Awareness Campaign for Terror

The ‘War on Terror,’ under Bush, is now the ‘Awareness Campaign against Man-Caused Disasters’ under Obama. The A.C.M.D., (‘Achmed’) is the quintessential liberal strategy for eradicating Islamic terror… semantically rather than in reality. Obama is all about the easy fix and reaping reward for words not work.

Obama: Our Protection

We are no longer 'at war.' War is just another word for the politics of fear. Obama is our protection now. Didn't he just receive a Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about world peace a few months ago? His mere existence as President has changed world opinion and assuaged the anger of radical Islamic Terrorists against the United States. Obama is the transformational President who understands that they hate us because we elected Bush. They hate America because, until now, America has been a hateful and evil country. We deserve terrorist attacks and if we were to 'go to war' with radical muslims by profiling them on airplanes that would just make them madder and justify further attacks on us.

As Obama's pastor pointed out 9/11 was merely, "America's chickens coming home to roost:"

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

This is the foundation of Obama's foreign policy. Obama's America has no role in defending the defenseless or opposing dictatorships in the world: "No despot fears the president, and no demonstrator in Tehran expects him to ride to the rescue."

The system worked

The attempted destruction of Flight 253 proves that the Obama policy is working flawlessly. No muslim's feelings were hurt by crass American profiling until the last moment when unthinking rascist passengers tackled a defenseless radical muslim attempting to ignite a harmless explosive.

The TSA subsequently sprung into action. Swiftly swooping down on the nefarious perpetrators: TSA subpoenas bloggers, demands names of sources. Bureaucratic justice strikes! The system does work people. Criticising or revealing internal memos will not be tolerated!

Posted by Eric Simonson at December 31, 2009 8:33 PM
Comment #293231

Janet Napolitano is Obama’s “Brownie.” She is doing a heck of a job.

Posted by: Christine at December 31, 2009 8:42 PM
Comment #293232

Yawn. Terror porn. I look forward to the day when conservatives and the MSM stop shivering and shuddering in convulsive spasms of fear-induced delight.

It’s weird. Get a grip. Get over it. Move on. Over 20,000 Americans died last year for lack of health insurance. Those deaths are entirely preventable, and preventing those deaths will not cost nearly as much as losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: phx8 at December 31, 2009 9:29 PM
Comment #293233


So let me get this straight;

3,000 people died in the world trade center on Sept. 11th, 2001, while George Bush was President, and that was al Qaida’s fault.

One guy fails to bring down a plane while Obama is President, and it’s Obama’s fault.

You guys on the right need to get hobbies.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at December 31, 2009 9:47 PM
Comment #293234

Eric, go back and read your source material.

Who said the words “Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism.”

Who said that? Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Barack Obama even?

No, Janet Napolitano, right before she talked about the “nuance” of man-caused disasters.

Yeah, you see nuance is where you build onto other facts with subtle distinctions that add meaning. Like the duties of Homeland Security being things like protecting our infrastructure, safeguarding our borders, dealing with epidemics and things like that. It’s not the most graceful of bureaucratic language, but she is definitely not saying that terrorism is not a threat.

How can you miss, or choose to miss the fact that she explicitly says terrorism is a threat? Is that just inconvenient to your narrative of political correctness run amok?

Look, some guy failed to kill a bunch of Americans with a pair of incendiary jockey shorts. But lookie here! You got an admission from Obama that this wasn’t good enough, that an investigation was warranted within days. We didn’t have to wait years to drag it out of him with a 9/11 commission, like after that little episode where three thousand people died.

When that poor schmuck Richard Reid, bent over and tried to light his shoe, it took three additional days, on top of what Obama took, for Saint Bush of the Waterboard to speak to the matter.

Reid, like the man who gave America the gift of his flaming underwear for Christmas, was quickly given his legal rights as a criminal in our system (sharing his fate with the cream of our crop, like murderers, rapists, spies, saboteurs, and child molesters, who we all regard highly, since we’re giving them their rights), and he will likely be convicted, given his confession and the fact that hundreds of passengers saw him torch his own package trying to kill them all.

If you can’t trust the justice system to nail that son of a bitch, then you’ve watched one too many bad buddy-cop movies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 31, 2009 10:47 PM
Comment #293235

If you followed the actual news you would find that al quiada terrorist are being wacked and imprisoned all over the world. BHO ordered another 30,000 brave men and women into finally putting an end to the war in Afghanistan, the war we should have finished and would have if St. Bush had not decided to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. We finally have an administration that is willing to take a serious look at security,without trying to hide weaknesses. We finally have an administration that is committed to ending global terrorism instead of using the threat to enrich cronies and win elections. You should thank your lucky stars BHO is in there and support him and the brave troops all over the world protecting you and yours. Instead what we get is constant nagging and references to statements from an entirely different person than the commander in chief.

Posted by: bills at December 31, 2009 11:31 PM
Comment #293238

What utter partisan bullcrap this article presents.

Obama acknowledges that terrorism has been with humanity since its dawn, whether one views that dawn as Cain and Abel, or tribal rivalries resulting in clan warfare. Ergo, the notion presented in this article that terrorism can be eradicated as a tactic from the minds of all human beings in the world, is pure nonsense.

Second, Obama acknowledges that war expanded Islamic based terrorism infrastucture, bases, and recruits, and even the educational level of those recruits. Hence, Obama and most world leaders today acknowledge that terrorism can only be effectively addressed as a police and intelligence operation, not a military operation of eradication.

Finally, the author of this article utilizes the basest and most unfactual and illogical references such as A.C.M.D being pronounced as Achmed, a common name amongst Muslims, most of whom in the world are upstanding, law abiding citizens, to appeal to people’s prejudices and unobjective emotions such as fear of the unknown, to make a nonsensical argument in an attempt to partisanly denigrate a president not of his Party.

