War In Error
Thursday, March 26, 2015
John Bolton is Still a Blood-thirsty Loon, I See
It doesn’t really surprise me that Sen. Ted Cruz thinks that former UN Ambassador (R-Ironic) John Bolton is the apian patellas—that particular candidate is happy as an arsonist in a match factory when he’s signifying for the dropped-knuckle set. But a moment’s reflection on how this dumbass thinks should reflect back on Cruz.
After all, the call to bomb Iran in this recent op-ed is blatantly stupid, or, to put it in context, shamefully consistent with the rest of his mental work-product. But to put it mildly, if someone has been paying a bit of attention to nuclear proliferation, his mention of Israel’s 1981 attack on Osirak as being particularly successful is just babbling. Because the attack on Osirak didn’t end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program. After the 1991 US invasion of Iraq, inspectors discovered a pretty active underground nuclear program which was, depending upon who you asked, months or scant years from having bombs. The military strike damaged material capacity, but as I’ve been banging on about—it doesn’t destroy know-how, and likely increases the desirability of having such a weapon.
For that matter, in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, Bolton was one of the very wrong people who insisted that Iraq had an ongoing nuclear program. When, no. Hussein isn’t alive now for us to ask him about it, but it looks kind of like having sanctions on and inspectors in was keeping him largely in check. So is there any earthly reason why anyone should listen to this yutz?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/26/15 at 11:18 PM
Monday, March 16, 2015
Warmongo Only Pawn in Game of Life
I think it was when Sen. Cotton actually said that Vice-President Joe Biden had never been right in 40 years (more years than this punk has been alive) that I basically had it—when in the two months this arse has been a senator has he risen to the opportunity to be right?
There’s a real question regarding where this stupor mundi came from, what with his senate run being well-funded by the usual neo-con suspects, and the hard-right economic Spartans—Club for Growth besides; to launching this letter with 46 GOP confederates and then having a nice little handshake to-do with defense contractors. (His confederates have varyingly dumb ideas of why they went along with this.)
Neidermeyer Cotton is apparently a very driven sort of person. Made his way to Harvard as nothing less would do, and turned like Cincinnatus from the plow of his studies to war at the time of our nation’s need. Quotes the Founders and philosophers. Comes off a little bit like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, that last bit.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/16/15 at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Senator Rubio and The Foreign Policy Gap
Via ThinkProgress, an important moment in the discussion regarding US foreign policy with respects to Iran occurred between Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State John Kerry:
During a tense exchange with Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry responded forcefully. “Because the facts completely contradict that,” he said, before offering to discuss more details in classified session with Rubio. But the likely GOP presidential contender didn’t take up the offer and pressed on with the line of questioning, claiming that the United States is going easy on terrorism because Iran does not support America’s campaign against ISIS.
But of course, the two assumptions that he has are false—of course, the US is involved in fighting ISIL, whether Sen. Rubio thinks the response is adequate or not, and of course, Iran is also opposed to ISIL, because why in the world would a Shiite government want a radical Sunni Wahhabist caliphate in their backyard? To think, nay, insist, that the Obama Administration is soft-pedaling the fight with ISIL to please Iran would be weapons-grade ignorance. And that is precisely where Rubio is coming from.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/11/15 at 09:19 PM
Monday, March 09, 2015
47 Dumbass Ronin
I read about the open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran last night and was just appalled. I couldn’t put my finger on why, at first. They weren’t offering aid and comfort to an enemy, per se, so you couldn’t call it treason. They weren’t in direct, private communications, solicited or otherwise, with the foreign government, so I don’t know if you could consider it a violation of the Logan Act. But is very unusual, and the tone was, I thought, disrespectful to the President, to other negotiators at the table, and disrespectful of their offices as US Senators. Because while this letter isn’t necessarily treason or sedition—it’s a political stunt over foreign policy made wide-open, which does not strengthen the President’s hand in making a good executive deal, but rather aims at diluting the nation’s effectiveness to carry out successful diplomacy.
I know this was the aim of the letter, because the freshman Senator who spear-headed the effort, Tom Cotton, has previously admitted he wanted to sabotage the negotiations. What astonished me is that he managed to get 46 other senators to go along with him. Not a one of them read the thing and thought it might be a bad idea?
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/09/15 at 09:07 PM
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Clap Harder for Tinkerbell, Damn You!
A person could well ask why there were so many standing ovations for Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu at his pretty basic speech yesterday, but gosh—who doesn’t know? It’s because if you are not clapping briskly, comrade, what are you thinking?
Because this is where the politicization of foreign policy has taken us. I’ve offered my immediate impressions of why being impressed with the speech is kind of wrong, because it’s wrongly-premised and offers no legitimately not-awful strategy on my “boutique blog”, but my longer term concern is that Netanyahu thinks we’re easy. When it came to entering the Iraq War, you bet a lot of us were. But we can learn from history. And history did not really support the action of invading Iraq, and that the WMD claims weren’t solid absolutely did matter.
