Kinks in our armor. 25 August 2006Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
I happened to catch the new ambassador to the US from Pakistan on CNN with Blitzer. Have a laugh. I need one:
BERGEN: I think it is a tricky one. I mean in 2004, Osama bin Laden scored a favorability rating of 65 percent in a poll of Pakistani people. I would ask the ambassador, is there a Pakistani politician who scores higher numbers than Bin Laden.
BLITZER: Well what’s the answer, Mr. Ambassador? Is there a sense that you really don’t want to capture this guy?
DURRANI: I think this is totally false, and I think it’s ridiculous that Pakistan, who’s put their life on the line, that we have suffered the largest number of casualties in this war and how can somebody say that we are not in it, our heart is not in it or we don’t want to capture him.
Hah! Quick!!.. some ice water for the throat and flick some on our fevered brows as well… then onward:
BLITZER: Do you expect, Mr. Ambassador, Osama bin Laden to do something to commemorate, if will you, the fifth anniversary of 9/11?
DURRANI: I’m not sure. I can’t say, but I think we should put our heads together and I think one of the biggest dangers that I see is, is this, you know, blame-throwing game. [isn't that just dear?]
I think there is no latitude for having any kink in our armor. The U.S., U.K., Pakistan, the other countries who want terrorists out, they should be joining together. They should fight the war on terror together. There should be no kinks in our armor. Because –
BLITZER: Mr. Ambassador, one final question before I let you and Peter go. There’s some concern that’s been expressed, if there were a successful assassination attempt against President Pervez Musharraf who has been the leader and he’s thwarted several of these attempts over the years that Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal potentially could be a threat and Osama bin Laden has made it clear he’d love to get his hands on a nuclear bomb and kill millions of Americans, if he could. How worried should Americans be that that nuclear arsenal in Pakistan is vulnerable?
DURRANI: I think the people in the U.S. should know the Pakistan military, you have worked with us. You have interacted with us. For years, people have done courses here. You should have confidence in the Pakistan military and the Pakistani system. I think there is zero chance of the nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the extremists. The extremists in Pakistan are a very small minority. I wouldn’t even put them in the region of two percent. So there’s no question of the nuclear weapons going into their hands.
“Learning to love the bomb” was easy. And long ago.
With friends like the US media who the fuck even needs enemies (but we seem to want so many!)…
This from FAIR – a really wonderful organisation. Norman Solomon just plugs along. Doing good. Funny, Kos popped into my mind. Well he plugs along. Too. And it stops there. Oh yes! that was gratuitous. But fun, you know…
Back to FAIR and our media:
Bush’s unedited comment was as follows:
Q: But are you frustrated, sir?
BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I’m happy. This is — but war is not a time of joy. These aren’t joyous times. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times, and they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.
Viewers of CBS Evening News (8/21/06) saw a carefully edited version of that response—one better suited to presenting Bush as serious and concerned with the effects of the war. Reporter Bill Plante previewed the answer by saying that Bush “conceded that daily reports of death and destruction take a toll, both on the nation and on him.” The edited quote that followed:
Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated, rarely surprised. These aren’t joyous times. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times. And they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.
And of course CBS was not the only one. They all did it. Just like gangland murders. And I doubt much has changed. If you all touch the knife, plunge it in, you are all culpable.
Dying to the tune of a thousand cuts – and the ad time is sold to pay for it. Disneyland News, GE News… and so on.
…again from Norman Solomon, who, yes, just plugs along doing good work:
Nearly five years into the “war on terror,” it’s still at the core of American media and politics.
Yeah, I’ve seen the recent polls showing a drop in public support for President Bush’s “war on terror” claims. And I’ve read a spate of commentaries this month celebrating Bush’s current lack of political traction on the terrorism issue, like the New York Times piece by Frank Rich last Sunday triumphantly proclaiming that “the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over.”
That’s a comforting thought, hovering somewhere between complacent and delusional.
Reflexive fear may be on vacation, but it hasn’t quit. The “war on terror” motif is fraying – but it remains close at hand as a mighty pretext for present and future warfare.
The US war effort in Iraq is, if anything, more horrific than it was a year ago. Back then, in late summer, Frank Rich wrote a Times column – under the headline “Someone Tell the President the War Is Over” – mocking Bush’s assertion on August 11, 2005, that “no decision has been made yet” about withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Responding in print days later, Rich concluded:
“The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We’re outta there.”
hmmm I enjoy Frank Rich. But I sometimes think I enjoyed him much more as a theatre critic. To be honest, I think he pats liberals down, disarms them by muffling rising anger. If you read him uncritically, easy to think change is on the move – so to speak. A little too easy.
Oh yes, I like bitter lemon drops. Too. ;).
A year later, are we “outta there?” Only via the intellectualizing gymnastics of punditland.
More Americans are aware that the “war on terror” – as an umbrella excuse for making war – is a bunch of lethal baloney. But can anyone point to a falloff of active US militarism as that realization has dawned? Did the Pentagon’s warfare dissipate in the slightest while disdain from mainstream anti-Bush pundits went through the roof?
