November 08, 2007

The 24%'ers

ge-herzen.jpg

"People who have realized that this is a dream imagine that it is easy to wake up, and are angry with those who continue sleeping, not considering that the whole world that environs them does not permit them to wake. Life proceeds as a series of optical illusions, artificial needs and imaginary sensations."

--Alexander Herzen, explaining better than I ever could the root of many of my frustrations of late, not least surveying the wreckage that is today's Jacobinized Republican Party. Related, another Herzen gem: "It is possible to lead astray an entire generation, to strike it blind, to drive it insane, to direct it towards a false goal. Napoleon proved this." Thank God only 24% seem this deluded still, in their desperately needy fantasies about Islam storming the ramparts of their neighborhood malls and congregations. And yet, a "small man in search of a balcony"-- of late fusing feigned televangical style Christianism to his woefully authoritarian tendencies--might still gain the Presidency. It appears fantastical fear-mongering is still a potent political tool. When will large swaths of the American public cease behaving like a cowering mass?

Posted by Gregory at November 8, 2007 12:34 AM
Comments

hail, o fearless one, I do beseech you to offer the 76% of us lesser beings a specific, tangible plan to get out of our present misery.

Posted by: neill at November 8, 2007 01:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, for starters we could cull self-indulgent idiots like Neill.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 8, 2007 02:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So, Neil, you put yourself within the group that opposes Bush? That is interesting indeed.

Anyway, as to a plan to get us out of, what you term, "our present misery".....yes, I have a plan. But I suspect you won't like it. Begin impeachment proceedings, of both of them.

Oh, the Village Elders will howl 'its a distraction and has no chance to succeed'. I say start the process. First off, I suspect a great deal more Americans support impeachment than the elders would have us believe. And, indeed, believe themselves. But, more important, impeachment is akin to the discovery process. Lots of things buried are often brought to the surface to face examination in the light of day.

The message, as corny, and as melodramatic, as it can sound when uttered by people who don't truly believe it, is: Live free or die. The Republic still lives.

Posted by: jonst at November 8, 2007 08:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

is neill a spam generator on auto-pilot?

Posted by: who at November 8, 2007 09:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

GD-

Much as you're confused-or is it disturbed?-by a seemingly blind attachment of some aggressive democratists, shouldn't you attend to the more compelling toxic propensity that lingers within the jihadists?

Steinbeck, with a nod to Jung, called it a Phalanx. I say it has consumed too much of the Islamic culture. I say it has removed, increasingly, their independent thought. I say it accounts for an extremism that makes Herzen's daunting landscape look timid.

And, worse, it ain't 24%.

Posted by: reshufflex at November 8, 2007 11:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

True, it is much less than 24%.

Posted by: john at November 8, 2007 12:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Walter Shapiro has pointed out a rather large fact that every other reporter neglected to mention: the guy who introduced Pat Robertson yesterday at his news conference endorsing Giuliani was none other than Ted Olson ( http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/058243.php ).

The implications of this mesh well with the political fact noted http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_11/012463.php -- namely, that active support for torture seems to be replacing opposition to abortion and homosexuality as the key issue among Christian Rightists, which is why they now find Giuliani more acseptable. The fundamental trait of religious fundies (that crucial constituency for the current GOP) is their taste for authoritarianism -- and, thanks to the terrorism threat, that may now be swinging toward a taste for military authoritarianism. I think it's becoming increasingly apparent that It Could Happen Here.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 8, 2007 01:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bruce-

You might want to give Ted Olsen a break with respect to his harcore mentality toward terrorists. Unless I'm mistaken, his wife was aboard one of the planes that flew into the towers.

I believe she was aboard that 911 flight only because she passed on a flight the day prior to celebrate her husband's birthday.

I havent double-checked this so I could be in error.

Posted by: reshufflex at November 8, 2007 02:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In Nazi Germany, there were a few Christians who stood against torture and depravity -- Bonhoeffer was one who left a fairly serious work of writings devoted to the topic most relevant to today -- how does the Christian react to fascists and torture by the government.

So, in modern US, where are the Christians who dare to follow the unpopular road of Jesus and stand against depravity?

Is Christianity in the US even weaker than it was in Nazi Germany? Or are the true Christians being censored by the media?

There seems no shortage of US Christians who are pro-depravity and pro-torture and pro-dictatorship, but one might argue that this is generally true (broad is the path..), and not nearly as important, as looking to the few who dare to abandon money and power and try to follow the narrow, unpopular road.

Posted by: John Carlos at November 8, 2007 02:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Reshufflex: She was. But I fail to see how this justifies enthusiasm for frequent torture -- and, in any case, let's remember that Olson was somewhere to the Right of Attila the Hun long BEFORE that tragedy. (He was the figure who -- under a pseudonym -- provided the American Spectator with its early specious legal advice on how to justify Clinton's impeachment.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 8, 2007 04:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"When will large swaths of the American public cease behaving like a cowering mass?"

When they actually face some adversity. You know, like rationing for the war effort, an honest to god existential threat, or the government arrest WASPs and throwing them in jail.

$4 gas does not cut it.

Posted by: MNPundit at November 8, 2007 05:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of course Olson and Giuliani have no problem with torture. They are both (if I'm not mistaken) former federal prosecutors. The feds have not seen an infringement of freedom they didn't like. Anyone who hasn't gotten enough of the Imperial Presidency with Bush would be doing just fine voting for Giuliani. Bush thinks he talks to God, Giuliani thinks he is God, apparently.

But I don't think Giuliani has much of a chance of getting the nomination. Too much baggage.

Posted by: LL at November 8, 2007 05:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Slogging through all 25,000 pages of Venturi's "Roots of Revolution" resulted in a more than casual acquaintance with A. Herzen.

Your quote is a fair representation of one of his many facets. I'm surprised you selected him to speak for you, though. Neither his personal life nor his political views were moderate or responsibly conservative.

To the barricades?

Posted by: Adams at November 8, 2007 07:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
So, in modern US, where are the Christians who dare to follow the unpopular road of Jesus and stand against depravity?

Is Christianity in the US even weaker than it was in Nazi Germany? Or are the true Christians being censored by the media?

The Quakers, of course, are out there. Most of the main stream protestant churches have been against the war for a long time, and I believe the Council of Churches came out against the war some time back. The Episcopals, of course, are against the war, as is the Pope (altho many US Catholics are still for it).

But the mainstream churches don't make a lot of noise and don't get much airtime.

