Cheney Declares (In Secret) That NSA Surveillance Could Have Prevented 9-11 and Calls NSA Abuses “Hogwash”

250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4A secret recording has surfaced of Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition where he held forth on various subjects — assuming that the session was closed to the public and press. Cheney appears to be intent on, again, revising history to get people to embrace a security state. You may recall how Cheney (who is often cited as a potential defendant in a torture prosecution) publicly assuring the nation that the Bush torture program produced valuable intelligence. That assertion has been previously dismissed by experts and insiders. However, as we discussed recently, the forthcoming Senate Report goes into great deal to show that not only is that assertion untrue but that the CIA actively sought to hide the fact that the torture program produced insignificant intelligence (and that detainees were tortured despite their cooperation in conventional interrogations). Cheney is now fighting to defend the massive surveillance of citizens — again dismissing even the concessions of intelligence officials about abuses and violations under the program. Cheney told a rapturous crowd that all such accounts were “hogwash.” He further pumped the crowd with support for an attack on Iran to add yet another war to our current international conflicts.

In his March 29th remarks, Cheney insisted that suggestions “That we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that’s reading everybody’s mail, listening to everybody’s phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights — hogwash.” He then adds the assertion that, if we had only embraced massive surveillance previously, “It probably would’ve allowed us to stop 9/11.”

It is a signature moment for Cheney. Once again, when confronted with the creation of a security state and mass surveillance, he plays the 9-11 card. There has never been any suggestion that the program would have prevented 9-11. More importantly, Cheney seems to be forgetting the findings of virtually every investigation of 9-11 that the CIA and FBI could have prevented the attacks with existing powers. Intelligence officials failed to share information and use existing powers to prevent the attack despite various indications that the attack was coming. Of course those findings do not play as well for expanding the powers and budgets of those very same agencies. Instead, citizens are asked to embrace torture, kill lists, and massive surveillance if they want to avoid an attack.

For many outside of this country, the very fact that Cheney has not been prosecuted for his role in the torture program is a consistent reminder of the failure of the country to fulfilled its obligations under existing treaties, as reflected by the recent U.N. report (only the latest such UN criticism). Cheney is a fascinating study of how some citizens and leaders seem to have an overwhelming inclination toward authoritarian power (not just to wield it but to be subject to it). It could not be more disconnected with the views and values of the Framers who deeply distrusted government powers and foreign entanglements. Even in the face of reports and statements from intelligence officials to the contrary, Cheney continues to deny reality in support of near absolute powers in the president. It is hard to tell if he truly believes these accounts or simply seeks to sustain a rivaling narrative. Either way, it increasingly appears so disconnected from reality as to be doublespeak, or even delusional, for Cheney.

Source: Yahoo

212 thoughts on “Cheney Declares (In Secret) That NSA Surveillance Could Have Prevented 9-11 and Calls NSA Abuses “Hogwash”

  1. Mercy me! And guess who was in charge of the NSA in summer 2001 … President Darkm Dick and his li’l sidekick Dubya!

  2. Now lets not dismiss his claim of hogwash too quickly.

    After all if anyone has an insiders understanding of hogwash it has to be Cheney. As a matter of fact Cheney must be the nations per-eminent expert on hogwash – I mean aside from Don Rumsfeld.

  3. I was not Cheney or Ws fault for letting 9/11 happen. Even though the CIA sent him a PBR on the fact that Al Qeada was planning such an attack. He was hamstrung by the policies, not that Bush was and is incompetent. THAT is why he will continue to say this. Just wait another year, and Cheney will be saying that they found HUGE stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq, and it was only through Cheney more attacks were stopped.

  4. Surely one is not that naive as to believe anything that is coming out of the current administration. Their entire agenda has been to weaken the United States and cast long shadows on President Bush and the Republician Party. And to believe that actionable intelligence is not gained from torture is beyond common sense.

  5. One other fact; if we had Bush and Cheney in the White House today you can take to the bank that the Middle East would not be IN the mess it is today and Putin wouldn’t be rebuilding the USSR. Are all liberals cowards or do they just sound that way?

  6. NO Actually most liberals were NOT chickenhawks like Bush and Cheney who RAN from active duty military service in wartime. They followed the lead of the biggest chickenhawk of all time, John Wayne who only fought with his draft board during WWII when the US was fighting for its LIFE.

    Then we cannot forget Reagan who RAN from Beirut when over 200+ US Marines were killed. That action convinced Bin Laden that the US was cowardly.

