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March 21, 2006

Comments

Focusing not on the big point of the post, but on Cordesman's list: What the hell is it that he thinks the U.S. military can do in the next two years to "salvage the Iraq war on a national level"?

It cannot end the insurrection or prevent civil war. And putting it that way masks the extent to which the U.S. has laid the groundwork for civil war, starting well before the invasion and continuing right through the December elections.

As for "help [the Iraqis] create an inclusive and stable government": just go read Billmon. (Three posts in a row! I hope he's back for a while.)

so desperate to get into Moussaoui's computer I'll take anything.

Wouldn't that be domestic surveillence (since Mousssaoui was already in the country) and an unconstitutional and impeachable offense?

DaveC: not if he had a warrant. Which, as I understand it, is what he was trying to get.

But don't you object to NSA program because you think it should require a warrant and should be in general more difficult to investigate characters like Moussaoui, and are against judges that would more likely to grant the warrants? "Oversight" cuts a couple of differnt ways.

DaveC: It's not that I want it to be more or less difficult; it's that I want some oversight, by someone, and I also want the President to follow the law. As it happens, the FISA court has hardly ever refused a request for a warrant, so it's not clear how difficult they would have made anything.

In this case, the problem seems to have been that the guy's supervisor wouldn't let him use some of his evidence on his warrant application. That's not a problem with getting a warrant; it's a problem with his supervisor.

"But don't you object to [...] and should be in general more difficult to investigate characters like Moussaoui, and are against judges that would more likely to grant the warrants?"

My impulse is to say "are you nuts?"

That would be unfair. And possibly in violation of the posting rules, or at least of their spirit. But I don't understand how you can possibly think that, unless you simply never read what any of the people writing about the NSA program have written, but only believe what liars like Rush Limbaugh claim people writing about the Program say.

If you like, I will again point you to fifty or so posts I've written with my actual opinions, but the short answer is the problematic one.

The shorter answer is: no. What primary source would you possibly cite that leads you to think otherwise?

DaveC: Aren't you the guy who keeps saying that anyone who failed to vote for Bush -- whether they voted for the other guys or stayed home -- ought to be herded into camps and gassed?

Or have I maybe been reading a little more in between the lines than is really there . . .

Why does anyoe support this administration? I can think of only two reasons - money, and fear.

The first is obvious, but while the second is obvious on one level, the hard part is why some succumb to an irrationally broad fear of terrorism while others do not. I think the difference is rooted in the individual's response to uncertainty.

For the dreadfilled, when all the choices available to you appear to have significantly probable bad outcomes - which, for Bush supporters, appears to be any measurable probability - you turn to the experts, to the "authorities". Bush IS the "authority" in this country. He is the President, he is elected, and the spin provides just enough cover to dismiss his critics.

For the dreadfilled among us security is a need ranking right up there with food and shelter. Even though security, in the end, is an illusion, as you, hilzoy, are fully aware.

I can't explain this deferrence to authority in the face of the unknown. I think it must stem from a sense of incompetency to manage ones own private life in the face of uncertainty, and hence leads to an abdication of responsibility on the larger scale of public life.

Jake

Jake, you're forgetting projection.

There are a lot of dim-bulbed, loud-mouthed, pick-a-fight types, who dwell in a perpetual simmering resentful rage at some imaginary Other that's kept them from achieving their rightful place at the top of the heap.

They love the Bush Admin, because it acts just like they would if they actually were at the top of the heap.

The projection you describe is just another kind of fear of incompetency.

Truthfully, I don't think there are so many dim-witted thugs as we would like to believe. Most Bush supporters consider themselves to be rational, practical people who are concerned about the direction the world is taking.

While we can debate just how rational they might be, that doesn't change the fact that they are our brothers and sisters, Casey, not the crazed inhabitants of a Mad Max universe.

Jake

Jake,

"While we can debate just how rational they might be, that doesn't change the fact that they are our brothers and sisters, Casey, not the crazed inhabitants of a Mad Max universe."

The two may not be mutually exclusive.

Hilzoy, I hope you will consider providing input to the Truman National Security Project at www.trumanproject.org. To overcome the inertia of years of systemic deception of which party has the better platform for national security, there must be a united clear voice from somewhere.

Dan, I have to give you that, this world does seem apocalyptic at times. If Bush attacks Iran, I can well imagine the rapture is nearly upon us.

The dimwitted thugs who are the parents of one of my students have finally turned against Bush. The step dad is a former SEAL and a current member of the Gypsy Jokers, mom is a biker chick, and my student is mildly mentally retarded. Up to about a week agao, they were all Bush supprters becuawe he was gong to go get those eveil A-rabs who attacked us.
It was the port deal and Katrina that changed their minds. Both made Bush look like a loser. Americans love a winner and hate a loser.
There is a percentage of voters, I have no idea what percentage, who pick their candidate for ego-centered emotional reasons. They identify with a certain candidate.
To criticize the candideate is to criticizwe them. If the candidate is wrong, then they are wrong too. if elelcted their guy has to be right because they have ego invested in his success. If their pick begins to stink like a loser, they will bail on him because they don't want to be losers too.
So looks like Bush has lost the biker vote.

I am NOT saying all Bush supporters are like this, of course.

The step dad is a former SEAL and a current member of the Gypsy Jokers

Interesting combination. Do you know for a fact that he's a former SEAL, or is this something he tells you?

