Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Return of McCarthyism

I can’t seem to embed the video.  Follow the link and watch, please.

I suggest you take Dramamine beforehand–your head might start spinning.

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Ronald Reagan on the GWoT

I’m continuing to read Will Bunch’s new book on President Ronald Reagan.  It’s good, and I’m especially enjoying learning new things about a president I disliked my whole adult life.  Now 3/4 of the way through the book, I’m finding myself oddly impressed with some aspects of “The Great Communicator’s” presidency.  I’m gaining somewhat of a grudging respect for President Reagan.

I especially liked these chestnuts from Reagan on how NOT to fight terrorists.  Below is part of a transcript of the President’s News Conference on June 18, 1985, following the murder of US Navy Diver Robert Dean Stethem by Islamic terrorists.

Q: If I may follow up, sir. Can you tell us, sir, what happened to the policy of swift and effective retribution that you announced 4\1/2\ years ago to deal with international terrorism such as that that we’ve seen — —

President Reagan: Well, when I was speaking about that I was talking about a situation in which a government on the other side was involved — so there was a direct source there for the evil. I would have to tell you — and I can’t go farther than this in telling you — that the problem is the who in perpetrating these deeds — who their accomplices are, where they are located — because retaliation in some peoples’ minds might just entail striking a blow in a general direction, and the result would be a terrorist act in itself and the killing and victimizing of innocent people.

. . .

Q: Mr. President, you’ve said repeatedly during your administration, as you’ve said tonight, that you can’t give in to terrorism. But each time that we’ve had one of these incidents, such as the case of the marines who died in Beirut, there had been a lot of talk from the administration but no action. Is there any danger that terrorists in the Middle East might get the feeling that the U.S. bark is worse than its bite and that they can do these things with impunity knowing we won’t retaliate?

President Reagan: Well, I hope not. But again, let me just point out to you in that incident, a man who committed the crime — or men — I don’t know how many were in the truck — they’re gone. This is one of the horrifying things of some of these terrorist acts is you have a group of people who think their ticket to heaven is to do this and to take some others with them. So, when it was over, the truck and the people in it — or person in it — were gone, and the same was true of the Embassy bombing.

Now, how do you establish a connection between them and someone else? Was there someone else that set them on their way — you have no way of knowing. So, again, as I say, you’re left with only one form of retaliation and that is if you just aim in the general direction and kill some people, well, then, you’re a terrorist, too.

I don’t like his reducing the problem to a black and white, our side is good, their side is evil paradigm, and I realize Reagan’s statements are carefully and intelligently nuanced to allow some wiggle room for improvisation in combating terrorism:  If you know who sent the suicide bombers, you arrest him or you blow him up.  If it was a government, your armed forces can engage their armed forces if the situation calls for it.  But if there is doubt, you must hold up, you must not act rashly.  He repeats the theme that retaliation against terrorist attacks must be extremely well-focused, extremely well thought-out, extremely well-planned, extremely well-justified;  public opinion must be with you, the law must be on your side, and innocents must not be killed lest the victim of the initial terrorist attack become the terrorist.

According to Ronald Reagan, the current approach to terrorism, the doctrine of preemptive war and all-out invasions of sovereign countries to kill or capture non-state terrorist groups are acts of terrorist themselves.  This country was terrified after 9/11, and we allowed our leaders to lash out wildly at enemies and perceived enemies.  We tortured the innocent alongside the guilty, and we killed the innocent alongside the guilty.  We became almost as bad as those who attacked us.

By Reagan’s definition, former President George W. Bush and the people serving in his administration are terrorists.  President Obama and his administration are terrorists for continuing what other’s started instead of responsibly ending the conflicts. We, the American people, are terrorists for allowing the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in response to 9/11.

I’m very alarmed at the general indifference of much of the US population to the so-called “Global War on Terror” and the methods and tactics the US military and civilian leadership are using to fight it.  My most specific concern right now is the use–overuse, in my opinion–of armed unmanned drone aircraft.

