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Ear to the Ground

Team Obama vs. Fox News: Squabblefest 2009 Continues

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Posted on Oct 19, 2009
Axelrod
abcnews.go.com/thisweek

Obama adviser David Axelrod gives an off-camera George Stephanopolous a look of—restrained disdain? Amusement, perhaps?—on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Key members of the Obama administration have escalated the feud between their camp and Fox News by encouraging other networks to give their right-leaning competitor the cold newsy shoulder, prompting an indignant Karl Rove to remark, via Fox News, that said Obama aides are “going to cut your legs off” if they’re opposed—a curious comment coming from someone still picking pieces of other people’s legs out of his teeth. 

For a less Murdochian take on the matter, click here—KA

Fox News:

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN on Sunday that President Obama does not want “the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox.”

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is “not a news organization.”

“Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way,” Axelrod counseled ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We’re not going to treat them that way.”

[...] Fox News contributor Karl Rove, who was the top political strategist to former President George W. Bush, said: “This is an administration that’s getting very arrogant and slippery in its dealings with people. And if you dare to oppose, they’re going to come hard at you and they’re going to cut your legs off.”

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By DBM, February 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

Well ... that’s an interesting self assessment.  I’m not much into labels and prefer to discuss issues, occurrences and policies.  I find that everything is more nuanced than the labels allow for.  But I think I over-stepped and did talk about what “you” think, though in many cases in this thread I have been reflecting in order to clarify, so let me self assess on the same scales and then Iets’ see ...

Pro-choice. —-  Agreed ... though this is a thorny moral issue I don’t want a legal ban applied to all circumstances.
Pro-gun control.  —-  Agreed ... I generally am in support of personal freedoms but the ramifications of not regulating gun ownership are too dire.
Pro-market regulations. —-  Agreed ... history seems clear:  capitalism works ... an unregulated banking system does not.
Anti-capital punishment. —-  Agreed ... some offenders deserve no less but mistakes are always made.  One such mistake is too many.
Anti-incumbent. —-  Not sure what this means.  Anti the current incumbent?  Anti any incumbent?  Certainly there is an onus on the incumbent to deliver.  Too many politicians in the current era are all sales and no delivery.  I am not automatically anti-incumbent; I live in hope.
Pro-union and management. —-  Hmmm ... I’m moderately pro-union (the industrial world without them was awful) but I’m more pro-owner than pro-management.  It appears to me that the senior management class currently dominate the owners and the workers.  They take a ludicrous cut of the fruits of investment and productivity which is crippling investment and the work ethic.  So no, I’d have to say that I’m generally anti-management (of large corporations).  Perhaps in a well-regulated market with corporate governance that worked there wouldn’t be an issue.
Pro-Clinton/Bush/Obama on most foreign policy issues. —-  That’s too broad but I’d have to say that I was with Clinton on many foreign policy matters but not all.  Both Bush and Obama have been a disaster.  So no, there we disagree.
Pro-healthcare reform. —-  Agreed ... and I think we both agree that the current reform is NOT real.
Heavily anti-war. —-  Agreed ... I would love to see a world where war was a last resort not a quick money-spinning, vote-getting first option.

So, what “label”?  I’d say that you would fail a conservative litmus test badly.  Most of your positions are in agreement with liberals and, I suspect, you’d be in the majority on most of them.  Still, your foreign policy stance probably doesn’t live up to a liberal label and neither would support of corporate management (I’ve added the word “corporate” because that’s really the issue in the current circumstances).

We are, as you intimate, mostly in agreement.  Let me give you a couple more positions that I hold and I won’t guess your positions:

Pro-Human Rights
Pro-International Law
Pro-United Nations
Anti-Military spending
Anti-cartel (especially prevalent in certain sectors: energy, health, banking/finance, military and - surprisingly - food)
Ambivalent about “nationalism”
Pro-rule-of-law and the court system
Anti-privatisation of natural monopolies (utilities, military, intelligence)
Anti-international arms sales and/or military “aid”
Pro-religious freedom
Very pro “checks-and-balances” of power
Very anti the trumped up concept of a “war on terror” which allows for the legal freedoms of a wartime executive but exists without a genuine war adversary
Anti-pre-emptive war
Anti-collective punishment (see Gaza, Cuba, etc.)
Anti-foreign political intervention (see Haiti, Iraq, Chile, etc.)

I suppose in today’s measures this makes me liberal but I don’t feel much like one as a strong advocate of a healty capitalist economy!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 17, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Perhaps in the future you will be better able to allow me my own opinions and positions and not what you have created for me en masse.

Too many times you have completely missed what I have written, and, in it’s stead, placed your own (self taught) perceptions of what a conservative (Limbaugh/Hannity) is.  I rarely listen to Rush and even less Hannity.  But you appear to assign me to them. - Or something of the like.

-

Pro-choice.  Pro-gun control.  Pro-market regulations.  Anti-capital punishment. Anti-incumbent. Pro-union and management. Pro-Clinton/Bush/Obama on most foreign policy issues.  Pro-healthcare reform.  And, perhaps surprising to you, heavily anti-war.

What does my label look like to you?

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By DBM, February 17, 2010 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Just saw your update on the Robinson article ... if you are closing off through being put out, I do apologise ... no harm intended.

My last update was when I thought you believed we had said our respective pieces.  I hope that is the case ... you comment regularly in this liberal lion’s den and I respect you for that.

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By DBM, February 17, 2010 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Fair enough ... I have appreciated your patience, your honesty and your willingness to correspond.

Best of luck to you too and to all your countrymen.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

I think we are done, my friend.  It’s been interesting.

Good luck to you.

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By DBM, February 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Part II

The second area of difference is not a matter of fact but is more fundamental.  I acknowledge and respect your patriotism.  It is healthy that you feel good about being an American.  However, you are unaware of how disconnected you are from other people.  This comes through in your ideas in a number of ways but this last update is a good illustration (please excuse my preachy tone, I don’t know how else to put this!).  Being taken into custody without formal arrest, without contact with family or legal council and without access to a speedy trial are not just rights extended to American citizens under American law.  They are internationally recognised human rights.  The U.S. is signatory to human rights treaties which make application of these rights to all human beings a part of U.S. Law (in the same way that being a signatory to the Geneva Conventions makes these a U.S. law).  The idea that this violation of rights only concerns you where U.S. citizens are concerned is an affront to anyone else and it is a strange thing that this doesn’t occur to you even when you are writing in a forum open to others.

Do you know that this is NOT the way Canadians feel about Americans?  It is not the way New Zealanders feel about Australia?  It is not the way Germans feel about the French?  Countries have certain obligations to their own citizens (consular assistance in foreign countries for instance) but they also have obligations to ALL HUMAN BEINGS.  These obligations include treating people legally including under Human Rights Law.  But beyond that, you can expect better in other places.  Believe it or not but British citizens feel like it is wrong if American citizens have their rights curtailed in Britain.  Australian citizens feel like it is wrong if American citizens have their rights curtailed in Australia.  The same with the Germans, the Japanese, etc. etc.  The places where you won’t have your rights respected are generally countries where they don’t respect the rights of their own citizens either ...

And that is a real danger for you too.  Once you can treat others as without rights, it is only a matter of time ... and a few more “Patriot Acts” before being an American Citizen doesn’t help you much at home either.

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By DBM, February 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Part I

Well, you are correct.  We agree that it is troublesome that American citizens have been taken into custody without formal arrest, without contact with family or legal council and without access to a speedy trial.  All of these things are rights which are guaranteed by law.  However, I am not in the least “consoled by the fact that all dozens of people from all three branches of government was involved in the decision (checks and balances)”.  The idea that multiple parties in the government are all involved in something which you recognise has “legal, moral and security concerns” should be anything but consoling!

I appreciate you finding some common ground there, but there are a couple of areas of difference which your update highlights:

One is the matter of facts.  If you don’t want to believe me that torture has been Standard Operating Procedure reverse engineered from SERE, trialled at Guantanamo and spread to Iraq and Afghanistan by specific military and intelligence officers then re-read the Levin-McCain report.  They make every effort to restrict themselves to the proven and indisputable (I would say “inescapable”) and still they had to report a far more troubling picture than you are willing to admit.  I understand that as a patriot with a positive view of your country it is hard not to see good motives and intent wherever your government and military are involved, but these are incredibly troubling issues which I think you need to contemplate in a more dispassionate way.  You say that you “see, maybe, several dozen who have been, what I sincerely believe to be, tortured”.  This seems at odds with the fact that at LEAST 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody (http://www.warhw.com/2009/05/04/us-torture-statistics/) ... I guess quite a few of them fell down the stairs but at some point you have to accept that their abuse “approached the pain caused by major organ failure or death” as per the John Yoo memo.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

You know, it still fascinates me how people can, quite sincerely, see the same event or an object and describe two different things.  I cannot begin to recall the instances wherein I have interviewed witnesses to the very same events and come away with several very different descriptions of both the people involved and the actions of the principals.  It simply fascinates me. 

-

When I apply my own research I see that many thousands of men and woman have been captured or detained by over 80 nations which feel as though they are each in a state of war.  You do not see the same context.  You see crimes.  Most of which appear to be carried out by the United States.

I see that thousands have been detained, however, as much as I’ve employed my logic and applied evidentiary principals I simply do not see that thousands have been “tortured” by the U.S..  You see things quite differently.

In large measure the information you shared with me was what I have previously written.  Most were re-airing the same accusations.  The bulk of which I am simply not in the position to prove or disprove.

I see, maybe, roughly 700 cases of the United States sanctioning “enhanced interrogations” on individuals.  I see, maybe, several dozen who have been, what I sincerely believe to be, tortured.  Obviously you see thousands have been tortured.

I see much documentation of the inherent problems, some of them truly significant and troublesome, that come with operating, what is in essence, various military war time prisoner camps and holding facilities.  You see every aspect of this as a growing series of crimes.

Other than sharing many of the same concerns we are simply not going to agree…. smile

-

I believe there is one thing here we will agree on.  I am deeply and profoundly concerned with the case of Jose Pedilla and a handful of other Americans who have been involved in this war.  It concerns me that there are a number of American citizens who would carryout such actions as Mr. Pedilla has been convicted.  I am equally concerned that an American was taken into custody and held for several months before being allowed to call on his family or an attorney.  Nobody knew of Mr. Pedilla’s whereabouts and detention.  I find this very troublesome.

I am somewhat consoled by the fact that all dozens of people from all three branches of government was involved in the decision (checks and balances), however, the legal, moral and security concerns still find me inherently, profoundly, ill at ease.

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By DBM, February 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

I’m not sure what’s so hard to see.  The numbers of prisoners picked up in home invasions and so forth are not at issue are they?  Then the following statements appear in what I linked last time:

“clear patterns emerged ... testimonials gathered individually from former captives held in US prisons all over Iraq indicate many of the common methods came into use across disparate, geographically distant detention centers.”

“With mounting evidence that a shadowy group of former Israeli Defense Force and General Security Service (Shin Bet) Arabic-speaking interrogators were hired by the Pentagon under a classified ‘carve out’ sub-contract to brutally interrogate Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison ...”

“Three U.S. military policemen who served at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison said on Thursday they had witnessed unreported cases of prisoner abuse and that the practice against Iraqis was commonplace.”

“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the abuse it found in Iraq’s US-run prisons was systematic and amounted to torture, adding it first raised concerns with the US more than a year ago. “


“Relatives, however, insist that the majority of “security detainees” are innocent [which would seem to be borne out by the fact that the vast majority are released without charge or comment], and claim they are often victims of random arrest following attacks on coalition forces. Either way, the images of torture and humiliation would merely serve to fuel the armed struggle against US occupation”

The repeated charge is that these things are “Standard Operating Procedure”.  They range from normal physical abuse (beatings) to carefully crafted torture techniques based on SERE.  This comes from former detainees, external observers such as the Red Cross and from former U.S. personnel.  If you think that this is not happening on a large scale then you are decidedly in the minority.  Again, I realise it is hard to get you to prove a negative but the only thing I see as at issue is the definition of “torture”.  Senior officials have stood up for years saying “the U.S. does not torture” knowing full well that they had highly paid lawyers providing documentation attempting to define away the meaning of “torture” while their listeners were hearing a far more general meaning.  This was quite intentional.

—————————————-

Healing is on schedule thanks ... am walking up steps with both feet now and someday will no-doubt be doing the same thing on the way down!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 15, 2010 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Still studying this issue and the links you supplied.  Unfortunately most are regurgitations of the same claims.  I had hoped for information regarding the thousands you believe have been tortured.  I have yet to see the thousands you see.

How’s the healing progressing?

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By DBM, February 12, 2010 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Proof of kidnapping and torture of thousands ... well, it seems like a fairly easy case if you can believe the world’s media and a few university studies.  In fact, you would have to be hiding to avoid it.  You won’t find any successful prosecutions in the U.S. because each and every one is stopped on “National Security” grounds (just replace that with “ass covering” most of the time). 

Let’s start with the LA Times in 2004 carrying a Red Cross report that the “Coalition” in Iraq themselves said that 70-90% of the prisoners detained in Iraq were arrested by mistake:

http://articles.latimes.com/2004/may/11/world/fg-redcross11  and   http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0511-04.htm

Then let’s look at the number of people the U.S. has been imprisoning and the fact that they are being “picked up” all over the world (the percentage of these arrests which involve anything remotely approximating a “battlefield” is miniscule):

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/135352/ 

So how many of the prisoners have been abused and tortured:

http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/911
http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/torture_pow.html
http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=34454
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/may/03/iraq.usa2
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18414

The most conservative figures I could find were here:
http://www.warhw.com/2009/05/04/us-torture-statistics/
These figures would represent the barest minimum of cases through FOIA, official documents etc.  ... The documents linked off this page make it pretty clear that this is a “tip of the iceberg” list.

Really, I think you’d find that it is “common knowledge” unless you are listening only to a very particular and narrow band of public relations “news” which is really only found in the U.S.  If that is what you are doing then you will struggle to understand the actions of your enemies, your allies and many of your fellow citizens.  You claim to be particularly well read so I have to wonder what makes it to your reading list!

———-

Oh .... and thanks for asking but I didn’t have a horse in this year’s Super Bowl.  I even missed the game.  However, it’s always cool to see an upset and there has to be a certain amount of feel-good to see something that positive happening in New Orleans!

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By DBM, February 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Now, the fact that these Supreme Court cases have attracted lots of (negative) International attention is nothing to do with the tribunal process being internationally monitored.  The tribunals are closed and mostly unreported (access to Guantanamo by the press is massively restricted).  The defence councils are denied information and the decisions are made in secret.  On those rare occasions where the tribunal has reached a “not guilty” verdict, the trials have had a do-over and reversed the decision with no additional evidence.

