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June 06, 2003
Bad Mood Friday

I'm not blogging. I'm...sulking. And my fingers are moving and there are, coincidentally, keyboard keys under those same fingers. But I'm not blogging. I'm on hiatus, remember?

For the record, I'm annoyed that UPI has decided to make their content for-pay only.

It matters if we were lied to about the WMD. How often do some of us have to say this? It matters, okay?

With luck, the public's long-suffering acceptance of the fact that our government lies to us, regularly and consistently, is wearing thin. Lies about sex and white-collar fraud and whether or not you support a ban on semi-automatic weapons are one thing.

Lies that lead directly and deliberately to the deaths of thousands of people are in a different category.

I can't believe the idiocy and arrogance of this Administration. First I found myself in the uncomfortable, even distasteful position of protesting an illegal and unsanctioned invasion of Iraq, designed to bring down Saddam Hussein and give us a long-term base in the Middle East that, unlike Saudi Arabia, we weren't going to lose at the drop of a hat.

Now I find myself in the equally uncomfortable position of having to side with the CIA against the Administration in the PR war for who lied the worst. I'm not a big fan of the CIA, okay?

I mean, conceptually I have a great love for spies and spooks and undercover agents, but it's largely a fictional passion. I don't mistake the Lone Operative Against Evil that exists in fiction with the dirty reality of contemporary intelligence agencies.

I have long believed that the CIA's "second mission" in Vietnam, connected with making millions of dollars promoting and protecting the smuggling of illegal drugs under the guise of "collecting intelligence" was less an anomaly than an on-going policy on the part of the Agency.

I believe that if we could see today the secret notes and memos of CIA activities in South America, we'd see similar involvement with the "drug lords" of those regions.

I believe that in the name of "intelligence", the CIA has stepped over that crucial line from collecting information to complicity and even active support of criminals around the world. (For the record, I don't believe they stepped into criminality deliberately. I think it was one of those step-by-step down the slippery slope situations. It seemed like a good idea at the time - by cooperating with the black market of drug smugglers you can undoubtedly move around the world with an ear to those subterranean rumblings that can presage major criminal activity. I can buy that that's how it happened in the beginning.) (And how geeky is it that I spelled 'subterranean' correctly on the first try?)

And yet, here I am. Backing the CIA against the Bush Administration, because what they're saying matches what's being said by intelligence agencies and governments around the world and what the Bush Administration says is being said only by a couple of our coalition allies, countries almost equally complicit in the deaths.

I hate what this Administration drives me to. What does a person of conscience do when there is no "right side" to be on?

Meanwhile, Ashcroft could care less that an internal report criticizes his department's treatment of posts 9/11 detainees, the Pentagon's intelligence service says there was no credible evidence of WMD in Iraq before we invaded them, Bush has promised to "reveal the truth" about WMD, which means we're on the road to a new set of lies, and those French "surrender monkeys" have gone where we feared to go - to the Congo, via the UN, to try and bring stability to that war-torn region.

''The French have come!''
It's an advance party, and there aren't enough of them, but it's them and not us, isn't it? If you're bored today, trace the USofA's involvement in the Congo with an eye to what corporations are exploiting working in the area and try to figure out why our leaders never mention helping these people.

The official Church of England is having to face homosexuality head-on after the revelation that the recent appointment of a new Bishop placed an open homosexual firmly near the top of the trees in their church.

Elsewhere in the world, Russia is reported to be trying to close some of its borders and I'm wondering why. Surely this Administration doesn't think they can take on...no, of course not.

Another thing I hate (as long as I'm on a rant today anyhow) are hard decisions. I applaud Canada's Supreme Court who made a very difficult decision about personal liberty. I don't know if I agree that this man is or has been sane enough to make his own treatment decisions, but I sympathize with his resistance to a course of treatment that, " slows his thinking, dulls his inspiration and makes him appear disoriented."

