War In Error
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
Comments (6) •
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
Comments (5) •
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.”
read the whole post »
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
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Bienvenue au Canada, Grand Dick
Now that Dick Cheney has a new heart, he’s ready to resume his role of international power-broker who leaps tall buildings in a single bound. As such, he’s taking his act on the road to renew old acquaintances with the global moneyed elite who might come in handy when La Lizzie starts campaigning hard in Wyoming.
It’s not easy, though, for a convicted war criminal to globe-trot. You are forgiven if you spend most of your time in America the Beautiful and that little-known factoid escaped your attention. But, actually yes, this all happened, last year.
Per Foreign Policy Journal:
In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.
Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.
The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/30/13 at 11:07 AM
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
There are worse things than forgetting.
Via Gawker, here’s a candidate for the most crass corporate co-opting of 9/11 ever. With the exception of the event’s hostile takeover by Bush, Inc., of course.
As I was dropping my teenager off at school this morning, the radio announcer spoke the date, September 11th. The kiddo groaned, “Oh god, is it 9/11 today? That means we’ll have to watch boring movies and talk about 9/11 in every class. Again.”
She doesn’t remember 9/11, of course. She was a toddler at the time, and now she’s a lanky high schooler. 9/11 feels like a dim artifact of history to her, like the Kennedy assassination felt to us Gen Xers—an event that scarred our parents but was experienced by us kids as an iconic video. Maybe this is a good thing.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 09/11/13 at 02:52 PM
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
This weekend, President Obama partially convinced John “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb” McCain and his zany sidekick, Lindsey “More Butch than 10,000 Teabaggers” Graham, of the wisdom of his Syria intervention policy. The hotheaded duo imply they were lured onboard by assurances of extra ka-booms, covert operations and other cool war-stuff executed by not-their-kids.
Good for Obama for passing the Syria hot potato to Congress, as is right and proper. But this Obama supporter will be rooting for Congress to say no. Having McCain on the “other side” makes that a little easier.
McCain, who had previously rejected the administration’s Syria intervention proposals because he deemed them too soft, and who surely knows that the public will reject a full-blown war as too hard, requires a war footing that his Goldilocks sense gauges as “just right.” McCain and Graham’s comments after their weekend meeting with the president signaled their tentative willingness to climb into the sack: McCain said a vote against the authorization of force resolution “would be catastrophic” and “undermine the credibility of the United States.”
But as Steve Benen notes, that rationale doesn’t make much sense:
By his reasoning, any time any president prepares to use military force abroad, Congress must agree or risk undermining the credibility of the United States. But what if lawmakers have sincere policy differences with an administration and they’re right to oppose intervention abroad? To hear McCain tell it, that wouldn’t much matter—lawmakers should feel an obligation to approve a resolution anyway.
And, as Benen also noted, McCain and his South Carolina appendage appear poised to withdraw their support if they deem the strike plans insufficiently warlike after the details emerge. Sadly, this pair of Klingon wannabes is what passes for foreign policy “wise men” in the Republican Party.
With Boehner now signaling his willingness to go along, it’s clear that Obama has dialed the correct sleep number into the GOPosturepedic—so far. How far rightward is he willing to be dragged to keep their support, if at all? Launching an attack on another country invites all sorts of unpredictable outcomes, which is one reason it truly should be a last resort. Aligning an agenda with the likes of McCain, Graham, Boehner, etc., also has all kinds of potential for blow-back. Still thinking this is a mistake.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 09/03/13 at 11:04 AM
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Yelling Theater In A Crowded Fire
Self-criticism: any Blingee about hot air and hysteria needs moar Tom “Not Just Bloviating” Friedman:
Imagine how many real restrictions to our beautiful open society we would tolerate if there were another attack on the scale of 9/11.
To be fair, Friedman was without an Iranian cab-driver to help him find his way through his own tightened sphincter at the time.
