Q: Why Has It Become "Fashionable" to "Take Whacks" at Military, Intel Agencies? A: The Last 12 Years.

"It is now become fashionable on both sides of the aisle to take whacks at the military and our intelligence agencies," sighs the Washington Post's "Right Turn" blogger Jennifer Rubin.

Yeah, a dozen years of disastrous occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, a rough doubling of military expenditures in nominal dollars and ongoing demands for ever-greater spending, disclosures about massive covert government surveillance of U.S. citizens in America, and secret presidential kill lists really puts the hurt on whatever faith and trust folks once had in such institutions. (And I should note that according to Gallup, about 76 percent have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the military; by which I suspect they mean rank-and-file soldiers more than the David Petraeus' of the world.)

Rubin is particularly bent out of shape by the near-passage of a bill sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have limited NSA surveillance of Americans here in the States (read all about here).

In letting the congressman who has stabbed leadership in the back countless times run through the House with scissors, leaders risked real damage to national security and to the image of the GOP as the more responsible party on the issue.

Stabbing in the back? What is this, Weimar Germany? The problem isn't Amash and his rag-tag band of howling commandos dedicated to due process and rule of law, it's leadership in both the Republican and Democratic parties that have been stabbing the Constitution in the face for the past dozen or so years.

Rubin is also pissed at the idea that there's something wrong with current procedures regarding rape and sexual assault in the military:

Over in the Senate, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) has teamed up with two of the most destructive and least well-informed Republicans when it comes to national security – Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) (who have become canaries in the coal mine of legislative foolishness) – to undermine the military chain of command in sexual assault cases.

Come on. If bashing this reform effort rises to the top of your to-do list, it's only because you don't want to grapple with the generally horrible performance of the military and American intel in the 21st century. Somehow, out bold gambit to play globo-cop has only reduced our standing in the world, increased our debt, and turned successive presidents into self-aggrandizing liars who use the cover of national security to do what they want. Oh yeah, and how's that Middle East working out for us? There's not a lot to be proud of but suggesting that reformers are the problem is not going to deflect the attention from where it needs to be.

Ful Rubin here.

Hat Tip: Veronique de Rugy. Read her Reason archive here and follow her Twitter feed here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Stabbing in the back? What is this, Weimar Germany?"

    Nice Godwin.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    You know who else Godwin'd?

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's not 'fashionable', it's because you turned your gaze in my general direction. I don't care that I don't personally appear out of the background static at the current resolution, your camera is pointed in the wrong direction!

  • sarcasmic||

    it's leadership in both the Republican and Democratic parties that have been stabbing the Constitution in the face for the past dozen eighty or so years.

    ftfy

  • ||

    The president neglects or actively undermines (e.g. proposing the defense sequester) military readiness and shrinks from international leadership. The left piles on. The unthinking isolationist right adds their yelps. And pretty soon we come perilously close to losing a majority to support common-sense national defense measures. Ultimately, I think this is a losing gambit with voters who really do want a strong defense. But more important, it is dangerous to the safety and security of America and the West.

    There is so much wrong in that paragraph.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "common-sense national defense measures"

    Why are so many people defining common-sense down? Common-sense interventionism, common-sense gun control.

    It tries to pre-empt the debate by saying, "why are you quibbling over what I'm doing? I'm just a simple country lawyer with common sense!"

  • ||

    "Now I may be just be a simple country Hyper-Chicken, but I know when we're finger licked."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    He's from a backwoods asteroid, you uncultured oaf.

  • ||

    Son, as your lawyer, I declare y'all are in a 12-piece bucket o' trouble.

  • Tim||

    "FDA Wants to Manage How Free-Range Chickens Are Contained"
    http://reason.com/24-7/2013/07.....ck#comment

  • Invisible Finger||

    Why are so many people defining common-sense down?

    Because it's fashionable.

  • Spartacus||

    Whenever anybody invokes "common sense" that's usually a tipoff that they don't have any articulable facts or logic.

    Common sense is what tells us that the sun revolves around the earth, that heavy things fall faster than light things, and a whole host of other untruths.