Looking ahead, does anyone credibly think that Democratic Party leaders can be relied on to stand up against rationales for a huge air assault on Iran - in the face of predictable claims that a massive attack has become necessary to forestall the development of nuclear weapons by a Tehran regime that supports the “terrorist” Hezbollah organization and has pledged the destruction of Israel?
They have not stood up. Why would they change? Now? With Mid Terms coming and issues of Who is strong.. ? Who is not a lefty? Who is not a pacifist? Who is not an anti-semite (or rather, not in danger of being called one)?? Who is not “anti-war”… Certainly Lamont is not.
Remember, it is all about management. Managing the wars.
A snip or two from Juan Cole’s entry for 8.25:
Turkish jets bombed bases in northern Iraq on Thursday of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been responsible for several terrorist strikes in eastern Anatalia in recent months.
The US military, which monitors everything that happens in Iraq electronically, somehow could not figure out that the air raids came from Turkey.
Oh I suspect we knew before they set out. What kidders we all are…
Iraqi professors and teachers are fleeing the country this year in twice the numbers they did last, in fear of insecurity and even assassination.
UPDATE, 5:50 am Friday…
Doesn’t Kos call himself an “activist”… isn’t that the verbal drool he uses?
Well I noticed that Rahm’s new book [what! you have not heard of it? Thirty lashes!] with the very bureacratic title, The Plan, [you know you want to read that!] is reviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times. hmmm. Well I suppose a few people inside Illinois DO have to read it…
So, do you think Rahm has read it? Let’s get real, some aides wrote this pack of illusions.
BTW, Rahm has a co-author. Anybody remember Bruce Reed? You know, leader, with Al From, of the dying Dem org, the DLC?
You know it is dying. Even tho Hillary re-upped her membership over a year ago and all the hopefuls for 2008 trooped to Denver last month for the DLC approval and schmoozing…
Kos says it is dying. Dead… any minute now.
LOL Catch how Bruce Reed of the DLC, formerly head of Domestic Policy for The Clintons is identified:
You say you haven’t heard much about “six on ’06″? Perhaps the notion of a Democratic agenda will get a bigger boost with the publication of The Plan: Big Ideas for America by Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Bruce Reed, a journalist and Democratic activist.
hmmm claiming to be a “journalist”. These guys just say whatever. The whole review is fairly amusing… and of course closes with the predictable:
The Plan is mostly centrist Democratic stuff. However you may feel about issues he raises, there’s no doubt that Emanuel is proposing for the Democrats a comprehensive national agenda, maybe even a winning one. Just one question: Is it an agenda that will appeal to the rabid Bush-hating, anti-war, bring-back-the-’60s crowd that seems to dominate the party these days?
UPDATE, 3:20 pm
Chomsky has a new piece in Palestine Chronicle.
[T]he standard Western version is that the July 2006 invasion was justified by legitimate outrage over capture of two Israeli soldiers at the border. The posture is cynical fraud. The US and Israel, and the West generally, have little objection to capture of soldiers, or even to the far more severe crime of kidnapping civilians (or of course to killing civilians). That had been Israeli practice in Lebanon for many years, and no one ever suggested that Israel should therefore be invaded and largely destroyed. Western cynicism was revealed with even more dramatic clarity as the current upsurge of violence erupted after Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, on June 25. That too elicited huge outrage, and support for Israel’s sharp escalation of its murderous assault on Gaza. The scale is reflected in casualties: in June, 36 Palestinian civilians were killed in Gaza; in July, the numbers more than quadrupled to over 170, dozens of them children. The posture of outrage was, again, cynical fraud, as demonstrated dramatically, and conclusively, by the reaction to Israel’s kidnapping of two Gaza civilians, the Muamar brothers, one day before, on June 24. They disappeared into Israel’s prison system, joining the hundreds of others imprisoned without charge — hence kidnapped, as are many of those sentenced on dubious charges. There was some brief and dismissive mention of the kidnapping of the Muamar brothers, but no reaction, because such crimes are considered legitimate when carried out by “our side.” The idea that this crime would justify a murderous assault on Israel would have been regarded as a reversion to Nazism.
The distinction is clear, and familiar throughout history: to paraphrase Thucydides, the powerful are entitled to do as they wish, while the weak suffer as they must. [snip]
Also: John Dean has an article up in FIndlaw on Dominionism and a new book by a Salon author, Michelle Goldberg…
If more Americans would read works like Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, the longevity of our democracy, as we know it, would be more assured. I say this because the more people who understand the thinking and agenda of the growing forces of “Christian nationalism,” the less likely it will be that these forces will succeed. Not many people want to go where Christian nationalists want to take the country. [snip]
My fear is that all too many in the positions to empower Dominionism and clear the way for the religious absolutists DO want just that hideous rigid authoritarianism. And I worry that it suits far too many corporatists just fine…