Archive for the ‘War on Terror’ Category

Friday Linkorama

Saturday, July 11th, 2009
  • Another “terror suspect” who is nothing of the kind. Guy was imprisoned of years, is working with the Afghan government to fight terrorism but is still classified as a suspect. Worst of worst, guess.
  • Turns out that Obama’s amazing Secretary of Education just ginned the numbers to make Chicago look like a success story. He shouldn’t feel too bad though. Bush’s Secretary of Education did the same thing.
  • Michael Kinsey, in discussing small changes that could make big saving in healthcare, asks a question so obvious I want to smack myself for missing it. Why are we debating whether healthcare reform is going to cost $600 billion or $1 trillion? Wasn’t this debacle supposed to save money?
  • Reason 42A why California is going bankrupt. Union pensions. I wonder if I can retire at 50 and collect 90% of my paycheck forever. (Note: a Sullivan reader claims this only applies to certain professions, not all).
  • I’m not surprised that the heavy push toward self-esteem lowers actual achievement. Feelings of inadequacy make us work harder. Or at least they make me work harder.
  • Here’s all I’m saying. If your gigantically expensive fighter can’t even fly two hours before failing, maybe you should solve its problems first and then we’ll send billions of dollars buying more of them.
  • An autopsy of Fannie and Freddie. Keep this in mind as our politicians blither about a “public option” for healthcare.
  • Boumediene

    Monday, June 8th, 2009

    Read and weep. Was it worth it?

    Another One Down

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

    Glenn Greenwald has a great post on the Gitmo detainee who just killed himself. Read the whole thing. Kudos to Greenwald for holding Obama’s feet to the fire on the detainee question.

    Weekend Linkorama

    Monday, June 1st, 2009
  • No, Virginia, Prop 13 and other tax revolts did not bankrupt California. I swear. What is it with liberals with coming out with pre-planned and wrong explanations for whatever has been screwed up? Conservative aren’t much better these days, of course, blaming the housing crash on the CRA. But “disaster socialism” is alive and well.
  • Someone actually checks to see if Sotomayor is the race warrior every Right Wing dunderhead is making her out to be. Hint: she isn’t.
  • Why David Petraeus rocks. I defy the Right to tell me that he is some weak-kneed liberal who wants the terrorists to win.
  • Just a peek into what constitutes “professional development” for teachers. And people wonder why I’m not friendly to the unions.
  • More information on the terrorist who murdered an abortion doctor yesterday. Despite the ugliness of the rhetoric (there’s a horrific video I refuse to link to) I remain firm in my conviction that the only man responsible for the killing is the killer. While I am pro-choice, I don’t believe that pro-lifers should be quiet about what they earnestly believe is the taking of hundreds of thousands of lives a year. I would, however, prefer to see rhetoric toned down a bit and the focus shifted away from individual doctors to the larger political and moral issue.
  • Who Do You Believe

    Thursday, May 28th, 2009

    The Vice-President who has never seen service? Or the guy who has conducted 1000 interrogations?

    Wednesday Linkorama

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
  • Obama improves international relations — by taking the EU line and blasting low-tax friends as tax havens. Nice touch.
  • Yet another good editorial on the torture issue. It hits a number of my pet whack-a-moles on this issue, notably the SERE canard:

    The most common defense of waterboarding is that we subjected our own soldiers to it. That’s true–as a way of training them to withstand enemy torture. When you reverse engineer a torture-resistance program, you’re almost by definition engaging in torture.

    In reality, Bush’s waterboarding methods did differ from the U.S. military’s torture-resistance training, in that our soldiers knew how far we’d go and could stop the exercise if they couldn’t bear it. Conservatives have inadvertently confirmed this point. Numerous Republicans object that the release of the torture memos will render waterboarding and other techniques useless–“terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them,” complain former Bush officials Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey.

    It’s true. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, or torture methods devised thereby. Our chief weapon is surprise. (Surprise and fear. … Amongst our weaponry are such elements as surprise and fear, as Michael Palin might put it.) That’s exactly why training soldiers to withstand waterboarding is different than actually waterboarding.

