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October 19, 2012

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this, despite the Republican reduction in funding for diplomatic security

i got suckered by a wingnut 'fact' a few weeks back. the claim was that more House Dems voted for this than Republicans did so therefore this was a Democratic problem. and it's true, and that changes things somewhat. but it's only true if you're only talking about the conference vote (149 D + 147 R)

if you're talking about the actual vote-vote, then the total was 229 R + 182 D.

"Romney debate gaffe"

Not sure "gaffe" is the correct word here, in the sense of a blunder, since premeditated lying is not often viewed as a blunder by the liar.

A archaic secondary meaning of "gaff". without the "e", might be more appropriate, i.e. to strike or land a fish with a gaff; or better, the British slang: to cheat; hoax; or trick.

Romney was landing the already netted trash fish in the Republican base, but was also trying to hoax or trick the few undecided white whales who hadn't been drawn to the chum yet.

Thanks, sapient, for writing this.

Let the journalism, Olympic ski-jumping, fishing with dynamite, and cage fighting begin on what David Foster Wallace called, in a posthumously discovered unfinished story, "the bathroom wall of the U.S. psyche", the internet.

The "leadership" demonstrated by both parties, regarding the so called "Arab Spring" and its aftermath, has been abysmal.

Neither party has been willing to accurately describe the situation; the situation being a take-over of the region by Islamic fundementalists at the expense of secularism and non-muslim communties. Instead, we get all this sublimated crap coming from our own revolutionary heritage.

The rebels are described in the light of freedom fighters, overthrowing the forces of tyranny, reinacting 1776 in turbans.

They are treated this way by the US media and by the US govenment. It's like it's our own sublimated revolutionary heritage being projected onto some unlikely characters in the middle east because we have done everything possible to neuter the same at home, yet the mythos still demands expression. American citizens that become nauseous at the thought of high capacity magazines and assualt rifles loudly cheer the violent use of the same in foreign lands. Americans that scoff at the idea of civil disobedience, let alone revolution at home, see it as an unqualified good approach elsewhere.

So the first failure of leadership, the failure to objectively recognize the muslim "revolutionaries" for what they really are (i.e. islamic extreme elements that do not seek democracy as we know it), is ubiquitous in the US. And the second is to then export our own subconsciously held values into other cultures.

From these two failures arise all others. Why be overly concerned with security when "the good guys" have won the revolution? Surely they will recognize that we are kindered spirits - brothers and sisters bound by our love of freedom and democracy - and ambrace us as such.

Then when the delusion collapses we are left dazed and confused and without a clue as to what to say or do next.

they aren't cattle. they are not going to be lead. it's their country, not ours. if they want an Islamic theocracy, then that's what they will have. it's not our job to tell them how to run their government.

"Also, I find the Republican call for "leadership" a bit frightening. The way they try to "lead" other countries involves lots of bombs, soldiers and guns."

This is not a totally fair depiction of the difference between the Republican and Democrat approach. Afterall, it is BHO who enjoys using assassination, personally selecting targets, sans trial or any other judicial process. Suspected? You die. period.

So Romney points fingers and BHO will kill a few people. In either case the "leadership" traits escape me.

What I find especially irritating is the idea (separate from the blatant partisan posturing) that somehow our diplomats can, and should, be kept totally safe from possible harm.

That sort of bunker mentality would practically guarantee that they would be unable to do their job. Specifically the parts that involve keeping up on what is happening in the country where they are posted, and representing the United States to people beyond the government elite.

I suppose that it is part and parcel with the view elsewhere in American society that life can and should be made totally safe. No price too high; no improvement in safety too minor. It's stupid there, too, of course. But having it rear its head regarding the diplomatic corps is especially irritating.

Some of us refer to "safety" as "the S-word" at my place of work. It is invoked to justify all manner of wasteful idiocy, along with "security," the other S-word.

Many see ambassadors as drones*, so why not replace them with mechanical ones? ;-)

*rewarded cronies highly paid for doing nothing of value. Not that this type does not exist but even idiot administrations usually abstain from sending them somewhere where they could do real harm (to their own nation, not the natives).

what cleek said at 11:51. or, most times, for that matter.

My thoughts on this are, basically, that if you maintain an embassy in a dangerous place, bad things might happen. I'm sure that we can always improve security, and I'm pleased to see that the State Dept is reviewing the arrangements to see what could have been done better.

But ultimately, Libya appears to be a volatile place to be, so we either have to assume some risks, or else have no presence there at all.

It also seems, to me, quite plausible that there was a planned attack on the embassy, *and* that there were riots about the movie. Both/and. And it seems to me that, if that were so, it might be difficult to tease apart the details of what actually happened.

As fate would have it, the sister of one of the security guys killed in Benghazi lives down the street from me. Her son, the killed man's nephew, mows my lawn. They're a very nice family.

For the record, they miss their son/brother/uncle very much, but they also recognize and accept that he was doing exactly what was important to him, and exactly what he wanted to be doing, when he was killed. It's a not-uncommon sentiment for families of people killed while in some form of national service. What they are mostly interested in is not having him be a prop for anybody else's agenda.

It's an election season, and everything seems to provide some occasion for ankle-biting. So, unfortunately, it does not appear that they will get their wish.

I will say that, in this matter as in many others, my respect for Mitt Romney has declined. I doubt that matters to him, in any way whatsoever, and I wasn't going to vote for him anyway so it's a wash electorally. Just my two cents.

I'd like to see us provide leadership by living up to our own professed standards. Won't happen.

On Blackhawk's first comment, I wouldn't go as far as he does--Pat Lang seems to think we should have stuck by our "friends" like Mubarak and I think that's a recipe for producing another American-hating Islamic theocracy. It might go that way anyway in part for our standing with dictators as long as we did, but it would be more likely if we'd supported a dictator shooting down his own people to stay in power. There'd be a generation of Egyptians hating our guts, including the secular liberals. (Who'd probably get stamped out by the extreme Islamists who would take power in that scenario.) Obama was actually late in abandoning Mubarak and everyone knows it.

OTOH, that doesn't mean we should jump in and side with rebel guerillas. It might or might not work out in Libya--it's too soon to tell. (The Republican criticisms of Obama on Libya are totally irrelevant as far as I can tell. They mean nothing.) But Syria is becoming a sectarian mess and we should stay out--

yahoo news syria sunni rebels besiege shiite villages

The Nation has a piece about the Arab Spring (in the guise of a review of a book by Marc Lynch of Abu Aardvark fame, the review being by Patrick Cockburn).

link

Romney's gaff was his ineptness and his woeful timing, but then again, the election is not far off. Ya' gotta' do what ya' gotta' do. How long did it take Democrats to hint darkly about Bush administration national security incompetence after 9-11?

(Me, I thought he was incompetent the minute he took his hand off the bible after mumbling the Oath of Office....but I am a partisan.)

Sapient invokes that old chesnut about that all-so-sensitive 'secret' intelligence that we proles are not allowed to see. My own self described "progressive" Congressman-another national security hawk- invokes this BS line (sits on House Armed Services Committee)all the time, or at least when he is not sponsoring local meetings where he and the Concord Coalition can hector the masses about the evils of deficit spending.

