Friday, July 29, 2005

Insert Head in Noose


After reading Major John's piece about blog partners not doing their part, I was moved to comment. I'll probably get strung up for this, but I hope that my comments will be received as they are offered - in a spirit of genuine friendship and mutual respect. That said...

Y'all are a bunch of right-wing, patriotic, liberal hatin' army guys who have, for better or worse, formed your own clique. As a non-vet, I simply cannot relate to your experience abroad, much less comment intelligently. What you experienced was so profoundly life-altering and alien to my everyday experiences that I am at a loss to add to your discussions. I don't mean to be ungrateful or whiney - I truly appreciate what you did. But at the same time, it's not a conversation I feel qualified (or even worthy) to participate in.

The tricky bit, and here's where I get strung up, is that veterans enjoy a special privilege. You gave years to serve our country. You left families and careers behind to do this. As such you have more than earned the privilege to gripe about 'moonbat' liberals, wimpy peace-nicks, and how biased the media coverage is. Problem is, I can't/won't argue with you. I'm not going to tell someone who spent a year in Iraq that I think the whole war is a clusterf#que. It's a respect thing, I suppose.

Problem is, if I keep letting you guys talk amongst yourselves you're going to end up with a blog that has a very narrow focus and will thus attract a very narrow audience.

So for the record,
- Karl Rove should be shot for revealing the name of a CIA operative.
- George W. Bush started an unjust war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence to take out a guy who stayed in power longer than his father.
- Because of the Iraq business, the justifiable Afghanistan theater was undermanned, undersupplied and underfunded.
- The Patriot Act is an atrocity and one of the bigger victories the terrorist have won.
- The American involvement in Iraq will go down as the most de-stabilizing event in the Middle East since the creation of Israel.
- America didn't get where it is today by 'working harder' or 'being smarter' than everyone else. Go ask a untouchable gutter cleaner in India about who 'works hard' for a living. I won't even get into the 'burden' we must carry if Americans are indeed smarter than everyone else.
- I'm all in favor of limiting every type of civilian fire-arm ownership - especially handguns. Any device designed specifically, and exclusively, for the purpose of killing people should be strictly regulated.
- The death penalty is wrong-headed. I don't approve of any laws that affords the state a right to kill its citizens (especially a state run by George Bush).

Phew, that oughta be enough to get at least a couple comments :-)

16 Comments:

Blogger Major John said...

Ha! Action at last. I didn't ask you on here to agree with everything any of the rest of say. Look at your better group blogs - the Volokh Conspiracy, Winds of Change, etc., they are not lockstep types.
As Glenn Reynolds likes to say abouth the blogosphere - "a pack, not a herd."
Oh, and if you would be so kind as to do some movie reviews (as you are always at your best when you dislike a movie, it seems Hollywood has given you much ammunition, heh), it would give our blog a nice little feature.

10:54 AM  
Blogger issachar said...

You weaken your case by including irrelevent information.

Case in point:
"George W. Bush started an unjust war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence to take out a guy who stayed in power longer than his father."

The second part of that sentence is correct. Saddam Husseing stayed in power longer that George H.W. Bush. But the implication that goes with that statement implies makes you look stupid. It suggests that George W. Bush's primary motivation for invading Iraq was the length of Hussein's time in office. That's ludicrous. Many world leaders have terms in excess of 4 years.

The more broad implication is that it's some sort of family feud driving the war. Good for an SNL sketch, but a shoddy argument.

Your last point includes the statement "(especially a state run by George Bush)". Again this is an irrelevant factor in the death penalty discussion. The President of the United States does not affect sentencing decisions in that way. It wouldn't matter if Yosemite Sam was the President as far as the death penalty is concerned.

Stick to the points that make sense.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

My turn to address a few points...

How will you have Rove shot, if you are against the Death Penalty? :)

I am quite glad the Middle East is unstable. All they have had is the "stability" of authoritarian states crushing every aspect of human freedom, and exporting violence to others. Ask the Kurds if they prefer the "stability" of being killed by everyone, recognized by no one. Also, are the conquering Arabs of the 7th and 8th Centuries to have a legit claim on Israel, but not the Jewish population that has been there for 3000 years? March into the sea, Juden? That is the only practical effect of cutting Israel off at the knees.