  • sloopyinca||

    You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.

  • seguin||

    "Your honor, I recommend that I be disbarred for presenting this evidence my own client"

  • CE||

    Calling the isolationists "unthinking" when they are the only ones thinking twice about US foreign policy and militarism is rich.

  • ||

    the congressman who has stabbed leadership in the back countless times

    Sounds like a guy doing the right thing as far as I'm concerned. Oh wait, she's an authority fetishist, and to her that's a bad thing. What a douche.

    Somehow, out bold gambit to play globo-cop

    Somebody needs an editor!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I would replace "stabbed" with "kicked" and "back" with "butt." The leadership deserved more of this, not less.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Some days you just feel stabby.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4TxHMNX0vU

  • Loki||

    Keep slurping, Jennifer. That National Security cock isn't going to suck itself.

  • Tim||

    Maybe we could make this better by spending more money and asking less questions?

  • ||

    With apologies to Ken Shultz...holy shit, what a fucking cunt.

  • John||

    If bashing this reform effort rises to the top of your to-do list, it's only because you don't want to grapple with the generally horrible performance of the military and American intel in the 21st century.

    Yeah Nick, protecting the rights of criminal defendants in the face of a ideological driven mob pissed off that courts are not giving the results you want, ought to rise to the top of someone's priority list. Dare I say maybe a civil libertarian's list?

    You and Chapman are just fucking sorry on this issue. Do yourself a favor and try to learn something about it beyond talking points. When you do that, you will take down's Chapman's article out of embarassment.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If cops argued that, in the name of "securing discipline", they should only be tried in special courts composed entirely of other cops, and only if their chief agrees to let them be prosecuted, and only with a jury of other cops, and then if they still get convicted, their chief can choose to ignore the verdict, very few of us would argue that would be a good idea.

    To John this means we want to railroad innocent cops by subjecting them to the horrors of real trial.

  • Outlaw||

    I'm firmly convinced Nick is trolling John now.

  • John||

    I actually agree with him about the intel agencies. The part about the Gillibrand law is just Nick being the ignorant know nothing Beltway douche bag we have all come to expect.

  • sloopyinca||

    The part about the Gillibrand law is just Nick being the ignorant know nothing Beltway douche bag we have all come to expect.

    This is exactly the kind of argument I expected to see made. Sadly.

  • John||

    Go read the other thread. There are lots of arguments. That bill is a terrible bill and the result of people in this dream world where every rape accusation is provable in court and anytime such an accusation doesn't result in a conviction there must be a flaw in the system.

    Reason is endorsing a law designed to make it easier to put people in jail and that is being enacted because not enough defendants are being convicted. Why have they decided that civil rights no longer matter in these cases?

    I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is because they are stupid and don't understand the law and are just going along with the Beltway herd. Do you have another reason?

  • sloopyinca||

    Why couldn't you have just said that in the first place?

  • John||

    Because I can't stand Nick. He is just not a Libertarian. I don't know what he is, but he isn't a Libertarian. More than anything he seems to be a poser and an opportunist these days.

    This is one area where I really would expect Reason to do better. The conservatives offer the dumbest arguments against this law, basically saying "how dare you question the military". The advocates of this law are basically fanatics. The truth is a lot more nuanced and has serious implications towards the rights of the accused and the pressure being put on juries and judges to achieve convictions. Reason could do a real service by talking about this bill from a due process perspective and the inherent conflict between the desire for justice for a victim and the need to protect the innocent. Instead, they just sign onto the bill and repeat talking points.

  • sloopyinca||

    He is just not a Libertarian.

    Says about the least Libertarian regular poster on here...

  • Invisible Finger||

    He is just not a Libertarian.

    John, you'd fail your own purity test.

    (Did I Godwin the thread with that?)

  • John||

    Absolutely I would fail such a test IF. But I don't claim to be one. Nick does. I was attacking his mendacity and hypocrisy, not his ideology, whatever that is.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    SELFGODWINIZATION!