I have a Brettneurysm every time somebody invokes it.

Slightly off-topic but I somehow get the impression that the Yahoo from Netanja is at this very moment trying to stir up some extra trouble for the GOP to exploit by suddenly making public a (imo scandalous) legal finding that his own coalition had tried to keep under wraps and that in essence says 1) ALL Israeli settlements on Palestinian soil are legal and 2) Israel is not an occupying power there and thus not bound by international law that bans such settlement activity. For me that looks a bit too big to be just for domestic consumption in preparation for the Knesset elections but an attempt to provoke the Palestinians to violence immediately before the US elections because that will hurt Obama and help the GOPsters. Is it just my paranoia and prejudices against the current RW government of Israel?

Please do not use the above as an excuse to derail the thread into another fruitless discussion about the IP conflict!!! This is about electoral tactics.

"Please do not use the above as an excuse to derail the thread into another fruitless discussion about the IP conflict!!! "

Boohoo. Seriously, why not? We beat every other topic to death and they're mostly all fruitless--the I/P conflict is only different in that people feel they have to walk on eggshells. (You're in Germany, I think, so it's understandable there.)

But I'm not in the mood. As for your question, who knows? It seems a little farfetched without more evidence. I'm not sure how you think this should be discussed as a matter of electoral tactic without getting into the I/P conflict-you're talking about Netanyahu deliberately trying to start another intifada just to sway the US election.

Boohoo. Seriously, why not?

Hmmm. Not to go meta on you (yet again) I think because it was Hartmut who made the previous comment and is asking. Conversation is not going to go far when someone says 'I want to talk about X', and the reply is 'So? I'm going to talk about what I want'. Not that I can stop anyone from doing that if they really want to, but just an observation. Of course, in the end, we all talk about what we want, but the guest post invitation stands.

To turn back to the topic, bobbyp says

How long did it take Democrats to hint darkly about Bush administration national security incompetence after 9-11?

My impression was it was a really long time. My google-fu is screwed up because of my eyes, but I think it was at least a year. I really think that had it not been 9-11, Romney would have tried to get on CNN and Fox so he could have pics of the compound burning in the background. My take from that time (which I put down here even though it is immensely embarassing) was that Bush was one in a long line of presidents who entered office as parochial politicians and was going to expand to meet the challenges of his office, like Lincoln or FDR. Idiotic, I know, but I have students who I still hope are going to pass, even though every thing that they have ever done suggests that I'm wasting my time. I'd still like to think that if Clinton or even Bush Sr. were in office at that time, they would have done it, (I think Gore would have done so as well) but Junior just wasn't up to it. I'm not a great man in history fan, but Shrub made me realize that there is something to having the right people in the right place at particular moments in history.

While I wouldn't be surprised if Bibi thinks this as a way of trying to influence the election, I think it points to his general cluelessness if he thinks that Americans know anything about the legal back and forth about the settlements. I am also completely unsurprised that a person like Romney, with a pathological lack of affect and Bibi would be best friends.

" I think because it was Hartmut who made the previous comment and is asking."

Yeah, but I think it's a little funny to accuse Netanyahu of trying to start violence (perhaps a third intifada) as an election tactic (??), and to sway the results of the American election at that, and then say one doesn't want to talk about the I/P conflict. Um, okay.

So here's my guess. I have no idea. Seems kind of risky, even setting morality aside.

Perhaps, but as a non-American, I thought he was asking for some view of how Americans might think of what he sees as attempts by Bibi and Likud to influence who becomes president. I took him as saying 'this is what I see from Germany, what is it like over there?'.

And I can't really say, because the volume of info (repetitive as it is) seems to have gone way up and my ability to process it has gone down and I'm not there anyway.

I thought it was interesting that after a brief flurry about how the exchange in the debate (which was supposed to be about foreign policy, I thought, but seemed to be all over the place) really brought Libya to the front, but equally as fast, that receded to the background. I assume that polling is telling the campaigns what to emphasise, so in that regard, it is interesting that any questions about Israel have not even surfaced, because it suggests that the bulk of Americans have no interest and are not going to decide on the basis of that, so it is just an appeal to fringe groups by Romney (Someone included a link to a billboard in FL) that isn't going to be noticed in the overall noise of the campaign.

Those who are saying that embassy work is dangerous work are correct; especially in Islamic regions.

For chrissakes when Reagan, top of the rightwing pantheon, was POTUS, the 8th Marines took massive casualties when their barraks were hit by a terrorist attack in Lebanon.

These things happen when you are trying to make friends out of people who fundementally despise you and resent your presence on their land.

Romney is a scumbag for politicizing the inherent danger as if it couldn't happen on his watch. Note that Romeny has offered nothing by way of how he would have acted to prevent 9/11 Libya.

Also, the families of the four killed have asked that their loved ones' deaths NOT be politicized; something Romney has chosen to not respect and which makes him an even bigger sack of scum.

I don't see any leadership from Romney. I see only nasty immature ill-informed gotcha tactics. Then again, I don't see any leadership from BHO either. If he had a pair he'd tell it like it is and put Romney in his place.

"I took him as saying 'this is what I see from Germany, what is it like over there?'."

We are not allowed to talk about it over here. The liberal thought police stamp out that kind of discussion.

Let me clarify a bit the reason I at least have this nasty suspicion (i.e. one step below accusation). I think Bibi has no scruples to provoke violence because he can reasonably assume that it can be used to his advantage. I am sure he will do something nasty before the approaching Israeli elections to scare the voters in-country and to please the settlers. But it would be too soon to do it now. The US election on the other hand is very close and a sudden outbreak of violence in Palestine would definitely make big headlines. There has been talk in the past, whether Bibi could use the context of the election to strike at Iran but that would be an uncalculable risk, as opposed to the tried and true game of mutual provocation with radical Palestinian factions (that are as uninterested in peace as he is). This is the kind of situation that would cause Obama double harm. It would curtail his ability to campaign in the critical final weeks (he still has to do his day job as POTUS, in a crisis doubly so) and foreign policy crises traditionally help the RW (and an IP crisis would fire up the religious Right additionally). So I see a motive, a potential perpetrator of known ruthlessness, willing collaborators, and a vulnerable target. Add to the that the extremly bad personal relationship between potential pepetrator and designated victim and I would be actually surprised if there was no foul play in the cards. That was what made me suspicious when I read the story in the papers. No, I do not believe that there is a Mitt-Bibi conspiracy but I am 100% sure that any action on the Israeli side would be seen as an opportunity by the Republican campaign.
That is why I think this is not primarily an IP issue (at least not in the short term) but a question of US elections and their vulnerabilty to foreign intervention.
Btw, we will see whether and to what degree IP will be a topic of the 3rd presidential debate on Monday. From Romney's POV it could be a seen as a useful tactic. He will without doubt step on some mines in any case, so drawing Obama into the worst of all foreign policy minefields would be only logical. He has not much to lose anymore in this field, so damaging Obama would be the price to be won with little additional risk to himself.

liberal japonicus, yes that was at least in part my intention. As for why IP has not yet been discussed in the presidential debates, I think it has something to do with the pre-planned themes for the three debates. The upcoming last one is expected to be primarily about foreign policy. Obama already made clear that he will milk his successes against Al Qaeda as much as possible and take shots at Romney's impressive faux pas collection. Romney needs something where Obama may hurt himself and IP looks like the ideal topic. Discussing the drone program is risky for Romney since he cannot outflank Obama on the right and would risk the wrath of the base if he tried from the left. Iran will inevitably be a topic but here Romney will face difficulties to credibly take a position that is significantly different from Obama's. I doubt that he will openly call for war since that would be extremly unpopular at the moment.

