Author: BooMan

“They Blew Up Their Poster Boy”

“Pat had high ideals about the country; that’s why he did what he did,” Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son’s death. “The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting.”
Wash Post: Free Reg

Former NFL star safety Pat Tillman’s parents are outraged that the military deceived them about the circumstances of his death in Afghanistan. They’re also outraged that the Republicans used Tillman’s death as a distraction from Abu Ghraib. If anyone doubts that the GOP did this, here’s a reminder:

“The O’Reilly Factor,” May 27, 2004

O’REILLY: Now are you buying into the — this is just a hazing thing at Abu Ghraib?

COULTER: What, the media is hazing the American people by seeing how much we can take?

O’REILLY: Some of the right wing commentators say it’s just hazing, what’s the big deal? Are you buying into that?

COULTER: No, I don’t think anyone is.

O’REILLY: No, they are. You know that. I’m not going to embarrass people but on the radio, talk radio you have right wing commentators say it’s just hazing, what’s the big deal?

COULTER: If I know what you’re referring to, there were two hours and 59 minutes not saying that and at one point making fun of liberals for making fun of — if you’re talking about Rush, but Rush went on…

O’REILLY: …program and he said it’s not a big deal, it’s just hazing.

COULTER: If you’re talking about Rush, he definitely didn’t say that. What other talk radio hosts say…

O’REILLY: I compete against him every day on the radio and I know what he says. He said many, many times and not only him that it wasn’t a big deal.

COULTER: No, he didn’t say that, but whatever — no.

O’REILLY: What’s your point of view on it?

COULTER: I think that — it was a bad thing, it’s six malefactors in an army that is 1.4 million strong and if I hear about it again I’m going to leap out of my skin. This is the media trying to demoralize America. This is the new Tet Offensive.

O’REILLY: I agree with you. I think it’s been overreported. But you aren’t diminishing the horror of the situation?

COULTER: Of course not. But no one is, so what are they debating about? Why am I not hearing four weeks about Pat Tillman? How come every night going through Pat Tillman’s life rather than hearing about these six or seven…
Faux News

Open Thread

I mean, how much more evidence do we need exactly to confirm the completely undeniable fact that the administration bent every rule and was reflexively dishonest in almost every way about the claims of Iraqi WMD?
Joshua Micah Marshall

OSI, Safire, and Facts Fixed Around Policy

In November 2001, Douglas Feith quietly set up the Office of Strategic Influence inside the Pentagon. The office was run by Brigadier General Simon P. Worden. In February 2002, the existence of the office was leaked and reported by the New York Times.

One of the office’s proposals calls for planting news items with foreign media organizations through outside concerns that might not have obvious ties to the Pentagon, officials familiar with the proposal said.

General Worden envisions a broad mission ranging from “black” campaigns that use disinformation and other covert activities to “white” public affairs that rely on truthful news releases, Pentagon officials said.

“It goes from the blackest of black programs to the whitest of white,” a senior Pentagon official said.
NYT: Common Dreams

The resulting global outrage was so searing that Rumsfeld was forced to announce that the OSI would be closed. Yet, as Rumsfeld later admitted, the mission of the office was merely divided up among other Pentagon agencies:

“And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And “oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.” I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.

That was intended to be done by that office is being done by that office, NOT by that office in other ways.”

Secretary Rumsfeld- Media Availability En Route to Chile, Monday, Nov. 18, 2002. Defense Link

That’s fairly clear, right?

:::flip:::

Journalists and the Pentagon

Howard Kurtz, of Reliable Sources, just asked why journalists always assume, as a default position, that the military is lying. Well, Howie take a look at the following juxtaposition.

“I could never see any criminal intent on the part of the M.P.’s to cause the detainee to die,” one of the lawyers, Maj. Jeff A. Bovarnick, later told investigators, referring to one of the deaths. “We believed the M.P.’s story, that this was the most combative detainee ever.”
NYT: Free Reg

At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend…When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.
NYT: Free Reg

And what’s worse:

Military lawyers noted that the autopsies of the two dead detainees had found severe trauma to both prisoners’ legs – injuries that a coroner later compared to the effect of being run over by a bus…Mr. Dilawar, weighed only 122 pounds and was described by interpreters as neither violent nor aggressive.

It’s stories like this that explain why journalists assume the military is lying. Of course, stories like Jessica Lynch don’t help either, nor does their ridiculous attempt to blame Zarqawi for every single thing that goes wrong in Iraq.