  7. “And to believe that actionable intelligence is not gained from torture is beyond common sense.”

    Well, maybe. But apparently not beyond the data. The claim is that little or no additional actionable intelligence was gained by torture. It seems to me that instead of going with our ‘common sense’ we ought to look at what actually happened.

    The people who have actually read the report of CIA activities state that other methods produced actionable intelligence and that claims that torture was effective are self serving and exaggerated.

    Maybe we ought to consider facts for a change.

    Facts are wonderful things. They can provide useful guidance in times of ignorance or confusion.

  8. Cheney & Shrub were warned and they did nothing – did not warn anyone. -or say anything to anyone – the deaths of over 1, 000, 000 People and America are on them and those who said nothing

  9. Bush & Cheney deserve plenty of blame, but let’s not forget Bill Clinton had MULTIPLE chances to kill Bin Laden but refused to authorize the strikes. It’s very easy to sit back and blame Presidents after you have the benefit of all the facts.

  10. Guest only one problem. The FACTS say otherwise since Bin Laden at the time Clinton took office had done NOTHING at all to even get on a wanted list, much less be targeted for assassination. Then when Bin Laden finally DID do something, the embassy bombings, Clinton DID act, and was roundly criticized by the GOP for doing so. Remember Wag the Dog story and how the GOP trumpeted that? Not a whole lot of support there on the GOPs part. In fact, given the GOPs love for Bin Laden in protesting Clinton’s bombing, I can understand why there are so many people who think Bush orchestrated 9/11. Plus the FACT that Salim Bin Laden invested in W Bush’s oil company and got it going.

  11. William Hefner,

    Here are a few of your stalwart brave Rs who fought and served so bravely for our country:

    2012 US Presidential Candidates:
    Rick Perry: Captain, Pilot, USAF
    Mitt Romney: Did not serve; Mormon missionary in France. Plus his 5 sons who have never served.
    Ron Paul: Captain, USAF
    Newt Gingrich: Did not serve
    Michelle Bachmann: Did not serve
    Herman Caine: Did not serve
    Rick Santorum: Did not serve, past Member of US Senate Armed Services Committee
    John Huntsman: Did not serve
    Buddy Roemer: Did not serve

    And here are a few more notables for you to chew over AKA “Chicken Hawks”:

    Ronald Reagan: Army Reserves, served in WWII making movies
    As mentioned above: John Wayne, another coward who stayed home during
    WWII making movies.
    Spencer Abraham: Did not serve
    Eliot Abrams: Did not serve
    John Ashcroft: Did not serve
    Roy Blunt: Did not serve
    Michael Bloomberg: Did not serve
    George W. Bush: Texas Air Nat. Guard; AWOL
    Jeb Bush: Did not serve
    Saxby Chambliss: Did not serve. (Attacked Triple Amputee Max Cleland’s patriotism during 2006 Senate Campaign)
    Dick Cheney: Did not serve – 5 Student Deferments
    Christopher Cox: Did not serve
    Tom DeLay: Did not serve
    Bob Dornan: Enlisted after fighting was over in Korea
    John Engler: Did not serve
    Douglas Feith: Did not serve
    Bill Frist: Did not serve
    Rudy Giuliani: Did not serve
    Lindsey Graham: National Guard attorney
    Phil Gramm: Did not serve
    Dennis Hastert: Did not serve
    Jack Kemp: Did not serve. (“Knee problem,” Played NFL football for 8 years)
    Jon Kyl: Did not serve
    Trent Lott: Did not serve
    Mitch McConnell: Did not serve
    George Pataki: Did not serve
    Richard Perle: Did not serve
    Dan Quayle: Indiana National Guard Journalism unit
    Tom Ridge: Army Staff Sgt. in Vietnam, Bronze star
    Dana Rohrabacher: Did not serve
    Karl Rove: Did not serve
    Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base
    Richard Shelby: Did not serve
    Peter Roskam: Did not serve
    JC Watts: Did not serve
    Vin Weber: Did not serve
    Paul Wolfowitz: Did not serve
    Rush Limbaugh: Medical Deferment (Anal Cyst – a Real Pain in the A$$)
    Eric Cantor – Did not Serve
    Paul Ryan – Did not Serve
    Scott Walker – Did not Serve
    Joe Walsh – Did not Serve
    Sarah Palin–kept watch on the Alaska/Russian border in case Putin reared his
    head. This proved so stressful that she was forced to resign
    her Governorship.
    Bill Kristol – Did not Serve
    Jean Hannity – Did not Serve
    Jeb Bush – Did not Serve
    Donald Trump – issued FIVE deferments during Viet Nam War.
    Marco Rubio – Did not Serve
    Larry (Wide-Stance) Craig – Did not Serve
    John Cornyn – Did not Serve
    Joe Scarborough – Did not Serve
    Mr. FBI John Edgar Hoover – Did not Serve

    This is hard work listing all the Republican Chickenhawks..maybe someone can add to this list?