Absurd comments like: “Didn’t he [Obama] just receive a Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about world peace a few months ago?”

Realistic and objective answer: No!

But, that doesn’t stop the author from posing the absurd rhetorical question, as code between persons of like prejudice against this president and anything, everything, he does, good or bad, justified or not. Of course, the author might reply, it was ‘ironical’ or a stab at humor. Doesn’t change the illogical and fictitious message the construction imparts amongst like minded readers, who will read it and say to themselves, “right on”. .

The reason Republicans will not regain the majority in Congress in 2010 is precisely because of this kind of partisan and blatantly false and distorted rhetoric. It is as if Republicans have lost the ability to make cogent, fact based arguments which appeal to the educated public’s level of literacy and objective common sense. It is as if the Republicans view the entire public as no different than their base. Which is an enormous mistake, because their base is a far cry from the majority of voters in America.

Polls show the majority of Americans like and respect Obama as a person. Does it not occur to Republicans that the to way to reach that majority is by reflecting their views, instead of contradicting them? Apparently, not. No great surprise there, however, for the historic minority party.

Such illogical and prejudicial arguments dominate the communications amongst many Republicans whether in Congress or on the blogs. Add to this the blatant attempts of Republicans like Dick Armey to hijack an independent grass roots organization like the Tea Baggers organized around fiscal discipline, it never even dawns on Republicans that such attempts will alienate the independents who partially and significantly made up the base and leadership of the Tea Bagger organization. Why is the fact that elections are now determined by the independent voters, lost on the GOP and their spokespersons? So many of them today, just don’t seem to have a grip on the realities of the day.

Four years ago, I had four Republican neighbors. Today, I have two. None of these neighbors have moved away in the last six years. Hardly a national poll. But, it seems to be what is happening to the GOP. This article, I think, demonstrates some of the reasons why. Even though American education K thru 12 has been dropping in quality for many years now, the fact remains that 4 out of 5 urban adults have a high school education.

Arguments such as those found in this article should be an insult to the intelligence and education of those 4 out of 5 urban adults. As should Sen. Orin Hatch’s argument to the AP this week explaining why Republicans were for adding 10’s of billions of dollars to the deficit for expanding government health care a few years ago when Republicans were in control, but, now oppose health care reform that is deficit neutral, saying: “It was standard practice not to pay for things” back then when Republicans were in charge. Oh, they hypocrisy!

And how about that Republican purity test proposed a few weeks ago by some. Talk about a prescription for exclusion of the majority of voters. How dumb can some Republicans get before the entire party for which they speak becomes a laughing stock and mockery to the American political system? Rush Limbaugh isn’t making much news these days. Precisely because so few can take him seriously anymore.

(Brilliant tactical move by the Obama administration by the way to fashion Rush as the spokesperson of the GOP. It focused enough American’s attention on his absurdities as to create a general rejection of him amongst all but his small group of blindly loyal listeners. Even Republican officials will no longer refer to Rush on their behalf.)

How many times do Republicans have to shoot themselves in the foot before they learn to aim their loaded gun in a different direction? Ask Dick Cheney. He seems to have come up with a novel gun orientation other than his foot.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 1, 2010 2:51 AM
Comment #293239


You mean DHS is poorly run now? How was the intelligence gathering and execution of George “Medal of Freedom” Tenet? “Brownie” didn’t have much to do with intelligence.

I don’t disagree DHS was a dumb idea established to give the appearance of doing something about 9-11. Didn’t work too well did it? Agencies still don’t talk to each other.

Posted by: gergle at January 1, 2010 8:46 AM
Comment #293242

According to your argument I see what the problem is. Sorry you have such bad neighbors. Maybe you should move.
- Don

Posted by: Don at January 1, 2010 9:58 AM
Comment #293246


All I said that Brownie, sorry Janet, was doing heck of job. She told us the system worked, before she told us it didn’t.

Now I understand that President Obama is outraged that his organization didn’t work so well. He is very good at this kind of talk. Maybe doing something about it will help.

Posted by: Christine at January 1, 2010 11:07 AM
Comment #293247

Christine, you mean after 7 years under a Republican president, Obama has to do something to correct the state of the DHS he inherited?

I suggest Republican voters contact their Republican representatives and tell them to get off their partisan horse and allow Obama’s nominee for the heading up the TSA, an integral part of our terrorist defense strategy, go forward. Republicans denying the nation the personnel to fight terrorist activity undermines the ENTIRE Republican position on terrorism.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 1, 2010 2:20 PM
Comment #293249


Barack Obama has been president now for almost a year. It is getting harder and harder for him to blame the last guy.

Posted by: Christine at January 1, 2010 5:48 PM
Comment #293251


Well, we can blame him for an incompetent security guard or two.

Who do we blame for 3000 dead? Or is your cut off at 8 months?

Who do we blame for another 3000 dead with no greater security?

Posted by: gergle at January 1, 2010 6:12 PM
Comment #293253


It is not particularly Obama’s fault that this clown got through security in foreign countries. I don’t blame him for it. I do think that it is dishonest for him to pretend to be angry when he is in charge. His blame game is getting a little old and not working that well anymore. If he doesn’t have more than that, he will be in trouble.

I do think Janet Napolitano said a really stupid thing. It is a lot like the “heck of a job Brownie” statement. She will have trouble living that down and President Obama will probably throw her under the bus soon.

Posted by: Christine at January 1, 2010 6:27 PM
Comment #293259


“Over 20,000 Americans died last year for lack of health insurance.”

I got a laugh out of this quote. Why stop there? Depending on the year 40,000 people die in car accidents, 20,000 of the flu, maybe 10-20,000 of murder… which of those were preventable by health care again? And why would it thus make sense to take over everyone’s healthcare in order to rectify the situation of 20,000? Assuming that we agree that it was the inability to see any kind of doctor that would have saved them from death.