A couple of responses to people (and thanks for reading the post):

wj: What I find especially irritating is the idea (separate from the blatant partisan posturing) that somehow our diplomats can, and should, be kept totally safe from possible harm.

I totally agree with this (although, obviously, the US needs to take reasonable measures to back up its people). From what I've read about Christopher Stevens, he probably agreed as well.

bobbyp: Sapient invokes that old chesnut about that all-so-sensitive 'secret' intelligence that we proles are not allowed to see.

Actually, that wasn't really my point (or perhaps I don't know what your point is). The fact is that there might have been an intelligence mission connected with the Benghazi consulate, and the Republicans aren't on the record as opposing CIA efforts. Therefore, their insistance on a real time reporting of all revelations regarding the consulate attack is a bit hypocritical and craven. (Obviously, bobbyp, you're welcome to object to the fact that we have a CIA. I believe that there is a role for the CIA. But that wasn't my point. Certainly, Republicans aren't against the CIA unless it helps them to destroy Obama.)

Let's not forget either that in Romney's 47% speech, he did mention taking advantage of any foreign policy opportunities, such as those that occurred during the Carter/Reagan election.

I happen to believe that "leadership" is important - if that means that the United States exercises diplomatic influence over other governments (and I have no objection to the use of intelligence professionals). That's what foreign relations is all about. Obama is trying to pull this off to the extent that its feasible, given the role of the United States in world affairs in recent history.

We are not allowed to talk about it over here. The liberal thought police stamp out that kind of discussion.

I'm not exactly sure where "over here" is for Blackhawk, but clearly the liberal thought police on Obsidian Wings are utterly failing at stamping it out.

And I always thought it was (in this case) the conservative thought police that forbids serious* discussions of the IP conflict (while overe here [Germany] it is indeed the moderates that try to avoid discussions while the fringes** freely mix traditional anti-semitism with Israel criticism dicrediting the latter in the public view).
But at least over here it seems to have no influence on elections at all.

*in the non-beltway sense
**both ends, just with different flavor

"If only we knew what the President knows" has been used as a club in these kinds of discussions since, like, forever. Invoking such a principle is simply an attempt to bully and/or suspend the discussion. If that's not what you hinted at, well fine.

On another matter, we can observe the marvelous wisdom of the Obama human rights driven foreign policy principles in, no surprise again, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138188/dana-frank/honduras-gone-wrong?page=show> Honduras, for example.

And, meanwhile, the youtube film maker scapegoat is still in jail. Despite the idea that the attack had anything at all to do with him having been an utter fabrication. It's so gratuitous, but they can't let him go now, without admitting they never should have arrested him.

And they'll never do that, even after the cover story collapsed.

He clearly and unmistakably violated his conditions of probation. Please call again when/if he has finished his regular sentence and is not set free. Then we can talk about 'political prisoner', 'scapegoat' or similar concepts in this context.

On another matter, we can observe the marvelous wisdom of the Obama human rights driven foreign policy principles in, no surprise again, Honduras, for example.

I'm certainly no expert on Honduras, but the comments section to the article to which you linked seems to indicate that the situation there was and is pretty complicated, including a link to an article about Obama's initial reaction, and the Republican political backlash at home.

As usual, the purists will only be happy when they have even more horrific things to complain about in terms of U.S. policy under President Romney.

"As usual, the purists will only be happy when they have even more horrific things to complain about in terms of U.S. policy under President Romney."

Kinda silly, sapient. I very much hope Obama wins--lesser of two evils--but why assume he's right in his foreign policy just because the Republicans would be worse?

...but the comments section to the article to which you linked seems to indicate that the situation there was and is pretty complicated

Yeah, sure. Implying the author is a (gasp!) socialist....complexity indeed. The utter inability to even consider that the Obama administration is not pursuing a good policy in this instance is....telling.

Regards,

A. Purist, esq.

As I conceded, I don't know enough about Honduras to know whether Obama's policy is "good" or not. And I have no problem with socialists, since I lean that way myself. Championing human rights in Central America would be a wonderful policy, and redistribution of wealth there would be all to the good. I think that the matter is more nuanced than the author of bobbyp's article would suggest, particularly taking into account Obama's options and priorities, and the political situation in the United States.

From your article, bobbyp: "Yet it speaks volumes that funds were withheld from the new Honduran national chief of police until he could be investigated for allegations of overseeing death squads."
I consider this to be a positive attempt to exercise U.S. influence towards human rights, yet the author of the article doesn't. Examples like that are what make me believe that the article has a purism agenda. Not that I'm saying it's wrong - remember, I conceded general ignorance.

I am not inclined to engage in Obama bashing when the Romney alternative looms as such a real possibility. Thanks, Donald, for recognizing their relative positions with regard to human rights and just about everything else.

The number of people you could produce a 'legitimate' excuse for jailing if you wanted to is getting higher all the time. The fact remains they only jailed him because he made a convenient scapegoat.

The fact remains they only jailed him because he made a convenient scapegoat.

If you're going to violate your parole, it's best if you don't do so quite so publicly.

It's also best if you don't piss off a billion and a half people and create sh*t storms for other folks to deal with.

There are scapegoats, and then there are boneheads. One's voluntary, one's not.

Given that the video brought attention to someone who was clearly in violation of his parole, how would you justify him not getting locked up for that violation?

Sure, there are no doubt other people for whom a legitimate reason could be found to lock them up. But are they going out of their way to make a public spectacle? Or are the mostly smart enough (and obviously it doesn't take all that much smarts) to keep their heads down while they are on parole?

honestly Brett, you go on about how you don't like the term 'undocumented immigrants' because you argue they are breaking the law and are therefore 'illegal'. A guy violates the conditions set out by a judge that he agreed to follow as a condition of his release and you want to call him a political prisoner. After your rousing defense of O'Keefe, I thought it would be difficult to be more embarrassed for you, but you have again confounded my expectations.

Sapient, if you want to see what a real moral purist looks like, google the name "Arthur Silber", find his blog and start reading. That's a purist. Greenwald is a sellout in comparison.

Silber thinks Obama's "kill list" (link to digby post on Debbie Wasserman-Shultz's ignorance on the kill list) amounts to a claim by Obama that he can kill anyone for any reason and that this is so monstrous it outweighs all other issues. Silber thinks we could have a decent world if everyone would just see this and stop cooperating with the system. I don't believe that myself.

Donald,

Freddie Deboer also comes to mind in the purist department....but from a very unique angle.

