Lindsey Graham Defends Himself: "Petraeus Petraeus troops commander Petraeus!"

Lindsey Graham, last seen saying "Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war," decides to get out the steam-powered shovel and keep digging, in an are-you-kidding-me? interview with National Review's Robert Costa. So much insane, constitutionally inept militarism, so little time:

NRO: Some of my National Review colleagues are being pretty rough on you today. What is your response to some of the outrage on the right about your comments regarding free speech?

GRAHAM: General Petraeus sent a statement out to all news organizations yesterday, urging our government to ban Koran burning. Free speech probably allows that, but I don't like that. I don't like burning the flag under the idea of free speech. That bothers me; I have been one of the chief sponsors of legislation against burning the flag. I don't like the idea that these people picket funerals of slain servicemen. If I had my way, that wouldn't be free speech. So there are a lot of things under the guise of free speech that I think are harmful and hateful.

When General Petraeus wants us to say something because our troops are at risk, I'm glad to help. I don't believe that killing someone is an appropriate reaction to burning the Koran, the Bible, or anything else, like I said Sunday; but those who believe that free speech allows you to burn the flag, I disagree. Those who want free speech to allow you to go to a funeral and picket a family, and giving more misery to their lives than they have already suffered, I disagree. And if I could do something about behavior that puts our troops at risk, I would. But in this case, you probably can't. It's not about the Koran; it's about putting our troops at risk. And I think all of us owe the troops the support we're capable of giving. [...]

NRO: But don't you fear that if we let Islamic extremists determine the speech debate in the United States, then we've lost something?

GRAHAM: No. Here's what I fear: I fear that politicians don't have any problem pushing against laws in the Middle East that are outrageous. It's perfectly acceptable for me to push back against prosecutions by Islamic countries against people of my faith. And it is perfectly appropriate for me to condemn Koran burning when the general who is in charge of our troops believes that such action would help. I'm not letting Islamists determine what free speech in America is, but I am, as a political leader, trying to respond to the needs of our commander. You've got to remember, General Petraeus decided that this was important enough to get on the record as being inappropriate. And I want to be on the record with General Petraeus.

NRO: Instead of being an advocate for Petraeus, should you not first and foremost be an advocate for the First Amendment?

GRAHAM: You know what? Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus.

I will be happy when this strain of Constitution-averse military bootlicking is in the national rearview mirror. What a disgrace.

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  • WTF||

    NRO: Instead of being an advocate for Petraeus, should you not first and foremost be an advocate for the First Amendment?

    GRAHAM: You know what? Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus.

    Seriously, WTF.

  • ||

    You know what? Let me tell you, people like General Petraeus mean nothing without freedoms like the First Amendment.

  • ||

    This statement might as well be:

    You know what? Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus Colonel Gaddafi.

    We're definitely at least partially governed by a military-industrial complex, but at least our statist society isn't also a stratocracy. Yet.

  • 1980 Redux||

    I agree that Graham goes too far, but desecrating our sacred flag should not be protected speech. It is a form of treason, though of course should not be prosecuted the same way (perhaps a moderate fine or short jail time).

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    What, pray tell, endows a piece of cloth or a series of interwoven threads with power such that their destruction is of more importance than the right of a person to not be accosted by the police or forced to pay tribute to the state?

  • Spiny Norman||

    Troll? Or crazy person?

    Perhaps both?

  • ||

    Are you the same Spiny Norman who was a world class marathoner?

  • ||

    Where to begin?

    1 - This is the right trying to distract you from other issues. Your nationalism and disdain for liberty can only come from the right (the left has its own problems--when you can tell them apart at all). Keep watching Fox and listening to Rush, but you are wasting your time coming here to comment unless you are also coming here to learn.

    2 - When was the last time you saw an American burn a flag? This is a non-issue.

    3 - Amendments should be used for important things. Not stupid "How can we distract/appease the public" things.
    Limiting the president's ability to commit us to war or treaties without congressional approval is a good example of amendment-worthy material.

    4 - The proper way to dispose of the American flag is to burn it.

    5 - Making this only a small crime doesn't matter. There's no such thing as a small federal crime. Do it three times and you are in prison for life.

    6 - Nobody who cares about liberty (i.e., readers of Reason) would ever recommend increasing the powers of the police state for something as trivial as this.
    Murder, rape, robbery is one thing. You can get people (here) on board for that. But speech police = Orwell or maybe Heinlein or Bradbury. Perhaps you know who those people are. If not, read some and come back later.