The other concern I have is that we’ve dumbed down the discourse so far that the knee-jerk “Hitler/Chamberlain” thing is supposed to work on us like we’re Pavlov’s trained dogs. Netanyahu hinted at it in his speech, but smart-person-talking-down-to-dumb-people-and-overshooting-the-mark Ted Cruz just brings it out like that (like the demagogue he is). As lazy and inaccurate analogies go, it’s way up there, for me. Negotiation is in essence a give and take—something has to give. That’s not appeasement. (Also not appeasement are détente, economic sanctions, and bombing the shit out of people without “boots on the ground”.) And I am at a loss to see how the influence of Iran in any other nation is exactly like, say, invading Poland. For that matter, what would we call the regular negotiations Reagan and Gorbachev made together? Appeasing the Soviet Union?
In any event, I never really clapped for Tinkerbell, myself. Sometimes one might, politely, clap so as not to be a fink, when everyone is pulling for a hero. . But the whole Lost Boys and Peter Pan dynamic was f’d up IMHO and Tink should have gone out like a G to inject a little adulthood in Neverland.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/04/15 at 09:09 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2015
ISIS Burns Mosul Library
Of course, the sort of people who burn people would also burn books. A group like ISIS that depends on the most narrow interpretation of religion is threatened by learning and the mere existence of anything that counters their cramped worldview. But no matter how many books are burned, more are always being written. It still angers me to see people try to blot out history and culture in this way, though.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/26/15 at 07:18 AM
Monday, February 23, 2015
Scott Walker and The Litmus Test
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/23/15 at 12:14 AM
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
FOX Mushroom Farm Terrorism Expert Might Be Sorry
There’s something entirely too easy to slam about a “terrorism expert” appearing on Jeanine Pirro’s FOX News program absolutely fudging up a demographic fact like the proportion of Muslim people in Birmingham, UK. The funny old thing is, his particular overestimation of the number of Muslims or immigrants is sort of a weird example of a study done recently regarding the tendency of people to wildly overstate the number of immigrants or Muslims, and understate the number of Christians, in their home nation.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
Forget it, Jake, it’s FOX Mushroom Farm. She’s doing her real job, don’t you know?
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/14/15 at 12:32 AM
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The shocking murder of twelve people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris has generated many displays of sympathy for the victims and their families, and support for freedom of speech over disgusting acts of terror, many by fellow artists and colleagues. It’s possible that the attack was planned by people who considered themselves defenders of their faith in some way, but they were hardly anything of the sort.
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/07/15 at 11:25 PM
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dick Cheney is Living Like It’s 2003
That former VP Dick Cheney goes on the slowly sinking media vessel called Meet the Press to try and air out his recently exposed dirty laundry seems less surprising when one just gives in and accepts that in Cheney’s mind, it is always February 2003, and we are in the business of selling the Iraq War. In the Cheneyverse, 9/11 has happened so recently that no one really questions whether the government is meaningfully pursuing the people responsible, and leeway has been ever-so-fraughtfully-given. Because a lot of people trusted the intelligence given out by the Bush/Cheney administration at the time as being meaningful in a post 9/11 context.
Does former VP Cheney wonder where Tim Russert has gone (RIP)? Does he wonder why he himself isn’t trolling down to the West Wing anymore, and why his access to intelligence has dried up? I can’t imagine, but mentally, he seems to be living in the first handful of months prior to the invasion of Iraq, because he’s still selling that piece hard. And all the tactics that bought that sweet lying trash that made that war plausible. Here’s some of that:
In fact, he seemed to suggest that if some innocent people were tortured, it doesn’t matter, because the program still overall has had what he believes to be a successful result. “It worked. It worked now for 15 years,” he explained. “We’ve avoided another mass-casualty attack against the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot of the senior guys who were responsible for that attack on 9/11. I’d do it again in a minute.”
Todd pointed out that the intelligence reports that the White House was receiving about the effectiveness of the torture techniques were coming from the same intelligence sources that were wrong about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. But Cheney defended the entire process: “I know what they were asked to do and I know what they did,” he assured. “And I’m perfectly comfortable that they deserve our praise. They deserve to be decorated. They don’t deserve to be harassed.”
“If” innocent people were tortured, like the 20% of the people who were swept up and had no reason to be interrogated or held, let alone tortured. It worked for 15 years—if the program of torture started after 9/11/2001, then that would be 13 years—unless we started fucking up people before 9/11 (you know, the way warrantless wiretapping started before 9/11). When he says “we” captured Bin Laden, I am saddened to think he might believe he was still in office at the time—what does he mean by “we”? The “guys who were responsible” for 9/11 mostly went down with the planes. The masterminds got picked up haphazardly. But we know now that torture, like waterboarding, which Cheney is so proud of, did not stop any “ticking time bombs”. The interrogators asked about al-Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein. And that wasn’t connected. It was bullshit. And thousands of US servicemembers and contractors died or were maimed, or were so profoundly altered by what they’d seen they suicided because of our war there—and how is Iraq doing today?
