i am a doughy john
My old friend Michelle Malkin sends word that she's working on a follow-up to the John Doe Manifesto
. It's pretty stirring! Here's what she has so far:
I do not want the Muslims here
I do not want them to be near
I do not want them on a bus
I do not want them next to us
I do not want to have sharia
Riding in my husband's Kia
I do not want to wear a burqa
When on Fox I go bezercka
I do not want to say shahada
While I eat a baked potata
I do not want to read Koran
While I write with a crayon
I do not want for them to ban
My favorite dish -- green eggs and ham!
Michelle is a total genius. It sends shivers up my spine! Can't wait to see it finished! We WILL save Western Civilization!
Check this out -- it gets easier when you drink! Observe:
Muslims want to rule us all
They want the West to take a fall
They want to run our restaurants
And make us all take Mecca jaunts
They want to ruin all who like us
And take away our sacred whiteness
The only god they want is Allah
French toast no longer made with Challah
They want to run our taxicabs
And on all Christians keep close tabs...
I can literally do this all fucking day
-- once you point your mind in this direction, it just keeps flowing out, like...like...an uncapped sewage pipe!
Keep a close eye on nro.com -- I should have a column there by next Wednesday, latest!
It's a tough gig, but it's the price we pay to defend Western Civilization.
Rich Lowry, March 2007
Showing the captives and coercing a confession out of one of them (a woman the Iranians have thoughtfully outfitted in a head-covering to protect her virtue) are violations of the laws of war, not to mention holding them in the first place.
Rich Lowry, Sept. 2006
Opponents of coercive interrogations want to conjure a just-so world, where terrorists always tell us what they know through the sweet art of persuasion and where we never have to do anything that morally discomfits us. Would that the world were so clean and simple. Let’s hope the judgment that scholar Paul Rahe rendered on those unwilling to make morally complicated choices prior to World War II never has to be made against opponents of coercive interrogation: “They were more nice than wise. In refusing to commit the smaller sin, they incurred a far greater wrong.”
Coercive interrogation is goodbad, depending. It's a special moral code known well to the free-floating authoritarian personality.
typically, people who function at this level of shrewdness have ended up working for doug feith
I often wonder, these days, what it will take to bring the thirty percent around to reality. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is your answer.
The scientists of rocketry at the he-man-librul-haters blog Saber Point
, convinced that they have located a radical leftist type
, have set out to expose all of my Big Personal Secrets:
-- While not attending UCLA
, I work
at "New Avenue Systems" (which I promptly googled -- it's in Arcadia), live in Irvine, and maintain a blog
called, read this carefully, "Crotched Hats." Note that, in the linked thread, they threaten to call my boss
at New Avenue Systems and inform him that I'm blogging during work hours. I keep hoping that they'll really do this one. It's a shame I can't sneak into the building to hear the other end of the phone call.
-- I am really
"Chris J. Bray," of Corona del Mar;
-- I have a blog called "history"
(Historiblography having too many syllables to register, despite repeated efforts)
And, yeah, that's pretty much me, sitting here in Corona del Mar
, editing Crotched Hats while I take a day off from New Avenue Systems. These guys are good
I also feel kind of badly for this Chris J. Bray character, commuting between his apartment in Corona del Mar, grad school at UCLA, and an office in Arcadia. He must be on the road twenty-five hours a day.It helps to explain this story, I think.
"can you be dull and shrill at the same time?"
and it cuts like a knife
Voltaire totally lives.
ninth grade was like that for me, too
According to our referrer logs, someone from a high school in San Jose got to Historiblography today by googling the phrase "pure grain alcohol."
Melancholy day today parked on a higher floor of a downtown L.A. building, looking over into the empty guts of the old Hall of Justice. I've walked around inside that building, a long
time ago, back when the top floors were still a jail, with a friend who was a newly assigned deputy sheriff. And then there was the very late night when I was staggering past the place and watched a guy stop on the sidewalk in front, tilt his head back to look way up, and let loose an extremely loud, "I LOVE YOU!" at the jail windows. There was, guess what, no reply.