Posted by: eric at January 1, 2010 10:11 PM
Comment #293260


I’m sure we both remember the arguments about how 9/11 was all Bush’s fault, don’t we? This is not what I’m saying about Obama. Obama didn’t try to blow up the plane, nor did he fail to prevent this specific incident himself and is therefore to blame.

What I am saying is that there is no war on terror anymore. It is no longer a war. Terrorism is not an act of war under Obama. It is a criminal act only. I happen to agree that it is also a criminal act. But I think that there are problems treating it as only a criminal act.

But then to paraphrase another fine analogy, when you’re a trial laywer (or controlled by them) everything is a legal action.


Ah, the old nuance deflection. Nice. But it doesn’t negate my point. In fact, I’d say it only serves to highlight it. Janet Incompetano is redefining terrorism. What is a “Man-caused disaster?”

Napolitano: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from MAN-CAUSED DISASTER.

See how it rolls off the cerebral cortex?

In my speech, although I did not use the word “terrorism,” I referred to “man-caused” disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.
Posted by: eric at January 1, 2010 10:24 PM
Comment #293266

Both Obama and Janet want the next Supreme Court Justice to be Janet baby. She better start getting her act together if she is going to cut the mustard for the big prize.

Also if the Gitmo 5 just happen to walk because be did not read them their rights, we can blame Bush for having them there in the first place.

Oh what joy to play the silly blame game when the starting pitcher has showered and left the stadium and the closer blew the save.

Every day that goes by I’m more convinced that the southpaws really do want Joe Stalin or Mao to be recincarnated to be the next President.

BTW Joe and Mao were responsible for the killing of over a hundred million people. The only ones who might exceed that are the abortionists.

Posted by: tom humes at January 2, 2010 1:57 AM
Comment #293271


“What I am saying is that there is no war on terror anymore. It is no longer a war. Terrorism is not an act of war under Obama.”

Where did this guy get on the flight to Detroit?

Was it Boston? JFK? Newark?

Shall we send the TSA in to inspect people getting onto flights in Europe?
Perhaps we can have Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld personally pat down the people as they get on the planes, after all, they did such a bang up job with the “War on Terror”, and maybe if Napolitano and Obama have some free time, they can inspect the luggage as well.
Wasn’t it Bush that told us all to go shopping after Sept. 11th?

It seems to me that we are even now in the process of sending 10’s of thousands of troops, not policemen, into Afghanistan.
What was that again about not treating this as if it were a war?

tom humes,

“Every day that goes by I’m more convinced that the southpaws really do want Joe Stalin or Mao to be recincarnated to be the next President.”

And every day I am even more convinced that the right is more interested in hyperbole than facts.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 2, 2010 7:52 AM
Comment #293275

I didn’t have to nuance a damned thing in order to bring up the critical point: neither Obama nor Janet Napolitano have said that terrorism isn’t a threat. In fact, both have said quite the opposite.

That negates your point entirely, in fact leaves a scorched shadow of it on the wall.

As for a war on terror? Terrorism is a tactic, terror is an emotion. Do I favor an aggressive foreign policy that roots out the terrorist threat and neutralizes it? Yes. I don’t give a **** what you call it, though. Call it “The Fluffy Bunny Fun Hour” If the policies catch or kill terrorists, if the policies lead them to quit their profession, that’s what’s important.

Bush policies had the opposite of their intended effect, getting more Americans needlessly killed at the hands of the terrorists, leaving them a safe-haven in Central Asia, and increasing the numbers and credibility of these people in the Middle East. This is the objective truth of the Bush “War on Terror.”

If rhetorical overheating were policy effectiveness, the Bush Administration would have won the war all by themselves. But putting up a tough front is not putting up a good defense. The Obama administration will clean up its messes, not count on the next administration to correct its mistakes.

tom humes-

Every day that goes by I’m more convinced that the southpaws really do want Joe Stalin or Mao to be recincarnated to be the next President.

That, sir, is your problem, not mine. That’s basically the kind of nonsense one has to believe in order to avoid the uncomfortable truth: That your party completely screwed the pooch on its leadership in the last decade.

I mean, if you can fantasize about the Left wanting two of the worst commie dictators of all time back to life as their president, you can tell yourself that we’re a worse problem for the American people than the Party that’s nearly destroyed capitalism in the process of saving it from the Democrats and Liberals.

Your policies have increased the number of terrorists in the world, given them more credibility than they deserved. You played their game as they wanted you to play it.

Oh what joy to play the silly blame game when the starting pitcher has showered and left the stadium and the closer blew the save.

Says the guy who probably made excuses for the man who twice declared a war over and done before the bad guys were defeated.

Your folks really have an abominable record. That’s why you need your abominable, overheated rhetoric. You need to get yourselves and other people so overwrought they can’t think straight, because otherwise, they’ll remember your track record.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 2, 2010 4:36 PM
Comment #293276


Both the war and the law enforcement paradigms are incomplete. The better analogy is piracy. Pirates are at war with the human race, in the terms of international law. At various time pirates have been infested the seas and sea powers like Rome or Great Britain wiped mostly eradicated them. It was sometimes a hard and cruel fight, with pirates hanged and their sanctuaries destroyed.

The problem with the crime paradigm is that the individual bad guys are part of a bigger bad guy conspiracy. It is like finding a couple of ants in your house. THEY do not think for themselves. They are part of a bigger nest. Killing individual ants makes little difference. You have to trace them back to the nest and destroy the nest.

President Obama seems to be learning fast. His recent comments were … Bushlike. Peacenik talk works only when talk works. That, BTW, is most of the time, just not always.

