Oooh, That Smell

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez complained to the U.N. General Assembly in New York yesterday that the hall “still smells of sulphur” following U.S. President George W. Bush’s address to international diplomats there the day before. Standing firm as one of the world’s more outspoken critics of the Bush administration and of the influence of U.S. policy in international affairs, Mr. Chavez called for reform of the U.N. and charged that Mr. Bush promotes a “false democracy of the elite” and a “democracy of bombs”.

The President of the United States may not be Satan incarnate, as charged by Mr. Chavez, but some of our government’s policies can reasonably be cast as at least in league with the Devil.

The most obvious relate to torture and “extraordinary rendition” in our prosecution of the so-called war on terrorism.

I have been sicked from the start by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ memoranda purporting to excuse the U.S. from adherence to longstanding rules of conduct governing the waging of war and the treatment of prisoners, and lately the President’s grandstanding for “clarification” of the Geneva Conventions and for approval of his use of military tribunals to “try” suspected terrorists makes me wonder how the world’s shining light of Freedom can have grown so dim.

Too many of the 15,000 people being held worldwide without charge by the American government could no doubt testify to the “devilish” treatment they have suffered from those who would “spread democracy”, but a Canadian citizen named Maher Arar is the latest in a long line of actual innocents who’ve been put through hell, and lived to tell the tale of just how far All the King’s Men are willing to go in the “fight against Islamic fascism.”

Mr. Arar was minding his own business on a layover at New York’s JFK airport, on his way home from Tunisia to Canada in October 2002, when he was abducted by American agents and flown against his will in a U.S. government plane to Jordan. There, he was beaten until he confessed to having trained at an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, despite his having never been there. Afterward, he was taken overland to Syria, where for 10 months he was kept in a coffin-sized cell and repeatedly subjected to tortuous treatment, including being beaten with shredded electrical cables.

American officials did not inform our northern ally in the WoT we had siezed one of her citizens because — as a Canadian inquiry found and described in a report released this week — they “believed” Canadian officials might be “concerned” about Mr. Arar’s rendition. Once Canadian officials learned that Mr. Arar was in Syria (some weeks after his kidnapping), Syrian officials denied his presence in their country to hide the fact he was being tortured. Finally, a full year after his ordeal began, Syrian officials concluded Mr. Arar had no ties to terrorism and returned him to Canada.

We have laws in this country that allow people to be compensated for injuries caused them by official misconduct and it would seem on its face that Mr. Arar — a completely innocent man with absolutely no connection to terrorism whatsoever outside his Middle Eastern heritage — would deserve leave to plead a case.

Not according to the Bush administration.

As it has done in dozens of other similar cases, the government alleged that if a federal court allowed Mr. Arar to seek redress of his grievances “national security” would be compromized and our ability to win the “war on terror” would be put in jeapordy. The court agreed and dismissed his case.

As they say, “the devil’s in the details.”


  1. sail247 - September 22, 2006 @ 2:10 am

    The link provided under Maher Arar’s name in your post leads to a most interesting September 18, 2006 Press Release from the Canadian Commission which investigated this matter.
    Interesting most notably with respect to the Canadian report’s clear and succinct statements of fact and disclosure of errors made by themselves which had an effect on the Arar matter. Even informational missteps by the Canadian Mounted Police which may have had a detrimental effect feeding the U.S. actions are stated.
    Government self-criticism ? When have we last seen that at home ?
    Good thing they don’t have a Patriot Act or the investigators of the Canadian findings report would have to arrest themselves.

  2. Tam O’Tellico - September 22, 2006 @ 9:20 am

    I don’t know what the Canadians have to whine about, it could be a lot worse. Imagine if we treated them like our other ally:

    US Threatened to Bomb Pakistan, Musharraf Says

    The Associated Press
    Friday 22 September 2006

    Washington – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said the U.S. threatened to bomb his country back to the Stone Age if he did not assist the administration’s war on terrorism.

    The threat was delivered after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Richard L. Armitage, then deputy secretary of State, to Musharraf’s intelligence director, the Pakistani leader told CBS’ “60 Minutes” for Sunday’s broadcast.

    Musharraf said the intelligence chief quoted Armitage as saying, “Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.”

    It was insulting, Musharraf said. “I think it was a very rude remark.”

