Gray Flannel Dwarf

9/11/2006

Pleading the 5th.

I dunno what I can say about the fifth anniversary of 9/11 without sounding like I’m politicising about it. But really… no one, not the people, not the politicians, ever did what they said had to be done — stand up and avoid being fearful. If they’d done that, we wouldn’t be in the state of scrutiny we’re under now.

People always talked about “not being afraid to fly” as an example — “get back on the planes, travel, show that you’re not afraid”. But that’s as far as we’ve gone. Really, people are just as scared as ever, and they used that as an excuse to rationalise expanded surveillance and allow intrusion into personal lives.

The fact is — wiretaps, ability to hold US citizens w/o access to lawyers, even the “free speech zones” — the grounds for these things is fear. The fact that we, as a nation, allow them — or at least haven’t expressed a unified outrage, is evidence that this underlying fear has never dissipated.

“Get back on the plane, show them you’re not afraid.” check

“Get back out there, speak your mind, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

“Get back on those telephones, call your friends, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

And what I really can’t fathom is the people who say that it won’t be used against your good ole god-fearin’ Americans. Give the government the power to do it, they will. Give corporations the laws, they will use them for their own good. Give individuals the power to persecute others, they will! For chrissakes, we have journalists under DHS criminal complaint due to filmmaking? Prime example of giving someone — in this case, a Someone — an inch and them taking a mile.

There’s nothing wrong with vigilance in a post-9/11 world. But there is a lot wrong with going at it vigilante style, which, it seems, is how we’ve spent the vast majority of the time doing it, since then.

All I ever hear these days, in response to these sorts of thoughts, is something akin to “9/11 changed everything”. Yes, maybe that’s the case — and for all I know, maybe it is a war against a different, changing enemy. But that makes the 2,996 people who died front-line soldiers in this new war — and somehow, in the aftermath, we’re all less free than we were before. So if they didn’t “die for our freedoms”, a term bandied-about far too often, what, then, do they represent? Our way of life? Sorry, that answer fails too, because that way of life went the way of the dodo thanks to post 9/11 legislation. That I really can’t think of much we have gained due to the changes in the post 9/11 world, it only goes to illustrate how much we, as Americans, have lost.

Commemorating those lost on 9/11 makes me also think about the freedoms we’ve lost since then. Five years later, the fears of the American public must still remain — that’s the only way I can understand why we’d let our freedoms be trampled. People say America has come back, is stronger than ever, and isn’t afraid to fight a war against terror. But if this were truly the case, we wouldn’t allow our own freedoms to be so strongly curtailed in the process.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-partisan issue, other than the fact that too many people have fallen for the ruse that it is such, that somehow sitting on one side of the political fence or the other automatically makes one fall in the right or wrong camp. Take a step back at this notion, for a second? How ridiculous are we? Isn’t such a divide exactly something some scheming terrorist mastermind out there would look for? Aren’t such statements a freaking big neon sign with a blinking arrow reading, “I’m With Stupid”?


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:26 pm

5/17/2004

Laurie Mylroie Simply Won’t Shut Up.

FrontPage magazine: The Saddam-9/11 Link Confirmed

Yep, she’s at it again, trying to lead on the American public, suggesting that Hussein had a role in the 9/11 attacks — and yet has little to show for it, in this article. Per the article,

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

She decides to quote Webster to define “evidence” and “proof” — and yet, when you read her article, the supposed meeting between al-Ani and Atta is, in no uncertain terms, a mesh of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. No need to quote them all here, go read the article for yourself.

Really, though, the bulk of this article looks more self-defensive in nature, and personally I am not surprised to see it, ever since Clarke’s book was published, and she was mentioned in it; indeed, she mentions Clarke in this article.

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke is a prime example of this phenomenon. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Having been readily debunked, she resorts to personl attacks. However, again she makes arguments, in this case ad hominem attacks against Clarke, with no supporting evidence, simply making a blanket statement that Clarke “adamant refusal to even consider the possibility of an Iraqi role”, and makes some absurd, conspiratorial accusations that some shadowy “elite” refused to even consider an Iraq connection — and again, cites unnamed confidential documents.

Iraq was indeed involved in those assaults. There is considerable information to that effect, described in this piece and elsewhere. They include Iraqi documents discovered by U.S. forces in Baghdad that U.S. officials have not made public.

Seriously does anyone take this woman seriously anymore? Did they ever? For an author and scholar apparently so “well-respected”, I’ve never seen a more poorly structured article. If I were an editor, I’d refuse this on the spot — not because of the subject manner, but because it is so incoherent and poorly constructed.

There’s enough of an unseasonably warm front over Washington right now. We don’t need any more hot air, Ms. Mylroie.

3/31/2004

A Question of Intent


Initially, the administration said an invasion was necessary to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possessed and was prepared to use. With none uncovered, the White House now says the war, in which more than 500 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis have died, was justified by Saddam’s alleged intent to build and use such weaponry.

“We are looking for weapons, we’re looking for production equipment, we’re looking for the decisions by the regime to sustain a capability … but we have not found existing stocks of weapons as some had expected,” Duelfer said.

Duelfer, appointed by the CIA in January, guides the on-the-ground hunt by the Defense Department’s Iraq Survey Group of about 1,300 personnel. He said they regularly receive reports of hidden weapons which are then checked out, “but we haven’t found any at this point in time.”

It’s been said from the beginning that the US was making Saddam prove a negative, prove that there were no WMDs… and now they’ve all but admitted there are none, so they’re now backpedalling and using the term ‘intent’.

Ergo, the criteria for initiating war was not met, and did not exist.
Ergo, Bush’s war cannot be considered bellum justum

This war was never a “zero-sum game”. It came at the expense of the Iraqi people and lives of American soldiers, and will have repercussions for decades.


Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 11:21 am

3/18/2003

Another publication, The Washington Post,

Another publication, The Washington Post, has published an article similar to the previously mentioned New Republic editorial.

Article saved below…
(more…)


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 11:16 am