Posted by: Svensker at November 8, 2007 08:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Alexander Herzen. Jacobinism and Napoleon. Authoritarian tendencies. Boy, if that isn't a combination speaking to the deepest values of the American electorate!

Posted by: Zathras at November 8, 2007 11:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And, Greg, large swaths of the American public -- like large swaths of any public -- ARE a cowering mass, and always will be. Americans are as vulnerable as any other people to squealing hysteria. I submit, however, that the best way to inoculate a MAJORITY of Americans against the danger that they will come to accept torture is for its opponents to convincingly show that the Ticking Bomb argument can only justify torture in incredibly rare cases.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 9, 2007 01:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ted Olson's wife Barbara was a passenger on one of the hijacked flights, and she died in the crash. Ted Olson is certainly due the same sympathy as any other person who has lost his life's companion. On the other hand, Olson has been a scummy dirty-trickster and darkside political operative for years. He was an active participant in the Scaife-financed "Arkansas Project", using bribery and blackmail to try and drum up anti-Clinton scandal. He was David Hale's defense attorney (paid with Scaife money) when Ken Starr was trying to create a bogus criminal case over Whitewater. Olson was also a major player in stealing the vote in Florida in 2000. So his career as an authoritarian unscrupulous scumbag predates 9/11. His late wife seemed to labor under a maniacal obsession with Hillary Clinton, who she hated with the white hot fury of the insane. She wrote several, increasingly deranged, books denouncing Hillary, each one selling even fewer copies than the last.

Posted by: Paul Gottlieb at November 9, 2007 10:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As long as it is only sneaky looking, swarthy, hook-nosed, thick lipped, dark hair individuals who are being tortured & detained indefinitely, most Americans will not have much problem with it. It will only be if the govt. is foolish enough to do this to "regular" Americans that there will be trouble.

Note: As bad as this Administration, it does not hold a candle to the Wilson Administrtion's persection of its critics during and after WWI., when among others, the young J.Edgar Hoover learned how to persecute holders of unpopular opinions. Or to FDR's giving in to the anti-Japanese Hysteria on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor and interning more then 100,000 Japanese Americans for the length of the War; a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1944. Or to the anti-Communist hysteria of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Posted by: David All at November 9, 2007 01:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I wonder if Bin Laden had imagined in his wildest dreams what monster he'd manage to unleash in the US. I believe that in some Pakistani cave he must die laughing when he sees what incredible damage his 9/11 scheme managed to cause.

Posted by: Mentar at November 9, 2007 05:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Resufflex wrote: "Much as you're confused-or is it disturbed?-by a seemingly blind attachment of some aggressive democratists, shouldn't you attend to the more compelling toxic propensity that lingers within the jihadists?"

Jihadists can't destroy the Constitution. They can only kill a small number of our 300 million citizens. We survived the deaths of Vietnam, WW2, WW1, the Civil War, etc. Other nations have survived even greater death tolls and have come back after the destruction of entire cities. There is simply no way jihadists can do any significant damage to us as a nation.

It's the GOP and the fearful who are stabbing the Founders in the back and throwing away what they accomplished, the Constitution that makes us America, which separates us from Russia or China.

Posted by: Jon H at November 9, 2007 05:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You underestimate the "jihadists". They control legions of warriors, and great weapons. Do you not thiink they have as many infantry and armor divisions as your earlier enemy, the USSR, and as many thousands and thousands of nuclear warheads, and as many SSBNs, and as many heavy bombers, and advanced jet fighters?

Posted by: Garlanda at November 10, 2007 12:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Jihadists can't destroy the Constitution. They can only kill a small number of our 300 million citizens. We survived the deaths of Vietnam, WW2, WW1, the Civil War, etc. Other nations have survived even greater death tolls and have come back after the destruction of entire cities. There is simply no way jihadists can do any significant damage to us as a nation.

It's the GOP and the fearful who are stabbing the Founders in the back and throwing away what they accomplished, the Constitution that makes us America, which separates us from Russia or China."


O ye of little imagination -- or memory for that matter.

Comparing this with other wars and body counts is simply nincompoopian.

This is not a conventional war in case you hadn't noticed. This is a Terror War, a psychological war -- designed to slaughter as many civilians as possible IN ORDER TO intimidate, sap the confidence of, and ultimately overwhelm and paralyze an enemy society, including its economic, transportation, communication, emergency-response systems, the whole enchilada. These guys do not play small ball, to coin a phrase.

Do you not remember the far-reaching effects of 9-11?

Sadly, your brand of complacency is our weakest link.

Libs love to tar the other side with throw-away phrases. Speaking of which, what specifically has been 'thrown away' by your true villain in the piece?

Posted by: neill at November 10, 2007 02:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neill wrote:

"These guys do not play small ball, to coin a phrase". As opposed, Neill implies, to the:

Nazis
Imperial Japan
The Soviet Union
Mao's China
The Kaiser's Germany
Version 1.0 'terrorism' (Black September, Red Guard, Red Brigades, Shinning Path, IRA)

Your hysteria, Neill, and your utter, stunning, lack of historical context, or awareness, for that matter, and your pseudo-tough-guyism, and those like you Neill, that run the show, are the nation's 'weakest link'. But you do serve a purpose here Neill, you remind us of the prevalent mentality that got us in the situation we are in as a nation.

Believe it or not Neill, Progressives, Liberals, Centerist Dems, Old style GOP types, and Independents, and any one with a wit of common sense knows the dangers the nation faces. They think, to the extent one can generalize, that the kind of mentality, and 'tactics' employed by the Bush admin INCREASES the likelihood of the deadly scenarios you warn us about.

Posted by: jonst at November 10, 2007 02:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

increases the likelihood exactly how?

Posted by: neill at November 10, 2007 03:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

neill, if this is indeed a psychological war, you're one of the finest casualties. How are you supposed to help win this war against fear if you're reacting in such a hysterical way?

So you would not say that the way Iraq has been developing was the exact opposite of what Bush had planned? And the exact opposite of what was needed?

Posted by: Mentar at November 10, 2007 04:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What I find truly sad is that half or more of the country doesn't seem to really get that we are at war, or what is required to prevail, or the disasatrous consequences of not prevailing. And that is not due to lack of historical perspective on my part.

Please educate me further in regard to my lack of historical context.

I will say that the sectarian storm unleashed by the Golden Dome bombing in early 2006 released a storm that I don't think was planned by anybody but al quaeda, and was the opposite of what was needed by Iraqis.

As to Bush's planning, sure mistakes were made. Some of it was knowable, some unknowable. The initial chaos in Baghdad was unforgiveable, and I think prepared the battlefield for the already-planned insurgency. It would seem to me that was knowable.