There is a real problem which anyone faced with resolving this morass must deal.  Claims of “National Security” over information which is now 4, 5, 6 or 7 years old is ludicrous.  I think it is fair to say that any “ticking time bombs” will have gone off or been defused by now.  The secret that has to be maintained is now about National Security, it is about inadmissability of evidence and culpability for law breaking during the gathering of evidence.  In short, the reason why cases are better held in secret closed Military Tribunals is TORTURE.  The Siddiqui case is an illustration of how difficult it will be to pick around this obstacle in a civil court.  In order to suppress any lines of inquiry which could have led there the case was severely circumscribed to a ridiculous extent.  Her case has been widely discussed in her home country for many years.  The “Grey Lady of Bagram” is not something that popped up late last year for Pakistanis, it has been a story they’ve followed for 6 or 7 years.  To try to put an end to this saga with a short trial about a single event in Ghazni while ignoring what Pakistanis have been following for years just won’t wash there.  It shouldn’t wash in the U.S. either ... that would be a “whitewash”.

While there have been lots of reasons given for not trying KSM in a civil court, whether you like it or not few people believe the concerns about security and cost (even if you do).  The most logical reason for avoiding that civil trial is to avoid putting torture on trial in the U.S.  Is it possible that the case against a seriously dangerous terrorist has been compromised so badly that he cannot be convicted?  That is possible.  So it appears that there are two popular positions here:

*  Allowing KSM to go free is impossible so a trial mechanism where torture will not be discussed is necessary - hence a civil trial is too risky.

*  Allowing KSM to go free is a risky but possibly necessary price to pay in order to expose the torturers and bring them to justice.

To tell you the truth I’d hate to have to choose between these but that is the decision that the U.S. government is faced with.  International condemnation of the tribunal process is forcing them to at least make a show of a civil trial. On the other hand, they have no interest in anything which could result in freeing KSM nor in exposing evidence which could result in prosecutions for torture.  So, I expect a rigged show trial in which large amounts of obviously relevant information is suppressed on the grounds of “National Security” (which is this case is just “covering asses”).  The conviction will have those who favoured the trial saying “See? We can do this legally!”, while those who did not favour the trial will be saying “It wasn’t worth it ... look at the cost and risk just to get the same result as a [Kangaroo Court] tribunal”.

The current administration’s unwillingness or inability to prosecute the former administration means that they are in the same legal corner that Bush, Cheney and co. has painted themselves into.  In my view, the only reasonable course would be to allow the law to take its course resulting in multiple cases against members of the previous administration for torture and kidnapping.  That will never happen so the damage done will be very long lasting.

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By DBM, February 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

So with 20/20 hindsight you think that it has been worth $1Trillion, 5,000 American lives and 10’s of thousands of casualties because “Iraq is now a stable nation with a steadily strengthening representative form of government.” ... and may stay so for 10 years?  You think anyone is going to look at someone who expended that much to get that result and think they “noted in history as ... brilliant and forward looking”?  This ability to divorce yourself from the reasons given for the war to be started (which people like myself said at the time were at best unproven and unlikely or at worst flat out lies) is intriguing.  Now on the 5th or 6th versions of reasons to fight, you are claiming that some dubious measure of success will cause historians to call this “brilliant and forward looking”!  So what is it?  Has the war failed to deliver anything worth the effort?  Has it stumbled onto delivering something worth the effort by accident?  Or was it started on the basis of lies and now the real and intended results are being achieved?


Much more interesting to me is to understand what your sources are telling you about the Military Tribunal system at Guantanamo.  You say “My understanding is that not only is clear precedent present but the Military Tribunals is, according to the Supreme Court, settled law.”  You then link me to a book about the Hamdan case which is described by Amazon as “the definitive insider’s account of how a law professor and a military lawyer won a historic Supreme Court case AGAINST military commissions established by the Commander in Chief”.  How did that book give you that “understanding”??

From what I can see, Guantanamo was first chosen as a legal limbo land by Clinton when he sent Haitian refugees there.  When the bounties offered for Al Qaeda operatives started an unexpected flow of dozens of prisoners in the early days of the Afghan invasion, Guantanamo was again chosen specifically because it is in a country which the U.S. government does not have diplomatic relations.  It turned out to have the drawback of having a large international profile (unlike Bagram or, for a while, Abu Ghraib and the other prisons established in this period).  This became increasingly embarrassing as every Western country in the world except for Australia demanded the repatriation of their nationals held at Guantanamo and they were ALL released because there was no credible case against any of them.  (You won’t like that “all” I suspect ... feel free to find me an exception!)  After years of operating the prison, International pressure forced the establishment of the military tribunal process.

However, in 2006 the Hamdan case regarding this tribunal process found that “its structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.”  So, the Administration and Congress immediately set about re-writing the law to make legal what had been found illegal by the Judiciary.  Then, in 2008, the Boumediene case found that “the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the United States Constitution and that the MCA [Military Commissions Act] was an unconstitutional suspension of that right.”  This despite the attempts of Congress to overrule the constitution with their reaction to Hamdan.

If you have been reading or listening to sources who have looked at these cases and interpreted this as showing that the Guantanamo Military Tribunals are “settled law”, I’d love to hear the logic which arrives at that conclusion.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 12, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

How many years did Olbermann and countless others pound home the narrative that Iraq was a mistake and nothing good would ever come from it?  How many times did candidate Obama and Sen. Biden say that the, so-called, “surge” was a mistake and would prove to make matters worse?  How many regulars on Truthdig were adamantly opposed to the surge?

Interesting that Vice President Biden would now say that Iraq is a great success, that Iraq is now a stable nation with a steadily strengthening representative form of government.  Interesting that MSNBC would fail to report this terrific news.

It’s also interesting that the Vice President would attempt to take credit for what was designed and implemented by the Bush Administration.

-

Irony.

If Iraq remains a stable representative form of government in the next 10 years President Bush will be noted in history as a brilliant and forward looking U.S. President.  The irony is that you and others are forced to hope Iraq remains a representative government and that President Bush was correct all along.

Interesting that 70% of Iraqi’s are optimistic about their future and 82% are pleased that Saddam is no longer in control of their lives.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 12, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I found this to be a fascinating book.

“The Challenge”: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power

http://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Hamdan-Rumsfeld-Fight-Presidential/dp/0374223203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265977790&sr=8-1

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By Go Right Young Man, February 12, 2010 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Perhaps I don’t understand.  Are you saying that while both Hamdan and Boumedienne were afforded the right to petition all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court that each was not monitored closely by the international community?

-

You keep suggesting that Military Tribunals are in some sort of gray area as far as the law is concerned.

My understanding is that not only is clear precedent present but the Military Tribunals is, according to the Supreme Court, settled law.

Please correct me where I am mistaken.  Both Houses of the congress write and pass legislation which is signed by the president into law.  The U.S. Supreme Court then ultimately, unanimously, uphold the law.  Where is the ambiguity?

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By DBM, February 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

“By design the current tribunal system is monitored by the international community.”

Really?  I would be interested to know where that comes from.  The Hamdan and Boumedienne cases would indicate that the previous versions of Guantanamo tribunal didn’t stack up.  The Congress and both Administrations seem to have been searching for something “foolproof” which is still a fair trial based on the constitutional ... which does appear to be an oxymoron.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

By DBM, February 11 at 7:22 pm #

“Rely only on the court transcripts to determine the truth?”

-

Truth?  You believe I was writing about truth?  I made no such claim.  Not even close.  You’ve just changed the subject significantly. 

I hope you will revisit what I wrote. 

-

Ok.  What was the reason Dr. Siddiqui was first detained?  What was reportedly on her person when she was detained last?  What was she reportedly doing when she was detained?  Who was she married to?  What known connections did she have amongst outspoken enemies?  Are her children dead - as Siddiqui first claimed?  Are her children with her her Sister - as she then claimed?  Or were they kidnapped and tortured as she later claimed?  Did Dr. Siddiqui actually see and visit her Son while in detention - as many have stated - or did she not see her dead or tortured Son after she was detained?

Are we able to properly answer these questions from media accounts?  I don’t see how.

I still say this is useless to discuss with so little knowledge between us.

Wouldn’t the trial transcripts be truly helpful in our understanding of the trial itself?

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By Go Right Young Man, February 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

It seems I did loose part 1.  It included this press release from a Taliban leader.

This narrative never changes.

-

February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm


Taliban to execute US soldier if Aafia not released Friday February 05, 2010 (1049 PST)

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban on Thursday demanded the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist who has been convicted by the US court on charges of her alleged attempt to murder US soldiers in Afghanistan, and threatened to execute an American soldier they were holding currently. They claimed Aafia Siddiqui’s family had approached the Taliban network through a Jirga of notables, seeking their assistance to put pressure on the US to provide her justice.
“Being Muslims, it becomes our religious and moral obligation to help the distressed Pakistani woman convicted by the US court on false charges,” said a senior Afghan Taliban commander. The commander, whose militant network is holding the US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, called our sources from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan and threatened to execute the American trooper if their demand was not met. He claimed AafiaSiddiqui’s family had approached the Taliban network through a Jirga of notables, seeking their assistance to put pressure on the US to provide her justice.

“We tried our best to make the family understand that our role may create more troubles for the hapless woman, who was already in trouble. On their persistent requests, we have now decided to include Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s name in the list of our prisoners in US custody that we delivered to Americans in Afghanistan for swap of their soldier in our custody,” explained the militant commander.

He claimed family members of Dr Aafia told the Taliban leadership that they had lost all hopes in the Pakistan government and now Allah Almighty and the Taliban were their only hope. Later, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also called our sources from somewhere in Afghanistan and owned a statement given by the Taliban commander.

The militant commander alleged that the US soldier, whom his fighters kidnapped from Afghanistan’s Paktika province near the border with Pakistan’s troubled South Waziristan in June 2009, had admitted his involvement in several raids in Afghanistan. “Since he has confessed to all charges against him, our Islamic court had announced death sentence for him,” the Taliban leader claimed.

The same Taliban faction released a video of the captive US soldier on Christmas Day. Taliban said they had been shifting the soldier all the time due to the search operations by the US and Afghan forces. He said the only way Americans could save life of their soldier was to release 21 Afghan prisoners and the “innocent” Pakistani lady.

Most of their prisoners, he claimed, were being held at the Guantanamo prison. “We believe that like the Israelis, the Americans would be ready soon to do any deal for taking possession of the remains of their soldier, but it would be late by then,” he stressed. Dr Aafia’s family could not be approached for comments on the Taliban claim.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

DBM

Part 2.

-

I predict as the KSM trial ramps up you will agree that holding a civil trial is a mistake.

I have some serious questions which I feel certain is being studied in the White House, Justice Dept. and the Congress.  What happens when the President of the United States is convinced that a person such as KSM is the highest of threats to the nation, however, he is acquitted?  Does the president then release him?

If you were President would you release Osama bin Laden due to tainted, if only by error, evidence?  It’s an overwhelming legal, political and national security issue. 

What happens if KSM is acquitted, for any reason, and the United States chooses not to release him?  Well, our enemies will use it as it does Guantanamo.  As an “recruiting tool” in another example of the evil injustice that is the United States.  If he is ultimately released he’ll be held up as an example for others to follow.  This scenario, which is likely to happen at some point, civil or tribunal, is a loose-loose situation for the United States.

Lastly, and also as likely, what does the President of the United States do when Zawahiri is captured and put immediately into the criminal justice system which must then allow him to daily call on “all good Brothers”” to kill any available American or Jew until the day of his release?  Does the president only then strip him of his unprecedented constitutional rights before an entire global audience?  After the doctors global call to arms?

Military Tribunals can and have been thorough and honorable.  By design the current tribunal system is monitored by the international community.

-

I strongly believe a civil trial for KSM will prove to be a monumental blunder in an attempt to attain something that does not exist.  Fair and honorable treatment by our critics or our enemies.


P.S. Please excuse my many mistakes in grammar and fluidity.  I am often typing on the fly and sending in fear I loose a connection and all I had written ..LOL

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By DBM, February 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Rely only on the court transcripts to determine the truth?  The whole point is that the trial was very carefully focused on a specific incident in Ghazni on one day.  Any reasonable assessment of “what happened here” would have to explain how this woman came to be there.  She may or may not have committed a crime on that day but to ignore the circumstances leading to it on the grounds of national security is ridiculous.  That the judge denied the government requests and motions during the trial is hardly balanced by the suppression of 5 years of this woman’s life which clearly had to have some bearing on what she was doing in Ghazni when she was arrested.

If I say that this suppression of facts is highly convenient you will accuse me of jumping to a nefarious conclusion.  However, the problem with not allowing the facts to be aired is exactly as you say:  In Pakistan (and many other places) “the stories represent her as an innocent victim, offering as gospel claims that her children have been kidnapped [and] that she has been tortured”.  Why?  Because there is a very popular narrative that this is a part of.  In this narrative, the U.S. has gone been kidnapping and torturing thousands of people over the last decade.  You can justifiably complain that it is hard to prove the negative but there have been too many cases where there has been no attempt to disprove individual assertions.  This case has been highlighted for two reasons.  Firstly it involves a woman and children.  Secondly it has been conducted in a civilian court where reporter had access rather than a military tribunal hidden away in an offshore legal limbo-land where the military completely controls all access to court records, case histories, the parties involved in the trial and to the court itself.

Consider the case of Maher Arar.  Consider the case of Murat Kurnaz.  Consider the case of the Uighurs held at Guantanamo.  Consider that there have been thousands of people disappeared into the prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq (many kidnapped elsewhere).  I know you will choose not to believe anything that is not an official U.S. government or U.S. court document, but have a look at

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/123690/  or http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175080/alfred_mccoy_back_to_the_future_in_torture_policy

If you don’t want to believe those, then ask yourself why so much information on these topics is suppressed and then redacted.  If the U.S. doesn’t want people to believe it is engaged in widespread kidnap and torture it is going about things in a very odd way.  The secrecy which you want to believe hides nothing (or at least leaves you room to say that nothing has been proved) works against the U.S. in the long run.  This why I say that the vast VAST majority of Americans, who would never condone the treatment which Siddiqui and her children are alleged in the Pakistani press are alleged to have received, should be up in arms demanding that the truth be exposed and—if appropriate—that anyone responsible for crimes be prosecuted.  Why on earth would you prefer to focus on a single incident raised by a very narrow prosecution where the circumstances so clearly need explanation.