    Armitage told CNN on Thursday that he never threatened to bomb Pakistan, wouldn’t say such a thing and didn’t have the authority to do it.
    He said he delivered a tough message to Pakistan, saying the Muslim nation was either “with us or against us,” CNN reported. But he said he didn’t know how his message had been recounted so differently to Musharraf. The White House and State Department declined to comment.

    Musharraf said he reacted responsibly to Armitage’s remarks. “One has to take actions in the interests of the nation, and that is what I did.”

    In January 2002, four months after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Musharraf gave a speech in which he came down on the side of reform at home and opposition to Islamic fundamentalism.

    Pakistan is considered a close ally of the United States, but it has been accused of being reluctant to go after members of the Taliban, which controlled neighboring Afghanistan until 2001.

  3. lovechilde - September 22, 2006 @ 10:49 am

    Of course it was Bush who started all this good versus evil stuff so it should not be surprising that he is being tarred with the same kind of discourse. But what strikes me as absurd (and frustrating) are the comments by Democrats like Pelosi and Rangel who feel it is necessary to chastise President Chavez. They should be outraged all right, but not about Chavez’s hilarious diatribe about the devil at the U.N. but about how, thanks to Bush & Co., all hell is breaking loose in the U.S.

  4. lonbud - September 22, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    Far more than absurd or frustrating, the participation of the so-called “opposition” party in our increasingly homogenous political system is down-right frightening.

    The whole “negotiation” thing going on in congress right now over interrogation procedures and warrantless eavesdropping is an abomination! There shouldn’t be any negotiating going on — the Democrats should be calling for Bush and Gonzales both to be imprisoned. These guys are f*cking WAR CRIMINALS!!

  5. lovechilde - September 22, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

    The NY Times reports as follows: “Democrats have put their trust in Senators Graham, McCain and Warner to push back against the White House, and Thursday they signaled that they intended to continue cooperating.” That, I’m afraid, says it all. What a disgrace.

  6. Tam O’Tellico - September 22, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

    Tortured Logic

    “There is almost no kind of outrage ‚Äì torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians ‚Äì which does not change its moral color when it is committed by ‚Äòour‚Äô side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.‚Äù George Orwell

    This week we were witness to an unusual event – a trio of old-guard Republican senators standing up to the President. Their reward for at long last doing their sworn duty? They were accused of aiding and abetting the enemy.

    What was their traitorous crime? They dared to suggest that the Geneva Conventions did not need clarification by this President and the gang of incompetent toadies that pass for Congress these days.

    It now appears a “compromise” has been reached, a compromise that will permit the President and his henchmen to continue using cruel and unusual interrogation methods that clearly violate the Geneva Conventions. All that will be required is that the President alleges they are not. This from the NY Times:

    ‚ÄúThe deal does next to nothing to stop the president from reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions. While the White House agreed to a list of “grave breaches” of the conventions that could be prosecuted as war crimes, it stipulated that the president could decide on his own what actions might be a lesser breach of the Geneva Conventions and what interrogation techniques he considered permissible.‚Äù

    Why use such methods to elicit information that can’t be used at trial – unless there is no intention to bring these suspects to trial? Why persist in a policy that puts our soldiers at risk? Why demand options interrogators are already refusing to use because they run the risk of future war crime charges? Why insist on torture when so many intelligence experts have concluded it doesn’t work?

    Maybe it’s just sheer pigheadedness – Bush has no shortage of that character flaw. Certainly, he came off like a petulant child when he threatened to take his whips and chains and go home unless he got his way on torture.

    But maybe, just maybe, Bush really believes that torture is working in spite of all the expert advice against that view. After all, that is exactly the behavior he exhibited with WMD and the Osama-Saddam connection that got us into this foolish war.

    Bush’s belief may be being reinforced by an unlikely source. The President and his supporters may be fans of 24, the relentlessly brutal TV series in which anti-terrorist terrorist Jack Bauer routinely violates every moral and ethical code known to man in order to save America from the bad guys ‚Äì just in time for the final commercial. In almost every episode, the villain quickly ‚Äúfesses up‚Äù as a result of Jack‚Äôs hardcore methods.

    It is tempting to think that most people outside the White House recognize that 24 and Jack Bauer are fictional. But listening to those around me, I’m not so sure. Or if they do, they certainly wish he wasn’t.