Posted by: Christine at January 2, 2010 5:22 PM
Comment #293277

You said “my party”. What is or who is my party?
You put everything into DEM/REP corners. There are millions of Americans citizens that want nothing to do with either of those parties. To cast a blast of bias on “my party” when you don’t know what “my party” is does not help your integrity. Be sure to know what the persons party is before blaming him/her for whatever the rhetorical argument calls for from the opposition,

Posted by: tom humes at January 2, 2010 7:42 PM
Comment #293278

It is a question of prioritization, of focus. Does the threat of terrorism deserve a high priority? I would argue against it. Making an incident like the recent failed attempt to blow up an airliner into a subject for focus changes us as a country. It brings back the insecurity, the national nervousness, and the urge to lash out which we saw last decade. Ironically, making such attempts into a matter of national focus plays directly into the terrorists hands. It gives them the publicity they so desperately crave. Remember, terrorism is a tactic in asymmetrical warfare. It fails if it is essentially ignored, since no one will be terrified.

Better to learn what there is to learn from the episode, and consign concern about terrorism to a much lower priority. It is a threat which will always be there. It is best met with confidence and quiet resolve.

I wish Bush had stayed true to his principles, and not caved under pressure from the Democrats to create DHS in the first place. It is a huge and mostly useless organization. Instead of failures between various intelligence organizations, we now have the same kinds of failures within one large new one.

Posted by: phx8 at January 2, 2010 8:13 PM
Comment #293280

Look, there’s a limit to the level of cruelty and savagery we can use against these people and not help them aggravate the problem and advance their position.

You ought to look at the history of guerilla and terrorist movements. They often provoke harsh actions which have collateral damage, in order to exploit the innocent casualties.

Treating it like a crime has a few good advantages. First, we reassert the strength of our civilization. Second, throwing them in jail denies them the opportunity to die martyrs. Third, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are more agile when it comes to small scale engagements, which is most of what any workable fight against terrorists will be.

If you’re going to confront the terrorists, you have to smother the cause they fight for, and the morale of their movement, as well as capture and kill members. If you fail to do the former measures, then those you kill and capture will be replaced. When terrorist attack really only requires some idiot willing to sacrifice themselves, while the less replaceable wiseguys lurk behind the scenes, then they can continue their attacks as long as there are willing subjects.

The perversity of the martyr complex ensure that however hard we hit them back in retaliation, there will always be somebody willing to take their place. Though there is no completely preventing the threat of terrorism, I think there is a such thing as making terrorists largely unpopular, increasing the sense of futility around their activities, and successfully discouraging people from joining their ranks.

It isn’t death these people fear, its a meaningless life, and there are many things we can do to drain their actions of meaning. One is to treat them like common criminals, and not to panic when they become more dangerous than that. Fear is what they seek to create. It is part of their strategic objectives to generate it.

In my book, winning against my enemies in any fight is not merely about defeating individuals and winning fist-fights, fire-fights, or whatever. It’s about defeating their purpose as well.

tom humes-
If you don’t want to be identified as a Republican, quit repeating the views characteristic of them. When you hold to their expressed positions, you only help to make yourself an Independent in Name Only (I guess, an I-NO)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 2, 2010 11:51 PM
Comment #293284


Sometimes you have to defeat them before you can smother their cause. The Nazis lost credibility only after they lost in the actual power struggle. The Romans and the Brits bashed down pirates by … bashing down pirates.

We need to treat terrorists like pirates of old. It is the junction between war and crime, with elements of both and difference from both.

Jihadists are influenced by incentives too. If it becomes successful, more of them sign up. In theory, we have won already. The public in most Muslim countries now oppose violence. But the bad guys persist w/o significant public support because it still works for them.

I would love to treat these guys like criminals and throw them in jail. The problem is catching and convicting them.

BTW - the idea of trial in New York for KSM is monumentally stupid. Remember how Milosevic used the court as a bully pulpit? You and I will know that KSM is a homicidal loser, but others may see him as a victim and brave martyr.

Maybe the best thing is for the bad guy just to get a little help to die w/o much notice being paid.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 1:24 AM
Comment #293289


“Sometimes you have to defeat them before you can smother their cause. The Nazis lost credibility only after they lost in the actual power struggle.”

Just how many Nazis were traveling to Germany, and Italy, and Japan from all corners of the planet to join their cause?
How many members of the armies of these countries actually bought in to Hitler’s “ideology”?
How many members of those armies truly believed in what they were doing?
Sorry, IMHO this is a lousy analogy.

Surely, there are those in al Qaeda that are in it for other than the 72 virgins, however I would submit that these would be few and far between.

How do you propose to defeat an ideology based in religion rather than in conquest?
Hitler was in it for power, not for God.

“Maybe the best thing is for the bad guy just to get a little help to die w/o much notice being paid.”

Unfortunately that isn’t how we do things in America, and as a point of fact, I think this idea goes against all that I believe America stands for.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 3, 2010 10:24 AM
Comment #293291


Actually, quite a few were joining the Nazis. One reason they so quickly moved into other parts of Europe was their “fifth column” of supporters. The Waffen SS was a multinational force and they were very dedicated.

You do not, however, need a mass following. Research in recent years indicates that a majority in most most Muslims oppose terror.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 10:38 AM
Comment #293292


Eastern Europe had a long history of German speaking populations, and of “Aryan” bloodlines.

My question is how many joined Hitler’s cause from Africa, or the Middle East, or the Philippines?

The answer is none. They wouldn’t have been accepted because they didn’t fit into Hitlers “Aryan” scheme of things.
Unlike Hitler’s drive for biological purity, al Qaeda’s ideological bent seems to accept all that are willing to accept the groups ideology.

The difference in the philosophies is a chasm that can’t be bridged merely with guns.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 3, 2010 11:20 AM
Comment #293293


How many non-Muslims join the jihad?

The Nazi race-based ideology did indeed limit its appeal, but there were very large populations where it appealed. They appealed very strongly in the Muslim-Arab world. In fact, much of what Al Qaeda thinks is their tradition was given them by Nazi scientists.