The thing has been empty now for, what, a full decade? More? Anyone know why?
we're in yur restuhrantz, eatin' all yur jihadz
See my related post
at Crocheted Hats
for background, but the thing I'm currently loving about this "John Doe Manifesto" currently making the rounds
of the chickenhawk blogs are these great lines, addressed by anonymous badass patriots to the apparently ubiquitous Muslim terrorists in the American heartland and their dirty librul enabler-apologists:
You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.
I am John Doe.
I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.
I l-o-v-e that great juxtaposition: 1.) I am your enemy; 2.) You do not know me.
So, um, watch your ass! Or I'll secretly oppose you!
The entire chickenhawk credo is perfectly captured in just those three short paragraphs.
I am watching! (Anonymously. In secret. Over here, locked in the shitter, peeking through the slots, trying to breathe real quiet-like so you don't hear me.) And I'll, um, kick your ass. From my hiding spot. By posting anonymously to my blog. In secret. You don't know me!
Rock on, you crazy kids. You'll save Western Civilization yet.
After a year-long hiatus, I have a new post
up at Crocheted Hats.
There will, I'm guessing, be more.
quite possibly the dumbest motherfucker in the universe, assuming there isn't some kind of nominally conscious lichen hiding under a rock on mars
Arkansas Democrat Mark Fucking Pryor, a senator whose pointless existence has just come to my generally well-informed attention, has introduced a proposal to help stabilize Iraq while moving the American war there toward a conclusion. He wants
the president to commit to a deadline for withdrawal...but keep it a secret
Unlike the plan's Republican opponents, Pryor wants a withdrawal deadline of some kind. He just doesn't want anyone outside the White House, Congress and the Iraqi government to know what it is.
"My strong preference would be to have a classified plan and a classified timetable that should be shared with Congress," Pryor said yesterday. A public deadline would tip off the enemy, "who might just bide their time and wait for us to leave," he said. "Then you'd have chaos and mayhem and instability."
Pryor said a classified plan would be provided by the president, shepherded by Senate committees and ultimately shared with Congress and Iraqi leaders. He is confident that the plan would remain secret, because Congress is entrusted with secrets "all the time."
This from the same governing elite who have never managed
to figure out
the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, but still. If we only tell the leaders of the Iraqi government, then the militias and insurgents won't know
Could someone in D.C. please sit Mark Fucking Pryor down and have him take at look at this
? It'll only take a few minutes. And you can explain to him what all that "Moqtada Moqtada Moqtada" stuff is about.Why do we have leaders like this? Why is this the best we can do?
Still thinking about this, and it still amazes me. We're four years into a war, and our political leaders are still aggressively unaware of the most basic realities about who we're fighting and how they fight. It's as if Roosevelt were sitting around the White House in early 1945, looking befuddled and asking, "Now, this Hirohito -- tell me again, is he the German fella?"
ADDED STILL LATER:
And this is again why I very much doubt the utility of "will" in the attainment of a "victory" in Iraq. Wanting to win
is really super-neat. But it would help to know vaguely what that "victory" might involve. The current formulation is apparently that we are standing with the Iraqi government against the extremists, and will achieve victory when the one defeats the other -- which makes sense only to the very dumbest observers, considering
australian meets kangaroo
If we provide legal counsel
for the accused, terrorists will destroy our freedom.
let the eagle soar
Magnificent story here
Somewhere in the world, a suspected terrorist named Youssouf Islam has the attention of the United States government. This has been a problem for Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. And this, get ready for it, is a problem for the wife of Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, since her name is...Catherine Stevens
. Cat for short.
Catherine Stevens has been "delayed repeatedly" at airports by TSA officials who shrewdly determined that they may very well have had Youssouf Islam in their airport, trying to board an airplane so he could DESTROY AMERICA, bwah hah hah!