    Bauer is like Colonel Nathan Jessep, another fictional character in the movie A Few Good Men. People who remember nothing else about the movie remember Jessep’s sneering charge to Tom Cruise’s wimpy character: “You can’t handle the truth.”

    And maybe we can’t, because it isn’t just fictional tough-guys whose suspect methods are accepted. Remember Mark Furman, the loose-cannon LA detective in the O.J. Simpson case? A great many people thought he was guilty only of carelessness.

    And how about Ollie North and G. Gordon Liddy? Both become rich and famous right-wing talking heads as a result of their flamboyant flaunting of the rules. Both of these “tough-guys” are still very much heroes to those who think that all that matters is getting the job done quickly and ruthlessly.

    But these men, real and fictional, are not heroes. In fact, they represent the worst in us. They are cut from the same cloth as sports figures who use steroids, business executives who bloat their salaries, and campaign managers who swift-boat their opponents. As long as we admire their undeserved success, we will wallow in the gutter with them.

    If you want a real war hero, look to Alvin York, who fought not for glory, but out of necessity. If you want a real sports hero, look to Lou Gehrig or Bobby Jones, men who would far rather lose than cheat.

    And if you want a Republican President to admire, look to the first one, not the latest one. The former knew war was a last resort and did everything to prevent it. The latter sees it as a first option and recklessly plunges in. The former agonized over torture and argued against it. The latter revels in it and demands the right to use it however and whenever he pleases.

    If America is ever to triumph over terrorism, we must not resort to terrorism ourselves. If we are to prove that humanity is stronger than tyranny, we must take Lincoln’s advice – we must look to “the better angels of our nature.”

    ©2006 Tom Cordle
    Tellico Plains, TN

  7. Doc - September 23, 2006 @ 7:48 am


  8. lonbud - September 23, 2006 @ 8:20 am

    Doc: If you will read closely, I didn’t make any kind of value judgment about Chavez one way or the other, all I did was report on the fact of his remarks at the UN (and nothing at all about his speech in Harlem). I didn’t offer any kind of endorsement of him as the leader of Venezuela, in fact, the post wasn’t about Chavez at all, it was about the evil and immoral devices our government is willing to use in the so-called war on terror.

    Who are “disrespectful” here, far moreso than the melodramatic posturing of Chavez, are Bush and Gonzales, who show no respect for the human rights of innocent people who have the misfortune to get caught up in their dragnet against “islamofascism”.

    What is “disrespectful” is how far we have allowed ourselves to stray from the principles on which this country — OUR HOME — was founded, and from the standard of conduct required of civilized men.

    Don’t let the weaknesses and imperfections of someone like Chavez distract you from the real, long-term damage being done to America’s moral credibility and power by Bush. He is dragging us all into a world where chaos and indiscriminate violence will become the norm and I despise him for what he’s doing to the world my son will grow up in.

    Chavez is a fly on the shitpile Bush is laying across the globe.

  9. Tam O’Tellico - September 23, 2006 @ 8:37 am

    For Michael:

    Just last month, conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough asked, “Is Bush an Idiot?” In May, the popular right-wing KABC-AM (790) talk-show host Doug McIntyre declared: “I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush‚Ķ. I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, doubletalk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions and flat-out lies‚Ķ. After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush, I’ve reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent or a hand-puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both.”

    Isn’t it time for a mea culpa, Michael?

  10. Jeseppi Trade Wildfeather - September 23, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    Fundamentalist Christian Fascism in America is sister to Nazism. It seeks to legislate consumate evil calling it the grace and providence of God. It is universally true that dying for God, country and family is considered, and always will be, the highest honor an individual can achieve. But war is the result of moral failure and filth. It is a spiritual realm of deceit, malice, treachery and every unspeakable foul lust one can imagine and beyond. The Romans who waged wars and imposed their merciless laws on the world were wise to act openly and justly. They kept clean records and were accountable. Ignoble and weak minded leaders and agencies today are catagorically more vicious. They shred people, documents and accountability, and call it, “national security”.They have power but no legitimacy or authority. Jesus taught us to honor, humanize, heal, and love our enemies. – Jeseppi Trade Wildfeather

  11. Charles Rachlis - September 23, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    Ole Doc is up in a lather as is the rest of the right wing from Nancy P. to Condi R. over the humerous comments of Hugo C. at the U.N. Even Charlie R. (D) of NY yammers on about don’t come into my house and insult my president. All this bluster over a few words. Where was Nancy P. and Charlie R. when the military of Venezuela attempted a coup with a nod and a wink, if not direct support, from from our State Department? Their silence in that matter makes them culpable in the attempted coup.