And from the “Should Know Better” wing of the Department Of Garbage Analysis Department: This country makes the Stasi look like a bunch of Boy Scouts! That comes at 55.23 of this Democracy Now clip, in which Hedges, author of the compelling and possibly all-too-self-descriptive “War Is A Force Which Gives Us Meaning,” also avers that “this is far beyond a reasonable debate,” which Mr. Hedges’ co-guest, reasonable debater, Administration opacity critic and former Obama boss-o-him Professor Geoffrey Stone, might have guessed already, if his comment section at Huffpo is any indication.
TRAITORHEROGOATWORSHIP! The contents of Amy Goodman’s vacuum bag to anyone who can’t guess the civil libertastic subject of this encomium at the charnel house formerly known as the comments section of Talking Points Memo:
It IS what it is; but clearly, most of the posters on this site are more invested in defending their team than being moved by Truth. So they shoot the messenger… it’s like crucifying The Christ, all over again.
(I admit to loving how obnoxious this woman is: to another woman who suggested not letting this scandal keep us home in November: “You’d be more amusing as a cheerleader if you wore pom poms on your breasts and bounced around.” Superciliousness, implacable belief in her own infallibility, allegiance to No Mere Human, reminds me of something..P….PU….what could it be? It’s so familiar…sounds like PURE? PURE something? PURE-MA!)
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Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/12/13 at 04:18 PM
Sunday, June 09, 2013
NSA Superhero Flees to His Fortress Of Pillowtude
Did you hear the one about the technical assistant for the CIA who leaked government documents to his favorite libertarian before holing up in a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, and stuffs pillows under his door because he thinks that will foil eavesdropping?
Meet Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old making 200 grand a year to work for Booz-Allen, who had a pretty cushy life in Hawaii before blowing the whistle on practices he thought needed airing, and flying to a city he deemed up to his standards for freedom, within that two-systems-one-country-that-country-being-China sort of thing.
I was at work on a post about the extreme ugliness being displayed all over the internet the past few days, which may yet appear with its attendant Blingee, but of course Mr. Snowden and Glennzilla had to step on my Blingee with their big scoop. Thanks, fellas! Really, reopening and examining the Patriot Act seems like an excellent idea to me, even if the messenger(s) come with shipping containers full of baggage, but Glenn, as an expat and a lawyer, don’t you think you should have informed your idealistic young source that Hong Kong and the U.S. have an extradition treaty? Whoops. What, weren’t the hotels in Taiwan good enough?
**Update: Of course he’s a Ron Paul supporter! What else would he be?
(Title edited to reflect author’s slow realization that maybe she WANTS search engines to find this post. Doh!)
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/09/13 at 03:03 PM
Thursday, June 06, 2013
It Takes 7 Years For Glenn To Get His USA Today?
So you may have heard that the politisphere is a little angsty today. My television isn’t even on and I can hear Chris Matthews yelling, all because of GIUARDIAN GLENN GREENWALD’S BIG GIANT SCOOP, which is is not materially different from LESLIE CAULEY’S BIG GIANT SCOOP OF AUGHT SIX, except that now it’s Obama doing it! With secret FISA courts, which I have a vague memory of Obama voting for way back when, which is why I have GIANT SCOOP letdown right now. It wasn’t my favorite of Obama’s moves then, but I decided I’d take the good with the iffy and move on. And then the blogoverse trumpets GLENZILLA’S VERY HUGE NEWS and it turns out to be sort-of-not-warrantless-not-wiretapping. You know how you may have always intended to catch a hot show after catching one good episode, and when you finally tune in, it’s a rerun of that same damn episode?
I’m curious: am I the only person who assumed the Bush-era program never stopped? Since the snooping doesn’t involve identity or conversations, but exclusively “Meta-data” of my “telephony” being stored by the NSA— but not accessed without a FISA warrant— I really am having a problem getting my outrage on. If only I could pretend to be outraged, the way the Republicans do!
(Big ole hat tip to TPM commenter Doremus Jessup20 ; perhaps GG should think about tipping his lid—currently up on the Guardian page, collecting coins, to help keep Glenn HONEST—to Ms. Cauley.)
