Onward Christian Soldiers
May 17, 2009 9:13 AM   Subscribe

"In the days surrounding the invasion of Iraq, cover sheets...began adorning top-secret intelligence briefings produced by [former defense secretary] Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. The sheets juxtaposed war images with inspirational Bible quotes and were delivered by Rumsfeld himself to the White House, where they were read by the man who, after September 11, referred to America's war on terror as a 'crusade.'"

"...Rumsfeld has always answered his detractors by claiming that history will one day judge him kindly. But as he waits for that day, a new group of critics—his administration peers—are suddenly speaking out for the first time. What they’re saying? It isn’t pretty."
posted by ericb (82 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's completely insane and tone-deaf. Typical Rummy. FWIW, I saw a lot of division-level briefings in-theatre in 2004, and they never had bible quotes. Even though I'm willing to bet most of the people I worked with on a daily basis were a hell of a lot more traditionally religious than anyone in the SecDef's office.
posted by xthlc at 9:17 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah I read this this morning. It's some seriously sick shit. You could not make this shit up because nobody would believe you.

I really believe Rummy is mentally ill. But he sure knew how to pull Commander CooCoo Banana's strings. So it's a toss-up who is sicker - Rummy or Bush.

And Cheney, of course, out-evils the bunch of them.

We really need either a special prosecutor or a Truth Commission - whatever. Obama is not going to be able to put this genie back in the bottle. He released the memos; as careful a person as he is, I find it hard if not impossible to believe that Obama didn't consider the consequences when he released them. He's painted himself into a corner now, unfortunately.

This probably wasn't the best time for all this, but it's here now. He's going to have to deal with it in some way - I suggest strongly that he pass it right off to a Special Prosecutor or Congress to establish some kind of investigation.

It desperately needs to be taken out of the political arena - it's not about politics, it's about law and about right and wrong. War crimes is one issue - a very rare animal - where there is a bright line between right and wrong.

Obama knows it; it doesn't suit his temperament, but he's a constitutional scholar - he knows.
posted by Tena at 9:22 AM on May 17, 2009


Firefox no like.

But we shouldn't be surprised. The Bible glorifies the kind of savagery and exceptionalism that has informed the United States military since it became an imperial power on the global stage 100 years ago.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:22 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus wept!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:23 AM on May 17, 2009


Holy Fuck.
posted by Elmore at 9:24 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what...etc. etc.
posted by djgh at 9:26 AM on May 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


... Also, Dear GQ, please fuck off and stop making Tom fucking Cruise jump the fuck out at me all the fucking time. Thanks a fucking bunch.
posted by Elmore at 9:27 AM on May 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also - I said it before and I'll say it again: Rumsfeld would've been a fantastic SecDef during peacetime under Clinton. He had some good ideas about how the post-Cold War military needed to be reformed, and he was enough of a raging asshole and type-A micromanager that he could effectively slog through the bureaucratic mire to push through those reforms.

The problem was that, due to those traits, he was completely incapable of responding to an actual war. When the situation on the ground conflicted with his ideas about how the war SHOULD be won, he stubbornly continued policies that favored ideology over reality. He couldn't effectively delegate authority or choose good subordinates, and so many key decisions were made either by someone too far from the theater (him) or by political appointees selected by Cheney and Rove for their loyalty. Bush's greatest failure of leadership (among many) was not replacing Rumsfeld the instant he decided to go into Iraq.
posted by xthlc at 9:27 AM on May 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Huh, I can't see it (Firefox no likey, or maybe it's AdBlock), but I can see the cover with Jennifer Aniston looking surprisingly...undressed. And the associated FREE MESSENGER BAG if you subscribe ad. When a pretty-much-naked Jennifer Aniston isn't getting you sales, surely that should be telling you something?
posted by djgh at 9:30 AM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!
posted by mazola at 9:31 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Funny how GQ, Rolling Stone, and Daily Show/Colbert are the best sources for these kinds of stories.
posted by odinsdream at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Bush's greatest failure of leadership (among many) was not replacing Rumsfeld the instant he decided to go into Iraq."