    That the coup was a failure, that the people of Venezuela have elected Hugo C. twice and voted for his constitutional reforms with a greater voter turn out than in the US general election and garnered a greater majority than George W.B. could in this county speaks volumes to the emergence of democracty in Venezuela and the lack of respect for democracy that this Democratic/Republican Regime has.

    From Guatamala 1954, Iran1954, Congo1963 to Chile 1973, to Hati 2004 and beyond US forign policy has been to overthow democratically elected governments when they acted in their nations interests as opposed to taking direction from the US State Department.

    What should have the Democratic/Republican Regime shaking in their boots is that the comments of Hugo C. were so well recieved by the Heads of State of the majority of the worlds population. Those who found Hugo C’s. antics humerous come from dozens of countries who have experienced the destabilizing influence of the World Bank, the IMF, the CIA as well as British, French, Portugese, Dutch and Belgian miliarty interventions during the “post colonial” period. Why were they laughing? Because they relate to the fact that the biggest danger to world peace today comes from the Bush’s neo-con cabal and their lap dog posse called the Democratic Party.

    From Hillary C. to Diane F. & Nancy P. the Democrats have moved so far to the right that they make President Eisenhower and President Nixon look like leftists. Remember that Eisenhower favored a top tax bracket of 90% the Clintonista’s would never spit on thier social milieu with such an act.

    A few closing points for supporters of the Democratic/Republican Regime to chew on:

    1) The U.N. may be surrounded by our county but it is not our county it is diplomatically neutral. Just as every consolate around the world is territory granted to the country it represents the UN is territory of the world’s citizenry not the US.

    2) Despite the sucess of Jack Baur in winning a large majority of the American citizenry to support of torture it remains a crime against humanity as defined by the “quaint” Geneva Conventions as well as American treaty obligations accepting those Conventions.

    3) For decades the Democratic/Republican regime have collaborated in funding the training of torture methods at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning Georgia. Thousands of trade unionists, political activists, nuns, priests, women, children and their defenders have been tortured, killed or disappeared throughout Latin America and the world with torture techniques perfected and taught by U.S. military trainers and funded by our tax dollars. Indeed in many cases throughout Latin America the tortured have reported that in the room with their local torturers were gringos in uniform standing by and/or assisting. Decades of torture can not be hidden for ever so now is the time that Annakin Skywalker accepts he is in reality Darth Vader the benevloant freedom loving USof A has clearly gone over to the Dark Side as our “representatives” makes it acceptable to tortue, disappear people, jail journalists, fabricate “intellegence”, disenfrancise the poor… the list goes on and on. And so it has and so it shall be.

    So one has to ask what’s the problem with calling a spade a spade?

    I for one have never believed in the devil but I could have sworn I saw a pointed tail flapping as Bush left the podium.

    What ever happened to “sticks and stones…” or as Republicans are want to say “Get over it!”.

  12. bubbles - September 23, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

    Hey Doc,
    Perhaps in a future adaptation of Apocalypse Now rather than Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries blasting out of helicopters we‚Äôll see the AC-130 gun ships raining down death in Iraq interlaced with flashes of the Chavz speech set to Lynyrd Skynyrd. I mean what, beside the “smell of death” do greater than 100,000* corpses (so far) -mostly innocent civilians- reek of?

