Friday, March 14, 2008

Intolerance, First Amendment, Military Commissions Act

From: "Brian Menard" <>
Subject: Re: Young's (Not So) Excellent Adventure in 2000 Election - Re: Real Intolerance
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:53:42 -0500

Not trying to weasel out of anything. Just looking for consistency in argument instead of allowing for potential myopia. Gotta be fair now. If grounds for criticism is good for one side, they're good for both sides. That's the difference between attempting objective analysis and launching partisan attacks.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 11:53 PM
Subject: Re: Young's (Not So) Excellent Adventure in 2000 Election - Re: Real Intolerance
All in the course of daily party politics, I know, but why is it that the GOP
supporters always like to lay some blame at the preceding Dem administration when
the current Rep administration obviously botched things up? Here's a list for more
1) Dems would charge that Nixon expanded the Vietnam War by bombings in Cambodia and
Laos, but Reps would always comeback to saying that it was the JFK administration
that really escalated the war in the first place (no duh re: LBJ admin, of course).
I don't think any Dem would argue that point really, but somehow that must be said
as if to "balance" out the expansion of the war by Nixon, even after his own
campaign promise to end the war.
2) Reagan ran up a huge deficit to continue the arms race with USSR, but the Reps
would always point out that the Carter admin had carried the debt before Reagan.
3) After 9/11 one would hear a lot about how the Clinton admin had a shot at going
after and taking out Bin Laden but didn't/couldn't do it. Never mind that the Dubya
admin had plenty of warnings before 9/11 about what al-Qaeda was planning to do,
namely a daily intelligence briefing blatantly titled "Bin Laden determined to
attack inside the U.S.", with mention of hijackings contained in it, given to the
prez only a month before 9/11.

The reverse is true, too, if something went right re: economy during a Dem admin,
then Reps love to point out that the course was already laid out by the previous Rep
admin, or that it was the Rep-controlled Congress who should get the credit. Now
this comment about the Clinton admin on Iraq. What is this about, BRM? Both Rummy
and Wolfy, among others, practically pleaded Bubba to take out Saddam, but he wisely
did no such thing, other than bombing runs (according to PBS Frontline). What
actions by the Clinton admin on Iraq are you referring to?

Yes, much better to discuss what to do now, and it certainly is less pressure to
talk about the future, instead of arguing how the whole disaster should not have
happened in the first place. Frustrating, indeed...

--- Brian Menard <> wrote:

Of course, to be consistent, you'd have to include every president from Truman on
as violators of the "declared war" theory before conducting military action. I'm
not disagreeing with its merit, just looking for consistency in the expectation of
its application. And a number of these presidents from both parties have
suspended rights to some degree in the process.

As for Bush and our current war, your comment about fighting people instead of a
country is fundamental to why declaring war simply doesn't fit as a model
applicable to these circumstances. How do you declare war on a group of people,
particularly when they travel between borders and - at a minimum - aren't being
dealt with by the nations in which they are found? (I direct that to Afghanistan.
Iraq is a separate issue with a separate argument dealing with the same flawed
intelligence that directed the actions of the Clinton Administration.)

As for Iraq, I don't think you'll find many - maybe Rummy - who would argue that
mistakes weren't made and the action could have been prosecuted better from the
start and all along. The practical question, though, is: What do we do now?

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Busick<>
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 9:40 PM
Subject: RE: Young's (Not So) Excellent Adventure in 2000 Election - Re: Real Intolerance

Bush has vacillated between saying we're at war and not saying we're at war.
Personally, I don't believe we're at war until it's been officially declared by
Congress -- and to my knowledge, it hasn't yet been declared. If we're not
declaring war, then Bush doesn't get to suspend any part of the Constitution.
We're not using all of out military might in either Afghanistan or Iraq. We're
only using what we believe is enough to accomplish our goal (which, I believe we
can all agree, has shifted like an Arabian sand dune over the past five years).
We're not even fighting a country (which is probably a fairly common occurrence as
we look back through history), we're fighting a group of people in that country
that don't like us.

This Iraq conflict could've gone a lot better if any number of things had been
done differently -- and it doesn't take a genius to figure out where the mistakes

1) U.S. soldiers guarding the oil fields upon the initial invasion, but leaving
the museums open for looting.

2) The U.S. solider who temporarily draped an American flag over the statue of

3) Not listening to those generals who said either don't invade or if you do
invade, bring more troops. Bush likes to talk about how he doesn't listen to focus
groups, only generals on the ground. Well, it seems he only listens to those
generals who agree with his plan.