O dude. Not even close - there were thousands of failures of leadership because there was not one success out of Bush - not one.

Do you honestly think not firing Rummy is a bigger failure than ignoring "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S.?" Or how about ignoring 2000 drowning Americans for 3 days?

Dude.
posted by Tena at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


Rumsfeld would've been a fantastic SecDef during peacetime ... The problem was that, due to those traits, he was completely incapable of responding to an actual war.

While I'm sure we could argue all day about the role of the military, surely we could agree that doing well in a war is one of the primary metrics used to define a good military. In this sense, Rumsfeld is a complete failure.
posted by odinsdream at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Are these pics elsewhere? Can't view on Firefox.
posted by stbalbach at 9:41 AM on May 17, 2009


As a taxpayer, I'm glad the secretary of defense was screwing around with this crap rather than wasting time with planning or something like that.

As careful a person as he is, I find it hard if not impossible to believe that Obama didn't consider the consequences when he released them.

At first, every time Obama said said something about moving forward, I cringed. Given what has transpired since then, he's started to seem like a guy with too much fish on too little fishing line. At the current rate, I'm expecting Cheny to issue a full confession and then execute himself by firing squad during an interview, oh, sometime around August.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:42 AM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jesus, they really yanked George's dick around on a leash, didn't they?

It's working fine in Firefox over here.
posted by mediareport at 9:46 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rumsfeld has always answered his detractors by claiming that history will one day judge him kindly.

It breaks my heart to think that Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. will go to their grave believing this. Were this a just world, they would be made to understand their crimes as they rot in prison for the rest of their lives.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:46 AM on May 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Works fine on Firefox with NoScript and AdBlock, once you allow it. But don't bother - it's pretty much what you expect.
posted by freebird at 9:46 AM on May 17, 2009


Obama is not going to be able to put this genie back in the bottle.

Frank Rich | New York Times -- Obama Can’t Turn the Page on Bush.
posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It has mental illness written all over it.
posted by Brian B. at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I couldn't see the pictures on computer #1 (G4 Powerbook, Firefox) but I could see them on computer #2 (MacBook, Firefox). Weird.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:49 AM on May 17, 2009


The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.

So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly—to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men—to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.
That's Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his inaugural address in January of 1945.

There isn't anything new about this kind of thing, nor is it a vice (or virtue) of only one party.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:56 AM on May 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, that National Lampoon is such a hoot...

What?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:58 AM on May 17, 2009


he stubbornly continued policies that favored ideology over reality

... you know who else... nah, too easy.

I reiterate my depressingly cynical view of this: no one, not one single individual from the Bush Administration, will ever by prosecuted or extradited for prosecution for war crimes. There'll be revelations and hoopla and fist-shaking and threats and sputtering, but no one will ever pay for their crimes.

Steal a candy bar, go to jail. Steal the Constitution, get a fucking medal.

This makes me FURIOUS. I was never in the armed forces, but my father was, several aunts and uncles were, and I have cousins and friends who right now are active-duty soldiers, sailors, and marines. They're the toughest, smartest motherfuckers you'd ever hope to meet.

Too see them putting it on the line for lying cowards like Bush and Rummy who cloak their poisonous lies in jingoism and sanctimony turns my stomach. And they'll get away with it. Because Americans don't have the stones to face the mirror, admit we were deluded and misled, and do the hard work it will take to fix this shit -- which starts with war crimes trials against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the lying sacks of shit that infested our government during the last eight years of misrule.

/grumpy Sunday rant
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: ", in his inaugural address in January of 1945."
"

If you can't see the difference between an inaugural address and cover sheets from the DOD to bulletins pertaining to a war, then you must be an evangelical christian.

SMH
posted by Tena at 10:02 AM on May 17, 2009


>There isn't anything new about this kind of thing, nor is it a vice (or virtue) of only one party.

Thing is, Rummy was playing these head games around 2003-4... and FDR's speech was in 1945.

