Of Pushback, Patriotism, and the Cold-Ass Facts

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Cathy Young tries to hack a clearing through the rhetorical jungle du jour.

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21 responses to “Of Pushback, Patriotism, and the Cold-Ass Facts

  1. I didn’t read the post but let me guess the gist of it…”Dems/Liberals say X and are sort of wrong. Republicans/Conservatives say Y and are sort of wrong. The answer is probably somewhere in between.” Brilliant.

  2. The talking point I hear over and over is “Members of Congress had access to the same intelligence as the White House.”

    Does anybody actually believe this? That members of Congress have the same access to intelligence as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, who is the statutory boss of the National Security Advisor, Director of Central Intelligence, Justice Department, and Secretary of State?

    Is there some sort of Congressional Intelligence Directorate that I don’t know about? Congress gets exactly that intelligence that the executive branch provides to them. How is it possible that anybody can make this argument with a straight face?

  3. Mostly a reasonable piece.

    She points out that the whole thing is very complicated, and that people will mostly follow their biases. I would like to point out, though, that one of the criticism coming from my side (reality-based ;)) is that the Bush administration has recognized this phenomenon and tried to use it to partisan advantage.
    They looked at the number of self identifying conservatives and liberals and found that a increasing partisianship was to their advantage. The deliberately tried to muddy the waters and make people lead with their biases, because it was in their political advantage (short-term – I think we are finding out now that this is always bad long term policy).
    The media, and this apparently includes Cathy Young, have been played by the Bush administration, cynically using their standards and codes against them. It is the media’s job to sort through all of those meticulous details – the evidence for misleading evidence was not quite as difficult to discover as Cathy suggests – and to provide some clearer picture of the truth than a summary of what one side said balanced by what the other side said.

  4. Wow, pretty close, nofrontin:

    “I find it revolting when opponents of the war in Iraq demonize war supporters, accusing them of being driven by greed or of wanting to slaughter “brown people.” But it’s just as revolting to hear the pro-war faction toss around charges that war critics are, in effect, giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”

  5. Along the lines of joe’s comment, it would seem to me that the charge of misleading the American people implies that we know there is some information that was not provided to Congress. If congress can say that they didn’t know about the DoE analysis of the aluminum tubes, for example, this wouldn’t be an argument.

  6. quaker120 – that’s the tone of pretty much every one of Cathy’s pieces, which is why nofrontin said what they said, I’m sure. I personally don’t like it. Even though it’s often the truth, she seems to try too hard to find the ‘balance’.

  7. “If congress can say that they didn’t know about the DoE analysis of the aluminum tubes, for example, this wouldn’t be an argument.”

    Not about the tubes, specifically, but Bob Graham, one of the least partisan senators I ever saw, asserts that the intelligence his committee saw was quite a bit more, uh, ‘nuanced’ than what the Senate as a whole got.

  8. M1: just look the other way. nothing to see here. oh wait. yes lots to see here. tons of wmds ready to go. um. yeah. some have been… um…ahhh… lunched… launched against um. imarika. um *koff koff*
    as we were saying. we were totally justified. thank you for the question. next.

  9. Granting Bush’s position that the Clinton administration, Congress and our allies all had the same data and interpreted it similarly, still, only he and his cadre chose to go to war over it. THAT is the point most people miss. Who knew what when, by itself, is irrelevent.

    The question folks should be asking is “What did Bush et al see in the data that rose to the level of sending an expeditiary force to a foreign country to topple its government, destabilize the politcal situation on the ground without a clear plan for rebuilding it, and forever changing the rules of warfare that NO ONE ELSE APPARENTLY SAW?”

  10. Is lying one’s ass off daily on nationwide television an impeachable offense? Hmmm, didn’t think so.

    I like Cathy’s style. I am so sick of partisan politics. Jesus, just 20 more years, tops, and I’ll be dead, thank god!

    a couple of partial definitions from my Simon & Schuster dictionary: “Politician – frequently used in derogatory sense, with implications of seeking personal or partisan gain, scheming, oportunism, etc.”

    “Politic – 3. crafty, unscrupulous.”

  11. “I like Cathy’s style. I am so sick of partisan politics. Jesus, just 20 more years, tops, and I’ll be dead, thank god!”

    Those who refuse to flat out SAY it when one side is just damn right and the other wrong on a given issue are effectively supporting whichever side chooses to get the nastiest with its partisan bullshit.

    Humans make distinctions. If all you need is “they’re both bad”, hire a chimpanzee.

  12. Typical “even-handed Cathy” bullshit. Quite sensible, quite pointless.

    I have a question for the Cathys of the world: who, RIGHT FUCKING NOW, are the assholes in power, proving a complete menace to freedom at home and innocent lives abroad? Yeah, yeah, if the “other guys” get in power they might abuse their position just as badly, but who has fucking PROVEN they are authoritarian, war-mongering, lying (“We do not torture”) creeps of the most appalling sort?

    Now that you have your answer, let’s concentrate on taking down these fuckers, please. If we wind up with “leftists” of an equally disgusting character running our nation (which seems HIGHLY unlikely to me), then we can drag them down, too (presumably not every possible power combination can be as bad as this current lot–anybody from Hagel to Richardson would do). But right now we need to curb the assholes in power, and decisively. So, enough with the evenhandedness–just stick a fucking rhetorical shiv into these bastards every chance you get. Your country needs you.

    Thank you.

  13. Those who refuse to flat out SAY it when one side is just damn right and the other wrong on a given issue are effectively supporting whichever side chooses to get the nastiest with its partisan bullshit.