Crumbling Walls

Paul Craig Roberts warned the Republican Party that invading Iraq would be a folly that would lead to their destruction. Mr. Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan, is no weak-willed, pin-headed surrender monkey. In the same column, he complained, “Sooner or later, whites will wake up to the realization that they are being marginalized in their own country, and they will cease to support the two political parties that have marginalized them.” He’s a solid Trent Lott Republican.

Originally published on January 29th, 2003.

The Republican Party will not survive its invasion of Iraq, its commitment to open borders and its pandering to preferred minorities.

An invasion of Iraq is likely the most thoughtless action in modern history. It has the support of only two overlapping small groups: neoconservatives infused with the spirit of 18th century French Jacobins who want to impose American “exceptionalism” on the rest of the world, and foreign policy advisers who believe that the primary aim of U.S. foreign policy is to make the Middle East safe for Israel.

No one else sees the point of the pending conflict. Abroad, there is no meaningful support. Nuclear powers Russia and China are in opposition, as are NATO allies Germany and France. The Bush administration is reduced to boasting of support from Hungary and Poland.

What is the invasion all about? The administration’s answer strains credulity: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that threaten the United States. These weapons are yet to be discovered by the UN inspectors who are combing the country. The paucity of evidence caused the Bush administration to declare a few empty artillery shells found in a bombed-out bunker to be the evidence necessary to launch an invasion.

The back-up excuse is that Saddam Hussein is a bad man. No doubt he is a brute, but any secular ruler, who has to sit on three separate groups (Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds) ready to split Iraq apart, is likely to resort to harsh measures.

With or without casualties, U.S. military forces can overthrow Saddam Hussein. But what comes next? What government takes over? How does that government remain in power? How do we get out?

:::flip:::

The Big Lebowski and Saddam’s Dirty Undies

PARKING LOT

Walter and the Dude walk to the Dude’s car.  The ‘Pomeranian’ trots happily behind Walter who totes the empty carrier.

DUDE
You can’t do that man.  These guys, you
know, they’re like me, they’re pacificists.
Smokey was a conscientious objector.

WALTER
You know Dude, I myself dabbled with
pacifism at one point.  Not in Nam,
of course–

DUDE
And you know he’s got emotional
problems man!

WALTER
You mean–beyond pacifism?

DUDE
He’s fragile, very fragile!

As the two men get into the car:

WALTER
Huh.  I did not know that.  Well,
it’s all water under the bridge.  And we
do enter the next round-robin, am I
wrong?

DUDE
No, you’re not wrong–

WALTER
Am I wrong!

DUDE
You’re not wrong, Walter, you’re
just an asshole.

WALTER
Okay then.  We play Quintana and
O’Brien next week.  They should be
pushovers.

They watch a squad car take a squealing turn into the lot.

DUDE
Man, willya just, just take it easy, man.

WALTER
You know, that’s your answer for everything,
Dude.  And let me point out something–pacifism
is not–look at our current situation
with that camelfucker in Iraq–
pacifism is not something to hide
behind.

DUDE
Just take it easy, man.

WALTER
I’m perfectly calm, Dude.

DUDE
Yeah?  Wavin’ the fuckin’ gun around?!

WALTER
(smugly)
Calmer than you are.

This irritates the Dude further.

DUDE
Will you just take it easy?

Walter is still smug.

WALTER
Calmer than you are.

Are We at War, or Not?

There is an issue, a topic, that has been lurking around the back of my mind. It keeps cropping up in different contexts, and it’s paralyzing. Every time I try to articulate it, I find that I can’t whittle it down below book length.

But I can articulate the question, even if I can’t figure out how to concisely answer it.

Are we at war, or not?

:::flip:::

Why I Love America

I received a good public education. It was a Cold War education. There were two things that my education succeeded in instilling in me.

First, you’ve got to be nuts to admit that you don’t believe in the Biblical God. And, second, you’ve got to be a crazed lunatic to believe in Marxist-Leninism. I believe the Cold War generations were so thoroughly indoctrinated into these two dogmas, that every politician understands and abides by the same wisdom.

George Washington could not tell a lie. Lincoln is known as ‘Honest Abe’. Santa Claus lives on 34th street. And George Bush is a resolute ‘compassionate’ conservative.

I love American myths. In fact, ironically, when I actually studied Washington and Lincoln, I gained respect for them. When I studied Martin Luther King, Jr., I gained respect for him. Even though I was quickly disabused of the saintly myths I had been taught about these historical figures, the truth was even more impressive than the lies.

:::flip:::