Sunday, May 31, 2009

Insisting Wrong is Right

The kind of discussion you get when you try to convince a die-hard believer is now typical of news releases from the representatives of what used to be the Republican party. I recall as a teenager pointing out to some one who insisted that Jonah (in the Bible) was swallowed by a whale, that the bible says 'big fish', not whale. The response was that it was, indeed, a whale, and nothing would change her mind. That sort of dug in adamant rejection of reason is becoming the standard in rightwinger claims.

It may be that 'becoming' is a false concept. It probably has always been the standard. As Frank Rich points out today at the NYT, Cheney's recent speech about torture - that wasn't torture - keeping us safe was easily torn apart, and while most media treated the lies as facts, McClatchy reporters did the job.

With selective quotations, Cheney falsified the views of the director of national intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, on the supposed intelligence value of waterboarding. Equally bogus was Cheney’s boast that his administration had “moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks.” In truth, the Bush administration had lost Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, not least because it started diverting huge assets to Iraq before accomplishing the mission of vanquishing Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. That decision makes us less safe to this very minute. (Emphasis added.)

As the misnomer 'the media' increasingly refers to a masquerade, right wing talking points paraded as the news, some of those who have taken responsible positions and still crusade for actual security for this nation are forced to speak out.

Richard Clarke, who served in the Clinton administration and in the recently ended maladministration of war criminals, spoke out today in a WaPo op-ed.

Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice may have been surprised by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- but it was because they had not listened. And their surprise led them to adopt extreme counterterrorism techniques -- but it was because they rejected, without analysis, the tactics the Clinton administration had used. The measures they uncritically adopted, which they simply assumed were the best available, were in fact unnecessary and counterproductive.

"I'll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities," Cheney said in his recent speech. But this defense does not stand up. The Bush administration's response actually undermined the principles and values America has always stood for in the world, values that should have survived this traumatic event. The White House thought that 9/11 changed everything. It may have changed many things, but it did not change the Constitution, which the vice president, the national security adviser and all of us who were in the White House that tragic day had pledged to protect and preserve.

The facts should be headlined, and presented as the major news, but I have heard more about Britain's Got Talent than about truths on the wrongheaded war on Iraq. The lies were treated as real news.

Irresponsible lies are the basis for the deaths of our troops, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. We will be supporting mind-numbing numbers of severely injured soldiers for the next generation. Those are some of the costs of allowing lies to stand, and form our policies.

This disaster wasn't caused just by reality-challenged criminals in our executive branch. It was caused just as much by our media, that kept its sources by ignoring the truth that contradicted them.

I repeat myself, but it's time to stop giving hits to the media pretenders who front for rightwing lies. "_blank">Avedon named several of them, and we see them constantly featured on news commentaries, repeating those same lies.

When we stop playing their numbers game by adding traffic to their sites, we are battling for the truth to be news, instead of a footnote. If you haven't thanked them yet, please join me in commenting at the sites linked above, with a thank you.

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Anonymous dan mcenroe said...

Cheney is absolutely terrified of potential terrorist attacks - or, more accurately, being perceived as having not done enough to stop a terrorist attack.

Jacob Weisberg, in The Bush Tragedy, describes how Cheney - believing the US was vulnerable to a biological attack - wanted to go ahead with mass smallpox vaccinations even though the CDC told him that the vaccine would likely kill far more people than an actual attack would. That passage is excerpted here.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Thanks, it is so in character, or lack of same. Cheney seems to me to be still denying vehemently that he failed. On 9/11 he saw that chasm of failure open up in front of him, and he's been madly digging back out ever since. And the casualties are still mounting.

12:53 PM  

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