    Or perhaps they’re merely recognizing that there are irrational, untenable positions on both sides. To suggest that either the Democratic or Republican party has been “just damn right” or wrong on the issue of this war is to ignore a lot of pertinent facts.

  14. “Or perhaps they’re merely recognizing that there are irrational, untenable positions on both sides. To suggest that either the Democratic or Republican party has been “just damn right” or wrong on the issue of this war is to ignore a lot of pertinent facts.”

    Those who never or only rarely state when one party is right and the other wrong on other issues shouldn’t be treated seriously when they insist that, this time, there really is no difference.

    HTH.

  15. Why should we take seriously a party that helped to make this war happen and now, when the polls are in their favor, are slapping their heads and saying, “I can’t believe the Republicans misled us!”

    How many lemons are we supposed to purchase from these used car salesmen?

    What’s wrong with the simple and factually based observation that both parties are filled with power-hungry loyalists who are unable to admit past mistakes?

  16. Les:

    how ’bout this direction:

    we had a democrat-majority in the senate that gave the prez these powers to wage this (IMO) terrible war. prior to that, we had a dem prez who was a complete groin pull of a foreign policy type. a real asshole. this dem continued disasterous policies of the previous administration (fucked up, stupid iraq policy; heavy handed justice dept – ruby ridge was bush I).

    a lot of these assholes voted for patriot. indeed, lehey was big on the post oklahoma city legislation. (he faux whines about “civil liberties” now. the asshole)

    now these dems are shocked by the war. shocked that patriot invades our civil liberties. etc.

    that’s really fucked up. considering that a lot of the dems voted for patriot and war was so they wouldn’t look “un american” or “weak”. which tells us about their sack. clinton was such a little fucking weasel pussy that he didn’t have the balls to 1) say “no thanks” or 2) inhale. he pretended.

    now. we have a bunch of repubs. they want to make you believe in their imaginary friend. they all claim to like reagan (or at least the small-government myth of him). they hated “big government”. until they got into power. they were against “nation building”. they were against projecting american power to change regimes (in yugoslavia or haiti). they thought government was the problem not the solution.

    now they have the power. they’re making big government bigger. they’re taking away more of our civil liberties. and they’re taking all those clintonian over-the-line mistakes and making them moreso!

    they got into nation building. they got into projecting american power to affect regime change.

    sounds pretty even.

    but the repubs like torturing people. they fucking like torturing people.

    ranking them side by side, i can see why the reflex that we both share is to be astonished that such dishonest types got into power. i can see why we’re astonished that people actually believe the bullshit and apologize for the crap their side pulls.

    but the dems, to their favor, aren’t for torture. that didn’t happen on their watch. that’s probably the best difference between the two, now.

    the dems had a shitty, crappy, awful framework. and the bushie types built on that and made it bigger, stinkier, badder, more terrible, and more frightening.

    did clinton cross the line? you bet he did. but then people made a discrete choice and got us what we have now. something far, far worse.

    how do we undo all of this? just cuz we’re gonna switch shithead parties, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re gonna get back out of the red zone. but what to do?

    our final sentence shows the curse we have: “…both parties are filled with power-hungry loyalists who are unable to admit past mistakes”

    dammit.

    none of this absolves us from making the choices and dealing with the consequences from 2009-2013. but argh. now i’m pissed. hrumph

    cheers!

  17. Viking Moose,

    That’s all terribly reasonable and I share your hrumph! What to do? Trust no one, maybe. Refuse to vote reflexively and continue to abhor and fight against loyalism. Oh, and we mustn’t forget to cook dinner for the wife. I’m off!

    Cheers to you.

  18. …while the Bush administration did not deliberately lie, it almost certainly believed what it wanted to believe, and presented the evidence accordingly.

    Presentation of evidence mattered, but I’m just as anxious to get past the yellowcake and the photographs of nonexistent mobile WMD labs as the next guy. I can’t see into the President’s heart.

    …my charge against the Bush Administration was always incompetence, and so it remains.

  19. I think Ken is right. I myself believe the phrase “fixing the intelligence around the policy” meant that they were discarding facts that didn’t support their proposed war and that this is, in fact, an impeachable offense. It’s also a point on which many reasonable people disagree.

    Where there is widespread agreement, however, is that the Administration has done a terrible job of pursuing its stated policies. The occupation was bungled and the tax cuts led to genuinely frightening deficits. The torture policy, putting aside its effectiveness, legality, and morality, have inspired contempt among nations whose support we really need. Even if we don’t like foreigners, our security depends on them not hating us.

    In the neocons’ crude and cynical worldview, it doesn’t matter if people like us, as long as they fear us. But they have forgotten that there is a danger in that policy: a nation feared becomes the object of contempt the moment it starts to look weak. We are looking weak right now, and those we stepped on will have long memories.

  20. “…the tax cuts led to genuinely frightening deficits.”

    Er, no. Whether or not the tax cuts helped or hurt federal revenues is perhaps a debatable issue. The federal government’s blatant refusal to prioritize and keep spending within a reasonable distance of those revenues is the true source of the deficit.

    “…our security depends on them not hating us.”

    What involves getting them to not “hate us”? If it means giving a respectful hearing to reasoned concerns, fine. If it means kowtowing to their whims, then no.

  21. “Is there some sort of Congressional Intelligence Directorate that I don’t know about?” – joe

    Yes, there is. They’re actually called the US Senate Committee on Intelligence and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

    They’ve even got their own web-sites.

    http://intelligence.senate.gov/

    http://intelligence.house.gov/

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