March 27, 2007

Double Secret Withdrawal Date

Hatched by Dafydd

The most bizarre and grotesque suggestion -- risible, actually -- anent the Senate version of the emergency supplemental funding bill for the troops in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan comes from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR, 75%)... who should win the Northern Alliance's vaunted "Loon of the Week" award, if there's any justice.

Pryor bravely stood up and voted against the previous Democratic attempt to cripple our troops. But he's feeling the heat -- the molten lava -- from "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," as the late Sen. Paul Wellstone used to call his beloved nutroots. Pryor is desperate to find some accomodation that will allow him to vote for the bill.

But he cannot vote to have a firm timetable and simply announce it to the enemy: "Just hold on until this date, and you're home free!" He knows, as does every other Democrat, that this is a prescription for miltary defeat; but unlike the rest of them (including former political hero Ben Nelson, D-NE, 35%, this time), Mark Pryor actually doesn't want us to be defeated.

So he has come up with what he imagines to be a compromise:

Unlike the plan's Republican opponents, Pryor wants a withdrawal deadline of some kind. He just doesn't want anyone outside the White House, Congress and the Iraqi government to know what it is.

"My strong preference would be to have a classified plan and a classified timetable that should be shared with Congress," Pryor said yesterday. A public deadline would tip off the enemy, "who might just bide their time and wait for us to leave," he said. "Then you'd have chaos and mayhem and instability."

There you go! We have a firm withdrawal date... but we keep it a secret: It would only be known by the president, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, many people working in the Departments of Defense and State and in the CIA, all the generals, colonels, and many of the majors in Iraq -- and the entire United States Congress -- plus staff!

I make that out to be somewhere north of 1,500 people. So it's a secret that's only shared among the population of a small town. But wait -- Sen. Pryor has already thought of that, ah, potential source for leaks. He has an answer:

Pryor said a classified plan would be provided by the president, shepherded by Senate committees and ultimately shared with Congress and Iraqi leaders. He is confident that the plan would remain secret, because Congress is entrusted with secrets "all the time."

Yup... secrets such as the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program, the SWIFT financial tracking program, spy satellite programs -- or for that matter, the fact that we had captured and interrogated some of the terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro.

Do we know for sure that each of these blown secrets was leaked by members of Congress (or their staffs, who would also know)? Some of them, yes; but not all of them. Some were blown by Democratic members of the CIA or the State Department (same thing)... and only confirmed by members of Congress. And in the end, it makes no difference whether the double secret withrawal date is blown by Congress or disgruntled bureaucrats in the administration; it'll be blown by somebody.

In fact, you wouldn't even need a direct leak to the New York Times. All it would take to blow this one would be a congressional budget that showed a sharp decline in Iraq war funding starting in a particular quarter. Hm... I wonder what that could mean?

Suppose Congress and the president did enact this double secret classified withdrawal date. Suppose you are a reporter for the Times, the Washington Post, CNN, or any other elite news agency. What would be you number-one priority? With hundreds of reporters calling every, single person they know to get that date, I cannot imagine that the "secret" would last longer than three days -- classified or not.

And if Pryor doesn't know that -- he ought to; he's been around D.C. since he was three years old.

Mark Pryor may be unique among Senate Democrats in actually feeling a slight twinge of regret at the thought of Congress forcing America to lose the Iraq war; but he certainly shares with his colleagues (left and right) the general congressional inability to follow a chain of events to its logical conclusion.

And in the end, it made no difference; the Senate has just voted 50-48 not to strip the timetable from the Senate bill; Pryor voted to strip the timetable... but in the end, he will vote for the final bill. Bush will veto it, and the veto will easily be sustained.

