Loyalty Oaths: Peter Feaver’s Challenge to White House Critics

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loyalty oath.jpg
During the Revolutionary War and during the founding years of the United States, many states required “loyalty oaths” to be sworn by those who joined a state militia. It was important to declare oneself a dependable patriot when so many in the then colonies might have otherwise been loyal to Great Britain, or to France in some cases. Loyalty oaths have made comeback appearances at various points in American history — during the Civil War, again after WWII during the dawn of the Cold War, and perhaps again today.
We had an interesting discussion about patriotism and loyalty in a forum at the American Political Science Association annual meeting in Philadelphia this morning. This meeting was organized by Christopher Preble, Director of Defense Studies at the Cato Institute. On the panel we had the blogger you are reading now as well as Seyom Brown of Brandeis, Michael Desch at Texas A&M, and Peter Feaver who is now on President Bush’s National Security Council staff and has been on the faculty at Duke University. The session was ostensibly about bipartisan foreign policy, a topic which brought out mostly civil but still pointed long knives politely but effectively carving up the notion.
To be quick on the bipartisan bit, I believe that we have had a bipartisan foreign policy, achieved largely through the leadership (or crusades) of Bush and Cheney in the national security decision making process and substantial complicity or abstention by both the Republican and Democratic conventional foreign policy establishments. The real debate is not between parties right now — it is inside them.
Senator Chuck Hagel is the leader of alternative thinking inside the Republican tent. And the Democrats are deeply divided between faltering liberal internationalists, a rising crop of enlightened realists, and of course the neocon-lite crowd — of which Senator Joseph Lieberman was one of the heaviest hitters.
During my own comments, I suggested that trust between competing camps between parties and within parties has so broken down that it’s hard to just imagine a kiss-and-make up compromise that yields in the near term a broad consensus on what America’s national security and foreign policy strategies should be. But I said that one of the early characteristics of the Bush administration during what should have been a time of discussion and inquiry about America’s global objectives and great purposes is that the Bush team made critics or those who raised uncomfortable questions pay a serious price for their independent positions or queries.
People who demonstrated their independence often lost access to people in the White House or administration with whom they had long had contact. The large sprawling network of Republican influence also worked to reward loyalists and to block those disloyal — in jobs, contracts, all sorts of fronts.

This is where it gets interesting. Peter Feaver basically took exception to those who had suggested that members of the Bush administration had been out frequently “questioning the loyalty” of their critics and those who posed agressive questions to the White House.

Feaver had two well constructed memoranda that he showed me and which I hope he will email me to post on the site. One of these was a roster of leading Democratic voices including John Kerry, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and others who had questioned the loyalty of the administration or some agent of the Bush White House. He also had a clever roster of quotes from President Bush, Bill Frist, and many others calling for a polite bipartisanship. I really do want to post these here.
And then he challenged the some 20 or so people in our audience to send him by email clear cases — in quotes — of instances where senior administration officials, the President, or the Vice President, or other Republican party officianados had actually questioned another American’s loyalty or patriotism. He said that they might have questioned their “wisdom” — but hardly ever their patriotism.
He made this request publicly, and I think it’s an interesting challenge for the blogosphere to embrace. I would like those who can find the quotes and clear references to cases where Cheney and others have questioned the patriotism of their critics to post them on the comments section. Please stick to the empirical — we don’t need fabrications, innuendo or interpretations of what people meant. I’d like to see if we can compile a record here that the White House can consider.

I remember on September 8th last year, Senator Chuck Hagel gave a terrific keynote speech at the conference, “Terrorism, Security, and America’s Purpose” in which Hagel’s most powerful line was: “IT IS NOT UNPATRIOTIC TO ASK QUESTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT ABOUT THIS NATION’S NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY.”
Hagel’s statement implied that there was at minimum a “mood” that had developed throughout the political establishment that those who provoked questions that were not appreciated or who disagreed with the President were unpatriotic, disloyal, and needed to be punished. Brent Scowcroft felt that when he was essentially shown the door as Chairman of the President’s Federal Intelligence Advisory Board.
But Peter Feaver has asked for real cases and explicit statements.
I look forward to hearing from all of you who have time to search the archives of White House and Republican leadership statements on the war, on foreign policy, or other policy areas in which a critic of the President’s policy position was undermined by accusastions of disloyalty.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

176 comments on “Loyalty Oaths: Peter Feaver’s Challenge to White House Critics

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  6. Pissed Off American says:

    White House Targets Conspiracy Theorists As Terrorist Recruiters
    ‘Strategy for winning the war on terror’ says world contaminated, corrupted by misinformation
    Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | September 7 2006
    A document cited by President Bush in his recent speech at the Capital Hilton Hotel on how to ‘win the war on terror’ cites conspiracies as one of the wellsprings of terrorism and threatens to “address” and “diminish” the problems they are causing the government in fulfilling their agenda.
    On Tuesday Bush referred to the strategy paper as “an unclassified version of the strategy we’ve been pursuing since September the 11th, 2001,” that takes into account, “the changing nature of this enemy.”
    The document says that terrorism springs from “subcultures of conspiracy and misinformation,” and that “terrorists recruit more effectively from populations whose information about the world is contaminated by falsehoods and corrupted by conspiracy theories. The distortions keep alive grievances and filter out facts that would challenge popular prejudices and self-serving propaganda.”
    The terminology echoes President Bush’s speech (video below) to the UN General Assembly on November 10th 2001 in which he stated, “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty.”
    continues at…..
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/september2006/070906terroristrecruiters.htm

    Reply

  7. marky says:

    MP,
    Middle class today is more like the ability to buy a lot of junk at Wal-Mart.
    One more item on my list—-tort reform.
    There is almost no policy interest driving the tort reform movement; rather, the goal is to harm the powerful lawyer’s lobby, which is heavily Democratic.
    Well, it’s not fair to say there is no policy interest driving tort reform. Of course the ability of corporations to kill with virtual impunity is much sought after, but that’s not the primary reason Republicans support tort reform.

    Reply

  8. MP says:

    Marky…I’ve been thinking about Spitzer. I think that’s a real possibility and a very good one. As far as I can see, he has tons of integrity and smarts and those two things are key to me.
    I agree on the middle class. I don’t know how old you are, but I remember well the Great Society years, before Viet Nam took us down. If not to a person, Americans were generous, financially and in terms of spirit. They were willing to look at our great national sin–racism born of slavery–and made big changes to try and correct it. What happened to that generosity?
    To be sure, VN and Watergate and, I believe, the excesses of the 60s and early 70s. But the middle class became alienated, disillusioned and, increasingly, squeezed financially. They became easy prey to Reagan who reassured them with pretty pictures and the illusion of toughness. Gave them back their self-respect but in a phony way. But by now, they’re just holding on by their fingernails and, to mix metaphors, if they get squeezed any more they are going to burst and disappear.
    An interesting article in WaPo a while back showed how middle class neighborhoods are disappearing. Folks are either moving up into the upper middle class or wealthy neighborhoods or moving down into lower middle class or poverty. The middle class has always been the “engine” of our country and the channel for upward mobility, for attaining the “American dream.” And it is disappearing.
    So, one big goal for the Dems should be to revitalize the middle class in this country. It also the only way to really help the poor. When the middle class feels flush, they are very generous. Right now, it’s every “man” for himself.
    I’m speaking quickly here and somewhat inaccurately, but I think you can get my point.

    Reply

  9. ahem says:

    The comments here have become pretty messy, but a historical point:
    Notice that there’s a space in the loyalty oath where the word ‘swear’ has been written in? That was to leave room for those who chose to affirm, rather than swear a religious oath.
    Seems a long, long time ago.

    Reply

  10. marky says:

    MP, fair enough.
    I think part of the problem is that some of the ways that the right has increased its power are via technical changes to the law —changes which are not obviously bad to the public.
    Exhibit 1 is the Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations saying money is speech.
    Exhibit 2 (more obvious)—the changes in tax law. What is not obvious to the public, because of the tremendous obfuscation in the media, is how much the ultra wealthy have benefited since Reagan. It’s staggering.
    Exhibit 3 Loosely, the structure of corporate liability laws is incomprehensible to the average person, and clearly the public interest suffers from inadequate corporate liability.
    Etc. Where do you start? There’s an avalanche of decisions and actions part of a war against the middle and lower classes of this country.
    How about Dean/Spitzer 08?
    There’s a ticket I could vote for with gusto.

    Reply

  11. MP says:

    Marky,
    Never suggested that getting pissed off wasn’t necessary–only that it wasn’t sufficient. Also, you have to get pissed off–funnel that energy in the right way–if you want to get the right effect.
    Excess results in excess, only in the opposite direction.
    Some of the bad excesses of the 60s and anti-war movement, I believe, have landed us where we are today. Sorry to sound so pedantic; but that’s the way I see it.
    Maybe it’s a matter of strong organization and clear goals. Maybe it’s a matter of convincing enough of the unconvinced of the justice of one’s position.
    “Voting them all out,” or “lining them up and shooting them” or other similar expressions of being pissed off don’t qualify as very smart approaches. Nor are they likely to get results.
    Unless the result is…Bush II.

    Reply

  12. marky says:

    MP,
    Americans would never have gotten the labor rights they have today without getting pissed off—without actually fighting in the streets, in the mines, getting shot at, etc.
    There has been a crushing class war going on for 25 years, with the rich making enormous gains while the not-so-rich and poor aren’t even fighting! It’s considered un-American to make accusations of class war, at least to the punditry, sock-puppets of the corporations that they are. In recent years, the bankruptcy “reform” further tilted the field.
    Let’s not forget Alan Greenspan attempting to abet the largest heist in history—the theft of trillions of extra dollars paid into Social Security by implementing AG’s plan in 1983, only to attempt to default on paying out SS benefits in the near future. Is there any bigger criminal than Greenspan? I don’t think so.. but excuse me, he’s a hero to the techocracy for his skillful handling of monetary policy, so I dare not call him a crook too loudly.
    There is a relation between the class war and the Iraq war, which is that the rich have no personal stake in our wars anymore—we’re back to having the lower income people fight for us, which allows the rich to concentrate their energies on getting richer, which is ever so good for the mean income. Hey, if the Exxon CEO earns a couple billion, I feel my boat being lifted… lifted all the way up and over the falls.
    Last word: Steve’s credibility really takes a hit when he engages a hack like Feaver in seeming good faith. It’s sad.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    MP, never before since Hitler’s rise to power has world peace, human rights, and our own Democracy been so threatened by the presence of fanatical megalomanics in the positions of global power, as we see today. Imagine, if you will, if Hitler had had access to nuclear weapons, what a different world we would live in today. You cite far tamer chapters of history as example. Even the debacle in Viet Nam has no parrallel to the events of the last five years. Costly foreign policy debacles launched by BLATANT AND IRREFUTABLE LIES, resulting in HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DEATHS and countless HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. Constitutional abuses without accountability. Torture inflicted upon prisoners in American custody. Preemptive nuclear warfare threatened and advocated. Elections stolen, the electoral, process corrupted. Taxpayers money used to pay bogus media entities hawking false news stories. The list goes on and on. These bastards make Richard Nixon look like a choir boy. And the ONLY way this is going to change is by Americans speaking in ONE ANGRY VOICE, saying NO FUCKING WAY!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    Reply

  14. MP says:

    POA…here’s something to chew on.
    The last time Americans (some big portion of them) got “good and pissed off,” they ushered in the Republican “revolution” that we are all suffering from today.
    And they were responding, in part, to the previous time American’s (some big portion of them) got “good and pissed off” which was the sixties and the anti-war movement.
    This leads me to conclude: getting good and pissed off gives you the juice, but it doesn’t necessarily give you the right direction or the means. It may be necessary, but it’s not sufficient.
    You don’t have to respond. I’m not trying to score debating points or defend myself or anyone else. It’s just something for you to consider, because I believe you want the country to go in the right direction.

    Reply

  15. Gump Worsely says:

    After careful research of the syntaxial semantic patterns and other more technical methods it is indisputable that the same posters on this thread were:
    Posted by nobody at September 2, 2006 06:33 PM
    Posted by plink at September 2, 2006 07:11 PM
    Posted by blondie at September 3, 2006 08:06 AM
    Posted by Momma at September 3, 2006 09:38 AM
    Posted by Timothy Wetmore at September 3, 2006 10:15 AM
    Posted by Lt. at September 3, 2006 06:23 PM
    Posted by me & Jeff at September 4, 2006 09:32 AM
    Posted by me & Jeff at September 4, 2006 09:39 AM
    Posted by nosecone at September 4, 2006 10:07 AM
    Posted by douglass at September 4, 2006 10:47 AM
    Posted by Gump Worsely at September 5, 2006 10:28 AM

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    Americans need to get good and pissed off, or they are going to lose their democracy, if they haven’t already. Jeff’s sacharin formula for change is useless blather.

    Reply

  17. Arun says:

    Jeff,
    I couldn’t care less if you’re Republican all your life. The loss is yours, you know.

    Reply

  18. Jeff says:

    Martin Luther King believed that Jesus said “love your enemies” because that was a way of positively bringing about social change. Instead of seeing enemies, he saw potential friends. And therefore that is how he treated those who opposed him, with respect and empathy, even if they didn’t deserve it. And through that he changed not just actions, but hearts as well. And this among other things led to his enormous success in fighting for civil rights.
    I wouldn’t have called MP and myself enemies at the time of this discussion, but MP followed in King’s footsteps. He listened to me, tried to understand my position, and was willing to take the time to respectfully respond to my arguements. Because he did, he managed to persuade me to the point that I support him in his accusations. He won an ally.
    i say this because if people here desire to persuade others, which is what will be needed to bring about the change you desire, you should pay heed to what King said, and notice how MP’s behavior led to the results it did. Some of you I think haven’t understood that lesson yet though.
    I refuse to belong to either party because I think the leadership of both parties have failed to act on King’s wisdom. There are some bright spots though, such as Barack Obama and Evan Byah. And maybe with leadership like that, the Democratic party will win people like me to them.

    Reply

  19. brewmn says:

    Oh, and “Jeff” is a troll, pure and simple. His argument, which he spends a ridiculous amount of bandwidth stating and restating (and restating, and restating) is that we cannot assess with 100% accuracy what Cheney’s, et al., intentions were when he made a particular statement.
    Unfortunately for “Jeff,” he cannot prove that these statements were not intended to give the presumed effect. So he’s wasting his and our time. If “Jeff” wants to undertake a broad study if a particular phrase’s effect on a population generally, then he should go do so and report his findings in a peer-reviewed publication. As for me, I’m confident that the common sense conclusions that I, various other posters on this blog, and the general public (as per polling data) draw from these statements are the correct ones (as far as such a think can be known).
    My other conclusion after reading the ridiculous, repetitive postings by “Jeff” is that he should STFU and go back to stalking girls at his local high school.

    Reply

  20. Pissed Off American says:

    Paging all logicians. Will all the logicians please repair to the cloak room? Logicians, please, clear the aisles.
    Posted by elementary teacher
    Gads girl, I could easily fall in love with you.

    Reply

  21. elementary teacher says:

    Paging all cowboys. Will all cowboys please report to the aisles with large shovels?

    Reply

  22. elementary teacher says:

    Paging all logicians. Will all the logicians please repair to the cloak room? Logicians, please, clear the aisles.

    Reply

  23. Pissed Off American says:

    A bit off topic here, but apparently it doesn’t take Kucinich all day to look at a horseshoe either…….
    http://www.benfrank.net/blog/

    Reply

  24. brewmn says:

    I think the comments here prove conclusivley that the adminstration and the right wing of the Republican Party were engaged in a campaign to discredit any of criticism of the war as disloyal. And Peter Feaver has proven himself conclusively to be a dishonest hack.
    The proper response to his assertion that war critics accused the adminstration of disloyalty while the opposite is false would be to laugh in his nerdy, young Republican face. And then beat his ass.

    Reply

  25. .... says:

    i would like to thank jeff and MP for the conversation.. although it was long winded it highlights why it is difficult to attach responsibility to those who are good at smearing others, if they do it well.the cheney lamont example is a good one.. the main point i see is that cheney has to put lamont( or whoever) and terrorists in the same picture frame, while showing lieberman in a frame without the terrorists.. it is like putting up a pic of you with the 9-11 hijackers.. even if you weren’t one of them, the fact your pic is mixed in with them implies something.. i think this is what cheney and some in this administration do regularly- make evil connections with the intent of taking the opposition down and out of the running.. what does the quote “you’re either for us or against us’ do to most people? it makes most folks want to be on the side of bush, when the tactic is one of divide and conquer.
    osama morphed into saddam and it wasn’t accidental.. it was intentionally aimed at going to war in iraq.. most americans seemed to have gone along with it.. the mainstream press is a very important player in all of this. look who cheney has now choosen to write his life story on. it goes without saying that cheney is a corrupt person, quite comfortable using lies and falsehoods to further his position.. my question is how long before the public catch on to his ways? 18% in the polls does mean something. i think it depends almost entirely on how long it takes for people to see how the media is aiding and abetting criminals like cheney in all this..

    Reply

  26. Pissed Off American says:

    Gads, this issue sure got loaded up with a bunch of pseudo intellectual CRAP.
    Yes folks, CRAP.
    CEE ARE AY PEE……….CRAP.
    I used to work for an old cowboy, Dee Cooper, on the Paramount Ranch, the old movie industry property in Aqoura California. Years ago. Dee is dead now, too many T-Bones, got ate up by colon cancer. But one of his favorite comments he applied to his personal ability to recognize the obvious was “It doesn’t take ME all day to look at a horseshoe”. Simply, he was referring to a good farrier’s ability to quickly size a shoe to a horse’s hoof by looking at the old shoe just removed.
    Well, it doesn’t take ME all day to look at a horseshoe either. And anyone that denies that this admnistration purposely calls into question the patriotism of it’s critics is either a damned fool or a hopeless liar. It really IS that simple. And you can deny it with all that deflective and obtuse horseshit like we see above ’till hell freezes over, and it will not change REALITY one single iota. And you can feed that horseshit with ten miles of oppositional horseshit, such as we see above, and STILL reach the undebateable, irrefutable, and obvious conclusion.
    Like I said, I know horseshit when I see it. And I can smell it a mile away. And this thread REEKS.