"Silber thinks Obama's "kill list" (link to digby post on Debbie Wasserman-Shultz's ignorance on the kill list) amounts to a claim by Obama that he can kill anyone for any reason......I don't believe that myself."

You don't believe that? Why not?

Considering that Americans have been killed who are merely family members of *suspected* terrorists. I mean how many degrees of separation do you need to see among victims before you become convinced? Teenage son of a suspect, OK. Thumbs up BHO you fearless leader of the free world. Second cousin of a suspect twice removed and maybe it starts to look like we have a problem?

Disregarding of course the whole concept of execution of citizens who are only *suspects*.

But yeah, Trust the govt. They never make mistakes and they definitely never lie. If they say suspect someone of something then you can bet your bottom dollar that person is guilty and deserves instant death.

Since when does the US Constitution say that the government can summarily execute its citizens that it merely suspects of a crime? It not only doesn't say that summary executions are ok, it says something totally opposite.

If BHO can blatantly disregard - even flaunt his disregard - of the Consitution on such a serious matter then he probably has no regard for the Constitution in any matter. That he adheres to it at all is just an artifact of tradition that continues to exists because it pleases BHO, or is convenient to him at the moment.

I ask again, where is the leadership?

Yes, they had a legit basis for jailing him. They've got a legit basis for jailing most of the population, given how many things are illegal today.

But the fact remains, he wasn't jailed because of a parole violation, assuming there was one. He was jailed because, after a premeditated terrorist attack on one of our embassies, the administration was looking for a fall guy to stomp on.

I don't like the fact that this administration responds to Islamic terrorism by looking for somebody who's annoyed Muslims to publicly stomp on, even if they took a little care to make sure their chosen fall guy wasn't any kind of saint.

He was jailed because, after a premeditated terrorist attack on one of our embassies, the administration was looking for a fall guy to stomp on.

Karma's a bitch.

Back to Benghazi- Rep. Darrel Issa(R) released reams of State Dept documents in an attempt to uncover the "cover-up". These 'sensitive' memos include the names of our friends in Libya which have now been published on the internet. Foreign Policy claims that these people's lives have been put at risk. GOP exposing the names of agents in foreign lands-does this remind anyone of Valerie Plame?

Thanks for this, peggy hopper. Where's the outrage?

Oh, right, anything goes (including friends of the United States) if it furthers the cause of Republican cheap shots.

"I don't like the fact that this administration responds to Islamic terrorism by looking for somebody who's annoyed Muslims to publicly stomp on, even if they took a little care to make sure their chosen fall guy wasn't any kind of saint."

Yes, the Obama Administration responded to the parole violation by "looking for somebody" among the American population.

They had a lineup on the White House lawn that included the roughly 120 million American men, women, and children who have had harsh, annoying things to say about Muslims since 9/11/2001.

The final and entirely random fingering of the suspect just happened to be the guy with the sign on his back that said "Kick me, I've violated the terms of my probation".

Federal agents took the convicted check-kiting, bank fraud, and identity theft (all of which should be legal, like it is on Wall Street, and according to lay legal reporters/beagles in the internet community) felon (a federal crime and thus within the proper jurisdiction) into custody, charging him with violating his sainthood.

The guy standing next to the suspect in the lineup heard this and muttered "Hey, no one is a saint around here" and the Federal agents shot a look at him that said "Don't push it, bub, this could have been you. Thank your lucky stars this arrest is entirely random, with the exception of the probation violation, which will be reported as entirely random."

A tidbit of facticity overlooked by Republican filth who want Obama dead and Osama resurrected to justify future homeland security expenditures, is that President Obama, despite his terrifying powers, did not ban the video in question, citing the First Amendment, though who would believe him because, after all, all guns and bullets have been confiscated from the American citizenry during his first term as President, as reported by Wayne LaCronkite of the National Rifling Through Your Underwear Drawer Association.

During a discussion of the matter at the well-known blog, Obsidian Wings, the numerous practicing attorneys known to frequent the joint were nowhere to be seen (apparently never having heard of the legal category "probation violation" and the sanctions thereof) when the subject of Nakoula Nakoula's parole violation was chewed over by an assortment of amateur saints ;) at the instigation of the lone professional reporter and libertarian filing his story from NorthSouth Paranoid Delusionalstan, a frontier yours truly also knows well, having also reported for the local rag, WhattheF*ck Weekly, a shopper tabloid the truth seeks out before the white sale deadline.

My sources tell me that well-known author, fatwa object, and safe house dweller Salman Rushdie, when asked about Nakoula Nakoula and his actions, retorted, "Saint? You mean As*shole, right? What have you been reading, the crack reporter streiff at Redprevaricate, the well known nonpartisan salon, who at this moment is producing fresh spermatozoa in his nut sack that carry the entire gene sequence pool for habitual lying."

No, no, listen to me. Here's the scoop. The Coptic Christian (yeah, right) anti-Muslim video, which even Coptic Christian saints wrap their fish in, was produced and paid for by the black box/black ops political operations of the Republican Party as yet another installment in the suite of their movie entertainments meant to eradicate their tax burden and subvert American foreign policy, which also include Dinesh D'Souzalqaeda's masterpiece on nudity during the Raj period, the hard-hitting handheld video by an up and chucking young filmmaker detailing the wardrobe malfunctions of Muslim,, Kenyan, commie Barack Obama's Mandingo-nuzzling mother, now showing in tiny video booths in Republican households, conveniently outfitted with glory holes so family values republicans can keep watch over their vermin, liars-in-training children, and, of course, the nap-producing miniseries musical based on the ravings of an over-sexed Russian emigre and dominatrix who somehow confused the KGB with the PTA in her lifelong conflation of altruism and State-sponsered murder.

Wake me up when the heroine does the objectivist tango in stiletto heels on the food-stamp booklet of an unconscious, but rather good-looking parasite.

This .............. is Paul Harvey.


Good day!

Tune in for tomorrow's show for a discussion of what should happen to Republican car thief, divulger of the names of CIA secret operatives, and American traitor Darrel Issa ... hanging, or a bullet in the head as he boards the underground train to the Capital Building.

Blackhawk--What I don't believe is that the kill list outweighs all other issues and that we could cure the world the way Silber suggests, though it would probably be a better world with tens of millions of Silbers in it.

Bobbyp--I've seen the name Freddie Deboer somewhere, but can't remember where. Will have to google. Another in the purist department (in his own unique and incredibly witty way) was IOZ, but he's stopped posting twice now, maybe for good the second time. I read him regularly, but didn't agree with the anarchism.

Just googled. Yes, I've seen Freddy and read this piece back when it was being discussed. It really seems like a pretty mild manifesto, mostly on target (especially when you take in the six or so updates he has modifying the original post.) Silber still has the lock on moral purity.

Donald, I read the Digby post. How ridiculous that Digby( and Greenwald, the alleged lawyer) don't know that it would be a crime for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to reveal classified information, even if it has been discussed in the media. Who do they think she is, Darrell Issa?

Sapient,she could have evaded the question with a simple "no comment" or the equivalent , rather than treating the questioner as though he were some lunatic from the Truther movement.