    7 - Can I burn a picture of a flag?
    - Is some fat guy wearing a grease-stained US flag T-shirt desecration/treason?
    - Flag underwear?
    - Red white and blue anything?

    8 - If burning the flag = treason then verbally expressing distrust/hatred of the US/govt = treason, because that's the assumption of what you mean when you burn the flag.
    Next step: arrest anyone (only a moderate fine or short jail time) anyone who expresses negative views of the govt [P.S. This includes Obama.]

    9 - At the top of a military base's flagpole is a large knob which contains among other things matches for burning the flag.

    Getting bored, so I'm going to quit. Please try to read, think, listen, and learn.

  • 1980 Redux||

    "1 - This is the right trying to distract you from other issues. Your nationalism and disdain for liberty can only come from the right (the left has its own problems--when you can tell them apart at all). Keep watching Fox and listening to Rush, but you are wasting your time coming here to comment unless you are also coming here to learn."

    I come here to propose alternative viewpoints to libertine, nihilistic libertarianism. I don't wish to start fights, only propose alternative views.

    "2 - When was the last time you saw an American burn a flag? This is a non-issue."

    A lot of anti-war protests (or should I say anti-Bush protests?) just a couple of years ago. Once a Republican becomes president again, you'll see it again.

    "3 - Amendments should be used for important things. Not stupid "How can we distract/appease the public" things.
    Limiting the president's ability to commit us to war or treaties without congressional approval is a good example of amendment-worthy material."

    Loaded terms like "important" and "stupid" add nothing to the debate because they are so highly subjective. If a majority of people wish it to be so and vote accordingly, then these issues are "important" to them.
    Additionally, the Supreme Court could, in theory, simply be ignored (i.e. outlaw flag burning through legislation instead of amendment). Lincoln did, and he's remembered as one of our greatest presidents. The SC does not have a private army with which to enforce their edicts; their power only exists insofar as we recognize and voluntarily heed it.

    "4 - The proper way to dispose of the American flag is to burn it."

    Point being? Intent matters. Otherwise you would get the exact same prison sentence for running your ex-wife down in your car in a calculated act of revenge, as you would for accidentally hitting a pedestrian. It would be easy to distinguish legitmate flag retirement ceremonies.

    "5 - Making this only a small crime doesn't matter. There's no such thing as a small federal crime. Do it three times and you are in prison for life."

    The answer to that is simply: don't commit federal crimes. Problem solved. I've recommended the "if you don't commit crimes, you won't find yourself in prison" line of thought here before, and been shot down. Apparently following the law is too taxing for some simple minds.

    "6 - Nobody who cares about liberty (i.e., readers of Reason) would ever recommend increasing the powers of the police state for something as trivial as this.
    Murder, rape, robbery is one thing. You can get people (here) on board for that. But speech police = Orwell or maybe Heinlein or Bradbury. Perhaps you know who those people are. If not, read some and come back later."

    I'm well familiar with Orwell, who wrote very well against socialism. "1984" is about the dangers of liberalism...not conservatism.

    "7 - Can I burn a picture of a flag?
    - Is some fat guy wearing a grease-stained US flag T-shirt desecration/treason?
    - Flag underwear?
    - Red white and blue anything?"

    Red herrings. Just outlaw flag desecration, which would be a willful act of disdain committed for the express purpose of communicating hatred towards the flag, or an image of the flag.

    "8 - If burning the flag = treason then verbally expressing distrust/hatred of the US/govt = treason, because that's the assumption of what you mean when you burn the flag.
    Next step: arrest anyone (only a moderate fine or short jail time) anyone who expresses negative views of the govt [P.S. This includes Obama.]"

    Slippery slope argument. Doesn't carry water. "We can't outlaw child pornography, because next thing you know, they'll outlaw all prono!" We have shown ourselves capable of drawing lines in many other circumstances, and we can do so here, also.

    "9 - At the top of a military base's flagpole is a large knob which contains among other things matches for burning the flag."

    See answer to #4. Your point here is essentially the same.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You have yet to propose an "alternative view"; disjointed assertions made in haphazard and contradictory fashion hardly rise to the status of a "view", much less an alternative one.

    Why should flag-burning subject you to prison or a fine? If it's mere symbolism, then you're just for a more genteel version of what the Muslims just did in protest of their holy book getting burned. If it's a proxy for patriotism, then you are, in fact, criminalizing an insufficient display of patriotism: a positively Orwellian use of state power.

    It's telling that you are more more concerned about burning a piece of cloth than about whether Constitutional norms are respected -- what is it worth to idolize a symbol when you're trashing everything that that symbol stands for?