  12. I was totally appalled as the Cheney gang attacked Iraq on pretext of WMD ( I yelled at the TV “what are they doing !!” as we watched the invasion) and as far as I am concerned, Cheney and Bush SHOULD be prosecuted for WAR CRIMES and I find it totally unacceptable that they (who avoided any call-up themselves throughout their lives) should walk free for this mass-murder exploit they put the US thru.
    I do not know how they can live with what they did – I am sure their souls must be rotting away as we speak !!!

  13. Randy-

    The idea that we did not know that Bin Laden was a terrorist before the embassy bombings is simply not true. And again, I’m not defending Bush & Cheney. I’m simply making the point that everyone loves to blame presidents for their decisions (and conveniently, only the ones of a rival political party), but they make extremely difficult decisions every day and sometimes they get them wrong. It’s very easy to claim to be the superior being when you’ve had 12+ years to study the decisions.

    p.s., You lost me at “I can understand why there are so many people who think Bush orchestrated 9/11.” I don’t understand people like that. You know why? Because they are crazy. Just as crazy as the idiots who claim Obama allowed Benghazi to happen.

  14. Seems were living the last days of the Roman empire. so get ready for the barbarians from the middle east. and yes you can’t believe anything this administration says, Obummer is nothing but a LIAR

  15. 9/11 happened because airline companies refused to put in place the simple security measures that would have prevented the attack. Because it would have cost money. (The solution, proposed during the skyjacking era, was to prevent any access to the cockpit from the passenger compartment in flight. A skyjacker, or terrorist, could kill passengers or even crash the plane; but they couldn’t seize control of it.)

    And no, with a few very limited exceptions, torture does not work to gain information. And no amount of sigint or even humint works, if someone in charge isn’t willing to look at what the information says, rather than what they want it to say. And given politicians’ penchant for releasing classified information (e.g Valerie Plame) for short-term political gain, it’s unlikely intelligence agencies will provide such information to their alledged booses, anyway.

  16. Also Wayne, you forgot to mention the democrats that did not serve. You should do something productive with your time and gather some important facts instead of filling your mind with partisan trash.

  17. I can’t believe anyone could defend those two. And will we ever know anything about the truth of 9/11?? Aren’t there, like 27,000 words redacted from the report? Not to mention hanging out with Bandar shortly before?? There’s way more to this story than we’ll ever know. They would love us to believe that “them bad guys rode into town and shot up our buildings.” I think Cheney thought the torture was fun and that’s why he is for it.

  18. First, echelon was in place, doing just about everything that NSA is doing now. So mass spying did not stop 9/11. Even 5 CIA presidential briefings filled with explicit warnings did not stop 9/11. All kinds of information from the FBI, NSA and CIA was sent to Bush and Cheney. They are the ones who short stopped the information.

    I don’t understand why people are still eager to listen to someone who is clearly lying to them. There is something bizarre about giving credence to people who you know aren’t telling the truth. There is something even more bizarre in supporting people who authorize torture. That applies to Bush, Cheney and Obama supporters.

  19. Why are you arguing about 9/11? Here’s the real takeaway from Turley:

    “Cheney is a fascinating study of how some citizens and leaders seem to have an overwhelming inclination toward authoritarian power (not just to wield it but to be subject to it). It could not be more disconnected with the views and values of the Framers who deeply distrusted government powers and foreign entanglements.”

    Speaking as someone who voted for Obama (like there was a choice) he has done nothing to rolling back or repudiate these powers. Signing statements and executive orders continue flying out of the Oval Office and into secret archives, just like the bad old days when Dubya did exactly the same thing.

    For those of you who don’t care because you imagine uninterrupted Democratic hegemony into the forseeable future, because populations of Latinos will “naturally” vote Democratic, that’s obvious nonsense. Republicans will change over time, Latinos will turn into Republicans just to get a shot at the political gigs. And the executive powers will end up in the hands of the party you revile.

  20. Very good–and very important point Mr. Natural. But, anytime Cheney is referenced for anything, there exists a responsibility to discount him as a credible point of reference. People should not take his statements as a point to view on which to act on any situation in the world.