Much as some on the Right might wish we were eternally in the year 1945, we're not.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:03 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once considered the fundamentalist fascination with the Old Testament kind of odd. But then Jesus wasn't all that into the smiting and retribution stuff so they really have no choice if they're looking for divine justification.

Turn the other cheek is just hippie pacifist crap, there's no room for that in a crusade.
posted by tommasz at 10:06 AM on May 17, 2009


Surely this...
posted by Poolio at 10:07 AM on May 17, 2009


Chocolate Pickle - I'll make a deal with you - you bring me cover sheets from FDR's WWII bulletins from his DOD and if they have scripture from the OT on them, you win.

If they don't, you just set up a False Equivalency, which means you lose.
posted by Tena at 10:13 AM on May 17, 2009


Or how about ignoring 2000 drowning Americans for 3 days?

To be fair, the article discusses why this may have been Rumsfeld's fault on pages 6 (from the break), 7, and 8.

It's totally debatable and a "may have been" would have been a safer way to form the point, but--at least--it seems the failure of Katrina is being considered in the "worst decision evar" statement.
posted by pokermonk at 10:20 AM on May 17, 2009


i can't decide what would be worse - if he was cynically putting this stuff on there in an attempt to snow people or if he really believed it - i had been certain that some of the president's men were cynics who just wanted to appear religious when it suited them
posted by pyramid termite at 10:21 AM on May 17, 2009


"i can't decide what would be worse -"

It's pretty obvious to me, now, that Bush is a True Believer. That scares me worse by far than if he had used his conversion cynically and really wasn't a believer.

Rummy agrees with me - or he wouldn't have done that. It's an obvious move to push Commander CooCoo's buttons - which means he responds to that OT bible shit. That's fucking terrifying to me to think we had someone like that running this country.
posted by Tena at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


"To be fair, the article discusses why this may have been Rumsfeld's fault on pages 6 (from the break), 7, and 8."

No way. Bush was in charge - the buck goes to the President and stops there - he was in charge and he should have been on top of what was being done. He flew over 3 days after people were already drowning.

Remember? He was in Arizona, with John McCain, celebrating McCain's birthday.

No - Katrina belongs to George W. Bush.
posted by Tena at 10:33 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's pretty obvious to me, now, that Bush is a True Believer. That scares me worse by far than if he had used his conversion cynically and really wasn't a believer.

This was obvious to me a few months into Bush's first term, and it freaked me out then. I apparently had no problem with politicians being cynically "religious," paying lip service to religious belief to get votes, but when I realized that GWB really, really believed it, I was terrified, and that was before the shit hit the fan.

The briefings, with the war porn photos and bible quotes on the covers, were to me clearly intended to manipulate Bush's religious belief and his patriotism. Rumsfeld is revealed here to be even more cynical and amoral than I thought--and I didn't think my opinion of him could go much lower. A Secretary of Defense created propaganda documents on a regular basis, designed to specifically manipulate and mislead the person of the President in the most base and dishonest ways, and hand-delivered them to him, all to avoid any of the checks, balances, or objections to Rumsfeld's own bad policy and moronic leadership in the Dept. of Defense. That is seriously fucked up.

I don't think the torture issues are going to be what moves forward in bringing these guys to account--I think the recent revelations that Cheney ordered torture to fabricate evidence to justify a war, and that Rumsfeld, being met with resistance to his bad leadership from nearly all quarters in the Pentagon, created propaganda to intentionally mislead and delude the president are things that more people (unfortunately) will get angry about, because it led to the deaths of American servicemen and -women.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Or, as bitteroldpunk said upthread,
"Too see them putting it on the line for lying cowards like Bush and Rummy who cloak their poisonous lies in jingoism and sanctimony turns my stomach."


This is what will get people really pissed--all the torture revelations I think unfortunately will not, because--though they are very horrific--that all happened to non-Americans (foreign "terrorists", you know) in a time of war. But this stuff, this cost lots and lots of American lives, and people will get really fucking pissed if enough connect the dots.