But warfare often comes down to which side makes the least mistakes, and keeps getting up. If you flee the field because you made some mistakes and the going is tough, you never should have gotten into a war in the first place.

And you should not be a superpower, because you've forgotten how you got there.

Posted by: neill at November 10, 2007 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

this is a bit long but interesting...

http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/talkradio/transcripts/Transcript.aspx?ContentGuid=2f5dfe0c-0c4c-480f-8f13-a5f6f437b4cb


HH: Special treat now. From Iraq, Michael Yon, online journalist extraordinaire. Michael, tell us where you are tonight.

MY: I’m in South Baghdad in a district called Rashid.

HH: And Michael, what is the circumstance, what is the situation in Baghdad on this, the 6th day of November, 2007?

MY: Well, there’s not a lot going on, Hugh. I’ve been going out on the streets every day. Yesterday, I saw a Church reopen, the St. John’s Catholic Church over here, and I watched them put a cross back up on the dome and videotaped it, made some photos, and went inside and watched the people sing, and that sort of thing. Actually, believe it or not, it was some Sunni Muslims that invited us over to watch it, but it was Christians that were actually doing the ceremony. But it was pretty interesting.

HH: Characterize Baghdad today compared with your first trip there, I guess two years ago now.

MY: Oh, good grief. When I first came here in December of 2004…

HH: Three years.

MY: It was unbelievable. I mean, there was a lot of steady stream of explosions, car bombs constantly. When I say constantly, I mean numerous per day. Even in 2005, and even earlier this year, actually, in January, February, March, I mean, you would hear numerous, or see numerous car bombs per day. I haven’t even heard a car bomb in, well, not since I’ve come back on this trip. I haven’t heard one in a good six weeks or so.

HH: Well, knock on wood.

MY: (laughing) Usually, seriously, it’s a normal occurrence. You hear it go off, and you write down the time, and you go see what happened.

HH: Tell us what the Iraqis are telling you about this lull or peace or improvement. What do they think is going on here, and how long will it last?

MY: I don’t believe this is a lull. I believe this is the real thing. I believe that we’ve seen lulls before, and I’ve always been very circumspect on taking a chance and saying hey, this is the real thing. But I’ve seen a change in the mood of the people, and it’s remarkable. And I believe if we can just continue to help them progress, and we’ve got a little bit more serious fighting to do up in Ninewa Province, and then in Kirkuk and Salahaddin Province, and also out in Diayala Province, those four provinces. Other than that, I think really, it’s a matter of pouring on the juice and helping them to get this country going again. I mean, they’re just finished with the war, as long as we can help get the monkey off their back in the form of al Qaeda, which is pretty much crushed at this point.

HH: What about the Shi’a militias and the rumored, you know, the fact that they’ve gone to ground, it’s just a ceasefire, they’ll be back? What do you hear about that?

MY: Okay, now that’s a very good point, and I wanted to get to that. That could be the gorilla in the closet there. Muqtada al Sadr actually formed what they call the golden groups that have been out killing people that have been breaking the ceasefire, especially under the name of Jaish al Mahdi. And so that could come up to bit us. I’ve been at a lot of reconciliation meetings with Shi’a and Sunni, and the Shi’a are definitely talking. There’s a huge difference between Jaish al Mahdi, for instance, and al Qaeda. Remember, Jaish al Mahdi, or JAM, was originally formed in response to al Qaeda attacking Shi’a. The difference between…there’s a huge difference between Jaish al Mahdi and people like al Qaeda. Jaish al Mahdi you can reason with. You can actually get them at the table and talk with them. I mean, you might argue a lot, and you won’t always come to an agreement very quickly, but you can talk with them. And so there is a lot of, it’s not like they’re just complete savages like you’ve got with al Qaeda.

HH: Michael Yon, how long have you been back on this trip?

MY: Well, I’ve been here most of the year. Let’s see, I came back and went with the British for a month, and then I’ve been up here, I was just trying to figure that out in my head, It’s kind of early in the morning here, Hugh. I guess I’ve been back for almost two months now.

HH: Is it fair to say that the good guys are winning decisively?

MY: Very fair at this point. If you would have said that back in February, I would have had to say absolutely not. But right now, it’s very fair, and I believe, accurate.

HH: When you talk to American Army and Marine units, are they bored? Are they pumped up? Are they desperate to come home? Or do they think they’re winning, and they want to finish it off?

MY: Bored. I mean, the Marines want to get out of here, because Marines like to fight. A lot of them do, and they want to go over to Afghanistan. The soldiers, these fifteen month tours are very long, and so they really, most of the soldiers really do want to get home very badly, because I was out with a captain two days ago. He’s on his fifth combat tour at this point. Unbelievable. You know, he’s in his 20’s, he’s on his fifth combat tour. So I mean, let’s face it, it’s a war, so that they those normal stresses that are going to come with it. But they also see the progress that they’re making, and so that’s giving them a boost, because it’s very clear. I mean, we were out today, or actually it was yesterday, now, it’s almost 3:30 in the morning. I didn’t hear a shot fired. I didn’t hear a shot fired the day before, or the day before. Usually, you can be in a firefight before breakfast, and another before lunch. It’s just nothing going on except nation building and reconstruction in a lot of the areas.

HH: Michael Yon, I was privileged to have lunch today with the parents of Lt. Mark Daily, an Army lieutenant who was killed in Iraq this year, in January of this year, and who had written to his brother that one of his objectives in joining and going there was to make sure that the Iraqis, brother to brother, could have the same kind of relationship he had with his brother, that if he wanted to go for a cup of coffee with his brother, he hoped someday that the Iraqi brothers could just go out for a cup of tea, and that’s why he was fighting, to bring normalcy and a decent life to these Iraqis. Is that happening?

MY: Yeah, it’s happening. In some areas, quicker than others. You know, we’re just on the front edge of it. But I can tell you, I can see it every day I’m out now, or week by week, month by month now, I really believe that, I’ll be the first to say it and take a chance, I really believe five years from now, I’m going to be back here with my camera and my longest lens shooting bird photos. I just feel that it’s coming. You can sense the change in the people. The Iraqi people actually really tend to like Americans. It’s the ones that don’t like us, you know, that can be a pretty severe difference. But in general, they really want to have a relationship with the United States, and it’s not, we’re not dealing with blood enemies here at all.

HH: Are they grateful?

MY: More and more so. Actually, especially now that things are settled down and they realize that our intentions are not here, you know, we’re not here to steal their oil and that kind of thing. Actually, I’m seeing them express gratitude a lot more than I’ve ever seen it before. And so yes, they’re definitely grateful.

