MonkeyPope asked me if I’d read about any Democrats backing the NYTimes in the Swift debacle. Interestingly, I learned in researching his question that John Murtha asked the NYTimes not to publish! I found some vids of Dems denouncing the anti-NYTimes attacks.
The most the Dems are saying is that the Republicans are restricting freedom of the press. That is, they’re attacking the Republicans by appealing to the American people’s so-called abhorrence of censorship. They are speaking in philosophical, general terms, not direct defense of the NYTimes. They are not attacking the Administration and the right for the really important aspect about this case: continued by-passing of our checks-and-balances system and a disregard for the American people’s right to know what its government is doing.
They are also not pressing the fact that “the troops” and “9/11” are now political taboos. Have a problem with someone’s politics? Then just go on TV and accuse them of killing our soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Civil liberties? Well, all I have to say to you, sir, is “9/11”. You must want another one to happen, don’t you, you liberal commie peacenik? As Stephen Colbert put it, sarcastically as always, “the NYTimes wants you and your family to die”.
How is it that a program that has a magazine and a web site (as reported by Keith Olbermann) and which has been repeatedly referred to by the Administration is so secret? Come on!
How is it that the burden of responsibility is on the people to demonstrate that this program IS violating civil rights? I thought the burden of responsibility was on the government to demonstrate that it WASN’T violating civil rights. Why does everyone just expect the American people to trust them that they’re doing the right thing?
If you really believe in “freedom”, then what you believe in, as a citizen, is that your government is grilled over every single detail and has to hold itself accountable to EVERYTHING.
And you have to be a pretty naive motherfucker if you think this is hurting our ability to track terrorists. I really don’t think people understand what is happening over in Iraq and the Middle East and Afghanistan. The terrorists and insurgents live this every day. They are aware of our capabilities and they are always trying to be less trackable in their international operations. Our clamoring for secrecy NOW is ridiculous because the terrorists were dealing with operational security issues up to ten-fifteen years ago. Don’t be one of these naive little bitches who thinks that the enemy is ignorant and stupid, PLEASE.
The only people learning new things right now are the American people.
The Iraqi government has a plan for an amnesty of imprisoned people in its prisons as a gesture of goodwill and an attempt to resolve the conflict between insurgents and the government.
Of course our government weighs in and complains that the amnesty should not include those who have attacked coalition forces. This is a pretty pathetic political move. The politicians just don’t want to be seen as facilitating terrorism. They don’t care about the other aspects of amnesty.
Here’s my thing about amnesty. It depends a lot on the terms of the amnesty, but generally it would be a bad idea right now. First of all, I’m sure the Iraqis and we have no clue who among the detainees is bad. If they weren’t bad, whatever that means, before they came into jail, then they might be bad once they leave because they’ve been locked up and have probably been living with real insurgents and Muslim extremists during that time.
Let me tell you a story about a man named Zarqawi. He was imprisoned in his home country of Jordan early in his life for taking measures to assassinate the Jordanian king. He was put into one of the worst prisons in the world, out in the desert. All the Middle Eastern intel services knew about him and tracked him.
So he sat in jail and met his spiritual teacher who taught him Salafist ideas. He eventually came to run the prison with his normal brutish tactics. He recruited members to his gang. They all came to share the same extremist views.
And then the king decided to give a general amnesty to a certain number of national prisoners for the event of Ramadan. Zarqawi and his men were released. Shortly thereafter, he tried to blow up a hotel in Jordan, but failed. He would succeed in doing so only in this most recent year.
Zarqawi recruited those same men and they stayed with him as he gained power in Iraq.
And this is a pretty common theme for Muslim extremists. Prisons are recruiting grounds, places for terrorists to gain power and contacts and legitimacy and to hone their ideas. It’s similar to the American prison system where gangs are rampant and where a lot of people end up worse than they were before they came in.
An amnesty might work in the final stages of a conflict. That is, if the Americans were long-gone in Iraq and Iraq’s government was stood up sufficiently and the call to jihad had abated worldwide. Then, you could grant amnesty to people and they would have no reason to go right back to fighting. You could let people get a fresh start in a new world that has hope and opportunity. Granting an amnesty now illustrates an ignorance or denial of the situation over there. In reading some articles about Iraq, there are many Iraqi politicians and western journalists who believe that Zarqawi’s death, continued training of Iraqi soldiers, and more developments in the Iraqi government will quickly lead to success in Iraq.
No fucking way.
So hopefully in granting this amnesty, we are not releasing the next generation of terrorist leaders. While obviously many of the people stuck in the prison system are innocent and were detained merely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I fail to see any way to effectively clear them under the current system. In Iraq, everyone is already guilty and the government is deaf, dumb, blind, and coerced.
Israel and Gaza
You know, I’m not big on the Israel mess because it’s such a base discussion. You have your right-wingers who see anyone in the Palestine as terrorists, and you have your super crazy anti-Zionist hippies who believe that Israelis are terrorist occupiers. There’s not much civilized debate.
But as Israel rounds up members of the democratically elected Hamas party in the Palestine in order to force the release of a captured Israeli soldier, there is NO debate at all in the press, it seems. Check out FOXNews, which has decided to objectively report what’s going on there. There’s little clamoring for or against the Israeli raids that I can see.
I mean, this is a big deal! The Israelis are threatening to kill the Prime Minister (I haven’t seen an exact quote so I can’t verify) if they don’t get their soldier back. This was a democratically elected government, right?
One settler was already beheaded — militancy has spread from Zarqawi’s Iraq into other regions.
And both sides refuse to recognize each other. Can we please have Bush come in and try to mediate? Or SOMEONE?
It feels kind of shitty to think that we’ll have soldiers in Iraq if the Israel situation finally blows up.