(I hate to be this cynical, but I really think that the fact that torture revelations haven't spurred any large-scale anger tells me that it won't in the future, either. 'Horrible things happen in war time, and I don't want to know about it' is what many people think. But this stuff, this shows our leaders manipulating things to create the war, fairly unequivocally. That's different.)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:56 AM on May 17, 2009


... these were the people in charge of the motherfucking nuclear codes?

How we made it this far is a goddamned miracle.
posted by bhance at 11:00 AM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can anyone figure out how to get this on one page for printing?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:01 AM on May 17, 2009


LooseFilter: "This is what will get people really pissed--all the torture revelations I think unfortunately will not, because--though they are very horrific--that all happened to non-Americans (foreign "terrorists", you know) in a time of war."

One of the photos Obama is trying to suppress. [Is a graphic image warning even necessary?]

The black rectangle over the genitals is priceless. As if in a photograph of a man being tortured by being hung upside down from a metal bunk bed, the potentially offensive thing is the sight of his penis.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:02 AM on May 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Between this article and the recent disclosure that Cheney usurped the president with regards to ordering torture (at the very least), I believe history will refer to George W. Bush as The Puppet President.
posted by Mick at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese, I agree that it is horrific, unjustifiable stuff. But I don't see that most people around me will, firstly, have the courage to confront it. So if the pictures are shown on TV, many people will change the channel. Secondly, lots of Americans still think that all the detainees were bad people of one sort or another, most of them terrorists; so they depersonalize the human beings who were tortured (much like their torturers do)--they are 'other'--and thus any harm inflicted upon them is deserved.

Using torture to get false evidence to go to war? That's caused the deaths of lots of Americans, and that is qualitatively different for many people, in my experience. (I don't like it, but find it to be true.) So is cynically, purposely manipulating the president, especially using his religious faith to do so. If enough people wake up to that, we may finally see some real accountability.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:11 AM on May 17, 2009


(and to be clear, I am not speaking of my own moral compass here, rather what I infer many Americans' reactions have been and might be.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:13 AM on May 17, 2009


I've noted a distinct lack of Bush allies getting into the press defending Cheney, Rumsfeld, torture, etc. It seems there is a rift between the Cheney-ite neocons and the bushy theocons. I think this is something that can be exploited. I'd be okay with bush going down in history as a deluded, manipulated idiot, if it means Cheney and addington, etc go down.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2009


The missiles are flying. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
posted by Glee at 11:39 AM on May 17, 2009


It's possible that I will vote in 2010, but not likely.
posted by wrapper at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2009


"I think the recent revelations that Cheney ordered torture to fabricate evidence to justify a war, and that Rumsfeld, being met with resistance to his bad leadership from nearly all quarters in the Pentagon, created propaganda to intentionally mislead and delude the president are things that more people (unfortunately) will get angry about, because it led to the deaths of American servicemen and -women.
posted by LooseFilter"


I totally agree with you. That takes the torture charge to another level and one that I don't think any administration could just pretend doesn't exist. But I'd like to see this taken out of the White House right away - I'd like to see the president hand this off to the DOJ or Congress or both - whatever.
posted by Tena at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


If only we hadn't elected a guy who was too chickenshit to pursue any of this.
posted by Legomancer at 1:13 PM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see the president hand this off to the DOJ or Congress or both

Absolutely, and that seems most appropriate. I don't understand this perception that Obama is supposed to do everything about everything, or that nothing can happen unless he says so.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:14 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


What offends me is how godawful UGLY these cover pages are. My computer-illiterate mother could do a better design job. If this is the best our government can do, I truly am ashamed.
posted by kjh at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are we sure that these are the cover sheets? Maybe these are the briefings themselves. Pretty pictures to show dubya how the war is going and quoted scripture that Rummy could read to him showing jesus' approval.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2009


Here are direct links to the images without the god-awful flash/adblock-breaking bullshit: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (mirror in case they stop working: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11).
posted by Rhomboid at 2:43 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Rumsfeld, The.
posted by Ratio at 3:07 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


(bit of a sidetrack here)

I agree that it is horrific, unjustifiable stuff. But I don't see that most people around me will, firstly, have the courage to confront it. So if the pictures are shown on TV, many people will change the channel.