HH: And what about Iran? What does the average Iraqi tell you about Iran?

MY: Well, now that’s not only a good question, but an increasingly kind of semi-humorous question, because every day now, including yesterday again, a retired army colonel, an Iraqi army colonel, told me hey, we will support you in your war against Iran. And he keeps saying this in front of American…oh yeah. Every day I’m hearing that.

- - - -

HH: Have those donations continued to flow, Michael Yon?

MY: They are. If they weren’t, I would have to come home, so yeah, they’ve kept me out here, Hugh.

HH: I very much appreciate that they do.

MY: I appreciate it, too. Yeah, it’s incredibly important.

HH: What you were telling me about the Iraqis and their attitudes toward Iran. Be expansive, please.

MY: Well, it’s very interesting, because I’ve noticed that now, more recently in particular, it comes up pretty much every day. You know, the Iraqis, and particularly Sunnis, will say you know, we support you on your war against Iran, or one particular term I’ve heard several times is we will carry your guns, we will carry your weapons. And the American soldiers will often kind of chuckle. Or I remember a Lt. Col. James Crider about a week ago, he just said I don’t think we’re going to be attacking Iran anytime soon, that kind of thing. But they’re, they really, if something were to happen with Iran, I think we could count on full support from a lot of Iraqis, that’s for sure.

HH: And so, are those all Sunni? Or are those some Shi’a as well? In other words, are the Shi’a Iraqis more patriotic and nationalist than they are Shi’a and aligned with Iran?

MY: I haven’t heard any Shi’a that come to mind who’ve brought it up, although I have heard a lot of Shi’a complaining that there is meddling coming from Iran. But you really hear it from the Sunnis. The Sunni, in particular, they’re pretty straightforward about it, and they blame every woe in the world on Iran, or actually, as they say, Persia. And so yeah, you hear it more and more, actually.

HH: And now, can you tell us a little bit about the economy? What’s it look like there? Do you notice a big difference from previous visits?

MY: I wouldn’t say a huge difference, but it’s a very clear difference, and it’s very clearly improving. With the Iraqis, they’re natural businesspeople. I mean, if they get the security, they’re shops are opening up in droves. There’s quite a lot more shops opening up. We’re paying for a lot of the streets to be cleaned up, but I’ve noticed that after the streets are cleaned up, and through time in different areas, they’re getting cleaned up, after they get cleaned up, the Iraqis keep them clean by themselves. Getting them cleaned up and getting buildings fixed is getting them out of that funk and that despair that they’ve gotten into from these years at war. I talked with a man yesterday, he said he had hardly come out of his home for three years. Now he talked with me yesterday to the point where I had to kind of finally, politely excuse myself. I mean, he just wanted to talk and talk, and tell me all these things that I should tell the Americans. One thing he kept telling me was Muslims and Christians are friends in Iraq, and that was one thing he kept pointing out. And he was actually one of the men who invited us over to the opening of the St. John’s Church.

HH: That’s very neat. Now what about the power situation and other utilities? Has that improved?

MY: It has in some areas. Again, a function of security, because the insurgents were targeting the infrastructure, and also people’s ability to fix it. So that’s definitely improving. Plus, they’ve got a lot of generators, so they’re not…when you fly over Baghdad at nighttime in a helicopter, you actually see a lot of lights on. The city looks lit up, though it’s hard to tell how much of that’s coming from the grid, and how much is coming from generators. But it’s not as though the city’s been blacked out. I remember talking with you from Mosul in 2005, and there’s a little hill up there I would talk to you from.

HH: Yup.

MY: And you can see that the city actually had a lot of lights on. Some of it’s coming from the grid, and others coming from generators. But it’s never been like blacked out like Dresden or something.

HH: 30 seconds, Michael Yon. Are the Iraqi people optimistic about the future, and are they increasingly happy?

MY: Oh, yeah, oh yeah. They’re increasingly happy. The optimism you can see is increasing month by month. They don’t trust their press any more than we trust ours, by the way, and they point that out daily. And they don’t trust their government any more than we trust ours, apparently a lot less. But their optimism is very high, because they’re seeing changes, and they’re demonstrable changes.

HH: Well Michael Yon, we trust you. And thank you for spending time with us, staying up late. It will be transcribed and posted at www.hughhewitt.com. Thank you, friend.

End of interview.


Posted by: neill at November 10, 2007 08:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neill: you're a coward, you've inflated a handful of jihadists into a titanic global force. You - and people like you - are OBL's best friend. You wallow in panic and think you're brave. Go hide under your bed.

Posted by: DRS at November 10, 2007 10:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Correct me if I am wrong: wasn't this a right-wing, pro-Bush blog at some point?

Posted by: F. Frederson at November 10, 2007 11:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

neill, you are a coward.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 10, 2007 11:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I am wholeheartedly interested in confronting and defeating them wherever they are, something I don't sense from many of you.

Who's the coward?

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 12:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A coward is a jingoist chickenhawk who exclaims loudly that "we" should go fight, but is always afraid to go fight himself, and consoles his cowardice with excoriating others who do not fight, to try to divert attention from his own physical cowardice.

This only applies to Neill if he is not already in uniform, seeking combat tours.

Posted by: Pat Benatar at November 11, 2007 12:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

already got a hint of the bitter taste of defeat, I see....

the next year's gonna be a bumpy one indeed for y'all.

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 01:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Regarding Michael Yon's sunny statements about the attitude of Iraqis toward the US: just take a look at that ABC/BBC poll of them -- and compare it to the decline in our already dismal popularity (and in the Iraqi public's "happiness" and optimism about the future) since the last ones in Feb. 2004 and Nov. 2005:

http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/949a1IraqPoll.pdf
http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/1000a1IraqWhereThingsStand.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6983027.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/10_09_07_iraqpoll.pdf

The Kurds still love us in both polls (although they may not after the current brouhaha with Turkey really gets underway). The Sunnis detested us from the start -- by an 8-to-1 margin -- and do now by an even bigger one. The Shiites were initially split about us -- after all, we got Saddam off their backs -- but they have now turned against us by landslide margins. And the Shiites and Sunnis have both turned much more pessimistic about the future than they were before -- as well being at least being as unwilling to stand each other as they always were.

And as for Yon's mindboggling statement that Iraqi Moslems and Christians are "friends": that, no doubt, explains why Iraqi Christians are fleeing the country in droves now. (Of course, anyone willing to give Hugh Hewitt on-the-air support has cemented his reputation as an American Ahmed Chalabi by that act alone.)