  21. We trivialize the issue by arguing over “blaming the president.” Our nation engaged in war crimes. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a host of others, including lawyers, participated in the planning and execution of those crimes. Obama has ratified those actions through his refusal to investigate and prosecute, as well as by his continuation of some of the more abhorrent practices of his predecessor. We have failed the rule of law and the duty of moral leadership. It’s no more complicated than that.

  22. How many more politicians are there that share Cheney’s worldview that will potentially run for President or hold seats in the House and Senate, the Supreme Court?

  23. Wayne, Guv Arnold is a REAL draft dodger since he was required to register for the draft and did NOT do so. He committed a FELONY for not doing that. So much for his respect for the law.

  24. Former Vice President Palpatine needs to be prosecuted for war crimes, not promote more war for Halliburton.

  25. Well, Randyjet,
    This is where the filter scrubs out Hillary Clinton’s shilling as Senator.
    I posted the vid TWICE, both times scrubbed.

    I’ll let you google it.
    HAWK, HAWK, HAWKING her wares…
    … How long did she serve and in what unit?

  26. Wait a minute here, Hillary served on the battlefields of Wellsley and Yale!! She screamed “Baby killers” @ soldiers coming home.

  27. Guest,
    Bill Clinton wasn’t in office the 9 months leading up to 9/11.
    I guess the question is, Why did Bush dismiss the Clinton Admin’s warnings for the next 9 months after inauguration?

  28. Wayne – those of us who were draft eligible understand student deferments, etc. If you didn’t take one, you would not know that you had to reapply every year. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that since you served for three years you signed up on your own, giving yourself some choice. Studies of that period have shown that those who were drafted usually served two years and one of those years was in Vietnam, where they were cannon fodder. People like you got military schooling and usually ended up in Europe.

    You missed Bill Clinton who ran to England to avoid the draft.

    Personally, I was turned down both by the Marines and by the draft. My final draft status was 1-Y. That meant they had to draft every eligible person in the USA and when they ran out they would draft me and I would take a desk job some where, freeing up someone who would become cannon fodder.

    You can complain about John Wayne but war morale was very important, especially at the beginning of the war. Ol’ John killed more Japs than anyone in history. :) Still, we both know, the military puts you where they want to, not where you want to be.

  29. The better question is why hadn’t Clinton done something about it before he left office. I cannot remember the name of the author, but I recommend the following book to you on the background leading up to 9/11. The Looming Tower. It was not an intelligence failure as much as it was a failure to communicate.

  30. By ANY international or domestic laws governing war, he is and will be a war criminal…….Ask Darth Cheney how many countries he can go too?

  31. What is the problem ? – We went along with Teddy failure to notify, Clinton being disbarred, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, the genocide in Central Africa etc. Just add it to the list – History shall sort it all out. The American Indian knows all about American politicians – the Constitution – honesty in government & about being poor

  32. Mike Appleton is right, If Obama would have held Dubya and all the players to account Cheney would never be giving speeches.

  33. First John Wayne: He had his “people” , such as John Ford, deal with the draft board to make sure he didn’t serve. He was a coward of the first order and got into more than one fight when he would occasionally run into real soldiers home on leave. They resented him and he took a beating in those altercations because it obviously wasn’t scripted. The idea that John Wayne was needed at home for troop morale is patently absurd, it was the exact opposite. John Wayne is a hero among many Rs but that is based solely on his screen performance and not his battlefield heroics, of which there were none. He was in his early to mid 30s during WWII and stayed home to further his career and because he had a back problem: a yellow stripe running right down the middle.

    As for me personally, yes my service number began with RA which indicates I did join the military and was not drafted. I have no idea why you think those who voluntarily joined the military served in Germany or had other European assignments. I can assure you that while that may be a stereotype it is not reality. Believe me, many many volunteers like myself were in combat zones….I have several RA friends of mine whose names are on “The Wall.” So please, don’t make the assumption about who served where. Trust me, if joining the Army meant one would not go to Viet Nam then the northward desertion of young men would have been a trickle. This is the first time I have heard this assertion about enlistees vs. draftees, and since I was there up close and personal I can offer assurance this isn’t the case.

    I will say this: most of the men I meant in Basic Training were either minorities or poor whites. Like John Fogarty’s song, ain’t no Senator’s son in Viet Nam. And as a side note: I went to High School with John Fogarty, and the rest of his band, known at the time as “The Blue Velvets.” Class of 1963—where has the time gone?