  • dhex||

    it's a lot shorter to write "i come here to propose bog-standard american conservatism" than something something nihilism something something, especially when you don't know what the word nihilism means.

  • Otto||

    He knows what "nihilism" means, dhex. Not believing in Jeebus, and listening to the WaVVes...

  • ||

    I only feel like responding to your answer to #5, because you seem to be utterly ignorant of how many laws are on the books. Are you telling me you NEVER commit a rolling stop? You NEVER cross the street outside of a crosswalk? You ALWAYS throw every piece of trash in the disposal bin? You NEVER drive over the speed limit?

    And those are just the more common ones. Don't give us this bullshit about "just don't break the law and there won't be a problem". That's authoritarian bootlicking 101, and you're par for the course so far.

    And for the record, Orwell wrote other dystopian books besides 1984. Try reading through Animal Farm if you want to see what your vaunted Bush has done to the country.

  • Xenocles||

    "I'm well familiar with Orwell, who wrote very well against socialism. "1984" is about the dangers of liberalism...not conservatism."

    Orwell was a hard core socialist. Animal Farm and 1984 were about the danger of totalitarianism , not socialism (though I do believe the latter tends to flow into some form of the former).

    To the larger point, what other nationalistic iconography should be off limits? Do you also want to put people in federal prison for writing parodies of "God Bless America?" Shall we horsewhip people who don't take their hats off for the national anthem?

    Don't be an ass. State power isn't the answer to all of life's problems - least of all boorishness.

  • Scruffy Nerd Herder||

    Troll

  • Anonymous||

    Regarding flagpole knobs and mythical matches: http://www.snopes.com/military/flagball.asp

  • ||

    Re: flagpole Snopes

    Thank you for correcting me. I always thought that sounded like total bullshit, but superiors told me that when I was in the Army and I had no reason to disbelieve (or believe) the veracity of such a weird thing.

    Not that the Army never lies (hahaha/cry), but:
    a) Most of that sort of thing is in a manual that you will end up doing push-ups over not knowing, and it sounds exactly like the kind of random stuff contained in an Army manual somewhere.

    b) What an incredibly insane and trivial thing to lie about.

    (To be fair, I'm sure the NCO's and officers who repeated that lie believed it themselves. That's the nature of effective propaganda.)

    P.S. They never could explain how exactly the last guy on the post was supposed to reach the top of the flagpole. I guess we all assumed they didn't want that information in our drunken enlisted hands.

  • Hugh Akston||

    What's sacred to you isn't sacred to everyone. And because it isn't makes them neither nihilists nor traitors.

  • Jim||

    I've seen him say, "Love it or leave it" before, so I think, in his world, if the flag isn't sacred to you, then you're free to leave and live in France. It's an interesting type of crazy that particularly afflicts the right.

  • cynical||

    Passing a law restricting freedom of speech after having taken an oath to uphold the Constitution is a form of treason, though of course should not be prosecuted the same way (perhaps a moderate fine or short jail time or flogging, along with permanent expulsion to North Korea).

  • ||

    Now we know the name Sen. Graham goes by on the internet.

  • DDavis||

    Burning a flag desecrates a single physical instance of a symbol.

    Laws against flag burning desecrate what the flag is a symbol for.

  • 0x90||

    My brother is in the navy. He signed a contract. For him, burning your flag is treason, and if he does it, I suppose you can try to string him up -- that's between you and him. Of course, I don't believe in slavery, so if he chose to do that, I would have to assume that he had previously come to consider his agreement with your government as having been made null and void.

    For me though, I never joined anything; I was born, and your government claimed me as its property. If I burn your flag, so what? You advocate against things which I consider much dearer than a piece of fabric, and I don't suggest that you should be plundered or assaulted for it. Live and let live -- I do not demand that you revere any flag of mine, so please do not demand that I revere yours.

  • WTF||


    WTF|4.4.11 @ 5:08PM

    Get a different handle.

  • Otto||

    For whatever reason, that first alt-text had me laughing...

    If I had my way, that wouldn't be free speech

    Good fucking thing you don't get your way, then. You want to protect our soldiers? Bring them home.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    When General Petraeus wants us to say something because our troops are at risk, I'm glad to help....And I think all of us owe the troops the support we're capable of giving.

    You know what Graham could say that would support the troops and limit their risk? "I hereby propose a bill to relinquish the AUMF and bring our boys back home."

  • JoJo Zeke||

    I'm not letting Islamists determine what free speech in America is

    Yes. Yes, you really an truly are.

  • Colin||

    Actually, people like General Petraeus mean nothing without the First Amendment.