By this same inductive process, George Bush is himself suspected of being Osama bin-Laden, since both have the letter "B" in their names.
This story triggered my own fond memories of flying home from Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, after finishing my last stretch of active duty in the Army. The good people at the demob station dropped us off at the tiny regional airport in La Crosse at four in the morning, before the airline counters opened. We waited. And then the counters opened, and we checked in -- and the TSA screeners at the ticket counter went on full alert, seeing a large group of men with extremely short hair and matching green duffel bags near a military post and concluding, quite rightly, that they may well have had a serious terrorist threat on their hands.
The screeners gather, hands sheathed in rubber gloves, arms cocked out like gunfighters. One by one we suspected terrorists open the locks on our duffel bags, and the screeners peer inside
at the very top of our densely packed, three-foot high bags. Then conclude that, yep, no bomb sitting right on the very top, here, and they close the bags up again. All the while being kind of aggressively rude about the whole thing.
And then we shuffle over to the security checkpoint so we can get to the gate.
Now, we had all been overseas when the evil terrorists turned our very bottled Evian against us, so not everyone had gotten that particular memo. And so one of our number tried to carry several cans of Coca-Cola through the checkpoint in his carry-on bag. An alert is triggered! Screeners leap into action! The cans are removed...and have writing on them in Arabic script!
More screeners gather, etcetera. Finally, carefully assessing the young man's curious mottled green clothing, the TSA decides to step the situation down a few steps, and calmly allow that everything will be okay as long as the young man who has tried to penetrate their AO with canned soda takes his dangerous beverage product over to the ticket counter to be reclassed as checked baggage.
While he does just that, I stand waiting at the back end of the checkpoint, watching the screeners do their work. A middle-aged Wisconsinite enters the checkpoint with mixed nuts in a bag...but the bag is a one-gallon bag, not the required one-quart bag!!!!
Screeners gather! A supervisor rushes to the scene! The screeners hand the bag to the supervisor, who holds it up to the light, assessing the nuts with steely mien. Finally, after an excruciating silence, he pronounces his solemn verdict:
"I'm going to allow it -- but just this once
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why middle-aged Wisconsin ladies can't usually threaten us on an airplane with a full gallon of fancy salted pecans and filberts.
For crying out loud, why are we waiting
to give these people more power and less accountability? Don't we want
to be safe?
john robb, please call your office
A Sri Lankan military post has just been attacked
by Tamil Tiger aircraft
. I'm sure there will be more to read here
The deer are buying hunting rifles
. Or pick your own metaphor, if you don't like that one. But here we go
, right into the odd new day.
the perp baked me a yummy cupcake
In his 2002 book Secrecy Wars
, the late poli-sci professor Philip Melanson
described FBI records from the Cold War era that he had obtained through use of the Freedom of Information Act. Serious-as-a-heart-attack government agents spent those grim years watching television, Melanson reported, scrutinizing the talk shows to see if the likes of Zsa Zsa and Eddie Albert were broadcasting sneaky comsymp. The feds, shrewdly alert to any avenue of attack, watched Harry Belafonte like a hawk: "[Source deleted] viewed Belafonte's emceeing of the Johnny Carson show last night," read one report. "Belafonte has sufficient information of a blackmail nature on Bobby Kennedy that will result in Kennedy reacting as a puppet to Peking direction in the coming presidential campaign."
If only J. Edgar Hoover had had TiVo, ladies and gentlemen. Think how much faster we could have taken down the Soviets and the ChiComms, being able to put the Johnny Carson show on "pause" for closer analysis.