4) With still no infrastructure in Iraq outside the Green Zone, many Iraqi men
have nothing to do but stand around unemployed, or have their lives threatened
if/when they join the Iraqi police force or help the U.S. military, or ponder the
possibility of joining the insurgency.
As for Bush's policies saving lives and preventing attacks, I am reminded of a
quote from comedian George Gobel on the Tonight Show in 1969. He told Johnny that
when he was serving in WWII, he was stationed in the Oklahoma National Guard. He
figured that the military must have wanted him there or they wouldn't have put him
there and he figures he must've been useful because, as we can all recall, not a
single Japanese fighter plane ever made it past Tulsa.

It's my belief that we're no safer with Bush in the White House than we would've
been with Gore in the White House. I believe a Gore administration would not have
been populated with as many (any?) people who were left over from the Nixon
administration (Cheney and Rumsfeld) who believe there's unfinished business in
the Middle East and would look for any excuse to send our brave soldiers into Iraq
even though there were quite a few other countries that were ahead of them on that
"get what's comin' to em" list. :)

I'm actually surprised we haven't been hit again and I don't think the Bush
administration has had anything to do with that because our ports are still open,
our water supply is still unguarded and our borders are still unsecured. However,
U.S. citizens who bring atlases onto commercial airlines are being detained
(happened here at SeaTac a few years ago) and our emails and international phone
calls are being recorded, so hey, I guess we know where to find the next bunch of
bad guys.

Doesn't anyone else find it interesting that our emails are being saved
recorded, but the White House can somehow lose millions of emails that might make
them look bad (fired U.S. attorney scandal or the Plame leak scandal or just pick
one of many).

Not only does this administration have no credibility left when it comes to
anything (economy, security, etc.), this country has no credibility left when it
comes to anything involving the Middle East. Going back just 50 years, it's
obvious the only side we've stayed on is the side that benefits our economy. So
when Bush asks OPEC (like he did last week) to increase oil production because the
high prices are hurting our economy (which they are, but whose fault is that,
really?), I can almost hear the Saudi oil barons laughing from here.

If there are tax breaks or rebates coming, I hope they come from the extra money
the U.S. oil companies have been raking in since the invasion started.


Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 01:52:47 +0000
Wow, I did not know, or remember any of that-Very tough situation, working for
intolerant people, or an intolerant company. I think, in the case of your example,
the word 'intolerant' may not be adequate enough to describe how difficult and
unfortunate that situation must have been-I am sorry. It is interesting how
radical we might appear to one-another until we know where the other is coming

As far as sending an email in reply to Intolerance and the First Amendment, I
have a lot to say about this-but, I don't know where to begin? It's a hard thing
to talk about, kind of like our Seattle diatribe, or my lame defense of American
Imperialism. It was meant, in a spirit of dialog and I must confess, I was pulling
chains or pushing buttons a little bit...But, it's hard to have a discussion about
things that are not morally sound but may be wise in a prudent, or 'real Politik
way. For example, I wanted to point out that, some of our best presidents have
advanced agendas of imperialism and even dictatorship. I did not, however, want to
be known as the "imperialist pig" (sorry, Young, no offense-I know you were just
kidding) who was defending and probably deep down agreed with some elements of
American hegemony or imperialistic policy. So, it's hard to talk about these
things without offending people. And it's hard to talk about some things without
appearing to be an advocate of those things. In other words, is it possible to defend war,
imperialism, or in this case the sacrifice of our freedoms for security and
safety, without appearing to be a proponent of these difficult and unpopular

Thus, I believe that you might have been trying to ignite a discussion about
the military commissions act. I think that you wanted to begin a discussion on our
loss of personal freedoms and make connections between certain political
philosophies and the loss of those freedoms?

Certainly, the first amendment protects our freedoms, the very freedoms in
fact that, the military commission act suspends or revokes "during a time of
national emergency or war."

So, what freedoms have we lost and why have we lost them? I believe that we
could identify many of these points rather quickly. Also, however, I think that
you (Young) would like to examine why we have sacrificed those freedoms in an
attempt to allow our government to keep us more safe and secure?

Of course, we all know the 'Catch-22'- As Olbermann more aptly summarized it,
"The Military Commissions Act has sacrificed our freedoms to a government more
dangerous to our own liberty than the enemy, it claims to protect us from."

My question is two-fold. Do we all agree with the above preceding statement?
And are there any circumstances that we could imagine, that would require a
suspension of individual freedom and liberties? Bush argues, that the time is now.
Is now the time? Has there ever been a time when the military commission act was
necessary? Further, Bush has argued that the military commission act has saved
lives and prevented terrorist attacks-If this is correct, is Bush, right?


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