. . . Bush family

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OURS to fight for


Eat Hearty

From its beginning, the USA has been unable to coherently coordinate foreign intervention or isolationism with domestic policy and rhetoric for any length of time. George Washington, sweating hard, managed it for eight years, but international hostilities tripped up John Adams, then Thomas Jefferson, and then so on and so forth. It's not a question of "Right" or "Left": the same initial arguments for or against use of the military have been applied by every political faction.

The orthogonality of war is no accident. War, by definition, can never be fully justified as "consent of the governed." War can't be fully dealt with in ethical or even in practically political terms; being between nations, it requires the concept of nationalism, with all its heated confusions. War isn't hell because it's painful; war is hell because it contains no possibility of virtue -- only the possibility of more or less serious misunderstandings, and more or less disastrous mistakes, and more or less sincere avowals of necessity.

Although I feel solidly hostile toward theocratic governments (until the Quakers seize power, anyway), I can't possibly obtain enough information about the war-in-progress to feel solidly "pro" or "anti" about it -- much of the lack of information being by design* but much being inherent to any war.

Luckily, at the moment my opinion doesn't matter a bit.

For which I am truly thankful.

* Consider the following sequence:
  1. The Bush family has a long history of private financial and secret governmental operations in the Middle East.
  2. On attaining the presidency, Bush younger orders investigative agencies to lay off bin Laden and other Saudi terrorists.
  3. Bush refuses to disclose the evidence linking bin Laden to the September 11 hijackings.
  4. Bush orders that the papers of the Reagan-Bush administration be kept out of the hands of historians.
  5. Bush calls for secret quasi-military tribunals under his exclusive control.
I'm hardly an antiwar protester or a conspiracy theorist (link via wood s lot), but it seems clear enough that the Bushes want to maintain a number of germane secrets (while insisting that no one else is entitled to any), and, given what history teaches us about secretive presidents, it seems possible that their motives include ducking personal responsibility as well as preserving national security.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with blaming the victims of terrorism, or with defending the Taliban, or with dividing populations between "thugs" and "refugees" -- but which still seems likely to be overlooked by the well-funded reporters of FOX news....

. . .

The Secret Hoarder

In other old-and-in-the-way news (via davidchess), back in mid-October John Ashcroft again widened the gap between privacy haves (the Bush family, the Bush administration, and major corporations) and privacy have-nots (the rest of us) when he told federal agencies they should just ignore the Freedom of Information Act:

Any discretionary decision by your agency to disclose information protected under the FOIA should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information.... When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records.

. . .

Rafe Colburn makes a good point but misses the bad one:

The simple fact is that resources for analyzing information are limited, even for the federal government. This became completely obvious in the months after 9/11, when it was gradually revealed that we had more than enough information to track down the hijackers, but we didn't have the resources to piece it all together. This new system is aimed at gathering huge additional amounts of information...
This would be a legitimate argument against IAO if legitimate arguments counted. But national security is not the goal. I'm not talking some "Who watches the watchmen?" subtlety here. If Al Qaeda has a nuclear weapon, John Poindexter is probably who supplied it. (Only for the good of the Party, of course.)

No, the goal of Total Information Awareness is to help the administration follow its real vocation: maintaining political power through hypocrisy; that is, through a combination of personal secrecy and public libel. The Bush family relies on confidential deals, insider trading, erased records, and so on, while the far-right Republican Party has proven to its own satisfaction that any criticism of their policies can be deflected by launching non-sequitur counterattacks on their critics. Intelligence agencies -- "I know everything about you; you know nothing about me" -- are the coziest nests for such rodents.

Poindexter's fully integrated database of information on American citizens would, Colburn's right, be useless for spotting terrorists or predicting attacks. But for tracking down damaging information on a named target, it would work miracles. If any inconvenient witness starts to bring up late-night transfers of funds to foreign banks, or mysterious absences from duty, or college drug use, or vote tampering, or lying under oath, or even what the daughters are doing, just submit a simple query, and opportunities for harassment, news leaks, or assassination will be available in record time.

Kenneth Starr in a box, 24-by-7! Now that's worth paying for!


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Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.