And this is my reaction to the revelation
that the NYPD operated an extensive spy network to keep an eye on people suspected to harbor anti-Republican sympathies ahead of the 2004 GOP convention in New York City. Thank god
they nailed that art student who made a bicycle that sprayed anti-Republican slogans on the sidewalk in water-soluble chalk. Thank god
you can't start an Elderly Hippies Against War chapter without triggering a RICO investigation, or whatever. Imagine if a group of anti-war church ladies were to meet in a basement rec room, down at the local Lutheran terrorist headquarters, without the state keeping a close eye on them. I hope to god we're wiretapping every professor at Oberlin and Pitzer, because they probably mean to nuke the District of Columbia. They read books. Need I say more?
I've said this before, and I'll just keep saying it: The unrestrained state will not protect you. Big Brother is invariably an idiot, at least as ridiculous as he is menacing. Formal organizations centered on the premise of state security will always
tend to muddle around in the picayune. They will always
make themselves look useful
by picking the low-hanging fruit, which allows them to generate more look-we're-doing-something paper than any difficult, sustained operation against a serious anti-state organization. From today's story on the NYPD intelligence effort, with emphasis added:
They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.
The NYPD's intelligence division
proved to be really good at monitoring organizations that made their intentions known in advance on websites or through casual exchanges of email with strangers and newcomers. If this doesn't make you laugh out loud, there's nothing I can say to explain it to you.
bad history, bad politics
Thank god someone else still has the energy to write about
Victor Davis Hanson.
tape loop activated
"Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday accused
the Democrat-led House of not supporting troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger."
A giddiness-inducing attack
on Max Boot in the pages of the American Conservative
. (Print the text without mentioning where it was published, and count the seconds until someone attacks it as "left-wing.")
Make sure you have the sound turned up. Then
From the publisher's description of this book
, with emphasis added:
Gould attributes British support for George III's American policies to a combination of factors, including growing isolationism in regard to the European continent and a burgeoning sense of the colonies as integral parts of a greater British nation. Most important, he argues, the British public accepted such ill-conceived projects as the Stamp Act because theirs was a sedentary, "armchair" patriotism based on paying others to fight their battles for them. This system of military finance made Parliament's attempt to tax the American colonists look unexceptional to most Britons and left the metropolitan public free to embrace imperial projects of all sorts -- including those that ultimately drove the colonists to rebel.
You can use the low up-front costs of colonial wars to sell facile militarism, but there's a balloon payment that eventually catches the owners by surprise: Wait a minute, I didn't order this.
And the king was even named George.
I am pro the Poor Man Institute
. You should go there, and laugh at stuff. Like this post
, or this comment
in reaction to the said post.
Incivility -- catch it!
actions down the chain
Two stories about the same thing.
When I was in Kuwait last year, I drove a senior NCO to a meeting at Camp Arifjan to join a discussion about a set of changes the Army wanted to make in its administration of pre-combat training for units headed north into Iraq. I sat in the corner during the meeting, which brought together a group of civilian contractors from several companies, a group of soldiers who oversaw the training, a group of civilian employees from the DOD, and an Army officer who served as a contract manager.
The proposed changes were unremarkable, but they still led to shouting and frustration, and the meeting ended without the business being done. Every change in training operations required a change in contract terms, a process with many layers and a great deal of friction. Every action echoed through the bureaucracy, bouncing from headquarters to headquarters and generating new work, new requirements, new processes. Contractors wouldn't lift a wrench until the contract was changed to say they were being paid to lift it.
I also watched, another time, as a major in the training office sent an email to a contractor, criticizing the way the contractor was doing its business on behalf of the military and trying to give directions about the execution of its contract. Again, the action had a long echo, and resolution was long in coming. Field grade officers sent nasty emails back and forth. Meetings ran long.
So here's what I wonder as I read the news these days, and it's a question that I haven't seen addressed in any of the reporting:
Given that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is supported on a foundation of contract services, and given that Gen. David Petraeus is moving toward a system of
strategic hamlets quadrillage
to try to stabilize Baghdad, what kind of change orders are showing up in the service support contracts? How much more does it cost to have contractors supply dozens of small and relatively insecure bases rather than simply supplying a few massive FOBs? Are contractors more exposed to attack? And what are they charging to cover the difference?
