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Friday, July 11, 2008

Fear

On September 11th, 2001 the United States of America was attacked.

Not exactly news to anybody, I know, but bear with me for a moment.

911 has been compared, repeatedly and with great passion by many pundits and politicians, to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the forces of Imperial Japan.

This comparison is wrong.

Here's the thing, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was part of a much, much larger strategic plan. The attack was intended to avert war, or more specifically a war of attrition in the Pacific. Experienced Japanese military planners knew they could not win a war that pitted their limited assets against the nearly endless might of the industrial West. The Empire of the Rising Sun was starved for resources and they could not fight a sustained conflict over the vast distances of the Pacific. Those military planners, raised in the Bushito tradition - modern day Samurai Warriors - were cold and calculating men educated in the ways of war and politics and power. They reasoned that, if properly executed, a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor would disable America's military might long enough for Japan to secure a solid hold on the endless resources of Oceania. The Imperial Navy attacked the US Pacific Fleet in a calculated attempt to destroy or disable America's ability to influence political and economic events in the Pacific and to a lesser extent, Asia, for a specific and limited amount of time. With the American 3rd Fleet disabled or destroyed, Japan's conquest of Pacific resources would be a fait accompli by time the United States mustered the assets to do anything significant about it - especially since America was engaged in an ocean war in the North Atlantic and would soon be fully engaged on the ground in Europe. That opening bid, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, was backed by the entire might of the Japanese military and, as I said above, was only one piece of a much, much larger plan. Fortunately for America, and unfortunately for the Samurai, the Gods of War are fickle and as luck or fate or conspiracy theorists would have it, the single most important assets, the targets that the Japanese absolutely had to destroy - i.e. the American aircraft carriers - were not present in the fleet basin that day. And that single set of circumstances directly precipitated the very war of attrition the Japanese feared. That war was long and hard, bloody and heartbreakingly difficult -and for the first two years the outcome was in serious doubt. Despite the tactical failure of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese could still very well have achieved their overall strategic goals. They did take and hold, at least briefly, American territory and the struggle to force the Japanese from their Aleutian footholds in Alaska was one of the most difficult, costly, and bloody campaigns of the entire war. The forces of Imperial Japan were true warriors, cold and ruthless by our standards, but professional soldiers, sailors, and airmen nonetheless. They held to an ancient code of honor and sacrifice in the service of an ideal, the ideal of Empire, and they very nearly won. Their strength, combined with that of the Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, could very well have taken much of the world, including the United States. It is important to understand that Imperial Japan was a very, very real threat, both to individual Americans and more importantly to America itself.

And that, right there, is the difference between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of 911.

See, the terrorists are amateurs. They are not warriors. They are not soldiers, or sailors, or airmen. They are not Marines. They are not professionals. There are no armies, or navies, or air forces to back them up. They can hide in the dark corners of the world, but they cannot walk openly or proudly in the street. They are rats, vermin, feral dogs, cockroaches, and nothing more. They can snipe around our ankles. They can threaten our individual citizens - a handful at a time. They can take down an airplane, or a building, or a subway. They can instill fear in politicians and children and the ignorant and the cowards. But they cannot, cannot, destroy America.

The terrorists are a one dimensional threat. 911 was not part of a larger, strategic plan - it was the whole plan. Period. Osama bin Laden said it himself, more than once - the goal is to instill fear and terror. Nothing more. Even in his wildest 40-virgin-and-lamb-kabob-in-Paradise wet dream, bin Laden doesn't believe for one minute that he or his organization can actually bring down the free nations of the world.

The terrorists are nothing but pissants, hiding in caves and holes and the cracks of the world. Filthy, cowardly little bullies who are terrified, absolutely terrified, of us. Terrified of freedom, terrified of free people, terrified of everything and everybody and each other. They boast and brag and swagger, like bullies always do, hoping against hope that nobody notices just how utterly insignificant they truly are. Nowhere is this more apparent than when they are finally run to ground. They'll send their lickspittles and mindless dupes out to fight, but they themselves? They are almost always found hiding in a hole, cowering in the dark, pissing their robes and praying to God for deliverance. From Hitler to Saddam, it's always the same. They are, at their core, cowards - just like all bullies. The only power a terrorist has is terror, behind that facade is nothing. Terrorists have power for one reason and one reason only - because they are given it by those they oppress.

