Monday, September 25, 2006


As the congress of the United States of America, representing YOUR interests and wishes, decides this week to approve the President's use of torture, it would be well to consider what your silent acquiessence to this decision says about your own character.

Sorry if you'd rather not think about it, but really you ought to.

And for those of you who think torture is a necessary evil in these frightened times, ponder the words of some military leaders here: Why Retired Military Brass Don't Want Torture

Or some words from a first hand witness of torture's effects here.

And think of this, even if you ignore the fact that torture doesn't work, and that iti is an evil that souldn't be inflicted on ANY human, no matter how evil, think of this: what does your approval of torture say about you?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


When you think abput it, the things that piss so many Americans off about BushCorp™ are not its myriad sins in their details, but one big sin, the missed opportunity of the day after 9/11.

On 9/12, echoing JFK's words beside the Berlin wall, the world as one said, "we are all Americans".

What Bush and cohorts have done with that missed opportunity is beyond criminal.

To get a real feel for the then and now of it watch first Jon Stewart's first broadcast after 9/11, then watch Keith Olbermann's broadcast today.

The saddest thing is that both are true.

And for that I will never forgive George W. Bush.

[Videos courtesy of the ever necessary Crooks and Liars blog]

Monday, September 11, 2006

A few thoughts on 9\11

As we remember those who lost their lives that day, let us also remember those who suffer as a result of this administration's misguided attempts to continue to reap political benefit from the tragedy of 9/11.

Let us remember the thousands of troops whose deaths now outnumber those who died that day.

Let us remember the 10s of thousands maimed as well.

Let us remember their families and friends.

Let us also remember the 10s of thousands of Iraqi souls, civilians whose reward for surviving Saddam was to become the "collateral damage" of the US occupation.

Let us remember their families as well.

And let us finally remember that, since the goal of terrorism is to inspire fear, both BushCorp and the American press are now doing their best to do bin Laden's work for him.

Let us remember that this November.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Patriotic Liberals

NO it's not an oxymoron, nor should it be, as Geoffrey Nunberg points out in his LA Times op-ed:

POLITICAL ATTACKS that sounded sinister in the McCarthy years now sound merely outlandish, as conservatives try to explain liberals' lack of patriotism as just another one of those blue-state lifestyle traits, like an aversion to Lynyrd Skynyrd or macaroni and cheese. Writing shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the National Review's John O'Sullivan explained that liberals' anti-Americanism was the reaction of snobs who believed that "the patriotism of ordinary people is something simplistic, vulgar and shameful," which is why liberals are more comfortable taking the side of "medieval Islamists" than of "a hard-hat construction worker or a suburban golfer in plaid pants."

You can't trivialize love of country more than that. If liberals are capable of bailing out on patriotism simply because it's tacky, how strong a hold could it have on any of us?

But then patriotism has never been so low-maintenance as now. Time was when "supporting the troops" obliged you to buy war bonds or go out on scrap drives. Now you merely have to slap a bumper sticker on the back of your Hummer. And even for the able-bodied, it's enough to support the troops from afar — you don't see conservative young women out in the streets handing out white feathers as emblems of cowardice to men who aren't in uniform.

The less it costs to proclaim yourself a patriot, the less someone else has to do to be accused of being unpatriotic — it's enough that he questions the wisdom of a policy or leaves his lapel pin on his other suit. That isn't how it was going to be.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

With friends like these...

So, it seems that Pakistan, W's good friends and "allies" in the Glorious War on Terror©, are giving safe haven to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Imagine that, BushCorp™ betrayed by a military dictator who from the beginning has had no other goal than to save his own skin. If this doesn't rate a Rumsfeldian "heavens to betsy!" I don't know what does.

Then again the Bushies have never been too lucky in their choice of friends, Putin, the House of Saud, even the bin Laden family itself.

On the other hand it does support the BushCorp™ theory that questioning its ability to wage the Glorious War on Terror© plays into our enemy's hands.

I mean seriously, can pointing out that the leader of the free world is an idiot really be good for our country?

Especially since the rest of the world knows that it's true?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Morality of Total War

I've been following a very interesting thread prompted by a post by sideways over at Donklephant (h/t to The Moderate Voice though I can't find a link to the original post).

A snippet from sideways:

I need someone to explain something to me. It’s a moral question, so naturally I need help.

Sixty five years ago we fought a war with Japan following their attack on Pearl Harbor. Within a matter of a few months we were burning down Japanese cities. The Japanese of that era favored wood construction and we dropped incendiary bombs. Later, when the technology became available, we dropped atomic bombs.

You can argue one way or the other whether there were significant, legitimate military targets in each and every case, but let’s take it as granted that there were. Nevertheless, incendiaries in packed cities full of wood houses, I think we knew what would result. I think we knew the firestorms might suck the oxygen from the lungs of children as well as adults, women as well as men, opponents and supporters of the regime alike.

Fair enough so far?

Question: were we right or wrong to do it?

Some thoughts on the initial question of the "morality" of US targeting of civilian poulations in Japan (and Allied targeting in places like Dresden I would suppose) I think its helpful to view war as a tactic, a tool for the acheivement of some goal (many have also suggested that this is exactly how terrorism should be viewed as well).

We fought WWII using the specific sort of tool known as "total war", wherein we sought not just to win mere strategic geographical objectives, but to entirely eliminate our enemies' capacity to wage, or even contemplate waging war. We were seeking to crush our enemies' wills.

Now total war is a terrible thing, a sloppy and dangerous tool indeed, which, once released, will neccesarily will inflict horrendous casualties on civilian populations.

But if you accept that the defeat of the agressively militaristic and expansionist regimes of Hitler's Germany and Hirohito's Japan was an existential imperative for the Allies, and that the tool called total war was the only way to achieve this imperative, then its use was inevitable.

Is the inevitable subject to "morality"? Can it be?

I posit that moral considerations were on point primarily in the decision whether to wage this war, and this sort of war, or not.

And it seems to me that this applies today, that the overarching moral decisions are made (consciously or not) at the outset of a war.

Whether to wage war at all. And if so how it should be waged.

Which is one of the reasons our current adventure in Iraq so pisses me off.

The decision to go to war is an enormously important moral decision.

And in a democracy that aspires to morality (and makes rather a point of crowing about it) shouldn't such a decision be made on the best available information?

I, and I suspect many Americans feel they were mislead.

That the administration purposefully exagerrated the immediate threat posed by Saddam's Iraq.

That the administration purposely conflated (Bush's recent disingenuous denials not notwithstanding) Iraq with the attacks of 9/11.

That the administration consistently low-balled the costs of this war, to our soldiers, to our treasury, and, ironically I suppose, to our moral standing in the world.

And whether these last were done in good faith or not, I find it particularly galling that NONE of the leadership responsible have been held to account.

I also find it extremely worrisome that, faced with electoral defeat, Republicans are ratcheting up their rhetoric by conflating our WWII and Cold War struggles, with our current need to defend ourselves against the tactic of terrorism.

If such comparisons are being made disingenuosly (frankly my hope) then they are merely despicable.

But if they are being made in earnest then our country is facing a moral decision akin to that which we faced at the outset of WWII.

I hope the decisions we make are ones our children and grandchildren can live with.