    Reply

  27. Arun says:

    Why should I care whether Feaver is convinced or not about anything?

    Reply

  28. alec says:

    “Jesus!..now you’ve gone from obfuscation to verbal masterbation. We understand your arguement perfectly…it’s the same one as which came first, the chicken or the egg.”
    wow. i see carroll has finally learned something from me; the word obfuscation! and i thought i’d get flack for throwing it out several threads ago.
    (cue carroll’s response saying she will NEVER learn anything from me 🙂 )
    oh, and it’s spelled mastUrbation.
    happy holiday, everyone.

    Reply

  29. MP says:

    Jeff writes: “Thanks you MP. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posts.”
    Not a problem. It was interesting for me. I think the problem, ultimately, with your standard–perhaps even for you–is that you will end up requiring your subject to make statements that he just won’t make unless he’s a bumbler. Worse yet, if he’s clever, he gets away with his dirty work with you never holding him to account. So he’s smart and dirty and at liberty, even exonerated by a lack of proof–a bad combo.
    But I agree, we don’t want mob justice.
    Anyway, just something to think about.

    Reply

  30. Jeff says:

    Ah Carroll, you should be happy. Because my conversation with MP has probably established the strongest arguement for convincing Feaver that the administration has intentionally called people unpatriotic.
    If the administration’s accusations have been taken to imply unpatriotism, and they do not alter their accusations or seek to clarify them, then it is likely that they meant to imply unpatriotism, or at least are ok with unpatriotism being established.
    So use that with Feaver, and see how he responds.

    Reply

  31. Jeff says:

    Once again MP you make a strong arguement.
    You write:”To a previous point about how many times Cheney has made such and such an accusation. I think you’d probably have to concede that Cheney and his inner circle have made these kinds of remarks, perhaps not about Lamont, but about other critics of their foreign policy. For example…
    Didn’t Cheney famously say, during the election, something like, if you vote for the wrong guy, well, you can expect another 9/11?”
    You are correct that since there is a pattern of Cheney stating such claims, and having them interpreted as unpatriotism, then for him to continue saying such claims indicates that he likely intends for such claims to be interpreted that way, or at the least is ok with them being interpreted that way. It is possible that Cheney was just careless, and didn’t realize the implication at the time. But honestly I doubt it, and I feel like I’m giving him too much of the benefit of the doubt to make such a claim. It’s not enough for me to be convinced unfortunately, but it is enough for me to say your claims are justified. (I’ll explain what I mean below).
    Now there is some evidence that at least Bush has altered his accusations. For example, in his latest speech he said something to the effect of “those who want us to pull out of Iraq are sincere and patriotic, but wrong”. Of course Bush may just be altering his speech because the previous claims had damaged his own political standing. I’ll have to go back and see if there is a pattern of Bush making an effort to alter his statements so they don’t imply unpatriotism.
    You also write:”Moreover, it was pretty well established in that Atlantic Monthly article I mentioned earlier that inuendo is Rove’s stock in trade. Inuendo only works when you don’t leave fingerprints. You get people to spread rumors about a certain judge’s sexuality. You put out anonymous leaflets about McCain. Really dirty oppo stuff has to be basically anonymous, leaving no way to logically prove that you’re spreading the lies, because otherwise you run the risk of being held to account for it.”
    You won’t get any arguement from me. I read Bush’s Brain a couple of years back, and came to the same conclusion you have. I never meant to imply that these aren’t the types of tactics Rove would employ. I think Rove is a desipicable human being. I was just disagreeing that he actually had employed them.
    Again you write: “I think we’re running into a Cartesian or “private language” problem here. How can we establish that Cheney knows his actions are having an adverse effect? Unless he says it outright which, if he’s actually intending the effect, he won’t because it would vitiate his efforts, we can’t really prove it absolutely. So you’re faced with the conundrum: If Cheney said it outright, it wouldn’t be effective. And the only way for Cheney to be effective is for him NOT to say it outright. Now, I guess you could say, he wasn’t intending it, but he stumbled on the right strategy, ie., not to say it outright. At the end of the day, I can’t climb inside Cheney’s brain and listen to his thoughts. I can only work backwards from effect and pattern, which I believe are there.”
    And I think you’re completely justified in your belief.
    You write: “IN ANY EVENT, IS THIS LEVEL OF PROOF REALLY REQUIRED HERE? We make all kinds of decisions, important ones, without requiring absolute proof. People are put in jail and executed without absolute proof. No one can ever truly get inside the head of the murderer and prove that he intended to kill his victim–but reasonable inferences are drawn. We’re not talking about anywhere near this level of consequence for Cheney.”
    It’s not so much proof that I seek, but that it’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Now of course “reasonable doubt” is subjective. I’m sure most here most think it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, for me, because I value not wanting to falsely accuse someone so highly, I probably have a higher standard than most, and admittedly it’s also probably unrealistic.
    However, I think it’s also unrealistic and also unadvisable for all to adhere to my standard. Because if politicians, such as this administration, are going to be kept in check, then adhering to my standard is unwise as it will prevent that from taking place. If Cheney is calling people unpatriotic, there must be some that accuse him of doing so. By adhering to my standard such accusations would not take place, and Cheney’s actions would just continue.
    So I’ve come to realize that it’s unfair and unwise to impart my standard on others. I will still keep it though for myself, as it’s really the only way I can see at being peace with myself. However, I have come to believe the evidence is strong enough that those who make it are justified in their beliefs.
    You write: “Moreover, why isn’t Cheney being asked to prove that Lamont is helping the terrorists? Isn’t that the more serious charge? If we’re right or wrong about Cheney intending or not intending to question Lamont’s patriotism, that’s sort of a small thing compared to actually helping terrorists. Shouldn’t that be our focus? And, if we can prove that, and we put it before Cheney and the public, and Cheney continues to claim that Lamont helps terrorists, then we can charge Cheney with something much more serious: being wrong about terrorism and falsely accusing of a serious crime, i.e., helping terrorists.”
    You make a great point, and I’m in complete agreement.
    “I see your point about my analogy. But, we’re talking about the public sphere here. The feedback is the press, broadly defined. Lamont could, and probably did, say something like, “Cheney’s stepping on my patriotic toe. Get off it.” But patriotism isn’t quite like the pain of someone stepping on your toe.”
    Actually in your original analogy it was Cheney accusing Lamont of standing on the toe (helping terrorists). However, as you should be able to tell already I agree that if Lamont is the one saying quit it, and Cheney continues, then it’s pretty apparent he intends to hurt his toe.
    I didn’t respond to the Cheney/Al-Qaeda comments because I was pretty much in agreement with you already.
    Thanks you MP. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posts.

    Reply

  32. marky says:

    FWIW, there is at least one hyperargumentative wrong wing commenter who goes by “Jeff”.
    Alec at least is usually terse.
    Just scrolling past Jeff’s drool is a LONG chore.

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    “Now if people don’t understand my arguements, then I would ask them to point out the areas they don’t understand, and I can attempt to clarify.
    Posted by Jeff at September 4, 2006 02:48 PM”
    >>>>>>>>
    Jesus!..now you’ve gone from obfuscation to verbal masterbation. We understand your arguement perfectly…it’s the same one as which came first, the chicken or the egg.
    Give it a rest.

    Reply

  34. MP says:

    Jeff:
    What if it only takes one remark by the VP to have its intended effect? Are we then unable to make a judgement about this remark based on similar patterns in the past?

    Reply

  35. MP says:

    Jeff writes: “However, unless it is established in the accusation that the person committing the action KNOWS that their action is having an adverse effect, then it doesn’t necessarily imply that the individual wants the effect to happen. I’m sure Bush knows that many are saying his actions are encouraging terrorism, a statement I would also say. But I don’t think he believes that his actions actually are encouraging terrorism. And I don’t believe, and I’m sure you don’t either, that just because Bush continues his actions he wants to encourage terrorism.”
    To a previous point about how many times Cheney has made such and such an accusation. I think you’d probably have to concede that Cheney and his inner circle have made these kinds of remarks, perhaps not about Lamont, but about other critics of their foreign policy. For example…
    Didn’t Cheney famously say, during the election, something like, if you vote for the wrong guy, well, you can expect another 9/11? Didn’t Cheney also continue to say, long after even Bush stopped saying it, that there were connections between Saddam and Al Quaeda and isn’t that tantamount to saying that there are connections between Saddam and 9/11? I’m pretty sure we can come up with other kinds of examples.
    Moreover, it was pretty well established in that Atlantic Monthly article I mentioned earlier that inuendo is Rove’s stock in trade. Inuendo only works when you don’t leave fingerprints. You get people to spread rumors about a certain judge’s sexuality. You put out anonymous leaflets about McCain. Really dirty oppo stuff has to be basically anonymous, leaving no way to logically prove that you’re spreading the lies, because otherwise you run the risk of being held to account for it.
    So, I think there is a pattern here of a certain kind of argumentation that partakes of plausible deniability. If the race between Lieberman and Lamont gets tight–and these comments seem to move the needle towards Lieberman–we’ll see if he repeats them. If they backfire, or have no effect, you can expect him not to repeat them.
    But to your quote above…
    I think we’re running into a Cartesian or “private language” problem here. How can we establish that Cheney knows his actions are having an adverse effect? Unless he says it outright which, if he’s actually intending the effect, he won’t because it would vitiate his efforts, we can’t really prove it absolutely. So you’re faced with the conundrum: If Cheney said it outright, it wouldn’t be effective. And the only way for Cheney to be effective is for him NOT to say it outright. Now, I guess you could say, he wasn’t intending it, but he stumbled on the right strategy, ie., not to say it outright. At the end of the day, I can’t climb inside Cheney’s brain and listen to his thoughts. I can only work backwards from effect and pattern, which I believe are there.
    IN ANY EVENT, IS THIS LEVEL OF PROOF REALLY REQUIRED HERE? We make all kinds of decisions, important ones, without requiring absolute proof. People are put in jail and executed without absolute proof. No one can ever truly get inside the head of the murderer and prove that he intended to kill his victim–but reasonable inferences are drawn. We’re not talking about anywhere near this level of consequence for Cheney.
    Moreover, why isn’t Cheney being asked to prove that Lamont is helping the terrorists? Isn’t that the more serious charge? If we’re right or wrong about Cheney intending or not intending to question Lamont’s patriotism, that’s sort of a small thing compared to actually helping terrorists. Shouldn’t that be our focus? And, if we can prove that, and we put it before Cheney and the public, and Cheney continues to claim that Lamont helps terrorists, then we can charge Cheney with something much more serious: being wrong about terrorism and falsely accusing of a serious crime, i.e., helping terrorists.
    I see your point about my analogy. But, we’re talking about the public sphere here. The feedback is the press, broadly defined. Lamont could, and probably did, say something like, “Cheney’s stepping on my patriotic toe. Get off it.” But patriotism isn’t quite like the pain of someone stepping on your toe.
    Moreover, if we posit that Cheney reads the papers and listens to the news–we know for a fact that he read Wilson’s op-ed–then we can reasonably assume he’s aware of the feedback. And, if he cared enough about this Senate race to insert himself into it, it’s likely that he’s read about it. Is aware of its dynamics and the effect his remarks might have on it. His daughter said, on the Diane Rehm show, that he hates the NY Times, so he must have read a fair number of their stories. Unlike Bush, Cheney is aware of the outside world and what it’s saying.
    Now I’m losing focus…
    Ultimately, we can’t know for sure what Cheney knows or believes unless he says it and he’s not likely to in this case. Why did he continue to make claims about 9/11 and Saddam and Saddam and Al Qaeda long after everyone had agreed there wre no connections? Do we assume he’s an uninformed moron? Or do we assume that he’s aware of the political effect his statements are likely to have? Nothing about his past suggests that he’s a stupid person in a technical sense. He’s gone far in his life.
    In any event, I do appreciate your desire to be scrupulous in making assertions and judgements about people–even people you (apparently) dislike. It’s a worthy trait.

    Reply

  36. Jeff says:

    Mp, I’m really enjoying this discussion with you. Anyways, you write.
    “There’s also the problem of different kind of discourse. Philosophical discourse. Political discourse. Everyday discourse. I’m not sure it’s fair or productive to parse a politician’s words logically when logical argument–much like advertising logic–isn’t intended to appeal to the hearer’s rationale brain. It’s intended, always I believe, to appeal to the emotional brain with just enough logic or plausibility to satisfy the hearer’s belief that he or she makes decisions rationally.”
    Here’s my dilemna. I hold to a principle that says I should only believe something negative about an individual, and make accusations about said individual, if the evidence is conclusive. Because I don’t want to believe something negative about someone that isn’t true. A desire I’m sure most of us share. But because of this, I don’t see how I can have that feeling of conclusiveness unless I use formal, or at least informal, logic. As it is only logic that can ensure that a belief is true. And without that assuredness, I cannot be at peace when others make such an accusation.

    Reply

  37. Jeff says:

    “Furthermore, even if the individual knows that the action they’re committing is having a particular effect, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they desire the action”
    Sorry, I meant to say desire the effect, not action. But I’m sure you figured that out anyway.

    Reply

  38. Jeff says:

    Thank you MP, you make a very strong arguement. A couple of points.
    “• If Cheney knows or believes strongly that saying these things about Lamont will cause the public to question Lamont’s patriotism…and if, further, Cheney sees that his remarks are, in fact, having this effect on the public…wouldn’t it be incumbent upon him, Cheney, not simply to deny that he’s questioning Lamont’s patriotism, but, in fact, to change his own way of talking about Lamont, Lamont’s actions, the effect of voting for Lamont so as to create a different impression?”
    • Further, if Cheney CONTINUES to talk about Lamont in the same way, despite seeing the effect this has on the public, isn’t this tantamount to Cheney DECIDING that it’s fine by him if people think Lamont is unpatriotic and, by Cheney’s ongoing behavior, INTENDING that the public think Lamont is unpatriotic?”
    1. Do we evidence that Cheney continued to refer to Lamont and Lamont’s voters in this way after the criticism of his comments came out? I only see reference to the one speech in the above links.
    2. Do we have evidence that Cheney never clarified his comments?
    You are right though that if Cheney is aware that his actions are causing some to believe Lamont is unpatriotic, and he continues the pattern without changing what he’s saying so his comments don’t infer that, then we at least have to say that Cheney is ok with people believing that those he accuses are unpatriotic.
    “• Further, by CONTINUING to point out to Lamont and the public that the effect of Lamont’s actions is to help terrorists, isn’t Cheney EVENTUALLY saying that Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists? After all, if I tell you, “You’re standing on my toe and hurting me,” and I tell you this repeatedly, and you don’t get off my toe, I have the right to assume that you INTEND to stand on my toe and hurt me. Otherwise, you would quickly have gotten off my toe after the first or second protestation, apologized, and even offered a plausible excuse for why you accidentally stepped on my toe to begin with and didn’t step off immediately. Okay, you could be deaf, dumb, and blind–but we assume otherwise of our officials–and I don’t think you’re making that argument.”
    Your analogy falters because when the person says “you’re hurting me” you know that you’re hurting the person because the individual that’s being hurt is the one saying it. (Well unless they’re lying.) However, unless it is established in the accusation that the person committing the action KNOWS that their action is having an adverse effect, then it doesn’t necessarily imply that the individual wants the effect to happen. I’m sure Bush knows that many are saying his actions are encouraging terrorism, a statement I would also say. But I don’t think he believes that his actions actually are encouraging terrorism. And I don’t believe, and I’m sure you don’t either, that just because Bush continues his actions he wants to encourage terrorism.
    Furthermore, even if the individual knows that the action they’re committing is having a particular effect, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they desire the action. It could be they don’t want the effect, but they also desire another effect that the action leads to. I’m posting in this forum knowing it’s pissing a lot of people off and making them dislike me, but obviously I don’t want that to happen. But I continue to do it because I want to make sure that the administration isn’t being falsely accused.
    Although as I’ve said your arguement is making me lean more in believing that the accusations are correct than I was previously. I’m not yet convinced though.
    If anything this discussion with me will just strengthen your arguements with Feaver.

    Reply

  39. Carroll says:

    In summary I think we can close the ” meanings” arguement by quoting a famous Supreme Court Judge who said..
    “I can’t give you a complete definition of porno,…But I know it when I see it.”

    Reply

  40. MP says:

    I wrote: “‘m not sure it’s fair or productive to parse a politician’s words logically when POLITICAL argument–much like advertising logic–isn’t intended to appeal to…”
    Sorry, should have said “political” rather than “logical.”

    Reply

  41. MP says:

    Jeff writes: “I will say this. The administration could have orchestrated their attacks in such a way that it would be impossible to ever prove that they meant to imply that people weren’t patriotic. That every accusation that they make could be logically interpreted several ways. And because of that, it would be impossible to ever prove that they meant to insinuate lack of patriotism. I’ve definitely considered that.”
    There’s also the problem of different kind of discourse. Philosophical discourse. Political discourse. Everyday discourse. I’m not sure it’s fair or productive to parse a politician’s words logically when logical argument–much like advertising logic–isn’t intended to appeal to the hearer’s rationale brain. It’s intended, always I believe, to appeal to the emotional brain with just enough logic or plausibility to satisfy the hearer’s belief that he or she makes decisions rationally.
    “All we have to fear is fear itself” isn’t a logical statement. It’s demonstrably false in many, many cases. But logic wasn’t the point. It “made sense” to folks on an emotional level and made some rational sense, too, in that folks know that giving into fear is often a losing proposition. It also conveyed FDR’s belief in the public and their ability to overcome–things they wanted and needed to hear from an emotional standpoint from their leader. He was holding their hand at a time when they needed it badly.
    So my point is: We have to use the right analytical tools for the job at hand. You can’t slice a tomato with a hammer. A logical novel is a boring story. Formal logic doesn’t get you into the heart of political speech or what it “means” or “intends.”