    *(Since our government actively suppresses this information lets assume the real number is merely 35% of other organizations higher count)

    Whiskey bottles and brand new cars
    Oak tree you’re in my way
    There’s too much coke and too much smoke
    Look what’s going on inside you
    Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you

    Angel of darkness is upon you
    Stuck a needle in your arm
    So take another toke, have a blow for your nose
    One more drink fool, will drown you
    Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you

    Now they call you Prince Charming
    Can’t speak a word when you’re full of ‘ludes
    Say you’ll be all right come tomorrow
    But tomorrow might not be here for you
    Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you

    Hey, you’re a fool you
    Stick them needles in your arm
    I know I been there before

    One little problem that confronts you
    Got a monkey on your back
    Just one more fix, Lord might do the trick
    One hell of a price for you to get your kicks
    Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you
    Ooooh that smell
    Can’t you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you

  13. Doc - September 23, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    your words from the blog site are!!!! “standing firm as one of the world’s most outspoken BUSH CRITICS ” is a validation for him as a positive anti-bush force. therefore your last comment trying to tell me you were actually not validating him is frankly bullshit……the fact you did not touch on the 85% POVERTY LEVEL IN A COUNTRY SWIMMING IN OIL AND SPENDING 10 BILLION ON FIGHTER AIRCRAFT THAT ARE CLEARLY NOT NEEDED ,MEANS THAT YOU ARE INTO SLOGANS OF THE LEFT WING OUT OF THE SOVIET UNION CIRCA 1930 AND NOT INTO DISSECTIING THE WEAKNESS AND HYPOCRITAL NATURE OF YOUR POINT OF VIEW,,,,,,,I STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO USE THE SAME CRITERIA AND PARAMETERS TO JUDGE M. BUSH AS TO JUDGE MR. CHAVEZ……CHRIS……………..I’M BACK

  14. lonbud - September 23, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

    There may be a time when we’ll fully dissect the good and bad of Hugo Chavez in this forum — I know Michael has seen fit to trot out a litany of his crimes and misdemeanors any time I’ve mentioned him in the past — but the post wasn’t about Chavez. Despite Doc’s protestation to the contrary, I haven’t endorsed him in any way, not even as a “positive anti-Bush force.”

    Whatever else he may be, he is one of the only heads of state on the planet with the cojones to call a spade a spade with respect to Mr. Bush’s moral authority.

    I didn’t raise any point whatsoever about the poor people of Venezeula, nor about the toys that people with too much wealth tend to acquire.

    I did, however, raise the issue of America’s quickly diminishing moral authority to call any other nation’s human rights abuses into question. And I notice, Doc, that you have had precious little to say about that, the main point of the post.

  15. Michael Herdegen - September 25, 2006 @ 2:10 am

    Isn’t it time for a mea culpa, Michael?

    It is indeed, and I would be happy to graciously accept, should you decide to utter one.

  16. half-mooned - September 25, 2006 @ 8:33 pm

    Now that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.. that’s funny.

  17. lonbud - September 25, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

    It would be funny were it not so pathetic. In a case where the objections of millions of people who marched in the streets protesting the run-up to war in Iraq have been proved justified in every respect, where the warnings and estimations of Bush administration officials who lost their jobs because they were not sufficiently “with the program” have been proved uncannily accurate, where the outright lies and nuanced deceptions of the leaders of our nation have been exposed in all their self-serving mendacity, the Bush junta and its apologists remain in denial of their utter guilt and failure.

    Their hubris knows no bounds.

  18. Michael Herdegen - September 27, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    In a case where the objections of millions of people who marched in the streets protesting the run-up to war in Iraq have been proved justified in every respect, […] where the outright lies and nuanced deceptions of the leaders of our nation have been exposed in all their self-serving mendacity, the Bush junta and its apologists remain in denial of their utter guilt and failure.

    Their hubris knows no bounds.

    Except that those objections haven’t been justified in every respect, (although in some), the leaders of our nation haven’t been shown to have been lying, much less in a self-serving way, (although they did massage the message), and to claim that the Bush junta has “failed utterly” is simply delusional, (although neither have they achieved glorious success (yet).

    We’ve used up bushels of pixels going ’round and ’round over those points, and the only way that you can rationalize believing the points that you’ve made is to believe that the UN Security Council, the UN Weapons Inspectors, and the American 9/11 Commission are ALL liars, in on the con, since they’ve all EXPLICITLY refuted some or all of your points.

    Which is fine, in the largest sense, since it doesn’t really matter if you accept the official 9/11 Report or prefer to believe that it’s a cover-up, and the latter is more interesting and exciting anyway.
    It just slightly amuses me that you continually reject the reality of mixed results and unclairvoyant officials and leaders, in favor of paranoid conspiracy theories and frothing madness. It would be nice if everything could be neatly explained by Bush being an evil and near-omnipotent genius, bent on world domination, but it’s probably more personally useful to accept that the world is messy, undirected, and fairly Hobbesian.