I've known some truly tough men in my life. Real, no shit, tough men. Men who can, and often have, killed others with their bare hands. Professionals. Steel eyed snake eating motherfuckers, every last one. Here's the funny thing, never once did I see those men act the bully. They were rough and tough and they knew it. They didn't have to prove anything to anybody. Those kind of men are not always easy to spot, they are the ones who don't brag, don't swagger, don't threaten, and don't start shit in a bar just to prove their manhood or to defend the honor of the corps. You start something with those men, and they don't talk shit, they don't banter back and forth, they don't get insulted, they don't have to work themselves up - they just confidently kill your ass and go back to what they were doing. And that's the difference between truly tough men and punk assed bullies, between terrorists and professionals, between free people and sheep.

There are two ways to deal with a bully - any school kid knows this. You can either stand the hell up for yourself or you can knuckle under. And if you knuckle under, then the bully owns your ass. But the decision is always yours to make, the power is always, always, in your hands. The bully has no power over you - unless you chose to give him that power. When you give into fear and terror and cowardice, you give up your freedom.

In 1941, our leaders, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in particular, knew this. FDR stood before Congress on December 8th, 1941 and gave a speech, the words of which have echoed down through the last six decades of history - We have nothing to fear, but fear itself! And he was right. Those words and the actions they inspired galvanized our nation and the free people of the world over. Our enemies, those Samurai, the Nazis, and the Fascists, they could attack us, they could kill our people, they could bomb our cities, sink our ships, shoot down our airplanes, they could throw their armies against us - but they could not make us fear them. A feeble, sick, crippled man in a wheel chair looked them square in the face and spit in their eye and rallied America behind him and our grandparents went out and ground those who had attacked us into the dust.

The terrorists today have power. The power of the bully and the bogeyman. A handful of cowardly men, these ignorant, hateful, unorganized, raggedy-assed sheep herders have power over us, over our minds, over our lives, over our nation for one reason and one reason only - because we, and our fearful leaders, have given it to them. When we allow this, or this, or this, or this, or any of the hundred things we've done to debase ourselves and dishonor our nation since 911 we give the terrorists the very power they so desperately crave. When we allow our leaders to entertain the mere idea of this, we have handed our freedom, and our destiny, directly over to those that are far, far worse than an insignificant little turd like bin Laden.

On September 11th, 2001, four US civilian airliners were hijacked by a handful of men with nothing more than box-cutters. Three of those planes reached their targets and killed thousands, hundreds of thousands if you include all that has followed to date. But onboard one of those planes, Americans stood up to the hijackers. They fought back. They forced their way into the cockpit and took back the plane. Yes, they died, those Americans - but they took the terrorists straight to hell with them. In the end, there in that field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, it was the hijackers who died screaming in fear. Not as martyrs. Not as freedom fighters. Not as heroes. No, they died powerless, screaming in fear and terror. Nothing, not their hatred, not their belief, not their God could save them there in the end when common Americans rose up and refused to give up their freedom.

The terrorists, these fatherless sons of whores, can rage and posture and dance, but they can't make us afraid.

Only we can do that.

It is time, long past time, for us as Americans and for all other freedom loving peoples of the world to stand up and take back that which is rightfully ours. It is time for our leaders to stand up and say no more, we will not give in to fear, we will not give in to terror, we will not knuckle under. These men are nothing, they are no threat to us as a people. They cannot take our nation away from us. It is time to grind Osama bin Laden and his band of cowards into the dust of history and think no more of him.

And it is long past time for Americans to take back America from the cowards who sit in Washington today.

35 comments:

  1. Careful, you could get elected with a speech like that my friend...

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  2. you could get elected with a speech like that

    I'd like to think so, Shawn, but with every day that passes I doubt it more and more.

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  3. The only thing wrong with this post is that it doesn't go far enough.