    Reply

  42. MP says:

    Jeff writes: “Now was Cheney’s comments grossly irresponsible? Of course. To insinuate that Lamont’s actions help terrorists is unconscionable, as there’s little evidence that it would. However, unless Cheney is saying Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists, he is not accusing him of being unpatriotic. Nor is he necessarily saying that Lamont voters INTEND to help terrorists. But is he using fear-mongering and a gross distortion of Lamont’s policies and being overall malicious? You bet. I’ve never argued otherwise.”
    So your point seems to turn around “intention.” Cheney is not accusing Lamont of being unpatriotic, because Cheney isn’t saying that Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists, only that Lamont IS helping terrorists with the things he says, perhaps inadvertently.
    A couple of questions and points…
    • If Cheney knows or believes strongly that saying these things about Lamont will cause the public to question Lamont’s patriotism…and if, further, Cheney sees that his remarks are, in fact, having this effect on the public…wouldn’t it be incumbent upon him, Cheney, not simply to deny that he’s questioning Lamont’s patriotism, but, in fact, to change his own way of talking about Lamont, Lamont’s actions, the effect of voting for Lamont so as to create a different impression?
    • Further, if Cheney CONTINUES to talk about Lamont in the same way, despite seeing the effect this has on the public, isn’t this tantamount to Cheney DECIDING that it’s fine by him if people think Lamont is unpatriotic and, by Cheney’s ongoing behavior, INTENDING that the public think Lamont is unpatriotic?
    • Further, by CONTINUING to point out to Lamont and the public that the effect of Lamont’s actions is to help terrorists, isn’t Cheney EVENTUALLY saying that Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists? After all, if I tell you, “You’re standing on my toe and hurting me,” and I tell you this repeatedly, and you don’t get off my toe, I have the right to assume that you INTEND to stand on my toe and hurt me. Otherwise, you would quickly have gotten off my toe after the first or second protestation, apologized, and even offered a plausible excuse for why you accidentally stepped on my toe to begin with and didn’t step off immediately. Okay, you could be deaf, dumb, and blind–but we assume otherwise of our officials–and I don’t think you’re making that argument.
    The point here is that Cheney has a long pattern of making these kinds of remarks. Their effect on the public has been well-publicized. Their factual baselessness has been pointed out repeatedly. If, after this multi-year barrage, Cheney CONTINUES to make the same claims and kinds of claims, it is reasonable to infer that he INTENDS for the public to understand his comments in a certain way, ie., that Lamont intends to help the terrorists.
    Or, look at this way: If Cheney repeatedly says that Lamont’s actions effectively help terrorists…and if Lamont doesn’t mend his ways, but continues to make the same sorts of statements… after several repetitions of this cycle, it is reasonable to assume that, by now, Cheney believes Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists. Otherwise, Lamont would have changed his ways, i.e., stepped off the other guy’s toe, once his terrible error was pointed out to him.
    Your argument also doesn’t take into account plausible deniability, a tried and true tactic. Plausible deniability is the act of doing something in a way that allows you to deny plausibly that you’re doing it. That is, he’s not saying Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists. He’s just saying that Lamont HELPS terrorists. After a while, these two acts converge, and there’s no air between them.

    Reply

  43. Den Valdron says:

    You mistake me, MP. It’s not a doomsday pronouncement. You can keep on believing in yourselves.
    We just don’t believe in you any more.

    Reply

  44. Jeff says:

    MP, you wrote
    “I think the counter to Jeff–assuming I understand him–is that the original challenge was bogus. Some questions aren’t worth answering because they set the terms of discussion in a false way. A failure to refute them on their own terms doesn’t mean they’ve proved their larger case, e.g., that Bushco never slimed their critics. It just means they’ve set up the challenge in a clever way that is designed to produce the solution they sought from the beginning.”
    I will say this. The administration could have orchestrated their attacks in such a way that it would be impossible to ever prove that they meant to imply that people weren’t patriotic. That every accusation that they make could be logically interpreted several ways. And because of that, it would be impossible to ever prove that they meant to insinuate lack of patriotism. I’ve definitely considered that.
    Howver, if this is the case that it can’t be proven, that their actions and pattern of behavior can be interpreted logically more than one way, then it seems to me we’re faced with the fact that the evidence is inconclusive whether they meant to insinulate lack of patriotism. Because for such an accusation to be conclusive, you have to establish how the patterns of behavior logically only establish one motive, that they intended to attack people’s patriotism. And if the evidence is inconlusive, I do not belive people should make such accusations.
    What I have been rebutting though are those who argue that there only is one logical way of interpreting their actions. (For example GQ’s deconstruction of the Republican arguement using formal logic). And so far I believe that the response to those rebuttals are not convincing, when they happen at all.
    Now if people don’t understand my arguements, then I would ask them to point out the areas they don’t understand, and I can attempt to clarify.

    Reply

  45. MP says:

    POA…I’ll have to read this thread to see what Jeff’s talking about, if anything. They’re fairly involved. Takes me back to my days in analytic philosophy…or maybe sophistry.
    From where I sit, it’s obvious that the Administration has tried to smear its critics. It’s equally obvious that they drew a strong connection between 9/11 and Saddam. A lot of “obvious” things aren’t true, but many are, and this one is. So, I can’t defend Jeff, and my point isn’t to defend him.
    You clearly have a lot more experience posting on different forums than I do, so I’ll take another look at it.
    I think the counter to Jeff–assuming I understand him–is that the original challenge was bogus. Some questions aren’t worth answering because they set the terms of discussion in a false way. A failure to refute them on their own terms doesn’t mean they’ve proved their larger case, e.g., that Bushco never slimed their critics. It just means they’ve set up the challenge in a clever way that is designed to produce the solution they sought from the beginning.
    Just for the record, I can’t accept Den’s doomsday pronouncements. America is far too dynamic a country and has too much “fight” left to pronounce its demise. BUT, of course, concerned folks do have to fight the good fight. The world is changing, and America’s vitality, integrity, and future are not a given. We’ve been given a great deal, now we have to give a great deal.

    Reply

  46. Jeff says:

    Now was Cheney’s comments grossly irresponsible? Of course. To insinuate that Lamont’s actions help terrorists is unconscionable, as there’s little evidence that it would. However, unless Cheney is saying Lamont INTENDS to help terrorists, he is not accusing him of being unpatriotic. Nor is he necessarily saying that Lamont voters INTEND to help terrorists. But is he using fear-mongering and a gross distortion of Lamont’s policies and being overall malicious? You bet. I’ve never argued otherwise.
    After all, I believe Bush’s policies have encouraged terrorists (and in that case there’s a lot of evidence). But I’m not accusing him of being unpatriotic, or that those who vote for him are.
    Also, POA, you wrote.
    “there is very little I abhor more than someone that offers an opinion that is not founded in ideological conviction, but instead is merely contrived to counter an argument they have been tasked to counter”
    My conviction is to make sure that peole don’t make accusations unless they’re true. It is not based on ideological adherence to the Republican party or Bush. Or shall I show you the many times I’ve blasted Republicans for making unfair comments about Democrats?
    Maybe my passion in making sure inaccurate accusations aren’t being leveled causes me to not see accurate ones. I’m receptive to that, and have considered it often. But in this case, I believe the charge that Bush is saying critics of his policies are unpatriotic is inconclusive.
    As for believing that I’m posting under multiple names, tell me how I can prove I’m not and I’ll do it.

    Reply

  47. Pissed Off American says:

    By the way, MP. I am not “paranoid” I have posted on far too many blogs to fail to recognize posting patterns. I do not “fear” that posters will use tactics such as I describe. It is a reality, not to be feared, but to be accepted. It is a regular and often used tactic, and it would be naive to think that it would not be used here. I do not see a “troll behind every Bush”. I DO, however, ACCEPT and RECOGNIZE certain posting patterns, and when I see them, I give voice to my suspicions. I am certain that sometimes I am wrong, and often I am right. There is very little I abhor more than someone that offers an opinion that is not founded in ideological conviction, but instead is merely contrived to counter an argument they have been tasked to counter. And really, that kind of tactic comes to the crux of the issue we are discussing here. It is quite simply intellectually impossible to advance the argument that “jeff” has advanced with any kind of conviction. One cannot have observed the press conferences and public statements of this administration over the course of the last five years and reach the conclusion that Jeff claims to have reached about this issue.

    Reply

  48. Den Valdron says:

    Y’know, I was recently speaking to a Canadian friend. He’s quite conservative, quite right wing, a fan of Matt Drudge and Captain’s Quarters and all that. We’ve always maintained civil discussions, despite his hostility to all things ‘liberal.’
    Anyway, the subject to 9/11 came up. And nodded thoughtfully, chewing his words over. Finally, he said, “You know, I hate to admit it, but they had it coming.”
    Mike had lost his faith in America. He no longer believed. He had always seen the left as a fountain of lies, but now he saw the right as equally or more dishonest and corrupt. He had come to the frustration of Sodom and Gomorrah and was left with no more than the bitter resignation that your suffering was both well deserved and ultimately self inflicted.
    It made me profoundly sad. It was such a clear sign of how far and how profoundly America had fallen. Here we are, guys like Jeff play their semantic games to the end, but really, its over.
    You’ve lost. The players will play on, like Bagdad Bob, mumbling their talking points and semantic games. But its over.
    No one believes in America any more.

    Reply

  49. Jeff says:

    Pissed Off American, you wrote
    “Show me “Jeff’s” rebuttal to KarenK’s post that underlines Dick Cheney’s insinuations”
    I didn’t argue this one since I didn’t see why it was any stronger than other ones. Plus I thought I had shown in my previous posts why it doesn’t necessarily insinuate lack of patriotism. But I’ll rebut it.
    “Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage “Al Qaeda types.” (Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: “That may be the way the vice president sees it,” he said, “but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.”)”
    Once again, we have establshed that if you are patriotic (p) you will not want to help terrrorists. (-ht). ht being wanting to help terrorists.
    Dick Cheney is saying that voting for Lamont (x) helps terrorists.
    Now you want to say that Cheney is saying X—>ht
    But plesae tell me where in that statement that it is established that Lamont voters actually WANT helping terrorists to happen. Remember that HT is not just helping terrorists, but WANTING it to happen.

    Reply

  50. Pissed Off American says:

    By the way, MP. Show me an argument here, (countering our contention that the Bush Administration DOES in fact question the patriotism of its critics), that is based on an honest examination of the FACTS at our disposal. Show me “Jeff’s” rebuttal to KarenK’s post that underlines Dick Cheney’s insinuations. Show us “Jeff’s” explanation for the swiftboating of Kerry. To deny the obvious tactics that this admninistration uses to malign its critics is despicable, and no less so than the actual institution of those tactics.

    Reply

  51. MP says:

    POA…truth is, I didn’t read Jeff’s comments closely. You may be right, and I’ll go back and read them. I spoke out only because you’ve brought up this point many times with many different “people.” I think you falsely accused “Brian” of being a shill, just as an example. I’m not worried about “Brian”; I’m more worried about about paranoia taking us down the river to dead-endsville.
    Den is, of course, right. Style can be aped. And no doubt this kind of disruption does occur. And it’s entirely possible that you’re right about all of this and I’m wrong. But I tend to think that most people come to this forum honestly with an honest desire to contribute in some way. Maybe not always with all the facts at their command–or the time to rustle them up.
    I also think that most people write quickly on this forum, and aping a style takes time and some effort and even skill. BUT, this doesn’t prove that this kind of thing isn’t going on. I just don’t see much obvious evidence of it. Jeff may be full of bullshit on this point all by his very lonesome. As I say, many, maybe most, people have a strong emotional need to believe their leaders.
    Anyway, this discussion can only go round and round.

    Reply

  52. Jeff says:

    Pissed Off American, you wrote
    “I must answer in the affirmative. Absolutely. Worse. I consider anyone that advances such a denial a liar as well. Sorry, but the combination of horseshit, coupled with the blatantly unconvicted rationale upon which you attempt to balance the horseshit all adds up to the act of someone who is not here to argue truths or theory as to the issue at hand, but rather to irritate the users of this blog and to deflect the issue. It is not merely your stated stance on this issue that convincess me of your immorality, but it is also the manner in which you have presented your arguments that drives me to strongly question your character.”
    If it’s bullshit, it should be easily challenged and refuted. But so far, no one has actually giving me reasons WHY my arguements are illogical or wrong, they just say they are without giving me examples. Honestly it perplexes me why you or others haven’t shown specifically why some of my arguements are irrational. For example, please tell me where I went wrong in my latest post to GQ. If you forgot, this is what he said.
    “1. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you are patriotic (P), then you will not want to help the terrorists or undermine the war on terror (-HT). In formal terms: “P –> -HT”.
    2. Make a strong concerted effort to say that if you do X (e.g. expose the NSA programs) then you are helping the terrorists or undermining the war on terror. In formal terms “X –> HT”.
    2*. Assert that Democrats WANT to do X. Or, similarly, the whole Rovian construction is such that if you are a Democrat (D), you want to do X. Formally, “D –> X”.
    3. Assume people will make the only logical conclusion: “D –> X –> HT” but “HT == –HT”. And if you have “–HT” then you obviously have “-P”. ”
    He defined -HT as not wanting to help terrorists, but following his outline I don’t see how that wanting aspect is ever established. Look again at section 2
    “2. Make a strong concerted effort to say that if you do X (e.g. expose the NSA programs) then you are helping the terrorists or undermining the war on terror. In formal terms “X –> HT”.
    2*. Assert that Democrats WANT to do X. Or, similarly, the whole Rovian construction is such that if you are a Democrat (D), you want to do X. Formally, “D –> X”.”
    Yes he establishes that Democrats want to do X, but X is not helping terrorists. X is the thing that LEADS to helping terrorists. But he doesn’t establish anywhere in that they actually WANT to help them. Let me use an example so you see the fallacy.
    1. It is commonly accepted that if you care about the poor (CP) you won’t want them to suffer (-S). So CP—->-S
    2. Giving food to poor countries GF) led to farmers in those countries suffering as they couldn’t compete, which hurt the poor. So GF—->S.
    3. Democrats (D) back then wanted to do give food to poor countries. So D—>GF.
    4, Therefore, D—>GF—>S. And S=–S. Therefore D=-CP. Democrats don’t care about the poor.
    Do you see the fallacy? Step 2 is wrong. Because I never established that Democrats actually WANTED the food aid to hurt the poor. But that outline is exactly what GQ did.
    But once again, if this is so irrational, it should be really easy to refute. No?

    Reply

  53. MP says:

    Karl Rove, in particular, is a master of this technique. There was a good article in The Atlantic Monthly a while back on his use of the “deniable smear.” He perfected it in the hinterlands before he took it primetime. Why McCain, one of its chief victims, kissed and made up with Bush after the l’affaire SC is beyond me.
    What we really need is a revolt from within the Republican Party …

    Reply

  54. Pissed Off American says:

    MP, thanks for your civil essay. But, like I said, I know horseshit when I see it. And there is a major difference between offering an argument based on foundational conviction, or offering an argument that uses contrived intellectual gymnastics that are tailored to confuse or deflect. You are not a stupid individual. It amazes me that you cannot see “jeff’s” use here of the very tactics we are ascribing to the propogandists within the Bush Administration. “Jeff” is not “divided” in his opinion here. In truth, it is my belief that we have no idea what “Jeff’s” opinion is. He is not here to offer an honest personal opinion or argument. He is here to counter our arguments and opinions, and will use any technique and argument at his disposal to do just that.
    But, once again, to break it down to the very basic TRUTH here, that ANYONE with any morality or intelligence must surely see, this Administration DOES call into question the patriotism of it’s critics, on a regular basis. They do it through insinuation, and manipluation of the manner our press presents news to us. PERIOD. To deny that this process is happening is a LIE. And those that deny it are LIARS, or are completely detached from reality. Sometimes, MP, it really IS that simple.

    Reply

  55. Den Valdron says:

    Well, I’d rather not get involved. But the reality is that some people do use multiple screen names in order to foul up discussions. It happens.
    Usually you can tell by a basic similarity of writing style and themes, repeated used of certain coded or monomaniacal phrases and terms.
    But style is not quite like a fingerprint, and it can be shifted or aped.
    I’ve tried to avoid this whole thread for the most part, largely because, as a number of people have pointed out, the technical premise is worthless.
    It might be fun to go looking for ‘smoking gun’ lines in which George W. Bush or Karl Rove accuses their opponents of being traitors, but the technical existence of such smoking guns is irrelevant to the larger picture.
    The Bush administration and its allies are very adept at semantically fudging the issues, creating meaning and leaving memes beyond the technical deconstruction of words.
    The perfect example is the perpetual juxtaposition of 9/11 with Iraq, which leaves most of the American population convinced that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. When confronted, they invariably back down from that assertion. But they continually juxtapose, because the erroneus connection serves their interest. So, its noise rather than statements.
    The volume of ‘traitor’ noise, which emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters is deafening.
    I have to seriously question the integrity of anyone who argues otherwise from any point of view other than being a devil’s advocate.

