Archive for the ‘Iraq and WoT Stuff’ Category

“And Then, on June 6 1944, Came the Sun”

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Hat tip to FARK.

Man Shoots Self in Nards

Monday, May 31st, 2010

MyNorthwest. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit this about my old stomping grounds. Those disparaging things Californians and Easterners say about the moss west of the Cascades, the mildew, the slugs, the rain 350 days a year, how it puts mold on your brain and slowly starts to eat it out of your skull?

It’s not such a rare thing I find myself nodding that they might be right. This is the kind of story that, er, makes that go off.

Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the testicles at a Lynnwood department store.

Police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions says the man was carrying his handgun in his waistband and it accidentally went off about noon Sunday.

She says he was wounded in the testicles and also in his leg and foot. No one else was hurt.

The man was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but there was no immediate word on his condition.

Went to a going-away party Friday for a colleague who got a job with Google. He’s going up to this area, will be living in Kirkland. This makes me somewhat envious. I’d say the one spot I was most sorry for having left, would be Kirkland. That may be because of the horrible chapter that followed. This was twenty years ago.

But back to the subject at hand: I must make a note to update my list of things I don’t want to see in movies ever again, with this testicular injury/jeopardy. Tucking a (often very large caliber) sidearm into the waistband; and while I’m at it, vaulting over a balcony railing from the third or second story, onto a horse. Oof.

Maybe some holster manufacturing company can put out a PSA. Holsters == good. Get one.

Memorial Day 2010

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

“Try not to forget what it’s about.”

Video embed removed 6/4/10 because it started auto-playing its advertisements.

You can view it here.

Hat tip to Daphne, who got it from Sippican.

“Leaving Islam?”

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Fox News:

The questions on the ads aren’t subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?

A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called RefugefromIslam.com, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.

Pamela Geller, who leads an organization called Stop Islamization of America, said the ads were meant to help provide resources for Muslims who are fearful of leaving the faith.

“It’s not offensive to Muslims, it’s religious freedom,” she said. “It’s not targeted at practicing Muslims. It doesn’t say ‘leave,’ it says ‘leaving’ with a question mark.”

Geller said the ad buy cost about $8,000, contributed by the readers of her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and other websites. Similar ads have run on buses in Miami, and she said ad buys were planned for other cities.

Atlas Shrugs is here.

I hope it doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. After all, I recall barely a ripple of discontent a couple years ago when Richard Dawkins launched his “There Is Probably No God” campaign.

Sauce? Goose? Gander?

Matthew McCabe Not Guilty

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Ah, now here’s some really good news. Wonderful. Needed some.

A Virginia military jury found a Navy SEAL not guilty Thursday on all charges he punched an Iraqi suspected in the 2004 killings of four U.S. contractors in Fallujah.

“I’m really happy right now,” Matthew McCabe, the Navy SEAL, told Fox News shortly after hearing the outcome of the court martial. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m on cloud nine right now.”

McCabe, a special operations petty officer second class, called the proceedings “troubling at times,” adding “having your career on the line is not an easy thing to handle.

McCabe was the third and final Navy SEAL to be prosecuted in the case. He had faced charges of assault, making a false official statement and dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee. McCabe was accused of punching last year is Ahmed Hashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of the grisly killings six years ago.

After the court martial, the 24-year-old from Perrysburg, Ohio, thanked the public for its continued support.

“It’s been great everything they’ve done,” he told Fox News. “But, don’t worry about it anymore. We are putting this all behind us. It’s done and over with. I’m going to try not to think about this ever again.”

Respectfully disagree on your last, SEAL. You should stop worrying.

We, as a country, have let these men down because we’ve allowed something to get all bolluxed and gunnybags. It’s an old problem with defenders and invaders, constables and crooks. When good squares off against evil, how often should we question whether the good is good? Bearing in mind that when good is questioned about being good, it m-u-s-t stop what it’s doing and give us an answer…whereas evil is not similarly troubled. Therefore, making sure you’re on the right path supporting the good, noble an intention as that may be, possesses an inherent tendency to create an imbalance of power. Not such a good thing to do in the middle of a conflict. Good, therefore, is put in a position where it can be defeated just by being questioned, if it’s done enough. There has to be a limit to how much we allow it to be put to question. The constable can wear only so many leg irons while he’s chasing the convict.

The three SEALs committed an alleged offense against an alleged terrorist. In that sentence, the word alleged occurs twice, but it is not interpreted the same way by the people whose decisions count. One “alleged” might as well not be in there, and the other one’s a wink-wink-nod-nod.

Given that, can I question one thing about the status quo? Anytime any formation of people is authorized to physically corral another, marks on the body shouldn’t by themselves drive prosecutions just because it isn’t an all-out fight. Think about it. The human body is built to be bruised. Ever rough-house with your kids? How carried away do you have to get in order to give yourself a blue mark on your forearm, or a fat lip. Maybe you won’t notice until later you peeled back one of your fingernails. And sometimes it’s the kid who gets a shiner. Ever have an “uh oh” moment like that with one of your kids? How would you like to spend twenty years in Leavenworth over it, or face the prospect of it every time it happens?

These people are put in charge of enemies, some of whom are still determined to fight back. The instructions those enemies have already read, are very clear about the weaknesses in our system, how far they can get bringing down the Great Satan by making things up. It is their documented tactic; we know this.

I said at Cassy’s place a new Joe McCarthy wouldn’t be such a bad idea right about now. Maybe our legal system, within and outside of the DoD, has not been infiltrated by communists. But by their tactics, it’s getting hard to tell ‘em apart from communists lately. And I see no reason to presume innocence on the part of the prosecutors, when we aren’t willing to do exactly the same thing on behalf of the SEALs. Let’s be consistent, presume guilt there, and let ‘em prove otherwise.

Hey, a guy can dream.

A Father’s Promise, a Son’s Sacrifice

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

“The letter sat on the dresser for four years.”

Robert Gilbert never opened it. He only touched the envelope when he needed to dust around it. He wanted to give it back to his son unopened.

Every time his Marine son was deployed, his son would ask, “You still got my letter?”

His dad never wanted to read what was inside an envelope marked: “Dad, open this if I am wounded. Love, Robert.”

The call to open it came March 8.

“Is Robert Gilbert there?” a voice from Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va., said.

“Junior or Senior?” Robert said.

“Senior.”

The father felt his stomach drop even before he heard the words: “Your son has been injured in Afghanistan.”

When he heard his son received “possibly a mortal wound,” he sat on the bed, opened the yellow envelope and pulled out four handwritten pages of spiral notebook paper.

I’m sorry if you’re reading this…

Hat tip to Cassy.