My bet is that a small legion of majors is racing along behind the changes Petraeus is making, scrambling to fix the contracts. And I bet we see, when the numbers start bubbling out in a few months, that the costs of the war are rising sharply to pay the contractors for the changes.
The comments at this post
are an absolute must-read. Open a beer, first. Settle in and enjoy.
If I had computer skills, I would just put the thing up here, and you wouldn't need to go elsewhere
to watch this exceptionally pleasant Cat Power video item.
can't wait to read his prison diary
"...Kurt Tucholsky said there was no point even in criticizing the Nazis, because 'Satire...has a lower limit. In Germany it is the fascist forces. It doesn't pay -- you can't shoot that low.'" --
Otto Friedrich, Before the Deluge
On a similar point, I give you Saber Point
, a blog that claims to be "Defending Western Civilization Against the Barbarian Hordes," complete with cheap attacks on actual military personnel
and barely veiled eliminationist language
No matter how you cut it, having Muslims in our midst is a bad thing. They are hostile to our culture and our laws and are unassimilable. Sooner or later we, and Europe, are going to have to face up to hard choices and unpleasant realities.
The laugh-out-loud-amid-the-shuddering part is the profile of the brave warrior at Saber Point who is "Defending Western Civilization" from behind his pseudonym
* Gender: Male
* Industry: Business Services
* Occupation: Professional Grouch
* Location: Bay Area : California : United States
The Islamofascists tremble at the wrath of our Bay Area business services employees! Huzzah! We will short the Islamofascists of photocopier toner if they dare to establish offices around Market Street! We shall sabotage their office coffee filters, so they get grounds in their Starbucks! Huzzah! And gentlemen now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here! (Gotta go, my boss is a total dick about the blog.)
If it's a parody, brother, then my hat is off. You've got the tone
On a related note
all hail glorious progress huzzah
Having made the ridiculous-in-Los-Angeles decision to try public transportation for one (1) academic quarter, I stood glumly on a sidewalk this morning for forty minutes to catch a bus that's scheduled to run every half hour -- having reached the bus stop, of course, five minutes before a scheduled arrival.
So I'm finally lumbering down Sunset Boulevard to campus -- never again! -- when I see a rack full of big glossy pamphlets at the front of the bus. And the pamphlets are titled...
"A Year of Progress."
And you can smell
the awful from all the way back by the exit door. The thing has a great photograph of a smiling dude in a bus driver's uniform, his face covered with big lipsticky kisses, wrapped in the loving embrace of a bus rider who has a positively post-coital look on her face. We don't just ride MTA -- we kiss
the motherfucker. And hug it. And and and give it a big warm reacharound, 'cause the public agency that runs our buses is our lover
. And we want it inside us. Smooches!
The genius behind that photograph has never set foot on a bus. You fucking dumb bastard.
Inside: "2006 was a great year for Metro and we want to share the following highlights with those we care about most...our customers." (The curious ellipsis is theirs.)
And now, brave friends, come along with me on a random journey of joy through the "Highlights from 2006," which the MTA glories to boldly share with their most effusively admired comrades:
-- 59 train warning signs installed at Long Beach intersections
-- Judge allowed consent decree to expire
-- 96 articulated buses began Metro Local service
-- Metro reached tentative agreements before contracts expired with its three largest labor unions
Bam! Bought some buses? Hell yeah! Negotiated with labor? You know it, baby! Bam! Yeah! Wooooo baby uh-huh yeah YES!
Every formal institution is at least a little bit Soviet.
And this is why I'm chronically underemployed.
One of our cats comes down every night and announces, with mournful noises at the foot of the stairs, that it's time to go up to bed.