    Reply

  56. MP says:

    I’m with “my too sense” on this one. We’re chasing jots and tittles. The fact that huge numbers of people believed (past tense) that Saddam was behind 9/11–when all the evidence was pointing at OBL–is proof of the false connection the Administration worked to draw between the two. Where ELSE would they have gotten this idea? Why ELSE would huge numbers of people, a majority I believe, have supported the Iraq invasion to begin with? Why ELSE would so many Democrats in Congress have been cowed into supporting the invasion if the loyalty card hadn’t been played?
    They were given certain “information” by the Administration and members of Congress, and they did what they almost always do: Believed their leaders because it is important to most people to believe that their leaders aren’t lying to them. Unfortunately, they were.

    Reply

  57. Pissed Off American says:

    That is how this republican “War of words against critics” game is played and Feaver knows it, that is why the challenge was issued.
    Posted by my too sense
    Which is exactly my point about the character and integrity of these people. Truth, honor, honesty, the sanctity of human life, the law, means nothing to them. In every manner they have shown us that they are devoid of integrity or character. In short, they are evil, and there is no shortage of evidence to support that premise. Yet when one offers the argument that there are far too many unanswered questions about what occurred on 9/11, and that there is a very real possibility that certain people in our government, or behind our government, were involved in, (at the very least), ALLOWING 9/11 to happen, (if not actually complicit), you run into a wall of denial. How far must these people take us into the abyss before the silent majority wake up to the sheer EVIL that is represented by this administration?

    Reply

  58. MP says:

    Dear POA,
    I think your belief that all these people are one person posting under screen names is misguided. It may be true in a few cases; I don’t know. The use of screen names is inherently a device to hide a person’s identity. For all anyone knows, you might be posting under several names, though I don’t believe you are.
    In part, this is a linguistic argument. By now, I could easily tell you from Carroll from Den from Marky from Punchy from Elementary from Matthew from Alec from almost any regular poster even if no screen name were used. I’m pretty sure, though not positive, that I can tell the women from the men, even when their gender isn’t indicated. The point is, after a while, we all leave literary fingerprints.
    So, I’m almost positive that Alec isn’t Brian isn’t Jeff. Is it possible that they are and I’m full of shit? Yes. And of course I can’t be sure I’m right–even Steve might not know if this person has multiple email addresses. But I think I am right.
    So what’s my point? It’s not just literary. If we’re trying to move this country in a new direction, we have to understand the complexity of the currents–the opinions and emotions–that are driving events. You’ve taught me (again) the importance of passionate conviction, of not giving ground when ground shouldn’t be given. It’s a good lesson for me.
    I think you need to understand that people genuinely hold different opinions about the big issues and have reasons for those opinions. It’s important to understand them even if you don’t agree with them.
    One of the false assumptions behind much of this discussion on these threads is this: If only people had the right information, and their minds weren’t clouded by prejudice and all sorts of crapola, they would agree with us. They would vote the right way. They would become involved. And poll numbers are trotted out to support this basic conceit. This is bullshit. There are huge and legitimate (meaning passionately held and well argued) differencces on many of the big issues of the day.
    The people holding these views are not “monsters.” (Though I agree that Cheney and friends are monsters.) They are Americans who disagree with you. But if you regard them as simply part of a cabal whose purpose is to disrupt right-thinking discussion of the issues and prevent us from ever getting to the crux of things…then you’re going to miss the boat and we, the progressive forces in America, are going to end up in the ditch again with nothing more than our keyboards to console us.
    Now, lest you think my point boils down to “let’s be nice and compromise away our principles,” it is not. Nor am I saying, “Use better language,” or stop yelling, etc. What I’m saying is this: America is VERY DIVIDED. The world is VERY DIVIDED. Unless we find a way to deal productively with those divisions, we will fail. Thinking that these genuine differences are just all part of some strange plot is wrong and a waste of energy.
    I’m talking here about “Jeff” or any particular instance. But you repeatedly bring up this idea that certain people are using multiple screen names to try to foul up the discussion.

    Reply

  59. my too sense says:

    I dunno, I’m with the commenters that feel this was a possible set-up by Feaver. Isn’t it amazing that he had all sorts of quotes available to use regarding the republican use of the word “bipartisanship”, yet for some reason he was unable to use the same tool that he used to find those quotes by republicans, speaking the words “unpatriotic”, “traitor” or “treason”? He most likely had already done it and that is why he issued the throwdown.
    Anyhow, this is a semantics game and Feaver knows it. As others have stated, Bushco is the master of insinuation, inference, and implication, but most likely has never actually uttered those exact words as Feaver has requested. Then if and when challenged on the true intent of words/ phrases/comments that imply lack of patriotism or treason, they will either blame Democrats/critics for misunderstanding them, and/or blame the media for misrepresenting them, and/or deny that is what they actually said or meant. This is exactly what Rummy did the other day regarding his American Legion speech. He ended up trying to play the poor misunderstood victim card when called out on that speech. (Plus, when asked to name one “appeaser” they can’t name one).
    That is how this republican “War of words against critics” game is played and Feaver knows it, that is why the challenge was issued.

    Reply

  60. Pissed Off American says:

    “To any intelligent or moral human being, the strategies employed by this Administration to attack the credibility of it’s critics is obvious and undeniable.”…..POA
    “Which means that since I don’t believe that they’re using such strategies, you must believe I’m unintelligent and immoral. Which is fine. If you want to think I’m immoral than knock yourself out. But if you’re unwilling to say I’m immoral, then you must not stand by your previous statement”……..Jeff
    You specifically accused me of calling you “unitelligent”, (sic) and of being a “buffoon”. I responded that I had said no such thing about you.
    Like the treasonous puke you seek to defend here, Bush, I see you like to cloud issues with an endless litany of twisted logic defended by the purposeful warping of your critic’s arguments. I choose to call that kind of argument “horseshit”. Do not confuse horseshit with bullshit. “Bullshit”, in my opinion, is the more direct form of deception, such as was attempted by “alec”, (You DO know who that is, right, “jeff”?), when he posted that ridiculously obvious fake quote. (when first he posted here as “alec”, instead of “brian”, or “David”, or “Zeke”….(see a pattern, yet, “jeff”?))
    Anyway, back to the issue you’ve raised. Do I consider you immoral for your refusal to admit that this administration employs a strategy that calls into question the patriotism of it’s critics???
    I must answer in the affirmative. Absolutely. Worse. I consider anyone that advances such a denial a liar as well. Sorry, but the combination of horseshit, coupled with the blatantly unconvicted rationale upon which you attempt to balance the horseshit all adds up to the act of someone who is not here to argue truths or theory as to the issue at hand, but rather to irritate the users of this blog and to deflect the issue. It is not merely your stated stance on this issue that convincess me of your immorality, but it is also the manner in which you have presented your arguments that drives me to strongly question your character.
    Add to all that my obvious belief that you post here under a number of various screen names, none of which have really added any value to the discourse here, and it becomes quite apparent that I would be an idiot NOT to question your morality.
    I have, for the most part, up to this point, tried to keep my comments general when responding to the pure horseshit you have offered on this issue, out of defference to Steve’s desire for me to tone down my rhetoric and not “personalize” the debate. So to Steve I must appologize. Yes, once again I have been baited into honestly stating my opinion about the “argument” and “method of argument” of another poster. But in truth, this comment is a direct answer to a personal challenge. He asked, I answered. Its as simple as that. Carroll has the tact and calmness of manner to use words such as “obfuscation” with which to describe “horseshit”. Perhaps I should take a lesson from her, because not only would my posts be of a more civil nature, but they would most certainly be far less long-winded as well. But I didn’t grow up around dictionaries, I grew up around horses. And I know horseshit when I see it.

    Reply

  61. MP says:

    Dear Carroll: This is a little off topic, but I’ve been away enjoying your lovely state. I do appreciate your withdrawing any of your past assertions that I am a traitor for holding the beliefs I do. I accept your withdrawal of those statements.

    Reply

  62. douglass says:

    WARNING !! DO NOT READ THE “ME & JEFF” COMMENT !!
    It’s the most vile comment ever in these threads.
    Always remember – Bush LIED our country into an unnecessary, illegal and immoral war that makes him responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and puts our country in ever greater peril as we are weakened across the board by his actions.
    BUSH IS THE TRAITOR !

    Reply

  63. Paul says:

    I think people should focus on the use of third parties to make statements through “talking points”. This is a bipartisan practice and extends to questioning the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with you. I recall alot of Democrats questioning the loyalty doing the same thing with respect to Clinton’s actions in the Balkans and the Middle East.
    I have always consideredc it a special strength of US democracy that we allow criticism of our government even in wartime and have never interrupted or postponed an election with the exception of 9/11 in New York, where people were physically prevented from voting. Abraham Lincoln thought he would lose the 1864 election as late as August 1864, but the most he would have done was try to defeat the Confederacy before his term of office expired. Compare that with the British who in both World Wars formed coalition governments for the specific purpose of avoiding having to answer questions in Parliament and also postponed general elections “for the duration”. The practice of denouncing any questioning of a war government is pernicious and needs a name. I’d suggest McNamaraism.

    Reply

  64. nosecone says:

    Arun, you will have to provide a definition of this “swift-boated” that you speak of. And please remember the rules:
    P –> -HT
    X –> HT
    D –> X
    and most of all …. D –> X –> HT

    Reply

  65. Arun says:

    You’ll next be asking us to prove that Kerry was swift-boated.

    Reply

  66. me & Jeff says:

    Oh, have a Happy Labor Day!

    Reply

  67. me & Jeff says:

    Oh, have a Happy Labor Day!

    Reply

  68. me & Jeff says:

    Oh, have a Happy Labor Day!

    Reply

  69. me & Jeff says:

    Oh, have a Happy Labor Day!

    Reply

  70. me & Jeff says:

    I’m with Jeff on this. I way like how he has destroyed this thread with super-intellectual elitist mumbo jumbo taught to the higher graduates at Patrick Henry. Anything a know-it-all Liberal hates more than Bush is being shown they are not soooo intelligent as they preen themselves to be. You will not be able the defeat Jeff because he is using the quantum physics of logic while you geniuses use arithmatic. And more scary for you simple commoners is that Rove, even Bush, use these advanced logical skills while crafting their messages. They know their Ps & Qs, so to speak, and they will run circles around you in your accusations.
    I’ll tell y’all Jeff’s punch line in all this. He will prove that the accusations of disloyaly, and treason are not coming from the Right, but are merely coming from a Liberal’s interpretation of the Right’s words. What sounds like accusations are caused by they criminal guilt coursing through the Liberal’s heads who know exactly that they ARE against America in this struggle because to be for America at this time you need be for Bush, and you have Satanic hate for Bush and the Right wing. If America wins, the Right wing wins! The perceived accusations rile Liberal so much because they know they are true and they hate being found out for what they are. That’s why all the hissing. The Liberals are hearing things because of a guilty conscience.
    Your hatreds lead to “moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong.” There is much to hate the Right for. They have beaten the living crap out of you in politics. Call it big Real Men kicking the crap out of little skinny sniveling whiners that the Conservatives have just had enough of. And now they maliciously enjoy they beatings they give you. It’s so easy. And being on the other end of that, anything would hate with all its being its perceived oppressor which in reality is its better. Its the hatred of the dying for what is killing it, as the cockaroach hates the jack boot.
    Submit, and relieve your souls of your eternal hate and the voices, the voices of accusation. You have a place in America, but not as leaders.

    Reply

  71. me & Jeff says:

    I’m with Jeff on this. I way like how he has destroyed this thread with super-intellectual elitist mumbo jumbo taught to the higher graduates at Patrick Henry. Anything a know-it-all Liberal hates more than Bush is being shown they are not soooo intelligent as they preen themselves to be. You will not be able the defeat Jeff because he is using the quantum physics of logic while you geniuses use arithmatic. And more scary for you simple commoners is that Rove, even Bush, use these advanced logical skills while crafting their messages. They know their Ps & Qs, so to speak, and they will run circles around you in your accusations.
    I’ll tell y’all Jeff’s punch line in all this. He will prove that the accusations of disloyaly, and treason are not coming from the Right, but are merely coming from a Liberal’s interpretation of the Right’s words. What sounds like accusations are caused by they criminal guilt coursing through the Liberal’s heads who know exactly that they ARE against America in this struggle because to be for America at this time you need be for Bush, and you have Satanic hate for Bush and the Right wing. If America wins, the Right wing wins! The perceived accusations rile Liberal so much because they know they are true and they hate being found out for what they are. That’s why all the hissing. The Liberals are hearing things because of a guilty conscience.
    Your hatreds lead to “moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong.” There is much to hate the Right for. They have beaten the living crap out of you in politics. Call it big Real Men kicking the crap out of little skinny sniveling whiners that the Conservatives have just had enough of. And now they maliciously enjoy they beatings they give you. It’s so easy. And being on the other end of that, anything would hate with all its being its perceived oppressor which in reality is its better. Its the hatred of the dying for what is killing it, as the cockaroach hates the jack boot.
    Submit, and relieve your souls of your eternal hate and the voices, the voices of accusation. You have a place in America, but not as leaders.

    Reply

  72. me & Jeff says:

    I’m with Jeff on this. I way like how he has destroyed this thread with super-intellectual elitist mumbo jumbo taught to the higher graduates at Patrick Henry. Anything a know-it-all Liberal hates more than Bush is being shown they are not soooo intelligent as they preen themselves to be. You will not be able the defeat Jeff because he is using the quantum physics of logic while you geniuses use arithmatic. And more scary for you simple commoners is that Rove, even Bush, use these advanced logical skills while crafting their messages. They know their Ps & Qs, so to speak, and they will run circles around you in your accusations.
    I’ll tell y’all Jeff’s punch line in all this. He will prove that the accusations of disloyaly, and treason are not coming from the Right, but are merely coming from a Liberal’s interpretation of the Right’s words. What sounds like accusations are caused by they criminal guilt coursing through the Liberal’s heads who know exactly that they ARE against America in this struggle because to be for America at this time you need be for Bush, and you have Satanic hate for Bush and the Right wing. If America wins, the Right wing wins! The perceived accusations rile Liberal so much because they know they are true and they hate being found out for what they are. That’s why all the hissing. The Liberals are hearing things because of a guilty conscience.
    Your hatreds lead to “moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong.” There is much to hate the Right for. They have beaten the living crap out of you in politics. Call it big Real Men kicking the crap out of little skinny sniveling whiners that the Conservatives have just had enough of. And now they maliciously enjoy they beatings they give you. It’s so easy. And being on the other end of that, anything would hate with all its being its perceived oppressor which in reality is its better. Its the hatred of the dying for what is killing it, as the cockaroach hates the jack boot.
    Submit, and relieve your souls of your eternal hate and the voices, the voices of accusation. You have a place in America, but not as leaders.

    Reply

  73. me & Jeff says:

    I’m with Jeff on this. I way like how he has destroyed this thread with super-intellectual elitist mumbo jumbo taught to the higher graduates at Patrick Henry. Anything a know-it-all Liberal hates more than Bush is being shown they are not soooo intelligent as they preen themselves to be. You will not be able the defeat Jeff because he is using the quantum physics of logic while you geniuses use arithmatic. And more scary for you simple commoners is that Rove, even Bush, use these advanced logical skills while crafting their messages. They know their Ps & Qs, so to speak, and they will run circles around you in your accusations.
    I’ll tell y’all Jeff’s punch line in all this. He will prove that the accusations of disloyaly, and treason are not coming from the Right, but are merely coming from a Liberal’s interpretation of the Right’s words. What sounds like accusations are caused by they criminal guilt coursing through the Liberal’s heads who know exactly that they ARE against America in this struggle because to be for America at this time you need be for Bush, and you have Satanic hate for Bush and the Right wing. If America wins, the Right wing wins! The perceived accusations rile Liberal so much because they know they are true and they hate being found out for what they are. That’s why all the hissing. The Liberals are hearing things because of a guilty conscience.
    Your hatreds lead to “moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong.” There is much to hate the Right for. They have beaten the living crap out of you in politics. Call it big Real Men kicking the crap out of little skinny sniveling whiners that the Conservatives have just had enough of. And now they maliciously enjoy they beatings they give you. It’s so easy. And being on the other end of that, anything would hate with all its being its perceived oppressor which in reality is its better. Its the hatred of the dying for what is killing it, as the cockaroach hates the jack boot.
    Submit, and relieve your souls of your eternal hate and the voices, the voices of accusation. You have a place in America, but not as leaders.

    Reply

  74. Jeff says:

    Hey GQ, missed this post
    “1. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you are patriotic (P), then you will not want to help the terrorists or undermine the war on terror (-HT). In formal terms: “P –> -HT”.
    2. Make a strong concerted effort to say that if you do X (e.g. expose the NSA programs) then you are helping the terrorists or undermining the war on terror. In formal terms “X –> HT”.
    2*. Assert that Democrats WANT to do X. Or, similarly, the whole Rovian construction is such that if you are a Democrat (D), you want to do X. Formally, “D –> X”.
    3. Assume people will make the only logical conclusion: “D –> X –> HT” but “HT == –HT”. And if you have “–HT” then you obviously have “-P”. ”
    Where you make the mistake is right here
    “2. Make a strong concerted effort to say that if you do X (e.g. expose the NSA programs) then you are helping the terrorists or undermining the war on terror. In formal terms “X –> HT”.”
    But that’s not what you said. You said that HT means WANTING to undermine the war on terror. Or rather -HT means not wanting to undermine the war on terror. But where in the above quote is motivation established?

