is probably one of the best ways to tell the tale.  Of course, there are many additional complications having to do with the events in the Persian Gulf proper, the rise of Ibn Saud and his alliance with the Wahabbi's, British involvement and subsequent partitioning, Aramco and Mossadegh, the Saudi-US alliance, and undoubtably many others that I'm forgetting.  But I believe you have outlined the essentials quite well.

    "I'm going to dance the dream, and make the dream come true." -Kate Bush

    by ellisande on Thu May 05, 2005 at 09:57:56 PM PDT

    •  Thanks (4.00)
      Just looking back at that period again was enough to make me drown in all the details and sideroads.  I think I cut 4/5ths of my initial draft to get it down to this.

      I thought of a third section to the path based on Reagan's move to put America back into the "military adventurism" business after we got our fingers burned in Viet Nam, but I shied away from telling the glories of the Grenada invasion.

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Thu May 05, 2005 at 10:02:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bravo! (4.00)
        Beautiful diary.

        Other intersections along the main road to 9/11:

        Tepid commitment of marines to Beirut and subsequent withdrawl, following the barracks bombing, emboldens jihadists.

        Arms for hostages.


        St. Ronald of the clay feet

        •  USS Stark (4.00)
          Saddam grew a set of giant balls after he nearly destroyed an American warship without suffering any retailation

          That you can blame on Ronnie Raygun

          For those who are interested, Saddam's Airforce attacked the Destroyer, the USS Stark, in the Persian Gulf in 1987. 38 dead sailors (I think), and the ship was nearly lost, and Ronnie did NOTHING

          •  Some trees do not die in vain. (none)
            I recommend:

            James Bamford;  The Puzzle Palace, Body of Secrets, Pretext for War.

            Daniel Yergin, and James Bamberg, on the oil bidness.


          •  Oh course when (none)
            Al Queda attacked the WTC in 1993, we did nothing and then they attacked the Khoyber Towers in Saudi in 1996 we did nothing, and then they attacked the Cole in 2000 and we essentially did nothing.

            Certainly, none of those unresponded to attacks on America had nothing to do with 9/11

            •  Only 1/6 true, at best (4.00)

                  [Note: this only includes actions taken pre-9/11 - SAR]

                  WTC '93 - Clinton's response: Perpetrators hunted down, arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to life without parole. Intelligence gained from arrestees used to foil Operation Bojinka and convict some perpetrators thereof; also used to foil Millenium plot.

                  Khobar Towers '96 - Clinton's response: Investigation eventually determines Hezbollah to be responsible. Some arrests made; case passed off to Bush admin. Bush: Indictments handed down in Summer 2001.

                    [African embassy bombings '98: Clinton's response: Perpetrators arrested, tried, convicted.]

                  Interim: Clinton response: Over one dozen A-Q attacks foiled, arrests and convictions made;Al-Qaeda cells rolled up in 20 countries.

                  USS Cole October '00 - Clinton's response: Connections to A-Q found in Dec 2000, arrests made, hunt continues for others. Investigations passed off to Bush admin. Bush response: None.

                  [Sources: PBS "The Man Who Knew" - Timeline; "Broad Effort Launched After '98 Attacks" and "Struggles inside the Government Defined Campaign"  Washington Post, 12-19-01 and 12-20-01, respectively - (apologies for not having exact links)  - SAR]

              •  don't forget (none)
                When Clinton was going after al-Qa'ida the Republicans were telling us it was a "wag the dog" distraction from their trumped up impeachment charges. Then when they got back the White House they turned off the anti-terror campaign. That's why we got hit on September 11. If Gore had been president it wouldn't even have happened.

                SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

                by Danjuma on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:51:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  What about the Stark ??? 1987 ??? (none)
                your link mentions the attack on the USS Cole, but I never said ANYTHING about the USS Cole

                I said THE USS STARK, it was a completly differnt ship. It wasn't attacked by Al Queda. It was attacked by Iraqi Airforce Jets

                And Ronnie Raygun didn't do anything about it, except maybe to sell Saddam some more chemical and biological weapons

      •  Happy to see that you made use (4.00)
        of the powerful symbol of Reagan removing the solar panels from the White House.

        It really is an archetypal act and a prfound symbol to use against GOP energy shortsightedness.

        Reagan's true legacy: "Mr. Carter, tear down those panels!"

        "The government is and me!" -Theodore Roosevelt

        by Republic Not Empire on Fri May 06, 2005 at 04:08:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never liked RR (4.00)
          but when he removed the solar panels it became oh so painfully clear why.  What a stupid jerkshit shortsighted thing to do. With that single act he demonstrated where our energy future was headed, straight to hell.

          Also think about this: all these monster houses booming up across the landscape could have had passive solar built in at little added cost and significant energy savings.  Instead we now have millions of energy pig homes hung around our necks.  Just another legacy of RR dissing solar power.

      •  Reagan's a traitor (4.00)
        All you have to do is look at computers and cell phones to see how far we could have come with alternative energy. If the same amount of r&d had been put into a/e as has been put into the other two over the last 25 years. Just think where we could be right now.
        •  it's not too late to start (none)
          buy solar panels yourself
          buy a hybrid
          upgrade your home for increased energy efficiency
          buy green tags
            don't wait for the government to help

          vote with your dollars...

          •  The time's almost right (none)
            Actually you might want to wait a few (2-4) years for solar panels.  Big improvements on the near horizon, all tied to nanoscale engineering.  Similar efficiencies but much cheaper, better looking, and environmentally friendly.  
      •  The Last Clear Chance Doctrine. (4.00)
         I blame W. Bush.

         In tort law there is the "Last Clear Chance" doctrine whereby, say, in an auto accident where the other driver is to blame (failure to use turn signal, running a red light, speeding, etc.) but the victim had "the last clear chance" (using a "reasonable person under the circumstances acting prudently -standard) to avoid the accident, then the defendant and admittedly negligent driver, has a valid defense and, in theory (though rarely if ever these days, in practice), the originally-negligent driver may even recover damages.

         I've no argument with your excellent analysis, nor the variations on it put forth by others above.  And it was OBL and Al Qaida, not W. Bush, who planned and carried out the horrors of 9.11.  However, Bush and his feckless and arrogant minions and sycophants were repeatedly warned, and warned, and warned (from Clarke in January 2001, to the Hart-Rudman Report on Terrorism in Spring '01, to the unusually great volume of Al Qaida "chatter" in July 2001, to the PDB of August 16...) that ACTION -- some general, some specific -- NEEDED TO BE TAKEN by Bush and the sonofabitch did NOTHING to even attempt the thwarting of the OBL plan that would be made manifest beginning a little after 8:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001.

         Bush had the Last Clear Chance to stop or disrupt or thwart OBL's plans, and Bush DID NOTHING.  NOTHING.



        . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

        by BenGoshi on Fri May 06, 2005 at 08:53:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Makes sense to me n/t (none)
  •  I remember early '70s gasoline (4.00)
    It typically sold around $0.35 per gallon, or about $1.60 per gallon in today's dollars.

    But there were gas wars; real gas wars.  The lowest price I remember seeing was $0.19 per gallon, equal to about $0.87 per gallon today.

    I sometimes wonder if the automobile designers in Detroit really understand how the cost of fuel affects consumers.  They fight CAFE as if it were a a problem, when in fact it is the tough love they need to be competitive on the world stage.  

    •  All they see is huge vehicles (none)
      Visit metro Detroit. It's the World of Large Vehicles. I think it inspires a kind of blindness to what the rest of the country drives. Yes, there are huge SUVs everywhere, just not in large numbers. And folks like school teachers aren't driving them as they are in Detroit (just an example of one sort of moderate income household driving enormous things).

      Where else would I be told "my SUV gets great mileage, at least 16 mpg". And virtually no local auto company ad mentions fuel economy.

      Think that has anything to do with GM and Ford being downrated to junk bond status today?

    •  Junk (4.00)
      Especially now that S&P rates Ford and GM debt as "Junk" status, while Toyota and Honda are raking in the dough.  Connect the dots...

      Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. -Albert Einstein

      by Primordial Ooze on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:28:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My next car is a Toyota... or a Honda (none)
        That has at more to do with quality (American cars have lousy reputations) and the ability to predict the market (F&GM focused on short term) than the inability to deliver fuel-efficient cars.  More to the point, it's their own damn fault for failing to innovate and improve.  

        Fact is, WRT hybrids Toyota is 3 years ahead of everyone else, with Honda a distant second.  The key to modern hybrid technology is getting the electric and ICE drive systems to work together seamlessly, and that's no simple feat.  Most companies did a little research and licensed Toyota's system.  The practical Prius is just icing on the cake.  They truly deserve the credit.  

        In fact the only way I see to catch up to Toyota is to focus on the next generation of hybrids - plug-in/rapid-rechargeable full electric drive systems.  This is basically an electric car where energy charges the batteries by:

        1. Using a standard wall plug overnight
        2. Rapid recharging in one minute at specially equipped service stations
        3. Supplementary power from unobtrusive photovoltaic paint on the car, which on days with little driving and decent sun can provide all necessary power, though not for heavy driving or dark environs.  
        4. Roadbed power transmission to the car on specially equipped roads, particularly useful downtown.  
        5. As needed, on-the-road electricity generation using a high efficiency hydrocarbon-fuelled generator such as a fuel cell, small turbine, or microturbine array.  