  • ||

    Damn your quick fingers!

  • JoJo Zeke||

    "an" = and.

  • Restoras||

    Term Limits. Now.

  • Or...||

    Graham limits would work too.

  • Greer||

    don't need term limits, just need to vote out idiots that don't know what the fucking purpose of the bill of rights is.

  • dfd||

    We need both...

  • Greer||

    this isn't the thread for this but I find term limits to be unlibertarian. Shouldn't you have the freedom to vote for whomever you wish? Term limits seem to be a tool for saving us from ourselves (which, when most of the electorate are idiot, may not be a bad thing).

    We need to stop listenintg to their bullshit campaign speeches (witness the post earlier with BO's complete bullshit) and listen to what they say when they are expressing their real opinions. In an ideal world, he should be getting recalled this morning.

  • Otto||

    Term limits are far less un-libertarian than what multi-term Senators and Reps do.

    Was 12 years of FDR "libertarian"?

  • ||

    Actually, the individual right not to be lorded over by incumbent statists hell bent on continuing their desecration of individual liberty trumps whatever political right you have to re-elect the thugs.

    A libertarian is one who recognizes that individual rights trump political rights.

  • ||

    Greer, the solution is not the ballot box.

  • Otto||

    Ha ha! Too slow, Libertymike...

  • ||

    You do have a point cause you know that I have Rothbard at the ready! You just had him readier.

  • DDavis||

    Maybe "we" should have the freedom to vote for a dictatorship too.

    "No force or fraud" clerico libertarians really can't talk intelligably about voting, because they are ideologically opposed to government in the first place.

  • Ted S.||

    Who in South Carolina is going to vote this fuckface out?

  • ||

    Term limits are a restriction on politicians, not the public.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Can we limit them to zero terms?

  • Ventifact||

    I am, as a political leader, trying to respond to the needs of our commander.

    -

    the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus.

    -

    I wonder if Graham considers himself an "originalist"...

  • MNG||

    The irony of your statement is that the original expectation of the BOR would have let states lock people up for blasphemy and burning holy books all day long.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....ted_States

  • cynical||

    Graham isn't a state congressman.

  • Boxbot||

    There was an amendment for that.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    No true originalist includes amendments.

  • Id||

    It's stunning how ready these people (I use the term loosely) are to admit their intense frustration to have to govern within the boundaries set out for them by law and the constitution. You know what? If you don't want to be an elected *representative* in this country, you don't have to be. Go find some other country to rule.

  • ||

    "Only speech that I like should be free!"

    What an ass-clown.

  • ||

    Free speech for me, none for thee!

  • ||

    Sounds like he believes in the Constitution, except for the parts he doesn't like.

    What a shit-stain. And if all the rumors are to be believed, a cowardly hypocrite as well.

  • ||

    ""Sounds like he believes in the Constitution, except for the parts he doesn't like.""

    Usually a qualification for capitol hill.

  • Digital Ruse||

    ^^^ This ^^^

  • ||

    I think the First Amendment would be well served by banning Lindsey Graham from ever talking again.

  • Au H20||

    What I don't think that many of these Muslims realize is that every American has a little bit of Bart Simpson in them. We are a nation of natural born trouble makers.

    Before this, I thought burning the Koran was tasteless and rude. It still is, but part of me now almost wants to do it just to prove that I can. And this is kind of how Americans think, as seen by the response to the Mohamed cartoons.

  • Anomalous||

    What would be cool is to have a website depicting the Koran on fire. There would be no real Koran, nor real flames. But it would generate real outrage.

  • Jeff P||

    Can it be a "screensaver" on On Demand? Like Virtual Fireplace?
    You can have a choice of Burning Koran, Burning Bible, or Burning Huck Finn (Censored Edition).

  • Ska||

    Cue up some Christmas tunes and retire the Yule Log channel.

  • The Arab Street||

    (rising intonation) What about Burning Obama Effigy?

  • Anomalous||

    I think the First Amendment would be well served by banning Lindsey Graham from ever talking again.


    Free speech for all except this skidmark.

  • ||

    ""And it is perfectly appropriate for me to condemn Koran burning when the general who is in charge of our troops believes that such action would help. ""

    Uh yeah. Leave to a politician to not understand the difference between condeming, and outlawing.

    ""So there are a lot of things under the guise of free speech that I think are harmful and hateful.""

    Chalk him up and a pro anti-hate speech R.

  • ||

    crap.

    Chalk him up and as a pro anti-hate speech R

  • MNG||

    "I will be happy when this strain of Constitution-averse military bootlicking is in the national rearview mirror"

    Why do you hate conservative Republicans so much Matt?

