Friday, May 25, 2007

trash-talking racist machismo

* Digby:
"This merely illustrates that for the base of the Republican party, this election is stripping away all the codes and all the artifice about "compassionate conservatism" and going back to basics: fear and loathing of women and non-whites. They don't care about fetuses and they don't care about Jesus and they don't really care about "family values" except to the extent it keeps their prerogatives in place. After years of listening them drone on about the culture war, they are likely to nominate a someone who is either a gun grabbing, cross dresser from New York City or a flip-flopping Morman from Taxachusetts --- their "principles" and their insistence on "cultural affinity" are a crock. The only thing they really care about is trash-talking racist machismo. Let's admit that and deal with it shall we, instead of playing these ridiculous culture war games and allowing them to twist us into a pretzel? "

* tristero:
"Dealing with a rogue president is a tricky business, to be sure, especially one as immature and ignorant as this one. But backing down is not an option. I, for one, dread an overt constitutional confrontation between Bush and the rest of the government (as many of you have said, we've been in a serious covert constitutional crisis since Bush entered the White House). But it is becoming distressingly apparent that the alternative to such a confrontation is a White House hellbent on embroiling a (now) very unwilling United States in as many unncessary and futile wars as it can dream up. Wars that will, due to the limitations of conventional American military resources, almost certainly involve nuclear weapons sooner or later. And rather than grapple with the near-certain prospect of Bush deploying nuclear weapons, an American constitutional crisis seems a downright reasonable and level-headed alternative."

* Sy Hersh on DemNow:
"Hersh: And what is the laugh riot and the reason I’m actually talking to you guys about this -- I usually don’t like to do interviews unless I have a story in The New Yorker -- the reason I’m talking about it is because the American government keeps on putting out this story that Syria is behind the Fatah group, which is just beyond belief. There’s no way -- it may be possible, but the chances of it are very slight, simply because Syria is a very big supporter, obviously, of Nasrallah, and Bashar al-Assad has told me that he’s in awe of Nasrallah, that he worships at his feet and has great respect for him. The idea that the Syrians would be sponsoring Sunni jihadist groups whose sole mission are to kill the apostates -- that is, anybody who doesn’t support their view, the Wahhabi or Salafist view of Sunni religion -- that includes the Shia -- anybody who doesn’t believe -- support these guys’ religions are apostates and are killable, that’s basically one of the crazy aspects of all this, and it’s just inconceivable. Nothing can be ruled out, but that doesn’t make much case, and I noticed that in the papers today there’s fewer and fewer references to this. The newspapers in America are beginning to wise up, that this can’t be -- this isn’t very logical. The White House is putting it out hot and heavy as part of the anti-Syria campaign, but it’s not flying, because it doesn’t make sense. So there we are. It’s another mess.

You might think that one of the reasons -- I think I wrote about this in The New Yorker -- one of the things that the Saudi Bandar had promised us was that we can control the jihadists. We can control them, he assured us. Don’t worry about getting in bed with these bad guys, because, as we remember, the same kind of assurances were given to us in the late 1980s, when we supported, as I said, bin Laden and others in the war against Russia, the Mujahideen war, and that, of course, bit us on the ass. And this is, too. So there we are.

AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, what about the role of Vice President Dick Cheney, the Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, you always -- any time you have violent anti-Iran policy and anti-Shia policy, you have to start looking there. Look, clearly this president is deeply involved in this, too, but what I hear from my people, of course, the players -- it’s always Cheney, Cheney. Cheney meets with Bush at least once a week. They have a lunch. They usually have a scheduled lunch. And out of that comes a lot of big decisions. We don’t know what’s ever said at that meeting. And this is -- talk about being opaque, this is a government that is so hidden from us.