What about the 1998 laws mandating Iraqi regime change. Didn't Madeline Albright convince you of the constant peril that Saddam was?
Ok, that was a cheap one...

You have a mechanism to get rid of firearms from private ownership - repeal the Second Amendment. All you need to do is convince enough people to rescind it, and there you go. Cripes, if we can amend the Constitution to include Alcohol Prohibition and the income tax, you should be able to get darn near anything done! Just go out and convince enough of the citizenry and their elected representatives to see it your way.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should Karl Rove be shot again? Because he confirmed (sort of) what a reporter had already learned from some other source - i.e., that Valerie Plame had a job with the CIA. Oh, I'm sorry, he didn't actually know her name and didn't actually confirm the fact of her employment. Rather, he acknowledged that he too had heard that former Ambassador Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Big deal! That fact alone isn't neccessarily secret. It would have been significant if he revealed that she was covertly working for the CIA - but he didn't and she wasn't. Her employment wasn't a secret to people who knew her. I suppose now that her "cover is blown" some terrorist could set an ambush up outside of Langley? I just hope that terrorist doesn't learn that Porter Goss also works for the CIA. Oops! So, I guess now that Valerie's secret is out she won't be able to freely walk the halls of Langley, to and from the coffee pot, without her co-workers knowing her true identity? "Psst...I hear she works here." "Oh, I thought she worked for Ikon." "I thoguth she was with the cleaning crew."

Do you think anyone would be clever enough to figure out that the cars going to and from CIA HQ on a daily basis are driven by people who work there? Somebody call Columbo! Personally, I think anyone who feigns being upset about Valerie Plame being identified as working for the CIA by Karl Rove (which didn't really happen) is full of it. In reality, they couldn't care less. If they did - we'd be looking for the initial source wouldn't we? But we aren't, because we don't. It's disingenuous and detracts from those more earnestly engaged in the pursuit of the enemies of our country - i.e, the covert folks.

* * *

"I think people are surprised to find that the CIA has evolved over the years. It’s a lot more open than it used to be. When I tell people what I do, they’ll say, ‘Gee, that’s neat.’ And I’ve got to say yes, it is!"

Reprinted with permission from America's Greatest Places to Work With A Law Degree. ISBN 0-15-900180-3. Copyright 1999 Harcourt Brace.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

"stupid, ludicrous, shoddy, irrelevant"

Such praise from my estimable peers warms my heart. Msuta hit a nerve :) Let's see, rebuttals...

Issachar: I admit the Saddam crack was a cheap shot, and I'm kinda flattered you think it would work on SNL. However, while you adroitly deflated that glib argument, you fail to address the real meat - the bogus intelligence used to justify a U.S. invasion. That point is, so far, un-contested.

Regarding George W. and the death penalty. As you astutely observe, Bush has no affect on sentencing decisions -anymore. However, if you ask the 93 men (and one woman) in Texas who were executed under his signature, you might hear a different impression of his 'effect.' Or, maybe they'd keep quiet on that topic, being dead and all.

Major John:
"How will you have Rove shot, if you are against the Death Penalty?" Damn, good point. I'll have to settle for a good flogging. Is that legal? Oh, that's right. Execution is OK, but flogging is inhumane. I got it.

Sorry if my stab at 'destablization' came off as anti-Israel. I didn't mean it as such. Point withdrawn.

However,regarding states "exporting violence to others," we shouldn't be throwing stones too hard. Last I heard the civilian death toll in Iraq is around 23,000 since we came to town (plus 2,000 coalition troops). I am not saying American troops did this - they clearly didn't. But dead is dead, and this seems a pretty hefty butchers bill for regime change.

To 'anonymous' - give me a name and you'll get a response.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

See, this is much better than sitting by silently...although, I do profess to being a bit hurt by the "liberal hating Army guys who have formed a clique" crack back...'Prop and I are the only vets, and "liberal hating"...? There are certain stances I am roundly against, and a few folks like Michael Moore that I loathe, but "liberal hating"? And, can two be a clique?
See my entry above as to why you are all on this thing in the first place.

9:08 PM  
Blogger protein wisdom said...

The last time I saw a list with so much wrong on it was on the back of a "New Kids on the Block's Greatest Hits" CD.