    Reply

  75. marky says:

    I’m not going to read through the comments here, but I wonder if anyone has mentioned the administrations use of the locution
    “some would say .. blah blah blah” which has been used ad nauseam by Bush.
    When Bush says something like “Some in the US say that we should kiss Osama’s ass, suck his dick and convert to Islam”, there’s no question that he using a cheap rhetorical trick to attack the Democrats without naming them.
    What little I read of the debate in this thread reminds me of the arguments over the “sixteen words” from two years ago. The fact is, the adminstration has been so careful in choosing its words to mislead that the very care is evidence of the intent to deceive.
    “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, Bush said in Jan. 2003.
    It has taken years to thoroughly debunk this statement—not because there was any doubt about the falsity of the underlying claim, but because the administration carefully chose a wording which would be exceedingly hard to falsify.
    If Bush said “We know that Saddam has been attempting to purchase uranium from Africa”, that would have been a more direct lie, and would have hurt him more when it was exposed.
    Likewise, had he said “John Kerry wants Osama to win the war on terror”, he couldn’t have gotten away with it, but there is no question that is what he meant in 2004.

    Reply

  76. Jeff says:

    Pissed Off American, you said – “”Jeff”. Are you denying that this administration uses the tactic of questioning the patriotism of its critics, (either outright or through insinuation)?
    Yes or no? (without all the convoluted intellectual bullshit)
    Again. YES OR NO????”
    If you mean intentional insinuation, then of course I’m denying it. What made you think I wasn’t? I thought I had been pretty clear in saying I don’t believe Bush is questioning people’s patriotism. Although I think it’s perfectly understandable why some believe it, and I’m not convinced he isn’t myself.
    Also, to go back to something else you said way back.
    You said:

    Don’t put words in my mouth. I said no such thing about you, Jeff.”
    But beforehand you said
    “To any intelligent or moral human being, the strategies employed by this Administration to attack the credibility of it’s critics is obvious and undeniable.”
    Which means that since I don’t believe that they’re using such strategies, you must believe I’m unintelligent and immoral. Which is fine. If you want to think I’m immoral than knock yourself out. But if you’re unwilling to say I’m immoral, then you must not stand by your previous statement.

    Reply

  77. Carroll says:

    Jeff …
    ob·fus·cate
    Pronunciation: ‘äb-f&-“skAt; äb-‘f&s-“kAt, &b-
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
    Etymology: Late Latin obfuscatus, past participle of obfuscare, from Latin ob- in the way + fuscus dark brown — more at OB-, DUSK
    transitive verb
    1 a : DARKEN b : to make obscure
    2 : CONFUSE
    intransitive verb : to be evasive, unclear, or confusing
    – ob·fus·ca·tion /”äb-(“)f&s-‘kA-sh&n/ noun
    – ob·fus·ca·to·ry /äb-‘f&s-k&-“tor-E, &b-/ adjective
    “His head, like a smokejack, the funnel unswept, and the ideas whirling round and round about in it, all obfuscated and darkened over with fuliginous matter.”
    >>>>>>>>
    The reason your arguement isn’t prevailng is that you can’t get infected with this on net boards.

    Reply

  78. Jeff says:

    Point out where I was affirming the consequent. I may have done it and didn’t realize it.
    And yes I know the logical fallacies about affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent.

    Reply

  79. gq says:

    BTW, more on necessary and sufficient conditions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufficient
    No more from me, I promise. But here’s something worth taking a look at for certain people: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/11053
    (I normally detest sounding so smarmy.)

    Reply

  80. gq says:

    Me thinks Jeff needs to revisit Logic 101. He sounds like Tom Coburn constantly affirming the consequent ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent ) during Senate hearings. It’s more painful than comical to endure when Coburn does it, though.

    Reply

  81. Jeff says:

    By the way, could you show me an example where an administration official, and preferably Bush himself, said that Americans don’t cut and run? Honestly I looked and couldn’t find one. I did find a quote from Bill Frist though using it.

    Reply

  82. Jeff says:

    Carroll-
    Interestingly enough I ran the phrase “Americans don’t cut and run” through the google search engine and the first person I found using that specific phrase was Carol Mosely Braun. Critic of the administration and it’s Iraq policies
    http://www.ontheissues.org/2004/Carol_Moseley-Braun_War_+_Peace.htm
    “Let me mention a name that probably nobody has heard in a long time. And that’s Osama bin Laden–“bin missing.” We haven’t been looking for him because we got off on the wrong track. And we got on the wrong track in large part because the Constitution calls on the Congress to declare war. That didn’t happen in this case. And the resolution allowed this president to go off hell-bent for leather on this misadventure.
    However, Americans don’t cut and run. We have to support our troops in the field. So we are in a position now in which this administration has frittered away the goodwill of the international community, failed to go after Al Qaida and bin Laden, and left our troops in the field without the resources they need.
    So I welcome the international community. I hope that it will allow us to extricate ourselves with honor but continue a viable war on terrorism that gets bin Laden and his pals and all the people who would do harm to the American people.
    Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003 ”
    Now do you think that Braun is saying that those who cut and run aren’t American? Or is it possible she’s saying that one of the American principles is to see through military endeavors. And if we are to adhere to our American principles we must see through this endeavor in Iraq.
    Just like I’d say that it’s one of our American principles not to torture, and I can feel I could safely say “Americans don’t torture.” Now am I saying that those who torture are not American?
    You are correct that if you follow that phrase logically it does imply that those who don’t torture aren’t American. Or those who cut and run aren’t american. Especially because it says “don’t”. However I think it’s stretching things to assume that those who use either phrase actually mean to imply it. I’ve heard it said that mature adults don’t put the blame for their mistakes on other people. But I don’t assume that the person saying it actually believes that if someone does put the blame on another person that the inidividual isn’t mature. It’s a way of phrasing to illustrate the severity of the action, and to say why the individual should or should not do said action. Americans don’t torture is a stronger phrase and is more impactful than Americans shouldn’t torture. Shouldn’t is the more accurate wording, but it’s less impactful and memorable. And so I can see why “don’t” would be used insetead.
    However, I will say that out of all the phrases given so far that’s the one that most obviously does lead to the implications that are being pointed out in this thread. And given that such an implication does follow logically it should not be used, because even if the person using it doesn’t mean to imply anti-Americanism, the phrase itself does imply it. However that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who use it mean to imply anti-Americanism. They could just be using it for it’s memorable and impactful nature.

    Reply

  83. .... says:

    patriotism may be the last resort of a scoundrel, but it is the first resort of a tyrant..

    Reply

  84. elementary teacher says:

    Read your e-mail, Valdron.

    Reply

  85. Jeff says:

    GQ-
    On further thought, I think I actually do have a problem with your analysis of the framework, even if the framework exists.
    I think it’s safe to say that in some cases the framework does exist as “if person cares about “x” then they should do “y”. For example, I believe that if the administration cared about the poor they should eliminate the tax cuts for the rich and allocate them to the poor and small businesses. However, I do not believe that if the administration doesn’t do “y” then they don’t care about x. Why? Because in my statement I am not saying x neccessitates y. I’m not saying that if the administration cares about the poor they will give tax cuts to the poor. I’m saying that it should be the case. Do you see the difference? In the former, Y is a given if X is true. In the latter though, even if X is true, Y may not. Because implied in the statement is that the individual may not know that Y fulfills X.
    To use another example, “if you want your teeth to stay healthy, you should brush your teeth”. Now am I stating that if a person doesn’t brush their teeth they don’t want their teeth to be healthy? Of course not.
    So even if the administration said directly, “if Democrats care about the country, they shouldn’t criticize us.” It is still not neccessarily implied that if the criticism continues that Democrats don’t care.
    I hope that made sense.
    Now if you can find an example where the administration that says that P inevitably leads to Q, where P is caring about the country, then your analysis would fit.

    Reply

  86. Carroll says:

    Carroll. You said – “But the “implications” in comparing critics of this ADMINISTRATION to “those who are anti american” is self evident.
    THEY are implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with THEIR POLICIES is a traitor. The AMERICAN part is just a fig leaf for THEIR POLICIES.”
    Could you give me an example? I know this comparison has happened, but I want to see a specific example, because in many of those comparisons I can think of a plausible alternative explanation besides an implication that critics are anti-american.
    Posted by Jeff at September 3, 2006 08:37 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh gawd!..this whole discussion is getting to be like cows chewing their cud over and over…didn’t you take Propaganda 101 in High School or was is just us Catholic prep school kiddies who had to read realms of propaganda and then get debriefed by a friendly Jesuit?
    But O.K….try this adm favorite…”AMERICANS DON’T CUT AND RUN”
    Meaning…if you don’t agree with the “Administration” on staying in Iraq you aren’t American.
    So go back to more cud chewning equations:
    Americans don’t cut and run
    You want to cut and run
    Therefore since Americans don’t cut and run
    If you want to cut and run you aren’t American.
    To further complicate the OBVIOUS you can also add a numerical symbol for Bush and the rest of the “chickenhawks” who say this and then discuss what that means too.

    Reply

  87. Den Valdron says:

    Yo?

    Reply

  88. Jeff says:

    GQ-
    Honestly I must have misread you then. Because I didn’t take your statement to mean that you weren’t using that as an example. You said:
    “That’s just a random example and I definitely put more into it than was meant but I think that was one of the most absurd comments I’ve heard a poltician ever utter and people should remember it.”
    Because I saw the phrase “random example” I just assumed that it actually was an example, and must have misinterpreted the latter part. Sorry about that.
    The reason I didn’t go into the logical framework was because I agree that your analysis of the framework makes sense, provided that such a framework is being established in the first place. But my contention is that it isn’t. You’re right that if someone says “If P then Q” where P is caring about the country and Q is action that is desired, then logically it implies “If not Q, not P”. What I challenge is that the P then Q framework as you state it is being establshed in the first place. I see the framework instead as this “If P (desired result) then Q (necessary action)”. But I don’t see how that framework then also implies that part of P is “caring about the country”. I think that in order to end world poverty we should be allocating an additional one percent of our budget towards world poverty. But I don’t then turn around and say that those who resist such allocations don’t care about world poverty. Maybe they’re skeptical of the government’s ability to end it. Maybe they believe it will do more harm than good. Maybe they think we don’t need as much. So when I say “to end world poverty we need to do “x””, I’m not implying that those who don’t do x don’t care about world poverty.
    Let’s use an example from this thread.
    “… critics of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy are encouraging terrorists and complicating the ongoing U.S. war on terrorism.”
    First of all I’m somewhat hesitant to make a judgement on this quote without reading it in context, but let’s assume for sake of arguement that this quote accurately reflects what Rumsfield meant. To me the framework is this If P (criticize the administration) than Q (terrorists are encouraged, war on terror complicated). People who make the accusation that the administration calls people unpatriotic assume that within this is implied that those who do P do it because they desire Q, or at least don’t care if Q happens. But why is that necessarily the case? I don’t assume that because the administration’s policies hurt the poor that they actually want to hurt the poor, or don’t care if they get hurt. Maybe they’re misguided. Maybe they don’t want to, but other priorities get in the way. Similarly, just because someone believes that criticizing the administration harms our security (and as I said I happen to believe that Republican criticism during Clinton’s administration harmed national security), that it then necesstiates that they also believe they intend to harm national security, or don’t care about it.

    Reply

  89. Pissed Off American says:

    “Paging Mr. Valdron. Will Den Valdron please pick up the pink courtesy phone?”
    Hmmm. Something tells me a pink phone ain’t the best way to reach the guy. Try the no nonsense black one. 😉

    Reply

  90. della Rovere says:

    Despiteyour friendship withthe likes of Feaver, he has consistently carried water for the worst aspects of the Bush White House. This is obviously a phonied up game played by a smarmy academic.

    Reply

  91. Pissed Off American says:

    “Jeff”. Are you denying that this administration uses the tactic of questioning the patriotism of its critics, (either outright or through insinuation)?
    Yes or no? (without all the convoluted intellectual bullshit)
    Again. YES OR NO????

    Reply

  92. sow hate, reap votes says:

    “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”
    “Has there been a more revealing moment this year than when Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans had done to prisoners in our control at Guantanamo Bay with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot – three of the most brutal and malevolent figures in the 20th century? Let me put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”
    Remarks from the American Goebbels before the New York Conservative Party, 6/22/06. (And no, the comparison is not over the top. Were the two men switched in time and nation, each would be perfectly comfortable in the role of the other.)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/24/AR2005062400097.html

    Reply

  93. gq says:

    Jeff, I’m glad you omitted the very important part of the whole DeLay reference where I state explicitly that I was just poking fun at DeLay and that the quote shouldn’t be taken as an example. Did you accidently miss that clear statement or are you being intentionally deceptive? I’d really like to know the answer to that question because you don’t discuss the logical framework I mention AFTER that *admittedly* facetious example (I state that explicitly only a few sentences later).
    Dishonesty cheapens the debate. I’m happy for you to criticize the logical framework I discussed later, but focusing on the DeLay quote is dishonest if done intentionally. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one because I should have used a real example instead of poking fun at DeLay.

    Reply

  94. DrAliciaHill@yahoo.com says:

    Paging Mr. Valdron. Will Den Valdron please pick up the pink courtesy phone?
    I’ve got book recommendation for you & I need your thoughts on an idea. I set up one of those free e-mails, so send up a flare whenever you check in.

    Reply

  95. Jeff says:

    Carroll. You said – “But the “implications” in comparing critics of this ADMINISTRATION to “those who are anti american” is self evident.
    THEY are implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with THEIR POLICIES is a traitor. The AMERICAN part is just a fig leaf for THEIR POLICIES.”
    Could you give me an example? I know this comparison has happened, but I want to see a specific example, because in many of those comparisons I can think of a plausible alternative explanation besides an implication that critics are anti-american.

    Reply

  96. Pissed Off American says:

    Right now, on HNN I am watching that blathering ass Chris Beck, and some gal from “The Hudson Institute” call the UN the “propaganda arm of Hezbollah”. Does anyone here actually believe that to be the case? Well, then perhaps you might buy the fact that Chris Beck is part of the “propaganda arm of the Bush Administration”.

    Reply

  97. Jeff says:

    GQ – thanks for the thoughtful posts.
    The problem I see is with this
    “Tom DeLay stated, during the tax cut debate, that “nothing is as important in a time of war than cutting taxes”. It’s not hard to see this as being a premise such as: “If you are patriotic then you won’t fail to do something to cut taxes in a time of war.”
    I wish you hadn’t used Delay, since he’s one of the Republicans I actually do believe questions people’s patriotism. However even in the above case I don’t think it’s as clear cut.
    To illustrate this I’ll use an example. Here’s a sentence:
    “Nothing is as important in times of terrorist attacks than securing our border”.
    Does this sentence imply that someone who doesn’t secure the borders isn’t patriotic? If not, how is this sentence different than the one you quoted? (besides it being rational). Let’s assume Delay actually does believe cutting taxes in very important in times of war. He’s loony enough that it’s actually plausible to assume he believes it.

    Reply

  98. gq says:

    Lt. it’s not quite that simple. They won’t come out and say Dems don’t support the troops. What they will do is have a qualifier: “If you don’t vote for dividend tax breaks then you will make the war effort harder. If you make the war effort more difficult, then you don’t support the troops. Democrats didn’t want to vote for dividend tax breaks.” That’s the same as saying Democrats don’t support the troops without having to say it explicitly. Look at the GOP construction. They are all over the news saying we need to do X to support the war and the troops.
    Sorry everyone, this is a pet theory so I’m a little hung up on it. But it fits the data pretty well.

    Reply

  99. dwg says:

    George Bush on NSA Spy scandal (need I remind you recently found unconstitutional…)
    THE PRESIDENT: Let me start with the first question. There is a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks, and I presume that process is moving forward. My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy.
    You’ve got to understand — and I hope the American people understand — there is still an enemy that would like to strike the United States of America, and they’re very dangerous. And the discussion about how we try to find them will enable them to adjust. Now, I can understand you asking these questions and if I were you, I’d be asking me these questions, too. But it is a shameful act by somebody who has got secrets of the United States government and feels like they need to disclose them publicly.
    —————————-

    Reply

  100. gq says:

    Publius,
    In my view there has been a concerted effort to do the following:
    1. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you are patriotic (P), then you will not want to help the terrorists or undermine the war on terror (-HT). In formal terms: “P –> -HT”.
    2. Make a strong concerted effort to say that if you do X (e.g. expose the NSA programs) then you are helping the terrorists or undermining the war on terror. In formal terms “X –> HT”.
    2*. Assert that Democrats WANT to do X. Or, similarly, the whole Rovian construction is such that if you are a Democrat (D), you want to do X. Formally, “D –> X”.
    3. Assume people will make the only logical conclusion: “D –> X –> HT” but “HT == –HT”. And if you have “–HT” then you obviously have “-P”.
    I’m asking if Steve and Feaver accept that. Furthermore, you don’t even need to have 1. because simply asserting “X –> HT” is bad enough. But 1. is part of the overall strategy so that all you have to say is Democrat and you have to logically accept that they are unpatriotic.
    My suggestion for Democrats would be to have another Senate closure and have a detailed discussion of what the Democrats plan for security is and how calling for accountability will not help terrorists (remove 2.) They have to do something spectacular like the Senate closure because Bush will just call a press conference and keep the media away from the Dems. If Bush and the GOP want to play dirty like this, the Democrats have to adapt to this strategy. Hell, I’d close down the Senate in the middle of Bush’s latest PR campaign speech. But perhaps that’s why I’ll never be in the Senate.

    Reply

  101. Lt. says:

    “The Democrats don’t support the troops.” How many times have you heard that, either said outright or implied.
    Am I to get the idea that Democrats are patriotic Americans, or unpatriotic?
    Maybe Democrats are just mis-guided, or morally confused, since the Republicans would never accuse anyone of being unpatriotic. Let’s just say Democrats are an inferior class of American citizen. Every country has these ignorant disaffected types that are best ridiculed, talked down to, better yet, ignored.
    Support the Troops!

