Archive for the ‘War on Terror’ Category


Monday, January 18th, 2010

A chilling report on the men who supposedly committed suicide in Gitmo, which the Right Wing continues to describe, despite all evidence the contrary, as the equivalent of a luxury spa.

Denial runs deep.

Wednesday Linkorama

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

So much to talk about:

  • More wisdom from Zakaria on the panty bomber. I am continually depressed with how easily terrorists reduce the Right Wing to complete pants-shitting terror — or at least the pretense thereof for political gain.
  • Five worst lawsuits of 2009. The Holocaust one is my favorite.
  • Coolness from Betelgeuse.
  • The myth that tax cuts massively increase federal revenues persists. It’s the Laffer Curve, guys, not the Laffer Line.
  • It seems really stupid to close racial disparities in education by … canceling extra lab sessions.
  • Yes, Ms. Franklin. It’s the label that’s holding those kids back — not your party’s complete sellout to every lobbying group with a bill and a sack of money.
  • The more I find out about the likely new senator from Mass, the less I like her. As I have said — what’s the point in electing Democrats if they are even worse than Republicans on mindless law and order garbage?
  • Obama was savaged for setting a soft deadline for leaving Afghanistan. But it looks like it may have had at least one positive impact.
  • I’m with Massie. This “study” that says booze costs the average Scot 900 pounds a year smacks of a cost-without-benefit analysis designed to justify a tax hike.
  • Weekend Linkorama

    Friday, January 8th, 2010
  • Big Surprise. Smacking kids is not so obviously bad. When are we going to get over this idea that we can decree parenting techniques from on high?
  • Science Fiction is the next big thing for the religious nuts.
  • I heart Hitchens.
  • When Ta-Nehisi Coates is on, he’s on.
  • Aw, Jeez.
  • Somehow, the media fails to tell us when there are no combat casualties in Iraq. But Obama is still blowing the war, right?
  • Dear God: why? Why do you punish us so?
  • Could cellphones protect against Alzheimer’s? Further work will determine. It would be hilarious and wonderful if it did.
  • We’re At War

    Friday, January 8th, 2010

    The “conservative” part of this country is busy demonstrating, once again, that the War on Terror is not something they take seriously. It’s just a big partisan game to them.

    Every since Richard Reid, we have used the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists caught on American soil. This has been very uncontroversial. Yet, suddenly, it’s travesty that Obama wants to put the panty bomber on trial.

    It’s very difficult to define partisanship better than hating someone for doing what you praised your guy for.

    But what’s bother me more is the constant repeating of the “We’re at War!” meme. It’s the unceasing rallying cry of the Right — that Obama doesn’t realize we’re at war. This bullshit has continued in the face of a massive troop buildup in Afghanistan and the continuing of Bush’s Iraq policy.

    “We’re at war” is not a policy statement anymore; it’s the political equivalent of a fashion statement. It’s the conservative answer to “No Blood For Oil!”. Here’s Sully, describing Giuliani’s TV appearance earlier today:

    But what I really take from Rudy’s remarks is that he believes that merely saying “war on Islamist terrorism” again and again somehow helps us win. What most sentient beings have learned these past several years is that taking this war to a constant and grand rhetorical level empowers Jihadists more than it weakens them. There is a sick syndrome in which “conservatives” get into some dysfunctional relationship with Islamists with each faction elevating the other in global consciousness.

    Obama is trying to wind down this drama and focus on actually finding and killing terrorists, removing their recruitments tools (like torture and Gitmo), and defusing their appeal to the Muslim middle. I will further note that Giuliani, in his criticism that Obama has not treated this like a war, has failed to mention the huge build-up of forces in Afghanistan. I remain deeply ambivalent about this strategy, but surely Giuliani would approve. It’s many more troops and many more resources than Bush ever devoted to Afghanistan. And yet all Giuliani believed showed Obama’s concern with terrorism was his use of the word “war” yesterday.

    This is not a serious policy. It is not a serious politics.

    During the 1980’s, Leftists used the constantly criticize Reagan over his Israel policy. The constant refrain was that he wasn’t “taking the problem seriously”. When you asked them what it meant to take the problem seriously, they wouldn’t have an answer. They didn’t have an alternative. All they knew was that they hated Reagan and that he wasn’t taking the problem seriously.

    The Right does have some actual differences with Obama: mostly that he’s had back-channel talks with Iran and stopped torture — both of which are steps toward victory in my book. Both, of course, also demonstrate the spectacular incompetence of the last Administration, which is a prime motivation for the angry response.

    But in the end, the vituperative rhetoric is way way out of proportion to these policy changes. In the end, it gets down the partisan bullshit. In the end, it’s a mantra.

    The Trial

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    It’s amazing how fast the “we can’t do trials for AQ guys arrested on the battlefield” has morphed into “we can’t do trials for AQ arrested in this country”. What the panty bomber did was a criminal act, no? Since when do we turn criminals into un-persons? It’s equally amazing how fast “we need to torture in ticking time bomb scenarios” has morphed into “we need to torture full stop”.

    This is why, for all Obama’s faults, I’m glad the GOP is no longer in power. They are still willing to burn the Constitution and the rule of law if they think it can make them marginally safer from scary terrorists. Even if it doesn’t.