And the kabuki dance goes on, while our troops twist slowly, slowly in the wind.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 27, 2007, at the time of 3:16 PM

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» Simon says put both hands above you head. from The Crimson Blog
Now, Simon says put them down.Not so fast my “well-meaning” Democratic friends. Joined by Chief RINO himself, the Senate Democrats yesterday voted to set an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, putting them in squarely line with th... [Read More]

Tracked on March 28, 2007 10:56 AM


The following hissed in response by: Fritz

I'm left wondering if I'm cynical or what? It strikes me that the more the surge succeeds, the more the Democrats demand a date for withdrawal. It is like they are so afraid that the surge might succeed and that Iraq might turn out to be a success that they can no longer wait and feel they have to lose the war as quickly as they can. And that leads them to make stupid statements, such as the one about a secret withdrawal date. Of course there is no chance that such a date would leak, is there? Jeez, what in the world was Pryor thinking, or is that drinking? The secret date would remain secret about twenty seconds before it was plastered all over the front page of the New York Times. It would be revealed even sooner, but I don't think the Times is competent enough to get anything out quicker. So I am forced to disagree with you that it might last three days. Sorry Dafydd, but it would never last that long. You do not understand the hatred of the Democrats well enough.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 5:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: nk

A well would be too kind to Mr. Pryor and his fellow traitors Democrats.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 5:37 PM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Three days? Ida guessed three minutes.

Hey, I gotta idea. How about the congress pass a "nudget" bill that attaches a plan for victory? Perhaps some milestones for the Iraqis to cross? Perhaps they could simply define victory, formally, so we will know it when we see it?

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 6:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: brutepcm

1,500 can keep a secret, if 1,499 of them are dead.(That wasn't a suggestion, just an observation.)

The above hissed in response by: brutepcm [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 3:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


You are, of course, absolutely right that a secret like this can’t possibly remain a secret.

But even if the impossible happened (maybe we could hermetically seal the mouths of all members of the executive and legislative branches for the duration of the required secrecy) Sen. Pryor’s plan still wouldn’t work.

Let’s say you’re an “insurgent”, and the US announces that we will withdraw all armed forces from Iraq by, say, June 30, 2008. What do you do? As has been explained ad nauseam by that part of the political spectrum not afflicted by BDS, you just go underground and wait out the silly infidels until they leave, then resume your nefarious activities unhindered by those pesky GI’s.

On the other hand, suppose we announced that we were going to withdraw, but the exact date is a deep, dark secret. What would you, Mr. Insurgent, do differently under these circumstances? Answer: Not a blessed thing! You know you have to lie low for a while. What difference does it make if you have to wait 9 months or 18? Besides, you’ll have plenty of advance notice before the last of the crusaders leaves -- it will take weeks to move (redeploy?) that many bodies and that much equipment.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 8:10 AM

The following hissed in response by: Navyvet

What is actually needed is a triple secret plan for surrender withdrawal uh...redeployment. Blindfold Harry Reid (excuse the redundancy) and let him choose the secret date (perhaps from a large revolving drum...B-18,, wait...)

Then, place the date, sight unseen, in Al Gore's lock box. When Al's carbon footprint declines to the national average of 18 tonnes per year, the box can be opened and the date revealed. Of course, by the time that condition obtains the actual surrender date may have passed, in which case Harry could pick another date, and the process could begin anew.

A good alternative to this scenario would be to have congress leave the commander-in-chiefing to the Commander-in-Chief and go back to their knitting, allowing our troops to achieve VICTORY. And then everybody could come home who desires to do so.

The above hissed in response by: Navyvet [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 11:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


I had considerable difficulty posting the above comment. (I know that disappoints you greatly.) I contacted the Typekey/Six Apart people and they say the problem is on your end. Here are our emails to one another (I tried using formatting --bold and block quote & it didn‘t work, so, unfortunately, I have to send this to you plain vanilla.):

First, I sent this last night (3/27)-

I successfully login to Typekey, write a comment on a blog site, and preview the comment. Then when I try to post the comment, I get an error message that says "registration is required".

I am, of course registered with Typekey as a user of the blog (

I have successfully posted comments on the blog in question for several months. This is the second time in the last two weeks I have encountered this problem.

Can you please help me to access this blog? Thank you.