  • ||

    Constitution-averse union bootlicking is not much better.

  • Matt Welch||

    It's a long story.

  • SIV||

    Lindthy Graham is not a conservative Republican. Heck he's a Reason libertarian on immigration policy.

    "Tell the bigots to shut up"

  • MNG||

    It was a joke, the idea being that Constitution-averse military bootlicking is what conservative Republicans are all about.

    It was a little unfair though as some conservative Republicans are Constitution-averse Bible thumpers.

    And some are both!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    GRAHAM: You know what? Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus.

    You know what, asshole? Your statement is the very definition of Fascism.

    In a sane and just world, Lindsey Graham would be dying from a virulent and painful strain of bone cancer.

  • Tony||

    He could condemn the book burning as loud as he wanted without having to sound wishy-washy on the 1st Amendment. It gives him the right to express an opinion too!

    It goes without saying that trying to legislate against such activity will only increase their visibility and probably their frequency.

  • ||

    Tony, if you were President, would you sign a bill like Graham has supported?

    Notwithstanding your committment to free speech, I would expect you to compromise and sign the bill. After all, a wise man has often posted that responsible and adult governance requires compromise, right?

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    You can't be "serious" on the $1.5 trillion deficit without compromising and getting $20 billion in cuts.

  • ||

    How does Graham do all that talking with Patraeus's balls in his mouth?

    And Patraeus: don't you have a war to lose?

    Jeebus man, if you quit talkin' to the press and got your balls out of Lindsey Graham's mouth you might be able to stop the biggest, baddest, most technologically superior army the world has ever seen from getting its ass handed to it by a bunch of stone age dirt farmers.

  • ||

    ""How does Graham do all that talking with Patraeus's balls in his mouth?""

    No one knows, but Patraeus said not to interrupt Graham.

  • ||

    As disgusting as Petraeus' opinion on this issue is, the US military has not had its ass handed to it in Iraq and Afghanistan by any stretch of the imagination.

  • ||

    What are the objectives of these two wars. Are they being met? If so, what is a reasonable timetable for withdrawal with said objectives being met? If not, why are they not being met?

  • ||

    Someone in our government likes Afghan and Arab cuisine.

    Follow the food.

  • Otto||

    Two Guys From Kabul

  • ||

    Follow the qorma.

  • ||

    The civilian leadership's lack of a clear objective (or pursuit of an impossible objective like making Afghanistan a stable democracy) does not mean the military has failed, much less "gotten its ass handed to it".

  • ||

    I believe that the original objectives were to capture bin Laden, oust the Taliban from power, and rid the country of Al Queda by killing or capturing their members.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    All objectives that were accomplished to a reasonable level of thoroughness within six months of the beginning of OEF.

  • ||

    They may as well have been ordered to invent cold fusion and cure cancer, too.

  • Shocked||

    Which means it's a politcal failure. No army is going to change the afghan culture. Not without committing genocide .

  • ||

    So what is it guys, did we reasonably accomplish those goals within 6 months as Trousers claims, or are these plainly military not as un-accomplishable as cold fusion as according to Tulpa?

    I like how defeating the enemy is now a goal on par with curing cancer, and is considered "political." Also, that we can't beat a bunch of dirt farmers without committing "genocide."

  • Gray Ghost||

    Well, let's look the goals that were set.

    1) Capture/Kill Bin Laden.
    Nope. -Al Zawahiri is still alive and kicking too. Did get KSM. Not sure how many other high members of AQ are gone, never mind how many of their Gulf patrons are also still around. So that goal hasn't been met.

    2) Oust the Taliban from power.
    That happened fairly early. The hard part has been keeping them from coming back. IMHO, we're not going to stop them without going into their sanctuaries within the NW tribal areas---probably can't stop them even then---and that isn't going to happen.

    So let's give that goal an Accomplished, but Incomplete.

    3) Rid the country of AQ by killing/capturing their members.
    Question: are the insurgents being killed in Af-Pak primarily AQ, or are they Pashtun who are just pissed that we're there? The Pashtun aren't going to follow us home; the guys in AQ might. Otherwise, while a lot of foreign AQ guys have been killed, there seems to be a near inexhaustible supply of them, and they have the sanctuaries mentioned in point 2, above.

    So, another grade of Incomplete.

    Anyone think we can change the Incompletes with another 10 years there?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Recently, things have started to go our way. Nighttime raids have killed a lot of mid-level Taliban commanders and pushed them out of their southern nests. The increase in violence to civilians is a response to this that is likely to backfire.