Al Qaeda will accept those who accept its ideology, but it their ideology is as stupid as the Nazi’s. It is not easy to swallow it and that is why most Muslims don’t.

Because we defeated the Nazis, we sometimes tend to think that their defeat was inevitable. They were adapting, appealing to Arabs and Japanese, for example.

Again, it doesn’t have to be a mass movement everywhere. Islamic extremism is not a mass movement.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 11:28 AM
Comment #293294


“Islamic extremism is not a mass movement.”

You miss the point. It doesn’t have to be a “mass movement”.

Terrorism, by it’s very nature is small and secretive. Terrorists hide and plot behind the scenes.
Nazism was in your face.

The Axis was doomed to failure because, IMHO, most of the planet’s population are mutts, and because Germany, and Japan didn’t have “endless resources” at hand. Once the US joined the fray it was only a matter of time.

Because al Qaeda is a “hearts and minds” movement it doesn’t need to subjugate entire countries to survive. Germany and Japan’s war machines couldn’t possibly survive for long without that tactic.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 3, 2010 12:04 PM
Comment #293297


We agree on the mass movement of terror. In fact, i put up links to show that most Muslims don’t support terror. That is how the analogy with the Nazis works. They were appealing to relatively small numbers outside Germany, but they could still use that to advance their power and their appeal didn’t decline until they were defeated.

Even today,there are weirdos who are attracted and I expect that will be the same with Islamic extremism. But if we knock the teeth out of the big dogs, the little ones can be handles … shall we say … as a criminal matter.

BTW - returning to our Nazi analogy, the Nazis and Japanese never could have conquered the U.S. I am pretty sure we would have defeated the Japanese. But the Nazis could have hung on in a cold war scenario. After all, we lived for generations with the other evil empire.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 1:48 PM
Comment #293299


I know you are a student of history, but this statement is just so wrong on so many levels.

“But the Nazis could have hung on in a cold war scenario.”

Had things been vastly different maybe, however;

1) Germany made a massive mistake in not having taken out England. Hitler had them on the ropes and let them go. By not totally subduing England when he had the chance, Hitler gave the Allies a stepping stone into the rest of Europe, and in doing so doomed any future for the Reich.
2) Hitler made the mistake of ignoring the further development, and deployment of his own weapons systems that already existed. Weapons systems that could have turned the air war in his favor.
3) Hitler also made another huge mistake in not learning from Napoleon’s mistakes in the Russian Campaign.
4) Hitler also seemed to forget that the greater part of Russia was on the eastern side of the Urals.

Sorry, Hitler himself made WW2 an all or nothing proposition. He gave it away.
Alone any one of the mistakes listed above could have assured victory for the Allies. Together they just shortened the time it took.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 3, 2010 3:46 PM
Comment #293306

You are probably right about Hitler’s big gamble. But when you think about how close some of the campaigns were, it is not determined.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 6:27 PM
Comment #293315

You’re not understanding me. For these people the cause IS what makes dying worth it. Defeat their cause, defeat their ability to make us panic and do unwise, desperate things, and you win half the battle.

As for Pirates?

A pirate’s weak spot is the need for transportation, either bought or stolen, followed by the need for weaponry. They essentially operated like ships set up for naval warfare. In fact, many pirates were privateers and vessels of foreign Navies, operating with strategic intent in the waters to intercept and harrass shipping for their sponsoring governments.

In short, these folks were more traditional than you would like to admit, and they had things to lose strategically that would render them less effective.

Whereas with the 9/11 hijackers, the loss of their vehicle was not a bug in the plan, it was a feature of it. They just wanted to lose it in a specific way.

True enough, I have no objection to stopping terrorists with lethal force should they try and carry out their actions. But the question would be, did they have replacements lined up for the next engagement?

Well then, we’re just fighting them like we’re in a hamster wheel. No forward progress.

No, I would much rather we devote some focus to putting some plans in motion to inhibit both the popularity and the credibility of the terrorists, to make carrying out the attacks more difficult, with sustainable economic costs to us.

As for the KSM trial?

Well, we tried the last SOB who tried to destroy the twin towers, and that pretty much went off without a hitch. They’re still serving their sentences, and so far no commando-style action movie rescues have been attempted.

We caught them. We’ve caught others. We obviously caught the Shoe Bomber, and he’s serving a life sentence, with no time off for good behavior, nor by the intervention of kung-fu trained jihadists.

And will it really be such a bad thing if KSM tries to use his trial as a bully pulpit? If he stands up and gives a long speech about what a glorious thing Jihad is, how long do you think it will take for the guy to be convicted?

Geez, are you so afraid of what the guy might say that you forget those Miranda rights? You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be held against you in a court of law.

But also, let me remind you: the court is not his personal bully pulpit anyways. Unlike how cases generally go in movie courts, the defendant rarely gets the opportunity to bloviate at length. Given the way the court cases tend to be handled, as I understand it, he might be able to get some statement read onto the record, but its unlikely there will be a youtube-able video that his friends can play to inspire the troops.

You folks live in such fear of these people. They don’t deserve to have their actions dignified with such a sense of terror coming from us.

We win by being civilized and effective in our methods, by both defeating those who are in the act of committing terrorism, and discouraging those who might follow their example.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2010 11:22 PM
Comment #293316


Did you see the OJ trial? Or maybe the Milosevic fiasco. I hope you are right, but I fear you are wrong. Holden is a bit of an ass, you know. Who knows what kind of game he will play.

Posted by: Christine at January 3, 2010 11:46 PM
Comment #293317


I actually agree with you that we shouldn’t fear terrorists. I agree with you in the sense that they are not a nation state level threat like germany or japan in ww2. But I think dealing with it as if they were isolated criminal acts is short sighted.