Horace Greasley

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Telegraph:

Horace GreasleyThe reason for the frequency with which Greasley put his life in danger, he admitted with engaging good humour and frankness, was simple: he had embarked on a romance with a local German girl. Rosa Rauchbach was, if anything, running even greater risks than Greasley.

A translator at the camp where he was imprisoned, she had concealed her Jewish roots from the Nazis. Discovery of their affair would almost certainly have meant doom for them both.

Greasley recounted the almost incredible details of his wartime romance in the book Do The Birds Still Sing In Hell? (2008), which he had been “thinking about and threatening to write” for almost 70 years. But while the book is described as an “autobiographical novel”, the story was largely confirmed at his debriefing by MI9 intelligence officers shortly after the war.

Horace Joseph Greasley, nicknamed Jim, was one of twin boys born on Christmas Day 1918 at Ibstock, Leicestershire. He was 20 and working as a young hairdresser when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, and the Military Training Act made all men between the ages of 18 and 40 legally liable for call-up. Horace and his twin brother Harold were conscripted in the first draft.

A client whose hair he was cutting offered, when Horace mentioned that he was going into the Army, to get him a job as a fireman, a reserved occupation which would actually pay better than joining the services. Horace Greasley turned the offer down.

But his war proved a short one. After seven weeks’ training with the 2nd/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, he landed in France at the end of the “Phoney War” as one of the British Expeditionary Force; on May 25 1940, during the retreat to Dunkirk, he was taken prisoner at Carvin, south of Lille.

Maybe this will be a pick-me-up for your long weekend. You can pour yourself a nice tall cold one, and say a toast to a true hero with balls of solid rock.

Robert Gibbs on FNS

Monday, February 1st, 2010

It’s clear, from this, that if I ever want to sell a big ‘ol plate of bullshit to somebody, Bagdad Bob Gibbs is my guy.

If I ever want to figure out what’s going on…he isn’t.

Hat tip to Boortz, who has quite a bit more to add:

I was sitting there in paradise watching Chris Wallace interview Obama’s doughboy Robert Gibbs. The questioning was about the decision to read the PantyBomber his Miranda rights. Chris Wallace wanted a simple answer to one question: Was President Obama notified before the decision was made – by whoever made the decision – to give Abdulmutallab his Miranda warning. Does that sound like a trick question to anyone? Either Obama knew that the CrotchBomber was going to get his Miranda rights, or Obama didn’t know.

So … here’s the transcript:

WALLACE: Minute left. Our top intelligence and homeland security officials told Congress this week that none of them were consulted beforehand on the decision to charge the Christmas Day bomber, Abdulmutallab, as a criminal defendant.

And we’ve now learned that he was read his Miranda rights on the day he was arrested, on Christmas Day, after just 50 minutes of interrogation. You said this week that it was Attorney General Holder who made that decision. Was the president informed before or after the decision was implemented?

GIBBS: Which decision?

WALLACE: The decision to charge Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant and not treat him as an enemy combatant.

GIBBS: Well, Chris, the charges didn’t happen until several days later, and everybody…

WALLACE: Well, he was read his Miranda rights. Was the decision — was the president…

GIBBS: Right.

WALLACE: … told before or after…

GIBBS: That decision was made by the Justice Department and the FBI, with experienced FBI interrogators. But understand this, Chris. Make no mistake. Abdulmutallab was interrogated and valuable intelligence was gotten as a result of that interrogation.

Wallace pressed the issue, but Gibbs just flatly refused to answer the question. Sadly, Wallace didn’t demand an answer. Perhaps Wallace was afraid that if he pushed the issue any further he would never get the President’s spokesman on the show again.

My girlfriend has a pet peeve that reads very much like one of mine: Men who say “to be honest…” This is one of the reasons, I think, that we get along well. Her logic is completely durable: If, after those three words, you’re going to start being honest — what in the hell have you been doing the rest of the time? And how long are you going to be honest? How do I know when you’re going to go back to being dishonest again?

Newt Gingrich Impeaches Judges

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

This is pretty damn good. Wish I knew about it when it was going down:

Hang with it to the very end.

The Terror This Time

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Wall Street Journal editors take a hard look at what’s going on, and what our leaders are prepared to do, with regard to the recently increased “terror tempo”:

This increasing terror tempo makes the Obama Administration’s reflexive impulse to treat terrorists like routine criminal suspects all the more worrisome. It immediately indicted Mr. Abdulmutallab on criminal charges of trying to destroy an aircraft, despite reports that he told officials he had ties to al Qaeda and had picked up his PETN explosive in Yemen. The charges mean the Nigerian can only be interrogated like any other defendant in a criminal case, subject to having a lawyer present and his Miranda rights read.

Yet he is precisely the kind of illegal enemy combatant who should be interrogated first with the goal of preventing future attacks and learning more about terror networks rather than gaining a single conviction. We now have to hope he cooperates voluntarily.

It’s a debate between an active defense, and a passive one.

Except it isn’t being debated quite so much.

Napolitano: “The System Worked”

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Ace of Spades:

The words coming out of her mouth have no relation to anything close to reality.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: “We’re asking the same questions.”

Mind-boggling, especially in view of this.

Someone explain to me again how the adults are in charge now.

Update: Jonah Goldberg can’t see any excuse. He says to can her, period, full stop, right now.

Update: Bookworm deconstructs, Cassy adroitly summarizes the administration’s bizarre handling of this incident and Gerard photoshops.

Update: Something going on in Nigeria? Another passenger from there is disruptive.

Update: Congressmen King and Hoekstra don’t seem to be in agreement on this part about the system working (hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air):

King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, also said that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough in raising awareness of the risks of Islamic terrorism – a point echoed by his House Republican colleague, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.).

“It’s important for the president or the secretary to be more out there and reminding people just how real this threat was and how deadly it is,” Kind said. “For the first three months of this administration, they refused to use the word terrorism.”

“This is a teaching moment,” he went on. “I believe he or the secretary or the vice president or the attorney general should be out there reminding the American people that this shows how deadly this enemy is, this shows how real this threat is, and how we have to do whatever we can to protect the American people.”

Update 12/28/09: The Secretary is backpedaling like crazy, says her comments were “taken out of context.” Yeah she’s playin’ that card. Video behind the link.

Northwest/Delta Flight 253

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

American Thinker may have the best article up about this, and they definitely have the best lead-in I’ve seen so far (hat tip to PalinTwibe‘s twitter feed):

The passengers of Northwest/Delta Airlines Flight 253 are lucky they are still alive. They should be the last passengers in the US exposed to this kind of risk because of political correctness.

Update: I first learned about Jasper Schuringa at Blogger Friend Rick’s page, and it looks like a lot of other folks first learned about him there as well. Congratulations to our friend for the scoop.