I think they see her as what she is--a political hack. I prefer the Democratic hacks to the Republican ones, mind you. Something I'll keep repeating for the next few weeks.

Links to today's show weren't up yet, last I looked, but Chris Hayes had a very good discussion on "Up" about Obama's foreign policy, touching on Benghazi and then on the Iranian sanctions. Ann Marie Slaughter's reaction was priceless when another guest said that if Iranians die as a result of "crippling sanctions" (Biden's words), their blood would be on our head. Slaughter used the classic terrorist reasoning that if the bad guys don't comply and do what is right, anything we do that hurts innocent people is their fault. I wish we lived in a world where people who think like that were the greater of two evils.

On a more positive note, here's a story about George McGovern (who just died) that I got via Balloon Juice. It comes from a Stephen Ambrose book about his days as a bomber pilot. They don't seem to make politicians like that anymore--

LINK

Thank you so much for the McGovern story, Donald. You're right - he was a wonderful man.

One minor nitpick Sapient: the phrase "Coptic-American" doesn't really make sense. Either "Copt" or "Egyptian-American" would be fine. But writing "Coptic-American" is like writing Hindu-American or Catholic-American. Being a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church is a religious affiliation, and while most such members in the US are Egyptian-Americans, being of Egyptian descent is not a requirement for said membership.

Thanks, Turbulence.

it would be a crime for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to reveal classified information

Yes, it would be, if she actually knew anything classified. Which is doubtful. She's a minor member on the House Budget Committee; that's all. She's not on Intelligence. She's not on Judiciary. She's not on Homeland Security.

Back in the 111th Congress, she was on the Legislative subcommittee for Appropriations, which hardly seems sensitive. As current head of the DNC, she's not entitled to know anything classified.

How would she know anything classified?

Pretending that she'd never heard of any of that and treating the questioner as if they were pranking her were not really what you'd expect from our newly transparent government.

I don't think you, Slart, or anyone else, knows what information DWS has had access to. If she didn't have it, that's even more reason why she could have fairly said that she didn't know what the guy was talking about. Just because the NYT reports on allegedly classified matters with undisclosed sources doesn't mean that they're credible. (People might recall Judith Miller.)

What is clear is that the guy questioning DWS was aggressively looking for a gotcha moment, as well as asking for DWS to accept as true (or deny) a report on classified information. Not hugely surprising that DWS wouldn't have answered the question, nor that she would have been annoyed by his demeanor. Perhaps she should have said "No comment" but instead she deflected the question otherwise. The rest of the video of the reporter shows that he wasn't particularly polite when annoyed either - he was a jerk, in fact.

As far as Issa is concerned, Steve Benen (as usual), gets it right.

I don't think you, Slart, or anyone else, knows what information DWS has had access to.

I think it's safe to say that she shouldn't have access to information she's not cleared to have. Agreed?

If she didn't have it, that's even more reason why she could have fairly said that she didn't know what the guy was talking about.

Wrong. This topic has been covered by the news quite a lot over the couple of years. Either she's completely out of touch with what's going on in her government, or she's pretending. Or maybe some third choice? Suggest something; preferably something plausible.

There is no "she could fairly have said she didn't know what the guy was talking about", because it's been out for two years or more. She can't talk about what she can't talk about, certainly.

Imagine had the head of the RNC used a tactic of this sort during the Bush administration. Imagine what your response might have been.

She could have, for instance, acknowledged reading about it in the news, but saying that she could not comment on it.

Simple. Undeceptive. Evidently too much to ask.

Congresspeoples should be able to release whatever information they come into contact with without consequence. Period.

In fact, they can, just read it into the Congressional record.

Though it sounds like DWS should win upper class twit of the year, but I'll reserve judgment on that.

Simple. Undeceptive. Evidently too much to ask.

She probably could have answered the question differently, more pleasantly, and more honestly, still without giving anyone a substantive answer. So the fact that everyone has their panties in a wad because she was obviously annoyed and impolite is really what's at issue here. Of course, you can pretend that it's the lie of the year if you'd like to.

Not too off-topic since others have mentioned McGovern's passing. Here's an editorial he wrote in 1992: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203406404578070543545022704.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion.

Maybe something to chat about another time.

Yes, sapient, the guy was looking for a "gotcha" moment. It's what passes for accountability these days when our government runs a secret assassination program that everyone knows about and apparently can't be discussed by public officials (though Obama could joke about drone strikes a year or two ago). He was also asking an interesting question--would a Democratic congresswoman approve of a kill list when it isn't run by a good Democratic President overflowing with wisdom and good intentions, but by an evil Republican President? Last time I checked, Nate Silver's model places the chance of that happening at about 33 percent.

Also, I thought one of your points in the past is that Congress should step up if they don't like what the President is doing. So what's wrong with putting pressure on a prominent Democratic congresswoman?

Getting back to that 33 percent chance, Glenn used to be apoplectic about Bush's human rights record before he was apoplectic about Obama's and I don't doubt that if the worst happens, the emotions he feels will transfer seamlessly to Romney. I'm a little curious about how Obama-loving Glenn-haters will react to him then, but I'd rather not find out.

I heard about that WSJ McGovern op-ed somewhere--maybe it was David Brooks on PBS. I can't read it--not a WSJ subscriber.

I think McGovern deserves his own thread (hint, hint) where his record (and that op ed) could be discussed. Nobody hates him (that I know about) and his record and his political campaign and a lot of other stuff would be worth talking about, so this would be one of those rare times when a politician dies and people could discuss his record pro and con without worrying about the etiquette of criticizing someone who just died. (Or so I imagine. The thread might go up and get two posts, both of them full of vitriol.)

DJ, the link above will get you to the editorial. The Journal re-ran it today.

Yes, sapient, the guy was looking for a "gotcha" moment. It's what passes for accountability these days

He was looking for accountability? Really? What kind of accountability could he have reasonably found?

He had every right to ask the question, even knowing that he wouldn't get an answer. He had every right to be angry but, considering his demeanor, so did she.

The Digby post, and my quick glance (yes, I peeked, but then refused to linger) at Glenn was: She's either stupid, or a liar! Neither of those things is, of course, true, and they know it.

Do you know what my honest answer would be? The President of the United States has a great deal of power over the life and death of people all over the world. Like it or not, s/he has the power to push a button and nuke the planet. S/he has the power to order troops into huge wars, even when the decision is based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence. S/he has the power to engage in drone warfare. With that in mind, it's important to elect a President that will use the power wisely. And with two viable choices for President, in an election that will happen in a little over two weeks, the choice is clear who is the person who will be most "conservative" with that power. And it's not Mitt Romney.

McKT, it does but still requires subscription (which I won't do even for a 4 week free trial).

"Maybe something to chat about another time."

Could you front me the subscribption fee first? I lost all my allowance in a vicious Nassau with automatic presses.

Wrong.

Absolutely correct. Damn those strange bedfellows mingling with my politics.