Even the mafia gets the rico treatment. Why not al qaeda? Why should a foreign criminal conspirator get 5th amendment rights and all the rights afforded any american citizen? No other combatant in history has ever been afforded criminal rights such as this.

Whether we recognize it or not a religious war is being waged against us. These are not criminals in the sense that they are committing crimes per se, though technically these are criminal acts, but soldiers kill in battle and we don’t call it murder— but then we also kill back. That’s the nature of war. To look at it in an entirely legal manner is to ignore completely the nature of these ‘crimes.’

During ww2 nazi sabatours were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for coming onto American soil in order to sabatage and cause death. These are acts of war. Literally war crimes.

The attempted explosion of Flight 253 was a war crime, not just an isolated criminal act.

Posted by: eric at January 3, 2010 11:59 PM
Comment #293318


I’m not sure you could see my point. Nuance is a dodge. What is a ‘man-caused disaster’?

Posted by: eric at January 4, 2010 12:01 AM
Comment #293328

Milosevic was never acquitted, and instead died in prison. He was also not tried in an American court, but in a war crime court in the Hague.

So what’s the comparison?

The question here is why we should compromise our morals and our legal principles just to avoid the guy saying something, when there are other measures, moderate measures, we can use to break the stride of whatever propagandizing he attempts.

Why are we in such a precarious position that we have to fear giving him a fair trial? I’d say its worse for us to demonstrate such fear, because they can point at us and show both that their methods are effective, and that we aren’t the side of good we proclaim ourselves to be. If we’re just standard issue torturers who can’t win a case against a criminal like him on the merits, what does THAT make us look like?

We are civilized, so we strengthen ourselves when we show that our rules, our rule of law can sustain us, even through difficult times. It’s more work than tyranny and authoritarian government, but that’s work that’s worth it. What we have is a Republic, but only if we can keep it.

I don’t know how you bring RICO into this. RICO’s primarily about protection rackets, organizational corruption and the like. I know you might have heard about it being a badass law, or something like that, but it’s not a magic wand.

An attempted terrorist act like what that guy did is already well covered as a crime. With witnesses and his confession available, it’ll take an intervention by Allah himself in order to get him off. If he goes to jail, that’s fine with me. Rot in jail buddy! No 72 virgins. Or white raisins for that matter. What better revenge against those who would kill themselves to further their aims than to be caught, captured, imprison and made useless.

Now, I’m not saying that I would mourn it if we kill these people in the act, or blow their terrorist training camps to smithereens. If, beyond our borders, we have our CIA Operatives or Special forces people discreetly put an end to them, I’m not going to shed any tears.

But I want to demonstrate, where we can and should, that America’s laws and America’s justice are superior to their lawlessness and terror. That we are more than just the stronger and more vicious of two opponents.

If you want to live in such fear that you would sacrifice what America stand for, be my guest. I for one will trust that a guy who tried to make an improvised bomb in his underpants in front of hundreds of passengers and confessed to it will not get away with his crime.

I want the message to be sent that seeking to die in the name of a twistedly radical interpretation of Islam will be a futile act. We will either throw you in jail, or stop you short of your mission’s success.

As for the dodges of nuance?

First, Napolitano flatly said that she considered terrorists a threat, and would pursue them as such. The nuance is one of addition: terrorists, AND other threats, rather than terrorists, or other threats.

So you’re accusing them of evading the issue when they’re confronting it head-on. If anybody is trying to use nuance to evade a point, it is you, because you’re using the clumsiness of that bureaucratic language to try and make people oblivious to the fact that the administration does take terrorism seriously, and has said so as well on multiple occasions.

When are you going to realize that your party will never profit much or for long simply by badmouthing us? It’s only because Republicans screwed up their war on terrorism so badly that you folks feel it necessary to defame the Democrats as such.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2010 3:06 PM
Comment #293332

Yes, Milosevic talked long enough to die of natural causes. In the meantime, he encouraged his supporters, muddied the waters and generally justified himself.

The terrorists can get a fair trial in military court. We don’t have to give them the full panoply of American civilian law. And we don’t have to let them have any media attention.

I hate to invoke the H word, but it is unlikely we could have convicted Hitler of perpetrating the holocaust with our evidence rules. There is NO document with his signature authorizing any of it. As far as we can tell, he never visited any of the camps.

Rules of evidence that work reasonably well in a settled civilian context sometimes are inappropriate on foreign battlefields or among those whose goal is not justice, but just the destruction and discrediting of our system.

BTW – aren’t you the one who wants to override various customs and rules of the Senate to allow the Democratic majority to impose its will on the 40% that doesn’t agree with them? Doesn’t it show our strength to allow this just to go on forever?

We handled this sort of thing just fine when we were dealing with Nazis. Are you saying that the greatest generation was nothing but hooligans and torturers?

Posted by: Christine at January 4, 2010 8:26 PM
Comment #293340


BTW, my intention wasn’t to belittle the sacrifices made in the fight against Hitler during WW2.
Had Hitler had his poop in one basket (so to speak) it would have been much harder than it was.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 4, 2010 10:16 PM
Comment #293362

The Holocaust was one of the best documented atrocities in world history.

Hitler was one of the most totalitarian leaders, with the most absolute power in history.

And his orders on the matter are clear:

August 1941 - Otto Bradfisch, head of Einsatzkommando 8 operating in the Minsk region, asked Himmler who bears responsibility for the executions. Himmler answers “these orders come from Hitler as the supreme Fuhrer of the German government and the force of the law.”