  • Nick Gillespie is having none of Obama’s “I’m a regular burger guy” stunt.
  • New Jersey is considering a law that would not prosecute teens for underage drinking if they bring a passed out friend to the ER. Here’s an idea: why not just stop prosecuting underage drinking at all?
  • No link, I don’t want to dig it up, but Arlen Specter’s statement that Jack Kemp would be alive today had we fully funded the “War on Cancer” is a perfect illustration of the stupidity of politicians. Never mind the laws of physics or the intricacies of biology and physiology. All we had to do was care enough and cancer would have been cured. Idiot.
  • The more I read about it, the more the Stimulus seems like a great big lottery. One day, there will be an accounting for all this.
  • What is it about environmental doomsayers that being wrong — being spectacularly wrong — being spectacularly wrong for 45 damn years does not discredit them?
  • Tuesday Linkorama

    Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
  • Your torture link of the day. Scott Horton runs the myths to ground. I wish the torture defenders could make up their minds. Either Bush authorized torture or he didn’t. You can’t, on the one hand, give him credit for keeping the nation safe; and, on the other hand, absolve him of all blame for Abu Ghraib.
  • My friend Cameron destroys the 2012 apocalypse myth.
  • The Obama Administration is pushing against the rule that you stop questioning a suspect after he asks for a lawyer. Remember when Democrats cared about civil liberties? I miss those days. What’s the point of electing Democrats if they’re going to be “tough on crime”?
  • There are two times when a woman can not be held responsible for anything she says. When she’s making a baby and when she’s having one. To threaten to take someone’s child because she said something dumb after labor is just bizarre.
  • Jimmy Carter, a man I try very hard to respect, gets dumb about supporting the assault weapons ban.
  • Torture Round-Up

    Saturday, April 25th, 2009

    The other blog has been chock-a-block with torture posts, so I’d thought I’d post up a few links here. There’s other stuff to talk about, too. I flayed Obama’s national service initiative yesterday.

  • One of the problems with arguing torture is that its defenders are a moving target. It wasn’t torture; it worked; it was only done a few times. One of the reasons I put up so many posts at RTFLC is because I feel like I”m playing whack-a-mole. Every time I beat down an argument – for example, showing waterboarding *is* torture, another one pops up. Sullivan gets to the heart of why this is — the torture defenders are rationalizing past behavior. They’re not laying out principles for future policy but find an argument — any argument — to support their war crimes.
  • One twisted defense of Bush I’m getting tired of is the argument that releasing the torture memos hurts the US our gives away our game plan (a game plan they insist we never really had). I’m curious what they would like. Do they think the US is better off if our torture program is define by the ravings of leftists, the statements of ex-detainees and a thunderous silence from Washington? Silence simply invites people to imagine the worst case scenario.
  • As long as the Right defends torture by bashing its critics as “leftists”, “Right Wing” will be synonymous with torture. There are plenty of conservatives who oppose torture — just not many Bush disciples.
  • If Obama is serious about holding people accountable, then he needs to remove every Congressman and Senator who approved these techniques from senior positions in Congress. I’d start with Nancy Pelosi. Anyone who approved torture should not be third in line for the Presidency.
  • A US soldier killed herself rather than torture. How many of our troops — that Bush supported — are bearing the psychological scars of what our President ordered over their wishes?
  • Sully On Torture

    Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

    The Daily Dish is basically a clearing house for the truth about the Bush torture regime. His coverage has been great. Typical quote:

    The Western anathema on torture began as a way to ensure the survival of truth.

    And that is the root of the West’s entire legal and constitutional system. Remove a secure way to discover the truth – or create a system that can manufacture it or render it indistinguishable from lies – and the entire system unravels. That’s why in the West suspects are innocent before being found guilty; and that’s why in the West even those captured in wartime have long been accorded protection from forced confessions. Because it creates a world where truth is always the last priority and power is always the first.

    This is not a policy difference. It is a foundational element of Western civilization. The way Cheney constructed it, it was not even a mere war-power as we have usually understood it – because the war was defined in ways we haven’t usually understood it. Since the war had no geographical boundaries, since an “enemy combatant” could be an American citizen or resident, since the enemy could never surrender, and since the war could never end, the dictatorial powers, allied with the power to torture, undermined the balance of the American constitution. Until this is fully accounted for and the law-breakers brought to justice, that constitution remains with a massive breach below its waterline. It may not sink immediately; but its fate is sealed unless this precedent is not just moved on from, but erased.