    Allow me an analogy. Tornadoes happen. They tend to happen in geographically predictable areas. Meteorology has come far enough, that we can now look at conditions and warn people in certain areas to be on the lookout because conditions are favorable for tornadoes.

    Hearing this, people take reasonable precautions. Maybe they make sure they're sticking to places where they'll be able to take shelter if a tornado forms. They certainly keep an eye on the sky as they travel about. They may even go so far as to have invested in a sturdy storm cellar if they live in a particularly prone area.

    They do not station thousands of cops, all within line-of-sight of each other with cell phones covering the entire area that might get hit. They do not stop every motorist, over and over and over again to say, "Maam, you know there might be a tornado. Are you sure you want to drive through here." They certainly do not search every car entering the area to make sure the car has its mandatory tornado-preparedness kit inside.

    There are certainly reasonable and effective steps to be taken to reduce the possibility of terrorism in America. And there's also some value to taking some steps that are merely cosmetic. I've yet to see any clear demonstration that what is going on in this country is either reasonable or effective.

    And the first asshole who tells me "We haven't been attacked since 9/11" gets my wiry little boot up his ass. I'm too lazy to track down the details, but the NYPD and the MTA has these little public service announcements saying "If you see something, say something". A followup piece said something along the lines of, "Since 2003, "X" number of people have seen something and said something." The ad neglects to tell us whether or not the cops have ever found something. As far as I know, it's just thousands of cop man-hours, inconvenience for commuters, and shutting down various hunks of my city to deal with misplaced packages and backpacks.

    If you want to make the "We haven't been attacked since 9/11" argument, you'd better bring me evidence of all the attacks that were actually averted. And, again, don't tell me all those guys in Guantanamo were poised with well thought out plans and stopped just in the nick of time. That may very well be the case, but until you put them on trial with evidence everybody gets to hear, I'm not buying it.

    Sorry to get all ranty on your rant, but I guess you touched a nerve.

    We're apparently all scared shitless, and yeah, that's a win for Osama.

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  4. Yeah, I was tempted not to post the link, what with this being such a serious post -- but I couldn't help it. :D

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  5. I always knew this blogging thing would get me into serious trouble, I just never suspected it would start with you, Shawn, you bastard.

    Be warned, Shawn, if I'm elected I'm going to appoint you as head of White House IT - where according the the current job description you'll spend 26 hours a day deleting or ignoring important emails. And your reward for such diligent service after four years will be a nice gold leafed indictment, suitably framed for hanging on the wall of your cell.

    And what Nathan said, to the exact word - including the Holy Shit! Comment.

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  6. Shawn, that is a thing of wonder. I love it. Too bad my FIL doesn't have a sense of humor that he is aware of. ;)

    And yes, Jim, I am in agreement with yoru sentiments. You always say it far better and more inspirationally than I ever could. :)

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  7. An excellent post, Jim.

    There is one way in which I think 9/11 was like 12/7, but I don't think it disproves your larger point. (If anything, it may enhance it.) This is the reality that the responsible parties had a parochial view of the world that grossly underestimated the extent and resources of the United States. It's said that Yamamoto, who had spent part of his career and education in the U.S., told his superiors that Pearl Harbor would fail in its objectives in these terms: "I have seen Detroit." Being a loyal officer, he went ahead and planned the attack and gave it his best; but the fact is that even if the attack had disabled the full Pacific fleet, and even with the difficulties of the first two years, there was no way Japan to secure the Pacific Rim quickly enough to match our industrial capacity. Japan's only hope wasn't merely to secure the Pacific, but also that America would lack the will to sustain the long war. Instead, the attack on Pearl Harbor solidified American resolve. There were no isolationists after Pearl Harbor, and few pacifists.

    In a similar manner, I imagine that from a corner in Afghanistan, it's easy to imagine that if you destroy or damage a major financial center and the military HQ, you've sewn chaos. In many countries, an attack on the local equivalents of the WTC and Pentagon would cause the government to collapse, riots in the street, a shutdown of public services. And from that same corner, I imagine it's easy to make the other mistake the Japanese made in 1941: to assume that public dissent and debate and the messiness of democracy indicate a lack of resolve or pride. On December 6 there were isolationists and on September 10 there were critics of the administration; on December 8 and September 12 there were Americans.