Finally, to point out (yet again) the excruciatingly obvious: the only conceivable way that Moslem terrorists -- given their feebleness in conventional weaponry and in numbers -- could possibly seriously damage the US is through nuclear terrorism. And our red-herring entanglement in Iraq is not just irrelevant to reducing that threat: it's actively working AGAINST our reducing that threat.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 11, 2007 07:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

PG-

"Olson was also a major player in stealing the vote in Florida in 2000. "

Oh, my. And your evidence for that assertion is what? That he was asked to litigate the matter? I'd have easily accepted your mundane indictments of Olson re: his subterfuge in The Arkansas Project, and I'd as easily have accepted that he became a partisan political hack of sorts (and perhaps remains one)-though what DC lawyer involved in the political agora ever escapes that ugly denouement?

Should I begin with Adams and Jefferson?

Moreover, his intellectual integrity, which is to say his respect for the law, has never been seriously challenged. Mind you, his politics can upset you (as it's obvious that they do), but few are there on either side of the ideological aisle to have long questioned his principled, balanced and analytical approach.

I'm happy to await your evidence of his putative Florida-vote theft role before I reduce it to what is, likely, pejorative silliness. Please keep in mind that the US Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the Florida court(s) were in violation of the equal protection clause.
Olson did little more in his duty-bound role in the Florida presidential vote case, and before the high court, than to establish 1) that the state's judiciary usurped the Florida legislature-which is to say it was in violation of the federal election process per the constitution art.11, section 1 ( the S/C denied this claim); and 2) that the Florida Supreme Court could not unilaterally rearrange the voting guidelines per the Florida legislative scheme lest the equal protection clause of the constitution (14th amendment) be jeopardized.

The Supreme Court intially ruled 7-2 in favor of Olson's second claim, though 5-4 represented the final decision.


Posted by: reshufflex at November 11, 2007 08:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Anyone inclined to swallow Yon's smiley-face portrayal of current-day life -- ant attitudes -- in Iraq is invited to look at that September ABC/BBC poll of Iraqis, and to compare it to the earlier polls in Nov. 2005 and Feb. 2004:

http://abcnews.go.com/images/pdf/949a1IraqPoll.pdf
http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/1000a1IraqWhereThingsStand.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6983027.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/10_09_07_iraqpollaug2007_full.pdf


And anyone paranoid enough to think that ABC deliberately rigged these polls against the US is invited to consier that they do still show that the Kurds love us (although they may not stay that way by the time Turkey is through with them). But the Sunnis detested us by an 8-to-1 margins from the start; the Shiites were initially willing to give us a hearing but now want us out by a landslide margin -- and both groups are now far more pessimistic about the future of Iraq than they were before the Surge started, and still as unwilling as ever to consider sharing power. They both want a "unified Iraq" -- with THEM in charge of it.

As for Yon's straight-faced statement that Iraqi Moslem and Christians "like each other": that, of course, explains why Iraqi Christians are fleeing Iraq in droves. (And I may add that anyone who is willing to give Hugh Hewitt favorble coverage has, by that act alone, shown himself to be about as reliable an information source as Ahmed Chalabi.) And as for your statement that anyone who opposes our Iraq campaign opposes defending the US from Moslem terrorism: we're all getting awfully sick of that garbage, Neill. Tell it to George Will.


Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 11, 2007 08:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H-

"It's the GOP and the fearful who are stabbing the Founders in the back and throwing away what they accomplished, the Constitution that makes us America, which separates us from Russia or China."

The GOP and the fearful are not throwing away the constitution. They are safeguarding it. Please relax. The sky isnt falling. Today's constitutional abuses, which have virtually squat to do with you as an ordinary citizen and which seem curiously to seen as "abuses" by everyone EXCEPT the Supreme Court ( save for, what? 1 case) are timid if viewed in historical context.

Exactly what constitutional rights have you lost?


Posted by: reshufflex at November 11, 2007 08:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I am wholeheartedly interested in confronting and defeating them wherever they are, something I don't sense from many of you.

Who's the coward?

neill, you are exaggerating a threat, claiming that the sky is falling.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 11, 2007 12:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What should be done is that America should stop supporting totalitarian governments in the Middle East (defend Israel directly instead), and guarding the the homeland.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 11, 2007 12:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It so happens that the Islamic terrorists want the West to stop supporting western-friendly totalitarian governments in Muslim countries, but don't let what terrorists want stop you from doing a right thing.

The Saud family's rule of Saudi Arabia is older than 50 years. Al Qaeda is much younger than that. In other words, it wasn't Al Qaeda that created the tyranny, but the other way around. Supporting Musharraf is also a bad idea.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 11, 2007 12:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"In other words, it wasn't Al Qaeda that created the tyranny, but the other way around. Supporting Musharraf is also a bad idea."


If you want to know what we SHOULDN'T do, BD is definitely the place to be.

We shouldn't be in Iraq, it's a hopeless cause.

We shouldn't support the Saudis.

We shouldn't support Musharraf.


What SHOULD we do, and have done, to combat and defeat transnational terror groups (and their virulent ideology)?

Bengt, do you think al quaeda tyranny is preferable to the West (or to any non-takfiri for that matter) over Saudi tyranny?

Once again, I highly recommend The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright for anyone interested in this whole matter.

BTW, do you live in Sweden? Ever been to Malmo?

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 02:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

neill, there are many people in Saudi who oppose the regime who aren't members of Al Qaeda. Most people don't like to live in tyranny, haven't you heard?

Yes I live in Sweden, quite close to Malmo in fact. But I won't believe any rumor you peddle. Rumor is not fact.

Also, to forestall any argument from anyone else; it's not an argument where I'm from. I can argue politics just like anyone can.

We shouldn't support the Saudis.

We shouldn't support Musharraf.

Correct, you shouldn't meddle and support tyranny from the outside. What is so hard about that? You will get hated by the ordinary people there.

Remember that Europeans used to do this (colonial empires). Most of them learned from the experience.

What SHOULD we do, and have done, to combat and defeat transnational terror groups (and their virulent ideology)?