Here we go with another:

October 21, 1941 - Hitler was quoted saying in a memorandum signed by Martin Bormann, “When we finally stamp out the plague, we shall have accomplished for mankind a deed whose significance our men out there on the battlefield cannot even imagine yet.”

and another:

Summer 1941- Himmler disclosed to Rudolf Hess “that the Fuhrer ordered the Final Solution of the Jewish question and that now whatever Jews we can reach were to be eliminated without the problems of overcrowding.”

and another:

March 23, 1943- Dr. Korherr, Inspector for Statistics, finished the exact statistical report on the current statue of the Final Solution; it noted 1,873,539 Jews had received “special treatment” (Report sent to Himmler then to Hitler).

January 26, 1944 - A Himmler speech to several hundred high ranking Wehrmacht officers at the municipal theater in Posen Himmler said, “When the Fuhrer gave me the order to carry out the solution of the Jewish question, I at first hesitated, …But this was ultimately a matter of a Fuhrer order and therefore I could have no misgivings. In the meantime, the assignment has been carried out, and there is no longer a Jewish question.Ó Himmler wanted to make it perfectly clear that the order came from the highest authority in Germany.
March 7, 1944 - Arthur Greiser, Nazi governor of the Warthegau region in Poland that included Lodz and Chelmno, proudly reported to Hitler that nearly 153,000 Jews had been murdered in the Warthegau liquidation camp at Chelmno, mainly by means of gassing vans.

If Hitler’s subordinates could be convicted of war crimes, so could Hitler. Nothing could have been done on this scale without his awareness, or his orders.

If you want to make generalizations, make generalizations backed by evidence. Republicans nowadays are quick to claim, slow to research.

Milosevic was forty days from being judged, and regardless of what support he might have given his followers, he was still out of power, and his factions are still not in control.

And really, would holding him in military custody, putting him through a tribunal had been a better idea? These guys were claiming the international community was out to get him to begin with, accusing them of engineering his death when he croaked of a heart attack. Do you think folks would have stood by silently with Milosevic in American or NATO military custody?

Do you think putting the bad guys in Gitmo meant they were less of an inspiration? Do you think the military prison in Abu Ghraib and all the things that happened there when we took off the gloves discouraged or inspired terrorism?

Rules of evidence that work reasonably well in a settled civilian context sometimes are inappropriate on foreign battlefields or among those whose goal is not justice, but just the destruction and discrediting of our system.

This wasn’t a crime committed in a foreign land, but on an airplane in American airspace. We will have military tribunals, where the matter has to do with military situations, and civilian courts for civilian situations.

As for the destruction and discrediting of the system, the mafia and other organized crime were fully invested in its corruption. That didn’t prevent us from seeking cases against them in civilian courts.

BTW – aren’t you the one who wants to override various customs and rules of the Senate to allow the Democratic majority to impose its will on the 40% that doesn’t agree with them? Doesn’t it show our strength to allow this just to go on forever?

Aren’t you the ones taking that forty percent and forcing their will on the other sixty percent? Whatever the customs and rules of the Senate, no other Senate minority has shown such contempt in American history for the concept of majority rules. It doesn’t show your strength, it shows your hatred for liberal and Democrats, and your contempt for the message the American people sent not once, but twice: that they want different leadership. Your people have never allowed that leadership to exercise the authority that Americans wanted them to exercise.

We handled this sort of thing just fine when we were dealing with Nazis. Are you saying that the greatest generation was nothing but hooligans and torturers?

No, I never said that. The trouble is, the Bush Administration dismissed the techniques and policies of the greatest generation, in favor of “enhanced interrogation” methods which were part of the things we strung up Nazis for.

When Republicans call for military tribunals, they’re calling for folks to be able to use the kinds of methods that we once made war criminals of other nation’s leaders for.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 5, 2010 8:40 AM
Comment #293398


Yes – we all KNOW that Hitler was responsible. But he didn’t sign documents & never visited the camp With our current rules, we would have a hard time convicting him. That doesn’t say that Hitler was innocent; it says how screwed up our rules are.

Think like a defense lawyer. You have a lot of hearsay. Presuming you could even get those witnesses to talk.

Re Abu Ghraib – a crime was committed there for which people were punished. It is not part of what we are talking about.

Re 40% - that is how our democracy works. It is a lot like those rules you are mentioning. The only difference is that the one protects Americans who don’t agree with the current government, while the other protects foreign terrorists.

Re the greatest generation – do read a little bit more about prisoners at D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge etc. Both Christine and John’s fathers were in those battles. It wasn’t exactly as cut and dry as you think.

Re military tribunals – your insinuation is unfounded. Do you think military tribunals are unfair or unjust, or are you just bashing Bush? Presumably now that Obama is in charge, you should have no doubts or fears that everything will be done 100% properly.

Posted by: Christine at January 5, 2010 8:05 PM
Comment #293426


Yes – we all KNOW that Hitler was responsible. But he didn’t sign documents & never visited the camp With our current rules, we would have a hard time convicting him. That doesn’t say that Hitler was innocent; it says how screwed up our rules are.

Could you tell me what you actually know about our justice system, or our military justice system that allows you to make such an extraordinary claim? Or are you just giving us your personal opinion that this might happen, without claiming the credibility of legal expertise or at least second-hand knowledge to back this up?

Think like a defense lawyer. You have a lot of hearsay. Presuming you could even get those witnesses to talk.

We got plenty of Nazis to talk, and without “enhanced” techniques. We also had documentation up the ying-yang about where people were moved, how, who authorized it. You would see in such a prosecution a variety of documents and personal reports which would eventually point to the top.

Re Abu Ghraib – a crime was committed there for which people were punished. It is not part of what we are talking about.

You must be unfamiliar with the surrounding evidence, with the government’s own reports on the matter. Techniques and procedures that ended up in Abu Ghraib, began in Gitmo. And those that began in Gitmo were systematically drawn from techniques employed in SERE training, which were themselves reverse engineered from the original forms of “enhanced” interrogation.

The freedom to use these techniques, and the validity and utility of them have been heavily argued for by Republicans and conservative pundits, with varying degrees of euphemistic rhetoric used, since Torture is and was illegal.

