“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
posted by digaman
on Apr 3, 2008 -
"I've been silent long enough...
My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results." Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's former top operations officer, becomes the latest military insider to raise his voice against the "zealots" who led the US into war in Iraq. He writes in Time
magazine: "Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again... After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war." During the Vietnam war, such discontent among soldiers sparked a massive campaign of disobedience and peace activism (as well as, more darkly, fragging
) within the ranks, as recounted in a new documentary called Sir! No Sir!
Can it happen again? Ask the Soldiers for the Truth
posted by digaman
on Apr 9, 2006 -
Hindsight on Iraq is 20/20 --
but views diverge. Reason
magazine asks notable libertarians, conservatives, and academics -- from Instapundit
Glenn Reynolds (one word: "win") to Illuminatus!
author Robert Anton Wilson ("Bush has used [the invasion] as an excuse to destroy the last few tattered remnants of the Bill of Rights") -- if they would have chosen differently in 2003, knowing how the war would develop.
posted by digaman
on Apr 3, 2006 -
Osama bin Laden, littérateur and new-media star
. A thought-provoking analysis of bin Laden's adept use of Koranic language and the Internet by Bruce B. Lawrence, an Islamic scholar at Duke who edited a new anthology of bin Laden's public statements called Messages to the World
. The Western media -- says the millionaire mass-murderer formerly trained as a useful ally by the CIA
via Pakistan's ISI
-- "implants fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media are doing!" Know thy enemy. [via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by digaman
on Nov 3, 2005 -
A surprise from Al Gore:
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
posted by Shanachie
on Oct 6, 2005 -
Be afraid: The national threat-alert level today is yellow or "elevated
," with "significant risk of terrorist attacks," says the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the alert level has been elevated since December of 2003, when it was raised from orange. During the election season, the Fox News network flashed the terror alert level in their "crawl" as if there was breaking news -- the sort of thing that prompted some liberal wags
to ridicule the entire system. Now former DHS secretary Tom Ridge says that the Bush administration was "really aggressive" about raising the threat-alert level
during his tenure, even when the agency felt that the intelligence didn't warrant it.
posted by digaman
on May 11, 2005 -
'01 Memo to Rice Warned of Qaeda and Offered Plan
The Right and the Left are busy (see link beneath) attacking or defending Eason Jordan or Jeff Gannon, and meanwhile we learn that our clever, learned, trustworthy new Sec. of State had been given warnings about what might well take place and did nothing, allowing 9/11 to occur.
A strategy document outlining proposals for eliminating the threat from Al Qaeda, given to Condoleezza Rice as she assumed the post of national security adviser in January 2001, warned that the terror network had cells in the United States and 40 other countries and sought unconventional weapons, according to a declassified version of the document"
posted by Postroad
on Feb 12, 2005 -
Professor Pollkatz's statistics.
Interestings graphics on Bush approval/disapproval. This one
, for example, clearly proves that whenever Bush's approval was high, it was driven by an event (the two major events being September 11 and the Iraq war) and steadily declined afterwards. This page
shows that FOX polls consistently overrate Bush, while Zogby polls consistently underrate him. [more inside]
posted by Eloquence
on Dec 4, 2003 -
Three great interviews in Salon
: Former Senator and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland
on the stonewalling of the 9/11 commission and the situation in Iraq, author Jessica Stern
(previously discussed here
) on the recent bombings in Istanbul and Riyadh, and executive director of Amnesty International USA William Schulz
on why the left must confront terror with the same zeal that it battles Bush, or risk irrelevance.
posted by homunculus
on Nov 20, 2003 -
The Iraq-September 11th smoking gun?
Finally, near proof that Iraq was involved in the September 11th attacks on America: a mural in the Iraqi military headquarters in Nasiriya depicts a plane crashing into a building complex similar to New York's twin towers! (Okay, seriously, are some folks so desperate to make the connection that this might become an actual story?)
posted by johnnydark
on Mar 27, 2003 -
The War Behind Closed Doors
PBS' newest "Frontline"
focuses on what has been happening behind the scenes within the Bush administration during the buildup to war against Iraq. Wolfowitz is seen as supporting a policy of US preemptive wars starting in 1992
and urging a US invasion of Iraq
just four days after 9/11, Richard Perle says
that "it was understood that Iraq had to be dealt with" in the earliest days of the Bush presidential campaign, and Colin Powell is shown as the only reason the US sought UN approval at all.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Feb 21, 2003 -
Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq.
The terror of the war on terror: "A war against Iraq could kill half a million people, warns a new report by medical experts - and most would be civilians." The report (pdf format)
is from Medact
, the British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. One of the report's conclusions: "It cannot be emphasised too strongly that even a best-case scenario of a limited war of short duration, perhaps comparable to 1991, would have much greater impact on the Iraqi people and would initially kill three times the number who died on September 11."
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Nov 19, 2002 -
How Al Qaeda Slipped Away
"American officials concede that there was a mass escape from Tora Bora—as well as a broader exodus by various routes into Pakistan and Iran—but insist that Al Qaeda now is crippled and too busy running to do much damage. “Perhaps we could have got them wholesale,” says one senior Defense official. “Now we’re doing it retail. In the end, it doesn’t make much difference. We’re getting them.”" We might want to take care of this before we "invade" Iraq
posted by owillis
on Aug 14, 2002 -
An excellent piece of media analysis
by Michael Wolff in New York Magazine looking at the current summer-movie-plot version of Al Qaeda being artfully constructed by the NY Times ...
Then, perhaps most disconcertingly, the overall narrative itself is patently a dumbed-down rehash. It's Cold War stuff. There is the ubiquitous and yet unknown and unknowable enemy. There's the international jihad, which, with only minor adjustments, replaces the international communist conspiracy. There's the sudden purported hegemony of the Muslim world -- a new Soviet-bloc-style ideological monolith. There is the otherworldly dedication of operatives bent on overthrowing the West. There are the cells. There is the myth of superhuman discipline. There is now, even, the developing Kremlinology of the next tier of men who replace Osama. And at the center of the story, of course, is the bomb. Whether in massive retaliatory form or as a dirty-bomb package, it serves the same effect.
(link cribbed from Altercation
posted by mantid
on Jul 1, 2002 -
From a piece in the NYTimes today, Home Front Is Minefield for President
: "The lesson we're learning," one administration official said today, "is that you can bomb the wrong place in Afghanistan and not take much heat for it. But don't mess up at the post office."
Leave it to the White House to come away with exactly the wrong interpretation. But the facts are there, too -- most Americans are more concerned about the (relatively slight) risk of getting Anthrax than the rather significant risk that, if we screw up in Afghanistan, we might lose the current coalition against terrorism, Bin Laden, and any hope for "homeland security" for a long time to come....
posted by mattpfeff
on Oct 25, 2001 -
This smells of opportunism?
Is the Iraqi government using our recent war fervor to lift their economic bans? We now have a new enemy, so the old ones are now our friends? Saddam's comment on humanitariasm simply makes me cringe.
posted by Benway
on Sep 20, 2001 -
No real surprise, but let me guess: starting tomorrow, we'll see itemized lists in newspapers of every single country's reaction and where they stood. Pundits will go on television and describe just which countries you should hate the most. Is it just me or is the media really getting out of control on this?
posted by ed
on Sep 12, 2001 -