Jasper Schuringa, a video director and producer from Amsterdam, told CNN how he helped the cabin crew to subdue Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old who reportedly ignited a small explosive device on board the plane Friday as it prepared to land in Detroit.

Thanks also from Amsterdam’s acting Prime Minister:

According to the Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, the Acting Dutch Prime Minister Wouter Bos today thanked Dutch video director and producer from Amsterdam, Jasper Schuringa, for his actions aboard the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Bos thanked Schuringa on behalf of the Dutch Cabinet for the role he played in subduing the alleged terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and possibly preventing a tragedy.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has video:

Tony Blair States the Obvious, Critics Cannot Handle It

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Go, Tony:

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he would have found a justification for invading Iraq even without the now-discredited evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to produce weapons of mass destruction.

“I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean, obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat,” Blair told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast this morning.

It was a startling admission from the onetime British leader, who was President Bush’s staunchest ally in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

Blair’s comments were immediately denounced by critics who accused him of using false pretenses to drag Britain into an unpopular war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of allied troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

What you’re seeing — on the other side of this little dust-up — is nothing less than the most successful propaganda drive since Roman times. “An unpopular war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of allied troops and thousands of blah blah blah blah blah.” The logic is absurd. You’d never in a million years say “Oh dear if only Saddam was still in charge things would be so much better and so many dead people would now still be alive.” Why is it so absurd, when “we all” have bought it and gobbled it up so fast? Because it was sold to us. Taking Saddam down, equals war and death. Leaving Saddam standing, equals peace, love and life. This is stupid. Lunatic and mind-blisteringly stupid.

Saul Alinsky tactics all the way. To merely acknowledge the brutality of Saddam and his two psychotic sons, has been frozen-and-personalized. It is extremist and partisan…even though it is nothing more than a simple observation.

I’ve actually spoken to leftists — not extreme leftists, at least they didn’t think of themselves that way, although they were certainly dedicated — who acknowledge Saddam was trying to build a nuclear weapon but the right thing to do would’ve been to leave him alone.

We let these people vote why? I’m quite serious. If you can’t see what’s dangerous about this, maybe you shouldn’t be voting either.

Call it a pre-crime if you want. That asshole needed to go.

And what’s up with this word “discredit”? Why is it being so selectively applied. I seem to recall Ted Danson said in 1988 that if we didn’t all go hardcore environmentalist right then & there, the oceans would disappear in ten years. So is all the global-warming alarmist rhetoric “discredited” as of 1998? What about To Big To Fail, is that discredited too? How about stimulus spending? Shouldn’t that be discredited?

Whatever, Los Angeles Times. You call it “discredited,” I call it a success. Mission Accomplished. Saddam Hussein was there, and now he isn’t. This is where all members of the human race with a working brain say “thank you.”

But I guess people who write for newspapers aren’t part of that.

Barack Hussein Bush

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Barack Hussein BushMan, I’ll bet the anti-war zealots are really pissed.

I’m talking about Barry’s Nobel speech. Blogger friend Buck sent me an offline, curious about my thoughts, noting that Sarah Palin liked it more-or-less just fine. (We are, newcomers can tell from the artwork, decidedly in her camp; our New Mexico friend sees something wrong with the safety net, and at this late hour is opting to remain in the burning building.) “Caribou Barbie” includes, it should be noted, a caveat in her positive remarks:

But while blowing a kiss, Palin also took a jab, suggesting Obama study the actions of his predecessor as he navigates two wars abroad. “By the way, I’d like to see President Obama follow more closely in the footsteps of George Bush and his passion for keeping the homeland safe,” she said.

So naturally Buck wanted to know my reaction. Well, I played a round of Obama Speech Bingo with it last night. I didn’t count the word “my” as a “me,” and mostly because of this, by the time I made it to the end we were seven squares away from a total blackout. Pretty good speech. Bingo here, bingo there, bingo everywhere…

And by the time we were done — as is subtly indicated by iOwnTheWorld (hat tip to American Digest), as well as by Tundra Princess, it reads an awful lot like something the Crawford Village Idiot would say. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

I wonder how this happens?

Well as a general rule, when a committed politician starts talking common sense it’s only because he’s been backed into a corner and is left with no other alternative. Michael Moore didn’t like Obama’s decision on Afghanistan…that logic used by the filmmaker is the logic used by an eight-year-old, wanting to get something and not getting it…”It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around.” Bit it signals big trouble for the O-man. A quote attributed apocryphally to LBJ is “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.” If Obama’s losing Moore, He’s losing all the tie-dyed anti-war Haight-Ashbury crackpots.

Why is He backed into a corner? Because He’s got a real job now, one that demands real decisions. The unicorns will have to leave the Oval Office now, and head on out to the marshmallow sparkly pastures where they belong so real-world decisions can be made.

For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about, the President’s speech provides most of what’s missing. Palin, once again, is right: It truly is a good speech — if He means what He says.

More trouble for Sort-of-God: Blogger friend Rick brings us a report that more people than ever would prefer to go back and undo the 2008 revolution:

Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama’s declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they’d rather have his predecessor. Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that’s somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country’s difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections. Using the Bush card may not be particularly effective for Democrats anymore…

BarracudaWhich means the whole “Obama will take us in the right direction again” was never anything more than a brain fart…a “I’m just tired of real-world decision-making”…an “I wanna vacation.” And since we live in a three-dimensional universe of cause-and-effect, the appeal of the dalliance has come-n-gone. Time to wake up. Time to do some real-world living.

Except in the meantime, during our slumber we seem to have sworn the sandman into our nation’s highest office. Oopsie.

Real life continues to play out like the finest Palin-in-2012 commercial money could possibly buy. The contest, still three years off, is being set up rather neatly and I think this is a healthy thing. Workhorses versus unicorns. Understanding and stating what needs to be done, versus dissembling and equivocating. A woman with all the right enemies versus a guy with all the wrong friends. Wife and mother, versus false prophet. A governor who left ‘em wanting more, versus a President who’s gonna hang around three more years like a bad smell whether we want Him or not. “You betcha” versus “uh, uh, um, er, uh.”

Even Buck is seeing some redeeming qualities in the Barracuda:

Comment of the Day…
… over at Lex’s place, on the subject of Miss Alaska, her recent editorial in the WaPo, and Leftie reax to same:

OldT6Flyer
December 9th, 2009 at 3:19 pm · Reply

The best thing about Sarah Palin is the every time she speaks the reaction from the left is so over the top that any rational person has to say: “What could possibly be that interesting?” and proceeds to tune into the Sarah Palin channel which, even if she’s not totally your cup of tea, comes across as a reasonable sort, especially in comparison to her tormentors, who are found writhing in the corner, foaming at the mouth, and generally making asses of themselves. As a bonus the so called “women’s movement” groups get exposed as, not all that interested in promoting women at all seeing how their silence at the obvious attacks on a leading WOMAN go strangely unanswered.