So I can’t -- I can tell you that -- you know, the thing that’s amazing about this government, the thing that’s really spectacular, is even now how they can get their way mostly with a lot of the American press. For example, I do know -- and, you know, you have to take it on face value. If you’ve been reading me for a long time, you know a lot of the things I write are true or come out to be more or less true. I do know that within the last month, maybe four, four-and-a-half weeks ago, they made a decision that because of the totally dwindling support for the war in Iraq, we go back to the al-Qaeda card, and we start talking about al-Qaeda. And the next thing you know, right after that, Bush went to the Southern Command -- this was a month ago -- and talked, mentioned al-Qaeda twenty-seven times in his speech. He did so just the other day this week -- al-Qaeda this, al-Qaeda that. All of a sudden, the poor Iraqi Sunnis, I mean, they can’t do anything without al-Qaeda. It’s only al-Qaeda that’s dropping the bombs and causing mayhem. It’s not the Sunni and Shia insurgents or militias. And this policy just gets picked up, although there’s absolutely no empirical basis. Most of the pros will tell you the foreign fighters are a couple percent, and then they’re sort of leaderless in the sense that there’s no overall direction of the various foreign fighters. You could call them al-Qaeda. You can also call them jihadists and Salafists that want to die fighting the Americans or the occupiers in Iraq and they come across the border. Whether this is -- there’s no attempt to suggest there’s any significant coordination of these groups by bin Laden or anybody else, and the press just goes gaga. And so, they went gaga a little bit over the Syrian connection to the activities in Tripoli. It’s just amazing to me, you guys.
* ew:
"In other recent news, AIPAC has announced that it will pay all of Keith Weissman's legal fees. Because it would be an awfully inconvenient time for someone deliberately sabotaging US policy on Iran to have to go to jail, just as the Vice President and a top security aide are busy deliberately sabotaging US policy on Iran."


profmarcus said...

well, i couldn't agree more with tristero... we've been chasing our tails on issue after issue (none of them UNimportant, btw), but, in the process, severely fracturing our collective energies, when, in reality, it's all about the CONSTITUTION, stupid... i posted this evening on just that... it's the only issue that subsumes all the other issues and has the possibility of uniting us all toward a common end... we not only ought to be demanding the constitutional crisis be brought to a head, we ought to be marching from the golden gate to the steps of the capitol, millions strong, holding copies of the precious document in our hands, and not leaving until constitutional outrages like torture, extraordinary rendition, signing statements, wholesale recess appointments, executive branch politicization, illegal wars, warrantless domestic spying, etc. are formally renounced, and the perpetrators hounded from office...

damien said...

Hersh gets criticised for his analysis at the Daily Star:

In his article for The New Yorker, Hersh faithfully channeled what sources in Lebanon told him, lending legitimacy to statements he otherwise failed to prove. Most prominently, for being so specific, he wrote that "representatives of the Lebanese government" had supplied weapons and money to Fatah al-Islam. But Hersh's only evidence for this claim was a quote attributed to one Alistair Crooke, a former MI6 agent who is co-director of Conflicts Forum, an institution advocating dialogue with Islamist movements. Nor did Crooke have direct knowledge of what he was saying. In fact, he "was told" the weapons were offered to the group, "presumably to take on Hizbullah." The argument is now being picked up by media belonging to senior members of the Syrian regime to affirm that the Lebanese Army is fighting an Islamist group in the Nahr al-Bared camp that is effectively on the payroll of Saad Hariri.

Lately, we've had more ricochets from that story. Writing in The Independent on May 22, journalist Robert Fisk, who we might forget lives in Beirut, picked up on Hersh, citing him uncritically to again make the case that Hariri was financing Islamists. So we have Fisk quoting Hersh quoting Crooke quoting someone nameless in a throwaway comment making a serious charge. Yet not one of these somnolent luminaries has bothered to actually verify if the story is true, even as everything about the fighting in Nahr al-Bared virtually confirms it is not true.

He also comes in for some criticism here. I am not up to assessing all of this. Just passing it on. btw, Abhinav Aima is worth a read.

damien said...

PS. I also kinda liked this bit -

James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the Pasadena Now website, hired two reporters last weekend to cover the Pasadena City Council. One lives in Mumbai and will be paid $12,000 a year. The other will work in Bangalore for $7,200.