  • Spartacus||

    Over in the Senate, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) has teamed up with two of the most destructive and least well-informed Republicans when it comes to national security – Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) (who have become canaries in the coal mine of legislative foolishness) – to undermine the military chain of command in sexual assault cases.

    So are they canaries or are they wacko birds? I can't keep track of it all.

  • John||

    And since when is the NSA a military intelligence agency? It doesn't work for the Pentagon and neither does the CIA for that matter. I think most people, apparently except Nick, understand that and do not transfer their anger over the NSA spying towards the military, who had nothing to do with it.

  • Tim||

    Why the NSA is positively lousy with Colonels and Generals from all the services.

  • John||

    Still doesn't make them military or part of the military. NSA is not the Pentagon.

  • sloopyinca||

    The military has its own failings, many of which can be linked to the intel they glean from the NSA, therefore I think it's fair to pair them when we discuss our distrust and anger.

    NSA feeds intel to the military and CIA. Drones bomb a wedding.

    NSA feeds intel to the military and CIA. Drones kill American citizens overseas that have not been charged with a crime.

    Fuck em all. They're part of the same beast.

  • John||

    The military has its own failings, many of which can be linked to the intel they glean from the NSA,

    Citation please? Not for the failings, which I am probably more aware than you, but for the NSA part.

    NSA feeds intel to the military and CIA. Drones bomb a wedding.

    I know, only wedding are bombed. We have been down this road so many times. You don't like it that we are at war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I get it. But objecting to the war does not mean everything our enemies claim is true or that all collateral damage is now a war crime.

    Just say you want to end the war. Raping the meaning of war crime and repeating bullshit is not necessary.

  • sloopyinca||

    You don't like it that we are at war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    I like it how that "and Pakistan" is casually thrown in there as well by war hawks like you, John. Funny, because it's never been mentioned by name in an AUMF. Of course, it doesn't explain Somalia or Yemen, but I gues that was just an oversight on your part, right?

    But objecting to the war does not mean everything our enemies claim is true or that all collateral damage is now a war crime.

    Is that what you call it when we drop bombs on civilian targets in a sovereign nation we have not declared war on? Would you feel the same if another nation did it to, say, some dude in Chicago that spoke ill of Islam one day to the rest of the people living in his building but didn't have enough money to buy his dinner that night, let alone fly to Mecca and piss on that big rock that's there?

    Your defense of this is just mind-bogglingly stupid.

  • John||

    Last I looked the AUMF said we could make war on the Taliban wherever we found them. And further, Pakistan, by failing to control its borders and allowing the Taliban to make war on Afghanistan is making war on both the US and the government of Afghanistan. The means the US can defend itself AUMF or no.

    Yemen and such are a different story. And I think the drone strikes there are more debatable, although Yemen has allowed such. So whatever they are not infringing on its soveriegnty.

    I am sorry the law is what it is. And I have no idea why you can't be content to just argue that we need to leave Afghanistan. For some reason you have this idea that because you don't like it it must be illegal. So you insist on making stupid arguments that are both contrary to the facts and the law so that you can feel your righteous sense of moral rage.

    It doesn't help your case. It just makes you look like a dumb ass and argue like a liberal. I have explained the issues to you at least a dozen times. And it is not that you are stupid. You understand them. You just don't like what they mean and pretend they don't exist. You owe yourself better than that.

  • sloopyinca||

    The AUMF is a piece of shit that subverts every principle of warmaking. And anybody that thinks it gives our government carte blanche to wage war on otherwise harmless people is a douchebag of the highest order.

    And that "I am sorry the law is what it is" is a weak-assed excuse for letting the government do whatever the fuck it wants. People used it to excuse Jim Crow, internment, slavery and a whole host of other idiotic shit. And your use of it is simply a pathetic way to excuse evil being perpetrated daily 10k miles away on people that pose absolutely no threat on us whatsoever, in the name of "national defense".

  • John||

    And that "I am sorry the law is what it is" is a weak-assed excuse for letting the government do whatever the fuck it wants.

    And I never said it was such a thing. I am just saying it is not illegal. Whether it is a good idea or not is a different debate.