Let’s you, personally, were to disappear for five years and suddenly pop up in, say, Brazil where you were involved in a shooting.  Would you be happy to go to jail because of the shooting without anyone even trying to determine how you came to be in Brazil in desperate circumstances?  What if the court allowed the introduction of evidence found in your pocket which could be indicate that you are planning mass murder in Brazil but didn’t allow any further discussion of how it got there but just let the jury know you had it?  I find it hard to believe you would argue that this would be a fair trial or that the court transcript of such a trial would be the final word on your situation before you went to a Brazilian prison for more years.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 11, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

DBM, - “You appear to want to believe only what is being allowed as evidence in what ‘looks’ like an unfair trial.”

-

What “looks” like an unfair trial.


With so many conflicting news accounts it’s impossible to make a determination on the Siddiqui trial (the trial itself) without actually studying the trial transcripts.  For example: The transcripts will answer many questions as to why certain evidence (rulings by a Federal Judge) was prohibited. - The judge is not denied or prohibited from seeing classified materials before handing down his decisions.  He must follow the law.  Not emotions or the media coverage.

Without getting into the details, that neither of us are privy to, I will make one of a hundred observations concerning the controversies as reported in the media.

Allegedly there were no prints found on the weapon in question.  Do you have an answer as to why no prints were found?  Being an investigator myself, having been involved in hundreds of trials and hearings, I can think of dozens of reasons for this.  Without the trial transcripts I cannot answer the question.  You and others seem all too willing to believe the answer is rooted in something nefarious.

Are you willing to believe that several FBI, CIA, and DOD officials, and the Federal Prosecutors Office AND the Federal Judge, conspired to deny Ms. Siddiqui a fair trial without the benefit of studying the trial machinations yourself?  With only the knowledge of conflicting media accounts?  I am not so inclined.

It appears to me that Judge Berman bent over backwards to accommodate Ms. Siddiqui and her defense while denying the government over a dozen requests and motions during the trial.  The trial transcripts will highlight these issues well.  Issues you are not seeing in the media.

If you want to know more about this criminal case (how it was handled by the Federal Court system) you MUST study the trial transcripts before you make a judgment yourself. In other words, in this case, don’t be so sure of what you think you know.

This case is a telling example of the inherent problems that will come from relying too heavily on the Civil Court system when national security is involved.  It’s a mess.

Those who think civilian terror trials will be a beacon that illuminates the fairness of the American justice system need a reality check in the form of coverage of Siddiqui’s trial in Pakistan’s press.

The stories represent her as an innocent victim, offering as gospel claims that her children have been kidnapped, that she has been tortured and that her lawyers refuse to let her testify. - Ms. Siddiqui did testify after her defense team petitioned Judge Berman to bar her from giving testimony.

Meanwhile, spectators reportedly had smuggled electronic equipment into the courtroom. Worse, two jurors reported that a man in the courtroom had gestured as if firing a gun at them while mouthing an obscenity. Berman excused the jurors, who reported being frightened.


-

I’ll not attach you to the term “the Great Satan” if you choose another term I may use after you have accused the United States of haphazardly tear-assing all over the globe engaged in acts of war crimes such as kidnapping, raping, pillaging, and mass murdering thousands of innocent people is if possessed with evil and/or sociopathic intent.

How does one ignore that your widespread, wildly exaggerated, and unproven accusations happen to mimic those from bin Laden, Zawahiri, Ahmadinejad, the Castro Brothers and Chavez?  People who are proven to have ill intent and are motivated to work against the interests of the United States?  You tell me.

All of the above have been unable to prove their respective accusations while they keep repeating them.  Can you lend me any evidence proving your claims that the United States has kidnapped and tortured and murdered thousands of people?

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By DBM, February 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Regarding the Siddiqui case, you say:  “If I want to know the trial situation I would read from the trial transcript.  Not the media.” 

But that is the whole point!  The assertion is that this woman and her children have been held and tortured for five years leaving her in a terrible state.  She was unco-operative with her own legal defence and was unable to mount a reasonable defence which would come out in the court transcript because discussion of her imprisonment and torture was suppressed on the grounds of national security. 

“If Siddiqui’s lawyers had wanted to explore the question, they faced two major obstacles. First, the government was uncooperative; it refused to provide any information about the Bush administration’s system of secret CIA detention, claiming that such information was classified. Second, Siddiqui did not cooperate with her legal team, leaving them without a possible firsthand source of information.” 
See:  http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/02/if-you-were-in-secret-prisons-the-trial-of-aafia-siddiqui/

For demonisation, see the NY Daily News using the phrase “Lady Al Qaeda” ... really helps with a fair trial.  See also how the prosecution has carefully restricted the scope of their accusation to exclude discussion of potentially embarrassing disclosures (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1954598,00.html) but they have managed to include disclosure in the trial of “incriminating documents” contained on a flash drive.  I don’t see how they can get away with introducing this if they are restricting the focus of the trial to a particular incident wherein Siddiqui picked up a gun without leaving fingerprints and fired it (making holes in the wall which were already there).  It would seem to prejudice the jury while information relating to her detention is “classified”.

You appear to want to believe only what is being allowed as evidence in what looks like an unfair trial.

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By DBM, February 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Ok!  My apologies for tone then ... and I accept yours regarding the Bush/Hitler thing! grin

Before we “return to regular programming” let me remake a point at a bit more length which hopefully will help our conversation:

There is a common “framing” of criticism which is prevalent on Fox (hence pertinent here) and in the conservative talking points used from politicians to protesters.  That is that anyone who criticises is an America Hater.  That they are channelling Ayatollah Khomeini trying to cast America as the “Great Satan”.  The idea is to put anyone with a different point of view on the defensive about their position and biases rather than to discuss whatever criticism has been raised.  Hannity would be one of the masters of this approach but, as I say, it is prevalent and it is reflected in the message of the current Tea Bag protesters, American Neo-Nazis, KKK and bloggers like yourself etc.  (Note how easy it is to lump people together to smear the lot?  I just do this to make a point ... obviously you’re not a neo-Nazi and I don’t expect you to have to defend that point.)

Let’s be clear about my personal view of the U.S.  The country was born out of an enlightenment philosophical movement in a world of massive inequality.  It was seen as a wild “experiment” at the time.  Fancy the idea of starting a message to a King with the phrase “deeming it self-evident that all people are created equal”?!  Despite the blot of the slave economy, the American experiment inspired numerous changes in other countries from radical revolutions to legislative evolutions.  What we call “Western Democracies” is the direct result of this and the world owes a huge debt to the U.S. for their example and their leadership.  I spent much of my childhood in the U.S. and I’m steeped in American culture (as is pretty much the entire world to varying degrees whether they’ve visited there or not).

No place is perfect (see “slave economy” for example) but in numerous cases the U.S. has led the world in adopting a more civilised posture.  An early example was the Bill of Rights.  The Nuremburg trials were a spectacular case in point.  The leadership of the U.S. in establishing the United Nations is another highlight.  The positive impact of these ideas has been massive.  BUT ... what this means is that when the U.S. compromises its ideals there are many in the world more than willing to follow suit.  That’s what leadership is and that responsibility comes with the territory.  Couple this with the massive impact that the U.S. economy has on the world and you know why people are very focused on what the U.S. does.

So please, don’t channel Sean Hannity by claiming that specific criticisms are all based in anti-Americanism or that there is some bizarro lens through which people must be looking if they do not see things as you do.  I am more than happy for you to question my premises, my facts and my analysis.  I will admit when I am wrong (you should try it ... it’s good for the soul!).

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By Go Right Young Man, February 10, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I don’t know what to make of the situation with Ms. Siddiqui.  I am ill equipped to make a determination.  I do know I will not trust the perceptions of Chris Hedges.  I don’t trust the manner in which he frames the subjects he opines on.

If I want to know the trial situation I would read from the trial transcript.  Not the media.

-

Perceptions.

If you poll Americans and ask them if they support torture and war crimes the vast majority will report that they do not. - It’s important to note that “torture” and “war crimes” are terms you throw around quite freely with little to no pause.  It’s an “opinion”.  Your opinion.


Ask Americans if they support tough interrogation techniques, self defense, Military Tribunals and rendition the majority will answer in support.

I understand that I am not telling you anything you don’t already know.  You have written on the subject of polling data and how questions are framed. 

Your repeated use of these terms speaks to your frame of mind regarding current events and your overall perceptions of the United States as the Great Satan.  Most Americans (roughly 80%) simply disagree with you.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 10, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

DBM,

The Obama Administration’s decision to deny KSM’s guilty plea in favor of a civil trial in New York City was a monumental blunder.  I believe you will acknowledge the blunder one year from now. - If not sooner.

One of dozens of examples of this tremendous blunder.  How much would it have cost the treasury to accept KSM’s guilty plea?

-

Are you willing today to accept and acknowledge that the Congress designed today’s Military Tribunals and that the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the Tribunal?  Are you aware that these Military Tribunals have been used dozens of times in American history?

Why do you go out of your way to make all American actions criminal offenses?

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By Go Right Young Man, February 10, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Thank you for the links.  I read them all.

I didn’t request documentation of accusations.  I requested any information you have to share that may prove that “thousands have been imprisoned and tortured”.

I believe you are wildly exaggerating in order to make your point.  These exaggerations harm your position.  It may be better to stick to what you can prove (to others) in order to drive home your point.

I have two questions.

1. What does this say?

“The Harper’s report is based on the Center’s report and the revelations of four Guantánamo tower guards on duty the night of the deaths. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the revelations show “that the victims may have been transported to another location prior to their ‘discovery,’ and that the events leading to their deaths may have occurred at a ‘black site’— a secret facility used to conduct ‘enhanced’ interrogation.”

2. I will ask again; can you offer some evidence that thousands have been imprisoned and tortured?

-

Extremely wild exaggerations to make your point harms your positions.  Others will not take you seriously when you make the following claim. - “the cost of keeping and torturing KSM in secret prisons and flying him around in a privately chartered Lear jet over the last 5 years would dwarf the trial costs.”

Really?  And you can offer some evidence that will quantify what you have imagined?

According to the New York City Police Commissioner the costs of providing security for the trials will be in excess of $250 million dollars.  According the Mayor of New York City the cost in lost commerce for area business’ are projected to reach $1 Billion.

Can you quantify the costs of holding KSM in Poland, Afghanistan or Jordan?  Can you quantify the costs of transporting KSM to GITMO?

My opinion is that your exaggerations are getting out of hand. If, however, you can prove any of these items I will study all of it closely.

P.S.  You didn’t actually believe I have been unaware of the many accusations you highlighted.  I will gladly accept your apologies for your tone.

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By DBM, February 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

Well yes, this did start as a discussion about Fox News. 

I watched some Bill O’Relly last night.  Amongst other things he opined that the U.S. is mis-handling the underwear bomber ... that he should be getting “enhanced interrogation” and at best a military tribunal.  He carried on at length about the COST of a KSM trial in New York ... which I find interesting given that the cost of keeping and torturing KSM in secret prisons and flying him around in a privately chartered Lear jet over the last 5 years would dwarf the trial costs.  He also amazingly equated Christian belief (on the one hand) with liberal “belief” (on the other hand)!!  So, I guess you can be a good upstanding Christan OR a liberal.  Wow!  Fair and Balanced.

But my interest in our conversation is not only in our differing assessments of Fox News.  I am also very interested to understand how the American people (the vast VAST majority of which are thoroughly decent human beings) can be in favour of torture and other war crimes.  I can see only a few ways of explaining it but I am more interested to hear you explain yourself as you are a self-professed supporter of these tactics.  In your previous update you seemed to be saying you are unaware that these things are being done by your democratically elected government.  In your last update you have changed the subject.  Is that it?  No thought about what it means to support torture?

You say you’re “against all of it” ... BUT ... but what?  A necessary evil?  Someone else’s decision? Not important as long as there are no American victims?  What is American?  A citizen?  Have a look at that linked Truthdig article by Chris Hedges in my last update.  You’re OK with even one situation like that?

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By Go Right Young Man, February 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

Returning to our previously interupted programming smile

It interests me to learn what I can from those I most disagree with.  When I learned of TruthDig having won the Webbie award for best political Web site I was eager to have a look.  Thus I read from and comment on TruthDig.  I think this is my third year here.

I have tuned into Keith Olbermann for roughly the past two years in the same way.  I began watching him as his ratings rose during the 08 election cycle.  - No surprise to say I disagree with him on almost everything.

I have been tuning into Glenn Beck of late as I see more and more doing the same.  His numbers are record breaking.

Anyhow… I think if you are able to view his program this evening you will see the content that is drawing such attention.  Everything else aside his basic message is drawing a crowd.  It seems prudent to understand the reasons for this. 

Olbermann and Beck allows us an interesting -polar opposite- overview of certain segments of contemporary American society.  I believe we can fairly judge the nations temperature by these programs.

If you get the chance catch Beck’s program this evening.

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By DBM, February 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

A muslim perspective:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/Obamas-secret-prisons.html

You should read this too ... you can believe whoever you want to believe:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/the_terror-industrial_complex_20100208/

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By DBM, February 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

“Please offer some evidence that thousands have been imprisoned and tortured.”

My turn to be shocked!  Are you kidding?!  I can admit not being aware of some political smearing but are seriously saying that you do not know of one of the most important actions taken by your democratically elected government ... in your name?

From Scotland:
http://www.wanttoknow.info/a-guantanamo-abu-ghraib-bagram

From India:
http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article76282 .ece

From Germany:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,650324,00.html

Asia Times:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JA16Df02.html

From England:
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate-uk/2009/06/29/bagram-where-the-future-of-guantanamo-meets-its-tortuous-past/
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/46478,news-comment,news-politics,bagram-the-grandaddy-of-guantanamo-abu-ghraib-and-us-terror-camps
http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2007/12/21/former-us-interrogator-damien-corsetti-recalls-the-torture-of-prisoners-in-bagram-and-abu-ghraib/

From the U.S.:
http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=00326
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/05-1
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/03/09/bagram/index.html
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/detainees/story/38775.html

You want Academia rather than media?:
http://law.shu.edu/ProgramsCenters/PublicIntGovServ/policyresearch/Guantanamo-Reports.cfm

Thousands ... many thousands ... lives destroyed ... families radicallised ... nearly zip “actionable intelligence” ... thousands of American soldiers, agents and mercenaries numbed and twisted.

You are seriously denying that this is going on?  If you can deny facts, I guess you can believe anything.  I had always thought you merely abdicated responsibility for this stuff (your “kings and presidents” reference).  I had no idea you were pretending it isn’t happening.

I consider you quite a thoughtful person ... amazing ... scary.  No wonder the non-thinking followers can’t understand.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 9, 2010 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

DBM - “I’ve responded to your support for the Military Tribunal process which the ultra-conservative Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional twice.”


The Congress (not an ultra-conservative body) designed America’s contemporary Military Tribunals and has been upheld, unanimously, by the U.S. Supreme Court (again not, in any way, an “ultra-conservative” body.

“I’ve asked you about the morality and legality of imprisoning and torturing thousands”

Please offer some evidence that thousands have been imprisoned and tortured.

“I’ve pointed out the illegality of unilaterally invading a country”

Yes.  You have given your own thoughts and opinions on this many times.  I guess the next earthquake in Haiti will go unanswered since you leave zero options for “invading” another country. - already we are hearing cries from around the world on Haiti being “invaded” by the United States - I guess perceptions are everything.

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By DBM, February 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Actually I think there is a banner ad on one of the sites I read showing Obama with a Hitler mustache ... presumably intended to cajole people into clicking on it.  I don’t take much notice of that stuff because it is childish.  Possibly why I’ve not taken much notice of the same approach in the Bush years.  My reference to invading “Poland (er ... Iraq)” was an attempt at sarcasm or satire of this approach.  My apologies if it was too dry for you.

That recent American politicians are not Hitler or Pol Pot is obvious and not worth discussion.  Lies that matter are.  I’ve mentioned the “War on Terror” which was about as unrealistic but convenient as “sex addiction” is for Tiger Woods.  I’ve responded to your support for the Military Tribunal process which the ultra-conservative Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional twice.  I’ve asked you about the morality and legality of imprisoning and torturing thousands in an attempt to find hundreds.  I’ve pointed out the illegality of unilaterally invading a country (even if you are able to convince every country in the world to go along).

But now that I have admitted a mistake it appears that nothing else matters or interests you.  If you think my perverse view of the world means that all those things are figments of my imagination, I’d be interested to hear you explain them all.  These are issues of fact, so you either believe that they are true or you don’t.  If you do believe they are true you either have to accept and support immoral and illegal acts or be against them.  I thought we were getting close to that all important discussion as some point and I’m genuinely interested in how American conservatives such as yourself get around these issues.

If all you can do is bang on about the Hitler thing it leads nowhere.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 7, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

DBM - “I don’t recall anyone saying (Bush) was “another Hitler” for invading Poland (er sorry Iraq ...”

Guilty of consciously, deliberately, equating Bush to Hitler…. LOL.  But the “others” are simply being meanies toward Obama and the democrats?

Might you have a mirror in your home?

smile

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By Go Right Young Man, February 7, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I had to walk away but wish to return to the perceptions you hold.  It’s an important issue.  You see, your perceptions on what the world thinks and believes is exactly that. Your own individual perceptions.  Not, necessarily, what you claim on these pages.

[If there was a Obama-Hitler banner add on every page of this Web site you would have taken notice and offense]

Your entire point below was in regards to how “Fox News” stands apart by how that particular cable channel features individuals who, by way of lies, liken President Obama and the democrats to socialism and Nazism.  You are obviously upset or taken aback by the tactic of attacking the party in power with such negative narratives.  These narratives, of late, most vehemently stand out in your mind.  You simply do not like it.  You take exception to these political tactics.  Correct?

“I would add, while we’re on Fox lies again, that all the likening of Obama and the Democrats in general to both Socialism and Nazism is lies.  From a global perspective, the Democrats are way to the right but nowhere near Fascism.  To continually liken Obama to various despots from all over the political spectrum is ludicrous lies and not just a point of view.  Bush was ridiculed and likened to a chimp etc. but I don’t recall anyone saying he was “another Hitler” for invading Poland (er sorry Iraq ... another nation which had nothing to do with 9/11).  Bush’s second inauguration looked for all the world like a Nuremburg rally in the 1930’s but the comment in the international press was about how “unamerican” that was rather than to say Bush was Hitler.”

It’s simply impossible, no matter where you resided over the past decade, not to have seen the many thousands of references to Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Rice as Nazis and/or evil Neo-Cons.  You yourself have referred to the Bush administration as global Neo-Con thugs intent on murder.  To this day you steadfastly believe that the 2000 and 2004 elections must have been a series of crimes.  But you detest the same types of narratives directed toward those whom you most identify with.

The plain fact is FOX News does not stand out, proven here by the thousands of examples I outlined previously, and, more to the point, you are guilty of what you continually accuse “the others” of.  You have demonized FOX News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the “conservative” side of politics.  In your perceptions the differing points of view MUST, necessarily, be “lies”.

Lastly.  You are constantly in the habit of assuming the rest of the globe thinks as you do on these subjects.  Yet when I show you conclusively that the majority in this country alone do not see eye to eye with your perceptions you dismiss the data as faulty or another set of conspiratorial deceptions and lies.  The fact is the vast majority of people on the globe do not see the United States as you do.  You are very much in the minority.

-

I see that you honestly did not take note of the many thousands of references to Bush as Hitler and the administration as Nazis.  It goes directly to your perceptions.  Not what was actually happening.  You take the entire globe out of context with such a narrow focus.

P.S. Fascism is not a product of the “Right”.  That’s your bigotry bleeding into your perceptions.  Hitler and Mussolini cannot, in any way, shape, or form be equated to contemporary conservatism.  That’s just silly.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 7, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I just wondered how you missed that every story page on TruthDig has a banner add with the tag-line “Bush Hitler” on them (smile).

-

So Beck correctly predicted the downturn of the economy, along with the details of how it would take place, a full 18 months prior to the event and he and the “Tea Party” crowd were spot on in regards to democratic legislation designed with provisions that would prohibit physician choice AFTER Reid and Pelosi and Obama promised it would never happen.

It appears as though more people should be following Glenn Beck more often. smile  Oh, that’s right, more and more are tuning into Beck.

smile

Have a favored team in the Super Bowl?

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By DBM, February 7, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Off and on since it started.

Why?  Did I miss a Hitler reference or ten?  I grant you your point!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 7, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

DBM,

How long have you been reading from and commenting on TruthDig?

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By DBM, February 7, 2010 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

Also, I wouldn’t want you to lose this thought due to my ignorance of the tenor of some of the attacks on Bush:

Bush was very keen to be a “war president” with the potential historical significance that can bring as well as the removal of limits to power.  The “War on Terror” is simply a crazy construct which was concocted to justify this vainglorious idea.  That the Congress was just as keen to remove limits to government power through things like the Patriot Act and belatedly releasing the telecommunications companies from any responsibility for spying on U.S. citizens should have Americans far more worried about their own government than foreign terrorists.  To use the “War on Terror” to justify starting real wars against whole nations is a war crime as per Robert Jackson (a truly great American).

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By DBM, February 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

Now, at the risk of shocking you again, let me point out one distinction in the rhetorical mischaracterisations of the current and previous president (taking into consideration the point you’ve made).  I did a bit of a search first this time on comparisons of Bush with Stalin and Mao but didn’t find much except this thoughtful piece on “personality cults” written right after the 2004 election http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/610/george_w_bush_and_the_personality_cult.html?cat=9 
It seems then that liberals see Bush as to their right and closer to Fascism (I’d agree but more the “corporatism” definition of Fascism than Nazi meglomania).  Obama, on the other hand, is likened to despots of all kinds.  This highlights an issue for the Democrats.  There is little practical difference in their policy from the Republicans but Republicans somehow hold onto the label of “conservative” so the Dems get attacked from all sides.

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By DBM, February 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Wow!  Sorry to have hit such a nerve ... and on this point I will cop the justified response.  It is not that I have subdued the likening of Bush with Hitler so much as I don’t live in the U.S. and it was not a common theme elsewhere.  It is interesting indeed that there HAS been international reportage of “Jay-Walking” type protesters with Hitler references everywhere.  Could it be because there are actually media figures involved this time?  You talked about Move-on (I followed the link), protesters in the street and bloggers ... were there actual mainstream TV news figures involved?  Actual opposition politicians? Interesting indeed. 

The international stereotype of Bush was that he was a dumb rich kid who became president because of the family name and was completely manipulated by people who understood his role better than him and were actually willing to work.  The international stereotype of Obama is that he was a very smart middle class kid who succeeded on his own merits and is struggling with intractable problems left over from a disastrous presidency.  Fair or not fair as these images may be, the whole association of Nazism, communism and so on is viewed as “American Hyperbole”.  My apologies that my view on this was simply not true.  Proof accepted.

That said, you did conflate a few things into your response which are nothing to do with inappropriate characterisations. 

You lumped in the idea that the 2000 election was stolen as if the idea that people likened Bush to Hitler had something to do with this.  The bottom line on both Bush elections is that there were serious anomalies which would have swung the vote.  Again from the international perspective, to stop counting votes defeats the democratic process - period.  But again, did Bush steal the election?  I wouldn’t expect him to be able to do so ... but his party did (possibly twice).

You also conflated the idea that the world’s disgust with the Guantanamo Bay Military Tribunals has something to do with this Hitler / Bush thing as well.  How so?  These tribunals have been repeatedly found to be unfair and illegal ... even by a Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointees.  It is with dismay that we see Obama (or Holder) failing to have the backbone to re-instate Habeus Corpus.  I can see only a few potential reasons for this and none are very pleasing:

* The Obama administration is equally criminal and dismissive of human rights as their predecessor
* The detainees at Guantanamo cannot be brought to open trial because this would allow them to disclose the torture they have suffered leading to criminal prosecutions which the government does not want
* The government agencies (CIA, Pentagon, mercenary organisations, etc.) which would be implicated by disclosure of their criminal acts are too formidable in the Washington power structure for anyone to “take on” by allowing these men a fair trial

I suspect that the real reasons are some combination of these things as well as other reasons we do not know.  One reason which never seems to get mentioned is the “right to a speedy trial” which was a part of the Magna Carta and has been adopted as International Law (whatever shreds of which remain after the Bush years).  If applied to these men who have been incarcerated for many years without trial, they would all be due for release!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 6, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Not possible that you never saw this stuff.

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=612

-

Here is a man in the Left loving Media that is so clearly beside himself with putrid anger that he cannot contain himself.  A man so full of blinding hatred and bigotry that everything he saw for eight years was taken out of all context.  Here is a man so myopic and narrow minded that he will not once talk about military tribunals as a product of an overwhelming vote of the Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court (ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT). 

No. To this man tribunals are ONLY a product of the Hilter-like George W. Bush.  This is the man you recently claimed to admire!  This man is sickened with undisguised bigotry and hatred for all republicans.  He is the definition of a bigot.  He disgusts me through and through!

Hitler like laws passed by G.W.Bush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTP2gs-NUtc

I have yet to see this disgusting human being say the same things about President Obama after he has clearly stated that he supports the lawfulness of Military Tribunals.

Bush did not create Military Tribunals.  The Congress did!  This man is a complete idiot and disgusting, hate-filled and putrid bigot which the far Left loves!

Never again whine or complain about how the current president is unfairly mis-characterized by the evil or mean “Right” in America.  Never try and claim to me that these “lies” and rampant tactics of attack politics are a creation of the Right.  I will blast your perceptions apart with real, verifiable and exhaustively documented history.

Yes I am passionate on this subject.  What the Left did to -every member- of the Bush administration is unconscionable.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 6, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I could go on every day for a month displaying multiples of dozens of Bush/Hitler references that you and others apparently, willfully or subconsciously, ignored.  Here’s one from a Web site that is referred to on TruthDig almost daily.

-

Bush and Hitler…Compare and Contrast
A Response to the WSJ’s James Taranto

By DAVE LINDORFF

Is George W. Bush another Hitler?

James Taranto, writing in the Wall Street Journal, offered up an offhand dismissal of Counterpunch as “an outfit whose staple is stuff comparing Bush to Hitler,” which seems to suggest he thinks the very notion is beyond the pale of civil discourse.
http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff07182003.html

Again. It’s not even in the realm of possible that you missed all this in the past decade.  Something within you must have made it possible for you to ignore it.  What do you think that may be?

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By Go Right Young Man, February 6, 2010 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

SHOCKED, SHOCKED and yes, SHOCKED by how you see Left/Right politics, however, you are certainly not alone.  Bush derangement syndrome ran rampant for years!!!  The Left was constantly petty, nasty, childish and came completely unglued for almost a decade.  I could write a 300 chapter book on the lies, wild exaggerations and completely unfounded charges against the Bush Administrations.  How about this one?  Bush “stole” the 2000 elections.  What type of unhinged crap is that?  How many still believe that today?

On Meet the Press, “Rachel Maddow denied that MoveOn.org created an ad comparing president George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/bstein80/moveonorgs-ad-comparing-bush-to-hitler

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By Go Right Young Man, February 6, 2010 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I am stunned, shocked, and next to speechless. George Bush was never depicted or referred to as Hitler?  It’s simply not possible for you not to have seen it thousands of times.  Simply not possible!

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that you’re not being honest.  I’m simply floored by your perceptions.

Images of George Bush with a Hitler mustache and a Nazi uniform was everywhere at swastika-choked marches and rallies. “Stop the Fourth Reich-Visualize Nuremburg,” said one sign at a Hollywood march. “The Fuhrer already in his bunker,” said another.

On Left leaning Internet sites (this very site), where basic Bush-Is-Hitler commentary became too familiar to attract attention, Bush aides were quickly assigned Nazi roles; Tom Ridge was the new Himmler and Colin Powell became Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop; Ari Fleisher, Karen Hughes and Karl Rove were all Josef Goebbels figures. Some thought Vice President Cheney was the most important Hitler figure - he commands “storm-trooper legions,” said famous crackpot Lyndon LaRouche.

One fevered lefty connected Bush to Nero as well as Hitler, saying “Nero burned Rome, Hitler burned the Reichstag and Bush burned the World Trade Center.”

An even more inventive commenter managed to link Rove to Josef Mengele, the depraved Nazi doctor nicknamed the Angel of Death: “Bush made up stories about John McCain, just as Josef Mengele conducted medical experiments on children in Auschwitz.” What?

Donald Rumsfeld was the new Rommel. The Action Coalition of Taos, New Mexico, however, thought Rumsfeld was the real Hitler, since, like Adolf, he had a mountain retreat. In an op-ed published in Florida, Air Force veteran Douglas Herman, disagreed, saying Rumsfeld was more like Goering, because both men had been fighter pilots.

Mainstream commentary featured Nazi references too. Both Senator Robert Byrd and billionaire Democrat George Soros said Bush reminded them of Herman Goering.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Al Gore used the term “brownshirts” (Nazi street thugs) to refer to Republican computer teams assigned to respond to criticism of Bush and the Iraq war.

Vanity Fair magazine nominated Richard Perle for the Goebbels role, running photos of both men under the headline “Separated at Birth?”

New York Times columnist Frank Rich managed to work in a reference to a famous Nazi filmmaker. He said a Showtime program on 9/11 was so favorable to Bush that it is “best viewed as a fitting memorial to Leni Riefenstahl.”

The Rev. Andrew Greeley, sociologist and novelist, depicted Bush as a Hitler figure who carried American over to “the dark side.”

Federal appeals judge Guido Calabresi offered a comparatively mild Nazi reference, saying the Bush’s rise to power was reminiscent of the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, with the Supreme Court pushing him into the presidency with the Bush v. Gore decision.

Bush reminded the left of non-Nazi villains as well. He was depicted as Attila the Hun, serial killer Ted Bundy, Mussolini, Ahab, Hannibal Lecter, the Anti-Christ and Frankenstein’s monster (on the cover of the British edition of book by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman).

I will say it again. It’s simply not possible for you to have missed all the Bush/Hitler references.  But it seems clear that you quickly, for some reason or another, pushed the several thousand examples aside without comment and/or complaint.  By your own admission you simply don’t recall this exhaustively documented bit of recent history.  Bush as Hitler was everywhere!!

-

Westerners are notorious for short term memories.  But, to this day, people’s perceptions never fail to surprise me.  You honestly shocked me!

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By Go Right Young Man, February 6, 2010 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

DBM - “Bush was ridiculed and likened to a chimp etc. but I don’t recall anyone saying he was “another Hitler”.

One simple point to make.  If you don’t recall President Bush likened to Hitler then you were never offended by the charge.  It simply brushed right past you with nary a notice.  It’s simply not possible that you never saw or heard the charge.  Simply not possible. 

Bush depicted as Hitler could be found everywhere for eight years.  The placards of Bush depicted as Hitler were found at EACH and EVERY anti-war protest.  They could be found on several left leaning news magazine.  References to Bush/Hitler were found repeatedly on Web sites such as TruthDig and Daily KOS.  Air America referred to Bush and Hitler daily for 3 years!

The level of hatred toward Bush, coming from the Left (opposition party), FAR EXCEEDS any nastiness Obama has suffered to date from the Right (opposition party).  <—I can prove this well beyond all doubt.  Excuse my bluntness, however, to not know this is to be completely blind to the realities of politics in American over the last decade.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=george+bush+hitler&gbv=2&aq=0m&oq=Bush+hitler&aqi=g-m1

I am offended every time President Obama is depicted as or referred to as Hitler.  I am constantly arguing with my more conservative friends and acquaintances when they refer to President Obama as a Marxist.

-

Bush likened to Hitler was EVERYWHERE!

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By DBM, February 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the link to “Stoking the Fears…”, I’ll have a look when I get a chance.

I don’t think I ever said that the reform bill doesn’t restrict which doctor you can see.  I would have said that in my experience of various systems of universal healthcare I’ve had a choice of doctors and medical facilities which is often greater than that offered by some private health insurance schemes which use “on-plan” providers.  What’s in the current reform bills in that regard I’ve never known so I can’t imagine commenting so forcefully.

What I did say Beck was lying about was something to the effect that “If someone wants to make it legal to put a spike into the head of an 8-month old fetus, I don’t see why I should have to pay for it through my tax dollars.”  This is a rhetorical “lie” in that it invokes a repugnant form of late-term abortion which I’m not even sure exists and is certainly not likely to exist.  It is also, if my facts are straight, a direct lie in that financial support for abortions was taken out of the reform bill very early on and in the later forms of the bill (including, I believe, what was still being negotiated when Beck’s programme used that statement) there is NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING of healthcare.  So, it would be an insurance company funding any medical procedure not tax dollars.  To argue otherwise is completely misrepresenting the bill in two ways.  It implies that the bill will use tax dollars to pay for medical procedures and that the sort of procedures the bill supporters wanted includes some medieval form of last minute abortion. 

I’m no fan of what’s left of the Health Reform bill as it leaves the health industry in a position where they are legally draining so much money out of the rest of the economy that they are one of the top few reasons that patient (the economy) may die.  But a lie is a lie not just a point of view.

I would add, while we’re on Fox lies again, that all the likening of Obama and the Democrats in general to both Socialism and Nazism is lies.  From a global perspective, the Democrats are way to the right but nowhere near Fascism.  To continually liken Obama to various despots from all over the political spectrum is ludicrous lies and not just a point of view.  Bush was ridiculed and likened to a chimp etc. but I don’t recall anyone saying he was “another Hitler” for invading Poland (er sorry Iraq ... another nation which had nothing to do with 9/11).  Bush’s second inauguration looked for all the world like a Nuremburg rally in the 1930’s but the comment in the international press was about how “unamerican” that was rather than to say Bush was Hitler.

My reason for asking those questions is pretty obvious, you can respond to that if you’d prefer.  Bush was very keen to be a “war president” with the potential glorious historical significance that can bring as well as the removal of limits to power.  The “War on Terror” is simply a crazy construct which was concocted to justify this vainglorious idea.  That the Congress was just as keen to remove limits to government power through things like the Patriot Act and belatedly releasing the telecommunications companies from any responsibility for spying on U.S. citizens should have Americans far more worried about their own government than foreign terrorists.  To use the “War on Terror” to justify starting real wars against whole nations is a war crime as per Robert Jackson (a truly great American).

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By Go Right Young Man, February 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

I was hoping you would point something out before I did.

Some time ago you had taken exception to, I believe, something Glenn Beck had said on his television program. 

Many people across America were upset with democratic legislation due to the fact that there were built in prohibitions on the ability to choose a favored doctor(s).  If memory serves you argued that these were lies told by the “Tea Baggers”, Glenn Beck and the Hannity crowed.  I believe you opined that only the gullible would believe such lies?

Well, the president recently acknowledged that these provisions (limiting the choice of doctors) was, in fact, written into democratic legislation.  I believe he said that it “somehow got slipped into” democratic health-care reform legislation.

Not to put too fine a point on the matter, however, I tried repeatedly to point out the canyon between “lies” and merely differing points of view.

And it must be acknowledged that both Harry Reid and and Nancy Pelosi, again, were the liars in this narrative.  Each assured their party and the media base that no such provisions were to be found.  Nobody, the said, would ever takeaway an individuals choice of doctor(s).

-

I determined that both Reid and Pelosi were working against the best interest of the nation after they each, repeatedly, told us throughout the 1990’s that Saddam Hussein was a danger to the United States and possessed banned weapons - only to completely change their stories after none were found in 2003-04.  The narrative ONLY THEN became Bush lied! Bush Lied! Bush Lied!  They and others repeated that mantra until it became “common knowledge” for millions, maybe even billions, about the globe.

Unless you’ve recently changed your mind you too believe Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. - The same banned weapons Clinton, Gore, Reid and Pelosi talked about prior to Bush taking office.

One more interesting tidbit.  When pressed in an interview Nancy Pelosi was very clear to point out that she “Never Said Bush Lied”.  And, interestingly enough, as far as I know she never did utter those exact words.

-

Your questions.

I have, what I believe to be, some terrific answers to all those questions, but, I keep going back to the part where I would only be repeating myself.  It’s simply not possible for me to view the globe as you do.  My answers to your set of questions will prove to be so foreign to you that, I fear, it will only serve to frustrate you more.

I will answer them simplistically if you still wish it.

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By Go Right Young Man, February 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

I’ve read John Mueller.  I disagreed with him in the late 90’s when he posited that Al Qaeda was not much more than a “rag-tag group of misfits” which “posed no serious threat to the United States.”

Most people simply could not imagine the events of 9/11 while the intelligence community was testifying before Congress that it was not a matter of when the U.S. would be attacked directly but, rather, a matter of when.

-

I think you’ll enjoy this piece.


Stoking the fears of terrorism
6:00 am February 5, 2010, by Bob Barr

Earlier this week, the government’s top officials responsible for managing America’s foreign intelligence and counter-terrorism operations, testified on Capitol Hill.  While much of the information CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, and FBI Director Robert Mueller provided the Senate in the public portion of their testimony was valuable and informative, it was not all thus…....
http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/02/05/stoking-the-fears-of-terrorism/?cxntfid=blogs_bob_barr_blog

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By ardee, February 4, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/759760—-danny-millions-williams-heads-south-for-heart-surgery

..................“Conservative Senator Wilbert Keon, a retired heart surgeon and professor emeritus at University of Ottawa, said Newfoundland does not have the special pumps and post-op technical support to allow all advanced complicated procedures to be performed there.

Nevertheless, Keon added, “I can’t imagine anything that couldn’t be done in Canada that is done in America.”

He said “virtually all” complicated heart surgery can be done at Ottawa’s Heart Institute and in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.”

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By DBM, February 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Interesting re the Canadian PM!  I don’t know any of the details ...

While looking at interesting happenings and points of view, you might be interested to read some stuff by John Mueller at Ohio State.  I heard a presentation and Q&A with him recently at a Cato event.  I don’t think I agree with his position in total but it is one of those iconoclastic ideas that makes you think ...

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By Go Right Young Man, February 3, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

DBM,

I’ll answer your questions later today. - Of course I’ve answered those very questions several times in these discussions.

My reason for writing now is to point out that the Prime Minister of Canada, coming from a health-care system closely modeled after what you advocate, has entered the United States for heart surgery.  I wonder why. 

Do you happen to know why the Canadian PM would vacate, what you believe to be a better health-care delivery system, and opt to have this live saving procedure in an inferior setting?

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By DBM, February 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Very simple really:

I know you want unfettered competition in the healthcare market.  I just don’t think there is a hope in hell of getting it.  The vested interests are far too strong and will bend any “market” reforms to their advantage (the current reform package is a perfect example).  IF you could achieve the situation you want there would be some cost advantages and the remaining discussion would be around the viability of a market where consumers are less informed than suppliers and often in an emergency (and, no, not only in ER situations).  Therefore, my comment is that you trust for-profit companies in near-monopoly positions because you seem to believe that they will relinquish those positions.  Clearly they won’t do it voluntarily and I haven’t seen any sign of a way to force the to do so.  Better a shift to a completely different model like the proven systems which the rest of the industrialised world successfully employ.

Let’s leave healthcare ... I think we understand each other.

There are so many holes in your arguments regarding terrorism that it is hard to know which end to pick up and refute (again).  Let’s try this ... a few questions for you:

  * Is the “War on Terror” a war?
  * If so, is Iraq a single front in this war?  How does it contribute to winning the overall war?
  * Is it a defensive war for the U.S.?
  * Which countries attacked the U.S.?
  * Which countries are threatening to attack the U.S.?  How?
  * Is it Ok for any country which is threatened to attack the country which threatened them?
  * Which country or countries is al Qaeda fighting for?
  * How will you know when you win the “War on Terror”?

Take your time ... you know they’re all loaded questions!  grin

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By Go Right Young Man, February 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

It’s not possible for me to disagree more with your entire last post smile

The most fascinating part to me is in how you evaluate our differing opinions.  Despite everything I’ve written to the contrary you still believe the “difference we have about what to do about [health-care] is that you trust for-profit companies in near monopoly situations”

Everything I’ve written has been based on the premise of ending monopolies and expanding choice.  A system that resembles nothing you describe and nothing we see today (Real reform. Real change).  You could have knocked me over with a thimble upon realizing just how far our perceptions mis-align.

-

Al Qaeda, in your mind, are a bunch of criminals on monkey bars.  To me Al Qaeda has proven to have killed many thousands of people all over the globe and attempted to destroy the World Trade Center -with the stated goal of killing at least 10,000 people-, blew a gaping hole in a U.S. battle ship, completely demolished two U.S. embassies and, so far, successfully destroyed the World Trade Center and successfully attacked the Pentagon only narrowly failing to blow up the wood framed U.S. Capital Building.

Here’s some spin smile
Over one hundred world leaders, including the past three U.S. Presidents, and several dozen Muslim fanatics, including Dr. Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, all claim to be at war, however, you believe it’s not a real war but a matter of rounding up a group of mischievous yet deadly hooligans.

Truly fascinating.

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By DBM, February 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

First off ... a small confusion ... I put an update here that was meant for another thread and apologised for it.  The reason this window was open was that I was looking for the linke to the Ruder Finn paper.  You quoted my apology for that and said I hadn’t read “the report”.  Naturally I thought you were talking about the Ruder Finn paper my apology referred to.

I’ve read about and “studied” al Qaeda sufficiently to comment thank you.  They are murderous criminals who need to be hunted down and neutralised.  At the same time, their supplies of funding and recruits needs to be addressed.  The policies you favour have been demonstrable failures at all of that.  I’m suggesting the approach taken in civilised countries dealing with criminal terrorist threats ... police work.  I’ll be interested, by the way, if - God forbid - the Far Right in the U.S. kicks into gear the terrorist activity they bloviate about.  Will you be in favour of bombing Arizona and Montana (just to pick a couple of places at random)?

Medicare-like systems work throughout the world ... a lot better than the current American system. I think we agree on that.  The only difference we have about what to do about that is that you trust for-profit companies in near monopoly situations to do the right thing and I don’t.  I trust a government run programme to deliver a public service to do that better than companies which have worked against the public good for many years but you don’t.

C’est la vie!  I hope the course eventually chosen is successful ... and that change comes before the combination of criminal banking, criminal health insurance, monopoly pharmas and the military industrial complex manage to strip the wealthiest nation in the world of its First World status.  What do you reckon ... a generation or so left before the clock runs out?

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By Go Right Young Man, February 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

Your first response was to say that you had not yet read the Harvard report (but looked forward to reading it), however, you later write that you had read the report at the time.  That has left me a bit confused.

What has Ruder Finn got to do with the report released by the Harvard School of Government?

-

If I’ve read you correctly you have dismissed the contents of the report due to your own pre-conceived understanding of Al Qaeda.  An enemy of the U.S. that you yourself have admitted never having taken the time to study directly.

I remain confused as to how you can have such unbending opinions about people or a group you have never studied yourself.

It seems akin to how you seem to claim that we should forget about the $68 Trillion in unfunded liabilities in Medicare and, instead, focus more on how the Medicare system works so well.

smile

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By DBM, January 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

I’m not sure what makes you think that ... all you sent me was a link, I read the document at the time and responded regarding its content which includes the following precis:

“The Human Security Report Project has analyzed the statistical trends created by three major terrorism research institutions in the US—The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the Memorial Institute
for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland—and offers a different interpretation.  The Project’s analysis is not only the most comprehensive to date, it also poses a major challenge to the expert consensus.”

Having read the report, that is a fair precis.  As per their website, Ruder Finn is a PR firm and takes the data from three research institutions (admittedly I haven’t followed the trail far enough to know who they are funded by or where they get their data).  Ruder Finn then re-interprets the same data and draws the opposite conclusions from the three sources of their data ... as they say, a “challenge to the expert consensus”.

You cannot get a better example of “spin”.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 28, 2010 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

DBM, - “oops ... wrong page to comment on ... I was looking up “Ruder Finn”!  What a classic!!!”

smile

-

Interesting that you felt it proper to comment on the report before actually reading the report.

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By DBM, January 28, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

oops ... wrong page to comment on ... I was looking up “Ruder Finn”!  What a classic!!!

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By DBM, January 28, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Go Right ... we’ve been through this before.  Stats are so easy to manipulate ... especially when it comes to the interpretation of statistics.

85% of Americans were happy with the QUALITY of their healthcare.  No-one asked if they lived in fear of a low-level clerk in an insurance company incented on denying them that quality care or of maxing out their coverage and going bankrupt.  As you say, cost is the problem and the current “solution” doesn’t address that at all.  Medicare for all, or some variation of it, would make a big difference if the experience of every other industrialised country could be emulated in some way.

As for suggesting that I was claiming some sort of “mind control” by corporations ... no, more like “wallet control”.  You go on as if there are only two types of economic entities:  Individuals and the government (individual good - government bad).  There is a fairly important 3rd entity which is large corporations.  These corporations fund politics to control the government, have the legal rights of individuals and legal impunity which neither can match.

They also pay their PR firms to put out bogus interpretations of statistics gleaned from carefully loaded poll questions.  It does you no credit to keep on parroting them as if they made sense.  Another time when I challenged your statistics you posted a link to a Ruder Finn paper purporting to re-analyse three studies to show that the conclusions which each of the study producers had come to was completely backwards!!  These people are not trying to use poll stats to find out what people think, they just spin words and numbers to make the points they are paid to make.

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By DBM, January 27, 2010 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

I’ll be interested to read Mowatt-Larssen’s report when I get a chance.  He is a central character in Ron Suskind’s “The Way of the World” which I think I’ve quoted previously and I would highly recommend.  Suskind is a WSJ reporter so no doubt less objectionably lefty than your prototypical reporter! grin

I am often bemused by this concept that “al Qaeda must perpetually be denied a safe haven to rebuild its capabilities” or similar thoughts.  I heard it put quite well recently that “we’ve all seen the file footage of black clad terrorists training on monkey bars” but how much do they really need monkey bars?  It would seem that their “capabilities” can be transferred in the form of bomb-making techniques on the internet.  The main thing that needs “safe haven” is their Swiss bank accounts.  I cannot for the life of me understand how positioning hundreds of thousands of troops in the Middle East at the cost of trillions of dollars denies al Qaeda much of anything they need.  In fact, it almost surely provides them with much more of their 3rd requirement:  Willling terrorists.

So, knowledge + money + fanatics = successful al Qaeda.

I don’t see how a war gets in the way of any of that.  An army is far to crude an instrument.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 27, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

DBM,

This too may be of interest to you.  Particularly the actual report I link below.

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Core Al Qaeda Still Desires WMDs, Harvard Report Claims
By Matthew Harwood
Created 01/26/2010 - 10:32

Al Qaeda’s core leadership refuses to give up its nuclear ambitions and still craves to ignite a rising mushroom cloud over an American city, a retired CIA officer argues in a report released by Harvard today.

In the 32-page report, “Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality?,” Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government argues Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have not lost their desire to top the 9-11 attacks with an even more spectacular attack involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD), preferably nuclear weapons.

“To date…al Qaeda is the only [terrorist] group known to be pursuing a long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks.”

The majority of the report chronicles al Qaeda’s attempts to acquire chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear WMD from its birth in 1988 until 2003.

But Mowatt-Larssen’s argument doesn’t only hinge on what al Qaeda core leadership has done, but what it has not done.

“The pursuit of crude toxins and poisons appears to have been of little interest to the al Qaeda leadership, even though the production of such weapons is easier and thus might seem more attractive for potential use in attacks.”

According to Mowatt-Larssen, al-Zawahiri in March 2003 canceled an affiliated terrorist cell’s attack on the New York City subway system using cyanide gas for “something better.”

Mowatt-Larssen does however concede that the absence of an al Qaeda WMD attack since 9-11 does legitimately arouse skepticism considering the run up to war with Iraq.

“It is difficult to debunk this allegation,” he writes, “given the US government’s lack of credibility in the case of Iraqi WMD.”

Mowatt-Larssen believes there are good, possibly overlapping reasons why al Qaeda’s intentions have not become capabilities. First, the “sustained and ferocious counterterrorist response” to the 9-11 attacks by the U.S. and allied forces have destroyed much of the organization and disrupted its most apocalyptic ambitions. If that is the case, then he argues al Qaeda must perpetually be denied a safe haven to rebuild its capabilities.

Second, there’s the possibility al Qaeda will only settle for something bigger than 9-11. If so, then core al Qaeda is struggling to not only acquire or develop WMD capabilities but to plan and unleash such a spectacular attack “in an environment of heightened security and vigilance in the US.”

The attacks of 9-11, however, provides historical ammunition to support his second hypothesis, Mowatt-Larssen argues. Al Qaeda did not resort to crude weaponry or devices to attack the United States that September morning, rather it devised “a highly complex and artfully choreographed plot” that turned 747s into missiles, he explains.

Before laying out core al Qaeda’s 15-year quest for WMDs ending in 2003, Mowatt-Larssen tries to convince readers of the threat by alluding to the terrorist organization’s past intentions and actions, including Bin Laden’s 1998 declaration that it was a religious duty for Muslims to acquire WMDs for their defense [4].

“Presenting this chronology will hopefully allow the reader to develop a better feel for the threat posed by al Qaeda’s interest in WMD at that time, and use it as a basis to help determine whether the WMD terrorism threat is real.”

Report: PDF Format
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/al-qaeda-wmd-threat.pdf

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By Go Right Young Man, January 27, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

DBM, January 26 at 7:15 pm

From what little I know of you I assumed you would find the article interesting.

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By DBM, January 26, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Yep ... good article.

I agree with the assessment of the present but I think he is a little contradictory about his advice.  On the one hand he suggests that Obama seek the “the vast middle ground ... where Clinton outmaneuvered Newt Gingrich, and Tony Blair outfoxed the Tory party”.  On the other hand he suggests “He should put forward the best proposals to help solve America’s problems. He may or may not get much support from Republicans, but he will earn political capital and power, which in the long run is the only way to enact a big, transforming agenda.”  That would entail doing what people elected him to do.  Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the torture, restore America’s international reputation, bring the banks to heel, quit supporting the corporate screwing of the middle class, etc.  In the politics of public opinion this IS middle ground.  In the politics of corporate funded Washington political parties this is a long way from that “middle ground” that kept the campaign dollars flowing for Clinton and Blair!

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By Go Right Young Man, January 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

You may find this interesting.

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Obama Should Act Like a President - Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/id/232172

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By DBM, January 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

It matters little what their ultimate objective is as long as they are stopped.  I think we (and 99.x% of the world’s population) are against terrorist violence.  I’ve made two points repeatedly:

  1. The approach you support is criminal and morally indefensible.

  2. It is playing into the terrorist’s hands so much it amounts to “aiding and abetting”.

To these you keep asking so what would you do?  And I’ve told you that as well. 

The problem is that, although you have to live with your own conscience (and you seem fine with that), we both will have to live the consequences.  Go Right, it DOES matter what people like you think.  You and millions like you.  I only wish you’d think it through rather than leave it to “Presidents and Kings” as you put it. 

Perhaps it is a Freudian Slip that you toss in “King”.  An absolute monarch does remove any responsibility from “subjects of the realm” ... but you are a citizen not a subject.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 24, 2010 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

DBM, - They’re trying to disrupt and to provoke an overreaction which divides the West and unites the Muslim world in opposition.

You keep returning to describe a known tactic employed by the enemy.  But to what end-goal is this tactic being employed?  You never do say.

“If they were really going to completely overrun the West then a war would be required to combat them - But they’re not. “

-

I implore you to study the enemy -from the enemy directly- before you opine more on this subject. 

I hope we can return to this issue after a sufficient period of time.

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By DBM, January 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

You can carry on your defensive about how I’m attacking the U.S. but I won’t take the time to respond yet again.  I’ve responded so many times it is starting to be a tiresome way to change the subject.  To quote Shakespeare “I think the lady doth protest too much!”. 

It is interesting, though, that you feel this way.  It is a long accepted maxim that the best way to unite and focus people against others is to nurture in them the belief that they are being attacked.  You would identify with these sentiments:
“We all know what this war is about. The enemy himself has told us often enough that, if we are weak, we will have a peace compared to which war is a blessing. They are about an insidious attempt to exterminate the greatest and proudest people on earth. The ... nation is resisting with unanimity, strong weapons, and the strong hearts of men, women and children.”

That’s Goebbels in 1943 but the Nazis started well before in convincing people that they were being oppressed and threatened by Jews and Communists.  There are numerous other examples of the same propaganda tactic. It’s a great and effective distraction.  So, rather than have people think that multi-national corporations are moving their production to nations without labour protections, you can just instill in people the idea that poor immigrants are the major threat to their jobs.  Rather than have people genuinely question the wads of money spent on the military, you can just instill in them the idea that a tiny band of criminals are some kind of great threat.  If the tiny band of criminals have a similar agenda (to fool people into thinking they are an existential threat) then it is a symbiotic relationship.  This is the trap you fall into.

I don’t believe you are personally paranoid, but you have fallen under the sway of people who benefit from millions of you feeling threatened and scared.  Everything you hear has to pass through a prism of “How is America being attacked by this?” “Who’s out to get us now?”.  The really scary thing is that there is now a psychological reason for many of you to maintain the fiction:  It is very hard to admit that you’ve been fooled!

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By DBM, January 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Are there 100 nations arrayed against Muslim terrorism?  Sure, and more I’d expect.  Why would the other 100 nations not be against murderous criminals?  The point is this idea of a “war” which you, the taxpayer, are expected to fund without limit as if it were a fight for survival.  If you believe that, as you say, then you have been fooled by both parties.  The terrorists who want you to believe their power is far greater than it is and those in the U.S. who profit from war.  War increases the power of the executive (especially, it seems, since the advent of the atomic bomb - whether or not atomic bombs are in any way related to the conflict ... it is no coincidence that this threat is played on endlessly).  War is financially profitable for many sectors of the economy.  War provides an excuse for excessive secrecy and hiding of mistakes (see all those court cases thrown out on “National Security” grounds when it was clear they were going to expose criminality and incompetence within the government).

Almost all nations are totally opposed to murderous terrorists ... the vast majority don’t buy the “war” bullshit.  Of these 100 countries “fighting” as you put it, how many are left with troops in Iraq?  McClatchy says one: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/81544.html.  Of these 100 countries, how many have more than a token force in any other “theatre” of the “war” on terror?  I’d suggest again that, apart from the nations unfortunate enough to host the wars, there is only one.  At the height of the “Coalition of the Willing” carry-on soon after 9/11 and before the invasion of Iraq, there weren’t many takers (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2862343.stm) and most of those had reasons of self-interest to cosy up the the American government.  The “fighting” that at LEAST 100 countries are engaged in, is the effort to deter and prevent terrorism.  Many of them are far more realistically threatened by terrorism than the U.S.  They are indeed “fighting” but not a war.

That the “war on terror” is a farce is pertinent to what we are talking about because you claim that mass detentions of the innocent, destruction of whole nations, indiscriminate bombing, kidnapping and torture are both effective and justified “in the context of war”.  The wars you are fighting are wars of choice.  By definition, then, they are war crimes as per the Nuremberg findings “...to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”  The struggle against terrorism that really matters is indeed far reaching but the “war” paradigm you adopt is purely playing into the terrorist’s hands.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 22, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

DBM - “As to fighting more wars (whether “justified” or not) let’s work backwards”


Where has the Soviet Union and China fought wars, either directly or by proxy and, in how many countries did each have a presence over the last 100 years?

I ask about the last 100 years because you originally made claims about the last 100 year history of the United States.  This cuts right to your perceptions of the United States and the globe as a whole.

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No, you never outright stated that the United States is the cause of the world’s ills, however, I cannot back off of my statement just yet.  I’ll tell you why.

In every instance in which I’ve pointed out a problem or threat you have, without exception, directed the conversation back to the United States as the root of the problem.  It is logical for any reasonable person to assume that you believe the worlds ills are, at their roots, caused by the U.S..

You may not enjoy, and may even recoil, my pointing this out but it’s true nonetheless.  You would be unable to direct me toward an exception to what I’ve observed.  You may not consciously know this yourself, however, you clearly indicate that this is how you feel about the United States.

How is the knee healing?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 22, 2010 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

DBM, - “This enemy intends to break big things and kill as man people as possible in order to force complete submission or your nations death.’-‘That’s not the way I understand it.  They could not possibly believe that that is possible ... no matter how deluded they are ...The difference may appear subtle but it is critical in how you respond to their actions.  If they were really going to completely overrun the West then a war would be required to combat them…..”

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Hard to imagine or wrap your mind around.  I know.  And you certainly shouldn’t take my word on what our enemies goals are.  So study for yourself what Zawahiri, Nasrallah and bin Laden teach those who would follow them.

Study what these men teach (and others of like mind) and you’ll know why the world is at “war”.  You’ll know why Russia, China, France and Britain, the U.N. Security Counsel, is fighting the same enemy.

You make a terrific mistake in believing bin Laden.  Believing that this war is being fought by the U.S. against an enemy who’s main complaints are often the same as yours.  Bin Laden and others listen to your complaints and mimic them as recruiting tools. - Again don’t take my word for any of this.  Study them yourself.

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I did not intend to suggest your American arrogance has anything to do with anti-Americanism.  I meant what I wrote.  Your laser-like focus on the actions and words of the United States is the most common complaint around the world regarding Americans.  All over the globe it’s commonly referred to “American self-centeredness”.  American media focus so much on the United States and arrogantly ignore the world as a whole. 

Example: There are over 100 nations fighting the same enemy, however, you appear completely unaware of it!  Why do you believe that is?

-

I cannot stress this enough.  You are taking the entire world out of context with your singular focus on the United States.  It is the epitome of arrogance.

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By DBM, January 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

You tell me that I think “You honestly and passionately believe that it’s the United States that’s the cause of the worlds ills.”

Nope.  Never said it.  Don’t think it.  (BTW - You keep on saying “American arrogance” ... I suspect you mean “anti-American…” ... which I’m not)

That said, the U.S. is the largest purveyor of violence in the world today.  Most of the world’s weapons are exported from the U.S. (possibly the only physical manufacturing sector where that is true!), the U.S. spends more on their own military than the rest of the world by any measure (total or per capita) ... much much more ... and the U.S. has foreign based troops than any other country.  If you don’t believe those facts then I really have to wonder where you get your “facts” from.

As to fighting more wars (whether “justified” or not) let’s work backwards:

* Yemen
* Pakistan
* Iraq
* Afghanistan
* Serbia
* Iraq again
* Grenada
* Panama
* Vietnam

That’s just off the top of my head (and of course the definition of “war” is key to a lot of what we’re discussing).  I’m not saying these are the only wars going on in the world but that takes us back 40 years.  Now, which other country has had that many wars?  I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fought any of them, just that it does not appear to be a “last resort” or to have any correlation with existential threats to the U.S. itself.

However, that’s just responding to your defensive reflex.  More to the point that we were discussing:

You say about Al Qaeda inspired terrorists “This enemy intends to break big things and kill as man people as possible in order to force complete submission or your nations death.”

That’s not the way I understand it.  They could not possibly believe that that is possible ... no matter how deluded they are ... and they wouldn’t be able to enlist as many misguided people to their cause if it was this obviously hopeless.  Their stated intent is destroy “the World Order” with the expectation that people of their ilk will fill the void.  The difference may appear subtle but it is critical in how you respond to their actions.  If they were really going to completely overrun the West then a war would be required to combat them (I’d still be against kidnap, torture and bombing of civilians by either side).  But they’re not.  They’re trying to disrupt and to provoke an overreaction which divides the West and unites the Muslim world in opposition.

The actions you support are playing into their hands.  The actions I recommend, I believe, would make it much hard for them to achieve their aims.  That it would also avoid carnage among innocent civilian populations (far in excess of a terrorist attack) is also important but I acknowledge that you don’t consider that important enough in its own right.

I don’t expect for a moment that you sadistically seek to hurt others.  I just think you have been badly misled into thinking that doing so is somehow helping you (or us).

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By Go Right Young Man, January 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

DBM - “You have honestly admitted that you’re all for it “in the context of war”

You still do not understand that my definition of “all of it” differs tremendously from yours. 

I do not believe, for example, that the “U.S.” has “destroyed” whole nations in this war. I see nothing of the kind.  In fact I see something completely different.  A globe of difference, if you will.

Foreign to you is how your thinking actually gets huge numbers of people killed.  Many more than you allege of “the others” - as you think of me.  You simply deny what’s real in order to make your arguments.  I fail to see how that is of use.

I do not see the Angry Bear you do tear-assing across the globe kidnapping and killing people wholesale.  In fact i see no evidence of that of any kind.  I see something very close to the exact opposite of that which you describe.

When will the conversation be allowed to take on a global view?  When will you write of the battles in Egypt, Jordan, Columbia and Turkey, for example? Or Kuwait or Chechnya?  Bosnia and Denmark?  When will you stop end this laser-like focus on, what you perceive to be, and you are still a very small minority on the globe, the many evils of one nation?

You believe the United States has fought more wars, with no known threats against her, than any one nation spanning the past 100 years.  I have no doubt that you believed that when you wrote it.  I have but one question.

When and how can we work together to end this delusion a few but deadly people have?  A delusion in which you happen to see yourself?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

DBM - “You have honestly admitted that you’re all for it “in the context of war”

You still do not understand that my definition of “all of it” differs tremendously from yours. 

I do not believe, for example, that the “U.S.” has “destroyed” whole nations in this war. I see nothing of the kind.  In fact I see something completely different.  A globe of difference, if you will.

Foreign to you is how your thinking actually gets huge numbers of people killed.  Many more than you allege of “the others” - as you think of me.  You simply deny what’s real in order to make your arguments.  I fail to see how that is of use.

I do not see the Angry Bear you see tear-assing across the globe kidnapping and killing people wholesale.  In fact I see no evidence of that in any shape or form.  I’ve heard it opined many times however.  I simply haven’t actually seen it myself. I see something very close to the exact opposite of that which you describe.

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When will the conversation be allowed to take on a global view?  When will you write of the battles in Egypt, Jordan, Columbia and Turkey, for example? Or Kuwait or Chechnya?  Bosnia and Denmark?  When will you exhaust you laser-like focus on, what you perceive to be - and you are a very small minority on the globe- the many evils of one nation?

You believe the United States has fought more wars, with no known threats against her, than any one nation spanning the past 100 years.  I have no doubt that you believed that when you wrote it.  But you could not be more wrong.  Your entire premise hinges on the false.  Lies, if you will.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

DBM

“All focus on the United States and no knowledge of the history of the Soviet Union and it’s self-stated goals of aggressive global expansionism?  Not to mention Japan’s attack on the U.S. and the ravenous brutality of Germany across Europe and Africa?”

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I believe you misconstrue my intentions with the above.  I was merely pointing out and clarifying the historical record.  The U.S. has not fought more wars or invaded more countries and put occupying forces in more places than any other nation over the last 100 years. And the United States has very clearly faced numerous real threats in the past 100 years.  That was my only point.

You see, I have no doubt that you believe in what you write.  But the things you have come to believe in (the U.S. has been in more wars, invaded more countries, was never under threat etc.) is just so clearly not correct.  It’s telling that you passionately believe that it is.  You base your entire world view on the premise that the above is true and common knowledge.  You honestly and passionately believe that it’s the United States that’s the cause of the worlds ills. 

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I’m going to speak frankly and hope you take no offense.

Do you appreciate that the globe is at war - and all which that implies?  I don’t believe you fully appreciate that it is your own American arrogance that makes this world war almost entirely about the evils of the United States.  I get no sense from your writing that you fully appreciate that there are huge numbers of people and nations fighting and dying in this global war.  Each of 100 nations fighting for their own self interest.  Not the interest of the United States.  They fight with us.  Not for us.  To think otherwise is unadulterated American arrogance.  While rooted in sincere compassion you are still, nonetheless, narrowly informed by a Western-centric media.  Particularity when it comes to whom the world is fighting and all who are involved in battles across the globe.

Correct me quickly if I am wrong.  In your writing I see you believing that much of our current discussion has more to do with the Big Bear stomping around the globe killing, kidnapping and torturing people.  And that it’s the “actions” of the Big Bear which is at the root of the trouble.

My unbending position is that the fundamental premise is false and it takes the entire globe out of all context.

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The context is quite simple if we study the enemy and their own stated end-goals. They don’t attack people all over the globe because of the actions of the United States or where U.S. soldiers happen to be stationed.  They do not attack in Riyadh or Egypt or the Philippines for the cause of the people of West Bank or Gaza.  They did not attack the USS Cole or inside United States because of Gitmo.  This enemy intends to break big things and kill as man people as possible in order to force complete submission or your nations death.  They do not and will not negotiate.  They never did with Clinton. They never did with Bush. And, according to President Obama, have refused the current U.S. President completely.

Now when will the two of us actually have a nonpartisan conversation about how to defend against this very real and increasingly lethal threat?  When will you allow the conversation to travel past being trained so intently on the evils of the United States? 

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I get the sense that you have studied a good deal regarding the actions and WORDS of the evil Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the Neo-Con cabal.  But you have not put the same effort into how less than 200 men and woman were able to kill roughly 3000 people, bring an entire nation to a halt, cost the U.S. alone roughly a trillion dollars (with estimates of almost two trillion globally) in the events of a single day.  You have not put the same amount of time into the dilemma of what it will take to prevent -hundreds- of like minded operations.  Is this not correct?

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By DBM, January 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Ok, thank you Go Right.  I think you had made your opinion quite clear but it is something altogether different to actually put fingers to keyboard and say:

“Yes, very effective and yes, in the context of war, justified.”

To put these answers next to the questions, then, you are saying:

“Yes, I support Guantanamo and all that it stands for:  Kidnap, torture, indefinite detention and lumping in of the innocent with the guilty (albeit unproven guilty).”

and

“Yes, in the context of war, victimising the innocent in their millions is a good way to stop terrorism by a few thousand (or even hundred).”

I’m afraid there are many more like you.  You claim to be a majority.  Unlike you, though, I think it DOES matter what people like you and I think.  Although we hold no direct power, even in a democracy, there is no doubt that people who think what you do make it more tolerable for those committing abhorent crimes.  This is exactly the same attitude which allows terrorists to disappear into a population moving safely from refuge to refuge because there are enough people in that population who support their violent crimes.  These people are complicit in those crimes as are you.

From a legal standpoint, American law dictates that treaties adopted by the the legislature become binding law of the land.  The actions you support are, therefore, criminal.

From a moral standpoint, you openly support an idea that protecting a few of “us” justifies hurting all of “them”.  Importantly, “they” are not a government but a number of groups loosely connected by similar grievances and choice of tactics.  However, destroying entire nations (plural) in which they reside is just fine.

From the standpoint of effectiveness, you provided a few links which you believe support the idea that all this is decreasing rather than increasing the problem you are trying to solve.  I read the articles and they don’t say anything like that, but I guess you’ll have to believe what you want to believe about the gross numbers.  What I find fascinating is that you know you personally would not react to the same approach by a foreign power in the way you say is happening but you seem to think that these “other” people are so different from you that they will behave and react entirely differently. 

Still, despite all that, I commend you for your intellectual honesty.  There are far too many people in many places who claim to be peaceful, moral and reasonable by denying the fact that they condone violence and repression.  You have honestly admitted that you’re all for it “in the context of war” and - as with everyone for the last 60 years referencing how this is analogous to dealing with Nazi Germany.  I would say that part of the lore of WWII is that the bad guys had a Gestapo, concentration camps and tortured prisoners (including waterboarding).  The good guys fought bravely against this evil resisting the Gestapo, freeing people from the concentration camps and prosecuting the criminals who had tortured their prisoners (indeed there were Japanese executed specifically for waterboarding). 

But hey, you can be on whatever side of that moral divide you choose to be on.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 21, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Still waiting on those poll numbers, Little One.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 21, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

DBM - “do you believe that the response to terrorism embodied in Guantanamo Bay are justified and effective?”

It doesn’t matter what I think.  It doesn’t matter one iota what you think.  What you fail to face is the reality of war.  According to your thinking the U.S. caused this war and, to fight that war the United States caused, she should resign herself to being attacked and prosecute those who attack after the attack occurs.  -  You are not thinking like the President of the United States.  Your positions are easy to imagine and to argue.  Not so for the president who is forced to actually deal with preventing these attacks.  But then that is not your main concern.  Your main concerns are more about perceptions. - To answer your questions; Yes, very effective and yes, in the context of war, justified.


“Are you personally behind the idea that victimising the innocent in their millions is a good way to stop terrorism by a few thousand (or even hundred)? 

Absolutely not.

“He (the Nigerian) was no doubt inspired by a twisting of muslim tenets perpetrated by people intent on fomenting a violent divide between the muslim world and the rest of the world for purposes of forging a “new world order” or some such which was more agreeable to them.  Actions by the West (led by the U.S.) in reaction to terrorism have played into these people’s hands.”

In other words you’re upset that fighting a war devised and implemented by those intent on fomenting a violent divide will serve to make those same people mad. In other words; fighting a war against those who choose to war against the world is counter-productive.  Instead of fighting a war against those who war against the world the best option, in your opinion, is to arrest the enemy after each and every attack, however, only arrest those whom we can prove, beyond all doubt, actually committed a “crime”.  In other words the better option in defeating the Germans would have been to pit lawyers against the enemy lines on the battle field.

If ending the war is your main concern then I believe you’re on the right path.  Sounds like a terrific way to end the war by losing the war.

“So is that it?  Your only response to my assertion that these actions are neither moral nor effective is the playground excuses?  “He started it.”  “Everyone does it.”  “Why pick on me?”

Those were not my words at all.  Those sentiments are pure invention on your part.  Would you be kind enough to go back and read what I actually wrote and respond to that and not what you devised for me?

How’s the healing going on the knee?

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By DBM, January 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

After you’ve answered my questions relating to your personal views, you might be interested in this article and the many links contained in the first three Comments on it.

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/a_closer_look_at_the_guantanamo_suicides_20100119/?ln

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By DBM, January 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Sure ... let’s play this game ONE more time where I answer your questions while you ignore mine:

It’s not what the U.S. did to a Nigerian muslim which made him into a murderer (or an attempted murderer if that’s a noun).  He was no doubt inspired by a twisting of muslim tenets perpetrated by people intent on fomenting a violent divide between the muslim world and the rest of the world for purposes of forging a “new world order” or some such which was more agreeable to them.  Actions by the West (led by the U.S.) in reaction to terrorism have played into these people’s hands.

As for what Bin Laden and Zawahiri said in the ‘90’s, refer “people” above.

Now, do you believe that the response to terrorism embodied in Guantanamo Bay are justified and effective?  Are you personally behind the idea that victimising the innocent in their millions is a good way to stop terrorism by a few thousand (or even hundred)?  Before you respond with “what would you do?” again ... read again my comments about treating criminals as criminals while not inspiring others to become criminals by destroying their lives.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 19, 2010 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Each and every time you’re faced with a tough question - questions that cut right to the heart of your arguments - you attempt to change the subject.  I’m beginning to think you don’t actually believe in the things you write. smile

What did the United States do to the panty-bomber to make him intent on destroying an airplane in order to kill 300 or more innocent Dutch and American citizens?

And…

Can you tell me what rationalizations Zawahiri and bin Laden put forth in order to justify a war on the “West and moderate Arab nations” in the 1990’s?

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By DBM, January 19, 2010 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

Re the last post ... you know my opinion of the healthcare reform up for approval.  It is not “reform” of healthcare provided to healthcare consumers, it is an extension of feeding time at the corporate trough.  With no reduction in profits, millions spent on lobbying and the same customers / taxpayers doing the funding, you will all end up paying even more to cover the previously uninsured.  Thank goodness there hasn’t been a dent in those profits though ... that might have hurt Wall Street.

Regarding the previous post ... C’mon Go Right - must we go around in circles?  You say you support Guantanamo and all that it stands for:  Kidnap, torture, indefinite detention and lumping in of the innocent with the guilty (albeit unproven guilty).  Everytime I ask you to explain your position and how you can justify it you try to change the subject and eventually come around to a whine about how put upon America is.  How you’re no worse than the other guys and how nasty people are out to get you. 

So is that it?  Your only response to my assertion that these actions are neither moral nor effective is the playground excuses?  “He started it.”  “Everyone does it.”  “Why pick on me?”

