Cleanup-other madness

A lot of people talking about the rhetoric of fascism along with crazy symbols of power. I can't say I'm a fan of that kind of crazy talk, but also as an atheist I am hearing an increasing amount of crazy talk that threatens to overrun my value system. Some are freaked out. Yes, many are. I'm not going to get into talking much about the unfortunate kidnapped defense contractor in Saudi Arabia... it is worth considering that Apaches do not have a great public reputation in the Arab world, as their networks are far less reluctant to show the Israeli ones in action. The documentary Control Room that I mentioned earlier is playing at either Lagoon or Uptown, I need to go see it.

We can't quite measure terrorism accurately. It's on the decline! Brilliant.

Measuring the self-appointed cultural warriors, look at the evil rhetoric of ol'David Horowitz from back in 2000.

Nasty bit mocking the NY Times for torching their credibility on Chalabi. Tragically, due to my unemployed status, I suspended the Times delivery this weekend. It was a nice dead pulp sort of read... This blog, page A01, monitors the Times all the time. (mahablog and the left coaster ain't bad either)

An excellent bit on Juan Cole's site about what a bad idea it was to ditch early elections in Iraq, and the shadowy motives involved. Al-sadr increases in popularity, the bloody way.

A lot of retired officials, some of them key Republican appointees of yore, have released a statement saying Bush must leave office because of all the alliances he's shattered.

Look, 2004 political campaigns are advertising on blogs and making some money. Yay for that... is it effective???? It's gotta be, in some situations.

Last bits of Reagan anti-nostalgia: "Schisms from administration lingered for years," to put it mildly. Yes, it was not all rosy tinted scenarios and photo ops. The end of the cold war: we needed Gorbachev to do it, bottom line.

A humorous bit about Iran-Contra: what if it was really quite a skim-off-the-top kind of bribery scheme?

Middle east chunking up, getting ominous etc.: "Worst is yet to come as US pays the price of failure" but sadly, "a tough time for neo-cons," widely discredited, they say.

Speaking of photo ops, Josh Marshall asks:

In fact, the prison abuse and torture story itself has become a perfect example of how two separate media storylines — ones that clearly contradict each other — can coexist and yet seemingly never cross paths.
[.....]
In this case, the partisan divide is conventional and predictable. Administration advocates argue that abuse was isolated — just a few malefactors who got out of control — while critics claim that it was systemic, stemming from policy choices made at the highest levels of the Pentagon and the White House.

Yet, while this debate is being carried on, we’ve also had a steady stream of evidence (not pictures, but reports, testimony, and other documentary evidence) that makes it fairly clear that the first debate really isn’t a debate at all, or rather, that it’s an open-and-shut case.
[....]
Let’s start by discussing what’s in the pictures: limited violence against detainees, the use of nudity and sexual humiliation as a means of “softening up” detainees, psychological “torture” like the threat of death (such as the case of the picture of the man standing, arms outstretched, who was told he’d be electrocuted if he fell), and the use of attack dogs to frighten if not necessarily attack prisoners.

Those are the acts contained in those lurid photos. But even from the internal reports and official statements coming from the Pentagon and other branches of the administration, it’s clear that each of these methods was approved and authorized as a way of preparing detainees for interrogations.

First, there was approval for using an enumerated list of interrogation techniques for al Qaeda terrorists housed at Guantanamo and other U.S. facilities. Eventually those techniques — honed in Afghanistan and Guantanamo — were OK’d for use against detainees in Iraq. We even know that the importation of those methods into Iraq probably happened in the late summer and early fall of last year. Most of the techniques mentioned above are specifically mentioned in the list of authorized methods issued by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez in Iraq. The rest are detailed in other memos and reports made public over the last month and would certainly be covered by the new “torture memo” out this week.
[......]
Yet the debate over who is responsible for what we see in those pictures continues, even when we have plenty of evidence that the tactics they were using were either specifically authorized by policymakers at the Pentagon or widespread at U.S.-detention facilities commanded by the same folks now prosecuting those reservists in the photos.

Isn’t it about time that we just come clean with ourselves and admit that those half-dozen reservists really probably were just following orders?

i'm going to throw in a handful of final, old, links here, which spelled out rather neatly two flip sides of the situation: the neo-con fanatic wing [one two three] and the fundamentalist Christian fanatic wing [one two three].

Well there you have it, a few of the fine trends making up this turning point month.

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