    Reply

  102. PUBLIUS says:

    GQ is right to draw our attention to this device of logic. A concise description of modus tollens presentation is offered here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens
    It’s worth understanding. Feaver ought to examine it himself.
    If I understand your question, GQ, of course such techniques “count” in public opinion formation efforts. They’re extremely effective when used with concerted repetition.

    Reply

  103. PUBLIUS says:

    Analyze in detail:
    http://www.rightnation.us/
    This is a source of news frequented by public servants working in the Executive branch of government. You will find lots of commentary on the meaning of patriotism.

    Reply

  104. GQ says:

    Alas, I see Godwin’s Law has been demonstrated again…
    But I’d still like an answer to my question regarding modus tollens. Tom DeLay stated, during the tax cut debate, that “nothing is as important in a time of war than cutting taxes”. It’s not hard to see this as being a premise such as: “If you are patriotic then you won’t fail to do something to cut taxes in a time of war.” The next thing to say is “Democrats don’t WANT to cut taxes in a time of war.” (Note that this is not an outcome or tactic, but motivation: Dems DO NOT WANT to cut taxes during a time of war.) It follows from logical construction that Democrats are not patriotic because the didn’t WANT to cut taxes. (That’s just a random example and I definitely put more into it than was meant but I think that was one of the most absurd comments I’ve heard a poltician ever utter and people should remember it.)
    The GOP spends a lot of time, IMO, constructing such “P –> Q” premises and conveniently noting that Dems are for “-Q” and hence “-P” (e.g. patriotism). Does that not count? That’s how the debate is being “framed” if you will. If you care about the country, you won’t try to prevent X (NSA wiretapping, torturing prisoners, etc.). Dems and the elites at the NYT are trying to prevent X, hence they don’t care about our country. I say that intentional development of “P–>Q” premises is the same, but provides cover since they don’t have to say “-P” explicitly, even though there is no other logical outcome. The beauty of this construction is that you can construct other premises “X–>-Q” for many actions or views. It doesn’t matter if you state “-P” explicitly if you construct premises that logically lead to it.
    So I’ll ask again, does “intentially” constructing premises such that the only logical outcome is that a critic is unpatriotic count or not? I’m not saying that such intentional construction exists, but is it fair game or not? To me, it seems that such a scenario is equivalent to stating someone is unpatriotic. There may be some cover, but it is ultimately the same.

    Reply

  105. PUBLIUS says:

    Let us not forget the Karl Rove-blessed Republican efforts – Feaver can do his own Lexis-Nexis research at his own expense to confirm facts – in 2004 to smear George Soros’ PATRIOTIC civic actions (previously analyzed) in connection with the presidential election of that year. George’s patriotic involvement in the work to select a new American president was confronted by countless Republican elected officials, affiliated Republican sycophants and Republican polemicists operating in the vast ambit of carefully targeted RNC public opinion formation efforts. These diverse actors attacked George Soros as a foreign-born American (i.e. a “forenurr”) unauthorized to act in domestic public debate, as someone unauthorized to help in choosing an American president, as a “liberal elite”, as a billionaire who made his fortune through corruption and sought to purchase influence in public debate and as someone who – they said – sought to undermine the “war on terrah” and “the troops”. Without saying George Soros was “unpatriotic” per se, none of the implications listed above – all made – are traits associated with a patriot, and foreignness in particular is easily elided into the interests of The Enemy in The South, Texas and the Heartland, all places of furious Republican public opinion efforts, until very recently systematically unanswered by progressives. All of these many comments against George Soros were made to intimidate him and silence him. The solution? Go on the offense: Make a donation. Call her office. Tell your friends and contacts about her existence. Support her efforts to put Texas in play in November.
    http://www.radnofsky.com/

    Reply

  106. Jeff says:

    Sorry if my last post was confusing. I meant to address it to elementary school teacher.
    Pissed Off American – I understand your anger. I really do. I do not mean to imply in any way that I support the attacks this administration makes on others. They often make unfair accusations that misrepresent the people they are attacking, and it infuriates me when I see people I know having assumnptions about people the administration has attacked that are not true, but they believe it because of what the administration said.
    But it is because of my passion to make sure that people are not unfairly accused, that I also am very uncomfortable with the claim that Bush is calling people traitors or unpatriotic.

    Reply

  107. Pissed Off American says:

    Finally, do people think that because I said that Bush puts other interests ahead of securing the country that I’m saying he’s not patriotic?
    Posted by Jeff
    Uh oh. Now you are going to cast the lying treasonous AWOL monkey as a patriot? Who sends our kids off to die on the basis of unmitigated lies??? Who wipes his ass with our constitution? Who abides the outing of intelligence agents as an act of revenge? Who appoints inexperienced inept cronies to head the agencies designed to protect our lives and our interests?
    Please, spare me.

    Reply

  108. Pissed Off American says:

    Again, it must be pointed out that only a idiot can fail to see that such defamations are used to discredit those that question the policies of this administration. Who can deny that Kerry’s bravery and patriotism was attacked? To refute that fact is sheer idiocy. Are we to believe the “Swiftboaters” were anything other than a construct of the Bush Administration? Such a conclusion is impossible to reach, intellectually or morally.
    And, to take this conversation a step further towards the all too neglected realm of REALITY, who can deny that the term “anti-semite” is not being used in the the exact same manner? The tactics of the Israeli propaganda machine, and that of the Bush Administration, share the technique of unfounded character assasination designed to malign the character of any that question the policies of either the Bush Regime or Israel. And it is by no coincidence that these two entities employ divergent strategies, as seperating the neocon agenda from the zionist agenda is nigh on impossible. I tend to foolishly separate the two entities, when a more realistic outlook would be to meld the two as a single entity, and recognize an over-riding zionist/neocon agenda that supercedes the interests of our nation to pursue a grand design for a “final solution” to the “muslim problem”.
    To really digest the grim reality of our situation on a gut level, it is imperative to question WHY the Bush Administration, and Israel, cannot defend their policies just by the weight of their alleged merits, instead of having to constantly invoke an argument that is solely designed for character assasination and diversion. When one argues their position with lies and character assasination it is an admission that they realize their position is indefensible.
    You can call such actions “politics” if you choose to. But I was raised to see deception as sin. Evil, if you will. And when these kinds of deceptions become the stated rationals for causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, (soon to be millions), than the sheer evil of those launching the deceptions can no longer be denied.
    Call them what you will, left, right, Republican, Democrat. But the true conflict here is good versus evil. And the “good” is not represented by the left, and the “evil” is not represented by the right. That battle is being waged daily INSIDE OURSELVES, as indiviuduals, and it is only as individuals that we can choose our allies and pick our battles. It is obvious that those such as Feaver have chosen. And I sincerely hope they recieve their just reward. In this life, OR the next.
    And Den’s words were by far the most astute I have seen here. “Monsters”, he called them. And until one realizes that that is EXACTLY what we are dealing with, than it will be impossible to defeat them. Why are we so self-righteous that we believe the “monsters” are only born into societies outside our own? Is it only Germany that can spawn the likes of Adolph Hitler??? Are our own genes incapable of producing an Amin?
    Hang onto your asses, folks, because THESE monsters, OUR monsters, are about to take us for a ride that will make Hitler’s show seem like little more than a matinee.

    Reply

  109. Jeff says:

    Because Bush is willing to let political and other interests get in the way of his desire to protect the country? It’s been pretty clear for a while that Bush isn’t willing to take the necessary steps to truly safeguard our country. He’s been unwilling to raise taxes to pay for necessary security spending. He’s done a miserable job securing our ports. He’s let nuclear proliferation run rampant. In fact one could reasonably say that Bush seems to value his political and other agendas over the security over the American people.
    However, this is not to say that Bush doesn’t care about the security of the American people, and would not want an action being taken that would jeapordize it, as long as it didn’t clash with his own agenda. Too often I see in political discourse a mistake being made that when political figure chooses “x” over “y” it’s assumed that the figure didn’t care about y. But of course that’s not necessarily true, as thinking about how we make our own decisions in life would point out. And so pointing out that Bush didn’t safeguard our border on 9/12 isn’t a good basis for believing that Bush doesn’t care enough about national security to be worried how criticism might undermine it.
    Finally, do people think that because I said that Bush puts other interests ahead of securing the country that I’m saying he’s not patriotic?

    Reply

  110. Carroll says:

    Excellent quote karenk!

    Reply

  111. Carroll says:

    Ah Jeff…
    Come on fellow…I said before this is a silly excerise for all of us.
    But the “implications” in comparing critics of this ADMINISTRATION to “those who are anti american” is self evident.
    THEY are implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with THEIR POLICIES is a traitor. The AMERICAN part is just a fig leaf for THEIR POLICIES.
    Like I said before we need to define what is and is not “American”…so far 90% of the universe is saying America is acting very un-like it’s former American self under this adm.

    Reply

  112. karenk says:

    Folks, it wasn’t always this way. Here’s a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.(I got it off bobgeiger.blogspot.com, a site I found out about from Mr Clemons-POA you’d love that blog!)
    “The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

    Reply

  113. elementary teacher says:

    Jeff, I read your comment to people at our pool party in the backyard. One of our token Republicans feels your pain. The question he just asked –and sincerely — so take this in a kind way:
    If 9/11 and the war on terror have indeed been the legitimate reasons for us to “table” our questions so far, patriotically — and in the name of national security — clear and present danger,etc — why wasn’t the border totally militarily secured on September 12th, 2001?

    Reply

  114. Pissed Off American says:

    “…..I imagine you will feel that it’s not worth it, because I’m obviously an unitelligent and immoral buffoon.”
    Hmm, I missed it on the first read. Maybe you are “uni-telligent”. You seem to be the sole poster here that questions a premise the rest of us seem to subscribe to.
    But take heart, I could’ve interpreted the word to mean “possessing one brain cell”.

    Reply

  115. Pissed Off American says:

    “And you say it’s “obvious” that Bush has questioned people’s patriotism. But then don’t go into why. If it’s so obvious, it should be easy to make a case for it being so.”
    Again, you imply that reality is a figment of our imagination. Reread this entire thread, there is plenty of evidence offered to support the conclusion that questioning the patriotism of those critical of the Bush Administration is an often used tactic. And the “why” of it has already been explained by the historian’s examinations of why Geobbels did it, has it not? If you want to dominate a society, give them a common enemy, and then question the patriotism of any that dare challenge the policies justified by the existence of the “common enemy”.
    “Although considering that you said in a previous post that anyone who thinks Bush doesn’t question people’s patriotism is immoral,….”
    Yep. Or disconnected from reality.
    “….I imagine you will feel that it’s not worth it, because I’m obviously an unitelligent and immoral buffoon.”
    Don’t put words in my mouth. I said no such thing about you, Jeff.

    Reply

  116. Jeff says:

    “What a load of horsehit THAT is. You can’t “hurt” the credibility of a liar, you can only point out the lies. The damage to his credibility is already done. It is the LIES that dammaged his credibility.”
    Sure you can. There are degrees of credibility after all. And I already pointed out that the administration’s lies were the primary reason for his credibility being damaged.
    And you say it’s “obvious” that Bush has questioned people’s patriotism. But then don’t go into why. If it’s so obvious, it should be easy to make a case for it being so. Although considering that you said in a previous post that anyone who thinks Bush doesn’t question people’s patriotism is immoral, I imagine you will feel that it’s not worth it, because I’m obviously an unitelligent and immoral buffoon.

    Reply

  117. Pissed Off American says:

    Karen K…..
    Sometimes I feel like we have all been drugged to forget…
    The astounding regularity by which this administration acts against everything we once stood for has resulted in a massive sensory overload, and impedes our ability to call up specific examples.

    Reply

  118. Pissed Off American says:

    Oh come on, you can’t possibly advance that kind of rationalization in honest sincerity.
    “And it is true that hurting the credibility of the President is damaging to our country.”…..
    What a load of horsehit THAT is. You can’t “hurt” the credibility of a liar, you can only point out the lies. The damage to his credibility is already done. It is the LIES that dammaged his credibility.
    I suggest you reread your own essay. It is twisted morass of confliction. You cannot possibly imply, or believe, that this Administration has not purposely called into question the patriotism of its critics through innuendo, and scripting of the media rhetoric. To deny it is to deny reality. Stop with the intellectual dancing and contrived rationalization, and stop ignoring the obvious. The truth is recorded by history, and not all of us out here in the real world are so fucking stupid that we can’t see through this bullshit.

    Reply

  119. karenk says:

    HERE’S A GOOD ONE FOR YA STEVE (and so obvious I can’t believe your very astute readers didn’t mention it thus far)
    Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage “Al Qaeda types.” (Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: “That may be the way the vice president sees it,” he said, “but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.”)
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/category/dick-cheney/
    Right out of the horses mouth(Cheney being the horse):
    “The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.”
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060809-2.html
    President Dick Cheney said that Lamont’s victory was encouraging to “Al Qaeda types
    http://www.harpers.org/WeeklyReview2006-08-15.html#44e1a9fa6c4e7
    By insinuating that the sizeable majority of American voters who oppose the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy, Vice President Cheney on Wednesday may have crossed the line that separates legitimate political discourse from hysteria.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/08/14/BL2006081400528_pf.html
    Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage “Al Qaeda types.” (Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: “That may be the way the vice president sees it,” he said, “but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.”)
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/category/dick-cheney/

    Reply

  120. Jeff says:

    Here’s the problem with most of the examples brought up so far:
    It shows the administration pointing out the effects of criticism, but that is different than stating the motivations of those who criticize. Treason and being unpatriotic has to do with motives, not just results. When Republicans were criticizing Clinton’s military policies saying that he was just trying to distract from his scandals, that actually did hurt our country as it made taking action against Al-Qaeda more politically risky. Now am I saying Republicans were being unpatriotic? Nope. I’m saying though that they should have been more careful in their accusations and realized the consequences of their actions.
    And it is true that hurting the credibility of the President is damaging to our country. It seriously reduces our ability to be effective at diplomacy for one. Now obviously the main reason for the President’s lacking credibility is the President himself, and his continuous lies and deceit. But it is also true that some of the criticism made of the President, both accurate and inaccurate ones, have also been a contributing factor. And so of course any criticism made of the President must be one that the person making has done enough research to be sure that what they are saying is true. But am I saying that it’s unpatriotic if such criticism is made, even intentionally untrue ones? Of course not.
    And that’s been my main problem with the accusations that Bush says people who criticize him are unpatriotic. Is that I have yet to see an example of Bush saying or doing something where the only explanation for such action would be that he is questioning someone’s patriotism. And because I believe that saying someone is questioning someone’s elses patriotism is a very serious accusation, it should only be made when it is the only logical explanation. And right now, I can come up with various explanations for the Bush’s statements and actions besides questioning their patriotism.

    Reply

  121. Dr. Alicia Hill says:

    You should be able to download it at:
    http://tinyurl.com/qcsm3

    Reply

  122. Dr. Alicia Hill says:

    FYI, team,
    I dug up a power point presentation by Feaver in my university stuff:
    “Cyber Jihad and the Globalization of Warfare
    Computer Networks as a Battle Ground in the
    Middle East and Beyond”
    by
    Kenneth Geers, NCIS
    Dr. Peter Feaver
    elementary teacher

    Reply

  123. gq says:

    POA,
    Don’t forget that the Bush Administration had an attorney who was directly tied to the Swift Boat group. That was direct involvement not some secondary player.

    Reply

  124. Pissed Off American says:

    One point that is being missed here. To any intelligent or moral human being, the strategies employed by this Administration to attack the credibility of it’s critics is obvious and undeniable. To imply or state that this administration does not malign the patriotism of its critics is blatantly and purposely dishonest. That makes Feaver nothing more than a liar. By using attack dogs such as the swiftboaters, or scum like O’rielly or Limbaugh, the White House has consistently and relentlessly exhibited a willingness to employ tactics of character assasination that have sunk to a new low, even for the slimey kind of human waste that seems to gravitate towards Washington politics of late. Feaver’s challenge is a sham, because he is well aware of how carefully couched the rhetoric oozing out of the Oval Office has been, and how this administration is so adept at casting implications without actually stating them. Feaver has cut his own credibility off here. Either he is a man completely devoid of integrity, or he has been living on another planet these past five years.
    .

    Reply

  125. sdemetri says:

    “Senate Democrats were expected to meet Wednesday to discuss several issues, including whether they will try to force a vote of no confidence on Rumsfeld. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has vowed to push legislation next week calling for Rumsfeld to resign.
    “Nothing can change the fact that Secretary Rumsfeld insulted the patriotism of the American people, and he needs to be held accountable for it,” Boxer said Friday.”
    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_9514.shtml

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  126. gq says:

    What about the following. If it is commonly accepted that “If you are patriotic, then you do not do Q” (e.g. P –> -Q). If you assert that a Democrat or American does Q (e.g. –Q) aren’t you also saying that the Dem/American is not patriotic (e.g. -P)? It seems to me that the GOP goes to great efforts to make certain (P –> -Q) statements commonly understood. They also make many –Q assertions (e.g. Q). Thus, they never have to say “-P” though it follows from “–Q”.
    If you are patriotic then you do not tell terrorists about our NSA wiretapping (even though you have to be foolish to think they didn’t expect that). The NYT told terrorists about about NSA wiretapping…

    Reply

  127. Timothy Wetmore says:

    During the American Revolution the conservative faction called themselves Loyalists, and they were called Tories by those who fought for Independance.
    Those who fought for Independence were called Rebels by the Loyalist conservatives, and the Independance minded people called themselves Patriots.