        This avoids the complexities of integrated mechanical systems and would in fact be simpler than current non-hybrid cars in a lot of ways.  Most of the technology is available.  The main stumbling block, as always, is batteries.  Lithium ions, while definitely the highest density, have some technical issues and are quite nasty when they catch fire.  

        Of course, with regards to electric motor technology for autos Honda is the best I know of...

  •  You lost me (3.00)
    when you started talking about the Yom Kippur War. That is a loaded expression that tells me you take one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians and their supporters call it the Ramadan War.

    For the record, I consider myself neutral in that sad conflict, and still continue to call it the October War. Call me old fashioned, but when did the American media stop using that term?

    Also, you may know the oil market but you don't understand the ideology of al-Qa'ida or the reasoning behind their call to "slay the Americans where you find them." See my own post on the subject.


    by Danjuma on Thu May 05, 2005 at 10:15:45 PM PDT

    •  How is it loaded? (4.00)
      The war started on Yom Kippur.  It was the Egyptians and Syrians who attacked, and they lauched the attack on this date expressly because it was the holiest day on the Israeli calendar.  

      That's far from a first.  There have been many wars started on a holiday, or under cover of another event, to try for strategic advantage.  It's not "bad form," it's just war.

      I'm no Israeli apologist.  I certainly don't consider myself on the Israeli "side."

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Thu May 05, 2005 at 10:26:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's one-sided (2.33)
        You say The war started on Yom Kippur.

        You could just as easily say the war started in Ramadan. That's a great month for launching jihads in Islam. So there are two reasons for launching on this date, one for each religion.

        Again, just to be neutral, I will continue to call it the October War. That used to be the term in English for a long time. I don't accuse you of being an Israeli apologist, however, I do think the term "Yom Kippur War" is the Israeli term. Unless you ARE on the Israeli side, don't use it. It's loaded.

        And if religion is a taboo for you, then you especially shouldn't use either "Yom Kippur War" or "Ramadan War" when you talk about it.


        by Danjuma on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:29:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure (4.00)
          this is why the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon shouldn't be called '9/11', but 'September,' or--even better--'The Attacks of 2001.'

          That the Yom Kippur War was launched on Yom Kipper was key for -both- sides, while Ramadan was key for only one. Yom Kippur is one day, while Ramadan (and October) is a month--hence 'Yom Kippur War' contains more information. Finally, yes, what we call wars depends upon where we were raised (see: War Between the States): perhaps in the Soviet Union students were taught this was the 'Ramadan War,' but in the States, you're foolish to claim someone is taking a 'side' when they are merely using the most common expression.

          And finally: wow. This is what you took away from the diary?

          •  (sigh) (none)
            No. That wasn't the only thing I took away from this diary. It was the signal that the writer didn't know anything about the discourse in Islam that spawned al-Qa'ida, and that he bought into a bunch of lies.

            for example:

            "OPEC announced an embargo on the sale of oil to countries that had aided Israel."

            FACT: OPEC never had, much less announced, any such thing, and such OPEC countries as Venezuela and Nigeria continued to sell the US oil through the Arab embargo.

            I will not be lectured about the Middle East by people who by into media lies about "Arab OPEC sheikhs." I will especially not be convinced by someone who wants to insinuate that I am following a Communist line (for the record I don't know or care what people in the USSR were taught to call the war.)

            How and when was the "common expression" (at least in the USA) "October War" replaced by the Israeli expression "Yom Kippur War"? Am I the only person here who even remembers the common expression "October War"?

            BTW, "9/11" is the common US expression for those attacks because 911 is the police emergency number. In Japan they call it the "simultaneous multi-terror incident." and there is no parallel with the October War, which went on for more than one day.

            As for bin Ladin, he attacked the US because we had troops in Saudi Arabia. Read his fatwa. This author may know a lot about the oil market, but the people in al-Qa'da really don't care about that.

            I remember telling someone that after 9/11 half the country wanted to find out what was going on in the Middle East, the other half wanted to "Nuke the camel jockeys!"

            This article (thank goodness!) isn't the latter, but, unfortunately, isn't the former either. Is it a sin to want people to really be informed about what is going on in Islamic discourse today?

            SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

            by Danjuma on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:34:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sin (none)
              Is it a sin to want people to really be informed about what is going on in Islamic discourse today?  

              No, far from it, but you did go way off the main, and very important, point of the diary.

              "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

              by jlb on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:12:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The point of the diary (none)
                is crude economic determinism that used to be dismissed as vulgar Marxism. I'm not impressed.

                Talk to me about why we were attacked when you've at least read bin Ladin's fatwa. If you could put it in an intellectual context we might have a fruitful discussion.

                SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

                by Danjuma on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:51:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've read (none)
                  Bin Laden's fatwa, and a lot of other stuff about the ME and about Islamic concerns, to which I'm very sympathetic. What's your point anyway, since the diary is not about Islam but about the meta-attitudes of Americans about consuming the world and what they're due in life? I don't find this train of thought to be crude or reductive in any way, since it in no way ruled out other meanings or approaches. What he said about the rejection of Carter's philosophy for Reagan's is true and frankly definitive in a country as dominated by material conditions as this one - the two are not supposed to be separate here. Your objections are just picking a fight where this is none.  

                  "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

                  by jlb on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:29:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you're still there (none)
                    I got just back from my life and can not catch up with all of KOS, but you did ask for my point, and I implied I would respond to you when you read bin Ladin's fatwa.

                    I am not trying to pick a fight. I am simply registering my skepticism about the explanations of this diary. The mention of the "Yom Kippur War" was just a trigger, but perhaps I should have first objected to other errors. I just picked the first one that jumped out at me.

                    Yes, the diary is "about the meta-attitudes of Americans about consuming the world and what they're due in life" but bin Ladin isn't about that. It's a very dangerous problem of Americans to assume everyone thinks just like they do.

                    As for Reagan's policies, I think that almost all of them, including energy, were bad for the United States, but that doesn't mean we have to blame them for 9/11, too.

                    Bin Ladin and his ultra-Wahhabi gang attacked the US because we have troops in Saudi Arabia, troops that should have been replaced with an international force, such as an international Muslim force.

                    We did have our troops in Saudi Arabia to protect oil supplies, but not direcly our own. Japan and Europe consume far more of Persian Gulf oil than we do.

                    Collectively the developed world had to protect the oil supply, although it was divided on how to do it. But there are many other things involved in this problem than energy policy, including the tendency to conspiracy thinking that has taken hold of much of the Middle East.

                    Finally, perhaps I am out of date, but has the Israeli noise machine really gotten all Americans to say "Yom Kippur War" in place of "October War" without thinking of the implications? The confusion of OPEC with Arabs I could attribute to ignorance, but this is replacement of one standard term with another. I object to it as biased.

                    SHUT UP AND COUNT THE &%$#! VOTES!

                    by Danjuma on Thu May 12, 2005 at 03:27:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  best analysis I've read so far (3.87)
    This war is about oil. This country is about oil. Energy drives the policy of all developed nations. Bush, Cheney, Condi, all ex-oil executives. Many experts say the world has already passes peak oil production, and Bushco wants to have it's pail under the faucet to catch the last drops, and to keep other countries from catching them. Because without oil, our civilization would collapse in a matter of months. Because we haven't developed alternative energy.
    If we were truly independent of foreign oil, we would have no reason to be in that region. If we weren't there, do you really think Al Qaeda would be able to recruit thousands to kill Americans? Think about it.
    And if we don't reverse course and develop alternative energies, get back to me in ten years, when we'll all be riding our bikes to work. It may be too late already.
  •  book recommendation (4.00)
    If anyone is interested in a very readable account of how the US came to fund the mujahedeen in Afghanistan I highly recommend Charlie Wilson's War. Charlie Wilson was a Congressman who took an early interest in supporting the mujahedeen. IIRC, his efforts eventually led to about $2billion worth of weaponry and war materiel getting into the hands of the Afghans over the course of the Soviet occupation.
    •  That book was amazing (none)
      Basically a one man foreign policy initiative from a genial southern democratic congressman, that has all sorts of awful repurcussions.

      Governor Brian Schweitzer: "He's sort of our Howard Dean on the ranch."

      by Ed in Montana on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:59:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Man, another 'long view of history' guy (none)
    I love it, being one myself.

    There's so few of us out there. You don't know how many people I've just lost trying to explain that Alexander Dubcek killed the USSR.

    "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

    by ChurchofBruce on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:16:26 PM PDT

    •  Have you diaried that? (none)
      I, for one, would love to see it. I'm a big history buff, and hate it when people say that that jackass Reagan took apart the ussr by hand.


      In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

      by faux on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:54:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone criticizing this (3.90)
    needs to back it up with more than "you're wrong". I think you made a good case for the damage that Reagan did even if I question the conclusion but...

    Whether I agree with the headline really doesn't matter to me. I think the headline is a good grabber. The facts presented and consequences are real and until someone comes up with facts to contradict your points others are just blowing the smoke of disagreement for disagreement sake.