  • sloopyinca||

    And further, Pakistan, by failing to control its borders and allowing the Taliban to make war on Afghanistan is making war on both the US and the government of Afghanistan. The means the US can defend itself AUMF or no.

    OK, now I know you've gone full motherfucking retard on us. How in the fuck is Pakistan waging war on us? Are they bombing New York and Boston? Are their subs patrolling off the Norfolk coastline putting our warships at the bottom of the Atlantic? The people we are killing there pose no threat to America, and if our government would get out of their neighborhood and stop meddling in their affairs, we'd not see a single one of those fuckers so much as brandishing a weapon at us...which you don't see anyway.

    Christ Almighty. Do you just love to see the bodies of innocent children stacked up like cordwood or is it some other reason you so adore our happy warriors sitting in their air conditioned office in Nevada playing murderdrone 2.0 on their MacBooks?

  • John||

    OK, now I know you've gone full motherfucking retard on us. How in the fuck is Pakistan waging war on us?

    By allowing the Taliban to operate within its borders and attack NATO and the sovereign country of Afghanistan. When you don't control your borders and let people use your country as a base to attack another country, that country and the military forces allied with it, have a right to act in self defense and attack you territory.

    It is a very simple concept. And you understand it full well. You are just so emotional on this issue, you can't think straight or make a rational argument or do anything but rant and rave. Again, you don't help your case.

  • sloopyinca||

    And further, Pakistan, by failing to control its borders and allowing the Taliban to make war on Afghanistan is making war on both the US and the government of Afghanistan. The means the US can defend itself AUMF or no.

    If we weren't there, they would have no NATO or US to attack. Because the last time I looked, the nearest border of a NATO country is over 2k miles away and the US is more like 10k away. The only thing they have to "attack" is our occupying military.

  • John||

    If we weren't there, they would have no NATO or US to attack.

    So because we are there, it is not an act of war to attack us? Yeah that makes sense.

    Again we are back to "sloopy thinks we ought to end the war". Good for you. So do I. But that doesn't mean that what we are doing is illegal. If you think we should leave, make arguments why. Stop saying things are illegal that clearly are not. Just because it is legal doesn't mean it is a good thing. The two concepts are different.

  • sloopyinca||

    So because we are there, it is not an act of war to attack us? Yeah that makes sense.

    Yeah, all those people we are murderdroning are actively waging war against us.

    And FWIW, if we are waging war without a declaration of war, then it's illegal.

  • John||

    Yeah, all those people we are murderdroning are actively waging war against us.

    Yes, all casulaties in a war are "murder" and every casualty must be directly wagin war against you or it is MURDER!! or something.

    You are just fucking retarded. Can't you just make an argument without resorting to idiotic histrionics and total misstatements of facts and the law?

  • John||

    The only thing they have to "attack" is our occupying military.

    And Afghanistan has a sovereign government who wants us there. We are not an "occupying force" by any meaning of the term. The fact that you would use such a term just show how little you know beyond dumb ass talking points you got off the Code Pink website.

  • sloopyinca||

    And Afghanistan has a sovereign government who wants us there.

    They asked us to leave in March of last year, dumbass.

  • John||

    They asked us to leave in March of last year, dumbass.

    No they didn't. And we do leave, the Taliban are going to kill everyone who so much as swept the streets for the old regime, which will quickly fall after we leave. It will be the worst genocide since Rwanda. And dipshits like you will be telling us how it was all the US's fault.

  • sloopyinca||

    Holy fuck, are you stupid. The way you define it, we can't ever leave because the minute we do, those people will devolve into horrors unseen in a thousand years.

    Congratulations, John. You are as fucking retarded as John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Shorter sloopy: *sticks fingers in ears* NANANANAN I CAN'T HEAR YOU BROWN BABIEZ

    Basing an AUMF around arbitrary lines instead of the actual enemies we're fighting is foreign-policy autism.

    If you're so fucking stupid as to think or even say that the Pak Taliban or AQAP pose no threat to use (despite posing an objective threat) then you don't get to be part of the debate. You've demonstrated that you are either ignorant or capable of subverting reality to your blinkered narrative Tony style and therefore will have no influence or place at The Adults Table.

