Thanks be! Orgnanization finally formed that speaks for all of us terrorized Americans.
March 13, 2002 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Thanks be! Orgnanization finally formed that speaks for all of us terrorized Americans. Except it's not that squeaky clean. Beware of AVOT. They intend to "take to task those groups and individuals who fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the war we are facing."
posted by crasspastor (26 comments total)
 
Say, that's just what the doctor ordered! A pro-war right-wing nutcase pressure group ready to browbeat dissenters from the One True Path! Because there isn't enough flag-waving and drum-beating in America already. And it looks as if it's lead by the former War On Drugs czar! What can go wrong?!

By the way, anyone catch the latest Fighting Whities game?
posted by pracowity at 3:55 AM on March 13, 2002


Q: How do you lose credibility for your organization from the get-go?
A: William Bennett
posted by owillis at 4:18 AM on March 13, 2002


Jeez. Reads like a hate site.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:23 AM on March 13, 2002


avot.org is a complete crap… it's a shame that some americans think in this way.

Say, that's just what the doctor ordered! A pro-war right-wing nutcase pressure group ready to browbeat dissenters from the One True Path!

hope you're being sarcastic, you can not be talking seriously!
posted by trismegisto at 5:55 AM on March 13, 2002


Jeez. Reads like a hate site.

As do many sites - and magazines - that have, as the group said, been arguing as strongly as possible that America is to blame for people flying planes into it's buildings.

There are pretty vocal people - including some on this blog - that are positively virulant in their hatred of anything Bush says or does. Happy to see groups forming that will provide an equally strong counterpoint.

Say, that's just what the doctor ordered! A pro-war right-wing nutcase pressure group ready to browbeat dissenters from the One True Path!

Spoken like a true anti-war, left-wing nutcase.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:57 AM on March 13, 2002


We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. Is it just me, or is that coded speech meaning that they won't be pursuing terrorists who bomb family planning clinics?
posted by gimonca at 5:59 AM on March 13, 2002


Midas - I think the most of our problems with this site have more to do with it's professed condemnation of any sort of free thought than our supposed belief that America might not be the guiltless do gooder AVOT wants us to think it is.
posted by bob bisquick at 6:05 AM on March 13, 2002


Midas - I think the most of our problems with this site have more to do with it's professed condemnation of any sort of free thought than our supposed belief that America might not be the guiltless do gooder AVOT wants us to think it is.

Probably right. The site is extreme - and I personally think Bill Bennett is an almost classic closeted intellectual who fundamentally doesn't understand day to day life. But he's no worse that the large number of equally closeted left-wing intellectuals.

I don't see these people as condemning "free thought", I think they are obviously simply defining what they believe the parameters of discussion are - does Noam Chomsky do anything different? They clearly think they are engaging in "free thought". Or rather, according to this definition of "condemning free thought", the equally extreme left-wing voices also almost immediately condemns virtually anything Bush says or does. And not only that, but imply (if they don't explicitly say) that the American people are idiots because such a large number of them agree with Bush's statements and actions in the response to 9/11.

This group cannot stop anyone from saying anything. They can, however, virgorously answer, and attempt to marginalize people who casually practice smashmouth intellectualism and are ready to bash America and Bush at the drop of a hat ... and who themselves go out of their way to attempt to marginalize any voice even remotely right wing. In the article attached, for instance, I notice all sorts of lovely descriptive phrases ... "right-wing", "ultra-conservative", "arch-unilateralist" ... and yet when they quote Lewis Lapham, he isn't called "ultra-liberal", or anything like that. That article itself is practicing the rhetoric of marginalization. It's liberal bent is simply "normal", while anything to the right has to be labelled right-wing, or ultra-something or arch-something, or extreme-something.

I guess I have no problem with Bennett's group turning the tables and practicing the same sort of public rhetoric. It is an extreme voice, but it balances voices just as extreme on the opposite side of the spectrum.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:33 AM on March 13, 2002


We believe that ultimately goodness can prevail over evil, and oppression in all its many forms can give way.

Jeez!
posted by dchase at 6:45 AM on March 13, 2002


Oops, sorry, that qote's from another site
posted by dchase at 6:47 AM on March 13, 2002


That article itself is practicing the rhetoric of marginalization.

It's Alternet, are you surprised? It'd be one thing if it was MSNBC or CNN or somesuch but I wouldn't ever credit Alternet as balanced news source for goodness sakes.

Anyhow - these folks can rattle their sabers all they want (free speech is a sweet thing) but I'm curious how they will respond to folks like me who fully support action on Afghanistan but want a little more than "trust me" from George when it comes to the rest of the "axis".
posted by owillis at 6:56 AM on March 13, 2002


i'm not sure what the big deal is.....i disagree with nearly everything on that site but hell it's their prerogative to express their views and opinions as they see fit.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 6:59 AM on March 13, 2002


A lot of cool people support the war against terrorism. Why should this gang of fuddie-duddies be out front? Bennet, et al, are too strongly associated with pre-terrorism partisan politics to be effective in this role. How about some non-usual suspects? How about a pro-war consortium led by Philip Roth, Pee-Wee Herman, Betty Hutton, Placido Dominigo and Eminem?
posted by Faze at 7:06 AM on March 13, 2002


Interesting, we no longer need the president to appoint a Creel Commission, we have private citizens/politicos volunteering to do it for him.

from AVOT's (couldn't they have found a better acronym? How about War Helps Us Patriotize America Slowly but Surely) ongoing actvities:
-help articulate American ideals in schools and on campuses;

sort of like a "good citizen" Channel One. Featuring commercials for GE, no doubt.

-support democratic patriotism when it is questioned;

WHO would DARE to question democratic patriotism?

This group cannot stop anyone from saying anything. They can, however, virgorously answer, and attempt to marginalize people who casually practice smashmouth intellectualism and are ready to bash America and Bush at the drop of a hat .

...as well as those who offer a thoughtful critique, but whose definitions of patriotism and nationalist genuflection don't measure up to Bennett's and co.

. and who themselves go out of their way to attempt to marginalize any voice even remotely right wing.

Yeah, those all powerful lefties have been so succesful at marginalizing pro-war voices up 'til now. Good thing Bennett is here to set people straight.
posted by Ty Webb at 7:47 AM on March 13, 2002


...as well as those who offer a thoughtful critique, but whose definitions of patriotism and nationalist genuflection don't measure up to Bennett's and co.

Just as a good number of extreme left-wingers attempt to dismiss anyone on that right that makes a "thoughtful" case for war ... answering merely with pithy little phrases from a philosophical foundation so deep it can be expressed on bumper stickers.

Yeah, those all powerful lefties have been so succesful at marginalizing pro-war voices up 'til now. Good thing Bennett is here to set people straight.

Not because they haven't tried with everything they've got to "set people straight". They just aren't quite used to losing. People that were accustomed to being able to cynically disparage anyone vocally talking about patriotism, or expressing pleasure or positive feelings towards the US - since 9/11 - are suddenly finding themselves called into question. People aren't ignoring what they are saying - and are also feeling empowered to argue back. The left wing elite is not used to be questioned though.

Look what happens when someone actually does:

"WHO would DARE to question democratic patriotism?"

You get these pretentious senmtiments oozing in cynacism. The new thing, though, is not "questioning democratic patriotism" ... the left has done this continually ... it is voices just as strong, and a lot of public sentiment, that is suddenly shifting against them.

They are not used to people telling them they don't have some sort of moral high ground. I don't particularly agree with Bennett, but it makes me chuckle to see those complaining about this group from the opposite extreme behaving exactly as they are critisizing Bennett for behaving.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2002


Not because they haven't tried with everything they've got to "set people straight". They just aren't quite used to losing.

Oh, that's hilarious. Here comes Bennett to slay the Anti- War Left Wing Media Giant. Very good, very good.

People that were accustomed to being able to cynically disparage anyone vocally talking about patriotism, or expressing pleasure or positive feelings towards the US - since 9/11 - are suddenly finding themselves called into question.

They are not used to people telling them they don't have some sort of moral high ground.

They, they, they, yes, you know, THEM. Check the back of your TV, THEY'RE probably responsible for your bad reception.

You get these pretentious senmtiments oozing in cynacism. The new thing, though, is not "questioning democratic patriotism" ... the left has done this continually ...

Nothing cynical about what I said, I'm a patriot myself, though maybe not by Bennett's definition, or maybe yours, because my patriotism does not imply immediate and unquestioning assent. The difference between myself and Bennett is that I recognize that thoughtful criticism of the gov't from around the political spectrum is always relevant, and always to be welcomed. Your entire analysis, if I can call it that, seems to play off this nebulous "unpatriotic left wing elite", which has been the right wing's boogie man since, well, forever. They own the media, you know. And the schools.
posted by Ty Webb at 8:47 AM on March 13, 2002


I think Bill has had another example of marketing buzzword genius, and hereby recommend that all organizations in the public sector reform their names to begin with "Americans for Victory Over [x]". It would be the perfect way to express their patriotism, to buzzword capture the "War on [x]" meme with a new variant, and to greatly increase their fund-raising success in these difficult post-September 11th times.

Some suggested name changes.

The American Red Cross can re-brand itself Americans for Victory Over Disaster (AVOD)

PETA becomes Americans for Victory Over Animal Beaters (AVOAB)

WHO can become Americans for Victory Over International Diseases (AVOID)

This could be a real trend! Start registering those nifty avo[foo].org domain names to cash in on an emerging trend.
posted by bclark at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2002


gasp ... crawl ... claw ... organization formed ... liberals not involved ... democracy threatened ... sky falling ...
posted by dhartung at 10:20 AM on March 13, 2002


They, they, they, yes, you know, THEM. Check the back of your TV, THEY'RE probably responsible for your bad reception.

Yep, and you, naturally, of course never attempt to frame a group as a generic "they" and hold that "they" act with a single mindset. (Oops, sorry, hadn't read the next paragraph, which includes the phrase "the right wing's boogie man").

Nothing cynical about what I said, I'm a patriot myself, though maybe not by Bennett's definition, or maybe yours, because my patriotism does not imply immediate and unquestioning assent.

Wonder if we read the same website? Didn't see anything there indicating unquestioning assent to anything was even remotely required. Dangerous things like public teach-ins are talked about (think there won't be dissenting voices there?), but no insistance on enforcing some single view ... in any way other than every group, right or left, attempts to get it's perspective known.


Bennett - as even most of his detractors would probably admit - doesn't himself give unquestioning assent to anything ... he has a history of working with ideas, coming to conclusions, and at least being consistant ... he's as willing to critisize a Republican as a Democrat, and now and then will do something that seriously upsets the conservative base that is usually his strongest support.

The phrase that seems to have everyone frothing at the mouth is "support democratic patriotism when it is questioned". So? Good! I crawled through the rubble of the WTC on 9/11 ... and when I hear of some professor speaking at a university (paid by my tax dollars) that wants to say I shouldn't be feeling pride in my country, anger at what happened, and an intense desire to give a lot of pain to those responsible, but rather should be feeling guilty, and humble, because we Americans deserved it ... hell yes, I'm damn glad a Bill Bennett group might "support democratic patriotism when it is questioned".

The thing that tickles me most about what Bennett is doing is that it is provoking statements like this:

"Your entire analysis, if I can call it that, seems to play off this nebulous "unpatriotic left wing elite", which has been the right wing's boogie man since, well, forever."

Hee hee. (By the way, I hope at least a few people catch the full self-contradictory hilarity of that statement). But, to respond to your clearly superior "analysis" (if I can call it that) ... it's actually been the "patriotic right-wing elite" that the left has been accustomed to dismissing as though they were all just war mongers, or stupid rural rednecks. Suddenly, the viewpoint these people always held is the majority viewpoint in the country. And the left hates that.

They own the media, you know. And the schools.

Hhmmm ... sounds like an attempt at sarcasm, but do remind me, how many Republicans did the NEA campaign for in the last election?
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:22 AM on March 13, 2002


it's actually been the "patriotic right-wing elite" that the left has been accustomed to dismissing as though they were all just war mongers, or stupid rural rednecks.

So much for subtlety. Once again, things must be spelled out simply and directly for Midas: The difference here between the right and left is that no one on the left, that I know of, while they might disagree with right over whether the war is just or over the strategies being used to fight it, would have the bad form to question the patriotism or love of country of their political adversaries. It's one thing to call your opponents ignorant, pointy headed, or a redneck, which both sides do, and that's fine. It's another thing to call your opponents' national loyalty into question, which is a characteristic of the right, and is implicit in AVOT's website.

When Bennett refers to democratic patriotism, he's referring to his brand of patriotism, the one true faith, the belief that any course of action that the U.S. takes is okay, because, since the U.S. is good, anything it does must be good.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:52 AM on March 13, 2002


INT. KITCHEN -- FRYING PAN

The black frying pan sizzles. Camera zooms back, revealing buttery oil coruscating into bubbles.

Creepy '80's synth music plays.

V.O.

This is dissent.

The drippy white and yolk of an egg falls to the pan. It hardens as the pan continues to sizzle.

V.O.

This is your brain on dissent.

CUT TO:

EXT. PRISON -- DAY

Soldiers march out a blindfolded PRISONER.

SOLDIER #1

Cigarette?

PRISONER

No thanks. That will make this a Rated R commercial.

The FIRE of an assault rifle. The prisoner collapses to the ground.

V.O.

Any questions?

CAPTION: PAID FOR BY AVOT AND THE CITIZENS' TASK FORCE TO EXECUTE DISSENTERS
posted by ed at 11:32 AM on March 13, 2002


So much for subtlety. Once again, things must be spelled out simply and directly for Midas.

Hhmmm ... yep, I actually read what people write. I'm not nearly as subtle as Ty, who is capable of taking the phrase "democratic patriotism", and concluding that

"When Bennett refers to democratic patriotism, he's referring to his brand of patriotism, the one true faith, the belief that any course of action that the U.S. takes is okay, because, since the U.S. is good, anything it does must be good."

While this sentiment is not even hinted at in the article, and is certainly not stated anywhere, it must be Ty's nimble and insightful mind that is capable of discerning that what Bennett really meant. In fact, it is so insightful, it would probably even surprise Bennett to know that that is what he really meant. It must be so hard for someone like yourself to live amongst us dolts who need everything spelled out.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:53 PM on March 13, 2002


OK, let me criticise them on their own terms, without ranting about Bennet or right versus left.

We are a target not because of anything we have done, but because of who we are, what we stand for, what we believe, and what our nation was founded upon: the twin principles of liberty and equality.

In fact we are a target both because of our freedoms (not being willing to be mass-converted to Islam, under control of the clerics) and also because of what we've done (long-term military presence in Saudi Arabia).

I believe this is the hint that Midas couldn't find, of the America-can-do-no-wrong mentality of us detect among the President and his supporters.

From the Statement of Principles:

3. America's foreign policy should be guided by those same principles upon which America itself was founded. AVOT will call for a foreign policy that emphasizes democracy and human rights.

From the article linked to with the words "How to Win World War IV", by Norman Podhoretz:

Eliot Cohen has also proposed that we look upon this as World War IV, the immediate successor to the cold war, which he rightly characterizes as World War III and to which he sees many similarities in the struggle we are now conducting

But the Cold War was conspicuously characterized by neglecting democracy and human rights as a guide for foreign policy, as we took to our bosom any tin-pot dictator who would claim to be anti-communist.

Or for another example, since neither Kuwait nor Saudi Arabia is a democracy or pays much attention to human rights, why did we go to war to defend them?
posted by anewc2 at 2:42 PM on March 13, 2002


Midas and Ty...you guys are worth the click to this page in the first place. The AVOT site is the latest in the war of words in the aftermath of September 11, another day that will live in infamy. We might all agree on that much.

You can spill millions of words about it...but I've still got a couple of questions that I'd love Midas or any neo-con (or for that matter neo-liberal) to answer in my quest:

1) On the morning of Sept. 11, in the first horrible hour, where did the orders NOT to launch the military jet interceptors come from?

2) Where is ANY of the aircraft debris of the passenger jet which is alleged to have hit the Pentagon on that date?

I await all answers since I know far less than I ever did.
posted by goodhelp at 3:04 PM on March 13, 2002


Have you considered the possibility that (1) and (2) are both false questions?
posted by aaron at 8:27 PM on March 13, 2002


#1: Since when is an order required not to launch interceptors? You might as well ask where the order not to launch nuclear missiles on June 14, 1996 came from!

#2 addressed by snopes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:21 PM on March 14, 2002


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