And she Will. Not. Quit. Until she is obeyed.
because the world needs more blogs
I'm thinking of starting a new blog -- I'd do it as a whole well-designed, multiple contributor website with some actual reporting, if I had any of that curious green paper everyone's always talking about -- to document what looks to me like an emergence of non-state actors working in roles that we tend to associate with state institutions. The obvious and much-discussed examples are private armies
and national security contractors
, but I'm also interested in stories like this one
in which off-duty police sell police services to people who get inadequate protection from, well, the police (see "Security Solution Specialists" on page 5).
And then there's Hatzolah
, a private EMS organization that responds
to medical emergencies in the Fairfax district in Los Angeles.
I've googled, and it doesn't look like anyone's doing this. And it would be pleasant to create a single place where stories about an apparent institutional trend could be aggregated.
In a way, I'm looking at a kind of decline-of-the-state narrative of the sort that John Robb is pursuing at Global Guerillas
. But Robb is more closely focused on the ways that non-state actors are challenging the state, while I'm thinking of looking at the ways that non-state actors are supplementing and supplanting the state -- the ways that state authority is bleeding out of the increasingly permeable boundaries of the state.
And the history of the state/non-state distinction would be a big part. I think we're not so much transitioning to a new stage in governance as regressing to an old one
great moments in military-civil relations
first in an exciting new series
"Jackson had been ordered
to march his Tennessee troops to Natchez, Mississippi. When he got there he was told to disband his men because they were unneeded. General Jackson refused
and marched them back to Tennessee."
semi-hilarious inappropriateness lottery
To return to a topic just discussed a few days ago, it's somehow terribly
inappropriate for retired
general officers to criticize wartime political leadership...but it's not, apparently, at all
inappropriate for Gen. Peter Pace, a serving
general officer, to publicly state
his position on potential changes in military law -- which, astoundingly, he couched in terms of a general discussion of the types of sexual behavior he chooses to regard as socially appropriate (emphasis added):
"As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," he said, according to the audio and a transcript released by his staff.
If you click on the link, up there, note the nature of the criticism: No one quoted in the story suggests that it's inappropriate for a uniformed officer to publicly indicate what kind of policy he wishes for his superiors to establish; rather, they criticize Pace for being insensitive and insulting. Which he was, sure, but that strikes me as the second point.
If the military is subordinate to civilian authority, why is Peter Pace announcing to us all what kind of sexual behavior he regards as morally acceptable, and indicating in a public forum what policies he wants to execute?
Change the middle of the sentence to anything else you want, and test for appropriateness as a public statement by a flag officer on active duty: "As an individual, I would not want (hostility to Iran) to be our policy
..." or ""As an individual, I would not want (the continued service of Secretary Gates) to be our policy
What would the reaction be?
The emerging reality is that general officers are free to speak publicly about politically loaded issues -- see also the distribution of Pentagon talking points to retired officers who appear on television -- as long as they sound like socially conservative pro-war Republicans, which is coded as politically neutral speech.
In my examples of other things that Pace could have said using the same formulation, I missed the hella-obvious hypothetical alternative: "As an individual, I want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy...
What would the response be to that
one in a series, ironically enough
Readers with JSTOR access will enjoy U.S. Army Captain Elbridge Colby's 1927 essay
in the American Journal of International Law
titled, "How to Fight Savage Tribes." The reasoning is strikingly familiar
When Oriental peoples are accustomed to pillaging and being pillaged, accustomed to torturing and flaying alive distinguished prisoners, you are dealing with opponents to whom the laws of war mean nothing, who, as General Hull said of the American Indians, "respect no rights and know no wrong." Against such it is not only perfectly proper, it is even necessary, to take vigorous measures...
It is good to be decent. It is good to use proper discretion. It is good to observe the decencies of international law. But it is a fact that against uncivilized people who do not know international law and do not observe it, and would take advantage of one who did, there must be something else...