    Did Petraeus condemn the burning or call for a banning? If it's the latter, I shit upon him.

  • ||

    ""Did Petraeus condemn the burning or call for a banning? If it's the latter, I shit upon him""

    I could be wrong but I haven't seen Petraeus call for a ban, he's just stating that it isn't helpful. I take that as trying to politely ask Americans (American?) not to make our troops' job more difficult.

  • ||

    From TFA:

    GRAHAM: General Petraeus sent a statement out to all news organizations yesterday, urging our government to ban Koran burning.

    I have no doubt that Graham is a liar, but that's an easy lie to get caught on and, more importantly, it will piss off a lot of his allies if he's lying about Petraeus.

  • Xenocles||

    From a Hot Air story on TFA:

    "Update: NRO has amended the part where Graham says Petraeus was calling for a ban; it now reads “urging our government to [condemn] Koran burning.” It’s not clear if that was Graham’s mistake or theirs, but either way, the record is corrected."

  • ||

    Fishy. That's not plausibly a transcribing error, so either NRO intentionally misquoted him or they're covering his ass.

    Considering that Obama has already condemned the burning, I'm not sure his quote as it stands makes much sense anyway.

  • Xenocles||

    Yeah, I don't know how that mistake gets made either. It does seem to exonerate Petraeus, though. I may not agree that the burning had any real connection to the violence, but there's a huge difference between wanting an impotent condemnation and wanting state power to interfere.

  • Waggoneer||

    So you are saying the war is turning the corner, but the gains are still fragile?

    Where have I heard that before?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Please don't put words in my mouth. I don't know if the war is 'turning a corner' but the mid-level Taliban commanders have proved fragile when shot. Some reports indicate many fighters are just sick of it and giving up.

  • .||

    Yet!

  • ||

    From the interview

    " I just don’t like the idea of free speech being used as a reason to put our troops at risk."

    Really? Isn't one of the reasons we oust dictators is to give the people a right to free speech? Amongst others of course.

  • Paul||

    "Free speech is a great idea, but[...]

    Drink!

  • Paul||

    Free speech probably allows that, but I don't like that. I don't like burning the flag under the idea of free speech. That bothers me; I have been one of the chief sponsors of legislation against burning the flag. I don't like the idea that these people picket funerals of slain servicemen. If I had my way, that wouldn't be free speech. So there are a lot of things under the guise of free speech that I think are harmful and hateful.

    So... how is this guy not a Democrat?

  • ||

    ""So... how is this guy not a Democrat?""

    That stance is very conservative republican.

  • ||

    That stance is actually very "moderate" too. That's why Texas vs. Johnson could bring Brennan and Scalia together to say that flag burning was protected, even as Stevens said it wasn't.

    Extremists of whatever stripe are often a little bit better on free speech, but mostly that's because their speech is the kind most likely to be discriminated against.

  • MNG||

    You do know that Republicans have traditionally supported flag burning prohibition laws at significantly higher percentages than Democrats, right?

  • ||

    And vice versa for hate speech laws.

  • MNG||

    Is that true if you don't take into account the issue of whether to include sexual orientation?

  • MNG||

    Sorry, I was thinking of hate crime laws.

    But if the hate speech laws were about religion I'm not sure your assertion holds up.

  • ||

    YEAH TEAM BLUE WOOHOO!

  • MNG||

    http://projects.washingtonpost.....votes/189/

    And do you have some kind of evidence Democrats support bans on funeral protests more than GOPers?

  • ||

    That arguemnt is for people that are too invested in partisan politics. There is ample evidence that neither side really cares about the Constitution.

    Few exceptions to the rule of course, very few.

  • ||

    Ah, let me nitpick: One exception, only one. His son has not established himself as one who will not lick the boots of the military. I hope that changes.

  • Paul||

  • ||

    Here's some more inside Senate baseball on S. Res 85. Bob Menendez had originally sent around via email a Libya resolution that was all condemnation, no mention of a no-fly zone. The one that actually got filed had the same title, but had the no-fly zone paragraph added. No GOP Senator's staff put a hold on it, since it had the same title as the earlier one. It got read aloud with the no-fly zone paragraph and approved without debate by the nearly empty Senate, as usual for those sorts of hotlined simple resolutions.

    Nice little bait-and-switch.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    statism is bi-partisan

  • ||

    Very much so, and they know how to play the citizens as fools by tricking them into defending one side or the other.

  • Les||

    So...what makes you suggest that Republicans are less stupid than Democrats on free speech? Both parties are equally stupid.

