The primary conceit of the "liberal hawks" has been and is that only they are "serious" about the security of the nation. Support for the Iraq war demonstrated that seriousness, no matter how misguided it was. The truth is concern for our national security was a very real reason to oppose the Iraq war, and the primary reason for lots of its opponents.
Yes. Americans are obsessed with their own toughness - how tough they are, whether they're getting soft, whether others believe they're tough - and liberal hawks (not to mention the great seething mass of psychosis which is Red America) have been compulsively proving and reproving to themselves just how bad ass they can be with other people's lives. Torture, extended occupation against guerrillas, extraordinary rendition, whatever you got, they're for it. They'll piss away as much blood and treasure as you like, just so long as they don't have to get up off the couch. Of course, they won't ever take responsibility for what they did - they were acting to protect the nation, after all, which is the standard Ollie North Defense. Works every time, but in the meantime they're harming the country and the world.
Meanwhile, us liberals who actually, you know, give a shit about the health of the country are sitting here scratching our heads wondering what to do next. Argument doesn't work. Invective hasn't worked yet. The press is a dead dog. The butcher's bill keeps going up but no one seems to think it's too much. Too bad press gangs are out of fashion - I know two or three or dozen bloggers who should get their asses shipped to Kirkuk. I think we're still in the grip of post-9/11 stupidity, and it's feeding on the innate obsession with toughness to our detriment. Someday, perhaps, people will say, "What the fuck were they thinking?" This is what: we see that the country is lead by fucking idiots, and we can't stop it.
I was supposed to fly out of here today, but there is weather (tornadoes?) in Lauderdale, so the flights were cancelled. The good news is the weather here is great. The bad news is I am missing a Friday meeting in Philadelphia.
We're getting set to land in Liquordale, and one of the flight crew just came on the PA to deliver a commercial for the airline's frequent flier credit card. It went on for a couple of minutes. How humiliating for him. And what the hell is the airline thinking? They've got us trapped in our seats for hours already, why would we want to be subjected to more advertising? Put the applications in with the magazines, and let me get my sleep so I can get inebriated in Key Weird tonight.
Update: On the ground, at the dockside bar drinking a margarita in Key West, waiting for my friends to get ready to go out. Someone remind me not to blog from the Treo unless I want a bunch of random shit to show up on here.
No bad news is permitted to penetrate the fantasy world of the war lover. Oops:
"The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."
Pat Tillman was killed by Americans. It was a mistake. Lots of American combatants get killed by their own people, by mistake (or otherwise).
Throughout history, the military has often lied about deaths or defeats in order to create heroes and legends instead of just telling the unflattering truth. On that level, the Bush administration is no worse than, say, Johnson's. But bad, they are. From top to bottom, from concept to execution, from WMD to Jessica Lynch, the war in Iraq has been a lie. The reasoning behind Afghanistan was sound, but Rumsfeld's men take every opportunity to mislead the people about what happened and what is happening there.
Every time someone starts talking about how good the Bush administration is, they should be required to read this:
Patrick Tillman Sr. believes he will never get the truth, and he says he is resigned to that now. But he wants everyone in the chain of command, from Tillman's direct supervisors to the one-star general who conducted the latest investigation, to face discipline for "dishonorable acts." He also said the soldiers who killed his son have not been adequately punished.
"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore," he said. "Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has."
Today I missed my Japanese class again, since I have gotten a bad throat. I only went to the class once this week, so I am probably so far behind now. I will catch up in the summer tho so no worries hehe. Anyway today has been weird, at 3 some guy ringed the bell. I went down and recognized it was my sister's former boyfriend. He told me he wants to get his fishing poles back. I told him to wait downstair while I get them for him. While I was searching them, he is already in the house. He is still here right now, smoking, walking all around the house with his shoes on which btw I just washed the floor 2 days ago! Hopefully he will leave soon, oh yeah working on the jap report as we speak!
Yeah, the guy and his sister were robbed and stabbed to death with a butcher knife.
The Defense Department may have
overestimated China's total military spending by more than
two-thirds, according to a report for the Air Force released on
The RAND Corporation, a research group that studies many
issues for the
Pentagon, estimated China's military spending
totaled $31 billion to $38 billion in 2003, which it said was
the most recent year for which full data was available.