    The thing is, this similarity only strengthens your critique. Japan couldn't--could not--win the long war any more than bin Laden could cause the United States to collapse into anarchy by destroying a single complex of business offices. As long as Americans had the will to fight, we also had Detroit (i.e. the ability to mass produce everything we ever needed to fight without having to seize it and hold it). And the idea that destroying a single building--even the White House--would bring down fifty states is just silly on its face. So why are we afraid of someone like bin Laden, except that our leaders need us to be to maintain their seizure of our rights and liberties? The terrorists would have to do more than bring down a couple of buildings, they'd have to bring down cities--a lot of cities. They'd have to have the firepower the Soviets had at the height of the Cold War to make us bleed, and they don't and never will. So, what the hell?

    Sorry to get ranty myself. Like I said in the first sentence, great post, Jim. Thank you.

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  8. "Sown" not "sewn"... arrrgh!

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  9. Eric,

    I'm really not arguing with you here, but...

    Japan wanted territory and resources. They ultimately didn't get them. They ultimately were defeated and reformatted into one of the most important allies we had through the rest of the 20th Century. They remain a bastion of stability in the region and a valuable partner.

    "The Terrorists" never had any aim other than to scare and destabilize us. I firmly believe that any negative effect we've had on them takes a far backseat to the negative effect they've had on us. We spend money. Lots of money. Obscene fucking amounts of money on "security". We've given up huge chunks of civil liberties. And though it sounds petty, we've allowed them to inconvenience us to a truly ridiculous degree.

    You defeat terrorism on two fronts.

    1. You find their caves and make them indistinguishable from the gravel you produce.

    2. You live your life the way you did before the attack...refusing to let them alter your way of life.

    We've pretty much failed on both accounts.

    My dearest wish is that the next President, whoever he may be, announces at his inauguration that we've been on a dangerously wrong road for the last 8 years; that living in a 'free society' means accepting some level of risk; that maintaining everything we supposedly believe in means dialing back the paranoia a couple of notches.

    The next Presidency will be a success if it does nothing more than roll back most of what GWB has foisted off on us.

    {/rant2}

    Or maybe not.

    On Sept. 11th 2001, and for the next 24 hours, ashes rained down on my house. The cops from the Movie-TV Unit (the ones I was talking about a day or so ago), were some of the first people at the World Trade Center because their office was a block and a half south. One of the aircraft engines landed on their roof. So did many body parts. Phones were out in that area, so it took me a week to find out that none of them had been killed.

    I had nobody close to me killed that day, but three people with whom I had business relationships were murdured--two in the north tower and one on one of the planes from Boston.

    I don't claim to have a level of trauma from this any greater than the average American...other than having been here.

    All that having been said, I hate seeing NYPD "swarms"...where 50 or more police cars fly from one location to another...just to prove they can. I hate coming out of the subway at Penn Station and seeing soldiers in full combat gear patrolling. (WTF are they going to do about the guy who boarded the train with a bomb in Armonk.)

    Sorry to go off, but I just think we've lost our fucking minds.

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  10. Jim,

    Apparently, your post has pissed me off more than anything I've read in years. Mostly it's focused my "pissed off".

    With very few exceptions (maybe having a few Farsi speakers at the CIA), I think our level of security on September 10th, 2001 was much closer to appropriate than it is today.

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  11. Apparently, your post has pissed me off more than anything I've read in years.

    Good.

    Mostly it's focused my "pissed off".

    Even better.

    I just think we've lost our fucking minds.

    I think we've allowed ourselves to be deceived and cajoled into fear by men who are fearful, when we what we should have been was inspired, galvanized, and rallied by men of courage and vision.

    We needed an FDR, we got a Truman.

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  12. Wrong.

    We needed an FDR, we got a Johnson.

    That's what I should have said. Sorry, I was distracted by an incredibly tasty breaded pork chop.

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  13. Well, I think you've already redeemed yourself, but Truman was smart enough to listen to Marshall. That's guy's my hero.

    Pure fucking genius...or maybe got lucky.