So no matter what you might think of Sarah Palin you’ve just got to love the apoplexy she causes on the left. If she didn’t exist somebody would need to invent her for the cause.

Yup. What Ol’ T-6 Flyer said. It’s well-known in certain circles that I’m a Palin skeptic even though I haven’t posted a whole helluva lot on the subject here in the home space. Which is by way of saying I’ve engaged a lot on the subject of La Palin in comments on other folks’ blogs. I’ve yet to drink the Arctic Princess’ Kool-Aid and I truly believe it’s way too damned early to be talking about 2012 presidential candidates. But… two things: (a) I simply LOVE the way she makes the Lefties go completely bonkers and (b) I totally enjoy crossing swords with zealots of any persuasion. And who knows? I might jump on the Palin bandwagon if she keeps on making sense and causing coronaries on the Left. Especially the latter.

What’s it all mean? Nothing more or less than what I’ve been saying for years.

People — call this liberalism, or call it something else — live in “Candyland,” where no tough decisions are ever necessary, when they feel like they can afford to live there. When all their food is slaughtered or grown and harvested and cleaned and sanitized and inspected and shrink-wrapped and delivered to their doorsteps.

Someone still has to grow that food. Which means truck in some fertilizer, the necessity of which might not be appreciated by those who merely consume the food. Shoot some predators, poison some predators, round up the predator-bodies, plow, irrigate, clean and maintain the farming equipment, clean and maintain the equipment that cleans & maintains the farming equipment…

Just because our daily wants and needs are met without too much fuss & bother from us, doesn’t mean we live in a snow globe. Things have to get done in order to make our lofty, comfortable existence possible. It doesn’t matter one bit whether we understand this necessity or not.

Twits like Michael Moore are like images in paintings, passing judgment on the brush strokes being used to bring them into “existence.” It’s all fine and good that he’s got opinions about stuff. But your mere dependence on these things is not a qualification for you to speak about the necessity of doing them, or lack of necessity. It’s something of a disqualification, if anything. If your existence depends on things getting done, and you yourself can’t see past these links-in-the-chain so you understand how these things are important, it means you’re spoiled and you can’t be relied-on to take inventory of all the staples required for your day-to-day being.

Image Credit: Mike Ely.

Cheney Slams Obama’s Indecision on Afghanistan

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Politico:

On the eve of the unveiling of the nation’s new Afghanistan policy, former Vice President Dick Cheney slammed President Barack Obama for projecting “weakness” to adversaries and warned that more workaday Afghans will side with the Taliban if they think the United States is heading for the exits.

In a 90-minute interview at his suburban Washington house, Cheney said the president’s “agonizing” about Afghanistan strategy “has consequences for your forces in the field.”

“I begin to get nervous when I see the commander in chief making decisions apparently for what I would describe as small ‘p’ political reasons, where he’s trying to balance off different competing groups in society,” Cheney said.

“Every time he delays, defers, debates, changes his position, it begins to raise questions: Is the commander in chief really behind what they’ve been asked to do?”

A-men. Of course Obama’s fans will characterize it as being extremely thoughtful, courageous, daring to delay, precisely what we’ve been missing all these years, blah blah blah. Nevermind the fact that if you take Obama’s decision, strip the ritual “Best Speech Evar!” off of it, and take the dithering, dissembling delaying out of it…you’re left with exactly what the Obama movement was supposed to be against. Michael Moore is none too happy about it. So the delay ends up being the symbol of our hopenchange, because the hopenchange brought us nothing else on this issue. The leftists who now run everything, however supportive they may be of the way the decision was made, they don’t support the outcome.

It’s funny isn’t it. With regard to foreign relations, with every issue that comes up the leftist answer makes it more expensive for other nations to be our friends. And cheaper for them to be our enemy. It’s exactly like Ann Coulter said: Play Yahtzee, Twister, Monopoly or Scrabble with a post-modern liberal and you’ll find your opponent immediately leaping to the anti-American position. Since the end of World War II, that trend has remained locked in place, mostly undisturbed.

Related: Newsweek had a piece — if you trust them to make the decision — offering all the reasons why Dick Cheney should run, and some of them I found to be pretty sound. It comes down to: Of course he’d get creamed, but at least the message from the GOP, and to a lesser but significant extent from their opposition as well, would be better crystalized and better defined. I gotta admit, that has certainly been missing.

…I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country….

…Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people. The best way to settle arguments is by having what we used to call full and frank exchanges about the issues, and then voting. A contest between Dick Cheney and Barack Obama would offer us a bracing referendum on competing visions. One of the problems with governance since the election of Bill Clinton has been the resolute refusal of the opposition party (the GOP from 1993 to 2001, the Democrats from 2001 to 2009, and now the GOP again in the Obama years) to concede that the president, by virtue of his victory, has a mandate to take the country in a given direction. A Cheney victory would mean that America preferred a vigorous unilateralism to President Obama’s unapologetic multilateralism, and vice versa.

Happy 234th Marines

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Marines“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” — attributed to George Orwell

Oo-rah!

Nine/Twelve Mentality

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

We know precisely what a nine/ten mentality is. Precisely. Let anyone forget, Senator Kerry in the week just past was kind enough to remind us. As James Taranto observed in his Best of the Web online column, the headline said it all:

Kerry Marks Eve of 9/11 Anniversary With Push for Climate Legislation

The nine/eleven mentality would be one of the family-comedy cold-war-era movies; you know the type. Earth is threatened by an environmental catastrophe or by murderous little green men with laser cannons, and overnight the United States and the Soviet Union forget their differences. Republicans and democrats joining hands, singing “God Bless America” on the steps of the capitol building. Put aside our differences! Come together! Hope and change!

The nine/twelve mentality opposes both of those. It pays attention and a decent inimical respect to both the malevolent entity that labors to do us harm, and the lazy doves among us who wish to ignore the viper in hopes it’ll slither away. And it is named not for any date in 2001, but rather for President George W. Bush’s speech in front of the United Nations on September 12, 2002:

Events can turn in one of two ways.

If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully, dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. Delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well. [emphasis mine]

Deep down, we’re really all nine/twelve people. The real difference is about political efforts: Is it permissible to acknowledge the simple reality that motivated enemies exist, only when one is running a campaign for a political office? Must one take the “ostrich approach” toward all who would do him harm, in all other walks of life? That’s the real divide.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

What a Wonderful Scenario

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Boortz, I believe (and I could be wrong), is not giving proper credit; I heard this described word-for-word on Mike McConnell’s show as he recounted a verbal he had with a prior caller. And he probably got it from somewhere else, too. But heck, maybe that was Boortz.