  • SIV||

    No they're not. Democrats want to restrict more categories of speech. The 1st Amendment is meaningless to them as part of a "living , breathing Constitution. Conservative Republicans mostly grudgingly accept the literal meaning of the !st Amendment in regard to speech they don't like.

  • MNG||

    This is the same party that talked about using the 1917 Espionage and Sedition act just a couple years ago, right?

  • ||

    There's also the current Administration actually using the Espionage Act to charge people right now, some that W.'s administration never did.

  • ||

    Let's just get it over with and make Petraeus king.

  • ||

    I agree with Petraeus that it's unhelpful and may get troops killed. However I see that as a byproduct of trying to nation-build for people who carry such beliefs. If Graham doesn't like it, he should stopping supporting the money and blood we spend on them, and not support restricting our liberties.

  • ||

    Is it getting Americans killed? Otherwise, why should I give a shit?

  • ||

    ""Is it getting Americans killed?""

    You decide.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....istan.html

  • ||

    Because non-Americans also are human beings?

    I keep having to point this out, not quite sure why.

  • Law Student||

    Yeah I always get blank stares when discussing free trade with both Rs and Ds and pointing out that an American worker doesn't deserve a job over a foreigner simply for having been born here. Of course it is also irrelevant because American consumers benefit but they don't get that part either.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Son. of. a. bitch. Does this poltroon realize that rivers of blood have already been shed in defense of the first, and that a dozen UN troops murdered by savages aren't even close to the most tragic or horrifying case of violence done to protect it? Is he unaware of the violence that will be done by statists worldwide this year alone to squelch freedom of speech? What a coward: this is the type of man who would have banned Animal Farm to make the Soviets feel safe, and who would have kissed the feet of Genghis Khan as his soldiers raped his wife. I know it's not rare for libertarians to express sentiments like this one, but I'll say it anyways: if Graham had any honor, he would resign, have his thumbs and big toe cut off, and serve his freedom-appreciating successor (perhaps a Rand Paul clone?) in perpetuity.

    /rant

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Now I actually got around to reading the interview. Fuck! "That bothers me[...] If I had my way, that wouldn't be free speech. So there are a lot of things under the guise of free speech that I think are harmful and hateful." You ignorant slut, that is the whole point of the First Amendment: to keep us safe from cowards like you who would sacrifice my right to expression because you're "bothered" by it. May twenty bald eagles descend upon you devour your testicles.

  • Lindsey Graham||

    The joke's on you. They're undescended.

  • ||

    So, to be a congressman, you have to go balls deep down your throat with Lexington Steele without so much as a whimper of a gag reflex?

    These congressmen are truly the greatest cocksuckers in the world. These guys put Annette Schwarz to shame.

  • Ska||

    Mmm....it's hard to decide if she's better at anal or oral, but god bless her.

  • Almanian||

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ. I'm glad this douchetard doesn't represent me. What a.....

    FUCK!!!!

  • Attila the Huh||

    I fear that politicians don't have any problem pushing against laws in the Middle East that are outrageous.

    Huh?

  • Rich||

    *Please*, Matt -- admit this is from The Onion. 8-(

  • Binky||

    Koran microwaving is still OK, though, right?

  • Ska||

    Bacon wrapped Koran smells delicious.

  • sevo||

    "Bacon wrapped Koran smells delicious."

    Naah. Still too dry. Burn the fucker.

  • Cytotoxic||

    If the GOP were to throw this guy out, they might just get some warm feelings from libertarians-and conservatives too for that matter!

  • Lindsey Graham||

    I wish we could hold people accountable for their actions, but under free speech, you can’t.

    I wish we could hold people accountable for their thoughts, but with today's technology, you can’t.

  • ||

    He is truly dangerous

  • ||

    Glenn Greenwald's column had two good points:

    1 - Petraeus has also said that the detention center at Guantanamo needs to be closed, because its existence endangers and kills US soldiers. Graham, not so much.

    2 - Since the war on terror is an endless war, any liberties taken away during wartime are taken away permanently.

  • Really?||

    And I am betting you had to go through 10 pages of long-winded, self-indulgent, histrionic nonsense to get those two (admittedly very good) points.

  • ||

    FWIW, one of those points was him quoting someone else making the point.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Petraeus has also said that the detention center at Guantanamo needs to be closed, because its existence endangers and kills US soldiers.


    How so?

  • ||

    How so? How not so?

    How could it not cause hatred and extension of violent activities against Americans in those regions?