Their response this morning was-

Hi -

You are encountering a known issue in Movable Type. The only workaround for this issue at the present time is to not preview a comment before posting the comment so your TypeKey authentication is not lost.

TypeKey Authenticaton Service
Six Apart, Ltd.

I sent them another email this morning-

Thank you for your response.

Last night, before I sent my inquiry to you, I tried posting my comment without previewing it. The result was the same.

Again this morning, I have unsuccessfully tried several times to post a comment on the blog. Finally, I succeeded when I posted my comment without previewing it and also without making any format modifications -- bold, italic, etc.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks again.

Their reply was-

Hi -

This is a problem is with the site you are visiting, you will need to contact the weblog owner and let them know about the trouble you are having, as this is a weblog issue that we cannot resolve on their behalf.

Movable Type Publishing Platform

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 3:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Your correspondent was remarkably uninformative. First he says it's "a known issue in Movable Type," then he says "this is a problem is with the site you are visiting." In neither case did he give you any specifics.

I assure you, I am using the vanilla script for TypeKey authentication on Big Lizards. The only thing added is a div container (for XHTML strict compliance) and the formatting buttons you see atop the text box. All the actual scripting stuff is the generic MT 3.x template.

It may very well be a Movable Type problem; it may also be a TypeKey problem. More than likely, it's a problem with the interaction between the two, and neither is going to own up to it.

But short of either (a) abandoning Movable Type, or (b) switching to a different authentication system (or no authentication at all), there is nothing I can do about it... until and unless either Six Apart or TypeKey can issue specific instructions on how to modify my Individual Entry template. (I'm not an HTML or javascript programmer.)

Can you prod TypeKey to see if they have a "knowledgebase" write up about the problem and possible solutions?

I'm not trying to be flip, Dick E; but you're asking me to do things I honestly have no idea how to do. The things I've modified on here work fine; this is a problem with the script written by Six Apart vs. the authentication protocol written by TypeKey -- and that's beyond my ability to correct.

(Evidently, it's beyond their ability to correct, as well; I'm sure they'd love to fix this if they could.)

What kind of connection are you using? Does it happen no matter what computer you try to comment from? (Home, work, laptop, a friend's house, net cafe?) What if you set up a new TypeKey identity... does that work better? Does it happen on other sites? If so, what blogging software do they use?

I have actually run a help ticket with SA about this, and in the end, they had no idea; but they were sure it was a TypeKey problem, just as TypeKey thinks it's a Movable Type problem. It just seems to happen to some people.

This is the longhand version of what I wrote before: there's nothing I can do about this. I wish I could.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 6:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Excuse me, sir, but I don't think I asked you to do anything. I was merely passing on information that I hoped you might be able to use more than I. Heck, I don't have the foggiest idea what the difference is between Typekey and Moveable Type.

And while I know you were trying to be informative, I know nothing about maintaining a blog, so your second paragraph is totally Greek to me.

It had occurred to me that the problem might possibly be on my end. I tried a few things, like turning off my pop-up blocker. If the problem recurs I'll try more.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 7:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Dick E., you seem to have been angry at me from the very beginning on this. Honestly, I'm not trying to blow you off!

The first thing to check is whether you have problems logging on from other computers. If it's only one computer, that could mean a problem in the internet path, somewhere between your computer and our server (Hosting Matters) -- probably your ISP.

If the problem occurs no matter what computer you log on from, then it may be a problem in your TypeKey account. Since the accounts are free, you should be able to set up another account with a slightly different name and see if that solves the problem.

If it persists in both cases, then it may just be some quirk of either TypeKey or MT or their interaction. You've posted a lot of comments here, so it seems like a sporatic problem.

When you format, do you use the buttons on top of the text box, or do you type the HTML code in yourself?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 8:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Sorry if you think I've been angry -- I'm not -- maybe a little frustrated. You certainly haven't been trying to blow me off -- you've been very responsive. Thanks for that.

I really think you should abandon Movable Type and Typekey because of one frustrated correspondent out in the hinterlands. Everybody else is happy? Too bad -- the whole world stops for DickE.