Maybe it has less to do with courage, and more to do with outrage fatigue and its relation to modern media.

I think of it in this way. People can only be outraged about so many things for so long, and modern media is already flooded with all sorts of superficial, largely manufactured fears and scandals that continually sap away at us even when we do our best to ignore them. So whenever something really important does pop up, the public is already too emotionally "spent" to confront it in any meaningful way (the more paranoid-minded would venture that this situation is intentional, and the main reason behind modern media consolidation).

Back during the Vietnam War a few pictures could have a huge effect. But back then the media wasn't doing its damndest to keep everyone eternally jumping at shadows, either.
posted by PsychoKick at 3:26 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finally got to see the images (thanks Rhomboid!):

You have got to be fucking kidding me. This is fucking childish, and quite obviously Rumsfeld didn't have any help with this, since they're so goddamn amateur-hour.

On the subject of the images themselves, does anyone have an idea about why the top line is sometimes partially redacted?
posted by odinsdream at 3:26 PM on May 17, 2009


People can only be outraged about so many things for so long, and modern media is already flooded with all sorts of superficial, largely manufactured fears and scandals that continually sap away at us even when we do our best to ignore them.

Not to mention the problem where mass media outright lies to the public about public opinion. If you're constantly hearing "The majority of the American public wants to move on from this" it eventually takes a toll on your perception.
posted by odinsdream at 3:30 PM on May 17, 2009


Back during the Vietnam War a few pictures could have a huge effect.

Was the effect more often that you, or ones you knew, were likely to become involved in said armed conflict - and with people you knew who's life would be on the line lead to involvement?

A case example - Paul Harvey deciding to speak against the Vietnam conflict once his son became draft age.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:56 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


True nausea is a family member offering Rummy's autobiography to read. Ugh, three pages in and 'I can't read this'. Endless I AM THE BESTEST drivel.
posted by buzzman at 4:21 PM on May 17, 2009


Rumsfeld's exclusion of anything from Matthew 5 didn't go unnoticed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mentally ill? True believer?

Hahaha, sorry folks. Try none of the above. Torture, War on Terror rhetoric, outrageous memos featuring religious crusade messages and symbols. The intended audience for all of these isn't just Bush, it's the entire world. They knew fully well these would be leaked.

And these memos will have their intended effect. They will inflame anti-American sentiment throughout the world. This is just another part of their endless war. Why? Because war is good business. And because a never-ending war on terror means they can further tighten their control over the domestic sector.

Expect leaks like this to slowly be released for the next eight years. It's a long game they're playing. This is the successor to the Red Scare, and it won't end until they've found a good replacement.
posted by formless at 4:48 PM on May 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do you honestly think not firing Rummy is a bigger failure than ignoring "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S.?" Or how about ignoring 2000 drowning Americans for 3 days?

Even a semi-competent Bush would have let Katrina happen. Neither he nor his core constituency give a shit about poor urban blacks. I also have reservations about just how much gunsmoke is emanating from the 2001 Bin Laden memo . . . a lot of urgent reports cross a president's desk in a day, and hindsight is 20/20. I think that's more an indicator of how crappy and dysfunctional his staff were.

But fucking up Iraq? This is the one thing that he and Cheney actually cared about. The ONE THING that was clearly at the top of his agenda: a chance to show up his dad and make money for his buddies and enact his own cracked-up vision of a presidential legacy. He may have had horrible priorities and may have been a loathsome human being in many ways, but if ANYTHING would have gotten him to pull his head out of his ass and start paying attention to reality and make some hard decisions, it was Iraq.

His other failures may have had a greater impact on the American people, and may have been deeper betrayals of the constitution and our country. But Iraq was Bush's biggest failure when he actually tried to be a president.
posted by xthlc at 5:01 PM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


While I'm sure we could argue all day about the role of the military, surely we could agree that doing well in a war is one of the primary metrics used to define a good military. In this sense, Rumsfeld is a complete failure.

For a general, perhaps. Not necessarily for civilian leadership. Sometimes the person who can fight a war and the person who can take on the gargantuan military-industrial complex in order to prepare for the next war, aren't the same person.
posted by xthlc at 5:03 PM on May 17, 2009


Whoops, hang on. It seems the cover sheets were actually the work of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. Rumsfeld was his boss. And to the Pentagon's credit, the staff wasn't 100% clueless:
In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable. Several others in the Pentagon disagreed. At least one Muslim analyst in the building had been greatly offended; others privately worried that if these covers were leaked during a war conducted in an Islamic nation, the fallout—as one Pentagon staffer would later say—“would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.”

But the Pentagon’s top officials were apparently unconcerned about the effect such a disclosure might have on the conduct of the war or on Bush’s public standing. When colleagues complained to Shaffer that including a religious message with an intelligence briefing seemed inappropriate, Shaffer politely informed them that the practice would continue, because “my seniors”—JCS chairman Richard Myers, Rumsfeld, and the commander in chief himself—appreciated the cover pages.
It's also refreshing to hear one senior aide say of Rumsfeld at the time, “How much more are we going to have to endure? Why are we keeping this guy?” In the end, not even the White House - the sole office defending Rumsfeld's performance - could ignore the disruption this man was causing in the DoD, and let him go.

Between this and the Cheney "suggestions" to waterboard an Iraqi official until he claimed there was an Iraq/Al-Qaida link, it's becoming apparent that the White House was the epicenter of incompetence, radiating out in all directions, often pushing against criticism and bafflement from its own appointees.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:47 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


America as a Jihad State: Middle Eastern perceptions of modern American theopolitics
posted by BinGregory at 7:01 PM on May 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


But I don't see that most people around me will, firstly, have the courage to confront it. So if the pictures are shown on TV, many people will change the channel.

To which one? The one that's playing that movie where baby jeebus gets the shit beat out of him for two and a half hours?
posted by c13 at 7:51 PM on May 17, 2009


Bin Gregory:

That article deserves an FPP by itself. I'm halfway through and it's a pretty amazing read.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:52 PM on May 17, 2009


People can only be outraged about so many things for so long, and modern media is already flooded with all sorts of superficial, largely manufactured fears and scandals that continually sap away at us even when we do our best to ignore them. So whenever something really important does pop up, the public is already too emotionally "spent" to confront it in any meaningful way (the more paranoid-minded would venture that this situation is intentional, and the main reason behind modern media consolidation)..

Conspiracy of Silence Noise.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, the Ted Kennedy story is just ... man. That's just sad.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:13 PM on May 17, 2009


Rummy should be forced to watch No end in sight and Iraq in fragments - for the rest of his days. The sick SOB.
posted by specialk420 at 10:11 PM on May 17, 2009


The black rectangle over the genitals is priceless. As if in a photograph of a man being tortured by being hung upside down from a metal bunk bed, the potentially offensive thing is the sight of his penis.

That's America, right now, right there. Perfect.
posted by rokusan at 11:58 PM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


As best I could tell, not clear if the black rectangle was placed there by the newspaper(s), not that it's a big point (no pun intended).

With the bigger issue, it's one more of a bunch of examples, like Bush reportedly speaking to Chirac about Iraq, citing Gog and Magog--which was said to have flabbergasted Chriac.
posted by ambient2 at 3:11 AM on May 18, 2009


If only we hadn't elected a guy who was too chickenshit to pursue any of this.

I kinda felt that way too, but I realized that he doesn't have Mathowie, Jessamyn, Cortex and Vacapinta to save his administration from the endless derail that is sure to follow. And there has already been a mountain of cover-your-ass piled over this that would have to be carefully sifted (because it's easier to create noise than find signal), probably by a small army of career types which were really BushCo political appointees.

In the end, the harshest penalty possible by law would be a slap on the wrist for obstructing justice to a few of the principals, or, worse still, everyone who ever was in the military (and by in the military, I mean saw The Longest Day on TV late at night) would be named a codefendant.

You may be right, nothing may happen. But if Obama goes and stands under angry clouds holding a long metal pole, he's not going to do anyone much good.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:08 AM on May 18, 2009


tommasz: I once considered the fundamentalist fascination with the Old Testament kind of odd. But then Jesus wasn't all that into the smiting and retribution stuff so they really have no choice if they're looking for divine justification.

Pretty sure it's the Old Testament where you'll find "Thou Shalt Not Kill." In huge letters carved in stone by divine fire, or some such. I think it's in the Top Ten list.

Wonder where that quote is.
posted by tzikeh at 6:08 AM on May 18, 2009


Pretty sure it's the Old Testament where you'll find "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

(It's also where you find accounts of God-sanctioned mass murder, on several occasions. Scandalous that the Bible contradicts itself, I know, but it helps with the selective readings.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:25 AM on May 18, 2009


How authentic is this document? Not challenging, but would want something to back it up than what we have from GQ Magazine? Military friend had this to say: presentations like these don't fall under FIA provisions, so if they're real, GQ's going to be in a lot of trouble for publishing them.
posted by ethics at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2009


The Freedom of Information Act governs what documents you can request from the government, not what you can publish. That would be the First Amendment. Your military friend should know the difference.

And why would anyone get in trouble for publishing the covers of 6-year-old intelligence reports?
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:17 PM on May 18, 2009


Hey, I am just relating and offering. I am not arguing, just want to understand. Here's an interesting NYT article with denials:

The magazine reported that some Pentagon officials were concerned that, if the cover sheets — which were marked “Top Secret” — were ever leaked, they could be interpreted as a suggestion that the war was religiously driven, a battle against Islam. But those officials were not named in the article, and a number of former Pentagon officials interviewed Sunday said they had no memory of seeing the illustrations or quotations.

Still, the publication of the cover sheets may raise more questions about the proper role of religion in the military, and whether a Christian-influenced culture, rather than a neutral one, permeated some corners of the military.
posted by ethics at 12:52 PM on May 18, 2009


Sorry, while I am new to the board, doesn't excuse me forgetting the link. :)
posted by ethics at 1:02 PM on May 18, 2009


MSNBC interview with David Sanger [05:06] who wrote today's New York Times article.
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on May 18, 2009


Thanks Eric. That was excellent. Sanger is being truthful. I believe him when he says:

1. The cover sheets are real.
2. The cover sheets were NOT done by Rummy.
3. He hasn't bought that Rummy used those for justifications of war but whomever put those together did.
4. Whomever put this together was clearly doing it for favoring Bush (Rummy is not religious as Bush is).

One troubling aspect from the interview, Sanger mentioned that the intent may have been "beyond Pentagon" and the President.
posted by ethics at 2:40 PM on May 18, 2009


From image #2:

"Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast, O LORD!"

It's been a long time since I read Psalms, but out of context, this sounds an awful lot like someone requesting a divine hand job.

Which, I suppose is actually pretty accurate now that I think about it.
posted by quin at 2:56 PM on May 18, 2009


The black rectangle over the genitals is priceless. As if in a photograph of a man being tortured by being hung upside down from a metal bunk bed, the potentially offensive thing is the sight of his penis.

That's no torture pic. That's a drunken freshman hanging from his bunk in the dorm during the Phi Kappa Kumquat rush at MSU.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 10:08 AM on May 19, 2009



Here's an interesting de-coding of the headers on the cover sheets.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:17 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the subject of the images themselves, does anyone have an idea about why the top line is sometimes partially redacted?

From The Atlantic article to which CunningLinguist links:
"Several of the GQ slides have blacked out some portion of the classification line. That's because the classifications themselves remain a secret, probably because they refer to sub-channels of classified information that are specific to ongoing operations."
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on May 19, 2009


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