    It would also help you to understand the world if you accepted that people outside the U.S. often act for reasons that have nothing to do with America, or American foreign policy, and further that what you consider sub-optimal results and situations, from your vantage point of extreme comfort and privilege as a normal American, are still a huge step up for the average Afghani or Iraqi. Ask them if they want Saddam or the Taliban back.

  19. lonbud - September 27, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

    Precisely the kind of self-serving drivel we’ve come to expect out of the ruling junta, Michael: “The world is dangerous. Bad people everywhere want to kill us and destroy our way of life. We refuse to let that happen and if it gets a little messy, or we make some mistakes, well, it’s better than being taken over by Islamofascists or Nazis.”


    The objections of people who counseled against going to war in Iraq have proven justified in every respect: doing so has increased the threat of terrorism, not diminished it; doing so has not brought peace, or stability, or betterment of the lives of ordinary Iraqis; Iraq’s oil has not paid for the expenses of rebuilding the country; overthrowing Saddam has not created a domino-effect of democracy spreading throughout the Middle East.

    You call it “massaging the message, ” I call it lying. You call it a “temporary delay in the achievement of glorious success,” I call it failing utterly. Whatever, dude. I believe it’s clear now, but history will show which of us is “simply delusional.”

    Which points of mine have been EXPLICITLY refuted by UN Weapons Inspectors or the 9/11 Commission? You tread on dangerous ground in conflating our invasion of Iraq with the job of ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Separate projects with separate goals.

    And yet, Bush couldn’t even follow through on the original success he had in routing the Taliban. He took his eye off the ball when it proved too tough to track down Osama, wasted precious time, money, equipment, and personnel in Iraq, and now the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan and he doesn’t have a military that’s fit, equipped, prepared, or capable of fighting — much less winning — a war on two fronts.

    Utter failure. Just like everything else he’s ever touched in his whole life. Now he’s a War Criminal, and the waning days of his Presidency will be devoted solely to obtaining some kind of peremptory reprieve from prosecution as such. What a loser.

    As a fine, upstanding American who has served his country with valor and honor in the armed forces, you ought to be ashamed to have him as your Commander in Chief.

    Massaging the message, my ass.

  20. Michael Herdegen - September 28, 2006 @ 4:09 am

    “The world is dangerous. Bad people everywhere want to kill us and destroy our way of life. We refuse to let that happen and if it gets a little messy, or we make some mistakes, well, it’s better than being taken over by Islamofascists or Nazis.”

    Since you strongly disagree with the “ruling junta”, does that mean that you are asserting that the world is NOT dangerous, that there are NO “bad people”, or that it IS better to be taken over by Nazis or Islamofascists, rather than to make mistakes, (as all humans do) ?!?!


    You’ve somehow managed to convince yourself that the entire world is like No. America or W. Europe, despite having acknowledged in the past that people like Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Saddam, or Mugabe are “bad”, and that the world ain’t fair.

    As I have written before, you live in a carefully groomed park, and you’ve lost sight of the fact that it’s only an oasis in the jungle. There are lions and tigers and bears, not to mention wolfpacks, that roam the two-thirds of the world that’s outside of the developed nations.

    …now the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan…

    NATO troops just killed two thousand of them over the past month, while forcing the Taliban to flee their stronghold in southern Afghanistan. You probably should purchase a new dictionary, since as it turns out, “resurgent” DOES NOT MEAN “routed and slain”. That falls under the definition of “defeated”.

    You may also want to follow the news more closely, if you’re going to cite what you believe to be current events to backstop your opinions.

    Utter failure. Just like everything else he’s ever touched in his whole life.

    You might need to believe that, for emotional or psychological reasons, but revealing that belief to others lessens your credibility, since it’s not objectively true – as we’ve discussed many times.

    Which again leads me to ponder why some people cannot hold opinions that integrate oppositional facts. It’s not necessary to believe that someone has always been a failure to believe that they’re currently wrong – some of the most successful people in the world are often wrong. Ted Turner, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Tom Cruise, and Senator George Allen spring instantly to mind as wildly successful people who have said stupid and foolish things recently, or who have made hugely incorrect decisions.

