Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All the King's Bull Feather Merchants

Uber-journalist Bob Woodward is once again telling us exactly what we need to hear long after we needed to hear it. On Friday, Sept. 24, two days before its release, Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars was Amazon’s number two best-selling book. It’s amazing how many people will line up to be among the first to consume information they mostly already know.
As in his other books on our woebegone wars in West Asia – The CommandersBush at WarState of Denial, and so on – Obama’s Wars appears to offer a degree of granularity to tales we seem to have heard before that no other Washington correspondent can match. Woodward is the uncontested king of crony journalism, the reporter who everyone else on the beat tries – and fails – to emulate. His Washington Post colleague Thomas E. Ricks would give his remaining baby-maker to have the kind of clout, fame, and success that Woodward has. (Ricks sacrificed his other one to become head hagiographer to Gen. David Petraeus.)
Senior Pentagon correspondent” Ricks no doubt reaches for his blood pressure pills every time he considers how decisively Woodward has clobbered him in his own mĂ©tier. The Washington Post gave Ricks’s 2009 book The Gamble the Woodward treatment: several days’ worth of promoting the book with feature articles that, as paid advertising, would have eaten up Ricks’s royalties, movie options, advances on his next book, and at least a year’s worth of Ivy League tuition for any kids he may still have hanging around who need that sort of thing. But Ricks couldn’t buy his way into Woodward’s league if he hocked what’s left of his immortal soul, and neither could anyone else on the war beat.
Woodward’s edge over today’s crop of Ernie Pyle wannabes is partly a function of his solid-gold connections. He began constructing his network while on a Navy ROTC scholarship at Yale in the early Sixties, and expanded his circle as a junior naval officer by finagling duty assignments in the passageways of power that included a tour of duty at the Pentagon.
But it was Woodward’s investigative work on the Watergate scandal that set him apart from the run-of-the-mill D.C. pretty boys (Robert Redford played Woodward in the film version of All the President’s Men). Woodward and Carl Bernstein four-handedly saved the Constitution from the clutches of Richard Nixon and his henchmen – who included, ominously, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Gene Roberts, former managing editor of the New York Times, called Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate investigation “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.” FormerWashington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee (played in the film by Jason Robards) said that Woodward is “surely the best of his generation at investigative reporting, the best I’ve ever seen.”
So when Bob tells Lord Acton’s corrupted great men that he wants to talk to them, they don’t tell him to go defecate in his broughams. They tell him to come on over, and they have the help put out a nice spread for him. That’s the key difference between Bob and just about everyone else who has been covering our unholy war on evil. Bob has access. The rest, including and especially Tom Ricks, have access poisoning.
Bob Woodward embodies the kind of power the press had when the Washington Postwas the leading element of a genuine fourth estate in this country, acting as a check on our official branches of government. When Bob contacts you, you know he already has a story about you, and it’s a real good one or he wouldn’t have bothered to call. If you have any hope of getting your side of the story out, you better play ball with him.
The rest of the war pool, and the rest of the press in general, have been maneuvered into a position of needing to play ball with its sources, and lamentably that’s true of both the reporters and their outlets. That’s how Dick Cheney and his hooligans managed to bamboozle us into going along with their Iraq madness: by channeling unfiltered false propaganda through conduits like Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon into the supposedly “liberal” New York Times. Miller and Gordon’s infamous Nigergate piece that fraudulently convinced the world that Saddam Hussein was acquiring uranium from Niger supported the claim with nearly 30 citations of unnamed “officials.”
To this day, when you see a story that cites numerous anonymous officials and supports an administration agenda, you can bet a shiny new Missouri quarter that you’re being hum-buggered. And don’t be fooled by one or two quotes from named sources that are already in the public domain. That’s a standard deception tactic. A variation on this look-over-there gimmick, one that Ricks used extensively in The Gamble, is to interview a whole bunch of people willing to go on record as being in favor of whatever scheme the journalist is supporting. Ricks and others who use this method typically throw in one or two counterpoint quotes for the sake of appearing (heh) fair and balanced.
By the time of the Iraq invasion, the Pentagon’s information warfare directorate was in place, and the embedded reporter strategy was up and running. Journalists who didn’t write what their hosts wanted to see soon found themselves covering the Palookaville Chamber of Commerce. Some of these reporters suffered from a form of Stockholm syndrome, where they so over-sympathized with their subjects that their objectivity vanished like a corporate pension fund.