    Either way...good result.

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  14. Jim Wright for President.
    Nathan Gendzier for Vice-President.
    Janeice Murphy for SecDef.
    Eric the Lawyer for AG.
    Shawn Powers for IT.

    I'd not only vote for that ticket, I'd volunteer as campaign manager.

    Our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor...

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  15. Vince, it's an all or nothing sort of deal - either the whole UCF gets a job, or none of us do.

    You? You get to be White House press secretary, I've heard you on the radio and you rock. So you get to deal with the press. Don't worry though, I plan to do something different - I'm going to tell the truth. It's just easier.

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  16. Hell, we didn't even get a Johnson. Johnson cared about the poor and minorities. In different circumstances, Johnson might have been a great President; at this point it's hard to imagine Bush even rising to the level of mediocrity.

    It's not just partisanship. Two of the books I'm reading (still) are Halberstam's The Best And The Brightest and Weisberg's The Bush Tragedy. There are similarities, to be sure. But where Johnson was an overly insecure man who was overly trusting in the competence of the Eastern Establishment types he inherited from JFK, Bush has been--well, it's tempting to say "overly secure," but it's more that he's built up a strong front out of his competitiveness with his siblings and father.

    Nathan, I don't think we disagree or are really arguing. The Japanese didn't just want resources--they desperately needed them to stay on the stage as a world power. Japan doesn't have the mineral, agricultural or labor resources the U.S. and U.S.S.R. had, so they tried to build an Empire the way similarly-situated England did--through Empire, but they had the misfortune of entirely missing the Colonial Era.

    Part of the Japanese problem was that their needs during the first half of the 20th century conflicted with our desires--particularly our desire for Pacific hegemony. We spent much of the '30s on the verge of war with Japan over this, and in '41 the Japanese decided to take a big gamble. But that gamble was predicated on two erroneous assumptions:

    1) That American resources were comparable to the Japanese (or the British, or the French; or that if we had the resources for a campaign, our lines would be overextended the way the Russians' were in 1905, when the Russians lost a war with Japan in some large part because they couldn't move materiel and men from Europe to Asia quickly enough);

    and 2) That dissent over American policy and aims in Asia and the Pacific was synonymous with vacillation and weakness (and anyway, Americans are fat and lazy and aren't used to making sacrifices nor do they have a proper martial or nationalistic spirit).

    I think both of these incorrect assumptions were shared by al Qaeda, with similar results as far as the results go from their side: al Qaeda, like the Japanese in 1941, bit off more than they could chew. If either assumption were correct, attacks on the U.S. might be made with a degree of impunity--we'd struggle to get our shit together, fight a few battles, then give up. But the assumptions are wrong: we can rebuild a navy in months ('41) and deploy overwhelming force anywhere in the world ('01), and our fractiousness is an expression of our peculiar form of nationalism.

    Agreed, that the aims of the Japanese and bin Laden were different. My point: that those aims failed for similar reasons.

    Oh, the one other thing I'd add: we beat the terrorists by going about our lives. I'm not saying we shouldn't reduce their caves to rubble--there are good reasons to do so--but we shouldn't kid ourselves about the efficacy. One of the flaws in the whole notion of a "War On Terror" is that terror is a methodology, not an end to itself, that can be used by jihadists or homegrown alienated Army vets. And a certain lack of security is the price of freedom. What we need to do is give up our delusion that we can be "safe" in exchange for the awareness that sometimes a high price must be paid for the liberty that's our inalienable right and heritage.

    Vince: I'd rather have State, if it's alright. I've got no interest in being a prosecutor, not even the Number One prosecutor. Actually, it's an oddity that I ended up in criminal law, since the original plan all those years ago was to go to law school and then take the foreign service exam; crim law ended up being something I was good at and passionate about, and so there was a right turn in Albuquerque. (No regrets, but I don't know if I still have that passion, to be honest. Or as much of it, at least.) But thanks for the vote of confidence.

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  17. I wish everyone were as astute about this situation as you are. I wish more people listened to reason such as this and refused to live in fear. Thank you for saying this. If I could convince every newspaper in the country to run what you wrote, I would for I believe it would go a long way to restoring our national identity which has crumbled to something I no longer recognize and refuse to sucumb to myself.