It’s a wonderful scenario because it’s completely irrelevant whether it is a likely one or not. It is constructed to showcase the inner decency, or lack thereof, of the players within it…and it has complete license to do that because it is constructed to confront an errant philosophy designed to make us good people. So to those who say it shouldn’t count because it’s improbable: Yes, maybe you’re right, but it’s all about stopping us from becoming a society of monsters, and keeping us all wonderful. So let’s put some quality thought into defining exactly what a monster is, and what a wonderful person is. You started the dialogue. I think Boortz just managed to finish it for you.

Let’s try a little scenario here. No fudging. No “buts.” This is your scenario … if you don’t want to accept it as-is, then walk away.

Scenario: Your spouse and child have been kidnapped. They’ve been buried alive in a box. They have enough air and water to last a day or so. You have someone in your custody whom you know with absolute certainty can tell you where your family members are buried. Now .. what are you going to do to get the information you need to save your spouse and child. Don’t give me this “call the police and let them deal with it” scenario. You know that the police are bound by the rules … but are you? Will you put a washcloth over this person’s face and pour water on it? No? Will you point a gun at his head and tell him that he has seconds to live if he doesn’t give up the information? No? Would you start breaking this thug[']s fingers – one-by-one – until he gives you the information you need? No? Are you kidding me? Well … tell you what. Why don’t you call your spouse and children into the room right now and read this to them. Tell them that if [it] was they who were buried in that box waiting to die that you wouldn’t torture someone to save their life. Tell them that this guy would walk away with every body part [intact] .. no scratches .. no broken bones. You would do nothing to frighten this man into thinking that his life is in danger. Why you wouldn’t even po[u]r water on his head. Tell your family members [they] would just have to die before you would do anything closely related to torture to the man who had the information that could save their lives. Tell them that — and then live with the look in their eyes. Tell them that — and then live with the knowledge that they know what a wuss you are.

Me? I’m just not the nice reason you are. I can’t think of a single thing I would not do to this man if it would give me the information I need to save my wife and daughter. Get out the glass rods and the bamboo shoots. I’ll need some pliers and a blow torch as well. When it’s all over, and my family is sa[f]e, I’ll let the jury decide.

The only thing that would’ve made it better, aside from maybe fewer typos, would be a reference to the “get medieval on yo’ ass” scene from Pulp Fiction (NSFW language behind that link).

History is chock full of stories about entire societies catching raging white-hot cases of Goodperson Fever and then becoming monsters as they try to become good people. Generally, they don’t become monsters as they do things to defend the innocent from the guilty; they become monsters when they put too much work into trying to impress each other with obsequious, ineffectual and/or ironic platitudes and gestures.

The early casualties, ironically enough, are Sen. Kerry’s beloved shades of “nuance.” Attention-seeking is the primary goal, and so when Big Bad Bart comes to town and the Sheriff takes that long walk down the main thoroughfare to challenge him to a gunfight — nothing about Big Bad Bart, be it large or be it small, can ever be bad. If there’s something bad about Big Bad Bart, to notice it and say it out loud, would defeat hours of prior effort at this attention-getting game…and the same goes for noticing anything good about the Sheriff. So everything about the bad guy is good, and everything about the good guy is bad. There can be no exceptions. Because every little thing that comes out of the attention-seeker’s lips about the subject, has to be something that will provide the highest level of assurance that more attention will be coming. He wants to be asked “What do you mean by that?” over and over again.

They end up flipping reality upside down like a pancake. They seek attention, and because they seek attention it becomes desirable to see some “other side” of what is plainly good, and also the “other side” of something else that is plainly evil. They become Isaiah 5:20 people.

And that’s just about where we are with this torture debate. That’s my opinion, anyway. Your mileage, so the saying goes, may vary.

D-Day, 2009

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

In front of you, over the steel helmets of other men, you can see the flat surface of the bow’s landing ramp still held in place against the sea. Soon you are in range of the machine guns that line the beach ahead. The metallic dead sound of their bullets clangs and whines off the front of the ramp. And the coxswain shouts and the bullhorn sounds and you feel the keel of the LST grind against the rocks and sand of Normandy as the large shells from the boats in the armada behind you whuffle and moan overhead and the explosions all around increase in intensity and the bullets from the guns in the cliffs ahead and above shake the boat and the men crouch lower and yet lean, together, forward as, at last, the ramp drops down and you see the beach and the men surge forward and you step with them and you are out in the chill waters of the channel wading in towards sand already doused with death, past bodies bobbing in the surf staining the waters crimson, and then you are on the beach.

It’s worse on the beach. The bullets keep probing along the sand digging holes, looking for your body, finding others that drop down like sacks of meat with their lines to heaven cut. You run forward because there’s nothing but ocean at your back and more men dying and… somehow… you reach a small sliver of shelter at the base of the cliffs. There are others there, confused and cowering and not at all ready to go back out into the storm of steel that keeps pouring down. And then someone, somewhere nearby, tells you all to press forward, to go on, to somehow get off that beach and onto the high ground behind it, and because you don’t know what else to do, you rise up and you move forward, beginning, one foot after another, to take back the continent of Europe.

Gerard.

Picture from Images of War.

Memorial Day 2009: Roundup

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Just a sloppy hodge-podge of things that really should be pointed out, tossed in a stew with some truly amazing stories.

Musket Balls: Memorial Day Proclamation from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Locutisprime at Brutally Honest: If We Build It, Will They Come?

American Digest: The cemetary at the end of Gerard’s street. Also, if you aren’t reading The Name in the Stone every single year at this time and again on Veteran’s day — you should. Make the time.

Right Wing News: John Hawkins’ conversation with a 101st Airborne vet.

Cassy Fiano: Frank Buckles, the Last WWI Veteran.

Pundit and Pundette: Obama meets with Rolling Thunder.

Exile in Portales: Arlington.

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: A Lump in Your Throat. Some stories behind the names.

Blackfive: Remembering my Uncle James.

Neptunus Lex: What happened in the winter of 1943.

Mudville Gazette: Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson receives the Navy Cross.

CDR Salamander: Remembering Lt. Peter Russell.

Flopping Aces: God must have a special place for soldiers. (The picture above, of Maj. Zembiec’s widow, is from this one.)

Map The Fallen Project.

Atlas Shrugs: Pamela Gellar has some burial plots she would like our President to see before he gets too carried away apologizing to Germany for things World War II-related.

“The Honeymoon is Over Starting Now”

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

So says one deranged KOSsack, by no means the only one, reacting to the news that Obama is backpedaling on releasing detainee abuse photos.

