Barnes comments on how the Iraq folks need an “attitude adjustment” as they seem to resent us being there occupying
their country. (See You and me against the world....) What about our attitude here on the home front?
John McCreery comments
here on this attitude business…
…on Americans who now believe that Bush has lied to them but still think that he has made
the country more secure, a couple of thoughts occur to me.
First, I am
reminded of abused wives who return to abusive husbands, ignoring the likelihood that what will happen is more abuse. Clinging to what you feel that you know can be less scary that stepping off into the
unknown - especially if the unknown is someone who represents attitudes that you have learned to demonize. Or, as the cliché has it, "Better the devil you know...."
Second, there is the underlying belief
my right-wing brother articulates, that acting tough makes us more secure. It's
a nasty world out there and protecting ourselves means that, "We gotta be the baddest boy on the block." Us folks on the civilized
left need to figure out how to combat that view, and not just intellectually.
is plenty of evidence, from gang wars in the hood to Sharon-style Middle East "peacekeeping" that what being the baddest
boy on the block gets you is resentment, hatred and shot in the back. But guys
like my brother don't want to see it. The emotional appeal of "We gotta kick
butt" is too strong.
The only hope I can see is to counter with Teddy
Roosevelt's advice to "speak softly but carry a big stick." Speaking softly alone won't do.
Reviving that old-fashioned hero who is quiet, polite, a real buddy to his friends AND can take down the baddy when
necessary could be just what we need.
Yes, but as he says, the
emotional appeal of just kicking the shit out of folks is strong. No one will
mess with us, right? Ask Ariel Sharon about that.
Note – the remake of the movie “Walking Tall” opens this weekend. That’s the original “take no prisoners and kill the evil guys” film – it defines
doing good as kicking ass. A righteous movie.
This remake stars “The Rock” – the former professional wrestler who, unlike Jesse Ventura, has decided
not to run for office, yet.
So what else can sour your attitude?
Other news this week –
The New York Times reports that the White House is blocking release to the 9/11 commission of three-quarters of nearly 11,000 pages of Clinton administration
files. Former Clinton aides say the files contain highly classified documents
about the Clinton administration's efforts against al-Qaeda.
Say what? The Bush folks don’t want to commission to know what Clinton actually was doing
about terrorism? Why? How odd. The White House later in the week backed off a little and said they might send some
more of these documents over, but the documents would be carefully edited for only what Bush felt the commission really needed. Yep. Right.
Then at the end of the
week (Friday night) the Bush administration said the commission could see all the documents in question – that is, they
could come over and examine them as long s they didn’t take notes or make copies of anything at all.
Those of us with a bad
attitude about how righteous and good our leaders are now have an even worse attitude
Oh yeah, and I read in my local paper that after the White House refused to allow two Medicare officials to testify - House Republicans shut
down an inquiry into whether the Bush administration acted illegally or inappropriately last year when it withheld from Congress
its cost estimates for the Medicare prescription drug bill.
ask. Don’t tell. Bah.
this - Prosecutors in the Valerie Plame case have reportedly expanded their focus beyond the leaking of the CIA officer's identity, and are now looking into whether White House officials lied to investigators
or mishandled classified information related to the case.
Man, just like
Watergate – now they’re looking into a cover-up. Not only a possible
crime (outing a CIA agent out of pure spite and blowing her cover, and her contacts’ covers) but then lying about it
to the original investigators. Damn. That’s
Finally, back to that business in Fallujah…
a Washington Post article calls the four civilian contractors killed in Fallujah, "among the most elite commandos working in Iraq," and cites suspicions
that their deaths were not random but targeted.
Something else was going
on? Could they be a hit team that was exposed?
The four were employed by Blackwater Security Consulting, which the Post says pays its armed commandos an average
of $1,000 per day.
Who are these Blackwater people?
In March, the Guardian (UK) reported on Blackwater's hiring of Chilean mercenaries - many of whom had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet
- to replace U.S. soldiers on security duty in Iraq.
Pinochet? That name rings a bell.
Okay, to cheer you up, a little on the press -
Another Guardian (UK) report on Israeli
accusations of bias against the BBC states that, by comparison, "Israeli officials boast that they now have only to call a number at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta to pull
any story they do not like."
Try this from another left leaning UK newspaper:
'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'
Whistleblower the White House wants to silence speaks to The Independent
Andrew Buncombe, The
Independent (UK), 02 April 2004
Here’s their scoop -
A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information
to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the
US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.
She said the claim
by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie".
Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators
providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using
aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration,
meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets
She told The Independent yesterday: "I gave [the
commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in
charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back
and follow up. This is not hearsay. These
are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily."
Well, perhaps she’s
lying to get her own fifteen minutes of fame, just like Richard Clarke. Perhaps
This is not good for Rice and Bush.
Why do these folks keep coming out of the woodwork? Are they all so needing
of public attention? Why do they all hate their country, as the conservatives
Here are more details.
… Mrs Edmonds, 33, says she gave her evidence to the commission in a specially constructed
"secure" room at its offices in Washington on 11 February. She was hired as a
translator for the FBI's Washington field office on 13 September 2001, just two days after the al-Qa'ida attacks. Her job was to translate documents and recordings from FBI wire-taps.
She said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists
were planning an attack. "Most of what I told the commission 90 per cent of it
related to the investigations that I was involved in or just from working in the department.
Two hundred translators side by side, you get to see and hear a lot of other things as well."
said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she
said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and
that an attack was just months away.
To try to refute Mr Clarke's accusations,
Ms Rice said the administration did take steps to counter al-Qa'ida. But in an
opinion piece in The Washington Post on 22 March, Ms Rice wrote: "Despite what some have suggested, we received no
intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated
that terrorists might hijack planes to try and free US-held terrorists."
Mrs Edmonds said that by using the word "we",
Ms Rice told an "outrageous lie". She said: "Rice says 'we' not 'I'. That would include all people from the FBI, the CIA and DIA [Defence Intelligence Agency]. I am saying that is impossible."
It is impossible at this stage to verify Mrs Edmonds' claims. However, some senior US senators testified to her credibility in 2002 when she went
public with separate allegations relating to alleged incompetence and corruption within the FBI's translation department.
Well, this too will be
spun by the Bush folks as just another disgruntled employee to whom we should not listen at all.
So much news? Will our press deal with it all?
This week’s job report was good.
That’s what we’ll see in the news, along with much more on Janet Jackson.
No matter most of the jobs added were part-time.
You know, it is getting harder and harder to maintain a cheerful,
optimistic attitude about where we’re all going.