Not saying he's a poser, but there are quite a lot of people who pose as SEALs, Medal of Honor recipients, POWs and the like. If you're really curious, visit
VeriSeal
or CyberSeals (they USED to hav a Wall of Shame, IIRC, but now they appear not to) and submit his name for review. There just aren't that many authentic SEALs out there. There's even a guy at Lockheed that's been (had been, actually; he's retired) posing as a SEAL for quite a while.

More on this here.

Even people who have served WITH SEALs occasionally embroider their records. Some just make it up.

In his press conferance today the president said those who questioned the NSA program were opposed to surviellance of terrorists.

This is a lie. I remain agnostic on the program because I don't understand exactly what happened, but watching people without warrants is a fundamendal constitutional issue.

The thing is that they are so far gone in their faith based reality they don't see how increasingly their attacks are aimed at the majority. I think it is a cult in collapse. I read te pro war blogs, the ones who have claimed perpetual victory and they are saying books like Assasin's Gate and Cobra II justify their position, yet both indict the administration for ignoring the advice of the military and the evidence.

The Bushiteers have lost the capacity for empiricisms, they project their reality onto the walls of their cave. They know no other. Within their "world view" no other is possible. It's good or evil. They are insane.

It saddens me.

Debbie Hill,

"In his press conferance today the president said those who questioned the NSA program were opposed to surviellance of terrorists.

This is a lie."

Unfortunately, it is a very common lie, and will remain common so long as it "conveniently" underscores the recurrent pro-Administration meme that those who are anything other than in lockstep with the President are traitors. This week's Tom Tomorrow nails it for me.

No, here's what he said:

I think during these difficult times -- and they are difficult when we're at war -- the American people expect there to be a honest and open debate without needless partisanship. And that's how I view it. I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

Slarti,

"They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate."

One might think that misrepresenting that baldly what one's opponents are saying is the exact opposite of an open and honest debate, and exactly the same as needless partisanship.

They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

Except, of course, that's a lie: the Democrats aren't saying that, and never have.

"You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate."

More to the point, do you believe this is an acceptable and/or honest form of discourse, Slart? Would you agree, or not, that this is clearly a form of slurring-by-implication?

We could just change nouns, after all: "You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the Republican party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people should be fascist tools. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're going to lock up all Arab people in camps, where we'll be safe from them. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate."

That wouldn't be remotely acceptable language from Democrats, right? Is this not just a way of lying about your opponents? Or are only direct lies lies?

Gary, why are you copping the attitude with Slarti? I don't think he in any way implied that he supported Bush's mischaracterization of those who oppose the illegal wiretaps, he just clarified what Bush actually said.

What Bush said is frankly pretty terrible, as you point out. It makes it hard to support Bush in any way, shape or form.

In a way, Bush's actual words are a self caricature - sort of like the "jokes that write themselves" meme. A moebius strip of words that always leads back to Bush himself.

Jake,

I can't read Slarti's mind, but I read his "No, here's what he said" line as strongly implying that he disagreed with Debbie Hill's characterization of Bush's words.

Some might say that this is mere rhetorical spin. I'm not sure whether or not Slarti is amongst that camp.

I do find it rich that Pres. Bush can claim that no one has openly denounced the cleverly named "Terrorist Surveilance Program" (begging the question pretty openly, I might add) when no one actually knows the extent of said program. The Monty Hall approach to legislation is not particularly appealing to me considering how broadly the AUMF has been interpreted vs. intended.

"We could just change nouns after all."

Yes, Bush could do that. He could refer to the Democratic Party as the Democratic Party rather than the Gingrich/Armey/Hutu sh*t talk "Democrat" Party.

Let's keep the surveillance in place and then elect a Democratic President. Then surveil the top 1000 Republicans in the country. Constantly. For eight years.

Why? Because it's fun. And because they are dangerous to the Republic. And because it's fun. By the way, the word "pizza" means "bomb."

My plan is to provide 100 Pakistani hill tribesmen with cheap cellular phone plans and then have them all call Grover Norquist, say, while he's addressing his various unAmerican friends about their mutual hatred of the Federal Government.

The message could be, "The babies drown on Monday". Sounds like a plot to me. I might even forego my politically correct opposition to the death penalty for that sort of treason.

"My plan is to provide 100 Pakistani hill tribesmen with cheap cellular phone plans and then have them all call Grover Norquist."

A most commendable notion, Thullen. Could we add Rove? DeLay? Frist?

Christ, the list almost writes itself.

Slarti strikes me as someone who understands the written word. He pasted in exactly what Bush said, which is not what Debbie Hill says Bush said. It IS different. Still misleading, and intentionally so, but different. I don't read minds either, but I do read words, and nothing in Slarti's words express anything but disagreement, supported by the text, with Debbie's statement.

Anyway, it's all a storm in a teacup kind of thing. Bush remains disingenuous.

Gotta love that word.

Jake

Jake and Slarti are right.

Bush, or his managers, are expert at saying one thing, with the understanding being something else. They know that there is a difference between criticizing something and calling for its complete dismantling.

However, they also know that the base sees a equivalance between one and the other.

It is like Bush saying he never said there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11. A true statement. However, it misleads, because there were several instances where he would mention the two close enough together to give the impression of a connection.

BTW, I would love to hear Bush attempt to pronounce "disingenuous."

Some people believe a certain kind of political discourse is acceptable; others disagree.

Well, Gary, I believe the President has firmly established the fact that he is much better at debate with his own straw men than he is with Helen - or anyone else.

Ya gotta go with what you know.

Which in Bush's case, ain't much.

Jake

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

Don't any of these people read Tom Clancy?

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