I'm a little curious about how Obama-loving Glenn-haters will react to him

for my part, it will be the same way i've reacted to him since forever: i'll pretty much ignore him.

i don't see the value in screaming about problems which cannot be solved by screaming, and those are the kinds of problems he prefers. it almost as if he likes screaming. which is why i don't read him much.

Another in the purist department....was IOZ

A great read, always. His recipies, in food and politics, can be difficult, but always thought provoking if not outrageous.

I have great admiration for http://www.tomdispatch.com/>TomDispatch also.

Here is the McGovern piece from 1992:

"By George McGovern

Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.

-- Justice Felix Frankfurter

It's been 11 years since I left the U.S. Senate, after serving 24 years in high public office. After leaving a career in politics, I devoted much of my time to public lectures that took me into every state in the union and much of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility -- complete with an experienced manager and staff.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: "Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape." It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

For example, the papers today are filled with stories about businesses dropping health coverage for employees. We provided a substantial package for our staff at the Stratford Inn. However, were we operating today, those costs would exceed $150,000 a year for health care on top of salaries and other benefits. There would have been no reasonable way for us to absorb or pass on these costs.

Some of the escalation in the cost of health care is attributed to patients suing doctors. While one cannot assess the merit of all these claims, I've also witnessed firsthand the explosion in blame-shifting and scapegoating for every negative experience in life.

Today, despite bankruptcy, we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant. Despite these injuries, not every misstep is the fault of someone else. Not every such incident should be viewed as a lawsuit instead of an unfortunate accident. And while the business owner may prevail in the end, the endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening.

Our Connecticut hotel, along with many others, went bankrupt for a variety of reasons, the general economy in the Northeast being a significant cause. But that reason masks the variety of other challenges we faced that drive operating costs and financing charges beyond what a small business can handle.

It is clear that some businesses have products that can be priced at almost any level. The price of raw materials (e.g., steel and glass) and life-saving drugs and medical care are not easily substituted by consumers. It is only competition or antitrust that tempers price increases. Consumers may delay purchases, but they have little choice when faced with higher prices.

In services, however, consumers do have a choice when faced with higher prices. You may have to stay in a hotel while on vacation, but you can stay fewer days. You can eat in restaurants fewer times per month, or forgo a number of services from car washes to shoeshines. Every such decision eventually results in job losses for someone. And often these are the people without the skills to help themselves -- the people I've spent a lifetime trying to help.

In short, "one-size-fits-all" rules for business ignore the reality of the marketplace. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels -- e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales -- takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.

The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often."

End of piece.

BobbyP--gambling is a decidedly capitalist, bourgeois activity. What's your handicap again, playing in that kind of a game?

"for my part, it will be the same way i've reacted to him since forever: i'll pretty much ignore him.

i don't see the value in screaming about problems which cannot be solved by screaming, and those are the kinds of problems he prefers. it almost as if he likes screaming. which is why i don't read him much."

That's your right, but he does a lot more than scream. I tend to skim over much of his posts, because he makes the same basic points repeatedly and I agree with him on those already, for the most part, and I can do my own ranting, as people here know. But there also tends to be information and links to things I often didn't know. Greenwald is the blogger most concerned with US violations of human rights overseas and usually other bloggers I see who write on these topics start off with a link to him.

I even learned something that made me think better of Democrats recently. Okay, it was Democrats in the 80's, but still. It was in a link in an article last August--the link was to an interview with Remi Brulin, an NYU professor, about the history of the word "terrorism" in American discourse in the past several decades. The Democrats in the Senate actually wanted to pass a resolution referring to Reagan's Central American policy as "terrorism". Good for them. The NYT never covered it. Anthony Lewis, their ultra-liberal columnist at the time, eventually mentioned it, but according to Brulin the paper of record never reported it.

Interview with Remi Brulin

"He was looking for accountability? Really? What kind of accountability could he have reasonably found?"

Oh, none at all. This is America. If our government decides to kill people overseas, end of discussion. Well, okay, powerless people can discuss, rant, and fume, or score points off a disgusting politician,but that's about it. Maybe Arthur Silber is right. He sees this as a slippery slope, with the basic principle already established that the President can have kill lists. In a few decades (or sooner, by his guess), maybe this will be acceptable inside our own boundaries.

Remember that if Romney wins and it is Republican officials who refuse to speak about their policies. I can't see your position on this as anything other than partisan in a bad way. If Bush had an assassination policy would you really reduce this to a question of a reporter and a congressperson being rude to each other?


And to repeat, because I suspect I need to, I think the Republicans will be worse. They're worse on every issue I can think of. I hope they lose, simply because if they win it just sets these policies in stone.

I see sapient's stance as similar to mine of a few years ago, and possibly similar to mine a few years hence.

Which makes me feel bad for both of us, really.

Maybe Arthur Silber is right. He sees this as a slippery slope, with the basic principle already established that the President can have kill lists. In a few decades (or sooner, by his guess), maybe this will be acceptable inside our own boundaries.

This begs at least one question: if a "kill list" was subject to judicial oversight with fact findings and some kind of ad litem representation for the person to be targeted, would that make the program acceptable? Or, do you advocate for a 'no overseas targeted assassination policy' even in the most extreme and compelling circumstances? It seems to me we have Choice A or Choice B--either a complete and total ban or something less than a complete and total ban, in which case we are talking about process not policy.

Which should it be?

We're a pretty long way away from the point where it becomes a question of total moral purity. I can imagine circumstances where I wouldn't oppose drone strikes or they would drop way way down on my list of moral concerns. If you really had strong evidence that some people were plotting another 9/11, they couldn't be arrested, you knew where they were, etc... This is how I feel about the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Possibly they could have taken him alive--I haven't followed it that closely, in part because with him I just don't get that worked up about whether he could have been arrested and given a fair trial. Though of course if he could have been arrested and given a fair trial he should have been. Silber would probably see me as an example of the moral coarseness of America and maybe he's right, but one reason I read him is to read someone who is, well, really really strict. You need people like that because the rest of us are natural compromisers.

One problem with the current system though (not the only one) is this notion that the President gets to decide on his own and we can trust him because he's wise. It shouldn't work that way. The other problem is that we seem to be terrorizing a lot of innocent people.

One problem with the current system though (not the only one) is this notion that the President gets to decide on his own and we can trust him because he's wise. It shouldn't work that way.

Which is why I suggested an oversight process. Would that make it ok, assuming it was substantive and not just a kabuki play?

It seems to me we have Choice A or Choice B--either a complete and total ban or something less than a complete and total ban, in which case we are talking about process not policy.

Drone threads seem to never end well, but in the interest of broadening the discussion a bit, I'll respectfully offer Yet Another Choice.

IMVVHO what is needed is some kind of crisp(er) legal understanding of when and if military force can be used against non-state actors. It would be really, really good if such an understanding could be achieved at an international level, but I'd be happy to see it domestically for a start.

A lot of what we do now is under the heading of the AUMF, but IMVHO blowing some guy to smithereens in Yemen stretches the definition of "folks responsible for 9/11 and those associated with them". Every guy in the Muslim world with an axe to grind against the west calls themselves Al Qaeda these days, I'm not sure there's any meaningful connection between them and anything the AUMF addresses.