To a Frenchman, a shell striking Rheims Cathedral -- signal station or not, it makes no difference -- or a bomb exploding on a railroad train -- military men therein or not, it makes no difference -- is a lawless act of the enemy which infuriates the temperamental soul and arouses wrath and gives a fine incident for overseas propaganda. To a fanatical savage, a bomb dropped out of the sky on the sacred temple of his omnipotent God is a sign and a symbol that that God has withdrawn his favor. A shell smashing into a putative inaccessible village stronghold is an indication of the relentless energy and superior skill of the well-equipped civilized foe. Instead of merely arousing his wrath, these acts are much more likely to make him raise his hands in surrender. If a few "non-combatants" -- if there be any such in native folk of this character -- are killed, the loss of life is probably far less than might have been sustained in prolonged operations of a more polite character. The inhuman act thus becomes actually humane, for it shortens the conflict and prevents the shedding of more excessive quantities of blood.
These things should be recalled when "civilized" troops make war on "uncivilized" people.
Exterminate the brutes! An argument that never gets old, apparently.
neutrality is the right kind of partisanship
In the April issue of Vanity Fair, writer David Margolick revisits
the group of retired generals who publicly criticized Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership in the Iraq war. Margolick interviews the distinguished military historian Richard Kohn, who blasts former officers like the retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold for (as Margolick summarizes) "violating traditions of civilian control." It is, we now hear again, entirely inappropriate for retired flag officers to step onto the field of partisan politics. And I like Ike, but never mind.
Generally unmentioned by journalists in this hand-wringing narrative about retired military types who don’t know their place is the Bush 93, the group of retired military leaders who openly endorsed George W. Bush for the presidency in 2000. Leading the charge were men like Colin Powell, who had held a minor post as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Merrill McPeak, who retired from a low-profile job as chief of staff for the Air Force under Bill Clinton. (Kohn criticized those endorsements in a September 2000 op-ed piece in the Washington Post
Also overlooked are the regular Iraq war briefings that the Rumsfeld Pentagon held for retired senior officers. Pat Lang, a retired army colonel, has used his blog to describe
his experience at these briefings.
"The Pentagon meetings," Lang wrote, "were well attended by a variety of retired generals, colonels, Navy captains and a few retired NCOs, all of whom were familiar faces from TV news. Most of them were cable people, and there was a disproportionate representation from Fox News as well as people who were both TV commentators and think tankers, mostly from AEI and Heritage. There were several retired four star generals present whom I had never seen on the tube, but who may have been off camera consultants. The Defense staff always made their case for the correctness of the policies followed by the administration and handed out 'talking points' as suggestions."
So we have, in recent years, a series of events in which retired military officers have endorsed Republican political candidates and circulated through the media a set of Republican talking points that were handed to them at the Pentagon. And what we conclude from all this is that Greg Newbold, by criticizing Donald Rumsfeld, crossed a previously unviolated line separating retired military officers from the forbidden territory of partisan politics. It makes sense if you punch yourself in the head a few times to loosen up the synapses.
In an September 2000 interview
with Gwen Ifill of the PBS show Newshour, McPeak defended his decision to endorse Bush by drawing a line between active and retired military officers.
"I draw a sharp distinction," he said, "between people on active duty, still at the head of forces, and retired general officers. I mean, I just flew up here from Portland in a little airplane, home built that I didn't put any guns in. I don't regard myself anymore as a menace to the republic. So my First Amendment rights to participate in the political process ought not to be restricted in the way we've all come to think active duty general officers should be restricted."
In 2004, McPeak exercised his First Amendment rights again, but in a slightly different way. He spoke
as an “an anybody-but-Bush-guy,” campaigning for John Kerry.
As we’ve learned from the debate over Newbold and the other retired officers who joined him in criticizing Rumsfeld, McPeak’s decision to stop endorsing a Republican and start endorsing a Democrat means that he abandoned his political neutrality and became a partisan figure.