I strongly suspect this was part of what seduced Tom Ricks into David Petraeus’s bedroll. Ricks likely also grew big eyes for the chance at Woodward-level journalistic stature, as well as a shot at becoming something of a latter-day Sir Julian Corbett, the British naval historian who became a renowned geostrategist and warfare theorist. That worked out for Ricks in a bush-league sort of way. His books on the Iraq war did pretty well, and NBC fops like Chris Matthews and David Gregory kissed up to him on camera. Ricks also got himself made a war-knowledge scholar with one of those start-up garage bands that call themselves national-security think-tanks. But at core Ricks will never be more than a once credible journalist who turned slut-puppy for the Long Warmongers.
And, lamentably, the vast majority of the younger military correspondents are attempting to emulate Ricks, most notably Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who tried to become to Stanley McChrystal what Ricks is to Petraeus. The rest of the Pentagon pool is about as aggressive about getting at the truth as NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski, who has made a career out of repeating verbatim on camera whatever mantra the Pentagon’s bull feather merchants just fed him.
We live in one of the most interesting times of our Republic’s history. In an era when we need more than ever to hear the truth about matters of war and peace in real time, the best investigative journalist of his generation is playing historian. We’ve probably already seen some variation of nearly all the big revelations from Obama’s Wars in the excerpts that the Washington Post and the New York Times ran last week. So Joe Biden thinks Richard Holbrooke is an “egotistical bastard.” Petraeus thinks David Axelrod is a “spin doctor.” How very pot and kettle. But how surprising is it to hear that powerful men like Biden and Petraeus are blind to their own faults? Is this the kind of “news” you want to buy a book to find out?
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is unstable? We can’t trust Pakistan? National Security Adviser James Jones hates everybody and the feeling is mutual? Nobody in Obama’s camp trusts Hillary? Obama’s generals are rolling over him like a tank formation? Obama has exceeded his predecessor’s knack for executive overreach? Nine years after 9/11 Homeland Security isn’t prepared to deal with a nuclear terrorist attack? Afghanistan reminds everybody in the administration of Vietnam?
Get! Out! That’s pretty featherweight stuff coming from a star of Woodward’s magnitude.
Woodward does give us two bits of vital information that most likely nobody else could have delivered. First is that both Obama and Petraeus know the wars we’re fighting now can’t be won. Second, and even more crucial, is Woodward’s account of Petraeus saying:
“You have to recognize also that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. … This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”
Great Caesar’s Ghost, Bob! The morning after you heard that little tidbit from King David, this should have been screaming at us in Fire Alarm font from the front page of your once-great newspaper: “Top General Says We’ll Fight for Decades, Still Won’t Win.”
Bob, it’s time to start being a real reporter again. We need you. Put the books down, roll up your sleeves, and go back to fighting in your weight class.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where Eagles Double-Dog Dare

We’re getting ready to sell $60 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, largely in the form of F-15 Eagle fighter jets. In other news, we’re getting ready to sell all of our old elephant guns to the Eskimos. The Eskimos will probably get more use out of the elephant guns than the Saudis will get out of the F-15s. You can shoot polar bears with elephant guns.
An F-15 Eagle is made to shoot down other airplanes and darn little else. Oh, sure, they made a handful of the two-seat Strike Eagle version that was made to compete with the Navy’s all-weather A-6 Intruder tactical bomber. But the Intruder and Strike Eagle were designed for nape-of-the-earth radar-evading missions, and nobody goes in low anymore. It’s too easy to run into a cloud of anti-aircraft BBs. The Navy has abandoned the Intruder. The Strike Eagle is still in the Air Force inventory so old navigators can have a fast combat jet to fly in; all the service’s other multi-seat planes are big bombers or trash-haulers (logistics aircraft). At $31 million a pop, the Strike Eagle is an expensive way to let senior officers gainfully ride out the end of their careers. They could fly a desk into the sunset for a lot less money.
