Thursday, March 25, 2004

Get Broke! 

The Get Broke! site got a facelift. Check out the new digs. It's still way under construction, but you get the idea...

Naom Online! 

Brian Leiter points out that NOAM CHOMSKY HAS A BLOG!!!


Clarke Again 

My buddy Jeff Hahn has a great post on Clarke that is quite cogent and not of the blind praise or vicious smear variety, which is refreshing.

On Clarke's allegation that Bush was obsessed with Iraq immediately after 9/11 and finding some way to blame it on Hussein, Jeff says:

...if it's the case that Bush told Clarke to concoct an Iraq/al qaeda connection, that's one thing. But I don't think he's saying that. What he is saying is that Bush officials harped on Iraq in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, intensely probing a possible connection. While one could argue that the focus was misplaced, it was certainly logical to look into Iraq. And Bush never asserted that Iraq was responsible for 9/11, so any claim or implication that he wanted to concoct a connection is pure conjecture.

First, it's true that Bush never said 9/11 was perpetrated by Iraq. Those around him, however, managed to imply it so heavily that a vast majority of Americans, when polled at the time, felt that Iraq was responsible. This didn't happen by itself. It was the constant focus on Iraq as part of the War on Terror that led to it, and to think otherwise is to wear blinders.

As to the "fucus" being "misplaced," I would argue that the focus has been misplaced all along and that several hundred billion dollars and over 500 American lives have been "misplaced" with it. I think we'd have Bin Laden in a sack hanging from a pole if we had all (or half) the troops that we have in Iraq right now out there looking for him, and had them doing so from the minute we knew it was Al Qaeda that perpetrated 9/11. THAT should be the focus on the war on terror. What the focus should NOT be is invading countries with tenuous at best ties to terrorism on bunk intelligence hyperbolically amped by ideologues hell-bent on invasion for years in order to unilaterally enter into a near-impossible (though i hope for the best) nation building adventure while simultaneously fomenting hate and dispair amongst those we are supposedly trying to win over, thereby creating MORE terrorists and giving them some good targets to try and kill just miles from their homes!

That's the anti-war (in Iraq) statement that nobody will give credence to as they set up straw-man peaceniks to hurl tree-hugging jokes at.

Of course, all of that is completely scattershot, which doesn't do justice to Jeff's post, which is cogent and on point. I think what he is missing, however, is that the response to Clarke has as much to do with Bush Co.'s attitude (smear and/or fire and/or expose undercover wives of all naysayers and never admit a wrong) and what it implies about their priorities (even before the commission, politics above all else) and how that contrasted with Clarke's approach (admit his share of fault and apologize to those harmed by it). That is the key here, both substantively and politically. What may have seemed like "Strong Leadership in Times of Change" (tm) right after 9/11 is starting to look (to some at least) alot like a pungent blend of pettiness and arrogance.

I'll continue this post in a bit when I have more time...in the meantime, go read Jeff's blog, which is one of my favorites even though I disagree with him regularly.

(Edited to remove mild retardation...really will continue it later)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

On Clarke 

DHinMI, a regular poster at DKos, has this bit on Clarke which I think hits the nail on the head...

Richard Clarke is a hawk, appears to have been a Republican, and most balanced summaries of his career show him to have been a bit of a loose cannon too smitten by covert actions and insufficiently respectful of civil liberties. But he's the type of knowledgeable, dogged, and passionate analyst on whom every successful administration must rely for honest and non-ideological appraisals and advice. However, this administration doesn't value analysts, it values acolytes. Thus, it's not surprising this outraged insider has so effectively exposed the rank incompetence and rotten dishonesty at the center of the Bush administration. Furthermore, this administration doesn't respect people who aren't cynical idolaters of power like themselves; it's to be expected that they wouldn't heed the advice of someone whose character and motivations are so different from their own. The leaders of the Bush administration wouldn't listen to Richard Clarke because, as he proved today, he is fundamentally what they will never be. Richard Clarke is a mensch , and Richard Clarke is a patriot.

This guy was not some peacenik or incompetent loon. He entered with a Republican president and served under 3 of them (and only one Dem). He's written a book, true, but what politician hasn't, and at what time could he have released it to keep it from appearing political? After the election? The whole point is that he feels there are things the American public needs to know as it goes into the booth to pull levers.

Clarke apologized for the failure of the government, which to my knowledge nobody else has had the balls to do (even Madeleine Albright, whom I admire, and shame on her). [correct me if I'm wrong on this, and by apologize, I mean admit some fault and apologize, not just commiserate or extend condolences]

We Failed You 

Richard Clarke opened up his testimony before the 9-11 Commission by addressing the families of the victims of the attacks. Here's what he said:

Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you. We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness.

I don't know what to say. And that's pretty rare (I'm often to lazy to say anything, but rarely have nothing to say at all).

UPDATE: Consider this in contrast with Condie Rice's statements:

It's all your fault this happened. I hate you all.


(note: she never said that)

Kevin Drum 

Changed his address on the links list. It's "Political Animal" now. Go read his blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Counter 

The counter just broke 1000. Let's have a party!


Alright, that's enough.

That means I'm getting about 200 hits a week, which is way more than I thought before getting the counter. Ah, the joy of setting low expectations and then BUSTING through them with achievements of undeniable mediocrity.


Israel to Kill All of Hamas 

Shit? Meet fan.

Everyone who reads this likely already knows how much I hate commenting on the Israel/Palestine morass of death and destruction, so I'll let Kevin Drum (formerly of Calpundit and now the official blogger over at the Washington Monthly online) do the commenting for me, as he basically captures my feelings on the whole thing quite nicely and with greater sensitivity than I can usually muster.

I don't generally write much about Israel, but I guess I'll join the chorus wondering not if this is justifiable, but if it's wise. If merely killing all the terrorists were really a way of ending terrorism, I might not have a problem with it. But it really doesn't seem likely to work unless you're willing to annihilate the entire population along with it.

And while I know this is banal, it's just indescribably sad to see this happening. The future of Israel now appears to be that of a state hiding behind a wall and showing its face only to launch occasional massive strikes against its enemies, while the future of the Palestinians is to fester rancorously outside and plot ever more inventive ways of destroying its own youth and killing innocent civilians in a vain hope that this will somehow force the Israelis to give up.

That about sums it up for me.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Ashcroft's Priorities 

I hope he's not in any more physical pain, but I sure hope he gets booted out of office soon. If only he could lose to another dead guy.

Here's a more-than-slightly shocking article about his attention to terrorism immediately before and after 9/11.

This administration has got to go.


This is gonna get nasty...

I'm Back 

Well, sorta anyway. It'll prolly take me a few days to get back up to speed after spending so much time kickin' it in the park this last week. Plus school is about to kick into high gear as finals approach and I'll be temporarily losing my mind soon.

In the meantime, check this out.

I know...it's old...but I'm slow and I don't feel like looking for something new right now.

Screw you.

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