    Thank you.

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  18. Yanni, thanks for the thought but I tend to use language that newspaper editors don't much care for. Though a few editors - the exceptionally cool ones like Joe Ditzler at the Anchorage Daily News - do link to this site upon occasion.

    Nathan said: My dearest wish is that the next President, whoever he may be, announces at his inauguration that we've been on a dangerously wrong road for the last 8 years; that living in a 'free society' means accepting some level of risk; that maintaining everything we supposedly believe in means dialing back the paranoia a couple of notches. The next Presidency will be a success if it does nothing more than roll back most of what GWB has foisted off on us.

    Exactly. However, I don't think John McCain is that guy. And I don't know that Obama is either, though he's more likely to be than McCain.

    Eric: One of the flaws in the whole notion of a "War On Terror" is that terror is a methodology, not an end to itself, that can be used by jihadists or homegrown alienated Army vets.

    Precisely. Terror is a methodology, a tactic. A war on terror is like the army deciding to fight a "War on flanking maneuvers" or the navy fighting a "War on Shore Bombardment." One of the things that chaps my ass about this "War on Terror" is this: How do you know when you've won? I.e. what are the Objectives (Both Strategic and Tactical)? What are the measurables (what you'd call metrics, this is how you determine if you are meeting the objectives)? What is the strategy? What are the tactics that support that strategy? Or the Methods and Techniques used to implement the Tactics? Strategies are based on goals, tactics are a structured way of achieving the strategy, while the strategy may not change, the tactics vary based on current and changing requirements. Method and Technique are how you tailor the tactic to the battlespace and the assets you have. Try as I might, I see no evidence of a coherent planning structure - and I should be able to ascertain at least the broad outlines of the strategy behind the "War on Terrorism" - I used to be a military planner. Hell, I designed strategies, tactics, methods, and techniques. I wrote war plans. But I can't see any of that in this current mess.

    My questions are, what's the plan? What's the timeframe? How do we know if we've achieved the objectives? Is the objective to never be attacked again? That's a fairly unobtainable goal I'd say, given history. Or is it as simple as a sign over New York, "American has gone XX days without a Terrorist Attack" If so, what's the XX? Who decides?

    Or is the war on terror like the war on drugs? Just another endless, pointless, un-winnable, money pit that actually does nothing, not one goddammed thing that can be measured?

    Seriously, When you fight a war, a real war, one of objectives of any Strategic war plan is to reduce or eliminate the enemy's ability to make war in the first place - in conventional war you do this by bombing the hell out of his infrastructure, power, factories, transportation, resources, and etcetera. In the "War on Terrorism" what are we doing that's the equivalent? Additionally, what are we doing that demonstratively removes or reduces the underlaying casual effects of terrorism? I.e. poverty, hunger, disenfranchisement, unemployment, boredom, lack of education, and etcetera. In my estimation we've managed to create terrorist incubators, not reduce them.

    I used the word "Oceania" to refer to the Pacific in the above post for a reason. George Orwell, was off on the year but not the idea.

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  19. Jim,

    I purposely didn't specify which candidate because I'd hope this concept is something that can be grasped on both sides of the aisle. (Yeah, I can hope all I want.)

    Given the choices, I think Obama is the more likely candidate to want to roll back the paranoia and McCain is the one whose baggage might actually allow him to do it.

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  20. Jim,

    I strongly believe that the "War on Terror" is precisely the same as the "War on Drugs"

    They're both open ended campaigns with no hard or defined ending, which means that because they are defined as "wars" extra-ordinary means can be used to fight battles that may be against US citizens as much as they are against foreign nationals who are a threat to our national interest.

    By creating a campaign in which the end point can be moved backwards and forwards as needed to meet the goals of the administration, we also have a campaign in which it is nearly impossible to determine whether we are winning or losing.

    The Bush administration has continually shifted the goals for success, and we have allowed them to get away with it, because the "War on Terror" is a nebulous idea.

    Our goals in WWII were specific--to stop the Axis countries.