The single-seat F-15 Eagle, the one we’re selling the Saudis, was designed for one mission and one mission only. Yepper, air superiority, 24/7/365, that’s all we do and that’s why we’re the world’s finest, bar none. We’re the reason there hasn’t been a successful air strike on a U.S. soldier or citizen or on American soil since World War II. Well, yeah, there was them Scud missiles ole Hussein dropped on our troops in Desert Storm. We didn’t shoot them down, but they kind of blew up in mid-flight on their own, uh, before we could get to them. Yeah, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
And about that 9/11 thing, well, we either didn’t get there in time or we didn’t get permission to shoot, I forget which. Whatever the case, it wasn’t our fault. Blame somebody on the ground; I’m not sure who. Maybe it was that Brownie guy.
Pardon me for subjecting you to the sound of an Eagle driver making excuses at a mission debrief, but the Cuban Eight logic behind why we’re selling an air superiority fighter like the F-15 to the Saudis is more disturbing still.
Let’s do a quick review of what most air power theorists consider to be the basic tenets of air superiority. God created air superiority on the eighth day, and it consisted of a sacred trinity: offensive counter air (OCA), defensive counter air (DCA), and suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD). OCA involves protecting good guy bombers and other airplanes from bad guy fighters. DCA involves protecting good guy grunts from bad guy bombers. SEAD involves protecting good guy bombers from bad guy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). It gets confusing when you try to describe what role good guy fighters like F-15 Eagles play in all this because it depends on how they get tasked on the air tasking order (ATO) and what kinds of detailed guidance the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) gives them in the special instructions (SPINS).
Sometimes the DCA function is solely performed by air defense artillery (ADA). Sometimes OCA is performed by interdiction or strike aircraft (INT or STK) that bomb the bad guy fighters before they get airborne. Sometimes the DJFACC (the JFACC’s deputy) has to run around and explain to everybody what the JFACC meant in the ATO and the SPINS, and sometimes the DJFACC has to apologize to the Joint Force Commander (JFC) for something insubordinate the JFACC said about him in public. Sometimes things get so confusing that you can’t tell your AIM-120 from your AMRAAM (they’re the same thing: air-to-air active-radar missiles carried by all front line U.S. Air Force and Navy fighter jets).
In air combat exercises, U.S. fighters have a wicked penchant for shooting down their bomber buddies and getting shot down by friendly air defense artillery. In Operation Desert Storm, F-15s accounted for 36 of the Air Force’s 39 confirmed air-to-air kills. That’s an impressive sounding number until you consider that pitting the Iraqi Air Force against the U.S. Air Force is like taking on an armored division with a brigade of horse cavalry.
The F-15s didn’t fare so well in a 2004 air combat exercise against the Indian Air Force. Flying the latest generation Soviet- and French-built fighters, the Indians whipped the American Eagle drivers in 90 percent of the mock engagements. The U.S. Air Force cited these results when trying to convince Congress of the need to buy more of the stealthy F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at $150 million-a-pop fly-away cost.
The Air Force apparently didn’t bother to tell Congress that the F-15s had performed so poorly in the exercise because they’d fought without their radars and radar missiles. Any modern fighter deprived of its radar gear is about as capable in the air-to-air arena as Snoopy’s doghouse. Of course, it’s normal in air exercises for one side or the other to play “bogey” by simulating older generation fighters. It’s also normal for the U.S. Air Force to try to baffle Congress and the rest of us with wild-blue bull manure.
But whether the F-15s we sell to the Saudis come with radar missiles or not, they’ll be more than sufficient to do the job they’re supposed to do, which is, as the AFP news service puts it, to “counter the threat posed by Iran.”
Iran’s air force is about as potent as a warm bottle of Yoo-Hoo. Its most capable combat jets are the F-14 Tomcats we sold them when bell bottoms were in, and they haven’t been maintained properly since Elvis died, and the airframes we sold them have no air-to-ground capability. For the Saudis to buy F-15s to defend themselves from attack by Iran’s F-14s is like double-dog daring a quadriplegic across the street to walk over and take a swing at you.
As for defending the Saudis from an Iranian nuclear attack: on Sept. 6 the International Atomic Energy Agency reconfirmed for the umpteenth time that Iran is not diverting any of its nuclear material for nefarious purposes, i.e., it has no nuclear weapons program. If it did have a nuclear weapons program, and if it did manage to make a nuclear weapon, and it also managed to make a ballistic missile that could reliably carry said weapon to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis’ new F-15s wouldn’t be able to shoot it down. No fighter aircraft manufactured by anyone has the capability to bag ballistic missiles.
So our $60 billion F-15 sale to the Saudis is a crock of sound and fury signifying that we, the mightiest nation in the history of humanity, still have no idea how to conduct an enlightened foreign policy. Our malignant modus in the Middle East continues unabated; arm everybody to the hairline and then claim a broad regional war will break out unless we maintain a military presence to keep the peace.
And thus our Israel-friendly War Borg ensures that its Long War spans the entirety of our New American Century and survives into the next one.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jackhammer the Message Home

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin drew 100,000 costumed acolytes* to their God-and-country fair in front of the Lincoln Monument last month. Considering the sub-sentient followership quotient of the Tea Bag movement, a hundred grand seems like a small number. After all, Louis Farrakhan managed to march three-quarters of a million men into the nation’s capital, and even a cursory glance at the political agenda of Farrakhan and his followers – to inject social and economic issues facing blacks into the national debate – suggests that they are perfectly sane, something you can’t say for Beck and his legions, who are patently not right in the bat hangar.
But whatever you think of Glenn or Sarah or Lou, you’ll have to agree that they can draw a darn sight bigger crowd to Washington, D.C., these days than a peace protest will.
How the War Borg managed to tranquilize the American public into an ovine acceptance of never ending, counterproductive armed conflict is something of an enigma. The Pentagon and its allies are hardly Sun Tzu-class strategists. That these fumblers have managed to construct a state of self-perpetuating armed conflict in the American half-century and change since World War II bears testimony that evolution can occur in the absence of intelligent design.
They persistently employ hammer claws to remove screws from the floor when an adequate supply of screwdrivers is available at arm’s length. But their persistence, however oafishly applied, is their center of gravity, the Clausewitzean “hub” of their “power and movement, on which everything depends.”
In his famous 1961 speech that was part farewell address and part deathbed confession, President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned us against the “acquisition of unwarranted influence” by the military-industrial complex he had helped to create. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,” he warned.
The Cold War led to the rise of a militaristic political ideology championed by Irving Kristol. In February 1979, Esquire magazine featured Kristol on its cover along with a caption that described him as “the godfather of the most powerful new political force in America – Neoconservatism.”
In a film, where everything more or less has to make sense, the panoramic collapse of the Berlin Wall would have dissolved into the neocons’ bunker scene. They had, after all, constructed their entire raison d’etre on a platform of saving the world from godless communism through good old American firepower, and without the prospect of a toe-to-toe smackdown with the Rooskies, the neocons were up a brown creek without a canoe.
But their persistence prevailed. By the spring of 1997, Irving Kristol’s ungifted sonWilliam had formed the Project for the New American Century, an “educational organization” that included the cream of the right-wing’s tank thinkers, dedicated to promoting ever increasing defense spending and American domination of the world by continuing to bludgeon the bejebus out of it. The PNAC published its seminal manifesto, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, in September 2000, two months prior to the election of their hand-picked and finger-actuated presidential candidate, George W. Bush. Iraq loomed vast in the new PNAC playbook. Establishing a military base of operations in the center of the oil-rich Gulf region was identified as the key component of neocon grand strategy. Removing Saddam Hussein’s regime and whatever weapons of mass destruction he might or might not have was not an ideological pursuit, but merely a convenient pretext to establish the permanent military presence. The only terrorism being considered was the kind U.S. forces could wreak on the region once they’d established a centrally positioned infrastructure.
The neocons knew the American people were more likely to go along with Plan 9 From Outer Space than with an invasion of Iraq unless “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” robbed them of their senses. Then 9/11 came along and the rest, as they say, is history, at least until Karl Rove and his brainwash commandos get the opportunity to rewrite it.
We now know that the Bush administration’s justifications for war with Iraq were a barrel of red herrings. We know that none of the 9/11 attackers were actually from Afghanistan. Untold hundreds of thousands of casualties and a shipwrecked U.S. economy later, we continue to squander our armed forces in a counter-terror fight against al-Qaeda even though we know that al-Qaeda’s membership numbers in the hundreds and that historical analysis proves that armed force is the least effective means possible of countering terrorism.
Yet it appears that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will never completely end, or that if they do it will only be to free up resources to fight in whatever other forsaken corner of the globe where our Praetorian oligarchs tell us that “freedom-loving peoples” need to be “liberated” at gunpoint.
Anyone who has seen Bill Kristol “debate” Jon Stewart on The Daily Showunderstands the definition of “fool” in a deeper sense than any dictionary can convey. Our late friend Irony laughed the lid off its coffin at The New Republic‘s description of Kristol as “Dan Quayle’s Brain.” Kristol is editor of the glossy ideologue The Weekly Standard, has been a columnist for leading mainstream newspapers and magazines, and is a regular babbling head on Fox News. That the buffoonish Kristol is such a media icon leads one to marvel at how he and his confederates have so successfully managed to manipulate the information system to steer the American body politic from one imprudent course of action after the next.
Persistence again proves the key to success. When I was a kid, Joe Pyne was the only nationally known right-wing talk show host in the country, and most of the people who knew about him, even the ones who watched him religiously, knew he was a one-man carnival amusement. Today, you can’t consume 15 minutes of radio or television without coming in direct or indirect contact with one or more of Pyne’s ideological progeny, and his most direct descendant, Glenn Beck, is taken seriously enough to be able to reserve a national landmark to stage the greatest political freak show on earth.
Along with persistence, the neocons’ mind control efforts have succeeded on sheer volume. If you shout into enough megaphones for long enough you’ll create an echo chamber that will eventually penetrate the consciousness of society’s sanest minds through secondhand channels. The best coverage of Beck’s Lincoln Memorial circus probably came from the PBS NewsHour.
Even if you could completely isolate yourself from the media – and you can’t these days, even if you move into the cave next door to Osama bin Laden’s – you’d be bombarded with the warlords’ carrier signal through the phenomenon known as viral propaganda. Whenever you’re in a social situation and someone begins a statement with “Did you know that…” or “It’s a fact that…” or “Don’t you think that…” or something similar, odds are overwhelming that the speaker is trying to infect you with whatever ill-logic he, she, or it last heard from his, her, or its favorite hate jockey.
That the War Borg partnered with the insentient-right media network doesn’t indicate any tactical acumen on its part. It was hard-core conservative media moguls like Rupert Murdoch, the founder and financial backer of Kristol’s Weekly Standard, who reached out to them as an investment in a kind of low-level, constant warfare, the purpose of which, as George Orwell explained, is “to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.”
And there will never be a viable progressive or centrist counterbalance to Fox News and wacky radio and the standard daily, weekly, and monthly right-wing rag pile because real people would rather listen to a jackhammer than to the kind of pollution Rush and Glenn and Bill and the rest of them pump into the information environment.
*The Tea Baggers bear an uncanny resemblance to The Acolytes of the Marvel Comics universe, who are, according to Wikipedia, a team of “mutant super-villains” who follow “the principles of the mutant Magneto, particularly the mutant right of superiority over normal humans.” Some Acolytes worship Magneto “with a religious fervor” and regard him as the “mutant messiah.”
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com or see the entire column here tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Devils and the Deep Blue Sea

The non-victory-lap victory lap broadcast from the Oval Office last week showed beyond any lingering doubt that young Mr. Obama is every bit the prevaricator that young Mr. Bush was. But the mission semi-accomplished speech carried an even darker announcement: the unconditional surrender of our political leadership to the American Pentarchy, that malevolent confluence of Big Brother, Big Bucks, Big Oil, Big Arms, Big Bandwidth, Big Jesus, Big Zion, and big-shot generals and politicians who sustain the Pentagon’s Long War agenda.
Only someone with the IQ of a tea bag could fail to recognize that Obama’s Mission Pseudo-Accomplished speech was a post-Orwellian masterpiece of Dubya-classdisassembly.
“The combat mission in Iraq has ended,” Obama told us, but there’s lots of fighting ahead. Our troops “defeated a regime that had terrorized” Iraq’s people, then they “shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people” from, uh, each other. Because of “the resilience of the Iraqi people,” they’re still a threat to themselves. “All U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year” unless our generals and other military advisers say leaving is a bad idea, which they’ve already said, time and time and time and time and time and timeagain. And oh yeah, all this is Bush’s fault, but you can’t doubt the schmuck’s “support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.” Or can you?
Bush could give a speech like that with a straight face because he lacked sufficient moral and cognitive subtlety to understand how full of crap he was. Obama doesn’t have that excuse. His father didn’t even stick around to watch him grow up, much less buy him degrees from Harvard and Yale, and Air National Guard pilot wings, and spiritual redemption from a televangelist, and a baseball team, and a political career. Obama had to acquire clout the hard way, which means he spent more time operating under the table than a Bangkok bar girl. As a result, Obama has developed a sophisticated capacity for Orwellian Doublethink, the ability to simultaneously accept both of two contradictory beliefs as truth.
It isn’t like the warning signs weren’t there all along. When candidate Obama swore he’d pinch it off in Iraq in order to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, we might have suspected that something with a reek nailed to it was headed our way. In another telling campaign event that largely flew under the radar, Obama camp foreign policy wonks Tony Lake and Susan Rice signed their boss onto a “study report” issued by theWashington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an AIPAC subsidiary. The “report,” titled Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge, concluded that the U.S. must be open to taking “preventative military action” against Iran in order to protect Israel or accept that Israel may be forced to take military action on its own. I never heard Obama mention that during the debates, did you? It must have slipped his mind.
Some of us feared the jig was up when a victorious Obama announced he’d keep Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, “King David” Petraeus, “Desert Ox” Odierno, and the rest of the surgin’ safari on the job despite their public stands in opposition to the kinds of withdrawal timelines he had proposed during his run for the White House. His appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state ensured that war would continue to trump diplomacy as America’s foreign policy tool of choice.
Then Obama agreed to Gen. David McKiernan’s request to escalate the Afghanistan war even though neither McKiernan nor the Joint Chiefs could tell him what the end game in that conflict might look like. He let Petraeus Inc. bully him into firing McKiernan and replacing him with Petraeus darling Stan McChrystal, and then he let McChrystal pry-bar him into yet another escalation. When it came time to fire McChrystal, Obama stiff-armed the opportunity to clean his five-sided house of ill repute and sack the entire junta like he should have when he took office. Instead he put Petraeus in McChrystal’s old job and continued to leave the Bush-era mafia in place. It is now clear that the Aug. 31 end-of-combat milestone was a mockery, and that the other withdrawal timeline dates for both Iraq and Afghanistan are equally farcical.
There is a certain healthy aspect to once and for all coming out of one’s state of denial about Obama and his relationship with the warmongery. Unfortunately, that’s just the first step of a startling journey into the dark corners of our national psyche. For not only has the War Borg assimilated Obama, it has consumed his party as well. Congressional Democrats have had nearly four years to pull the plug on our woebegone wars in Western Asia and have declined to do so.
And the alternative to our present ruling faction is a party that owes its allegiance to the undead sorts who flocked to Washington last week to worship Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Worse yet is that when we look to the highbrow end of the GOP lineup we find Newt Gingrich, who as a political philosopher makes Niccolò Machiavelli look like Lao Tzu. Newt is the master of every underhanded ruse of Socratic rhetoric. One of his favorites is the false analogy, with which he recently pseudo-refuted the right of American citizens to build a mosque in the vicinity of the Twin Towers by saying, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.”
In one fell swoop, Newt equated all Muslims with Nazis and he equated a place of worship to a “sign,” presumably one that would say something spiteful about Jews who suffered in the Holocaust. Newt would have been making a fair analogy if he’d said, “Lutherans don’t have a right to build a day-care center next to the Holocaust Museum,” but even Glenn and Sarah might think that kind of talk was crazy, or at least be forced to confess that they didn’t have a clue what Newt was quacking about.
And it would never dawn on Glenn or Sarah or their sub-sentient acolytes that Newt was demonizing Muslims in the exact same manner that the Nazis demonized Jews.
Our quest for the lesser evil has arrived at an impasse. On one hand we have a world-class Doublethinker who expects us to thank him for keeping promises he has vigorously broken and to accept the cynical notion that war is peace. On the other we have a mob of flesh-eating galoots who promise to give us Orwell’s Hate Week 52 weeks a year for as long as it takes them to bring about Armageddon.
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com.