Obama Shifts on Abuse Photos
Releasing Images of Detainee Mistreatment Would Endanger U.S. Troops, President Says

President Obama says the detainee abuse photos he wants to block from release are “not particularly sensational” but would endanger U.S. troops if publicized.

A month after making public once-classified Justice Department memos detailing the Bush administration’s coercive methods of interrogation, President Obama yesterday chose secrecy over disclosure, saying he will seek to block the court-ordered release of photographs depicting the abuse of detainees held by U.S. authorities abroad.

Obama agreed less than three weeks ago not to oppose the photos’ release, but he changed his mind after viewing some of the images and hearing warnings from his generals in Iraq and in Afghanistan that such a move would endanger U.S. troops deployed there.

“The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals,” Obama said yesterday. “In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”

DaveW is honked off about it:

All Obama is doing here is endorsing the unitary executive crap that was the hallmark of Bush/Cheney. It’s ridiculous to argue that more photos will harm Americans more than demonstrating to the world that their hopes for for an America they could respect again were in vain.

I’m sure the pressure from the military was intense, but OF COURSE they don’t want any more outing of their malfeasance. That has nothing to do with American security. This looks like nothing more than caving to the worst elements in America in a clumsy attempt to make some political points — an attempt that will fail miserably. The honeymoon is over starting now.

Lots of discussion in that thread, and it’s interesting stuff. National security issues, threats against soldiers still out there, et al…suddenly, now that a President with a D after His name is arguing about such things, these make sense to the deranged leftist mind. DaveW is actually in something of a minority in saying the honeymoon is over — for now.

It’s a fascinating window into human psychology. We’ve seen before that when two tribes are fighting each other, and a third tribe enters the picture imposing a threat on those two, the two former enemies are suddenly best buddies, and ultimately meld together as one. Conversely, if two tribes are fighting and one of them bites the mat hard — Republicans, in this case — the one tribe that is left standing, splits in half and nurses a brand new fetid rotting open-wound schism.

It seems there is something in our programming that is hard-wired for the number two.

As far as the Republicans…well, that’s interesting. There is a spectrum of “death” in politics, you know. You can be kinda-sorta dead, you can be really-really dead. The “dead” where you’re like the Whig party, never comin’ back again, is way the hell out there. Political parties are like live coals, always ready to ignite again. The far more convenient kind of dead, where you’ve been placed in a position of dissent and nothing is your fault, is a lot more commonplace.

The wish that has emerged as a unifying and primary one over at the slobbering-lefty places, is that conservatives in general could be the fantastical-never-happens-really-extinct kinda dead, but that everything that goes wrong could still be their fault. This is why, although they may prevail in this election or that one, they’ll never be completely sane. This is a wish that won’t happen, anywhere in human politics, for as long as the sun rises and sets. They’d be far better off abandoning this wish. But they won’t.

Reality is not on board with it. “Can’t blame Republicans; there aren’t any” is the motto in every single city, and every single state, that is running into financial, cultural and logistical trouble. And, this year, slowly but surely, bit by bit, it is becoming the motto over the nation overall, as well. We were supposed to be so happy and full of hope when we put the lefties in charge. And all we seem to have is the shattered remains of a honeymoon, tainted and ruined from the very beginning, that is “over starting now.”

Thus ends our experiment with putting the kids in charge of things. They can’t even agree among themselves about what’s wonderful anymore, let alone come up with a workable plan — they’re ready to do their one-tribe-split-in-half thing. Now we have to spend a few years following through.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Lieberman: We’re Not Less Safe

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Sen. Joe Lieberman is defending President Obama’s administration against former Vice President Cheney’s charge that we’re less safe as a result of the new policies:

“We’re not less safe,” said Lieberman, who was one of Obama’s leading critics on national security during the presidential campaign.

“Our guard is up. In fact, I’d say that when it came to Afghanistan, obviously, this Obama administration has put more resources into the fight against terrorism than had previously been the case,” Lieberman added in an interview on MSNBC. “On balance, we remain as safe as we can possibly be in a world in which there is Islamist extremists who want to attack us.”
:
On Monday, Lieberman said he still disagrees with some of the president’s national security policies but made clear that he believes the new administration is determined to protect the country.
:
“This administration has done everything it could, even in those areas that I disagree with them,” Lieberman said.

Ugh. I hope, somewhere, there is an Obama supporter who can still call out the nonsense in this. The Obama administration is to be given credit for policies with which you disagree, Sen. Lieberman? Is that because it was wrong of you to disagree with them? Or because, as they exercise these disagreeable policies, they are to be given credit for trying because their heart is in the right place?

The closing of Guantanamo, or not-closing-of-Guantanamo, has turned into a fustercluck in every single way it possibly ever could have. The President has been on both sides of the net on this thing, back and forth, about as many times as a tennis ball. Not one single proponent of the closure has deigned to step forward and explain how it would make our country safer; the prize to be won is that someone, somewhere, nobody ever explains who exactly — is supposed to like us better. This issue stands as an eminent example of a policy which is most disagreeable. It is easy, simple and practical to explain how a thinking person might dissent from it. How, then, would that thinking person go on to utter the absurd platitude that, while I might disagree with it, I have to give ‘em credit for trying? Trying to do what??

There are other policies to be discussed, perhaps some of them more representative of what Sen. Lieberman might have had in mind; but there’s really not much point involved in listing them. The point remains unchanged, that if you think policies are inclined to have an ultimate effect on things, it is patently silly to say what he said. Such an utterance only makes sense in that cloistered sub-dimension inside the beltway, that smaller subset stately pleasure dome in which criticism exists solely for the purpose of being directed at other criticism.

Just Switch Them Around, Barack

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I keep hearing that Barack Obama is this awesome and mega-wonderful President. I’ve been skeptical about that, but out of the blue I suddenly realized: Have you ever given some thought to how little it would take for that to be really true? All He really needs to do, is treat people who make money the way He treats terrorists, and treat terrorists the way He treats people who make money.

That would be cool. He’d be all, like, “Hey you terrorists, if you’re killing less than 250,000 people a year you don’t have a thing to worry about.” And then behind closed doors He’d let loose with that maniacal James-Bond-bad-guy laugh that you just know He’s got down cold, and tax the ever loving snot out of ‘em. Instantly, terrorists all over the world would wonder why they ever bothered to get into this line of work in the first place. He’d call up the biggest baddest terrorist and tell him “You know, I think it’s My preference that you should quit,” and the big bad terrorist would have to resign in disgrace. Then the U.S. Government would use TARP funds to take over that terrorist organization and start calling the shots about what kind of terrorist strikes it should make, until the damn thing goes bankrupt anyway.

