Friday, February 16, 2007

The Bush Administration: Oh, What a Tangled Web

It looks more every day like White House Press Secretary Tony Snow doesn't have a cognizant bone in his head.

When asked at a press conference on Thursday what went wrong in Iraq, Snow replied "I'm not sure anything went wrong."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates continues to insist that the White House is not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran. What a load of road apples. The White House has been looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran for years.

Mr. Bush still refers to Iran's nuclear weapons program, although he has yet to produce a shred of evidence that Iran intends to develop anything but an independent means of producing nuclear energy, an "inalienable right" guaranteed to it by the U.N. Non-proliferation Treaty.

At the now infamous secret briefing in Baghdad on Sunday, unnamed senior military officials claimed that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government were responsible for the funneling of weapons to Shiite militant groups in Iraq without providing any evidence to back the allegation. Shortly after that, both Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Peter Pace and Mr. Bush allowed as how, well, no, they didn't know for sure if the "highest levels" of Iran's government were involved, but by golly, somebody from Iran was, especially that there Quds group.

But they offered no evidence that the Quds are involved in Iraq either.

When asked to comment on the apparent disparity between remarks made by the "senior officials," General Pace and Mr. Bush, Tony Snow said, "We're not on separate pages."

They're not on separate pages. They're in a separate solar system.

The Echo Chamberlains

In an attempt to discredit critics of Mr. Bush's war, Frank Gaffney, Jr. of the Washington Times recently opened his column with this gem of vituperation:
Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.

--President Abraham Lincoln

But guess what. Lincoln never said that. As Editor and Publisher notes, the quote was penned by conservative author J. Michael Waller. The misquote originally appeared in a 2003 issue of Insight, a conservative current events magazine published by the Washington Times. Waller, according to Editor and Publisher, admits that he never intended to put quotation marks around the sentence, and blames his Insight editor for the mistake and the failure to correct it.

Yeah.

The misquote has been used many times by right wing pundits and politicians, and was exposed as a fabrication last August by Brooks Jackson at FactCheck.org, but that didn't stop the right wing echo chamber from repeating it. And as of Friday, February 16, the Washington Times had not retracted or corrected the false statement in Gaffney's column.

Information Quagmire

As I've noted before, the greatest casualty of the Bush administration's tenure has been the abject pollution of America's information environment. In an effort to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity, the mainstream (or so called "liberal") media allow the right equal opportunity to air its propaganda. The Big Brother Broadcast--A.M. talk radio, Fox News, Tony Snow, the Washington Times, etc.--follow no journalistic standards whatsoever. Facts are as fungible as fairy tales and childish insult contests pass for honest debate. Volume and nastiness substitute for reason. Out and out flatulence is sold as the perfume of enlightenment.

And yet, lamentably, entirely too many Americans still fall for this Orwellian line of tripe. Living in Virginia, I regularly encounter people who consider themselves informed and witty because they can quote whatever Rush or Bill or Sean said that day. And if a right wing luminary is quoted in the New York Times or the Washington Post, well, shoot, it has to be true if it was run in one of them libruhl papers.

The greatest threat America faces is not Iran or the terrorists or weapons of mass destruction or Russia or China. It is the purposeful and focused internal campaign, being conducted by right wing ideologues, to destroy the citizenry's capacity for critical thinking.

To make us so confused and so afraid that at the end of the day, we have no choice but to believe what Big Brother tells us, even if we know he's contradicting himself and making no sense whatsoever.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.

10 comments:

  1. Bonnie3:45 PM

    That was really well-stated.

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  2. Tony Snow's comment -- I think he's telling the truth, actually. This really is what they planned, so: Quagmire Accomplished!

    Destroy the village infrastructure in order to save (and re-construct) it with no-bid contracts.

    Most Americans are too busy just trying to survive every day and it's so convenient to watch... whatever's on. And the corporate media, boy, have they got a show for us...!s

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  3. Well told, Lima!

    Hey your F***'ing phone rings off the hook...no answer.

    drop me an e-mail at billy.combs@jfcom.mil...leaving town soon!