  • Invisible Finger||

    And since when is the NSA a military intelligence agency?

    Since they put "National Security" in the name.

    Trying to pretend the org chart makes all the difference in the world is just plain silly.

  • John||

    So "national security" now means "military". That is retarded. The NSA and the CIA are called "civilian intelligence agencies". They are not part of the military. By your crackpot definition the "National Security Council" is part of the military, which of course it is nothing of the sort. National security means more than just military.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The NSA and the CIA are called "civilian intelligence agencies"

    Oh. Well that settles it then.

  • John||

    It does. That is what they are. They are not staffed by the military, they answer to the military, they don't work for the military or have any connection to the military. Their job is to provide intelligence to the President and share such with DOD when they feel like it.

    The CIA is not DIA. Different organization. Saying they are the same is like saying Commerce and Treasury are the same thing.

    Just because you don't like the government, doesn't mean its okay to be bumfuck ignorant about how it works.

  • sloopyinca||

    The CIA and NSA are hand in glove with the military..And only two kinds of people would deny that: imbeciles and scumbags that personally profit from the war machine.

  • John||

    The CIA and NSA are hand in glove with the military..

    LOLOLOLOL Only someone with know experience of such things would say that. The NSA and CIA are hand and glove with no one but their own craven interests.

    Libertarians would be much more effective advocates against government if they would learn how it actually works instead of being willfully ignorant about it. Know your enemy is a maxim for a reason.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I would think the fact that government purposely complicates itself is enough reason to advocate against it.

    You drawing a government paycheck is another.

  • ant1sthenes||

    And since when is the NSA a military intelligence agency?

    Because it's under DoD's jurisdiction?

  • John||

    And shame on Nick for falling for Rubin's bait and switch. The real fallacy of Rubin's article is equating attacking the NSA with attacking the military. That is what allows Rubin to wave the flag and change the subject. And Nick fell for it.

  • SugarFree||

    Jennifer Rubin? Star of 1992's A Woman, Her Men, and Her Futon?

    [performs google image search]

    Oh, god. I was wrong. So wrong.

  • Tim||

    Hey were trying to have a serious conversation here, with "common sense" solutions.
    I wonder how many Anthony Wiener cock shots the NSA has on file...

  • SugarFree||

    Hundreds, but they are in an Excel spreadsheet, so it's all OK.

  • sloopyinca||

    One of the local talk radio stations was joking about the Weiner saga and how it's funny that his dick is now public domain.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I can't believe I had the same thought as SugarFree.

    I'm banning myself for the rest of the day.

  • SugarFree||

    It's too late. Look inside of yourself--to that place that frightens you so much--and you will see me there, feeding on the shattered husks of your dreams.

  • Tim||

    You'll float down here Finger. We all float down here.

  • SugarFree||

    +One Georgie's Arm

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The problem isn't Amash and his rag-tag band of howling commandos dedicated to due process and rule of law, it's leadership in both the Republican and Democratic parties that have been stabbing the Constitution in the face for the past dozen or so years."

    Only a dozen or so years?

    Try ever since FDR's New Deal was enacted.

  • wareagle||

    yeah, but did FDR have howling commandos?

  • NeonCat||

    It was a quieter, less howl-y age.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Howl of The Wacko Bird.

  • SugarFree||

    did FDR have howling commandoes?

    Yes, yes he did.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    "Ful Rubin here"

    No thanks (misspelling aside). Oh, and insert "never go full Rubin" joke here _____________________.

  • Not an Economist||

    I think it is amazing how many people have been snowed by Snowden.

    To blindly believe him is to believe the NSA, unlike any other department in the government, follows none of the basic rules of security.

    While his broad outlines maybe correct, the specifics may change the circumstances from unconstitutional to constitutional. And I doubt Snowden knows the specifics.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I think Manning already aptly demonstrated that government doesn't follow the basic rules of security. The only thing saving us from our government is its incompetence.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement