Friday, January 26, 2007

Responding to Politics in Mudville on NeoConservatives

I know this is way long --as my posts tend to be --but I have a lot to say on this one.

I have always wondered about the meaning of Neo-conservative --what and who they were. Do they label themselves? Do they know they are followers of the ideas of Strauss and Berns or is this a liberal's characterization?

You know, I never heard of these two profs nor read their books, but I'll bet I might agree with them --if YOU folks think they're awful. But I bet most of the nation's youth didn't need any "neo-cons" working on their motivations at all, in order to get them to sign up.

That patriotism and religious awakening with people flocking to church after 9/11 didn't emerge because of any professor or Bush speech --we all felt attacked --and we were pulling together for our national survival. Patriotism is part of that. The search to be close to God is part of that.

I just heard our Afghan military commander at the Pentagon today. He says we've helped the country get 500 new schools for over 5 million students (nearly half girls), and 500 health clinics. He talked about infrastructure improvements like a road going clear around the country to connect all the regions. He spoke of a prison being readied for the GITMO detainees -perhaps open now --I didn't hear all he said due to distractions --but he told how they are getting glasses, dental and health care for the first time (the detainees) and how they are disappointed and surprised that the glasses don't enable them to read --(since they've never learned that skill.)

The prisoners are being counseled on how to support and appreciate a peaceful Afghanistan, which has made great strides in 5 years with our help. I think he said they were doing some kind of paid work or getting some kind of training for work for when they are free.

He told how the Afghani people are gaining in confidence in their police and military and gov't --how much better the trained police and military are doing --how the locals encourage the Americans to stay in their villages --how they are still fighting a diminishing Taliban --whose "insurgent fighters" are FORCED to help the Taliban radicals when they do.

That route to progress in afghanistan is the same pattern we should stick to in Iraq.

I always said they should show the prisoners wholesome western entertainment while in prison and try to open their minds a bit to our loftiest ideals, like the value of all humans and the necessity for religious tolerance in order to live in peace, and the value of safety and peace for EVERYONE's children. and teach English. I recommended translated wholesome Am. movies --never heard back from my letter of advice on Gitmo.

You say shame on Prof. Berns for apparentlly strategizing to get our pampered youth from the cult of self-esteem to go to war for a cause of any sort. Not that he had anything to do with it. It's awful, though, isn't it, to think professors in higher education would be such change agents --for conservatism instead of progressive liberalism! For shame! Liberals only have 97 per cent of the faculty positions in academic areas that are crucial to the liberalization of our kids. You must rally to get that other 3 per cent!

For sure, the draft was universally dreaded. I thought we'd never get a generation to volunteer for war as they have since 9/11-- because of the war movies; this generation, like the 60's young people, knows from the movie screen that war IS blood and guts --horrible --dreadful --and that they MIGHT die. However, they've probably been more impressed by Star Wars and Tolkein.

Previous generations, a century and more ago, seemed to flock to war as young as they could, to go be heroes and help the country.

I've been surprised myself at how bravely the young people are going today--I'm afraid it might have more to do with girls in the military than with books on patriotism. The Army ain't what it used to be --and their separation from home is perhaps not quite as traumatic, with their greater access to communication. But we hear the military divorce rate is very high.

The world has shrunk --which is another reason why the so-called neo-cons are probably concerned that we raise generations who care about the nation, liberty, and the conditions in the rest of the world.

We can no longer let groups abroad fester in poverty, oppression, injustice --with jealousy and hatred toward the west without trying to do SOMETHING ABOUT IT! The stakes are too high. If there is not a world policeman, then the No. Korea's and Irans and China's will send their bombs our way someday because they haven't enough peace. prosperity and charity to stay home raising their children in peace.

Peace Corps and the student exchange program have not done enough to affect the tyrants and murderous thugs who rape and plunder their own, and now us, in order to get power.

Our military is better taken care of than ever before, I imagine --though they still endure great hardships with Iraq temperatures and great danger daily on the streets. The commander today told about our soldiers fighting in 2 feet of snow right now as they defeat the Taliban in a northern rural region. And we've heard of vulnerabilities in their vehicles and protective gear. WE are very high tech, I imagine, well-trained, and more capable than armies have ever been.

I am very impressed with much that I hear about the character of our troops and all the humanitarian work they are accomplishing. But of course, it shouldn't surprise us that there could be a my lai massacre in Viet Nam --or the scandal of Abu Graihb (?) prison. In every public school, there are the miscreants. And some of them join the military --and many of them mature. I believe they have great leadership on the field.

My nephew, a smart college grad, joined and said it is the best job in the world. He's a writer in military intelligence and he feels good about what his unit has done in ferreting out insurgent leaders. He, too, talked of schools and hospitals freely operating.

We know that there really IS a radical Islamic ideology behind the events of 9/11 --and I am very interested in how you think America should stop the terrorists who hold this ideology.

Democrats especially don't like the security measures imposed on everyone, nor profiling, nor the inter-continental invasions of internet and cellphone privacy, nor the surveillance of people who fit the terrorist profile in the U.S.

Consider, e.g., if you REALLY suspected me of plotting to kill liberals, you SHOULD get the FBI to eavesdrop on me --and since I'm not planning anything and would not, I have nothing to fear from their surveillance. The people who have something to fear from the invasion of their privacy, who are most likely to be monitored in a just society because they fit a profile, are the guilty ones who fear they'll be found out. Some of the innocent may get monitored but they'll have nothing to fear.

If we don't allow our intelligence organizations to do surveillance on suspected terrorists, we are really really stupid. Which is what it is when liberals holler about Bush taking away all our privacy rights.


Don said...

"If we don't allow our intelligence organizations to do surveillance on suspected terrorists, we are really really stupid. Which is what it is when liberals holler about Bush taking away all our privacy rights."

Hi, Barb. You're all over the place with this post, so for time's sake I'll limit myself to commenting on the above passage.

I'll challenge you to cite one Democrat who argues that our intelligence services should not "do surveillance on suspected terrorists". I'm a heavy consumer of media, and I've never heard ANYONE argue that.

What I have heard a great deal about, and I have great concerns about, is the Bush administration wiretapping American citizens without first obtaining a warrant. This practice is not only a constitutional violation, but is also illegal under the Foreign Services Intelligence Act (FISA), a law which was enacted by Congress to curb abuse of wiretapping by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

After 9-11, Congress (the Democrats were still in control of the Senate, as you may recall) granted all of President Bush's requests for modifications to FISA, which he asked for in light of the challenges presented by Al Qaeda. Despite the willingness of Congress to modify FISA in any way President Bush deemed necessary, the Bush administration immediately proceeded to implement a warrantless wiretapping program, illegally bypassing the FISA court.

To be clear, the issue here is not eavesdropping on suspected terrorists. Where eavesdropping occurs outside of the United States, the president may absolutely spy on whomever he sees fit. Again, show me any instance of ANYONE arguing otherwise. Matters become more complicated where the government wants to spy on a U.S. citizen inside the United States. Then, there are constitutional issues implicated, and the government must demonstrate some reasonable suspicion to justify eavesdropping on an American citizen.

If President Bush believes FISA was too restrictive, he could have asked Congress for whatever changes were necessary. But instead, he deliberately decided to break the law. Maybe I'm confused about conservative values, but I thought that the rule of law was near the top of the list. The president is a public servant, and subject to the rule of law like anyone else. However, the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that, for some reason, the "War on Terror" means that presidential power is nearly without limit, and the president may therefore ignore duly enacted laws of Congress. Check this out. Also, here is a good source of in-depth analysis of the FISA/NSA/wiretapping issue. I hope you find it helpful.

So, answer me this: how would you feel if a President Hillary Clinton asserted the right to ignore laws enacted by Congress as she saw fit? What if the laws were those passed by a Republican Congress? What if it was Hillary doing the warrantless wiretapping?

Frankly, I would seriously question your commitment to "conservative" values if you are not alarmed by a president who believes (s)he can spy on or endlessly detain American citizens in complete absence of congressional and judicial oversight, or at a whim ignore duly enacted laws.

Anyways, see you around LibDem's place.

Barb said...

Don --I thought we had a Republican majority in both houses right after 9/11--all during Bush's term. If I'm right --then how can I know you aren't mistaken about other details you've posted here? I am interested in the Bush point of view.

I've got nothing to hide if Hillary wants to listen in on me. In fact, I'd give her an earful!

I'll give more time to your comment later. Gotta run!

Don said...


Republicans did not gain control of the Senate until 2002. Check out this and this.

In 2000, the Republicans lost control of the Senate when Jim Jeffords left the GOP and became an independent.

Regarding the wiretapping issue, you should be interested in the views of the Bush Administration.

I'm not asking you to agree with my views, but I would like you to understand what the "liberal" position actually is. Your assertion that liberals don't want suspected terrorists put under surveillance is, frankly, preposterous. I think you're repeating talking points you've heard elsewhere, and do not have the actual issues clearly in front of you.

Check out the links I've provided. Given some time and exposure to the issues surrounding the NSA program, I think you'll come to see that civil libertarians/liberals have raised reasonable objections to some aspects of the NSA program.

If we're going to disagree, I'd like you to disagree with my actual position, not some ridiculous straw-man position that no reasonable person would hold. Fair enough?

Barb said...

By the way, Don --I wrote something to your myspace radio spot --an email --on Why NOT Gay Marriage? and it is on here as today's blog entry as well. This was inspired by your radio show when you called the Family Research council. That fellow didn't really answer you well--but i thought he was polite to your phony gay couple. I wrote you the answer he should've given you.

was it a democrat majority in the senate after 9/11? or a nearly even split. i always thought the Dems had complained since Geo. got elected that we shouldn't have all houses and the presidency controlled by one party.

I intend to go to your links on the wiretapping issue. Just havent' yet.

I wonder how hard it is to get warrants just to check out people of Arabic descent who are citizens. some of them COULD be terrorists or supporting terrorists. I know --it's like the Japanese internment camps --but profiling indicates that some people are more suspect than others.

Don said...

"was it a democrat majority in the senate after 9/11? or a nearly even split?"

There's no such thing as a "nearly even split". One party is in the majority, the other not. In the event of a 50-50 Senate, the vice-president casts a tie-breaking vote.

"I wonder how hard it is to get warrants just to check out people..."

It's not. If the govt. can show the FISA court why an individual should be wiretapped, the rate of warrants granted is nearly 100%. Only where the government has no reasonable suspicion will the FISA court deny a request to wiretap.

Also, there's a lot more to "The Nookular Option" than that prank call. Regarding some of these Constitutional issues, you should check out our guest interviews with David Harris and Mark Agrast. The David Harris interview is an excerpt, but the Mark Agrast interview is in the middle of a complete episode (you can skip ahead if you don't want to listen to the entire show).