I’ll say again, if you were a British voter who supported these sorts of actions I’d ask you about Britain.  If you were a French voter, I’d ask you about France. You’re an American voter ... so are you in favour of these things when the U.S. does them?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama has acknowledged that the Democrats’ health care legislation is unpopular. He says the public will come to like it when it goes into effect (although some taxes kick in before the supposed benefits). Other Democrats say that once they pass it they can then persuade voters it’s a good idea, as if they haven’t been trying to do that for most of a year and conspicuously failing.

But their health care bill is not going to be passed if Brown is elected. Some Democrats are talking about delaying his swearing in and passing a bill in the meantime. Doing that in open defiance of the clearly expressed views of (Massachusetts!) voters would touch off a political firestorm unlike any we’ve seen since Richard Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Democrats up for re-election like Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln should understand that and not go along.

Obama was supposed to be a great persuader. It turns out that’s only half true. He did persuade most of us that he should be president. But in Year One, he has failed to persuade most of us to support his major proposals. He’s even moved us in the other direction. That’s clear, whatever happens in Massachusetts.  - Michael Barone

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By Go Right Young Man, January 16, 2010 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

DBM, - “the U.S. has fought more wars, invaded more countries and put occupying forces in more places than any other nation over the last 100 years.  This despite never being under direct threat of (foreign) tyranny.  Why is that?”

All focus on the United States and no knowledge of the history of the Soviet Union and it’s self-stated goals of aggressive global expansionism?  Not to mention Japan’s attack on the U.S. and the ravenous brutality of Germany across Europe and Africa?  I remain stunned by your myopic focus on the United States and your ability to almost completely ignore the globe as a whole!

Japan, Germany, Syria, Iran, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Libya and the Soviet Union were never a threat?

-

“I would suggest that at least of few of 3,000,000 people will want to fight back and a few of those will achieve the means to do so.”

And you did it again.  You took the very real dilemma of how to defend against a single weapon capable of taking the lives of 300 to 3000 Americans and turned it into a moral issue concerning U.S. foreign policy.  You completely ignored a dilemma that must be dealt with in order to make your point, yet again, on how horrific the U.S. is on the world.

It’s unfortunate that, in your laser-like focus on the United States, you had never come across the history of how the U.S. spilled her own blood and spent her own treasure to help tens of millions of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon, North Africa and the thousands of years old Arabs of the Marshlands? Or how the United States gives more food, medicine, text books and clothing to Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza than all Arab nations combined.  This, in light of the fact that many Arab countries are some of the wealthiest per capita nations in all of human history, is stunning.

What did the United States do to the panty-bomber to make him intent on destroying an airplane in order to kill 300 or more innocent Dutch and American citizens?  Was it the electricity the United States has provided to remote villages all across Africa - saving lives and helping to lift several million human beings out of abject poverty?  Or was it the Millennium Challenge which the United Nations credits for saving the lives of 50 million Muslims?

Or might it have had something to do with what he was taught by Anwar al-Awlaki who believes that the six billion people on the globe should submit to the will of Allah or die?

My friend, do so hope you take the time to study the enemy and what they themselves state to be their goals.  You are taking the entire globe out of context.

-

Can you tell me what rationalizations Zawahiri and bin Laden put forth in order to justify a war on the “West and moderate Arab nations” in the 1990’s?

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

“The United States has never suffered a tyrant on the world.  By their nature free people are not eager to war.”

I agree that that is the sentiment of most American people ... after all they are sane.  However, in practice, the U.S. has fought more wars, invaded more countries and put occupying forces in more places than any other nation over the last 100 years.  This despite never being under direct threat of (foreign) tyranny.  Why is that?

——————————————

“While you may be correct you simultaneously ignore the very real dilemma of what it takes to prevent that single trained weapon, with pinpoint accuracy onto 300 people, from accomplishing it’s destructive assault.”

If it takes displacing 3,000,000 people to prevent that single trained weapon is it appropriate?  (“displace” is nice way of describing kicking someone out of their house and moving them to a refugee camp - destroying their lives.)  I would suggest that at least of few of 3,000,000 people will want to fight back and a few of those will achieve the means to do so.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

” agree whole-heartedly about all that is between these two statements.  Interesting then that we totally agree on the symptoms but not the solution.  Markets are not natural phenomena, they are a creation of man.  There are some industries where they do not work well but mostly they do ... if allowed to.  Stossel nails some of the most egregious examples (though missing out the military-industrial complex) but I think he overly simplifies things by assuming all government regulation is crony capitalism.  The banking and finance sector, for instance, is a special case.  In the absence of appropriate regulations the moral hazzards have proven to be too much to resist.”


-

HOT DOG!  Right there I agree with you completely!

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

DBM - “Go Right, you live in one of the safest countries in the world.  Get over the fear.  IF you are reading terrorist leaders directly, then perhaps you are falling directly under their sway.  You are feeling the fear they want you to feel and supporting the actions they want you to support.  I strongly suspect you are reading excerpts like most Westerners and that yours are being selected by people who benefit from your fear.”

-

I would be eager to know what you believe after 30 days of studying some of the murderous groups you yourself describe.  After you learn more directly what they aspire to.  What some are teaching those who would follow their example.

You may gain a richer context into why the Panty-Bomber, a single man, intended to destroy a plane while specifically targeting 300 civilians over Detroit.—and I beg you don’t turn that act into another comparable or more horrific wrong on the part of the United States.  While you may be correct you simultaneously ignore the very real dilemma of what it takes to prevent that single trained weapon, with pinpoint accuracy onto 300 people, from accomplishing it’s destructive assault.

A single weapon capable of killing 300 people.  In any city of their choosing.  And at the exact time of their choosing.  That is what was deployed by the people you call al Qaeda.

-

The United States has never suffered a tyrant on the world.  By their nature free people are not eager to war.

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

While that was going to be my last post for a while (I’m pretty busy and getting frustrated that you don’t seem to think about what I say - just come back with talking points) I must commend you on the Stossel article ... you’re right I did find it interesting. 

I think the article is bracketed by a couple of overly simplistic points:

“... moral support to all the politicians who were intent on exploiting the recession (as they exploit all crises) to increase government control of the economy.”  Refer Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine ...

and then at the end,

“Adam Smith knew the difference—and chose the free-market.”  Smith wrote about the collusion of businesses, not necessarily involving the government.

I agree whole-heartedly about all that is between these two statements.  Interesting then that we totally agree on the symptoms but not the solution.  Markets are not natural phenomena, they are a creation of man.  There are some industries where they do not work well but mostly they do ... if allowed to.  Stossel nails some of the most egregious examples (though missing out the military-industrial complex) but I think he overly simplifies things by assuming all government regulation is crony capitalism.  The banking and finance sector, for instance, is a special case.  In the absence of appropriate regulations the moral hazzards have proven to be too much to resist.

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

We are quite circular now Go Right ... you see, what I’m trying to understand is HOW and WHY you think as you do and you don’t seem to want to think about that.  For WHAT you think I have only to peruse the American media on any given day.  Pretty clearly though, the answer seems to be that introspection is unnecessary as long as you can focus on things that are being done to you by others.  With the media whipping up the idea that others are out to get you, you are able to suspend your morals and maintain inconsistent ideas presumably as some sort of defence mechanism.

Go Right, you live in one of the safest countries in the world.  Get over the fear.  IF you are reading terrorist leaders directly, then perhaps you are falling directly under their sway.  You are feeling the fear they want you to feel and supporting the actions they want you to support.  I strongly suspect you are reading excerpts like most Westerners and that yours are being selected by people who benefit from your fear.

And so I suppose I come to the end of my search and sadly it is exactly what was advertised.  Fear.  That is sad because fear seems to be very easy to whip up and it clearly trumps morality and reason.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

“All Americans can remain proud of electing a president whose father was a Kenyan immigrant — a feat none of our sharpest critics in the world could have accomplished.”

-Ken Mellman

Absolutely correct.  Not a single amongst our loudest critics can claim anything close.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

DBM,

Interesting article you may appreciate.

January 13, 2010
Take the ‘Crony’ Out of ‘Crony Capitalism’
By John Stossel

When Judge Richard Posner, the prolific conservative intellectual, released his book “A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ‘08 and the Descent Into Depression” last year, you might have thought the final verdict was in: Capitalism caused the economic downturn and high unemployment.

More….
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/01/13/lets_take_the_crony_out_of_crony_capitalism__99873.html

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

DBM,

Nasrallah and his ilk have declared war on all Arab nations that profess moderation and reject his brand of Islam.  If you’ve been aware of this you have certainly kept it to yourself.  Why?

If I may?  Can you look up and read “Sharia and Democracy” along with “Jihad, Martyrdom and the Killing of Innocents”?*

Given your passion on this subject I’m unclear as to why you would take the word of another as to what our enemies teach and what their goals are.  I would think you’d wish to know, first hand, what they teach and what they themselves state their goals are.

*You can find these documents on Google Books.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

DBM - “There appears to be no way to give you the perspective to see your folly.” smile

That is correct.  Not when you have neglected to take the time to know, for yourself, the stated goals of our enemies.  You sincerely believe those goals have everything to do with the United States.  But Dr. Zawahiri would disagree with you.  I know this because I have taken the time to read what he teaches.  You have not.  But, yet, you want to debate something you have very little knowledge of?  I am the one engaged in folly?

It’s also interesting that you failed to notice that I have not once used the term “war on terror”. 

We will agree that the U.S. never went to war with Japanese submarines or German tanks.  And we will likely agree that the media has done everyone a great disservice by using the term “war on terror”.  As it was a terrific disservice for the Bush Administration to do the same.

How do I get you to read the teachings of Dr. Zawahiri, bin Laden and Nasrallah so that we can discuss the same pages they do?

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

DBM- “That cannot be achieved while playing into al Qaeda’s hands in the ways I’ve described.”


I’m sorry but you cannot say that while never having read or followed the teaching of Zawahiri, Nasrallah or bin Laden.  You have simply taken an al Qaeda pretext press release and giving it great weight without the benefit of actually knowing what these men’s very specific stated goals are.

If what you believe is correct then why are people in China, Chechnya, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, India, Sudan, Bosnia and Japan targeted by Islamic fanatics?

You are still putting all your concentration on the United States and ignoring the globe.  You are still assuming that al Qaeda types are honorable in their statements while all others are not. 

Are you aware of how many pretexts bin Laden has used to justify his war?  Can you tell me what those justifications have been since the early 1990’s?

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

I really really hope that America does not continue down your path of playing into al Qaeda’s hands.

There appears to be no way to give you the perspective to see your folly.  You are impregnable to logic and you have managed to cover yourself morally (though I really can’t understand how).  If indeed, as you like to gloat to Ardee, there are enough of you to obstruct a change in course I fear it will not end well.

I would say simply “Good luck” ... but it will affect us all.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

DBM - “but to say that I “romanticise” al Qaeda or any other murderous group is bullshit.”

Go back and re-read your posts.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

DBM- “The continued adherence to key Bush/Cheney policies has sent these figures steadily in the other direction again.”

Show me how you know that?

-

There is no need to reprint what I sent you.  I’ve read them all and more.  What you cannot do is change the bottom line.  Al Qaeda appears to be, contrary to what you once believed in, less popular as time goes by.

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By Go Right Young Man, January 13, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Still waiting on the Little One to produce all those polls illustrating overwhelming American support for a progressive agenda.

There can be only one reason the boy has not appeared again on this subject.  He has failed miserably to find what he desired to be true.

We see how perception is everything.  I have no doubt that the boy once believed in what he stated here.  I have little doubt that he will revert right back to believing in it again against all evidence to the contrary.

-

Conservative FOX:  O’Reilly 8P Ratings 1072 - Rising
Progressive MSNBC: Olbermann 8P Ratings 406 - Falling

Oh and, in this “overwhelmingly progressive” nation, Glenn Beck is the only one to ever, in all of American publishing history, to have five best sellers on the market simultaneously…LMAO!  Now THAT is funny! smile

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

“Human nature, which you and I cannot change, demands that only a handful of nations will be “the most powerful” on earth.  Currently it’s the United States that is considered to be “The Super power”. 

All of human nature and human history tells us one thing. This one thing you will never be able to deny.  Being on top means others will attack in order to bring you down.

So you choose.  Which nation or population would you have as the most powerful?”

I hadn’t seen this update ... brilliant question! 

You see, I think history would support the idea that some empires last while others do not and in many cases empires last because the empire is “tolerable”.  When an empire is violent and intolerable, it is inherently unstable because people do NOT wish it to be the most powerful.  Off the top of my head:

*  Rome took taxes and tribute but largely left nations to self-govern and they brought “civilisation” in the form of roads and trade to many places.

*  England exploited their colonies economically but similarly allowed a large degree of self-government and similarly incorporated many nations into their “Commonwealth”.

*  The U.S. has exploited many countries economically but allowed a very large degree of self-government (indeed the facade of total independence), it has spread the ideals of Democracy as well as providing protection from the Soviet Union.

None of these are perfect but all less violent and more stable than say, the empires of Ghengis Khan or Alexander the Great.

However, now protection from the Soviet Union is not relevant.  Furthermore, the crimes committed in the war on terror have given the U.S. far more violent, less moral image in the world.  This is risky behaviour.  It matters not that I am quite happy for the U.S. to remain the most powerful country in the world ... my whole “moral high ground” point is that there are millions of people who may have been supportive or uncommitted (apolitical you might say) who are now very much against U.S. power.  To turn this around and reach a more stable state (i.e. reduce the incidence of terrorism = resistance), the U.S. must again achieve that “moral high ground”.

That cannot be achieved while playing into al Qaeda’s hands in the ways I’ve described.

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By DBM, January 13, 2010 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Anyhow ... my two questions remain and really would help me understand where you are coming from.  You keep on saying you’re not in favour of any of it but then say that you want to win the war.  I guess the real question is, would you be willing to risk trying to win the war without commiting war crimes?  Even if the other guys commit war crimes?

My reason for asking this is that I also want an end to terrorism in any form.  In the current case of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism I believe that most promising tactic is to “take the high moral ground” so as to “win the hearts and minds” of peace-loving Muslims everywhere (which, as with all populations, I would expect to be the vast majority).  You may think this is naive and that you would be fighting with one hand tied behind you back.  I think it is naive to believe it can be done any other way.

—————————-

BTW - I realise I have been putting you on the spot after your professed support for the tactics embodied in Guantanamo ... but to say that I “romanticise” al Qaeda or any other murderous group is bullshit. 

The reason I ask you about the actions of the United States is because you are American.  If I was talking to a Brit I would be asking about British actions.  If I was talking to a Saudi I would be asking about theirs.  It is too easy (childish?) to say “the other guy does it too” or “they started it”.  What do you suggest that your country does?

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