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  128. Momma says:

    The accusation of disloyalty, however overt or subtle, springs from the lips of the Conservatives with such ease because they value loyalty as the highest of attributes no matter what the sins may be of those who lead them, in their faulty opinions or failed ideas. The highest sin for Conservatives is disloyalty to their cause, and they see disloyalty automatically in the political opposition, as they have annointed themselves the only real true Americans, under God. Anyone who is not with their program is being disloyal to America and God, especially Liberals.
    This is how we find ourselves overtaken by Conservatives being in “lock-step”, The great wurlizter of their propaganda machine, the machine politics of Delay, the K-street project, their “moral clarity” meaning issues being cast in black and white, no shades of gray ……..
    Ever since Reagan, at least, the insinuation of disloyalty to America was made by the Right, and the drumbeat got stronger over time.
    John Dean’s book “Conservatives Without Conscience” addresses todays strong Conservative trait of authoritianism and blind loyalty.
    Strong feelings of loyalty, beget strong feelings of disloyalty against others.

    Reply

  129. Tory Andrews says:

    This is a fascinating post and important responses. Even if the list complied becomes one of lots of innuendo and chit chat like that from Anne Coulter, it’s valuable as a complete picture of the vile environment that the Republican hate machine has generated without always saying the words themselves explicitly.
    What Mr. Clemons has suggested here is really important, even if the “lines themselves” are not as long as the ones the White House may have. They set the temperature of debate and Fox News as the thermostat.
    If Senator Hagel made that comment, that is more than enough indication that the tone exists and was White House manufactured. I think that other of Clemons’s friends like General Scowcroft, Lawrence Wilkerson, Flynt Leverett, Paul Pillar, and others he has supported who used to be in the Bush administration will also attest to this tone that the Bushies have manufactured.
    I just want to say a big thank you to Steven Clemons. I do live in Washington and am only a student, but for those of you who have not had the pleasure to meet him, he is highly approachable and personable. And in groups of young people interested in foreign policy or defense matters, Steven Clemons’s name comes up constantly as one who is trying to do something new and unique and better in Washington.
    It is nice to have someone to look up to, and I just wanted to admit here that several of my friends and I are inspired by what this blog and Mr. Clemons do at the New American Foundation and other places that he has influence.
    Although Washington DC is cluttered with people who often look alike and sound alike, Mr. Clemons is seemingly unique.
    Bravo!
    Now I will look on lexis nexis for quotes.

    Reply

  130. SaraBeth says:

    You’re going to have trouble with this.
    While the Administration has been very careful to refer to critics as “misguided” or “misinformed”…and on occasion have questioned our morals and where our loyalties lie… they have never had the need to flat out lay the label “traitor” on anyone…
    No…they have the likes of O’Riely, Coulter (her book “Traitor” is a prime example), Malkin, and Rush to do it for them.

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  131. blondie says:

    I think a common trait of the conservative faction of any political system has been to attack the patriotism of their opponent when particular assaults on their worldview are made.
    Conservatives have always played the patriotism card as a form of intimidation. It’s prominent in their playbook.
    It’s a fool’s errand to try to pick out particular instances of conservative accusations of disloyalty when the whole attitude, their very existance is founded on remaining loyal to tradition, the past, the myths built up over time.
    Now we find ourselves having to be loyal to the mythos of WWII in a newly contrived WWIII, and if we don’t see things as simply as they want us to, we are being disloyal to their version of what it is to be an American.
    Conservatives have been calling Liberals traitors forever.

    Reply

  132. balach says:

    Karl Rove in New Hampshire, June 2006
    MR. ROVE: Like too many Democrats, it strikes me they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party’s old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be there for the last tough battles. They are wrong, and profoundly wrong, in their approach.

    Reply

  133. Nell says:

    Steve, without seeing Feaver’s list I’m confident every one of his examples of the administration’s “calls for polite bipartisanship” is a demand that Democrats capitulate to the regime’s position and/or that they shut up. That’s what the Republican leadership in the executive branch and Congress understand by “bipartisanship.”
    Feaver’s suggestion that you should go dig up quotes where administration members impugn critics’ patriotism is just laughable, following only days after over-the-top speeches by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush that do exactly that. Each of them conflated completely separate armed organizations into an undifferentiated “Islamic fascism”, and painted critics of the Iraq war, as well as reporters who uncover assaults on civil liberties and the separation of powers, as appeasers and enablers.

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  134. Richard W. Crews says:

    When anyone dare point out or even question this blatant bungle parade, they’re attacked as anti-American. I’ll never forget the Republican Convention, and those horrible Purple Heart band-aids, mocking the physical sacrifices made for our country. These people mock troops wounds, ignore their dead, and willingly pitch additional thousands of troops onto the dead pile – and for what?
    When Bush says stay the course it means he doesn’t know what to do.

    Reply

  135. Pissed Off American says:

    I haven’t the time to search right now, but those of you that do have the time need look no further than the press conferences where the White House has spoken against those that have leaked the revelations about the NSA wiretaps. Not only are these bastards accusing the leakers of treason, they have also threatened to prosecute.
    I am not sure, but I seem to also remember that the tactic of questioning a critic’s patriotism was also lodged against people that were vocal critics of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

    Reply

  136. McMonty says:

    Aid and Comfort
    Truckloads of google hits but no actual source quotes.
    However, I managed to find this tidbit, via the NYTimes:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/10/politics/10cnd-prexy.html?ex=1294549200&en=12d1246eaac6f666&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
    ‘In some of his most combative language yet directed as his critics, Mr. Bush said Americans should insist on a debate “that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries.”‘
    The first paragraph is absolutely stunning.
    Regarding the current administration’s obsession with loyalty oaths, one need look no further than
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31019-2004Jul31.html
    Well…maybe just a little further:
    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/hess1.htm

    Reply

  137. dwg says:

    Generally Steve, its the words of smaller fish –not just the coulter/limbaugh morons and the hannity’s and o’reilly’s and other obnoxious mouthpieces but also the likes of the state representative who supported the rabid Congresswoman from Ohio (both of whose names escape me) who called Murtha a coward. They are are the proxys for for the Bush/Cheney leadership. But here’s a few of the implied challenges to patriotism direct from the horses mouths that give the minions their direction:
    Dick Cheney, Interview of the Vice President by John King, CNN, 06/22/2006 (via Project Vote Smart):
    “The worst possible thing we could do is what the Democrats are suggesting. And no matter how you carve it, you can call it anything you want, but basically it is packing it in, going home, persuading and convincing and validating the theory that the Americans don’t have the stomach for this fight.”
    George W. Bush (campaigning against John Kerry, a decorated war hero) in Marlton, NJ, 10/18/2004
    THE PRESIDENT: He declared himself an anti-war candidate. Months later he said that knowing everything we know now, he would have still voted for the war. Then he said the war was a “mistake,” an “error,” or “diversion.” Having gone back and forth so many times, the Senator from Massachusetts has now flip-flopped his way to a dangerous position. My opponent — my opponent finally has settled on a strategy, a strategy of retreat.
    AUDIENCE: Booo!
    THE PRESIDENT: He has talked about artificial timetables to pull our troops out of Iraq. He has sent the signal that America’s overriding goal in Iraq would be to leave, even if the job is not done.
    AUDIENCE: Booo!
    THE PRESIDENT: And that approach would lead to a major defeat in the war on terror. So long as I’m the Commander-in-Chief, America will never retreat in the face of the terrorists. (Applause.) Thank you.

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  138. Bcre8ve says:

    As pointed out in this article: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/03/opinion/main615239.shtml
    the Bush machine is very careful about using surrogates to do the actual smearing of the Administration’s critics.
    Whether it be Karl Rove’s whisper campaigns against political opponents such as Ann Richards (lesbian), John McCain (black baby conceived by his adulterous, crazy wife), John Kerry (coward, traitor) and Democrats (want to ban the bible),
    Republican members of the House,
    (who can forget Jean Schmidt’s outrageous attack on Jack Murtha “Cowards cut and run. Marines never do.” or Tom Davis’ “divisive comments have the effect of giving aid and comfort to our enemies by allowing them to exploit divisions in our country.” attacking Tom Daschle for saying success will be measured by whether we capture bin Laden),
    the members of the right-wing punditocracy such as Limbaugh, Coulter, Novak, O’Reilly, etc.
    One of the many Ann Coulter smears – “I’m not blaming the Democrats for 9-11 alone. I’m blaming them also for the [USS] Cole bombing, for the embassy bombings, for 20 years of attacks that have not been stopped. ” [8/16/04]
    (CONservative radio has been SO bad, that I keep expecting the message “Cut the tall trees” to go out at any time.)
    or the many conservative websites who specialize in bashing critics of the Iraq war such as Freerepublic
    (who offer this gem: “Jack Murtha’s call for immediate disengagement took him far outside the boundaries of legitimate disagreement. He has never been able to articulate any plausible basis for his position on Iraq. There is a simple reason for that. There isn’t one.
    Reasonable people cannot differ about whether or not the United States should press forward with our war against the terror masters. For the time being Iraq is inevitably the principal front in that war. A congressman who tries to duck his share of the responsibility for prosecuting that war is displaying moral cowardice. Any American who recommends retreat is injuring his own country and calling his own patriotism into question),
    there has been a concerted effort, orchestrated by this administration, to label its detractors as traitors or worse.
    Just because Bush hasn’t directly uttered the words himself does not make him any less guilty, and if the shoe were on the other foot, the Republican noise machine would be howling at the top of their lungs for the alleged culprit to condemn those responsible and to swear on a stack of bibles that they did not back or believe any of the charges made, and, in fact, that they believed entirely the opposite to be true.
    The Bush machine has been SO careful about keeping those words in other people’s mouthes that now that the tactic is starting to backfire, and the public and the press are starting to display their displeasure, there seems to be a well-orchestrated campaign to absolve the President of any responsibility for these attacks (“Bush is calling people traitors for disagreeing with him? Well PROVE it! I’ll bet you can’t find even ONE quote with him saying it. I’ll DARE you!”). I came across at least a half-dozen of these discussions.
    Oh yeah, that”s why we’re here ;}
    In closing, here is part of an editorial by the Washington Post’s Michael Kelly that says it all:
    http://www.spinsanity.org/post.html?2001_09_23_archive.html#5943594
    “Organized terrorist groups have attacked America. These groups wish the Americans to not fight. The American pacifists wish the Americans to not fight. If the Americans do not fight, the terrorists will attack America again. And now we know such attacks can kill many thousands of Americans. The American pacifists, therefore, are on the side of future mass murders of Americans. They are objectively pro-terrorist.”
    A well-documented piece titled “Bully Brigade” which documents many of the attacks is here at Spinsanity:
    http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20020304.html

    Reply

  139. elementary teacher says:

    …three teachers were removed from a Bush speech for wearing “Protect Our Civil Liberties” on their shirts.
    The women were ticketed to the event, admitted into the event, and were then approached by event officials before the president’s speech. They were asked to leave and to turn over their tickets – two of the three tickets were seized, but the third was saved when one of the teachers put it underneath an article of clothing.
    The women said they did not intend to protest. “I wanted to see if I would be able to make a statement that I feel is important, but not offensive, in a rally for my president,” said Janet Voorhies, 48, a teacher in training. “We chose this phrase specifically because we didn’t think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,” said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.
    http://tinyurl.com/lmhal

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  140. elementary teacher says:

    When Vice President Dick Cheney visited Eugene, Oregon on Sept. 17, a 54-Year old woman named Perry Patterson was charged with criminal trespass for blurting the word “No” when Cheney said that George W. Bush has made the world safer. One day before, Sue Niederer, 55, the mother of a slain American soldier in Iraq was cuffed and arrested for criminal trespass when she interrupted a Laura Bush speech in New Jersey. Both women had tickets to the event.
    http://tinyurl.com/lmhal

    Reply

  141. elementary teacher says:

    Late Friday a series of memos between senior Bush Administration officials and management at Viacom, Inc. were leaked calling for the media giant to focus on stories and programming choices that “reinforce the Administration’s positions” and to “ignore and/or discredit points of view in opposition to the Bush Administration’s foreign policy objectives for the purposes of National Security.”
    http://tinyurl.com/ncjs9

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  142. Charles says:

    Every time Bush assures us that he doesn’t think it unpatriotic to disagree with the administration, he’s implying that other reasonable people might believe that disagreement is, in fact, unpatriotic. Why else mention it?
    No smoking gun there.

    Reply

  143. elementary teacher says:

    “The CIA has imposed new and tighter restrictions on the books, articles, and opinion pieces published by former employees who are still contractors with the intelligence agency. According to several former CIA officials affected by the new policy, the rules are intended to suppress criticism of the Bush administration and of the CIA. The officials say the restrictions amount to an unprecedented political “appropriateness” test at odds with earlier CIA policies on outside publishing.”
    http://tinyurl.com/mnnnx

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  144. elementary teacher says:

    When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, “The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.” The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a “designated free-speech zone” on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, “As far as I’m concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.”
    http://tinyurl.com/zigk

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  145. Eli Rabett says:

    First Steve, you need to get over the delusion that Feaver is your friend and colleague. Then you won’t fall into these traps.

    Reply

  146. Bcre8ve says:

    Ashcroft made the following statement to the house judiciary hearing:
    http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/12/06/inv.ashcroft.hearing/
    “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists – for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve.”
    Attorney General John Ashcroft lashed out Thursday at critics of the administration’s response to terrorism, saying questions about whether its actions undermine the Constitution only serve to help terrorists.
    Ashcroft told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
    Ashcroft flatly rejected criticism of the administration’s policies, including President Bush’s decision to allow the use of military tribunals to try non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism, the detention of hundreds of immigrants in connection with the terrorism probe, the “voluntary” questioning of thousands of men from mostly Middle Eastern countries, and eavesdropping between attorneys and their clients in terrorism cases.
    “Charges of kangaroo courts and shredding the Constitution give new meaning to the term ‘fog of war,'” Ashcroft said.
    You should read the whole article, it is really scary to look back and see what was foisted upon us, with no checks or balances, and with absolutely no concern, on the part of the administation about what was right, legal, or dammit, so UN-American.
    And they have the nerve to say their critics are aiding terrorists! The greatest aid in terrorist recruiting was the unjust actions of the American government. Period.

    Reply

  147. PaminBB says:

    I agree with those pointing out that this administration rarely gets specific. They spew innuendo, and conflate fact with irrelevant quasi-truth. Then they send out surrogates to fling the mud and do the dirty deeds.
    The treatment of Jack Murtha is classic, the white house paying lip service to acknowledging his distinguished service, while the RW noise machine churns out a swift boat style attack. Googling “murtha”and “traitor” yields 170,000 hits, this is a coordinated attack, but Bush and Cheney techinically have clean hands, they just unleashed the attack dogs.

    Reply

  148. sdemetri says:

    Cheney, Frontiers of Freedom dinner, Nov 2005
    “I’m sorry we couldn’t be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment.” (Laughter.) “I’ll let you think about that one for a minute.”(Applause.)
    “And the suggestion that’s been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.”

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  149. gq says:

    Via Greenwald, in an interview Bill Frist brings up the the disclosure of the NSA wiretapping program on U.S. citizens: We’ll use those two arms, those two platforms to address the sorts of issues on war and terrorism, regarding giving the enemy the playbook and threatening the security of the American people.

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  150. plink says:

    Slogans insinuating unpatriotic/traitorous attitudes when used:
    Cut and Run
    Support the Troops
    Defeatocrats
    Appeasers
    Blame America first
    Lie and Die (oops!)
    Those who wrap themselves in the flag automatically accuse “the other” of disloyalty.
    This game has been played in politics forever and I don’t think that Machievelli would advise calling your political enemies outright traitors if there is a more Machievellian way of doing it.

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  151. nobody says:

    Heck, perhaps the first accusations for being unpatriotic and treasonous came from those who justifiably called this administration out for lying their country into an unnecessary, illegal and immoral war that would come to no good. That’s where I think the patriotic accusations began which resulted in unjustly turning the accusations back on the patriots who saw through the evil machinations of this administration, if you want to get back to first causes.
    Isn’t the term “swiftboating” related to called into question ones patriotism?
    Calling into question one’s loyalty and patriotism is the stock and trade of the Right wing. MaCarthyism; America Love It or Leave It; America Right or Wrong; If you don’t like it here move somewhere else. The Republicans are natural blind Nationalists who revert to innuendo of treason at the drop of a hat in times of war talk. Donahue was canned from MSNBC because he question the build up to war in Iraq. Dixie Chicks …
    Perhaps the administration doesn’t say outright that those who disagree with them are unpatriotic, but they have plenty of surrogates in their propaganda machine to do it for them; Coulter, Limbaugh, Horowitz, Savage, O’Reilly, Hannitty ……..
    Personally I was told to go join Hezbollah by family members because I told them as Israeli war started that Israel would not defeat Hezbollah, that they would still be there after all was said and done. My family is a bunch of right-wingers who go knee-jerk nationalistic without thinking. They remind me of what Germans were under the Nazis. I got the same treatment when I told them before the war that Iraq was going to be another Vietnam. It’s like if you question the country going to war you’re automatically a traitor.
    I think the attempt to conflate or present situation with WWII is another attempt, by innuendo, to call those who don’t believe in this administration as being akin to WWII Nazi supporters. The administration wishes to conjure the myths of WWII and impose them over our present situation to make us feel inferior to the “Greatest Generation” and instill guilt that we are not like the Americans of Hollywood propaganda films during the war.
    I apologize for rambling ……… but I have a personnal feel for these circumstances having been accused unto righteous wrath.

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  152. Carl says:

    The premise of this challenge is a false one and should be resisted. The number of meaningful quotes to be found is going to be small. This would be akin to a prosecutor poring over the minutes of a Fortune 500 company’s BoD meeting minutes looking for incontrovertible proof of corporate criminal conduct. Parties such as these are too sophisticated for that, which is why Peter Feaver proposed such a challenge. I’m surprised it was accepted.