    Who would disagree that we wouldn't be better off with less reliance on imported oil?

    For the longest time I tended to give Reagan credit for raising the national mood but as the years passed I saw it all as a drug.

    Smoking grass and shooting heroin and snorting coke all lead to short term feelings of pleasure and well-being but I'd bet there aren't many who see the altered states as a good thing beyond the short-term mental orgasm.

    Off-topic but Jimmy's problem was that he was too smart and thought about things too much. He thought Americans were intellectuals and didn't realize that there are reasons why shows like American Idol are popular. That popularity has nothing to do with intellect.

    Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Thu May 05, 2005 at 11:19:47 PM PDT

  •  Talk Of Peak Oil Today... (4.00)
    is especially galling to anyone who was alive in the late 70's/early 80's. We saw this coming. The election of 1980 was the turning point. It does fly in the face of the conservative view that Reagan saved the country. I've stated this POV to conservatives just to see them become visibly agitated.
  •  I have but one Recommend to give (4.00)
    But I hit the Recommend button really really hard, if that counts for anything.

    Number me among your fans, Devilstower.  Keep up the great work!  (Loved the coal diary too, of course.)


    I'm a pro-gun, pro-nuclear-power Reform Democrat.
    UUJN: Brother Venerable Katana of Mindful Forgiveness

    by AlphaGeek on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:04:38 AM PDT

  •  You forgot (4.00)
    The bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut and Reagan's subsequent withdrawl from the UN Peacekeeping Mission. This in my opinion signaled to the opportunists, that we, the US was quite vulnerable. and terrified to fight - we did not retaliate in anyway. We turned and ran. 9/11 was the result of close to 20 years of watching and planning, with perhaps a 'hashashim' in the ranks as well. Reagan indeed set the stage for the travesty we are involved in today, and not just the in the Middle East, but economically as well.

    "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

    by theRoaringGirl on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:22:23 AM PDT

    •  Also, (4.00)
      if you read his Osama's comments, he mentions attacks in '83 as a prime motivator for his actions.

      I always tell the Talibaptists and Christofascists that if we are attacked again it will be because of hegemony, not this "they hate us for our freedom" garbage.

      They have no answer to my statement.  Maybe they don't know what hegemony means....?

      Good diary, interesting stuff.  Thank you!

      "...we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years." Hitler

      by quartzite on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What added to Osama's view of the US (none)
        as having clay feet was when the US took a few casualties in Somalia in 1993, we quickly cut and ran.

        Unfortunately, if you take this point of view, then leaving Iraq now would only add to the perception that they US has no staying power.

    •  disagree (none)
      The invasion of Lebanon itself was comparable to the invasion of Iraq.  It created a failed state where terrorists were able to thrive.  

      Had Reagan dug in in Lebanon, it would be comparable to what Bush is now doing in Iraq.  I see no evidence that had Reagan dug in and tried to control Lebanon militarily we'd be better off today.  Perhaps we'd have seen many more 9/11s by now.  

      Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

      by markymarx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:01:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lebanon was already a failed state (4.00)
        I assume the invasion you are referring to was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. However, by that time, Lebanon had already been embroiled in a devastating civil war that started in the mid-1970s. Tensions between Christians, Moslems boiled over into a conflict that turned the Paris of the Middle East into a horrible, deadly place. The PLO was involved too -- they had been kicked out of Jordan in 1970, after trying to take over that country, and were becoming more and more of a power-player in Lebanon.

        The US sent troops in as peacekeepers, and I agree with the original comment that the attack on the Marine barracks was a key factor leading up to 9/11.  I don't disagree with your view as to whether we should have stayed -- Lebanon was a quagmire, and leaving was the smart thing to do. From a pure power/realpolitik perspective, however, we didn't leave in the right way. Our departure came shortly after the Hezbollah attack on the Marine barracks, and without any retaliation against Hezbollah.  That sent a huge sign of weakness to groups in the Middle East that only understand power and force.  

        In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

        by Paul in Berkeley on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:46:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  history of failed states (none)
          My point was only that it makes no sense to start a history of Lebanon with the attack on the Marine barracks. Whether the 1982 invasion contributed to the creation of a failed state or not, the period after the invasion saw the creation of Hezbollah, which as we now know, really sucks.  

          Of course, we might say the Iranian revolution is also relevant to the creation of Hezbollah. But here again, we need to go back in time to the CIA sponsored coup in Iran in the 1950s.  Certainly, it is remembered, whether we choose to remember it or not.  You see the point?  There are truths with small t's, but there is no objective history.

          Also, the the earlier tensions between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon in the 1970s were themselves encouraged by our side, which as I understand it backed the Phalange Party. This contributed to civil war and the failed state problem. This may have been the goal, I don't know. It is kind of like our backing of Saddam post-Iranian revolution to fight Iran.

          The big lesson of Lebanon is the same as in Iraq. How do we avoid contributing to the creation of more failed states in the first place, where terrorists then thrive?  This brings us to your conclusion, which I see as problematic:

          That sent a huge sign of weakness to groups in the Middle East that only understand power and force.

          Despite the claims of victory, there's zero evidence that if Reagan had stayed the course in Lebanon we'd be better off today.  That's a counterfactual historical argument.  We might have seen ten times as many 9/11s by now.

          Not only does this not take into account the larger history, where the creation of failed states makes it possible for shadowy terrorist groups to thrive (lebanon, afghanistan, iraq, etc), the language you use also sounds disturbingly like the language used by Raphael Patai in "The Arab Mind" according to Sy Hersh.  He discusses Patai here in the context of Abu Ghraib:  

          I'm certain you don't mean it the way Patai does, but the language is to be avoided. The idea that "they" only understand power and force is a formulation that dates back to the British empire, and before, and has been used to rationalize some of the worst sorts of policies for a very long time in the name of so-called "civilization."  This is not to say that we can't use force at times against our enemies, but we shouldn't rationalize the use of force with clash of civilization type language or arguments.  

          Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

          by markymarx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 01:05:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Use of force (none)
            When I spoke about the use of force, I was referring to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, not to the Arab or Muslim population in general.  And I don't think it would have been a good thing to stick around in Lebanon.  Hindsight is always 20-20, of course, and while striking back against Hezbollah for killing more than 200 American Marines would not have prevented 9/11 or many later events, it would have made terrorist groups like al Qaeda think twice or even three times about attacking the US. I'd rather we had delivered that message in 1982, than in 2002.

            In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

            by Paul in Berkeley on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:04:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  More Details on Beirut Bombing (none)
      Victor Ostrovsky, a former Israeli secret agent wrote a book, By Way of Deception, saying, among other things, that Mossad had foreknowledge of the Beirut marine barracks bomb truck being prepared in late summer 1983 and decided not to pass the information along to US authorities. See here and here.

      By the way, US Marines were in Beirut Lebanon as peacekeepers following the horrific Sabra Shatila camp massacre, and here in Sept 1982. The massacare had been carried out by proxy (Phalangist) militia forces under a debated level of Israeli military authority,  which was occupying much of Lebanon at the time. Then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who invaded Lebanon following a 1981 bus attack reportedly carried out by PLO fighters from south Lebanon,  and a General Eitain were forced to resign largely because of the massacre.      

      •  PS: (none)
        The "Sabra-Shatila" Lebanese Phalangist Commander Elie Hobeika, age ~46yr was killed by a car bomb in 2002.

        On 22 January Hobeika confirms that he will provide evidence at the trial of Sharon in Belgium.

        Two days later, on 24 January, he is killed by a car bomb outside his home in Beirut. A previously unknown group called 'Lebanese for a Free and Independent Lebanon' takes credit for the killing, but are never heard of again.

        The "Sabra-Shatila" General Raful Eitan died suddenly in a freak 'giant wave' drowning accident while he was standing on a breakwater on the coast of Israel in 2004.

        The former Israeli "Sabra-Shatila" Defense Minister and current PM Ariel Sharon is doing remarkably well.

  •  The Real Reason Reagan Caused 9/11 (4.00)
    Is because of the help he authorized for Afghan rebels fighting Godless Communism. Six letters you need to know: CIA-MAK.

    One of the laws of civilization is that the chickens eventually come home to roost.

    I'm sick and tired of propping up tyrants for the illusion of peace. Conservatism does not work.

  •  Very very good diary (4.00)
    but Carter took office in 1977.

    If you love dkos, you'll love: Booman Tribune. What are you waiting for? Become a member.

    by BooMan23 on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:34:29 AM PDT

    •  Yeah (none)
      Darn those elections and the actual moving in for being in different years.  Thanks.

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Fri May 06, 2005 at 03:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just (none)
      want to forget Carter, and his 18% interest rates... Right when I was buying a house. Puh
      •  For those (4.00)
        you can thank the war debt left over from Johnson and Nixon's refusal to deal with it fiscally. When Nixon floated the dollar, stalling the economy in the middle of monetary inflation there was going to be either a great depression or a recession brought on by the fed. Carter chose the latter because he was a responsible and intelligent chief executive.

        Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:07:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice try, but the facts don't really support (3.50)
          your hypothesis.

          The largest deficit during the LBJ years was 2.9% of GDP, from 1982 until 1994 the deficit was greater every year.