    I was going to respond at length to “doing so has increased the threat of terrorism, not diminished it; doing so has not brought peace, or stability, or betterment of the lives of ordinary Iraqis; Iraq‚Äôs oil has not paid for the expenses of rebuilding the country; overthrowing Saddam has not created a domino-effect of democracy spreading throughout the Middle East” and “which points of mine have been EXPLICITLY refuted by UN Weapons Inspectors or the 9/11 Commission?”, but I’m suddenly overwhelmed by the futility and pointlessness of doing so.

    Thanks for the kind words re: me and my military service, despite the fact that I was proud to be exactly the kind of cold-hearted killer that you despise. But of course, I conceived of it as “increasing peace through the destruction of evildoers”, and you see it as “decreasing peace by fomenting conflict”.

    As I have written before, we’re actually very similar: Frustrated idealists. I was once somewhat like you, and you could have been something like me.
    I still believe that humans can reach glorious heights, it’s just that experience has taught me that most won’t, and don’t even care to try, and that some people like dwelling in the depths, and will actively oppose those attempting to better themselves and their societies. An aggressive approach is needed, I conclude.
    You, on the other hand, seem to me to have decided to deny that there are people in the world that don’t respond to reason and negotiation, and to put your trust in blind faith.

    I became a militant, and you turned to religion, although I don’t think that you perceive your paradigm in that manner.


  21. Tam O’Tellico - September 28, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    Mea Culpa:

    I was wrong; I was wrong; I was wrong.

    I was wrong to believe that the simple truth carried any weight with the unreachable and unteachable who have irrevocably cast their lot and the future of this nation with the fool who would be king.

    I was wrong to presume that those who disagreed with my views would at least understand that we are all aware that these are dangerous times, but that at least we could all agree that such times call for the best and the brightest not for bluster and blunder, that such times call for statemanship and cooperation, not belligerence and intransigence.

    I was wrong to maintain my faith that people could tell the difference between those who served honorably in a war – even though they disagreed with its value and purpose – between such men and craven cowards who ducked and dodged when they were called, sneering, sniveling cowards without the least compunction about sending others to fight and die.

    I was wrong to think people understood that the preservation of democracy was inextricably linked to providing for the Commonweal rather than promoting the advantages of privileged class, that people understood that only a fool would cut taxes in the midst of a war he proclaimed would be virtually without end, that people understood that dealing with disasters of biblical proportions was primarily the responsibility of the highest authority – not local political hacks, that a promise made to future generations was a promise to be kept – not just another duty to be ducked by the privileged class.

    I was wrong to hope this exercise was not a waste of time and that in the end overwhelming evidence of ignorance and incompetence would force those who were deceived by posers and propaganda to finally admit that they had been deceived.

    However —

    I am happy to report that many of the dazed and deceived have finally seen the light and admitted their error, and I am encouraged by the fact that the polls suggest there are millions more who know they screwed up but don’t have the courage to say it out loud or in a forum such as this.

    But in the end, I take my deepest solace from the fact that in spite of the temporary insanity of so many Americans, my views will unquestionably be confirmed by the preonderance of the evidence, and that the judgment of history must without question fall with those of us who from the first clearly saw the shameful, naked ignorance and incompetence of the fool who would be king.

  22. Michael Herdegen - September 28, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

    I was wrong to believe that the simple truth carried any weight…

    Rather, your biggest problem is that you have failed to demonstrate ANY ability to discern between “fact” and “opinion”. Therefore you perceive that “the truth” is being ignored, when really it’s just your opinion that doesn’t carry any weight. (Which is largely a function of your habit of offering completely unsupported assertions of opinion, as your entire previous post demonstrates. Plenty of your personal opinion, NOT A SINGLE EXAMPLE OR REFERENCE. Result: A completely unconvincing waste of time and effort).

    I take my deepest solace from the fact that in spite of the temporary insanity of so many Americans, my views will unquestionably be confirmed by the preonderance of the evidence…


  23. lonbud - September 28, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

    As it turns out, Michael, the objective truths of w’s general mediocrity and of his quantifiable failures in life exist for anyone who cares to take notice.

    His prep-school, college, and post-graduate transcripts, his military service records (as well as reports of his dereliction of duty), his arrest records, and the financial records of the businesses he guided into bankruptcy, all are tangible pieces of evidence that bolster the opinions Tam O’ and I and millions of others hold about the man.