I wrote what should be done. You don't read. What I suggested may not need any "combat" (unless you call police work, diplomacy, ordinary military defense and border control combat), but in the above you seem to presume "combat" of a military kind, or possibly a dictatorship-supporting kind.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 11, 2007 03:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bengt,

Does this ring any bells for you?


http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2065


Jihad and the Collapse of the Swedish Model

From the desk of Fjordman on Thu, 2007-04-19 19:27

I decided to write this essay following the riots in Malmö this weekend. Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and by far the worst city in Scandinavia when it comes to Muslim aggression. I read recently that an Arab girl interviewed in Malmö said that she liked it so much there, it felt almost like an Arab city. Native Swedes have been moving away from the city for years, turned into refugees in their own country by Jihad, not too different from the non-Muslims in some regions of the Philippines, southern Thailand or Kashmir in India, or for that matter Christian Serbs in Kosovo.

Sweden was presented during the Cold War as a middle way between capitalism and Communism. When this model of a society collapses – and it will collapse, under the combined forces of Islamic Jihad, the European Union, Multiculturalism and ideological overstretch – it is thus not just the Swedish state that will collapse but the symbol of Sweden, the showcase of an entire ideological world view. I wrote two years ago that if the trend isn't stopped, the Swedish nation will simply cease to exist in any meaningful way during the first half of this century. The country that gave us Bergman, ABBA and Volvo could become known as the Bosnia of northern Europe, and the “Swedish model” will be one of warning against ideological madness, not one of admiration. I still fear I was right in that assessment.

Jonathan Friedman, an American living outside Malmö, mentions that the so-called Integration Act of 1997 proclaimed that “Sweden is a Multicultural society.” Notes to the Act also stated that “Since a large group of people have their origins in another country, the Swedish population lacks a common history. The relationship to Sweden and the support given to the fundamental values of society thus carry greater significance for integration than a common historical origin.”

Native Swedes have thus been reduced to just another ethnic group in Sweden, with no more claim to the country than the Kurds or the Somalis who arrived there last Thursday. The political authorities of the country have erased their own people's history and culture.

Jens Orback, Minister for Democracy, Metropolitan Affairs, Integration and Gender Equality from the Social Democratic Party said during a debate in Swedish radio in 2004 that “We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us.”

This is a government that knows perfectly well that their people will become a minority in their own country, yet is doing nothing to stop this. On the contrary. Pierre Schori, Minister for immigration, during a parliamentary debate in 1997 said that: “Racism and xenophobia should be banned and chased [away],” and that one should not accept “excuses, such as that there were flaws in the immigration and refugee policies.”

In other words: It should be viewed as a crime for the native population not to assist in wiping themselves out.

Orback's attitude is what follows once you declare that culture is irrelevant. Our culture, even though we try to forget it, is steeped in a Judeo-Christian morality based on the Golden Rule of reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:31)

Muslims, on the other hand, are steeped in an Islamic tradition based on Muslim supremacy. Muslims view lack of force as a sign of weakness, and they despise weakness, which is precisely why Adolf Hitler stated his admiration for Islam, and thought it would be a better match for Nazism than Christianity, with its childish notions of compassion.

A Swedish man was nearly killed for the crime of wearing clothes with his own national flag while Sweden was participating in the 2006 football World Cup. Some “Multicultural youths” found this to be an intolerable provocation, and the 24-year-old man was run down by a car in Malmö, where Muhammad is becoming the most common name for newborn boys.

Feriz and Pajtim, members of Gangsta Albanian Thug Unit in Malmö, explain how they mug people downtown. They target a lone victim. “We surround him and beat and kick him until he no longer fights back,” Feriz said. “You are always many more people than your victims. Cowardly?” “I have heard that from many, but I disagree. The whole point is that they're not supposed to have a chance.” They didn't express any sympathy for their victims. "If they get injured, they just have themselves to blame for being weak," said Pajtim and shrugged.

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed is part of a “war against the Swedes.” This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant background in interviews with Petra Åkesson. “When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.” The boys explain, laughingly, that “there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you're robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you've succeeded, it simply feels good.” “We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to. The Swedes don't do anything, they just give us the stuff. They're so wimpy.”

“Exit Folkhemssverige - En samhällsmodells sönderfall” (Exit the People's Home of Sweden - The Downfall of a Model of Society) is a book from 2005 about immigration and the Swedish welfare state model dubbed “the people's home,” written by Jonathan Friedman, Ingrid Björkman, Jan Elfverson and Åke Wedin. According to them, the Swedish Multicultural elites see themselves first of all as citizens of the world. In order to emphasize and accentuate diversity, everything Swedish is deliberately disparaged. Opposition to this policy is considered a form of racism:

“The dominant ideology in Sweden, which has been made dominant by powerful methods of silencing and repression, is a totalitarian ideology, where the elites oppose the national aspect of the nation state. The problem is that the ethnic group that are described as Swedes implicitly are considered to be nationalists, and thereby are viewed as racists.”

The authors fear that the handling of the immigration policies has seriously eroded democracy because the citizens lose their loyalty towards a state they no longer consider their own. “Instead of increasing the active participation of citizens, the government has placed clear restrictions on freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of congregation.”

Mona Sahlin has held various posts in Social Democratic cabinets, among others as Minister for Democracy, Integration and Gender Equality. Sahlin has said that many Swedes are envious of immigrants because they, unlike the Swedes, have a culture, a history, something which ties them together. Notice how Swedish authorities first formally state that Swedes don't have a history or a culture, and then proceed to lament the fact that Swedes don't have a history or a culture. A neat trick.

Sahlin has also stated that: “If two equally qualified persons apply for a job at a workplace with few immigrants, the one called Muhammad should get the job. […] It should be considered an asset to have an ethnic background different from the Swedish one.” In 2004, she was quoted as saying that “A concerted effort that aims at educating Swedes that immigrants are a blessing to their country must be pursued,” stressing that her compatriots must accept that the new society is Multicultural. “Like it or not, this is the new Sweden.”

Mona Sahlin was elected leader of the Social Democratic Party, as thus a future contender for the post of Swedish Prime Minister, in 2007.

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 04:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

factoid: The number of rapes in Oslo, Norway is per capita 6 times (that's right, SIX) the number in New York city. According to a police study, 2 out of 3 rapes are committed by 'immigrants'.

This is a fairly recent phenomenon, I believe.

Hmmmm, wonder where they immigrated from and what their religion is?

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 04:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

neill, that is a nice piece of propaganda and rumor-peddling. I live in Lund, the neighbor city of Malmö; it's been a while since I've been there. Perhaps I should go there - I expect it to be completely undramatic.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at November 11, 2007 05:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

actually, no, bengt, it's not rumor-peddling. it's the statements by public officials that I personally find most shocking.

Sweden actually has a conscious policy of national suicide. Sweden invited them in, and now the most popular first name for new-born males in Malmo is - you guessed it - Mohammed.