    London Linkorama

    Monday, December 7th, 2009
  • No surprise here.
  • That story of the Airtran flight? Complete bullshit. I suspected as much and said so on the other blog.
  • Why France will never be a real economic power. I’m all in favor of breaking the glass ceiling. But you can’t just mandate these things.
  • More on the idea of an NCAA playoff.
  • Bad enough getting busted for taping a movie. But for New Moon?
  • More wondrous tales of the IRS.
  • Fundamentalists of the world — unite!.
  • Midweek Linkorama

    Thursday, November 12th, 2009
  • Come on. You knew some organization was going to call for a ban on muslims in their military.
  • I miss Calvin and Hobbes. Where have you gone Bill Waterson? A lonely nation turns its eyes to you.
  • I don’t think our Congressmen are stupid. I think they just pretend to be stupid. No, wait, not ‘think’. What’s the word? ‘Hope like hell’.
  • The Kelo debacle reaches its inevitable conclusion. Well done, SCOTUS.
  • A scary article about the problems in the 911 system.
  • Dear Dick Cheney

    Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

    Just. Shut. Up. Now. Please?

    Wednesday Linkorama

    Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
  • How in the blue fuck does this guy stay on the police force? Who’s doing the background checks around here?
  • Anatomy of a right wing smear job. I’m getting more and more embarrassed by these jokers.
  • Speaking of embarrassing “conservatives”, watch Colbert demolish Glenn Beck. It’s scary that Colbert’s joke image isn’t as far out there as Beck’s “real” one.
  • Police are stopping and searching a million people a year. What is this? The Soviet Union?
  • Rick Perry needs to resign. Executing an innocent man is bad enough. What Perry is doing is criminal.
  • That Barack Obama. There he goes again, cutting and running in Afghanistan. Oh, wait. No he’s not.
  • A list of people who could have won the Nobel Prize.
  • A question. If a business is too big to fail, should the Feds break it up into divisions that aren’t too big to fail? Is the existence of such a business as great a threat to our nation as criminal and foreign armies? Ah, well. Given the Groupthink of the financial industry, there really is no difference in having big business vs. small ones.
  • One of Obama’s advisors defends sharia. Really.
  • Aussie Linkorama

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
  • The “debunking” of global warming? Myth. Again. But the Denialists now have another few years of ammunition. Look how much mileage they’ve gotten out of the global cooling canard.
  • Now that Britain has banned guns and knives, they’re taking aim at pub glasses. Yes, pub glasses. Stand by for their next announcement to remove people’s fists.
  • God help me. I do sometimes like Scalia.
  • I would definitely eat irradiate meat. In fact, I suspect that with my travel schedule, I am.
  • The overcrowding doomsayers are crawling out of the woodwork again. Ignore them (although I don’t know where Bailey is getting his Year 2100 projections).
  • Good on the Obama team for having low-level talks with Iran. It looks like concessions were made. We are fools to not consider talking to Iran, given the demographic firestorm that is soon to dislodge their leadership. More on Iran here, although I think Cole is a bit too glib and far far too generous in his reading of Iran’s actions.
  • I’ve been predicting for a while that terrorists would put bombs inside their bodies. Increasingly, we see that finding terrorists is important than finding weapons.
  • Sully To Bush

    Saturday, September 19th, 2009

    Sullivan has an open letter to Bush on the torture issue that, as it goes along, systematically destroys every single talking point of the torture defenders.

    Read the whole thing.

    Midweek Linkorama

    Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
  • An Oldie from Greenwald about political dynasties. Although he conspicuously leaves off Ted Kennedy from criticism.
  • Speaking of Kennedy, the hagiography is getting a bit much. Check out Donald Boudreaux here, here and here. For my part, I can’t get over his attempt to work with the Soviets to undermine the President, an act that comes dangerously close to treason in my book.
  • A wonderful response to the people telling us that it’s bad when people can afford food, clothing and shelter. Don’t waste your liberal guilt on me.
  • Andrew Sullivan smashes the torture defenders. I’ve disagreed with a lot lately, but this one is a return to form. More here, including a deconstruction of the notion that waterboarding isn’t torture.
  • One of the issues I’ve moved leftward on is the death penalty. I used to support it, now I oppose it. Stories like this are why. What happened in this trial is not unusual at all.
  • E-fucking-gad.
  • It’s no surprise to me that we are at a low point in violent conflict. The idyllic picture of primitive societies is fictional and causes much stupidity from Right and Left.
  • Terror Revelations

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

    For once, I’m on the same page as Julian Sanchez. The revelation that the US threatened to kill a detainees children and rape his mother if he didn’t give them information is appalling. I don’t know that it rises to the level of “torture” specifically. But, judged purely as a technique, I severely doubt its efficacy. The breakthroughs we have made in interrogation have been those that used traditional interrogation techniques.

    I suspect the torture defenders will only quibble that we didn’t actually kill any detainees’ children or rape their mothers.

    I think it’s also worth nothing something caught by Chris Bodenner. Dick Cheney is standing by the CIA in their actions, but refuses to stand by the Abu Ghraib soldiers who use the same techniques with his authorization. I guess it’s harder to supporter to support the troops when there’s photographs of the terror you unleashed in your delusional paranoia.


    Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

    That fear that if we try terrorists, they’ll get acquitted and go free? Er, not so much. Conspiracy is very easy to convict on.