    You may choose to weigh more heavily his (inherited and otherwise dubiously obtained) wealth, his record of electoral success, and other indicia of achievement in forming your opinions about him, but it can hardly be said that those of us who hold him in contempt do so absent an ability to integrate oppositional facts into our opinions.

    As for the relative places on the continuum of humanity which you and I each occupy, you may well be correct about some of our similiarities. And while I would say my paradigm is more spiritual and imbued with a certain faith than it is “religious” in the commonly understood sense of that word, I would make the following distinctions:

    My faith is not blind in any sense. My faith is one rooted in observation of reality. My faith that goodness, kindness, compassion, and love beget more of the same is founded on both personal experience and upon my having witnessed the operation of the phenomenon repeatedly in my short 46 years here this time around.

    My understanding that violence begets violence and that killing begets more killing is rooted in similar observation of objective reality.

    I do not despise the cold-blooded killer in you any more than I despise the cold-blooded killer in those you believe demand “an agressive approach” to achieve the maintenance and promulgation of our well-groomed park. I have compassion toward all who live in such fear they feel compelled to violence as their font of security.

    Shalom, indeed. Om shanti.

  24. bubbles - September 28, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

    My heart is heavy for our wilting Republic this eve. Let us review from whence we have wandered. It goes back 800 years…

    The words were translated from Latin words meaning “GREAT CHARTER”. The Magna Carta was written in 1214 and further developed into its restated and commonly accepted form in 1215. Signed by King John of England who had agreed to the original charter a year before, the Charter of 1215 included a preamble and 63 basic laws for the government of England. It wasn’t an agreement King John signed willingly, in fact, he tried to have it outlawed a year later claiming he had signed it “under duress”.

    Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Magna Carta was its recognition of the “Law of the Land” as supreme, above even the king. Many of the 63 clauses dealt with matters of the legal system of England. The last few clauses provided for enforcement of the charter. Twenty-five barons were authorized by the Charter to insure that the King lived up to his signature on the document, even if it meant going to war with the Crown.

    Through the succeeding centuries many clauses of the Charter became obsolete, others were amended or deleted. But the Charter became the basis for English Common Law and a guideline for how the King regarded his subjects. When Englishmen came to the “New World” to establish colonies they brought with them charters guaranteeing that they and their heirs would “have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects.” The impact of the Charter on the founding documents is quickly evident. The violations of English Common Law in the American Colonies by King George, provided Thomas Jefferson with ample argument in writing his declaration of independence from the monarchy.

    Such Revolutionary War era principles as habeas corpus and the wrongness of taxation without representation drew their roots from English Law of the 17th century that was based upon the Magna Carta. King George had violated these laws…in effect placing his decisions above the law of the land, and this gave the Colonists not only the right to seek freedom, but a responsibility to do so.

    Not only did the Magna Carta become a “springboard” for Jefferson’s revolutionary Declaration of Independence, the concepts of LAW as supreme (above even kings or legislative bodies) were drafted into the United States Constitution by James Monroe. The Bill of Rights, and specifically the 5th and 6th Amendments, find their heart and even their verbiage in the words of The Great Charter. Born in England in the 13th Century, the Magna Carta is arguably American as it is British.

  25. Tam O’Tellico - September 29, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

    Michael, I see no need to endlessly repeat a bill of particulars as to the utter ignorance and incompetence of the fool who would be king – the proof is there for anyone with a mind not corrupted by blind faith. The fact that someone should have to “prove” this to you speaks volumes for your own powers of discernment. You seem to suffer from the same problem as the fool you follow – you mistake intransigence for purposefulness.

    I must say that surprises me, since you seem halfway reasonable half the time (except when it comes to living on $10,000 a year). While I understand the reasons politicians continue to toe the party line (lobbyist loot and cushy committee assignments), it is difficult for me to understand how any thoughtful person can view our abysmal failure in Iraq as successful – unless, of course, you are a Halliburton executive.

    If you truly believe this was a just war and that this fool followed a scrupulously researched, carefully made, fully funded plan, and successfully carried out that plan, nothing I can say or offer as evidence is going to convince you otherwise – because evidence is not your problem.

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