That is what folks like Sen. Kit Bond call for, when they talk about full interrogations.

But the truth is, even under Bush’s administration, in the last few years, they gave up on such techniques, because of their undependability and their nature as a strategic weakness for our country. We have to at least pretend that our efforts are towards creating free societies, more free than the ones we replaced.

Re 40% - that is how our democracy works. It is a lot like those rules you are mentioning. The only difference is that the one protects Americans who don’t agree with the current government, while the other protects foreign terrorists.

Terrorist suspects. And not always foreign. Ask Jose Padilla, American citizen.

To claim that somebody has committed a heinous crime should require extraordinary evidence, that demonstrates a crime has been committed, and the defendant likely committed it.

The alternative to such a system is to allow the authority of government free reign to claim citizens as enemies of the state, without trial, without warrant. That should be objectionable to any reasonable opponent of government overreach, since history is replete with examples of radical governments employing these approaches.

As for the Senate Minority? That has never before been how our system works. You neglect the historically unprecedented scale of the Republican obstruction. You neglect the wholesale nature of this obstruction. The filibuster has never been used this way before, and with good reason, because it creates absolute gridlock, not to mention a perverse incentive to block the other party’s fulfillment of their promises.

With such an approach, there is no need to provide alternatives, simply filibuster until people get mad at the incumbents for doing nothing.

Let us pass our legislation. Run against our legislation. If we were wrong, you can go back and repeal that legislation, because the American people will go with you. If we weren’t wrong, then you either accept that people really wanted things our way, or you acknowledge their opinion, and set out to change it.

Re the greatest generation – do read a little bit more about prisoners at D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge etc. Both Christine and John’s fathers were in those battles. It wasn’t exactly as cut and dry as you think.

I saw Saving Private Ryan, too. But our people, our tribunals were convened in a more respectful manner, concerning human rights. Bush’s tribunals were convened in an atmosphere of hostility towards such concerns, and still are among the Republicans. We should not disparage the war crime trials at Nuremburg by comparing them to the Kangaroo courts that the Bush Administration was setting up.

I believe that tribunals must be limited to situations concerning military activity. Their usefulness is narrow, and so should their application be. We prosecuted folks involved in an actual war, not merely terrorist we caught abroad. We dealt with terrorists, spies and saboteurs differently, but we did so in accordance to the Geneva Convention. This administration flouted it, looking for the maximum possible latitude to do what it wanted to do.

But that last thing you said:

Presumably now that Obama is in charge, you should have no doubts or fears that everything will be done 100% properly.

Now that’s just wrong. Why am I sticking to the assertion that terror suspects should be given their rights? The exact opposite conclusion.

I believe that the Obama administration, the executive branche it leads, will come to imperfect judgments about who is a terrorist, and who is not. I ask for trials for these people not merely because it makes us look good, but also because it forces us to look at the case for and against that person being what we claim their are.

Ultimately, we require such rights because its imperative that people have them so that government remains accountable for who it uses its popularly derived power and mandates to go after.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 6, 2010 2:32 PM
Comment #293440


You need the history lessons. Rome became a world empire. If you still identify the whole empire with the city state of Rome … well it is like identifying the whole U.S. with Boston or maybe Jamestown.

This may be too much in the conceptual area for you, but do check dates and people or maybe the math. When did the Visigoths sack Rome? It was not sixty years after 395.

The Byzantine Empire lasted another thousand years. It went through times of crisis and renewal. Check out the time of Basil, say 1025. You evidently are too influenced by Gibbon.

BTW - my father, who was a D-Day veteran, saw Private Ryan. He said the uniforms were right but that the ideology was wrong. Americans didn’t think like that back then. The German in the movie would have never been allowed to live as long as he did.

Posted by: Christine at January 6, 2010 8:11 PM
Comment #293459

World? Perhaps, if you defined the world by the Mediterranean sea (middle of the world sea).

As for identifying the Roman Empire with Rome… Well, I can’t understand why I did that, because it must have absolutely no connection.

But seriously, once the authority was shifted east to Byzantium, it was the Byzantine Empire, before long, and the Roman Empire which sustained the Western territories was soon gone.

Oh, and as for the fall of Rome: The date is 455 AD. Rome becomes the Western Empire’s capital in 395. 395 is five years short of 400, and of course, 55 years short of 455. 5+55 is sixty.

As for Gibbon? I never read the guy, but I can read a map. At it’s height, the Byzantine Empire actually reclaimed some of its old territory.

However, by the date you offer, The extent of the Byzantine Empire is much reduced, and after that, it’s downhill from there.

The continuity is a bit deceptive, since there are several periods of decline, recovery, conquest, liberation, until the turks finally put an end to the Byzantine empire altogether in 1453.

The instability is in no small part due to the problems of defense, of the support of the central government, and of administering and governing such far flung political systems, especially in antiquity.

For the most part, after 565, The Byzantine Empire mostly lingers around either Asia Minor (what we call Turkey today), or Greece and the Balkans. There’s also the Holy Roman Empire, which claimed succession to the old one for a very long time, all the way to 1806, when Napoleon forced the last Holy Roman Emperor to abdicate. And even Russia gets into the game, with their Tzar’s (or Caesars) Who claim that they are the descendants of an escaped scion of the Byzantine Empire. Thus does Russia claim to be the Third Rome, itself.

Rome, to put it plainly, becomes synonymous with authority from on high, and the claims of succession, or of a new founding of the Empire become the founding myths of many later Empires and Kingdoms.

As for D-Day? I wonder whether you’re claiming that everybody did that. I would think that D-Day would be big enough, and complex enough that such things were possible. However, the record on American treatment of POW’s and the Nazis is pretty much on the record.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 7, 2010 1:27 PM
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