As far as businessmen go, He’d be counseling the rest of us, leading us, guiding us, and lecturing us like we’re a bunch of paste-eating first-graders…that the businessmen are not our enemies. You know what, we really need to just get over our anger and fear and sit down & talk to them. All you guys with your bad attitudes toward ‘em, you just change your attitudes because you’re the ones messing everything up. That’s precisely what’s needed! He’d sign a bunch of executive orders saying we can’t torture them with ever-increasing corporate taxes because America is a place where that just plain never, ever, ever happens. And when it does, people get angry with us, so if we know what’s good for us we’d better just stop it.

Then He’d point out that terrorism is a leading cause of global warming and He’d lay down a bunch of timetables for the terrorists to cease and desist. Stop polluting our planet, you terrorists!

He’d be talking so tough about them, that if there was a “stock exchange” for terrorists, every time He opened His mouth the average daily index would drop by several hundred points.

What a super-ultra-mega-mega-President He would be. He’d make George Washington look like Millard Fillmore.

Do Your Homework!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

If you aren’t hitting Rick’s blog, Brutally Honest, on a regular basis — you are doing yourself a disservice. Today’s gem points to another article where you can observe former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, uploaded to YouTube sometime last week, probably offering more genuine knowledge in the space of a few minutes than most of these overly-educated under-informed cherubs can typically grasp in the space of an entire year.

Time index 5:20: Ouch! And Yay! And…yeah, how much longer do we have to let the kiddies from the kiddie table pretend to be running things?

The torture debate is tortured. First of all, if you’re going to go by a strict reading of our treaties, then yes waterboarding probably is torture. But then again — a strict reading would say our obligations absolutely, positively, do not apply to the detainees. And furthermore, if the word “torture” is expanded to include waterboarding, then as a functional legal term it becomes useless because it’s been stretched out of shape to encompass anything that isn’t comfortable. A mandate not to torture becomes a mandate to run nothing less than a country club. You would have to prohibit shouting; accusations; then any other kind of verbal unpleasantness; then you’d have to work your way onward to any interrogation session that the subject finds boring; mattresses that aren’t comfortable; potty breaks not frequent enough; television shows that fail to be funny.

And, as Mike McConnell pointed out — these notions of “decency” have been flipped around a hundred and eighty degrees. Innocent people die horrible, preventable deaths, so guilty people can be kept comfy? Who, exactly, likes us because we allow that, by our inaction, to happen? What hearts-and-minds have been won because of this negligence?

Please point them out, young skullful-o-mush. After you’ve completed your assigned homework.

Irony, Over the Head, Under the Radar

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

I continue to be impressed by how many conservatives have rejected all thinking and live only to offend liberals.

Tweet from noted potty-mouth hardcore lefty blogger Amanda Marcotte, about 1300PDT today.

http://twurl.nl/ucial1 If abortion is worse than torture or war, then is jerking off worse than negligent homocide?

Tweet from exactly the same twit, four hours later.

Also lost on Clueless Mandy: That babies come to be by means of sperm meeting egg, that some people are innocent and others are guilty, that unborn babies are obviously absolutely innocent by definition, that there just might be two viewpoints of “moral compasses” on the torture debate, that…aw hell, what’s the use.

Also on the torture debate: Mike McConnell was replaying a call he took from one of those “Losing Our Moral Compass” types, and it was great the way he backed the guy into this corner. Suppose a guy kidnapped your entire family and put them somewhere. Can’t remember how he phrased it…I remember comparing it to an old CSI episode where the bad guy abducted an innocent-guy and buried him underground with a limited supply of air and it was up to the good guys to find the innocent-guy before he ran out of air.

Anyway, McConnell pointed out the obvious. My way, the bad guy experiences some discomfort for awhile, your family is found, the bad guy is put under arrest, everyone else lives, all’s happy. Your way, your entire family is dead so the bad guy can enjoy complete comfort. What kind of moral compass is that, exactly?

You’ll never swing that horse’s head so far over the water that he’s forced to gulp it down, ya know. But that was pretty good. That one came pretty close. Close enough to reduce the pansy to a hyperactive spewing-out of meaningless thoughtless bromides.

Capturing the Cognitive Dissonance on Torture

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

…as concisely as I have ever seen it done — right here (TOTALFARK subscription required, and you can get one here).

Axias 2009-04-26 05:49:13 PM
Just shows you they ARE STILL LYING. Seriously, we are the USA: no farking torture.
I don’t farking care who you are, from the president to the guy who filled the water buckets. If you are a US Citizen, YOU KNEW BETTER THAN TO TORTURE. If you went ahead and ‘followed orders’, well, tuff shiat. Do your time and be happy if we don’t have you shot or hung.

And seriously, this ain’t over til some people are ‘shot or hung’. If we don’t do it ourselves, the international community is compelled to step up to bat. And when a majority of Americans are willing to back these foreign powers in doing what is right, this is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better if we don’t clean up our own mess..

We don’t torture, seriously. And seriously, this ain’t over til some people are shot or hung, if we don’t do it ourselves, the international community is compelled to step up to bat.

Awesome!

Torture is not gonna happen, no matter what the guy did; but because these other guys did something I don’t like, someone is required to shoot or hang them.

People like this have a sense of justice that they think is static. But stasis requires strength of convictions and they simply don’t have it. They want, desperately, to convince all those within earshot that this is something they’ve got going on. And maybe the desperation to prove it’s there, is directly connected to the fact that it is so lacking.

With sufficient skill, I’ll bet you could have them bouncing back-and-forth like a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Can’t hurt ‘em, gotta hurt ‘em, can’t hurt ‘em, gotta hurt ‘em…

But this is serious. What about the innocent people who would be (or would’ve been) injured or killed in an attack? Should our fellow citizens even be participating in decisions about that, however indirectly, if they’re so weak and vacillating on the subject of what protections should be available to any-and-all humans, regardless of what they have or haven’t done?

Winston Churchill said something that addresses this pretty soundly: “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” In this case, it’s a couple of paragraphs from the average FARKer.

Update: You know what captures it even better?

“No offense against humanity shall carry unavoidable consequences…except for this one.”

That’s it in a nutshell.

Moral reasoning is not synonymous with logic, but it does have to comply with some of the same rules. And this little nugget fails the test.

Olbermann and Hannity: Both Unmoored

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Olby and Hannity, I think, have both lost track of their respective arguments and I’m pretty sure neither one of them realizes it. Hannity has taken the rather absurd position that waterboarding is effective and something we ought to be doing — and he thinks he can take it.

Olbermann’s position is even more ridiculous: Waterboarding is stupid, ineffective, unlikely to yield results, because nobody can tolerate it, and he’s willing to bet thousands of dollars Hannity can’t.