It’s been eleven years since this idiot administration tried to sell us on a yellowcake fraud, aluminum tubes and a diorama of doom. We’ve had plenty of time to figure out that so much of this was fake. And here is Cheney, stuck in 2003, telling us it was all real and necessary. Acting as if he believed all of it, then and now. Either he is a brutally stupid incompetent gullible shit for brains, or he is the most brazen fraud that has ever strutted across the Sunday chat-show stage. In either event, I do not see why he pollutes our airwaves. If anyone thinks he’ll say one thing new, they are foolish. He’s hanging with his lie.
He ought to be hanged by it. (Figuratively—I’ll say “figuratively”.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/15/14 at 12:29 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
This is Not What “Exceptional” Means
The release of the Senate Select Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program reveals things we basically already knew or should have known about the CIA program—it was worse than reported, it yielded little to no useful information, and it was run by liars who repeatedly tried to project that they were not performing acts of torture when they were in all actuality, textbook acts of torture.
There are people who seem to believe that releasing this information somehow endangers Americans here and abroad. Since this report details things that actually happened, I would say that the actual program of torture run by an agency of the United States government is what was actually harmful. Much of the information had already been reported in news publications; this report is just filing in the blanks. For that matter, this is just what was unclassified after certain details had been scrubbed, leaving the possibility that there are things yet worse that we don’t know—but what is here is pretty starkly disgusting.
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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/10/14 at 12:13 AM
Thursday, October 09, 2014
ISIS Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out
It’s apropos that Rep Duncan Hunter’s (R-Hell, Yeah!) official website banner features a California skyscape dotted with hot air balloons . . . just sayin’.
In case you’re not that familiar with Hunter he’s the son of Duncan L Hunter (R-CA), former US congressman (1981-2009) and Republican presidential hopeful, for about two straw polls, in 2008. Hunter, Sr., a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, rose to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
Hunter, Jr. slid right into Dad’s seat, in 2009—House Armed Services Committee assignment and all—and has taken up many of Dad’s causes, as well—things like fetal person-hood, walling in the southern border, voting down international trade agreements and keeping the Military-Industrial Complex humming.
Hunter, Jr. has only been in Congress for five years but recognizes the value of the sound byte and appears to be Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s go-to-guy on things military or national security-ish. Hunter is equally comfortable, though, with others much further to the right like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Hunter has had quite a few chinwags with Perkins over issues homosexual like the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/09/14 at 04:55 PM
Friday, September 19, 2014
One Rather Expected More—Or Not
Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Monday, August 04, 2014
Spooks Lying? What Next . . .
After five years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is about to release a 6,300 page report that concludes that the CIA misled government officials and the public about its War on Terror interrogation program by downplaying its methods and overstating the value of prisoners and the intelligence gathered from them.
In some cases, the CIA credited “enhanced interrogation” methods for eliciting intelligence that detainees had provided willingly long before they were tortured.
Several officials who have read the document said some of its most troubling sections deal not with detainee abuse but with discrepancies between the statements of senior CIA officials in Washington and the details revealed in the written communications of lower-level employees directly involved.
Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
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Posted by Bette Noir on 08/04/14 at 12:29 PM
Sunday, November 10, 2013
So Let Me Get This Straight, 60 Minutes…
The respected tv news show runs a story about Benghazi, which Lara Logan says she worked on for a year, which basically melted like a snowball in a saucepan in something like 48 hours, and the correction and apology takes up just a couple minutes at the end of the show, and that is that?
Okay. We have a story that seems to have consisted of one flawed source with no corroborating eyewitness, whose book has been recalled and will be pulped, I guess. And there must be some indignity, no doubt, in 60 Minutes now being fact-checked by WND. They point out that Dylan Davies, who went by a pseudonym “for his protection” in the piece and as a nom de plume, was mentioned as having left town in a Telegraph story a year ago. This is really rather embarrassing for them, you’d think?
Or maybe they’d simply prefer not to dwell on how they got this one wrong. I do not know that it’s true, as fired former 60 Minutes exec Mary Mapes speculates, that they did this story specifically to appeal to a right wing audience, but I agree with the lesson that this is “instructive”, in the sense that just because there are people pointing to something, doesn’t mean that something is really there. I also don’t know whether a former Fox News honcho now with CBS had much to do with green-lighting the piece, except to agree that it is fascinating how stories can seem to serve certain biases, hm?
The mea culpa here seems a bit insufficient in this case particularly, though, in that the ongoing appearance of a bigger story has been the basis for a certain senator holding up Obama administration nominees--not that the spoiling of this particular line of inquiry has any effect. But all the same—if the organization is interested in getting it right, and fails, maybe they should try caring about making it right?
(And as an aside, regarding Sen. Graham’s continued quest to appear relevant in the face of his primary challenges, would it be entirely possible for him to appear actively obstructive if not foolhardy if his stand continued to turn up nothing of note? After all, if the Administration’s position as of 9/12/12 was no different than what anyone else knew at the time, you’ve not really got evidence of a cover-up at all, so much as the Administration’s failure to be omniscient—a standard that most people would agree is mighty high to expect of mere humans. I dunno. Maybe Graham is a romantic at heart and has always been prone to the menacing of aerial turbines. But this is shall we say, a Quixotic act—not realpolitik.)
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/10/13 at 11:24 PM