'Sweden' is disappearing, and your leaders are helping it along. The person in line to be Prime Minister state that if a Swede and a muslim are going for the same job, the muslim gets it? Incredible.

And if the Minister for Democracy, Metropolitan Affairs, Integration and Gender Equality from the Social Democratic Party thinks muslims as a majority will treat minority native Swedes nicely because of Swedish accomodationism now, he's got another think coming. Just look at how muslims behave as a minority. They look down on Swedes NOW.

Who knew Swedes were muddle-headed cowards?

And Bengt, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

BTW, tell us about those riots last summer in Malmo....

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 06:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

...and when you go to Malmo make sure to hang out in some muslim neighborhoods to get the real flavor of it. Just don't carry too much cash...

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 06:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

(1) Reshufflex: "Today's constitutional abuses, which have virtually squat to do with you as an ordinary citizen..."

So far (unless, of course, you happen to make any international phone calls for any reason). There is absolutely nothing to keep them from expanding further, however, given the little fact that the Administration now claims the right to hold US citizens indefinitely without charge whenever the President gives the go-ahead, and for whatever reason. George Will isn't among those objecting to the Unitary Executive theory for nothing. See Yglesias' recent comment ( http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/11/last_time_around.php ) as to what kind of precedent the Bush/Cheney Administration is setting up:

"Martin Luther King was the most famous of the dozens of anti-war activists, civil rights leaders, journalists, and other undesirables whose communications were bugged by the Johnson and Nixon administration. There's no evidence [yet] that the Bush administration has done anything like that. But if we eliminate meaningful judicial oversight of the executive branch's surveillance activities, there's every reason to think that a future administration will.

"And of course the absence of evidence about abusive uses of the illegal surveillance program may say more about our general ignorance of the program than about the administration's probity. We know that the 'rendition' program has been against innocent people and to extract false confessions designed to bolster bogus administration talking points about Iraq/al-Qaeda links, so there's plenty of reason to worry. But even if Bush has conducted his secret illegal surveillance in the most ethical possible way to conduct secret illegal surveillance, Tim [Lee] is right to say that future administrations almost certainly won't. Nixon's gross abuses built on a platform of surveillance that grew slowly-but-surely over the decades across several different administrations."

...and remember Pastor Niemoller's famous comment about the incrementalism of tyranny.

(2) R.: "... and which seem curiously to be seen as 'abuses' by everyone EXCEPT the Supreme Court ( save for, what? 1 case)... "

Which was the only time the Supreme Court has been given any opportunity so far to review them. The Administration, R. -- in the event you didn't notice -- has been famous for years now for frantically using every delaying tactic in the book to delay the moment at which the Court is allowed to consider them; and there are quite an impressive arsenal of tactics for that purpose. (Primarily, simple concealment.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 11, 2007 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

On the subject of incremental dismatling of civil rights, see also Frank Rich ( http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/opinion/11rich.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin ):

"Rather than set a democratic example, our president has instead served as a model of unconstitutional behavior, eagerly emulated by his Pakistani acolyte.

"Take the Musharraf assault on human-rights lawyers. Our president would not be so unsubtle as to jail them en masse. But earlier this year a senior Pentagon official, since departed, threatened America’s major white-shoe law firms by implying that corporate clients should fire any firm whose partners volunteer to defend detainees in Guantánamo and elsewhere. For its part, Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department did not round up independent-minded United States attorneys and toss them in prison. It merely purged them without cause to serve Karl Rove’s political agenda.

"Tipping his hat in appreciation of Mr. Bush’s example, General Musharraf justified his dismantling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court with language mimicking the president’s diatribes against activist judges. The Pakistani leader further echoed Mr. Bush by expressing a kinship with Abraham Lincoln, citing Lincoln’s Civil War suspension of a prisoner’s fundamental legal right to a hearing in court, habeas corpus, as a precedent for his own excesses. (That’s like praising F.D.R. for setting up internment camps.) Actually, the Bush administration has outdone both Lincoln and Musharraf on this score: Last January, Mr. Gonzales testified before Congress that 'there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.'

"To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

"This is most apparent in the Republican presidential race, where most of the candidates seem to be running for dictator and make no apologies for it. They’re falling over each other to expand Gitmo, see who can promise the most torture and abridge the largest number of constitutional rights. The front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, boasts a proven record in extralegal executive power grabs, Musharraf-style: After 9/11 he tried to mount a coup, floating the idea that he stay on as mayor in defiance of New York’s term-limits law.

"What makes the Democrats’ Mukasey cave-in so depressing is that it shows how far even exemplary sticklers for the law like Senators Feinstein and Schumer have lowered democracy’s bar. When they argued that Mr. Mukasey should be confirmed because he’s not as horrifying as Mr. Gonzales or as the acting attorney general who might get the job otherwise, they sounded whipped. After all these years of Bush-Cheney torture, they’ll say things they know are false just to move on.

"In a Times OpEd article justifying his reluctant vote to confirm a man Dick Cheney promised would make 'an outstanding attorney general,' Mr. Schumer observed that waterboarding is already 'illegal under current laws and conventions.' But then he vowed to support a new bill 'explicitly' making waterboarding illegal because Mr. Mukasey pledged to enforce it. Whatever. Even if Congress were to pass such legislation, Mr. Bush would veto it, and even if the veto were by some miracle overturned, Mr. Bush would void the law with a 'signing statement.' That’s what he effectively did in 2005 when he signed a bill that its authors thought outlawed the torture of detainees.

"That Mr. Schumer is willing to employ blatant Catch-22 illogic to pretend that Mr. Mukasey’s pledge on waterboarding has any force shows what pathetic crumbs the Democrats will settle for after all these years of being beaten down. The judges and lawyers challenging General Musharraf have more fight left in them than this."
__________________________

Note to Reshufflex: The Supreme Court hasn't yet been given the opportunity to appraise Bush's use of "signing statements" to totally circumvent Congress' will, either.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 11, 2007 07:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"And of course the absence of evidence about abusive uses of the illegal surveillance program may say more about our general ignorance of the program than about the administration's probity."

You're right, I am hysterical -- laughing hysterically.

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 07:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

not me, though I wish it was:


Celebrate the confirmation of Torturer General Mukasey with Frank Rich at NYT, as he laments the Coup at Home!

"AS Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested judges, lawyers and human-rights activists in Pakistan last week, our Senate was busy demonstrating its own civic mettle. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrats from America’s two most highly populated blue states, gave the thumbs up to Michael B. Mukasey, ensuring his confirmation as attorney general."