And "terrorist" as a catch-all category for "folks we are authorized to blow up at will" is one unbelievably slippery slope.

My impression is that we are flailing around in a somewhat improvisational fashion, in the absence of any really clear principle or authority for what we're doing.

We can get away with that because nobody else either has the means or the gumption to call us on it. But it's not good for us as a nation, and it's not good for any of the other nations whose nationals live under the threat of more or less random (from their point of view) deadly missile attacks.

It's been over 10 years, longer than that if you don't just start counting from 9/11. We need to get our heads around what we're doing.

To McK's point, I suppose where I'm coming down on the "process vs policy" question is "we're focusing on process because we have no coherent policy".

We should get the policy first, and build the process from there.

If nothing else, what I REALLY REALLY REALLY want is to get the intelligence agencies out of the business of shooting missiles. That is not an intelligence function, and those guys do not have the operational discipline that the military does.

They have *an* operational discipline, it just lacks accountability.

Though of course if he could have been arrested and given a fair trial he should have been.

To be honest, and for the record, my thought here is that Bin Laden would certainly be covered by the AUMF. I'm assuming the AUMF is still in force, I may be wrong about that.

If it's still in force, and if (as it almost certainly would have to) it covers Bin Laden, I'm not sure we were under any obligation to handle Bin Laden through the criminal justice system.

Military force is different than police powers. We weren't required to kill him, however IMO neither were we obliged to not do so.

I think we pretty much have to take the process approach.

To say that there will never, ever, under any circumstances, be a justification for drone strikes (or asassinations generally) is to not live in the real world. The relevant questions really are:
1) what constitutes adequate cause?
2) who decides (and with what oversight/controls) that that adequate cause exists?

And, just possibly,
3) what do we consider an appropriate response if someone else applies the same criteria to one of us?

I had this long post typed, but russell and wj did it better, so I'll pretend they stole their ideas from me.


"I see sapient's stance as similar to mine of a few years ago, and possibly similar to mine a few years hence."

Don't give in to the Dark Side, Luke. That way is only--well, I forgot the rest of the Obi-Wan speech, but it really stinks to do that, kind of sums it up.

In addition to what donald, russell and wj have said, let it be noted that the drone policy is wreaking havoc with our relationships with just about every country in the ME, especially Pakistan. Some here are cognizant of the fact that India's mortal enemy possess nukes....but by all means, rain death down from the heavens and then pull out the fainting couch when they don't just sing halleluja and ask for more.

BLOWBACK IS A BITCH. When Bush was invading innocent countries, Democrats never tired of pointing out that St. Ronnie created Al Quaeda. Suddenly that has all changed and all consequences are intended ones, eh?

In your dreams.

Tex: Obviously in the subject instance my handicap was too low.

I actually asked hilzoy a while back if she would like to come back and write about drones and she said she was tempted but no, she could see herself getting pulled in. That, or McGovern, would be a perfect guest post (hint, hint to the 10th) I personally would love to see something from someone who was of voting age during McGovern's run (I was 11) discuss what they remember of that period.

"We weren't required to kill him, however IMO neither were we obliged to not do so."

I don't have a problem with killing him. But if you catch someone unarmed I think you're supposed to take him prisoner. Whether that was a practical option I don't know. I also don't really care one way or the other. Live by the terrorist act, expect to get cut down in a hail of bullets. I ration out my moral purity, saving it for more interesting cases. Of which there are many.

Donald, I think you confuse my attitude (that a President is hugely powerful, therefore we need to elect someone who is good) with a belief that I don't believe in checks and balances and controls on the Executive. I just doubt that in this situation there is any chance whatsoever that anyone is going to tie the hands of the President. And if Obama wasn't engaging in drone warfare, do you really think that President Romney would decide, Yikes, I'd better not do that either! More likely, Obama does have classified information that reveals real threats and he's taking action to prevent them. If he didn't (back to the hypothetical) and a terrorist threat happened, what do you think the result would be? Just look at Benghazi, which to my mind is totally within the realm of acceptable risk (although, sure - we should try to figure out better security if we can). I don't think anyone would think it would be within the realm of acceptable risk to, say, allow a known terrorist to bring an airliner down.

I'm bored with talking about drones, so I'll quit. I'll just say again, I think that Obama's using standards that I approve of, and if Congress wants to formalize a better procedure, they should go ahead. That's no guarantee that any President, especially Republicans, are going to respect those boundaries. So the "Oh no - if Obama does it, then Romney will feel free to!" argument is nonsense. Republicans feel free to break the law all the time. Look at Watergate. Look at Iran Contra. Look at the Iraq war.

"I think that Obama's using standards that I approve of,"

Because it's Obama. He could throw darts at an open phone book and he'd do it with wisdom and flair and that special grace or whatever. So you believe in checks and balances, but nobody is going to impose them and Congress could, but they won't and it's fine because you like what Obama does. Who'd have guessed?

As for Republicans being worse, that's their role. To make Democrats look less bad.

Don't think I'll watch this debate either. It'd be depressing and the only thing that matters is not what they say, but how it effects the polls, if at all. Somehow only the first debate seems to have had a dramatic effect. No idea why (and no that's not sarcasm. I don't get it.)

Because it's Obama. He could throw darts at an open phone book and he'd do it with wisdom and flair and that special grace or whatever.

But he wouldn't and doesn't do that. So that's why I trust him. If he had done that, or if anything in his life suggested that he would do that, I wouldn't have trusted him. Sure, I'd be happy with more than trust, but that isn't available.

I'm worried about the debate, but I can't help myself. I'm watching it and sending whatever cosmic vibes I can to the Pres. Hope it works out, because you're right, Donald, all that matters now are the polls. Especially the real ones on November 6.

Which is why I suggested an oversight process. Would that make it ok, assuming it was substantive and not just a kabuki play?

I don't think we know how to make a substantiative non-kabuki oversight process in the context of secrecy. I mean, the closest thing I can imagine is something like the FISA court and that's basically a disaster. They went for decades considering thousands of cases never turning the government down once. To me, that's just absurd: the idea that the government was always 100% right for decades is ridiculous. But the FISA court is probably the best we can do institutionally: it is well insulated, apolitical, staffed with highly regarded experts, etc.

Secrecy destroys competence. The more secret your organization is, the dumber it will be, as the secrecy slowly cuts it off from the consequences of incompetence.

BLOWBACK IS A BITCH.

In my dreams, this is emblazoned in 12 foot high letters over the entrance at Langley, and tattooed inside the eyelids of everyone who works there.

I don't think we know how to make a substantiative non-kabuki oversight process in the context of secrecy.

Game, set, and match. Thank you Turbulence.

Whether that was a practical option I don't know.

Nor I. And like you, I haven't lost any sleep over it.

Live by the sword, etc.

Karma is, in fact, a merciless bitch.

russell, perhaps you should read Donald's George McGovern's link, where he was so guilt-ridden about letting a bomb go over a farm.

ometimes doing the right thing doesn't result in blowback. In fact, the Austrian bombing victim actually believed that if he had been hit, it would have been worth it because Hitler was worth defeating. Kind of like my Bosnian friends who welcomed Clinton's bombs.

