Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

U.S. Military’s Priorities

May 8, 2009

Gays are a greater threat to America than terrorists.

Right. With the wars and possibilities of war, gays are joining the army just to cruise for sex.

So, if al Qaeda is more of a threat than the Nazis were, then gays are worse than the Nazis, who put gays into concentration camps.

Mike Gallagher and Violent Rightwing Threats

April 14, 2009

This morning, Mike Gallagher was on the warpath because the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that stated rightwing groups represent a threat to the U.S. As you might imagine, the wingnuts are up in arms about this report. As Gallagher said, these are nothing but Obama cronies trying to silence the right. But let’s consider a couple of things here before that tantrum explodes.

First, this is not some vague threat the Obama administration made up.

The Bush administration pushed that leftwing groups were the most dangerous threat to America, but calling attention to the very real threat of rightwing violence is just politically motivated fear-mongering?

Second, the most recent cases of domestic terrorism or the threat of it came from rightwing groups.

Now, Gallagher wants to get everyone fired up because the report appeared to highlight veterans. Only 203 veterans, Gallagher argues, have joined extremist groups. Please note that two veterans committed the worst case of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

Third, words have meaning, and Gallagher described himself and his beliefs in violent terms. In contrasting himself with Michael Medved, Gallagher said, “I’m a pitchfork and torches kind of guy.” Now, just in case you think this is some metaphor for orderly debate, check again: The image is one of people rising up and using their farm tools as weapons. It is a statement for violent uprising, a very poor choice of words when trying to convince people that Gallagher wasn’t advocating violence.

Later, to make the point clearer, Gallagher said that Obama supporters “will not be persuaded.” So, if this is a revolution of “ideas,” as Gallagher claims, then how exactly will these ideas work when persuasion is not possible? Are we supposed to believe that increased guns sales due to Obama’s election are a sign of peaceful discourse?

I believe that words have meanings. And Mike Gallagher’s words are full of a meaning of violence. He might say that he’s against violence. Then, again, the prisons are full people who claim innocence, so denial is hardly evidence of good intentions.

Gallagher and the other members of hate radio have been on a fear-mongering rampage since Bush’s number nosedived and a Democrat was likely to become the next president. They are trying to distance themselves from the violent rage that they have been stoking.

McCain’s Gotcha Politics

September 30, 2008

Listening to John and Sarah try to explain how she didn’t contradict McCain on Pakistan is, well, just painful to those of us who are used to honesty and sense.

For the record of Palin’s response in context, read this record of the discussion, which is essentially the same as her response to a Charles Gibson question.

“So we do cross-border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?” Rovito asked.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin said.

The fact is that McCain attacked Obama for a deliberate misreading of his statement last year:

Obama said there was “misreporting” of his comments, that “I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan.” He said rather than a surge in the number of troops in Iraq, there needs to be a “diplomatic surge” and that U.S. troops should be withdrawn within a year.

Further, the U.S. senator from Illinois said, if there were “actionable intelligence reports” showing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. troops as a last resort should enter and try to capture terrorists. That would happen, he added, only if “the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling” to go after the terrorists.

If anything, Obama’s answer was far more mature than Palin’s unqualified plan to cross the Pakistani border because he put a very specific qualification to it: the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling” to pursue the terrorists.

Yet, not so long ago, conservatives criticized Clinton for not attacking bin Laden in foreign countries, even if it meant taking out innocents or non-al Qaeda political leaders with him. [See the Fox interview starting at the 4:00 mark.]

The fact is that Palin says nothing substantively different than what Obama said. Instead, McCain and Palin try to divert us from that inescapable fact with some wildass claim about “gotcha” journalism, which is generally understood as taking advantage of a simple or ambiguous question to highlight some apparent contradiction. That wasn’t what happened with Palin: she was asked a rather clear question and answered it with some specificity.

But I have a question for McCain who criticized Obama for his statement to protect America: what exactly did he mean when he said the following:

If he truly meant what he said, then, without a doubt, countries like Pakistan understand what he’s saying. To that end, he doesn’t differ from what Obama said.

The only “gotcha” here is McCain’s pathetic “gotcha politics” for trying to make Obama sound naive when, in fact, he’s not saying anything different than what an “experienced” senator like McCain himself has said: he will do what is necessary.

Acceptable: Civilian Casualities in the War on Terror?

September 11, 2008

What makes terrorism so pernicious is that it is focused on civilian targets with the intent of killing innocents. But I have an honest question that we should ask: is it any less evil to the innocent victims if the target is military with the intent of killing military enemies with the idea that there are “acceptable casualties”?

Consider the two recent examples:

The conservative magazine The Economist even reports that, as a result of low troop levels in Afghanistan, the U.S. has relied on missile attacks which have increased civilians deaths. In fact, the U.S. military acknowledges these deaths tripled between 2006 and 2007. Yet, again, Bush’s misleading us to war in Iraq extends its civilian death count.

To these victims and their families, do our intentions matter as much as the actions and results? How can the U.S. lead and win a war on terrorism if our leaders accept that killing civilians, including children, is an unavoidable result?

Is it not terror to live in fear of an incoming missile that you cannot protect you and your family against?

Don’t we come across as hypocrites and only encourage terrorism against ourselves?

Or is it only unacceptable when it’s our civilians, our children?

I don’t believe that the U.S. is evil. But I do think our current leaders are giving others reasons to think so.

If you agree that this is unacceptable, then, at the very least, write your senator and representative to say that you disapprove of these acts.