And because nobody has addressed the WMD thing: well, Bush gave a number of reasons for going into Iraq; just look at the resolution. The Dems, though, accused him of having too many reasons, so the Bushies reduced it to a soundbite form. And I think they're on record as saying that pinning so much on WMD was a mistake.

Re: Rove. Howsabout we wait until he's found guilty of something?

Re: PATRIOT Act. Give examples of its evil.

How did America get where it is today?

What is it about the 2nd Amendment that that frightens you so? Is there a rash of out of control gun violence from legal handgun owners that I'm not aware of?

Re: The death penalty. The state is made up of citizens. So it's not the state killing someone so much as it's the will of the public under the social contract setting punishments for extreme acts.

Major John has already answered well about mideast "instability." It was the stability of the last 50 years that got us to where we are today. And this: "But dead is dead, and this seems a pretty hefty butchers bill for regime change" is spoken by someone I'm willing to bet has never had to live in fear of being fed into an industrial shredder.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

Re: the Patriot Act. A fine example of 'evil' is contained in Provision 213. This allows the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surviellence Court) to issue search warrants instead of a normal federal or state court. Mind you, the FISC was incorporated by the Patriot Act itself. Better yet, and more insideous, 'probable cause' is no longer required for the issue of such a warrant, only 'reasonably necessity.' In short, the government needs less of a case to search someone's medical records, library usage, phone calls and internet access AND they don't even need a judge's permission to do it.

But that's OK. I trust the government. They'd never jump the gun and do something rash without full and accurate information. Like invade Iraq.

Re: Rove. I agree. You're right. We should wait until he's found guilty before having him shot/flogged/whatever. But can we lower the standard of evidence for him too, as long as we're doing it with the Patriot Act? Could 'beyond a reasonale doubt' perhaps be lowered to 'preponderance of evidence?' It does make getting the bad guys easier.

Re: guns. Nothing frightens me about the second amendment.
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I'm not a legal scholar (Major John, please tell me if I'm off here), but this 'seems' to pertain to the organization of state militias, not individuals.

Further, if you trust the government so much that you are willing to water down the standards of evidence needed for search warrants and invasions, why do you fear this same government will not protect you at home? This seems inconsistent.

Re: death penalty. So, the state isn't killing people, 'the people' are killing people. Comforting thought. Do you see a slippery slope when the majority of people can 'vote' to have have other citizens killed for various acts? I do.

Finally, butcher's bills and industrial shredders. "...spoken by someone I'm willing to bet has never had to live in fear of being fed into an industrial shredder."
So, that makes me unqualified to offer an opinion? Has Protein Wisdom himself been threatened with an industrial shredder? President Bush? It think we can all agree that no one in this discussion is in danger of being shredded. And, if we really are in Iraq to save the Iraqis from shredding (or gassing, or genocide), we've got a few dozen other countries we better invade, too.

1:01 PM  
Blogger RTO Trainer said...

Okay:

- Karl Rove should be shot for revealing the name of a CIA operative.

So far there is no indication that either Rove revealed the name or that she was an "operative" within a timeframe to meet teh statutory requirement.

- George W. Bush started an unjust war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence to take out a guy who stayed in power longer than his father.

Staying in power longer than 4 years is enough criteria? We got a long list of people to take down.

- Because of the Iraq business, the justifiable Afghanistan theater was undermanned, undersupplied and underfunded.

The Afghanistan theater was not drawn down in order to do Iraq, so I dont' see how you can support this. That and we are seriusly in danger of tripping over ourselves and our allies as it is.

- The Patriot Act is an atrocity and one of the bigger victories the terrorist have won.

There was one provision that was a problem and the courts took care of it. All other provisions still require (ACLU clims to the contrary notwithstanding) judicail review, this is due process, so I fail to see the problem.

- The American involvement in Iraq will go down as the most de-stabilizing event in the Middle East since the creation of Israel.

Magnificent, isn't it? Stability has been a goal of past administrations nad it lead to things like Iran-Contra, supporting Iraq and Noriega in the 80's, and allowing a myriad of human rights abuses around the world because as long as the boat didn't get rocked too much, business would be good and we could keep the troops at home. Is that better? I think not. Certainly Saudi Arabia would not be undertaing (albeit slowly) reform, Lybia would nto be reversing its isolation and giving up its WMD programs, Lebanon would not be kicking out Syria and so on with out this instability.