Much as Musharraf has declared a State of Emergency, suspending the constitution, postponed elections, shoved aside judges and detained lawyers, so has Bush … won a Democratic majority Senate’s confirmation of his attorney general. Tyranny!

Along with his mouthful of sour grapes, Rich is chewing on this malformed nut of recent hist … rionics:

"In the days since, the coup in Pakistan has been almost universally condemned as the climactic death knell for Bush foreign policy, the epitome of White House hypocrisy and incompetence. But that’s not exactly news. It’s been apparent for years that America was suicidal to go to war in Iraq, a country with no tie to 9/11 and no weapons of mass destruction, while showering billions of dollars on Pakistan, where terrorists and nuclear weapons proliferate under the protection of a con man who serves as a host to Osama bin Laden."

Universally condemned climactic death knell epitome of hypocrisy and incompetence suicidal proliferate host! That’s a mouthful! Unfortunately, it’s the kind of graph that is an acquired taste … you have to have swallowed an awful lot of crap before you’ll find that appetizing.

"But there’s another moral to draw from the Musharraf story, and it has to do with domestic policy, not foreign. The Pakistan mess, as The New York Times editorial page aptly named it, is not just another blot on our image abroad and another instance of our mismanagement of the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated.

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug."

If Rich has a better idea for dealings with Pakistan, Afghanistan post 9/11, he doesn’t mention them. Therefore, we have to infer for ourselves. We should have invaded Pakistan, not Iraq! Saddam should still be in power! Not the evil Musharraf.

Anyway, Rich doesn’t actually give a damn about Pakistan, Iraq, bin Laden, etc., in this piece. Those are just Bush-bash brickbats. What he laments is the fact that lawyers are taking to the streets in Pakistan, where the evil Musharraf is busy being overtly evil, not in Washington, where the dictator Bush, inept chimp apparently also a devious mastermind, has an undeclared State of Emergency and has lawmakers detained under his spell.

"This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.

More Machiavellian still, Mr. Bush has constantly told the world he’s championing democracy even as he strangles it. Mr. Bush repeated the word “freedom” 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration, and even presided over a “Celebration of Freedom” concert on the Ellipse hosted by Ryan Seacrest. It was an Orwellian exercise in branding, nothing more."

How dare President Gitmo utter the word freedom, after subjecting 300 million Americans and 50 million Iraqis and Afghans to his totalitarian rule!?! Anyway, blah blah blah, etc., getting to the point: How come America hasn’t risen up against this tyranny?

"We are a people in clinical depression."

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty rosy, ready to break into song on this beautiful, crisp, sunny morning in November. A lot better than I had any reason to think I’d feel a year ago. The Democrats have failed to derail Bush’s counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, and it’s working. All the blood, sweat and tears may yet not be for nothing. Two months out from the last year of this unpopular president’s last term, dealing with a Democratic majority in Congress notable mainly for worse polling numbers than his, the only sign he is anything like a lame duck came when he tried to go bi-partisan on immigration and succeeded in uniting both sides against him. That, and when he went for their pork in the recent water resources bill, and they finally managed to override a veto. Don’t mess with the pork! That’s when you’ll get American lawmakers protesting in the streets!

Curious how, in one of the greatest examples of how our system works exactly as it is supposed to, the people have spoken in congressional elections and declared themselves divided, a sorely tested balance of powers has shown itself still in balance, with a free and lively election to replace this controversial and allegedly dictatorial president underway, this is when the call for revolution is raised.

Both thumbs up for a Rich tour de force of BDS. Or maybe, just BS.

(the founding fathers didn't design it to be fun, or easy, or satisfying -- they designed it to frustrate Man's worst instincts....)

Posted by: neill at November 11, 2007 10:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BM:

Bomb Pakistan!

Invade Pakistan!

Get those nukes!

Yeeeehaaaahhhhh!!!!!!

Posted by: neillil.com at November 12, 2007 12:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Does anyone now doubt that neill is a spam generator?

Posted by: knoll at November 13, 2007 09:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, more of a white-noise generator.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 14, 2007 07:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By the way, I'm still waiting for Neill to tell us how to define those
"special cases" in which torture should be used. (Not that I expect a coherent argument from anyone actually willing to quote Jules Crittenden.)

Meanwhile, we've just gotten a genuinely encouraging piece of news: Mukasey has just announced that he'll reopen the mothballed Justice Dept. investigation into whether Bush's warrantless wiretaps were illegal ( http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/13/domestic.spying/index.html?iref=newssearch ). Dare we hope that he may, at least to some extent, be willing to stand up to the Bismarckians in the current White House after all?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 14, 2007 07:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Having just reread what Rich actually said and compared it with Crittenden's interpretation of him, I'm struck with new force as to just how much of a childish cretin the latter actually is. Other readers are urged to make the experiment:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/opinion/11rich.html?ex=1352437200&en=015a472f7fa752bb&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

http://www.julescrittenden.com/2007/11/11/revolution-vs-totalitarian-nightmare-please/


Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at November 14, 2007 04:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neill, your argument appears dangerously close to an "end justifies the means" argument -- as in, let us agree to commit one sin (torture) in order to save 100,000 lives. The "ends justifying the means" argument is not a very Christian argument. Actually, from a strictly Christian point-of-view, I would argue that it is an entirely evil argument -- it puts the human judgement over that of God's. The Christian should bow to God's judgement -- God has set what is sin. It is not man's duty to override it, not under any condition, ever. To judge that it is better to make even one sin, than not, is to put oneself over God, and this is to take the exact footsteps of Lucifer.

This is how I tend to interpret that saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. People follow their beliefs as to what is good. They do things that turn out to be terrible, one step at a time, trying to do what to their own minds appears good at each step. They are trying to secure their family, to safeguard their children, their future. For these reasons they lie, cheat, and steal, to achieve these apparently good ends. But, they have done what is wrong, and in so doing, they have disregarded divine judgement, and this is never a good idea, no matter what appears right to the man. For what appears right to a man, is not a reliable code of morality.

It is very difficult for the human to accept divine mandates -- one may not lie, one may not steal, one may not lust after the neighbor's wife, one may not charge interest, one must not covet wealth, one must give to the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. But the divine mandates, I think, are not given to us so much for our wisdom, as for the salvation of our souls, which is a deeper matter than our understanding.

But, of course, I do go on. I apologize for my verbosity, in all of my postings (not only this one). I pontificate, and no doubt patronize, because I lack wisdom, and speak too much too quickly.


Posted by: Fr. Beckham at November 18, 2007 10:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.


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