Monday, July 14, 2008

FOX Antidote

The sky is falling, the sky is falling,
we're running to tell the king

--Chicken Little

We don't see things as they are,

we see them as we are

--Anais Nin

Ground control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
--Space Oddity, David Bowie


Sunday's WaPo ran an excellent analysis, Overstating Our Fears, by Glenn L. Carle, 23-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Service who retired last year as deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats. Carle suggests we have become a nation of Chicken Littles, victims of the fear-mongering Bush administration.

Nothing we haven't been saying since 9-11. Below are some excerpts:

"We do not face a global jihadist "movement" but a series of disparate ethnic and religious conflicts involving Muslim populations, each of which remains fundamentally regional in nature and almost all of which long predate the existence of al-Qaeda.

"Osama bin Laden and his disciples are small men and secondary threats whose shadows are made large by our fears. Al-Qaeda is the only global jihadist organization and is the only Islamic terrorist organization that targets the U.S. homeland. . . . The organization, however, has only a handful of individuals capable of planning, organizing and leading a terrorist operation. . . . its capabilities are far inferior to its desires. . . .

". . . regional [islamic based] terrorist organizations may target U.S. interests or persons in the groups' historic areas of interest and operations. None of these groups is likely to succeed in seizing power or in destabilizing the societies they attack, though they may succeed in killing numerous people through sporadic attacks such as the Madrid train bombings."

". . . This administration has heard what it has wished to hear, pressured the intelligence community to verify preconceptions, undermined or sidetracked opposing voices, and both instituted and been victim of procedures that guaranteed that the slightest terrorist threat reporting would receive disproportionate weight -- thereby comforting the administration's preconceptions and policy inclinations.

"We must not delude ourselves about the nature of the terrorist threat to our country. We must not take fright at the specter our leaders have exaggerated. In fact, we must see jihadists for the small, lethal, disjointed and miserable opponents that they are.

Thank you, Mr. Carle, for being a voice of reason.

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Anonymous Labrys said...

I'd have liked these "voices of reason" a lot better had they started shouting aloud in public about six years ago. Or is that just the bitch in me?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 9:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I think we all would have.

Fear is a powerful disincentive to standing out from the crowd. People throw tomatoes at you and call you unpatriotic. Most lie low, until it is safer to come out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 9:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

a lot of them did do the shouting. remember shiniseki? or the six two stars who all left the service pre-surge to protest publicly?

they mostly found out that there really is no percentage in truth telling.

we want our lies. semi-plausible lies wrapped up in fifteen second snippets.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 9:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yes, there have been some honorable men who have put their careers on the line, inc. Gen. Taguba.

Why don't we have a more deliberative society? Fear, and its resultant anger, is so primal and seductive in the human animal. It seems like once a ferocious story is unleashed, we are not won't to rock the boat.

Studies show that even when we witness something false, we are likely to build on it and through subsequent re-tellings come to believe its truth. Even seeing something in the National Enquirer adds to our store of belief in its truth.

So the voices of hysteria far outweighed the few voices of reason, hence becoming the truth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, in all fairness Shinseki NEVER OPPOSED THE ILLEGAL WAR he simply wanted more troops and rightly so.Nobody questioned the invasions on either a threat analysis or cost analysis that were reality based.
THE KEY QUESTION THAT NOBODY ASKED WAS-IS THIS LEGAL?nobody.This is the sadness of this war. jim

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

not to defend the brass, but, if you are a serving member of the armed forces the legalities of the actions are supposed to be determined far above your pay grade.

the place for that debate should have been taking place in the house and the senate.

for the military as a force, or unit to decide by itself that an action is illegal might do for heated policy discussions, but at some point, civilian control has to be maintained. if the president, with the approval of congress says "go." the choices narrow down to saluting smartly and saying "yes, sir" or getting out. congressmen and senators can be written, governors harangued, but we have to stay away from the military taking part in the political debate beyond the level of participation along shineseki terms of "if this is the order, this is what it will take."

there were a very few isolated incidents of individual sailors and soldiers who decided on their own that the war was illegal and immoral and refused to go. they all took their lumps. the army lt. (watada?) was aquitted, not on the merits of his case but rather in the face of outrageous misconduct on the part of the prosecution. there was a sailor who refused to board his carrier at the dock in san diego, having all by himself determined that the war was illegal. he's doing time in portsmouth right now.

like with the protestors and exiles during vietnam i don't have a problem with people who follow the dictates of their conscience as long as that conscience tells them to take their stand and their lumps.

the fault, dear ranger, lies with our suits, not our uniforms. the republican congress that okiedokied us into this clusterfuck, and the democratic congress that has done jack shit about getting us out.

the checks and balances system has broken down on us. the "imperial" presidency so long desired by the authoritarians has sped us off the cliff.

remember those old warner brother's cartoons where wiley coyote would be chasing the roadrunner and race himself off the edge of the cliff? he'd go several steps, salivating with the anticipation of a toasty drumstick and then, he'd lose traction to the air, and hang there as his face ran through the gamut of emotions from realization, to fear, to resignation and finally down down down down down to an almost imperceptible crash on the jagged rocks far below.

well, that's us. both in our wars, and our economy.

welcome to wile e. coyote nation babies.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 3:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, yes i agree withall you say EXCEPT the military members MUST voice their concerns and negative input BEFORE the decision is made -and then the road forks-you salute and drive on or you take off you warsuit.Since careerism is the driving force of any military there were no resignations b/c nobody wanted to believe that we were embarking on wars of aggression.forget the maine and the alamo-remember NUREMBURG!
Only a lowly 1LT did so and he didn't exactly win any popularity contests- even tho in the long run his position was legal and moral.More than less.( watada like obama believed that Afgh. is/was the good war.) jim

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 6:41:00 PM GMT-5  

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