          In the last LBJ budget year, there was actually a surplus.

          Nixon ran deficits that never rose above 2.1% until the recession year of 1975.

          High interest rates had many causes, but Nixon and LBJ deficits were not one of them.

          •  Uh... the reason that LBJ's final ... (4.00)
            ...budget (1969) was in surplus was because his advisors told him he could get one by "unifying" the overall budget, meaning that the surplus in the revenue/expenses side of Social Security (and government's other trust funds) would offset the general fund deficit. Voila! A surplus!

            •  very interesting (none)
              but even without the accounting magic tricks, the LBJ budgets were on balance smaller then what we saw through the entire decade of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. And as I recall, that period of economic history was followed by the booming late-1990s as opposed to the real stagflation we saw during the late Carter/early Reagan years.
          •  The fact I had (none)
            was a 18% interest rate.

            Facts don't get any more hard than that one.

  •  It's about time... (4.00)
    ...somebody pulled together:

    • Peak Oil (Texas, U.S., World, in that order).
    • The Republican Anti-American agenda.
    • The "Reagan Revolution" and the irreparable damage it's done.
    • The inability of the Democratic Party to ameliorate these things (despite the Carter & Clinton years).
    • The inevitable death and destruction that follows.

    If we do not immediately:

    • Repair the Republican damage to the American People's ability to vote fairly and transparently;
    • Reform the Democratic Party;

    FAR more, and domestic, death and destruction are inevitable.

    "...And bunnies would dance in the streets, and we would find life on Mars." -Peter Singer, Brookings Institution

    by zentiger on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:42:53 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary! (4.00)
    Although it's a rehash of what most of us already knew, it's nice to read it again in such a well layed out manner.

    The thing that I'll never understand, though, is why our nation doesn't do any more than it does to save energy. It doesn't matter which party you vote for, if you drive a SUV, or if you're a lobbyist for oil companies, it still seems like you would at least support some forms of energy conservation that we refuse to practice today. The only answer I can come up with for my question is that it's just not a big enough issue to people and now, more than 3 years since 9/11, you have to wonder what it will take for it to become one.

    A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy. --Benjamin Disraeli

    Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

    by rogun on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:48:06 AM PDT

  •  One of the side roads you might have had... (4.00) how Saint Reagan showed the terrorists just how tough we are after he sent hundreds of Marines ashore in Lebanon against the advise of the military. We know that turned out. With the vaunted Republican war fighting strategy of America high-tailing out of the region, at least he had the good judgement to know when he should leave. Dubya can't even figure that much out.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Fri May 06, 2005 at 01:15:13 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. (none)
    That was beautifully put together and nicely linked.
    A fine presentation. Well done!
  •  Chalmers Johnson called it... (4.00)

    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

    by Grodge on Fri May 06, 2005 at 03:25:15 AM PDT

  •  9/11 follows as surely it doesn't (2.83)
    You make good points about Reagan and his short sighted energy policy but you hugely overstate your case and arguments in the title. Did Reagan's energy policy and support of dictators in the Middle East hurt long term US standing in the region? Of course. But that's not showing cause.

    Bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda caused 9/11/01 - not the US. It may have been in response to some grievance with US policy but to blame Reagan directly is wrong and excuses  the murderous actions of some fucking horrible people such as Bin-Laden.

    You write 30+ paragraphs blaming Reagan then qualify it at the end:

    "...Of course, it's not really right to blame Reagan for making 9/11 happen,"

    Why don't you but that statement at the top instead of inciting a bunch of "Yeah, Reagan did it!" nonsense?

    •  I'm not excusing anyone (4.00)
      Of course those murderous bastards are to blame. But that doesn't mean there's no other blame to go around.  

      Politicians should not be absolved of the consequences of their actions (nor should the rest of us).  With all due respect to Shakespeare, the world's not a stage.  Or at least, not just a stage.  You don't get to strut and make stirring pronouncements, and wrap everything up neatly by the third act.  No one shows up to round up the props and set up for tomorrow's performance with no lingering consequences.

      If you let your friend drive drunk, it may be their actions that end someone's life, but you share in the responsibility.  If you poke a tiger with a stick, you share the blame when someone gets bit.

      Actions have consequences, and those consequences deserve to be thought through beyond their effects on this week's polls.   Ronald Reagan got to express his personal beliefs on a far larger palette than most of us will ever see.  If he is to be given credit for all the things those who want to deify the man now extol, I see no reason not to find him equally answerable for the long term effects of his actions.

      (Oh, and I'm completely to blame for titling and structuring this diary to raise maximum ire.  That was certainly done with malice aforethought.)

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:15:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If anything (4.00)
        you downplayed Reagan's responsiblity. Ask the terrorists and you get a melange of reasons that include the impact of American corporatism on their world. Reagan's policies forcing those corporations on us and the rest of the world play a huge part in that resentment.

        Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:18:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And you missed (4.00)
        The "1002" compromise which allowed Congress to open up the North Slope of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  If Reagan hadn't been elected in November of 1980 with a policy of opening public lands to unbridled drilling, congress would have never accepted the 1002 compromise in December of that year.

        The Reagan years were a huge turning point for this country, in the wrong direction. Great diary, DT.

        Governor Brian Schweitzer: "He's sort of our Howard Dean on the ranch."

        by Ed in Montana on Fri May 06, 2005 at 08:12:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've Blamed Reagan/Bush (41) for 9/11... (3.87)
    Since 9/12. But not so much about oil as their covert recruitment of Islam to fight the "Godless" superpower of the Soviets.

    Once you bring religion into it, arm extremists, and teach them to take on Superpowers and win of course you're next. It'll never stop.

    That's why it makes me want to puke holy water every time some wingnut talks about how wonderful Gampy Reagan beat the USSR. Sure, by arming radical Islam against freedom.

    Dumbass lying old fucker. "Chicago Welfare queen" my ass.

    •  Gotta (none)
      place a little blame on Carter too.

      We'd have been better off just letting USSR have Afghanistan.

      This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

      by Omar on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:45:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One very important piece missing (3.91)
    First, you did a great job of putting many important facts together. Bravo!

    One point I think bears mentioning: The Iranian revolution of 1979 did not come out of thin air, and BinLaden would have few supporters if the US hadn't already planted a TON of seeds for him to eventually harvest. Arab distrust of US intentions underlies the entirety of the middle east/oil/Israel issue, and one of the most glaring and well-documented examples of US generation of Arab cynicism and hostility is fully documented in this book:

    "All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror"

    With breezy storytelling and diligent research, Kinzer has reconstructed the CIA's 1953 overthrow of the elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was wildly popular at home for having nationalized his country's oil industry. The coup ushered in the long and brutal dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah, widely seen as a U.S. puppet and himself overthrown by the Islamic revolution of 1979.

    Once the ramifications of this event fully sinks in, it's easy to understand why many, if not most Arabs will NEVER trust us or our allies. By destroying a democratically elected government and installing a brutal dictator, we have demonized ourselves far more effectively than any mullah ever will be able to. This of course leads to people willing to take suicidal actions against what they percieve to be an evil empire.

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 06:06:16 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (4.00)
      And think about what happened in Iran the next time you hear how evil the democratically elected Hugo Chavez is for nationalizing Venezuelan oil.

      Here we go again?  This time in Latin America?

      "...and walked off to look for America"

      by gillmp on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:19:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  1953 (4.00)
      an interesting year. At the end of WWII the US was the great champion of anti colonialism under the Roosevelt administration. Truman temporized, feeling it was a "practical choice" to allow some of the colonial powers back into the colonies (notably France in Viet Nam) but in cases like Iran, we supported democracies. With the election of Eisenhower and the corporatocracy, we began the process of supporting "pro western" dictators over moderate leftists democrats.

      Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

      by johnmorris on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This point is driven home (4.00)
      in "Confessions of an Economic Ht Man" as well, a book that should be distributed free and dropped by the thousands from airplanes across great expanses of the red states, in large print and audio form.

      "The government is and me!" -Theodore Roosevelt

      by Republic Not Empire on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:30:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blame Ideology (3.80)
    Playing "What Ifs".  9-11 would have happened in a Democratic Administration.  The USA would have invaded Afghanistan.  The corporate media would have crucified the Democratic Administration for failure to stop 9-11.  With no international support except from UK and Australia, a Democratic Administration would never have invaded Iraq.  George W Bush would have won the 2004 election promising he would "kick some Muslim ass" and prevent another 9-11 unlike the "weak, gay supporting, pussy" Democrats.  

    Tim Russert and gang are still playing to tribal fears.  The way to solve the Iran and North Korea nuclear problem is attack and destroy them.  The one thing corporate media will not say is that the Iraq Occupation is a Stalemate.  

    •  9/11 (4.00)
      was not inevitable. The bi partisan commision report, even though it backs away from blame, pretty clearly indicates a half a dozen ways that an active executive paying attention could have prevented those attacks. The Clinton administration, in fact, prevented some and prosecuted some more. 9/11 belongs to Condi.

      Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

      by johnmorris on Fri May 06, 2005 at 07:12:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they accelerated the schedule (none)

        Yea, someone mentioned Chalmer's Blowback earlier, he theorised that 9/11 was in planning but the schedule was accellerated in response to Bush whitehouse threats to the Taliban regarding the natural gas pipeline they wanted to build in Afghanistan.
    •  yes (none)
      The widely held view that force is the solution to most of the world's problems is what gets us into trouble.

      Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

      by markymarx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:06:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not Bush in 2004 (none)
      If Al Gore had won the EV as well in 2004 I think it's very unlikely that Bush would run again in 2004. He would have been seen as damaged goods (just as Gore was last year). My guess is McCain would have be4en the 2004 GOP candidate.
      A big what if: Would there have been a 9-11 if Gore had won? The Clinton administration had done a fair job of preventing Al Qaida strikes in the US (albeit not abroad). Might a Gore administration have busted the 9-11 conspirators too?
      •  Exactly. (4.00)
        It's hard to imagine a Gore WH receiving the sort of intelligence the Bush WH had privy to and doing absolutely nothing about it.
      •  more exactly (none)
        I doubt 9/11 would have happened under a Gore administration, but if it had everyone would have been saying "Thank God we didn't elect that dummy Bush!" the way so many of them said "Thank God we didn't elect that wimp Gore!"

        McCain would have been the Republican nominee, but best of all there would have been no Iraq invasion.


        by Danjuma on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:14:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  not Reagan, the culture that bred neo-cons (3.57)
    Reagan's presidency was a rejection of Carter's values: responsibility, involvement in the global community, innovation for future benefit, the long view, environmentalism. So, yes, in some sense it is the Reagan administration where decisions were first taken that played a role in the causal chain leading to 9/11.

    but let's set a few things straight:

    1. Reagan was even more a mere figurehead than Dubya, the policies he presided over owe more to the assorted shitheads, er, lunatics, er neo-cons who began their careers under Nixon and actively began to assert themselves once Reagan returned the GOP to power. they're still with us today.

    2. 9/11 was not "caused" by any single event or group of events. It's causes have roots all over the place, but the proximate cause, it seems to me, is Cheney and the neo-cons decision to let it happen. This isn't over the top, it's the logical application of Occam's Razor. Either the vaunted US intelligence and security apparatus completely failed in a historic and incomprehensible way (which is what they all want us to believe), or decisions were taken to play fast and loose with security, reasoning that any event would be enouogh to precipate the perpetual war necessary for complete manipulation of American democracy.

    Once again the neo-cons are to blame.

    3) The real problem has to be with a culture which gives rise to groups such as the neo-con. Something in American culture is to blame, perhaps many somethings, I don't know. But blaming the neo-cons without asking why there are so many of them, seems somewhat pointless.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Fri May 06, 2005 at 06:17:09 AM PDT

    •  Not really. (4.00)
      IIRC, The neocon "ideologues"  were kept on the fringes of Reagan presidency, by the George Schultz corporate/BiOil "realists",  and the neocons did not call the shots, but rather were present in lesser/assistant cabinet level positions  and were prominent in the staffs of key Republicans (and Dems ).  For example Bill Krystal was Dan Quayle's Chief of staff, just as Richard Perle was one of powerful Sen Scoop Jackson's (D-WA) key aides during an earlier period.

      Neither during the Reagan nor GHWBush years were the neocon ideologues allowed to have much direct policy making power.  Nothing like they have had during W's first term, where Neocons have essentially controlled US foreign and foreign energy policies since 911.

      •  Yes and no (none)
        Your history is more accurate than mine. All the same, it makes me wonder whether there is that much of a difference between the neo-cons and the big oil "realists"--in the end, does it matter why you're on the board of the Carlyle Group?

        I don't think so.

        "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:24:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Occam's Razor (none)
      I disagree that "the vaunted US intelligence and security apparatus completely failed" is that much less likely than a conspiracy to "let something happen".  

      The first is very beleivable in large organizations and we've already seen evidence of where the breakdowns occurred.  

      The second would have required a large number of people acting in a conspiracy.  History has shown that someone usually spills the beans or slips up when more than a few conspirators are involved.  It could have occurred, I just think incompetence is a better explanation.  Both are damning...  

      Socially libertarian, Fiscally conservative, 100% Democrat. Cheney unity!

      by No One No Where on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:27:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  take your pick (none)
        i think you're not describing the situation completely.

        it was not "a breakdown" of the security and intelligence system--it was many simultaneous breakdowns involving different offices, functions and personnel, right down to fighters not being scrambled even when the FAA had clear rreason to believe that 4 (FOUR!) hijackings were ongoing simultaneously.

        So, while it is easy to suggest that it's choosing between "an instance" of dysfunction versus a conspiracy of silence, it is not in the least accurate. The level of incompetence and inertia required for this to be a mere "breakdown" is easily as shocking, in my opinion more so, than the number of "conspirators" who would merely have to exert enough influence that relevant facts were allowed to slip through undetected.

        We all know just how disciplined and on-message this gang is--how hard would it be for the message "don't pay any attention to arabs currently on FBI watch lists who may be training to fly planes but not land them--they're just tourists" to be pushed down the line? Where do Richard Clarke and the PDB of august 6 fit in?

        No, I have to disagree with you. Based on the evidence, a general lack of interest in terrorism-like activities seems far more likely than incompetence. By the way, I never used the word conspiracy for a reason--you used it for the opposite reason. Essentially I'm saying the same thing as you, except that I believe there was a decision taken not to be vigilant. You think it was widespread catastrophic incompetence.

        I'm not sure, in the end, why that should make you feel better. At least the corrupt bastards who let it happen can be dealt with.

        "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:21:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  plus, once you delve into the details (4.00)
          it starts looking A LOT more like an inside job.  There are WAY too many highly suspicious pieces of evidence that points towards this dark possibility.  And not only is there is and history of this.  

          I also take issue with the notion that history teaches us that conspiracies are eventually found out.  I mean, we really only know about the ones that are revealed.  We don't know which ones weren't caught.  History is FILLED with conspiracies.  It's how the games is played.  The power-structure existing today, which include the masses of bureaucrats and the media, exist in a highly controlled information environment.  There's a reason every single public statement issued by government officials sound like the same guy wrote them and our media just parrots it back.  Independent thought and action is no longer allowed, and information, especially information involving the 9/11 investigation, was done in a highly compartmentalized and controlled fashion.  

          CSPAN 2 is replaying Dr. David Ray Griffin's amazing speech tomorrw at 2:30 PM Eastern on his new book The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions.  He makes a very compelling case for government complicity.  Record it if possible and share it with your friends and family.  

          There just might be a lot more to all those concidences that led to the success of the attacks, and we no longer live in a world where our media and government would tell us if that was true.  

        •  a note on the norad response to the hijackings (none)
          Perhaps the numerous wargames, including the one involving a simulated plane crash into a building scheduled for that day had something to do with it.  What a coincidence!   I can't believe our trusted media let such a stunning story slip through the cracks!  Well, at least we can ask the air traffic controllers if they were confused by all these wargames.  Oh wait, never mind ... ;-)

          Seriously folks, watch CSPAN 2 at 2:30 PM tomorrow (Saturday May 7th) for the replay an amazing speech on the numerous 9/11 Commission coverups.  It'll blow your mind.  

          Don't forget folks, first they opposed the 9/11 Commission, then they tried to appoint Henry Kissinger(!?!), and after that flap quietly passed in Condi's co-author Philip Zelikow, among other Bush family patrons.

          We can no longer assume the systems of justice and illumination by the government and media are properly working anymore.  There are reasons the world seems so fucked it:  Our republic and trusted institutions have been subverted.  It's a brave new world.  A brave, fascist, shitty new world.  :-(

    •  Thanks for the 2 Sam! (none)
      It's great to feel "marginal".

      I don't see a comment, though, so I will assume it was either an honest mistake, or not worth my attention.

      It may not be worth my attention in any event, but I assume for the time being that ratings are intended to help us recognize how we might improve ourselves.

      If you really feel that the above comment is "marginal", perhaps you would deign to explain it to  me?

      For all you other folk out there, this kind of thing drives me nuts. I may have been guilty of leaving a '2' in someone's box without a comment, but only if I felt that the marginaliry of the comment was clear to all. Perhaps this is a form of ratings abuse that we ought to deal with. If a comment deserves a rating like a '2' it probably deserves a comment in reply.

      "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

      by thingamabob on Sat May 07, 2005 at 03:26:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Judging by the other ratings, Sam (none)
      I would guess that the "2" was an error. In which case, I suppose my rhetorical/serious questions have been pretty much answered.

      A good example, however, of how ratings without subsequent comment can be irksome if they aren't clear in and of themselves (i.e. 0s, 1s, 3s, 4s). The "2" ends up being neither here nor there, and thus is sort of an "I don't see your point/your logic" response. Not exactly "bad" but certainly not "good".

      Trolls and unproductives are probably not looking for how they might improve their communication. "Marginals" may very well be.

      Just some thoughts.

      "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

      by thingamabob on Sat May 07, 2005 at 03:30:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ronny the (3.50)
    Interesting post and pretty well backed up.  However, I dont think you need much to make ANY case against Ronald Reagan.  Sure, he was charasmatic, looked like the nice next door neighbor or grandfather that people could reminisce about the old times for, but even his authorized biographer stated rather bluntly that the man was out of his mind at the onset of his second term.  Who knows about the first...