In Farewell, Rumsfeld Warns Weakness Is ‘Provocative’Summer, 1769-Spring, 1770:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld bade farewell to the Pentagon on Friday with a combative valedictory speech in which he warned against hoping for “graceful exits” from Iraq and said it would be wrong to regard the lack of new attacks on American soil as a sign that the nation is safe from terrorism.
“Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, standing at a lectern with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at his side, “but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative as well.”
During the summer of 1769 key members of the British cabinet decided to abandon the Townshend Program. It was not until March 1770 that Parliament finally repealed the legislation that had sparked colonial resistance. One nettlesome provision survived: A tax on tea remained on the statute books. The government's actions have been described as a retreat in face of mounting opposition. To call the elimination of duties on various consumer items a retreat, however, would leave the impression that the ministry had a coherent plan from which it was now retreating. None was in place.
As the leaders of the greatest empire the world had ever known returned from London to their country seats that spring, they sensed that the country's leaders were floundering, and like so many regimes over the centuries that have lacked imaginative vision, this one mistook force and threats of force for a genuine constructive policy.
light in the darkness
I'd like to cross the country and shake John Shannon's
"we just don't think that's going to happen"
Very shrewd comparison.
"Cheney Slams China Military Buildup in Australia Speech"March 5:
"China to increase military spending by 18 percent"Feb. 21:
"Cheney Says British Troop Withdrawal Is Positive Sign"March 5:
"Iraqi special forces and British troops stormed the offices of an Iraqi government intelligence agency in the southern city of Basra on Sunday, and British officials said they discovered about 30 prisoners, some showing signs of torture."
So, yeah: Whichever way the man points, the world promptly heads the other way.
I just pray that Dick Cheney never publicly expresses support for gravity or oxygen.
and fuck you, too
tonight from the petulant and willfully obtuse Francis Harvey, just forced out as secretary of the army by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:
Later, in an interview, an emotional Harvey appeared both apologetic and defensive. "It's unexcusable to have soldiers in that type of building," he said, explaining why he resigned.
But he also said that the Post stories lacked balance. "Where's the other side of the story?" he asked, his voice rising. "Two articles in your paper have ruined the career of General Weightman, who is a very decent man, and then a captain . . . and the secretary of the Army. If that satisfies the populace, maybe this will stop further dismissals."
The other fucking side of the story
, motherfucker? Like what? Like maybe the mold on the walls had beneficial effects
for the wounded soldiers who were graced with slum housing by your organization? Or that the whole experience of being parked in limbo in filth and squalor while recovering from massive battlefield trauma was good for their fucking character
Unforgivable. What an incredible piece of shit.
Gates, on the other hand, appears to be demonstrating some real character and sense. Announcing that Harvey was out, Gates said this remarkable thing: "Some have shown too much defensiveness and have not shown enough focus on digging into and addressing the problems."
Helpful that Harvey proved his point.
As an experiment -- and we would have to get the White House to play along -- what if we got the president (or the vice-president, from behind the veil of his secret identity
) to make a public appearance in which he did nothing but shout a series of nonsense words with conviction and apparent sincerity. Borrowing from Steve Martin, I propose...
"Ma mu dogface to the banana patch."
The question: How long until die-hard war supporters adopt it as a rallying cry?
Sean Hannity: "Ma mu dogface to the banana patch, sir
, and if you don't like
ma mu dogface to the banana patch, then maybe it's time for you to leave this country if you hate it so much, because you're cheering for America to lose!"
##EXCLUSIVE TO THE DRUDGE REPORT MUST CREDIT DRUDGE REPORT##We must ma mu dogface to the banana patch! For America!
##EXCLUSIVE TO THE DRUDGE REPORT MUST CREDIT DRUDGE REPORT##
Is "Ma mu dogface to the banana patch" the slightest bit more ridiculous than Insurgents in Iraq have bombs made out of PVC piping and copper, which are so sophisticated that they could only be coming from the Iranian government
What's the dumbness baseline? How low do we have to go to start shaking some numbers off of that so-far-unwavering hardcore?