Maybe, just maybe, some of the people in "the neighborhood" of drone attacks feel the same way.

Which reminds me, weirdly, of the fact that you and your wife would be willing to sacrifice yourselves to an al Qaeda hit (possibly in an attack against hundreds of people who would also die), in order to avoid an accidental drone hit on a couple of people who might live with al Qaeda terrorists. Seems to me that your desire to self-sacrifice is somewhat misplaced.

oops - where'd the S go?

russell, perhaps you should read Donald's George McGovern's link, where he was so guilt-ridden about letting a bomb go over a farm.

I read it. McGovern's a stand-up guy. His experience in WWII has fuck-all to do with the topic at hand, and yes, I did just say a bad word right here on ObWi.

Look sapient, every time we get into this drone crap, we each make the same arguments.

I disagree with you. Nuff said, I suspect.

And for the record, you have absolutely nothing to say to me about my "desire to self-sacrifice" and whether it's "misplaced".

Also for the record, my wife's opinion on the matter doesn't enter into this. Only mine. She neither reads nor comments on ObWi. Your conversation is with me, and only me. Not with my wife.

Clear?

I do, sincerely, wish you would actually READ WHAT I WRITE and confine your discussion of what I say to ONLY WHAT I WRITE AND NOTHING ELSE.

It would save time.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect you of arguing in bad freaking faith. I'd prefer to not change my mind about that.

Dig this:

We could deal with militant Islamic terror by rounding up the relatives of everyone we suspect of involvement and shooting them in the head, on a live webcam, one per day, until the last relative of anyone we suspect of involvement was dead.

We don't do that. Why don't we do that? Because it's a really really really f**king bad idea. It's a bad idea on more levels than I have fingers and toes to count them on.

Are we on the same page about that? If we're not, we can end the discussion right now.

Somewhere between doing that, and doing nothing, is the line that divides acceptable from bloody well unacceptable.

You draw the line in a different place than I do.

I suggest we leave it at that.

Your comment is totally out of line. And if you'll look back at your comment, you did offer that you and your "wife" would be perfectly happy to take the hit. So don't bring her into it if you don't want a response.

And, yes, we'll leave it there.

"ometimes doing the right thing doesn't result in blowback. In fact, the Austrian bombing victim actually believed that if he had been hit, it would have been worth it because Hitler was worth defeating. Kind of like my Bosnian friends who welcomed Clinton's bombs.

Maybe, just maybe, some of the people in "the neighborhood" of drone attacks feel the same way."

Good God, remind me never to send you a link if that's what you do with it. First off, the Austrian farmer was talking about Adolf Hitler here, not some back country religious fanatics in Pakistan. If people in Pakistan want us to bomb them then maybe they will make their voices heard, but so far I haven't read anything about it. It's fine that this farmer was willing to tell McGovern that he'd have been willing to see his innocent family die if it would have brought Hitler down, but maybe you should try reading something about the latest report on the drone policy before you fondly imagine that Pakistani families agree with you. Seriously, sapient, sometimes you sound like a Bush supporter circa 2003. Frequently, in fact.

Romney liked the drone policy. Perhaps Debbie Wasserman -Shultz will be able to comment on that. It's one of those bipartisan things that everyone likes--bad guys in some other country die, Americans run no risk, and innocents are just collateral damage and don't vote. Win/win.

For that matter, do you think Americans who hated Bush would have welcomed drone assassinations carried out against Americans with accompanying collateral damage? Maybe you'd find some, especially hotheads who comment on left-leaning blogs. Are they representative?

I was coming back online to say I actually watched most of the debate, with some disgust at both of them, but thought Obama "won", for whatever that is worth.

Not sure how it happened, but my last few paragraphs are out of order. But it makes about as much sense that way as the way I intended.

Donald, don't be so freaking .

Did you actually know anyone, as in WWII, who had to face, personally, these moral dilemmas? Who the f*ck wants collateral damage? That's a totally inane accusation. Nobody wants to kill a child. The fact is, when there's 5 civilians killed in order that 1000 civilians can be saved, which would you choose? Obviously nobody can make that calculation for sure, but that is what war is. So F@ck you for not realizing that those are real issues. McGovern actually lived that, and so did some of my relatives.

Sure, we always try to avoid war. We try to avoid killing and being killed. If you're a pacifist, it's easy: never kill. If you're not, you need to decide when to do it, even when there may be a "blowback."

We obviously disagree on whether to kill terrorists. We should just wait to be on that plane, and write a testimonial to our descendants that, yes, it was cool with us! Because the terrorist's brother wasn't hurt!

I'm not doing that.

Your comment is totally out of line.

It bloody well is not.

I offered my personal opinion that I, personally, would prefer to risk my own death or that of my wife's in a terror attack, to the US pursuing policies that involved the near-indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians in other countries.

There's nothing "weird" about it, I just draw the line in a different place than you do. I'm not interested in outsourcing death from above to some remote corner of somewhere-istan in the interest of saving my own @ss or even that of my loved ones.

That's my position. What a bold fellow I am!

I've never discussed the issue with my wife, let alone heard her opinion on the matter. I feel confident in saying that I have not spoken for her here on ObWi on the topic. It would be impossible for me to do so, because I have no idea what her position is.

I could be wrong, feel free to provide chapter and verse if you are inclined to do so.

I find the US policy of assassinating folks we suspect of terrorist activities, or folks we suspect of being folks we suspect of terrorist activities, by launching missiles at them from unmanned drones, wherever they happen to be at the time, to be highly problematic, for reasons we've discussed at length.

You don't.

I'm happy to leave it there.

And for the record, I have no idea what folks "in the neighborhood" think about our drone policies, and neither do you. I suspect their feelings run the gamit, because people's feelings usually do. Whatever their feelings about it, however, they are, one and all, subject to the same threat of immediate fiery death.

But none of us can really speak for them, so there's no point in speculating about it.

Last but not least, George McGovern's experience in WWII has bugger-all to do with my thoughts on the topic. The two situations are not commensurate.

By the way, russell, you should click on your link. You might not still endorse what you find there.

It's quite difficult to search this site for your comments, but you did mention that you and your wife would be totally okay with being terrorized, so long as nobody was being hit with drones. And that's fine with me, but if your wife isn't okay with that, maybe you shouldn't be volunteering her.

Maybe it's a Massachusetts thing that you people disavow what you've said before.

I was voting age when McGovern ran. It was my first election. I can't say I remember much about it, though. He got treated by the newsmedia as if he was a hippie. Nixon was portrayed as the serious responsible sensible one. Hah!

I enjoyed the hell out of Watergate.

It's been a good discussion, so let's ratchet it back a bit folks.

For comment searches, I find that advanced google search where you limit it to this domain and have a definite phrase you remember rather than a word does ok. But I don't think the best way of operating to hold someone to something they said in the context of another conversation unless they decide to claim something like 'I have never, ever, said X' and you clearly remember something that contradicts that. Even then, it is something that I don't think is very conducive to discussion and I try not to do it very often.

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Whatnot


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