    Perhaps it doesn't fuel radical Islamist rage or cause someone to shoot an American (the only deaths that matter, of course) and perform violence on camera and say "I proudly proclaim I am doing this solely in retaliation for your detention facilities at the Guantanmo Naval Base in Cuba."

    So certainly saying that it leads (implied: directly?) to American soldier deaths is a very poor paraphrasing. I can see that. But the concept remains the same.

    But it fuels the Great Satan fire. It causes detainees to--understandably--not wish to cooperate.
    Actionable intelligence obtained from detainees saves (all-important American) lives at the expense of other less-important ones. Policies which directly inhibit "our" human intelligence collection efforts contribute to lives (the good kind) being lost.

    Even outside the military realm, it causes distrust and hatred. Fuck, Gitmo causes that here in the United States. Multiply that by an appropriate factor for the Middle-East and Muslim communities abroad. "We not only hate Muslims, we hate our own American (sometimes Canadian) Muslims. How much do you suppose we hate YOU?"

    I don't know, maybe I'm being paranoid. Perhaps we should open a bunch more of them--since the first was such a success--and see how that goes over in Afghanistan and Iraq (and now Libya, except we haven't put anyone on the ground there). It's really the only sensible way to settle this debate.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I don't know, maybe I'm being paranoid. Perhaps we should open a bunch more of them--since the first was such a success--and see how that goes over in Afghanistan and Iraq (and now Libya, except we haven't put anyone on the ground there). It's really the only sensible way to settle this debate.


    How did Manzanar endanger the lives of American troops?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Limerick time!

    There once was a statist named Graham...

  • Digital Ruse||

    The oath he took was a sham.
    His fingers were crossed; now Liberty's lost.
    His political career's just a scam.

  • RyanXXX||

    +1

  • Tony||

    Did I completely misunderstand the news stories, I thought the war on terror ended in 2008.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    The terrorists were all scared of being called racists so they stopped fighting.

  • Binky||

    No, you're thinking of the War on Poverty.

  • burnthewitch||

    Fuck Lindsey Graham. Fuck him in his dirty asshole. With a razor blade coated broom handle. Then force his eyes open a la A Clockwork Orange and make him read the the Constitution - particularly the First Amendment - for at for at least 3 days straight while smacking him in the face, screaming "Get it now, you fascist cunt?" over and over again.

  • ||

    I already have this video game.

  • Holy Fuck||

    No wonder Nobel Commander Obama brought that obsequious little prick Patraeus back.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    For all the good citizens of South Carolina:

    How proud are you right now? Really? Come on, tell me. Sure, all of our Congresscritters are veritable buffet of statism, but your guy just doubled-down on stupid four times in two days. Now, on to the fun stuff.

    You know what? Let me tell you, the First Amendment means nothing without people like General Petraeus.

    Fuck you, Lindsey Graham, you authoritarian little shitstain. And have an extra helping of "fuck you" for David Petraeus. If he were "concerned" for the lives of American troops, he would pull them out of that desert hellhole and resign his commission in protest.

  • General Petraeus||

    If only you American redneck types would not embarrass me so. If you knew how tough it is to find a decent pedicurist for my pretty little hands here in Kabul you would appreciate what I do for your culturally backward types. Some say I've gone native. So what, bitches. The dancing boys are pretty and the opium is sweet, sweet, sweet!

  • ||

    It is widely presumed that ole Lindsay is a closet case - light in the loafers - isn't it? I can't think I anyone I would like to get caught playing footsies in the men's bathroom more than Lindsey. It would be perfect justice in my view for such a total asshat.

  • 0x90||

    "It's not about the Koran; it's about putting our troops at risk."

    Troops, by definition, assume a particular baseline level of risk. Graham's contention here is that this level of risk is increased by some factor, when an uninvolved person engages in a particular mode of expression. Inherent in this assumption is a pervasive but subtle (i.e. deep-seated, yet virtually invisible to the practitioner) bigotry which assumes that the potential reaction to this expression -- the behavior which increases risk -- is to some particular degree involuntary on the part of the reactionary.

    Implicit in this line of reasoning is the suggestion that "being of a superior intellect, I would not react badly, but those people will." This is the underlying source of the instinct, however counter it may be to consciously-held or publicly-proclaimed positions favoring personal liberty, to attack the problem by suppressing a basic freedom.

    Simply put: this is a victory of bigotry over principle.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Graham is a liar, even if the correction is true. Here is Petraeus's statement:

    Statement by ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus and NATO SCR Ambassador Mark Sedwill

  • ||

    I will be happy when this strain of Constitution-averse military bootlicking is in the national rearview mirror.

    I guess you're planning to live a long, long time.

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