I know the arguments for:  No pilot equals no chance of causalties on our side.  State-of-the-art surveillance technology means reduced chance of collateral damage.  Forward airbases in allied countries means deeper penetration into enemy territory.  I get it.  These buggers seem to be the perfect weapons:  Cheap (relatively speaking), quiet, precise, lethal and expendable.

My arguments against drones is on moral, ethical, and tactical lines.  Even with shit-hot intel, these things kill lots of civilians because 1) There is no such thing as a smart bomb (what I mean is the weapon can’t distinguish between a bad guy and a little kid, it just drops out of the sky and explodes) and 2) Our enemy hides among the general population of non-combatant civilians.  Killing civilians isn’t just an act of terrorism itself, as President Reagan said, but also is a major recruitment tool for the enemy.  Every civilian killed in a drone attack recruits more zealots to the enemy’s side.  And I’m not sure I like the way the future of war is heading:  Robot armies deployed by a imperialistic superpower give me a major case of the willies.

I know ever since the invasion of Grenada by President Reagan war has been repackaged as a sanitized, surgical operation that utilizes a professional army comprised of less than 2% of the US population as its scalpel.  Media are controlled and fed feel-good pieces and propaganda.  They are not allowed the free rein to cover the conflicts as they had in Vietnam.  The American public is supposed to wave its flags and mutter pro-military platitudes and go about its business as if nothing out of the ordinary is going on.  But let’s be honest, the Afghan War is just about 8 years old with no end in sight and violence spiraling out of control.  The Iraq War is fast becoming the forgotten war, with almost no coverage on the teevee.  Despite the continued violence there, and our troops in harm’s way there with also no end to the conflict in sight, we’re supposed to consider that war won, or contained, or whatever.

And so it goes.  And somewhere in Pakistan, a suspected terrorist could be walking into a suspected terrorist hideout.  Maybe the suspect really is a terrorist, and maybe the place he’s walking into is a terrorist hideout.  A drone circles high overhead, and moments later a guided munition destroys the structure.  Its a victory, right?  Except, maybe sometimes the suspect isn’t a terrorist but just a farmer.  And the hideout isn’t a hideout at all, but the local tribal equivilent of a 7-11.  And the folks blown to bits are murderers but little kids and housewives and senior citizens.  And that’s the stuff that twists my stomach up in knots when I hear about how the generals are fighting this 21st century Global War on Terror.

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Because I’m a pig: Best Handbra Ever. (NSFW)

British Glamour Model Sophie Howard

British Glamour Model Sophie Howard

What can I say, I am a pig and I love boobs.  Also, dig the dichotomy of THIS post hot on the heels of the Imaginext 2009 Batman toys.  If you’re interested, Galleryman has tons more hand bra galleries at hubpages.

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For Daniel: New Batman/Super Friends Imaginext Toys

My 3 year-old loves these things.  It looks like Dad will be shelling out some major dough this Christmas.

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More Craziness and Death Threats from Hatemonger Land

Andre 3000 on HGH (Real name: Chris Broughton) isn’t ready to relinquish the spotlight yet.  The gun-toting Obama-hater concurred with his “Pastor” that he too wants Obama to die–and quickly–and he really doesn’t care if violence is involved or not.

From TMP Muckraker:

In an interview with ABC 15 outside the storefront Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Broughton said of Anderson’s controversial August 16 “Why I Hate Barack Obama” sermon: “I concur, I think we’d be better off if God would send [Obama] where he’s going now instead of later. [Obama] is destroying our country.”

And when a reporter followed up with, “you’re not advocating violence against the president?” Broughton, who has previously said his weapons are for defense, says “I’m not going to answer that question directly.”

“I don’t care how God does it, I’m not going into further detail than that,” Broughton says. “It would be better now than later.”

It would be better for the world if Mr. Broughton and his daffy pastor were “raptured” away now rather than later.  And when they are “raptured”, I doubt if it will be to the place they think.

Watch the TV News story from ABC 15 here

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