- America didn't get where it is today by 'working harder' or 'being smarter' than everyone else. Go ask a untouchable gutter cleaner in India about who 'works hard' for a living. I won't even get into the 'burden' we must carry if Americans are indeed smarter than everyone else.

Okay. I don't see the point, but I don't see an argument either.

- I'm all in favor of limiting every type of civilian fire-arm ownership - especially handguns. Any device designed specifically, and exclusively, for the purpose of killing people should be strictly regulated.

Or universally trained and distributed. Since your plan requires a Constitutional Amendment, I prefer mine.

- The death penalty is wrong-headed. I don't approve of any laws that affords the state a right to kill its citizens (especially a state run by George Bush).

Except for the poke at the president, I agree. The citizen may not kill someone unless justified as in self-defense or defense of another. A such I don't believe that the State should have greater liberty in this regard. As such unless the prosecution can show that the continued resipration of the defendant constitutes a real and on-going threat to the lives of others even though incarcerated, not death-penalty. I can see it applied successfully in the case of certain organized crime or terrorist figures.


As to having other opinions that the rest of your blog-kin, so be it. Without conflict, there is no interest. Stress, in proper proportion, is the motivation to action. Ever see a novel with no antagonist? How boring would that be?

4:38 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Er, not quite on the Second Amendment - When they passed that Amendment, all free males were militia. In fact, you are, by the grace of your particular state's constitution (it shall remain nameless) a member of the 'unorganized' militia. It is fairly hard to argue that the dudes who asked everyone to rise up and shove the Brits off didn't mean for all men (and now women too, as we have expanded rights) to have their firearm legally theirs, handy, and their powder dry...

9:40 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Two more things; If you count one Iraqi killed by the "insurgents" on our tab, I'll have to say something rude, and, you'll know that you have now set the Miserable Donuts record for commentary on a single post, you rotter...

11:47 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

based on bogus intelligence

Well, at least you didn't shriek "he lied!!!" like the barking moonbats on your side.

That said, I don't agree with you at all on your politics--so I'll look forward to movie reviews. ;-)

4:11 AM  
Blogger PatCA said...

"In short, the government needs less of a case to search someone's medical records, library usage, phone calls and internet access AND they don't even need a judge's permission to do it."

Well, yeah, I agree this encroaches on our quest for a state of perfect freedom. But I believe we're at war--maybe you don't?--so we do the best we can to juggle two opposing good ends: the need for security and the need to preserve freedom for government.

Do you wonder why the Brits have been able to round up so many of the bombers but not prevent the bombing events? Because before 7/7 the police probably knew all about them, but their freedom from government was valued higher than security. And I think that was a mistake.

2:19 PM  
Blogger RTO Trainer said...

In short, the government needs less of a case to search someone's medical records, library usage, phone calls and internet access AND they don't even need a judge's permission to do it.

The requirement for judicial review has not changed. It is a lesser standard, and there is a new court with jurisdiction, but both issues are within the perview of the Congress.

The bogus intelligence used to justify a U.S. invasion. That point is, so far, un-contested.

The implication though is that it was bogus AND self-serving. Fact is that everyone was wrong. No one made this stuff up. ABC news did a report in 1992 on the links between Hussein and al-Qaeda, Clinton beleived in a terror link, as did Kerry, Kenedy, et al. Wrong? Apparently. Misunderstood? Looks like it? Deliberate? Nope.

So far though, the time spent looking for WMDs in Iraq has been less time thnn it took Hilary Clinton to find the disputed records from the Rose Law Firm. That it took some time didn't mean they didn't exist. As such I'm not prepared to state that there were/are none.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

-waving white flag-

"Uncle!"
"Uncle!"

I lay down my sword of rhetoric. However, see what I mean about the right leaning tendancies on this blog? There's nothing wrong with that, sincerely,but you'll limit the breadth of your discussions if all readers are in such close agreement. As RTO said, "Without conflict, there is no interest. "

I'm happy to play gadfly from time to time, but you all will get real tired of me eventually (if not already). Besides, I'm not even a bone fide democrat (and I despise Michael Moore). I'm independent :)

8:20 AM  
Blogger RTO Trainer said...

I'm a Democrat.

I agreed with you on the death penalty.

11:01 PM  

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