    Ciao!
    Billy

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  4. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Incidentally, "Quds" is the Arabic word for Jerusalem. It's literal meaning is "sacred place." Obviously a group with such a name is going to push a lot of buttons in the religion saturated Middle East.

    As for the main brunt of your post, I would not be surprised if the powers that were once upon a time realized that a less educated America was less likely to second guess any real life Risk games they wished to play. Something about it not being theirs to reason why. The thing is that republics of the uneducated tend to lose the trappings of a republic and become mob-ocracies, as Aristotle already wrote more than three hundred years before Christ's birth. (The Politics is the book in question.)

    Aristotle also, incidentally, tutored the last Commander to successfully invade Iraq and Afghanistan. To pull this off, the Commander, Alexander the Great, among other things, married an Iranian beauty from an influential family. Of course, fair Roxana probably didn't wear a chador, which presumably facilitated the match-making.

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  5. Thanks for the comments, gang. Billy, I'll drop a line.

    Jeff

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  6. Hey Jeff I hate to say it but I don't think your right on the whole Bush wants to invade Iran thing. If I wanted to get out Iraq and I wanted to limit political damage I would want to leave peacefully without the country caving in on itself. To do that you need to convince Iraq's neighbors to stop conducting their covert operations in the area this would include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel. Everyone in that group can be pretty much brought on board with the exception of Iran. Therefore you have to utilize a carrot and stick approach. The stick in this case being continued American and British support of the Jundallah Baluchi rebels in southeastern Iran who, despite their links to Al Qaeda are causing the Iranians a big headache as well as the threat of a U.S attack on the Natanaz nuclear facility which would be carried out sometime after Iran get its new president in the form of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who is next in line to become the Supreme Ayatollah and is a moderate when compared to Amhadinijad. The Carrot would be better relations with the United States as well as a sweet deal which other states such as North Korea are getting as well as regime survival and the protection of Iran's territorial integrity not to mention the enormous footholds in Iraqi politics and Lebanese politics. I am just saying that the United States wants to leave the battlefield with some of its credibility intact and not in tatters like the Franch retreating from Moscow. Furthermore although the new CENTCOM admiral is an air to ground specialist he was also a noted diplomat in the Asian theater and is a perfect example of a man who walks softly but carries a big stick.

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  7. In fact I take my statement about the US making a strike on Natanz back. There is plenty of time to wait and if possible they would probably try to get the Democrats to do it. That way they could portray the Democrats as being as misguided as they were and undermine the anti-war support the Democrats have been getting. I can just imagine Fox News droning on and on about how the Democrats failed to reach a diplomatic solution and decided to blow up the Natanz facility without giving diplomatic efforts a chance.

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  8. Roy,

    I wish I had your confidence in this adminisrations ability to act rationally. I'm not saying your analysis is wrong--it's just their pattern has always been to go back to the initial neoconservative policies and philosophies, and that concerns me.

    Billy,

    I keep trying to remember who that commedian is you use as an avatar. Billy Barty?

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  9. "The stick in this case being continued American and British support of the Jundallah Baluchi rebels in southeastern Iran who, despite their links to Al Qaeda are causing the Iranians a big headache.."

    Leaves the whole War on Evil rhetoric a bit dangling in the air, dont you think? "We are in holy war with Al Qaeda, except certain parts of it of course...". More info on this would be appreciated.

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  10. 1 - Mr. Huber, your second-to-last paragraph, beginning with, "The greatest threat America faces..." is absolutely perfect and beautiful. It is on a level with Eisenhower's Miltary-Industrial Complex quote.

    2 - Roy, your malleable morality and logic would be humorous if it wasn't so endemic of everyone on "your side" of things, and exposes you as a simple "concern troll". So you're saying it's okay to fund Al Queda as long as they hassle the Iranian regime a little? First, I don't know about you, but I don't want any of my money funding Al Queda, whatever the reason. Second, we already tried that in the 70's in Afghanistan, and, well, look where it got us; we're having this conversation now because of the blowback of that ridiculous policy.

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