By contrast, the Defense Department has put the 2003 figure
as high as $65 billion, 71 percent greater than the high end of
The article has some choice quotes:
The Pentagon "asks for greater transparency in China's
People's Liberation Army military budget reporting," said Navy
Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Hicks, a Pentagon spokesman.
Ask nicer next time, Lt. Cmdr. Jesus, don't break a sweat ferreting out the truth or anything.
"Basically, we're correcting a lot of U.S. government
estimates that weren't based on empirical fact," said [James] Mulvenon, [one of the analysts who wrote the RAND report.]
Shorter James Mulvenon: "These guys have their head up their ass."
Aside from the chuckles, this is standard for the Pentagon. Every bureaucracy's prime mission is to justify the existence of the bureaucracy, and the Department of WarEuphemism Defense is the biggest one we've got. As someone wrote once, they want Congress and the President to believe that ten rabbits make a tiger, so they can get enough money to fight the tiger. Or a dragon. Back in the day, it was a bear they said they were fighting, and in the mid-80s, they said the bear was as strong as ever, just before he had a heart attack and died. But when actual war-fighting comes around, they're sending people out in vehicles they have to armor themselves, and parents are buying their kids bullet-proof vests. As yet another someone wrote, they're spending a billion dollars a day pissing on Mark Bingham's grave and protecting their little fiefdoms.
Among other vices, I am a glutton, so prompted by this front-page USA Today story (I guess Al Neuharth's "Get her tits above the fold" has now become "Get the product placement above the fold") I stopped at a Hardee's on the way back from the beach and bought this:
It's a Monster Thickburger. It's five inches across, with two-thirds of a pound of meat, three slices of cheese, and four strips of bacon. It's 1,418 calories, and 107 grams of fat. Yes, 107 grams of fat. As part of a combo meal, with a medium fries and medium coke, it's 2,457 calories and 132 grams of fat. The USDA says that most people eating 2,000 calories a day, the reference level of food intake, should consume no more than 20 grams of fat.
In a word, it's disgusting. I took three bites and threw the rest away. Later, I figured out that the three bites probably amounted - in calories - to a big lunch. The person I was traveling with almost got sick from just the smell.
Also, for the fast-food company, it's a winner. Their same-store sales went up 4.4% when the Monster came out. The food industry sees an American population under-educated about health - witness the huge fight over the totally-useless USDA food pyramid and the denatured, indirect language used in the report I linked above - and shovel fat, sugar and salt at it. And the public, stripped of any kind of analytical ability, having nothing to comfort themselves with except flat-earth religion, lolling in advertising and raised on bigger-is-betterism, literally eat it up. Then diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure continue to rise, killing more Americans than any foreign enemy probably ever will, and the diet companies and pharmaceutical companies step in to "fix" the "problem." Everyone makes monster profits from people literally eating themselves to death. And in Cheap-Labor Libertarian Jesusland America, that's the biggest and best vice of them all.
All you non-Christianist Republicans out there, you sure do have some dumb motherfuckers on your side. All I'm saying is, if your allies are stupider than average, shouldn't you perhaps re-think your commitment to the cause?
Acknowledging several passages from his new book - where he charged that liberals were engaging in "an all-out assault on Christianity," and that Democrats wanted to appoint judges who would "dismantle our Christian culture" - Robertson told ABC that the federal judiciary, as currently constituted, represented the biggest threat to America in its history. He warned: "They're destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."
His interviewer, George Stephanopolous, asked whether Robertson was saying that the threat posed by federal judges was more dire than the Civil War, World War II, and the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11. Robertson replied: "I really believe that... . I think that the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
JERRY FALWELL: And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we've been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters - the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats--what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact--if, in fact--God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.
PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population.
JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, yes.
JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.
JERRY FALWELL: Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU, and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged"? In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time--calling upon God.
PAT ROBERTSON: Amen
This man is as big a theocratic totalitarian as Osama bin Laden. Yet he sits in the highest councils of the Republican Party and wields real power. Notice that the courts and civil liberties have been in his sights for years now. Having yoked the rich to their side and learned to play the media like a fiddle, the fascists find that the only thing standing in their way is the rule of law, and they are eager to subjugate it, too. People like to quote Shakespeare for the proposition, "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"; people don't realize that he put those words in the mouth of a man plotting violent revolution.
Robertson's right about one thing, though: If the country is destroyed it will be destroyed from within, because Republicans were so enamored with power they didn't put a leash on people like him quickly enough.