    Reply

  153. elementary teacher says:

    Given the Administration’s demonstrated intolerance for being *questioned* by citizens, their representatives and the press, it simultaneously:
    . asserts the right to use any interrogation technique that does not “shock the conscience” in a particular situation, in the face of the McCain amendment banning torture and other inhumane treatment –and the court holding in Hamdan, which prohibits certain techniques as inherently constituting torture or cruel and inhuman treatment.
    . asks Congress for broad authority to try people without the safeguards required by the Geneva Conventions.
    . continues to assert that it can detain people anywhere in the world, detain them in identified or secret camps, deny access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and hold them for as long as the struggle against al-Qaeda goes on.
    So: While denying *us* the right to question them, this Administration insists upon the equally lawless position that it has the right to interrogate *anyone* for any reason, at any time, in any way. Those are internally consistent “lock and key” positions. Any questions?

    Reply

  154. dianbi says:

    Steve,
    I introduced myself to you this morning at the Cato panel- I enjoyed your outlining of the state of bi-partisanship, by the way- but I wanted to make a point to you that I did have a chance to make to Chris Prebble (?) afterwards.
    Whether one agrees that the complex hashing out of foreign policy should be done by experts or elites behind closed doors as you suggest or that the debates be in a more public arena (or that in the course of a crucial debate degrees of each are called for at different stages) my point is that the sequence of disingenuous post hoc justifications for the invasion of Iraq have soured the public on both.
    Few trust the elites, the bushies, or even any attempts to frame the issues involved. At no point has any protest, argument, or landslide of evidence altered the policy. It may be a sort of learned helplessness.
    I believe that some in the administration understood that such a dysfunctional dynamic would short circuit any organized resistance to their policies within the various bureaucracies (CIA, Defense, NSA, etc) for quite a long time. I think their string played out earlier for them than expected. In short, however, they pissed in the well. Its going to take a long time undo.
    Re: Peter Feaver: I sensed the same strains of victimhood and tortured rationalization that appear throughout the administration. On one hand he claims that he was hired because “his rolodex was different” on the other hand, he spends all of energy at the panel in tendentious defense of
    Bush policies. I always want to asked these people: “So, tell me, by what measures would you judge this approach a failure…”
    I get a headache just thinking about the response.
    I’m delighted I got to meet you. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  155. elementary teacher says:

    When White House reporters pointed out that Bush had appeared poorly informed in an earlier statement about missile strikes against Iraq, press secretary Ari Fleischer blustered:
    “the president’s actions and his words are supported by all but the most partisan Americans.”
    reported by Nick Confessore in The American Prospect
    3-11-02
    http://tinyurl.com/kmyfy
    ———————-
    When people questioned whether the President’s aircraft carrier speech was appropriate with combat still taking place, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said:
    “It does a disservice to the men and women of our military to suggest that the president, or the manner in which the president visited the military would be anything other than the exact appropriate thing to do.”
    5/7/03
    ———————
    Responding to a questioner who said he did not support previous U.S. alliances with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said:
    “You said you opposed Saddam Hussein especially when the United States supported him. It seems to me that the north star of your comment is that you dislike this country and its policies.”
    10/30/03

    Reply

  156. sdemetri says:

    Feaver may actually, sincerely believe in the rightness of the folks he’s working for. In fact, he probably does. He may not have been smug at all.
    The scary thing then is, he must also believe that this level of hateful innuendo, obfuscation, and doublespeak is all just the rough and tumble but ultimately fair game of governance.
    The points above about rightwing punditry doing so much of the heavy lifting, with nary a word of rebuke or disaggreement from the administration says alot. Roll in a compliant media echo chamber and you have… well, what Cleland said after losing his seat in the Senate, “the state of American politics is sickening…”

    Reply

  157. PUBLIUS says:

    Dan Kervick and the compilation by Brendan Nyhan offered here are precisely on the mark in their observations. As detailed earlier, the Republican Party for years has vastly outmatched progressives in political messaging and public opinion formation efforts, through passive embrace of venomous polemicists who slash viciously without sullying the togas of those in power, through the skillful use of secrecy and subliminal communication, and through well targeted contact with the media sources frequented by the MAJORITY of grassroots Americans in the marketplace of ideas, i.e. NOT the Boston Globe or New York Times. Moreover, Democrats are incredibly bad at keeping secrets concerning some of their political strategems. Already, there is some open talk of the DNC’s choice of date and location for the 2008 Convention, which is doubly bad on two scores: location and date. (No Southern city or conservative stronghold appears to have made it to the final list of candidate cities, and once again, the DNC is poised to allow the RNC to have the “last word” in party position presentations to the nation – a fundamental error in any elementary lesson in rhetoric.)
    As an aside, Dr. Feaver is a Harvard-trained academic who ought to recognize that the onus is on him and his cohorts in the current administration to prove their bona fides in forthrightness and integrity following the Republican Party’s incontrovertible resort to FRAUD to market the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq to the American public. Rather than hire his political opponents to assume the heavy burden of proving their own innocence, Dr. Pleaver ought to make inquiries of his own at his own expense in time and money.
    Any student of politics knows that explicit lies are not required to accomplish deceit. Deceit can be achieved through mendacious use of omission, subliminal communication and the active working of fraud by allies. Empirical example: from now until the election, every time you observe Ken Mehlman, GWB, Cheney, Hastert, Frist, Boehner, Rove or other senior Republicans making statements on issues of national security ON TELEVISION, count the number of flags or the magnitude of the image of the flag in their immediate presence. As predicted earlier, unless hit hard – rhetorically – for the offense of their slander, Republicans will once again smear Democrats as unpatriotic and disloyal to “the troops” and, therefore, to the nation.
    In the meantime, progressives leave the vulnerable and very juicy flank of the Republican Party inexplicably untouched.
    http://www.radnofsky.com/

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  158. sdemetri says:

    Llooking through archives of Cleland’s campaign battle, Chambliss at one point, as you might remember, placed a reprehensible TV ad which,
    “…opened with pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. “As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators,” said a narrator, “Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead. He says he supports President Bush at every opportunity, but that’s not the truth. Since July, Max Cleland voted against President Bush’s vital homeland security efforts 11 times!”
    No appearance or utterance of the word “unpatriotic,” but what’s implied is weakness and inability to lead. (Hagel and McCain condemned the ad.)
    Looking through Media Matter’s archive, I find the same thing from Cheney quotes. No personal accusations, always “those people,” “those liberals,” “those democrats,” without a single name mentioned.
    Feaver’s challenge may or may not have arisen out of a smug knowledge of how the administration works. Sure seems that way.

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  159. Carroll says:

    Thanks ET and sdemetri ..those to me are actual examples.
    But I don’t now that this is a worthwhile project since we know that Bush,Inc. leaves it to his punits in the media and the crazy right wing section to do the heavy lifting on smearing. Now if we were asked to find examples among them we could list examples all day long.
    I really wish instead we could see a discussion in this country about what America is..what we are suppose to be…what our national “principles” are. Maybe we need to write our “principles” down or add to the constitution and engrave them on some monument in Washington before we get into a discussion of who is and isn’t patriot. Otherwise people will always be getting away with their arguements under the “difference of opinions” defense.
    However I am all for our politicans and goverment employees having to sign a “loyalty” oath..and for severe punishment for violating it. There is no way that people like Ney and other politicans who use their office to enrich themselves at the expense of the country can be called anything but traitors. There is no way that people like Feith and his cohorts who deliberately lied us into a war are anything but traitors. There is no way that people like Tom Lantos who uses his office to legistate for Israeli interest is anything but a traitor.
    What is and isn’t disloyal needs to be legally established first, out current definitions of traitor are outdated.

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  160. Jim Ramsey says:

    “And then he challenged the some 20 or so people in our audience to send him by email clear cases — in quotes — of instances where senior administration officials, the President, or the Vice President, or other Republican party officianados had actually questioned another American’s loyalty or patriotism.”
    Steve,
    The clever part of this is that Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al don’t name a specific person. Instead, they say something like — anyone who questions the wisdom of the administration is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Then they wait for people to question and thus indict themselves.
    So the statement is technically correct, but the effect is just as chilling.

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  161. elementary teacher says:

    When legitimate questions were asked about revelations that the White House was possibly warned prior to 9/11 about a high jacking threat, Vice President Cheney said:
    ”such commentary is thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war.”
    http://tinyurl.com/oqmro
    5/16/02
    Summary #1: I presented examples of instances where the Administration accused those who asked questions of not wanting to protect the American people. When elected officials and concerned citizens brought their concerns to the attention of the Administration those queries were publicly labeled as irresponsible and unworthy of reply.
    Alicia Hill

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  162. Linda says:

    As others have written above, a lot of it is innuendo and very carefully worded associations–just as that between 9/11 and Iraq–repeated over and over and over and over. Call it PR, advertising, staying on point, but it does work without being that direct. Loyal opposition needs to find similar simple and all the same talking points and repeat them over and over and over. It’s clear that these tactics work. They
    may be Rovian or just Pavlovian (Oh my,that might be Russian and Communist even!), but they do work.
    Linda

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  163. mpower1952 says:

    “The President considers this nation to be at war,” a White House source says,” and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.” �
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/012503B.bush.treason.htm

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  164. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve,
    I’m afraid that if we are not entitled to give “interpretations of what people meant”, then the quest is likely to be futile. We’re probably not going to find some smoking gun statement: something like Dick Chyney saying explicitly and publicly that “critics of the President are traitors” at a VFW speech.
    But to frame the matter in this way simpleminded and guileless way is both deeply misguided and intellectually dishonest. And to play along with Mr. Feaver’s knavish exculpatory dodge is reprehensible. The villainous virtuosos of imputation, persecution and denunciation have never relied on bald, categorical accusation to work their malevolence. The prefer the sly hint, the round suggestion, the poignant association and the winking and subsequently deniable attack by proxy.
    Consider this series of questions:
    1.How many people did Joe McCarthy actually *say* were communists, communist sypathizers or traitors to their country?
    2.How many people did McCarthy *insinuate* were communists, communist sypathizers or traitors to their country?
    3.For how many people did McCarthy’s witch hunt, his houndings and investigations and subpeonas, serve to surround with a cloud of suspicion and whispers and isolation?
    4. How often did McCarthy lend moral and political support to associates in the media and public life who *were* explicitly denouncing enemies and accusing them of treason?
    You can’t wrench administration statements out of the context in which they are made, or away from its networks of its political alliances. Consider this 2001 statement before Congress by John Ashcroft (my emphasis in caps), presented in the context of widely reported concerns from administration critics about the Patriot Act and executive branch overreaching:
    **We need honest, reasoned debate; not fearmongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; TO THOSE WHO SCARE PEACE-LOVING AMERICANS WITH PHANTOMS OF LOST LIBERTY; my message is this: Your tactics only AID TERRORISTS – for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They GIVE AMMUNITION TO AMERICA’S ENEMIES, and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.**
    Now, of course, the statement is only strongly suggestive, and the embedded accusations are entirely deniable. Ashcroft can always say, after the fact, “I don’t mean to suggest that these critics are *intentionally* giving ammunition to our enemies, or aiding terrorists *on purpose*. I accept they mean well, but believe they are misguided.”
    So forgive me, but I am offering an “interpretaion” of what Ashcroft was intending to do. Apparently, I’m not a semi-autistic hyper-literalist, and I do tend to assume that government professionals, skilled in the dark arts of political communication, choose their words carefully so as to accomplish their rhetorical ends without leaving a trail of smoking guns behind.
    Consider, now, the very *explicit* accusations of disloyalty, cowardice and treason issued on a daily basis by the likes of Savage, Coulter and Limbaugh. How many times have White House officials *explicitly disavowed* these statements or *denounced* the producers of the statements? Haven’t they instead eagerly cultivated the support of the the wingnut mobs who form the audiences for these cretins? These three are not small, obscure voices. They are right wing pundits with vast audiences and unquestionable celebrity and notoriety. The accusations are made on a daily basis on the radio and television, and then put into print and dispensed in best-selling volumes. Haven’t administration officials, through their silence in the face of this rampant hate-mongering and villanous slander, expressed their support for the accusations just as clearly and definitively as they would through any explicit statements of their own?

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  165. sdemetri says:

    This from the Washington Post June 20, 2002,
    “If the mugging of Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia is a fair indicator of what is to come, the fall elections will be ugly. Cleland, a decorated veteran and triple amputee, was attacked by his Republican opponent, Rep. Saxby Chambliss, “for breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.”
    Shades of Lee Atwater, the fabled Republican cutthroat politico who helped pilot the first President Bush to victory. But even Atwater might have hesitated before going after a man who lost both legs and an arm in the service of his country. Chambliss did not participate in Vietnam. He had a bad knee, he told columnist Mark Shields, who was the first to call national attention to Cleland’s bizarre situation — veterans whose war wounds confine them to wheelchairs are often given a pass on patriotism, especially by those who never wore the uniform.
    But Chambliss was not deterred. On May 16 he issued a press release about Cleland’s insufficient contribution to the defense of his country: Cleland had voted for an amendment to the Chemical Weapons Treaty that eliminated a ban on citizens of terrorist nations being on U.N. inspection teams in Iraq. It was a majority vote, 56 to 44, and among those in support were Sen. Bill Frist, the stately chairman of the Senate Republican campaign committee who handpicked candidate Chambliss…”
    “Chambliss may have been under the influence of Bush’s top adviser, Karl Rove, a disciple of Lee Atwater, who has said from the first that the war on terrorism is a good issue for his party and can help close gaps such as Chambliss’s 22-point deficit.
    Throughout the country, patriotism, under Rove’s coaching, has become the sub-theme of the campaign. The message is sometimes coded, sometimes not…”

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  166. elementary teacher says:

    Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld:
    “… critics of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy are encouraging terrorists and complicating the ongoing U.S. war on terrorism.”
    Newsday report 9/9/03

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  167. elementary teacher says:

    When concerned citizens voiced opposition to excessive provisions of the Patriot Act, Attorney General John Ashcroft said:
    “your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends.”
    http://tinyurl.com/j3kpo
    12/6/01

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  168. elementary teacher says:

    Criticizing those in Congress who were “questioning the president’s leadership …
    These are people that don’t want to protect the American people…”
    Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Majority Whip, expanded on Bush’s statement on CNN’s “Inside Politics”
    September, 2002

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  169. elementary teacher says:

    “So I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary … the Senate is … not interested in the security of the American people.”
    Bush Speech, September, 2002
    http://tinyurl.com/z7goh

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  170. FDRDemocrat says:

    Here are some examples from another blogger:
    http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2006/07/playing_the_tre.html
    The problem you will have is that the right wing is very good at leaving the impression Democrats are unpatriotic while avoiding mouthing those exact words. This has been a tactic not just since 9/11, of course, but goes all the way back to Tail Gunner Joe. By agreeing to play the “gotcha” game as the White House defines it (“prove to me where we said the exact words: Democrats are not patriotic!”) misses out on the complete picture, which is a decades-long intentional effort by the hard right to discredit the messenger so you don’t have to argue with the message.

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  171. Steve Clemons says:

    SDemetri is right. The administration is very smart about fingerprints. I am interested in this effort because I think many have the feeling that the administration did create an environment in which questioning the authority of the president and the executive branch bordered on traitorousness. I think that Hagel, Scowcroft and others had that sense — but the question is where is the evidence?! Maybe there is little — and that too would be interesting.
    Peter Feaver does have a good list of cases of Dems questioning White House loyalty and patriotism — and a list of positive, bipartisan statements from key Republican leaders.
    I think that there is a lot of material out there of both Dems calling for bipartisanship as well as Republican and Democratic critics of the administration being pilloried by the White House.
    But let’s see what develops.
    Steve Clemons

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  172. sdemetri says:

    I am curious to see what folks come up with, but I am also skeptical of the project. This administration has been extremely precise in public comments, aside from dubya’s frequent gaffs and mangled pronounciations, saying just enough to get their nefarious point across but leaving the barn door wide open as to the veracity of the statement.
    Example: “I do not have war plans on my desk,” literally true perhaps, but at the time it was said, absolutely false. Bob Woodward in an interview on PBS about his book, Plan of Attack, said, “I’ve seen his desk a number of times and there’s nothing on it, so I guess literally that’s true. But, as I write in the book, it was not full disclosure, and he had used some formulations earlier when he said, “I’m going to keep my options close to my vest.”” 72 days after 9/11 Bush asked Rumsfeld to work up war plans against Iraq in secret. His perogative, but it sure doesn’t jive with public statements made in the following years up to March 2003.
    They may have never come out and said, “Iraq was behind 9/11,” but there are numerous examples of that being implied, or that there was a significant connection. The implication was all they needed to misdirect public opinion, and then give themselves an out through plausible deniablity.
    The outing of Valeria Plame might be another example. The truth of why she was uncovered may never really be known, but many good indicators point to retaliation for her husband’s public statements. It has taken several million dollars to learn as much as we know now through Fitzgerald’s investigation, but was it “a plot.”
    This project will be interesting, but these criminals are not fools.

    Reply

  173. gq says:

    Speaking of comparisons to terrorists, Tony Snow to Helen Thomas: “Thank you for the Hezbollah view”. Of course, I don’t think that is technically calling someone unpatriotic for asking a question so it probably won’t count.

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  174. elementary teacher says:

    “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
    http://tinyurl.com/rrkj
    Steve, I don’t think this is exactly what you are looking for, but I offer it nonetheless, because there should be categories in the search.
    Technically, the statement represents a type of fallacy of the undistributed middle. The statement, early on, did not encourage questioning — quite the opposite. It fostered monolithic thinking of the sort Dobbins cautions against.

    Reply

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