    Republicans can say what they want about priorities but its a pretty tough argument for Reagan to have rationalized that Iran was more evil than Iraq at the time.  Reagan went further than that...he supported Iraq, having to know full-well that Saddam was the same crooked, maniac, genocide-pushing fool that republicans claim today. Hell, we even got pics of Rummy and Cheney making arms deals with the sucker.  The proof was there in the 80's and its ever so conveniently left out.  

    The irony is that after all the tough talk on Iran, its more a democracy than even Iraq at this point.. without our intervention and without any US invasion.  The moral of the story is that when it comes to the Middle East, when the US gets involved, things usually turn to shit...especially with Republicans.

  •  Recommended and a recommendation (4.00)
    Great diary. Spot on.

    I would recommend Steve Koll's Ghost Wars for anyone interested in getting into the gory details of our funding and arming the people who gave it right back to us on 9/11.

    Is this just a case of "hindsight is 20/20," or did the people in power in 1979-1980's just suffer from the same "lack of imiagination" that the 9/11 Commission described in Bush's government?

    I think it's the latter -- it's the same "Cold War Goggles" they war that Condi and Rummy & Co. had on when they got the August PDB.

  •  Don't forget the October Surprise (4.00)
    The likely secret deal that postpoted release of the Iranian hostages until after the election.  Absent that, a likely Carter win would not have set in motion the energy policy regression that you document.
  •  TAPS came at a 8 BILLION dollar (4.00)
    cost. More than enough money to jump start the search for an alternative energy source. Biodiesel has been around for 150 years, it is not a new idea. While it isn't the magic pill for complete energy independence, in the 1970's it would have been an excellent first step to buy the time to find the answer. In the intervening 30 years with properly funded research think of what could have been accomplished.
    •  Actually, Biodiesel IS the magic pill... (4.00)
      And it's all possible because of some [gooey green stuff

      "...Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in 15,000 square miles... roughly 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres currently used for crop farming in the US, and the over 500 million acres used as grazing land for farm animals..."

      Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by racerx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 08:35:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  does it deal with global warming? (none)

        Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

        by markymarx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:12:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it does (4.00)
          Here's how.

          Biodiesel contains almost no sulfur and using a gallon of biodiesel instead of a gallon of petroleum diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming by 78%.

          Explanation: The carbon dioxide that is released when you burn biodiesel was sequestered a few months earlier when it was taken from the air and incorporated into the plant. Also, the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants could potentially be used to grow the algae, which would greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the power plant (per unit of energy generated).

          Unless you're advocating something better (that isn't made of sky-pie), please don't knock this workable solution!

          Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by racerx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:00:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Biodiesel is cool, but... (none)
            It can be part of the mix, like solar. But a few questions are in order:

            1. The US produces enough waste greases a year to make 500 million gallons of biodiesel. The U.S. consumes about 131 billion gallons of gas.  So the total biodiesel from this source is something like .3 percent of the total gas used, correct? Meaning it won't replace gasoline, except for a sort of boutique useage.

            2. If the idea is to produce more of the stuff than we now get from waste, the question is this:  farming practices in the US aren't carbon dioxide-free, and aren't environmentally free.  How much CO2 is emitted producing per gallon of biodiesel, via farming practices, etc?  I'm not sure this calculation has been done, but it probably has.

            3. Having entire cities running on biodiesel (were it possible) would be better than regular gasoline engine emissions in many ways. But it would be a lot like mobile McDonald's restaurants and burger kings driving around the city, emitting fat exhaust.  Correct?

            4. My comments aren't meant to knock anything. These are serious questions about realistic ways to prevent global warming. I am all for some use of biodiesel, but it's not the big fix we need.

            Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

            by markymarx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:08:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Follow the links I posted! (4.00)
              There's plenty of production capability in the US to supply ALL of our transportation energy.

              ALL of it.


              Read the information I posted about the carbon cycle and biodiesel too.

              No one is saying biodiesel is perfect, but it's pretty goddam close. The thing that makes it really cool is that it's DOABLE. We have the infrastructure, and the technology. If we really wanted to do it, we could be totally free of foreign oil in a few years time, for WAY less than the cost of a couple years of war in the middle east.

              Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

              by racerx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:56:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  No... (none)
              Having entire cities running on biodiesel (were it possible) would be better than regular gasoline engine emissions in many ways. But it would be a lot like mobile McDonald's restaurants and burger kings driving around the city, emitting fat exhaust.  Correct?

              Well, except that there'd be zero net carbon change. All that grease would have decomposed anyway into C02, so burning it's not a big deal.

              The real problem with biodiesel is that it requires a hell of a lot of fertilizer and pesticides to grow any agricultural product in a large-scale sense. Those things are made from oil and natural gas.

      •  With work it could be (none)
        but we will still need some petroleum for years to come. I would think biodiesel is just one part of what could be done given funding for research.
        •  Of course (none)
          We'll need some petroleum forever, probably. Its the base material for many things, which is exactly why we should stop burning it!

          And yes, many other things need to be researched and studied, but biodiesel is far and away the most promising one of the current bunch. Peak oil isn't going to wait until we're ready, we need a solution yesterday.

          Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by racerx on Fri May 06, 2005 at 01:10:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Plenty of oil for feedstock (none)
            OK, I could say a lot about biodiesel vs. alternatives and the relative efficiency of plants at capturing solar energy (poor).  But I just want to point out one thing...

            You said:
            We'll need some petroleum forever, probably. Its the base material for many things, which is exactly why we should stop burning it!
            This is complete nonsense, and missing the obvious besides.  

            Just what do you think biodiesel is anyways?  It's OIL.  When you go to the store, you can buy any of several varieties of vegetable oil - which is oil.  Every cell on earth has a lipid membrane, lipids being oily compounds.  Your skin and brain are almost entirely made of these oily lipids, never mind the fat tissue which are also oils.  

            There are industrial processes for extracting oil from biomatter. There are industrial processes for making oil from coal or natural gass.  There are industrial processes for making oil from heat, carbon dioxide, and water.  

            Chains of single-bonded carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms on the side, of various lengths, sometimes branched, sometimes double-bonded, somtimes in more complicated arrangements or with other types of atoms thrown in, in various mixtures.  That's oil.  Crude, diesel, gasoline, vegetable oil, gas fuels - all just variations on a theme.  

            In short, while it may require a lot of effort and investment to satisfy our energy demand for oil without pumping it out of the ground (and in fact that is IMHO by far the best solution freeing us from foreign oil),  getting enough oil to use as a feedstock for manufacturing is unlikely to ever be a problem.  

  •  The FAA and airlines caused it (none)
    I mean... really, how hard is it to figure out that planes full of jet fuel are potentially DANGEROUS!
    The fact that they allowed unsecured cockpits and the possibility of hijacking them as missiles is astounding.  Especially after all the prior evidence of this very possibility.
    It is more than astounding.  It is represhensible and sickening that they couldn't take the most basic remedial measures to prevent it.
  •  Actually... (none)
    Ronald Reagan was in office for a little over a year when he was shot by John Hinckley.  George H.W. Bush was known to have "taken over" the presidency.  Bush, Sr. is more likely to blame for the secret arms deals and Oil negotiations that went sour for the U.S.

    Conspiracy theorists will love to know that John Hinckley's family lived in the same neighborhood as the Bush's and attended the same schools.  In fact, John Hinckley's father was an oil man too and was to have met with George the day after Reagan was shot.

    Be what you is, not what you is not. Those that know this are the happiest lot. ~Mr. Wizard

    by Duncanini on Fri May 06, 2005 at 08:16:27 AM PDT

  •  Glaring omission (4.00)
    You forgot Reagan's war on the air traffic controllers which began the long process of politicizing aviation in this country to the detriment of public safety. This lack of proper oversight for the security of the aviation system contributed greatly to the success of the 9/11 attackers.

    I have no argument with your foreign policy remarks.

    Finally I think it bears comment that the attacks of 9/11 can be viewed through a political prism, but it is just as important to realize they were an act of madness. In the end there are no reasons or justifications, let alone assignation of blame, that make any sense out of the acts of that day, or any of the other major terrorist attacks on civilians since the assassination of Sadat.

  •  Another one out of the park-Bam (none)
    Important info and well written.
  •  Don't overlook.... (4.00)
    ...Eisenhower.  Our little, er, readjustment of the Iranian political situation in 1954 leads straight to 9/11.  We overthrew a democratically-elected government and reinstalled a repressive monarchy, primarily because of oil.  Said repressive monarchy spawns a spirited resistance, personified in the Ayatollah Khomeini.  Once Khomeini takes power,America becomes the "Great Satan."  Fundamentalist Islam now has a spearhed -- or figurehead, take your pick -- and an enemy to rally around.  

    Sure, there's plenty of other factors.  Obviously the coup in Iran is just one of many insults to the people of the Middle East, one of many repressive regimes we backed so we could have access to oil.  But it's a template.

    "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:12:00 AM PDT

  •  Well done (none)
    And not book length, either! Not enough attention is paid to the Reagan-present-day terroism continuum--well, gee, I wonder why?