    However, starting with the Cold War, the goals have been looser, and harder to define. Was the Cold War a set of diplomatic battles or territorial goals? The Cold War stretched into Latin America, and many of the goals we had then are affecting us today, whether Americans admit it or not.

    Which is the inherent problem with labeling things "wars". The term has become watered down. It's become (if I may use the term twice in a single comment) nebulous. I grew up with the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. The wars I grew up with were very different from those who grew up during WWII or the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

    We have come to believe that war is something endless, something lacking defined goals, and something that does not affect our day-to-day lives.

    All of these things, in my opinion, are terrible mistakes, and why the current situation has been allowed to spiral out of control.

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  21. Oh. Can I have the position of Court Jester?

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  22. Vince, it's an all or nothing sort of deal - either the whole UCF gets a job, or none of us do.

    Works for me. It's just that those names came immediately to mind. And if you were President, and I were press secretary, my job would be easy.

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  23. Vince said, And if you were President, and I were press secretary, my job would be easy.

    Be careful what you wish for. The first time Jim replies during a press conference, "That's the stupidest fucking question I've ever heard. Get the fuck out of my press room.", how will you respond?

    You've got two choices. You can explain what Jim really meant to say, or you can say, "I think his statement was fairly unambiguous".

    OK, I take it back.

    JIM FOR PRESIDENT.

    And I want to be Secretary of Silly Walks.

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  24. secretary of silly walks?

    Oh, you mean SecEd, right?

    And I plan to use the phrase "that's the stupidest fucking question I've ever heard..." the way other presidents use the phrase "No comment..."

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  25. Hey, thanks! That was really good to read.

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  26. Nathan meant Secretary Of The Interior: his innovative scheme is to increase attendance of our National Parks system by stationing stand-up comics along the trails as guides. Every American should make a silly walk a part of their vacation plans.

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  27. Hey! I want to be a cabinet member too. Problem is I don't have the slightest patience for politics, although I'm darn good at logistics and facilitating meetings that get shit done effectively and ahead of schedule. :)

    Can I be Secretary of Getting Shit Done? Although Nathan might want that job too, he's pretty good at that stuff as well.

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  28. I suspect that I'd be the mascot again... >.>

    Nice post. I've been following along to the discussion but don't have anything to say that other people haven't already said better.

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  29. Great post man, i've been in a shitty mood all day and that really got me worked up. I like the way you think Jim.

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  30. Thanks, Chris.

    Whenever I'm in a shitty mood (which is pretty much all of the time) I go make sawdust in the shop.

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  31. The last thing I think the President did right in this whole campaign, was returning to the White House the same day of the attacks. Since then it's been mostly down hill (with some bright examples of how the struggle should be fought). Of course, that whole day he was surrounded my military who tend to take a different view of terrorism that what the administration finally adopted as their political strategy to, "keep us in power or we all die."

    Of course, this was also when we considered terrorists nothing more than common criminals instead of the threat to global democracy we've made them out to be. The fact that the whisper campaign against Obama centers on him supposedly (and incorrectly) being a muslim, or closet muslim. If the President had done his job after the attacks, that wouldn't even be an issue, instead of the "OMG we're all gonna die" cry that echos in back room conversations.

    And terrorists know they can't overthrow the governments they attack, which is exactly why they resort to terrorism. It's a ploy to get the governments to destroy themselves. They attack in such a way to force the government to abandon their principles and crack down in a draconian manner to "keep the people safe." This breaks the implicit contract between the government and the governed. The terrorists hope that the people then rise up and overthrow the government which has kept them in fear and is no longer "free." That is the game plan of terrorists. As a part of this plan (and I would have to write the dissertation to show the psychology) they realize they may not survive, but they know they can't survive they way they are now. With their plan, their is a small chance of success.

    What most terrorists don't understand is that we have the chance of revolution every four years (two years if you only count the Congress). That the American mindset was formed in revolution. And that, until this Presidency, we knew their game plan and didn't fall for it. And now, not only do we have an administration that fueled the fears of the populace, they installed a mobile security theater in place of real protection measures.

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  32. Well said, Steve, and exactly right.

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