**Update** Well! isn’t it nice to know we’re never alone? Oh Hell’s Bells. The discouraging thing is that I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised that the NSA didn’t buy my behavior from Google the way Hungry Girl did. Nothing I do is a secret to her!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/06/13 at 06:37 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Just LIke Bush Except For The Closing Gitmo Thing And The Listening Thing And That Other Thing
MEDEAMEDEAMEDEA! You are so vocal and full-throated, that even the guy at the podium has to admire you, even though you want him to close Gitmo and he—uh, wants to close Gitmo. And now he says it’s important to pay attention to you, so congratulations, conveniently formerly Susan B, inconveniently non-all-powerful Barry O has just endorsed you! You are now tainted, co-opted meat. I’m sure it was his diabolical plan all along.
In other news besides Medea Benjamin, the Guardian live blog, as usual, has a wonderfully succinct rundown of the President’s speech today. Perfect for Dana Perino-length attention spans!
Oh yes, nearly forgot: the President announced that he’d work with Congress to repeal the AUMF and end the perpetual War On Terror. Whew! Almost missed it!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 05/23/13 at 08:32 PM
Here’s Mr. Obama on his way to the senior prom (Time, via Gawker). Considering that he graduated in the late 70s, the outfits are far less embarrassing than one could have hoped. My husband is only a bit younger than the president, and the suit he wore to the prom once prompted someone who saw his prom photo to laugh and ask if it was a Halloween costume.
On a more serious note, Obama is scheduled to give an address on counterterrorism today:
In his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term, Mr. Obama hopes to refocus the epic conflict that has defined American priorities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and even foresees an unspecified day when the so-called war on terror might all but end, according to people briefed on White House plans.
Could the war on a noun really end? The report says Obama will announce new limits on the use of drone strikes and launch a new effort to close Gitmo. I expect the reaction will range from “worse than Bush” to “worse than Neville Chamberlain.”
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/23/13 at 09:57 AM
Friday, April 26, 2013
Too soon? Yep. Too soon.
As the push to rehabilitate the worst president in living memory proceeds apace, former Bushies are crawling out the woodwork to beg us to take another bite of the shit taco and experience anew the tasty goodness.
In a post entitled “George W. Bush is smarter than you,” someone named Keith Hennessey, the former director of the George W. Bush National Economics Council (which is like being the Emeritus Chair of the Sarah Palin Center for Teen Pregnancy Prevention—discuss!) invites citizens to “test your own assumptions and thinking about our former President” through a series of questions:
This is a hard one, for liberals only. Do you assume that he is unintelligent because he made policy choices with which you disagree?
Nope. I assume he is unintelligent (or evil, but I suspect mostly dumb because I’m charitable that way) because he made policy choices that predictably resulted in a series of world-historical clusterfucks which killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of people, looted the national treasury, subverted our moral authority, undermined our global standing and widened the wealth inequality chasm. Next?
If so, your logic may be backwards. “I disagree with choice X that President Bush made. No intelligent person could conclude X, therefore President Bush is unintelligent.”
Kind of surprising that the George W. Bush National Economics Council would appoint an eighth-grader fresh from an introduction to logic class as director. Oh wait…
Might it be possible that an intelligent, thoughtful conservative with different values and priorities than your own might have reached a different conclusion than you? Do you really think your policy views derive only from your intellect?
Uh-oh—Iooks like someone didn’t comprehend the straw man logical fallacy lesson! But let’s play along: The thing is that the aforementioned world-historical clusterfucks were predictable—and were in fact predicted in real time by many people.
It doesn’t matter if Bush’s policy views were derived from his “intellect,” Cheney’s colon or a Magic Eight Ball; they were not only wrong, they were disastrously and measurably so on virtually every important front – domestic, international, financial and social.
So a hearty “fuck off” to you, Mr. Hennessey, for having the effrontery to peddle what is demonstrably shit as Shinola while we are still digging ourselves from the reeking pile. It’s too soon for a rehab tour.
With a bit of luck, you might be able to sell this stinking load of horseshit to my great-great-grandchildren. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/26/13 at 10:45 AM