    Weekend Linkorama

    Saturday, March 21st, 2009
  • From the WTF File, the Dallas school district had cage fights between unruly students. Thank God e haven’t privatized the schools. I bet those private schools can’t even afford cages.
  • Obama is committing $2.4 billion to develop electric vehicles. This is the exact wrong way to go about energy policy — having politicians dictate investments in technologies that may or may not be feasible. Pouring that money into energy grants would be a far better idea.
  • I’m all in favor of making google block out people’s faces and stuff on their maps. But I find it ironic that it’s Britain — land of a million closed-circuit cameras, that’s pushing for this privacy measure.
  • BBC has a series on legalized prostitution in New Zealand. But there’s a part of me that says, screw the facts even when they’re on my side. To me, this is about who owns your body and what consenting adults are allowed to do. Imagine if the resources we devote toward busting hookers went to cracking down on genuine sex slavery and child prostitution.
  • Cato again makes the case against high speed rail. It’s pissing in the wind at this point. There are too many special interests and too much economic and environmental ignorance lining up behind high-speed rail. Hell, to be honest, I kind of believe in high-speed rail myself. I link to these articles because they contradict my personal view. If I could take a bullet train from Philadelphia to Atlanta, I’d be delighted.
  • Not a link, but a random thought caused by several RSS posts. The reason Dick Cheney and others are saying Obama’s abolition of torture is making America unsafe has nothing to do with America’s safety. They know that we will get hit by another terrorist attack at some point, no matter what Obama does. What they are doing is setting up the narrative. When the next terror attack hits, they will say, “See, I told you so!”.
  • The latest update on the Massachusetts healthcare reform. I haven’t put up another “Myth” post this week. But there will be one at some point arguing that the only way to cut healthcare costs is to cut healthcare. When you commit to “universal coverage”, you commit to more spending.
  • Card check gets worse all the time, although Ambinder is saying that big business and labor are working out a compromise — which probably means that small business will get screwed. Again.
  • Friday Nights Linksorama

    Friday, February 13th, 2009
  • Nice. Now it’s our fault again.
  • I expect lawsuits over this. Virginia wants to strip the auto bailout money for their own car dealers. Crap like this is why the auto-bailers need to go the bankruptcy route.
  • A rule: always believe the opposite of whatever Naomi Klein thinks. If there’s anyone who has used the “shock doctrine”, it’s the socialists. See R, FD.
  • The cowardice that Britain and the Netherlands are showing on the Wilders issue is truly stunning.
  • Just to re-iterate, because the point never seems to be taken. Our schools are not underfunded, no matter what anyone says.
  • Monday Night Linkorama

    Monday, January 12th, 2009
  • George Bush dissuaded Israel from bombing Iran. For once, I’m impressed with the President. As such, I don’t believe the story. NPR’s been full of it before.
  • A must-read on the President’s economic legacy. I’ve run out of words for how much he has disappointed me. If you’d told me in 2000 that a Republican President and Congress would create a lost economic decade, I wouldn’t have believed you.
  • Trust Obama to want to eliminate the one part of Medicare that actually works. That Stephanopolous interview was a disaster — an uncharacteristic burst of stupidity form the President Elect.
  • Yglesis isn’t good at analogies is he?
  • Our nation’s pension funds are about to collapse. I remind you that some in the Democratic Party want us to cash out our 401k’s for these dubious vehicles. This is why, at every job I’ve had, I’ve taken the defined contribution rather than defined benefit.
  • Managing The Revolution

    Sunday, January 11th, 2009

    Sullivan made this point last week:

    What we have learned is that once Islamists actually wield power, their popularity collapses. Religious fanatics do not know how to run countries; their real interests lie elsewhere (you can apply that on a much lesser scale, of course, to the competence of the Bush administration). The place where Shiite Jihadism is least popular? Iran. And remember how al Qaeda managed to turn off the Jordanians after various atrocities; and how they lost the battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqis (with the brilliant and brave help of US troops) – after the Bush administration unwittingly gave them a lease of life in that country?

    Now: if you’re a rational kind of person you might deduce from this that containing Islamism and letting it collapse under its own insanity is certainly a viable policy, given the unsavory alternatives. You might at least consider that taking the bait from these guys and reigniting religious wars might actually be giving them the oxygen they need.

    Once again, I am struck by the parallel between Islamism and communism. The communists were all sexy and revolutionary when they were guerillas. The second they got into power, their ideology failed. Look at the Khmer Rouge. Or Mao. Or the Hollywood worship of Che Guevara and Casto vs. the reality of Cuba.

    There are times when we have to fight, however. We couldn’t tolerate Communist incursion in central America. We had to bulk up our military in Europe to prevent a Soviet invasion. We funded guerillas in Afghanistan — eventually producing the Taliban as a side effect.

    The current war differs from the last in that the enemy has no compunction about attacking us with small cells of maniacs. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go to war with every terrorist coddler out there. But it does mean we have to be more pro-active.

    Monday Night Linkorama

    Monday, December 15th, 2008
  • Crows can be taught to look for loose change. How cool.
  • Real sports fans bring urinal cakes, dontchya know.
  • As an initial supporter of the Iraq War, stories like this appall me. I still think it was a defensible idea. But it was executed in the most incompetent, ham-fisted, bass-ackward manner you could imagine. The defining characteristic of the Bush Administration is not evil or stupidity, but incompetence.
  • Pat Boone goes off the deep end on those danged gays.
  • Why electric cars may not be so hot. Apparently, better improvement in energy efficiency could be obtained by simply re-engineering existing designs. Another reason for government to support alternative energy in a generalized, not specific, way.