I don't know, myself, if I'd rather life mentally untrammeled in an institution or live "outside" but with my brain clouded and my ability for creative thought impaired. It's a painfully difficult set of choices. I certainly sympathize with his mother who wants her son forcibly medicated and freed but how can she, or anyone, decide that someone famous for brilliance of thought should be forced to live in a mind-numbing, pharmaceutical fog?

How can anyone decide that anyone should have to live with their intelligence dulled?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, the Guardian is discussing the subject of the Palestinian people. You know, the fact that they exist and that the world is now, after fifty years, beginning to admit they have a right to the homeland stolen from them.

And I don't approve of those "boot camp" style schools and camps for kids, okay? I want to know just how stupid a parent has to be to send their child off into the hands of strangers without even bothering to go and look at the facilities themselves?

Mrs. Slavis said she still believes in the schools. [...] "My daughter told me when she got restrained she deserved it. And when she got sent to the isolation room or the consequence room there was always a reason for it. And now she does not get sent any more."
This woman's daughter has been abused and brainwashed and this woman should be charged with being an unfit parent.

Wit and Witless

The OpinionJournal sure believes in the threat promise of what blogs can do to change contemporary journalism. I mean, they must, right? Why else would they be linking to Sullivan as though to a news site?

It also seems that the OpJour is finding itself very clever these days. On that same page are multiple references to "Dowdification" of quotes, with some particularly witless (in the, "not funny and no particular point to be seen" sense) mangled quotes of their own.

Then we get "Krugmania". Their "Krugmania" bit is notable for unintended wit. In protesting the backlash against the missing WMD, they note, casually, that

Some information about weapons of mass destruction, you see, might have been faulty.
Be still my beating heart. What a comprehensive indictment against those protesting the complete absence of credible intelligence or, indeed, WMD.

Also, "It's a amusing to consider that the same people who refuse to give Bush any credit for his achievement in Iraq" is a faulty statement. I'd like to go on record assuring the OpJour that there are those of us on the left happy, more than happy, to give the Bush Administration every, single piece of "credit" for what happened and continues to happen in Iraq.

The OpJour also thinks that an Iraqi man sending a poison letter to the Belgian Prime Minister is a complete and utter vindication of the Administration's position on Iraq's biological weapons capability and our invasion of their country. Beyond questions of scale and, you know, location, let's pause to wonder why they didn't bother to report the rest of the story.

They refer only to the letter sent to the Prime Minister and fail to mention the ones sent to, "the U.S. and British embassies and a court trying al Qaeda suspects." They also fail to mention that, "[t]hree ministries, the Saudi Arabian Embassy, an airport and a port authority were the other targets" for the ten letters sent. Maybe this is why:

The letters contained no more than a spoonful of powder -- not life-threatening but enough to cause irritation to the eyes, skin and breathing, the federal prosecutor's spokeswoman said.
He wasn't a murdering sort of terrorist because he only wanted to make people sneeze, so he didn't get the full OpJour treatment?

(Joking aside, there's something wrong with this story.

Among [those briefly hospitalized] were five officers at the Brussels police headquarters who were leafing through documents taken from the suspect's home.
That seems clear enough, but later the story says:
The prosecutor's spokeswoman did not elaborate on the investigation but said police had not found any of the chemicals in the suspect's home.
Am I losing my mind, or do those statements seem to contradict one another?)

When the good old OpJour got to the point of referring to UN Inspector Hans Blix as a "discredited historical footnote", I quit reading that page.

Elsewhere in the same publication, Henninger is annoyed because Democratic candidates aren't taking positions on Sammy Sosa, and he doesn't a bit understand why the FCC issue is of more concern to them than the Stewart indictment. (It's possible he was hired for typing speed more than brains, I really don't know.)

Ah well, I needed a laugh. I feel better, you know? Making fun of the OpJour always cheers me up. it's not an intellectual pleasure, but it's not an intellectual publication.

Soon you'll be able to switch wireless phone services and take your phone number with you.

In closeing, I ask, "where is Aung San Suu Kyi?"

Posted by AnneZook at 12:20 PM


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