Frankly, my concern (in my ignorance) from the start a couple of weeks ago was that there might be something awry on your end and I was trying to alert you to that possibility.

I haven't experienced similar problems on other sites. And when I format, I use the buttons. Maybe I'll try typing the code to see if that makes a difference.

I realize the problem may be at any of several places, including my computer or my ISP.

I'd like to do some experimenting, using other settings on my machine and using the other computer we have here.

I don't want to clutter up your site with bunches of test postings. Any suggestion where I can post my tests, sort of out of the way? I assume these things take up at least a little space in your memory banks, so feel free to delete them (or not, as you prefer).

I do want to try to solve the problem, because it seems more persistent now than when I first encountered it a couple of weeks ago.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2007 10:20 PM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

Dafydd and Dick E. I also encountered a similar problem when I first started commenting here, but it was only on one occasion, and since then I have had no further problems. I attempted to comment and it told me I had to sign in, yet I was signed in because it told me, "Thanks for hissing in Fritz." After several tries, having hit the sign in each time it told me to, and continually getting the same you need to sign in message, I got disgusted and gave up. It went along for several days and another post drew my attention for comments. I decided to try one more time, and everything has worked since then. I had made no changes in my computer so I have no idea what the problem was, only that I have not encountered the problem since that one occasion. Off the top of my head, that was about six months ago.
I don't remember the blog, but I encountered a similar problem, again for only one attempted comment, and it too went away with no change on my part. It also was a Type Key account, and took place around the same time.
So I have no answers, and can only speculate that sometimes the "Gods of Cyberspace" are unkind. In both my instances, repeated attempts to sign in did not solve the problem, yet it went away and has not returned. And I would add, Dafydd, if I had had your email address, I would have fired off and email over it, so perhaps you are wise not to put your email address anywhere I can find it. To be honest, I don't see how people like Glen Reynolds keep up with their email.
Incidentally, I normally do not preview my comments, but on long ones write them in Word and paste them, but in neither case was I attempting to preview comments when I encountered the problems.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 11:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

In this special case, you can go ahead and post test comments here; I'll just erase them when I see them! (Actually, you're just functioning as an unpaid beta-tester...)

Good hunting,


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 1:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Thanks for the moral support. Maybe I’m not going bonkers after all.


Thanks. I’ve been busy on other matters, but I will try to do the testing in the next couple of days. (Come to think of it, this is really the first test.)


Nope didn’t work the first time, so here I go without formatting or previewing.


Hmm, that didn’t work either, so I’ll try one more time.


One last try.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 9:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E

Efforts failed at main computer. First attempt at computer number 2. With formatting and preview.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 12:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E

OK, now I know my main computer is the culprit. Back to work...

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 12:52 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Are they both running the same operating system, browser, browser version, and things like that?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 1:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Computer 2 (the one that seems to work fine) is running Internet Explorer 7.0 and Wndows XP Media Center Edition, Version 2002 SP2.

Computer 1 (the one that's been giving me fits) runs IE 6.0 and Windows XP Home Edition, Version 2002 SP2.

Don't think there's much I want to do about the operating systems. I suppose I can try upgrading machine #1 to IE7. I'll check that out.

The thing that bugs me is that machine #1 is the one that I've been using all along to share my pearls of stupidity with you. I leads me to think that maybe something has changed on my computer, but Norton Internet Security hasn't detected it.

Thanks for you interest and help.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 6:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Oh well ... IE 7.0 didn't help. Neither did setting up a new Typekey account -- I tried that before.

Maybe I'll just use the second computer when I can't hold my peace any longer and I just have to share some wonderful thought with the reptilians.

Thanks again. If you have any other ideas I'd be glad to know. Otherwise it's probably plan B.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 8:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dick E:

Yeah, you've pretty much exhausted my meagre supply of technical knowledge... sounds like Plan B time! (And I don't mean the birth-control method.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2007 8:59 PM

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