    "Humankind cannot bear very much reality"--T.S. Eliot

    by bdizz on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:45:29 AM PDT

  •  Is some of this from Richard Clark's book? (none)
    I ask this as RC claimed that is where the problem started. With Reagan and the Soviet Union. But in his book ( he does not give the oil details and facts as much or as well as you have stated) he says, and he was there, that RR thought that if the USSR got a hold of Afganistan  completely, they would then take over all of the Middle East and control all the oil. And that is the reason we sent people to help the rebels. And RR asked Saudia Arabia to be the go between. Now, Bin Laden was one of the people SA sent on the American's behalf. BUT, the deal was that after the Soviets got out of Afganistan, the US would get their planes and bases out of the MidEast. But once there, we reniged on that promise and that is why Bin Laden turned on us. He became more religious, we would not get off their holy land as promised, he did an about face and became our enemy or in his eyes, his enemy.
    I have simplified this and done it by memory, but it was pretty on early in his book and he does point the finger of the beginning of the Bin Laden problem to Ronald Reagan.          

    Fix the Problems, Don't create new ones

    by BarnBabe on Fri May 06, 2005 at 09:47:57 AM PDT

  •  I blame Samuel Morey (none)
    Samuel Morey

    Seriously though, I see the point but this kind of historical deductive blame doesn't really get us anywhere.

    So Reagan set the stage for future mistakes and actions that set the stage for actions that set the stage for 9/11.

    What does that get us NOW, in fixing things NOW. Playing the blame game and applying it to 30+ years ago only gets us arguing in cirlces about what happened, not what needs to happen to put things right.

    Look I'm no fan of Reagan. I think he was a small minded twit that didn't know the next thing about running a country, let alone economics and what a sham "trickle down" was. But again blaming him for 9/11, no matter how indirectly, isn't going to acheive a damn thing.

    Just my two cents. It was a very well written diary but, I just don't see the point.

    •  Put it this way... (none)
      Could a foreigner understand anything at all about the American South, or the peculiar American sensitivity about race, if they were unaware of the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggle?

      Knowing how things came to be messed up... is a necessary first step in what you can do now. Just because you wish you could throw the whole thing out and start over from scratch, that doesn't mean other people will agree.

      The first step -- is to know where they're coming from. You can't get to any sort of fix in the Middle East without understanding what drove so many into the arms of Islamic extremists. It's not about blaming Reagan; that's just a jumping off point for the diary. It's about knowing the implications of so many actions taken in the Reagan administration that are coming back to bite you now.

      And, no... it's not that they hate you for your freedoms. ;-)

      Massacre is not a family value.

      by Canadian Reader on Fri May 06, 2005 at 06:59:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good analogy (none)
        The problem seems to be that the necessity of Reagan is bipartisan Receieved Opinion in the US, and we are vehemently ordered not to see any other possibilites but whatever he did, no matter how obvious it is that they need to be reversed now. Some of the anti-Bush nostalgia for Reagan expressed here is staggering in its historical ignorance.

        "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

        by jlb on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:17:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hmm (none)
          I hope you weren't implying I had any "anti-Bush nostalgia for Reagan."  As I said, I have no love for him. If you did think (or accuse) me of having nostalgia for Reagan, that's one of the problem sI have with the comments on Kos - a sort of "you either agree with my comment/diary wholly or you must epitomize/be nostalgic for the thing I am against". If that's not what you meant, sorry for the projection. ;)

          But while that is a good analogy, the people we need to win over plain and simple don't give a fuck. They don't CARE how Reagan's actions led to the situation we're in. Any bit of historical clarification will go right over their heads as they nod off into their TV dinner halfway through the evening news.

          The only people who will really care about that are the people like us - policy wonks and people interested in the history and complexities of politics. For Joe Average Voter, this won't matter at all when it comes to makign their voting decisions. It's a "what have you done for me lately" world and that's where we have to focus - on the now. Not on the 20 years ago.

          •  No projection merited (none)
            but I understand the question that comes about. No, I'm with you. We have to present a viable, fully competitive alternative NOW - people don't care about principle at all, they just care about whether you can carry it off or not.

            "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

            by jlb on Wed May 11, 2005 at 04:42:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (none)
    I enjoyed your diary.  Too bad it is one of your last.  

    I don't really think he was who caused it, i'm sure he helped but he isn't the only person in the world who could have any influence.

    But still, nothing wrong with blaming Reagan, I've heard enough blabber about how wonderful he is to last me a lifetime.


    Home is where the cat is

    by HK on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:17:58 AM PDT

  •  It has always been my opinion since the 80's (none)
    That in a couple of hundred years it will be Reagan - not Stalin, Mao or Hitler who will be seen as the most evil of the history's despots. When men are fighting each other in some post apocalyptic wasteland for food and water and go to sleep every night to the dying wimpers of their children 'Reagan' will be the curse word the will mutter to themselves.

    Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

    by The past is over on Fri May 06, 2005 at 10:43:53 AM PDT

    •  This is over the top. (none)
      If you stop to consider body-counts.

      And, I hated Reagan.

      •  Stalin and Mao's body counts (none)
        are static. Their damage is done. Reagan's is just beginning.

        Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

        by The past is over on Fri May 06, 2005 at 03:41:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What percentage of the carnage is due to Reagan, (none)
          what percentage due to other major players. How much of it is unintended consequences, how much would have happened anyway?

          I mean, I can see where you are coming from, but it certainly is arguable by reasonable people as to the fault of Reagan for the deaths. Also, it will take many decades of effects to come up wit the dozens of millions of deaths caused by the aforementioned dictators. His slow reponse to AIDS definitely caused numerous deaths, as did his policies in S America. So did Clinton's non-response to Ruwanda, but there arealways other factors and players involved.

          The deaths caused by Hitler, Stalin, et al., is only disputed by serious revisionist nutjobs.

          In other words, history is complicated, but I think some cases are clear-cut. The case against Hitler, Mao, Paul Pott (spelling??) and Stalin are clear. That against Reagan is less so.

    •  But (none)
      He's not even close to the worst President of the last 25 years.
  •  The historical perspective is great, but... (none)
    don't forget to include all the evidence from 9/11 itself that points towards the dark possibility of US government complicity.

    There are just too many unanswered questions for us to ignore.

    Having said that, excellent diary!

  •  You've woven the strands of this story (none)
    quite nicely--good work on this diary.

    I remember hating Reagan when he cancelled the synthetic fuels programs as soon as he took office.  I was a freshman in high school, my dad was a mechanical engineer with nuclear power experience, and we'd just moved from San Diego to Denver where he'd been hired to start working with a syn fuels team.  The whole family relocated to Denver, then the program went belly-up, he had to look for work, and we moved again.  And in my narrow little teenage way, I saw this as a humongous hardship for myself ("Shit, now I'll be starting at my THIRD high school!"), rather than an unwise, potentially tragic time for the country.  

    Made me vote Democratic in my first election, though!

    "I love Pat Robertson because he teaches kids morality. He teaches kids, 'If someone doesn't agree with you, ask God to kill them.'" -Jon Stewart

    by MostlyRussky on Fri May 06, 2005 at 12:25:05 PM PDT

  •  Yes, Reagan Changed The Mindset... (4.00)
    Yes, Reagan changed the mindset of the country.  Carter saw problems, addressed problems, and looked for solutions.  Some of these solutions involved acting responsibly, and some involved some sensible sacrificing (even basic stuff, like, say, lowering your thermostat temp), so that quality of life of Americans, and peace and security could someday possibly be reached.

    When Reagan came in, the country's mindset in general turned 180 degrees to one of total selfishness and consumption.  Problems were not even acknowledged, never mind addressed or solved.  Reagan told the country that everything was great and going according to plan (though it wasn't), which is what people wanted to hear.   This mindset is encrusted in place still.  It's infuriating.


    •  Great point, (none)
      since learning about peak oil my whole perspective has changed. It seems to be now that we choose this path a long time ago, when we threw Carter out of office for telling us hard truths. I still have strong feelings about Bushco, but they seem pretty inevitable now. Carter warned that if we continued down the path we were on, there would be wars for oil. Unfortunately he was totally easy to marginalize because of Prudo Bay and the North Sea that expanded oil supply again. Unfortunately, both fields peaked in '99 and are now in decline.

      We are all wearing the blue dress now.

      by PLS on Fri May 06, 2005 at 04:35:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary (none)
    For more depth on ties to the bin Ladens and Afghanistan, you might enjoy this portion of the 9/11 Cooperative Research Timeline.

    Thanks for putting so much care into weaving the historical, socio-poltical, economic and energy trends into this great piece.  The above link is well worth a review in this context, and connects finer details to your broader points and excellent charts.

  •  Why not Carter? (none)
    I'm not sure I get it. Why don't you say that Carter started 9/11, when it was he who started funding the Afghans against the Commies in the '70s?

    I don't think your logic adds up - your parallel tracks of the oil crisis and the arming of Afghan rebels never sync up to one thing that Reagan did.

    I'm not a Reagan apologist, but I'm just not seeing it.

    Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

    by AggieDemocrat on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:13:58 PM PDT

    •  adding to that thought (none)
      I'd say it's more an amalgamation of bad US policy over the last 30-35 years than anything. Supporting the wrong kinds of regimes. Arm them, fight our enemy du jour (the Soviets), then leave them in shambles when they are of no use to us, then they get pissed at us, then they bomb us.

      Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

      by AggieDemocrat on Fri May 06, 2005 at 02:15:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer the moral clarity of saying.... (none)
    "Osama bin Laden and his terrorists are one hundred percent responsible for 9/11. But Ronald Reagan's willingness to arm and train Islamic fundamentalists gave Osama bin Ladan his power. And George W. Bush's apathy towards American security allowed Osama's half-baked plan to succeed."

    This is both appalling and true, and it doesn't sound like we're letting Al Qaeda off the hook.

    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

    by Valentine on Fri May 06, 2005 at 03:18:43 PM PDT

  •  Carter, Big Cold Warrior, But Reagan Was Orders of (none)
    Carter, Big Cold Warrior, But Reagan Was Orders of

    Magnitude worse.  There is no question that Carter helped get the whole Afghan war started and gave solid backing to keep it going.  Reagan's people saw it as a way to destroy the Soviet Union and pay them back for Vietnam, and Reagan increased spending by 10 times, per year.  Reagan put their funding up to 1 billion per year, and also created the textbooks that taught Afghans and muslims all over the world to hate non-muslims.

    Don't believe me?

    A friend sent me this a few months ago:

    Many fundamentalist American Christians think that the people of Islam hate us because we are Christians and because they are in the "wrong" religion.  One U.S. General, Gen. Boykin ( ), thinks they hate us because their religion is of "demonic" origins.  Isn't it interesting that instead, when you read the below story, you'll see that our government was intrumental in teaching people to hate other people like us and to love violence as a means to Godliness.  This teaching bred disrespect for life and a violent culture which was linked to religious ideals.  The result is a profoundly unfortunate blowback.  It's an old story.  This small information bit might lead one to consider the nature of unintended consequences, though it also covers issues regarding why and how hatred is spread for narrow political reasons that have broader consequences.  It also offers a lesson regarding the American Taliban right here.  All of it is profoundly troubling.

    The Washington Post

    From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad

    Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts

    By Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Saturday, March 23, 2002; Page A01

     In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

    The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.

    As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks. But now it is wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence.

    Last month, a U.S. foreign aid official said, workers launched a "scrubbing" operation in neighboring Pakistan to purge from the books all references to rifles and killing. Many of the 4 million texts being trucked into Afghanistan, and millions more on the way, still feature Koranic verses and teach Muslim tenets.

    The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

    Organizations accepting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development must certify that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. The certification states that AID "will finance only programs that have a secular purpose. . . . AID-financed activities cannot result in religious indoctrination of the ultimate beneficiaries."

    The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise. A number of government agencies are discussing what can be done to counter these trends.

    President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach "respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry."

    The first lady stood alongside Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai on Jan. 29 to announce that AID would give the University of Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training kits.

    AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

    "It's not AID's policy to support religious instruction," Stratos said. "But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity."

    Some legal experts disagreed. A 1991 federal appeals court ruling against AID's former director established that taxpayers' funds may not pay for religious instruction overseas, said Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law expert at American University, who litigated the case for the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Ayesha Khan, legal director of the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the White House has "not a legal leg to stand on" in distributing the books.

    "Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to supply materials that are religious," she said.

    Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.

    During that time of Soviet occupation, regional military leaders in Afghanistan helped the U.S. smuggle books into the country. They demanded that the primers contain anti-Soviet passages. Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited U.S. interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders.

    "I think we were perfectly happy to see these books trashing the Soviet Union," said Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID's Central Asia Task Force.

    AID dropped funding of Afghan programs in 1994. But the textbooks continued to circulate in various versions, even after the Taliban seized power in 1996.

    Officials said private humanitarian groups paid for continued reprintings during the Taliban years. Today, the books remain widely available in schools and shops, to the chagrin of international aid workers. [BigBite Commentary:  One wonders which "private humanitarian groups" these were... might some of them be active in American politics today funding Anne Coulter or Pat Robertson?]

    "The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse," said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.

    An aid worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages.

    The military content was included to "stimulate resistance against invasion," explained Yaquib Roshan of Nebraska's Afghanistan center. "Even in January, the books were absolutely the same . . . pictures of bullets and Kalashnikovs and you name it."

    During the Taliban era, censors purged human images from the books. One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier's head is missing.

    Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.

    "We were quite shocked," said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. "The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it."

    After the United States launched a military campaign last year, the United Nations' education agency, UNICEF, began preparing to reopen Afghanistan's schools, using new books developed with 70 Afghan educators and 24 private aid groups. In early January, UNICEF began printing new texts for many subjects but arranged to supply copies of the old, unrevised U.S. books for other subjects, including Islamic instruction.

    Within days, the Afghan interim government announced that it would use the old AID-produced texts for its core school curriculum. UNICEF's new texts could be used only as supplements.

    Earlier this year, the United States tapped into its $296 million aid package for rebuilding Afghanistan to reprint the old books, but decided to purge the violent references.

    About 18 of the 200 titles the United States is republishing are primarily Islamic instructional books, which agency officials refer to as "civics" courses. Some books teach how to live according to the Koran, Brown said, and "how to be a good Muslim."

    UNICEF is left with 500,000 copies of the old "militarized" books, a $200,000 investment that it has decided to destroy, according to U.N. officials.

    On Feb. 4, Brown arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.

    "We turned it from a wartime curriculum to a peacetime curriculum," he said.

  •  He forgot the obvious Martian link. (none)
    It's true! Everybody thinks the Martians are a bunch of cuddly little green men but they aren't. They are huge abusers of energy. Do you know how much fuel it takes to run one of those big saucers?
  •  There's a reason why ... (none)
    ... Carter called energy conservation "the moral equivalent of war."

    It was, and it is.

    No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. US Constitution, Article 6

    by ppgooding on Fri May 06, 2005 at 04:51:59 PM PDT

  •  My God! (none)
    There are a lot of Regan lovers still around. Must have been that grin with the dirt-meanness that ropes 'em in.

    "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

    by jlb on Fri May 06, 2005 at 05:08:06 PM PDT

  •  Reagan was a Puppet (none)
    Great story, well-written, lots of work went into this, and I appreciate the perspective.  Recommend.

    But there are some crucial elements missing, IMHO.

    1. Iran-Contra can be traced back to a deal GHWB (former head of the CIA and Reagan VP for 8 years before he was elected Preznit in 1988) made with the Iranis to keep the hostages in Iraq until they got Jimmy Carter out of the WH.

    2. The Bush family owned oil wells in Kuwait, this came out during the so-called Gulf War.

    3. Bush Knew.  He either knew about 9/11 in advance and let it happen to promote his agenda, or... the unthinkable.

    So Reagan was instrumental, but who was holding the puppet strings?
  •  the two halves (none)
    I'm a little fuzzy on how the two halves of your theory come together.

    i guess the idea is that dependance on mid east oil was the reason the US went into Afghanistan. Perhaps a communist government there would not be beneficial to trade.  

    But did the US import a lot of oil from Afghanistan? You mentioned Iran and OPEC as sources of imports, not Afghanistan.

    One could argue that even if the US had engaged in a policy that reduced our depenance on middle eastern oil, we still would have fought a proxy war in Afghanistan over the idea of Communism.

    •  Think of it this way (none)
      We're in the Middle East at all because of massive Cold War synergy between Oil and Israel. Afghanistan was a key proxy war to subvert the Soviets, who were continuing the 100+ year-old Russian campaign to control Central Asis down to the Persian Gulf and its warm-water ports, and paricularly after oil was found in the area. But we didn't stay and rebuild Afghanistan a la Marshall Plan - because Reagan and his crew were corporatists and there was no Oil and no money to be made in Afghanistan - and so we stupidly abandoned the country to chaos and the eventual triumph of the very Islamist radicals we had empowered to fight the Soviets, this giving Osama an entire country to work with while he plotted against the US/Israel/Saudi "order" of things in the ME. Grasping the argument in this diary depends on seeing that there were other choices (e.g., an alternative to the foreign oil that the Sun Belter Reagan doomed us to) that could have had very different and much better outcomes. It requires seeing past the soft-focus Pop consensus that Reagan had some good ideas, he just went a little too far, and that he was somehow really necessary. That's about it, I believe.

      "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

      by jlb on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:04:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (none)
        for the explanation.

        I think I was reading the diary wrong. I expected there to be a cause and effect between the two halves Devilstower cited as the cause of 9/11. But they weren't cause and effect as much as parallel, though related decisions.

        I think my point holds that even if we had energy indepencdence we still may have challenged the soviet expansion.

        I always reply to diaries too late.

        •  Me too, it seems (none)
          And you're certainly right about Afghanistan, particularly since Devilstower makes it clear that Carter and Brezhinski made the initial commitment, just that Carter would not have left Afghanistan to the Taliban abd Osama once the Soviets had failed there.

          "There are only murderers in this room" - John Rooney in The Road to Perdition

          by jlb on Sun May 08, 2005 at 05:33:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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