How did our nation ever become a superpower? One guy intends to demonstrate waterboarding is unbearable by bearing it, the other guy intends to demonstrate it’s bearable by betting someone can’t bear it.

NeoCon Blonde points out that Obama’s own adviser freely states aggressive interrogations do work. Of course they do. If their effectiveness is rooted in their unbearability, and they’re supposed to be so “wrong” for us to do because they’re so unbearable…then what, exactly, is supposed to make them not-work?

The Nice-Guy-Eddy argument?

If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!

It’s a valid argument. Trouble is, all valid arguments aren’t necessarily correct.

I had a lefty-guy hit me with the Nice-Guy-Eddy argument about these aggressive interrogations, last night at dinner. It wasn’t the first time. But this time, I decided to respond with a parable about bringing someone from the pre-Civil-War era back to our time to check out this thing called the “automobile.” Someone skilled in engineering who would understand all of the basic concepts, but of course, someone who had never actually seen a car before.

He’d have all kinds of Nice-Guy-Eddy arguments wouldn’t he? Like…from what you’re telling me, stranger-from-future, all that metal rubbing on metal? No way! And his points would be completely valid, just as it’s valid to say someone is inclined to make up bullshit to get you to stop beating him with nickels-in-a-sock. But in both cases, there are ways to make the process just a little bit more helpfully complicated. Muck around with the body somewhat, screw with the mind somewhat, go back to the body again, mess around with the mind a little bit more…it’s a skill, just like any other.

So when you and that engineer from the 1850′s get here — do you find cars, or do you not?

I entered this reply at NeoCon Blonde’s place, which I don’t know will be approved or not…

Like so many other discussion[s] about the Obama administration’s policies, I notice this often degenerates into parallel monologues:

“It’s unlikely to work, and here are the reasons why.”

“Yeah, but it makes lots of people feel great…here are all the people who think it feels great.”

“But it isn’t likely to work.”

“But it makes people feel great.”

“But it isn’t likely to work.”

The torture debate is this situation in reverse: It makes us all feel kinda lousy to even think about doing some of these things. But if you threaten to put my balls in a vi[s]e until I tell you something, I don’t care what anyone else says. That is extremely likely to work.

The people in Olbermann’s camp illustrate their own inability to say what’s right-and-wrong, and not only that, but also their weakness in existing on this plane of reality at all. Their position is that we shouldn’t do anything too rough to save the lives of the innocent — because it just might work, and they don’t even appear to understand that this is what they’re arguing. They’re poised to declare a victory, if & when someone from the other side ‘fesses up that this thing we’re counting on the bad guys not wanting to have done to them, would indeed be an unpleasant thing, that most people wouldn’t want to have done to them. That’s the whole point.

It becomes a little bit scary when you realize their vision with regard to civilized-versus-uncivilized, is just as clouded as their perception of what-will-and-won’t-work.

A civilized society, knowing full well that the bad guy won’t be able to bear an aggressive interrogation, but by engaging it they just might learn something that will save innocent lives…because of all this…wouldn’t do it? Since when? Based on what?

A savage, brutal society would do it? And in so doing, save the lives, or at least make a decent attempt to do so? This would make it a bad one? How? Such a society would be unable to look at itself in the mirror…compared to a companion society in the same situation that would just let the clock run out, and allow the innocent civilians to meet a horrible death? How ya figger?

Best Sentence LX

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Beer SquirrelFrankJ has already won more than his share of these…nevertheless, he takes the sixtieth Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award for this entry in his “Random Thoughts” yesterday:

If torturing a terrorist could save five squirrels, I’d torture the terrorist and then kill the squirrels myself.

Damn straight, and I agree a hundred percent.

Squirrels are assholes. Rats of the woodland. Vile, vile squirrels.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Shocking.

On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:

The CIA used the waterboard “at least 83 times during August 2002″ in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

Note, the information comes from the CIA IG report which, in the case of Abu Zubaydah, is based on having viewed the torture tapes as well as other materials. So this is presumably a number that was once backed up by video evidence.

This is beyond appalling, and it demands an immediate investigation, with some teeth. I’m talking criminal sanctions. National security is/was at stake, after all…

I demand to know why the asshole wasn’t waterboarded something like 183 times a day.

Numbers Are More Resistant to His Charms

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Krauthammer:

Franklin Roosevelt gave us the New Deal. John Kennedy gave us the New Frontier. In a major domestic policy address at Georgetown University this week, Barack Obama promised — eight times — a “New Foundation.” For those too thick to have noticed this proclamation of a new era in American history, the White House Web site helpfully titled its speech excerpts “A New Foundation.”

As it happens, Obama is not the first to try this slogan. President Carter peppered his 1979 State of the Union address with five “New Foundations” (and eight more just naked “foundations”). Like most of Carter’s endeavors, this one failed, perhaps because (as I recall it being said at the time) it sounded like the introduction of a new kind of undergarment.

Undaunted, Obama offered his New Foundation speech as the complete, contextual, canonical text for the domestic revolution he aims to enact.
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Obama DeficitIn the New Foundation speech, Obama correctly (again) identifies the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid as the key fiscal problem. But then he claims that Medicaid and Medicare reform is the same as his health care reform, fatuously citing as his authority a one-day meeting of hand-picked interested parties at his “Fiscal Responsibility Summit.”

Here’s the problem. The heart of Obama’s health care reform is universality. Covering more people costs more money. That is why Obama’s budget sets aside an extra $634 billion in health care spending, a down payment on an estimated additional spending of $1 trillion. How does the administration curtail the Medicare and Medicaid entitlement by adding yet another (now universal) health care entitlement that its own estimate acknowledges increases costs by about $1 trillion?

Which is why in his March 24 news conference, Obama could not explain how — when the near-term stimulative spending is over and his ambitious domestic priorities kick in, promising sustained prosperity and deficit reduction — the deficits at the end of the coming decade are rising, not falling. The Congressional Budget Office has deficits increasing in the last seven years of the decade from an already unsustainable $672 billion annually to $1.2 trillion by 2019.

This is the sand on which the new foundation is constructed. Obama has the magic to make words mean almost anything. Numbers are more resistant to his charms.

Actually it’s the “covering more people costs more money” point that I think is worthy of greater emphasis, if only for the reason that so many supposedly smart folks seem to incapable of absorbing the spirit of it even after multiple encounters with it. The mathematical concepts involved are elementary to say the least.

It’s also decidedly off-topic from the larger vision of electing Obama as The Change We Can Believe InTM as a protest against, and retreat from, an expensive invasion of Iraq and (at the time) unprecedented deficit spending. Change from the deficits of George W. Bush…by means of…universal health care. It’s like saving money on your car insurance by switching to a more expensive cell phone carrier.