  34. Unknown knowns…
    … aka The Bush Administration.

    Rumsfeld (aka Rumsfailed) is one to top…
    … Dick eye shooter is in close competition.

    Here’s our retired Sec. DoD

  35. Annie

    How many more politicians are there that share Cheney’s worldview that will potentially run for President or hold seats in the House and Senate, the Supreme Court?


    Unfortunately, I think there are many Americans who share that same world view. Waterboarding/”enhanced interrogation” is okay when our country does it because we’re the good guys.

  36. Our tax dollars probably kept Mr. Cheney alive on at least 2 occasions. Talk about wasteful spending…

  37. Elane M.
    I have a new version of Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is quite abbreviated.

    Saddam torture bad
    U.S. torture good
    Two legs good, four legs better!

  38. Just a side note to add that according to Hillary Clinton herself, she was under attach and had to take cover when her plane landed in Bosnia. To Quote Hiller herself…”I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” So if you dream you were under attack, were you under attack?

  39. Why isn’t Deadeye Dick having his 12th heart attack behind bars? Oh, I forgot; US political and financial elites are above the law.

  40. Dick Cheney is a war criminal and he has lots of company. Anyone involved in approving and authorizing torture should be in jail now. Anyone who prevented these war criminals from being prosecuted as our law and international law requires should be prosecuted. And, what Mike Appleton said!

  41. Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by “a few bad apples.” But as award‑winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to “kill anything that moves.”

    Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.” (On The Origin of The Bully Religion – 2).

    It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” -Voltaire

    Gives new meaning to “honor killing.”

  42. Bruce Coulson,As an airline captain who was flying before and after 9/11, the anti-hijacking procedure was to give the hijackers ANYTHING they wanted and to get the plane on the ground ASAP. The terrorists did NOT have to break into the cockpit, they were invited in! Bush was derelict in his duty when he and all the other political members of his administration dismissed the PBR warning of an Al Qeada attack. There was NO expense involved in changing the anti-hijacking procedure since all that was required was to change the instructions by a notice to pilots. That is all it would have taken to stop 9/11. Bush should have asked all his relevant agencies to review anti-hijack procedures and other threats posed by Al Qeada, THEN he would have done his job. Instead he just dismissed the PBR with saying, you have covered your asses now, Thanks. He then did nothing.

  43. Paul I see why you are so sensitive to being called a chickenhawk. The term ONLY applies to those who are for a war for which they can serve, but RUN from serving. Thus Clinton and others who were opposed to Vietnam cannot be chickenhawks since they were opposed to it. Unless of course, you think it makes sense for a person who is opposed to the war to join and fight in it while those who are FOR the war should not have to put their butts where their mouth is.

    IT is laughable that you excuse John Wayne’s cowardice, and I see you know very little about the military since you did not join. By the way, I can list people such as JFK who was 4-F who did get into the Navy, or Clark Gable who was way too old, Henry Fonda had a big family and exs to support, Glenn Miller who was also overage, while Wayne was only 34 when the US was attacked and they took everybody up to age 40. He had to really work hard at staying out.

    One name I disagree with on the chickenhawk wall of shame is Reagan. He did join and for once the Army Air Corps did something unusual and put him where his experience and talent could be best used, making training films. As Hap Arnold said to his unit after the war, they provided the most vital service which enabled the Air Corps to produce the millions of trained GIs to service the equipment needed to run a modern military. Since Reagan was nearly blind, the normal mode of operations would have been to make him forward observer to artillery, and put a guy who had never even seen a camera in his position in Hollywood. So while Reagan did spend the whole war in Hollywood, he was only getting Army pay and doing one of the most vital services and putting in lots of overtime since they worked damn near around the clock. He did not get to enjoy the delights of Hollywood during the war. John Wayne on the other hand did not stint on his enjoying his status or pay. Wayne only killed Chinese in his films by the way since Japanese extras were not available because they were enjoying Army hospitality in the desert camps.

  44. Seamus,

    Only because he is one step ahead of his brother the prince of darkness… The fallen angel…. Lucifer…. In Re the Devil…..

  45. Wayne, You forget that there WAS a Senators son in Vietnam, AL GORE.

    Paul, It is obscene that a non-military draft dodger like you would disparage Max Cleland’s service and wounds. You show yourself to not only be ignorant, but a cowardly chickenhawk fully worthy of that name. You are certainly the equal of Ted Nugent who brags about how HE got classified as 4-F to dodge the draft and going to Vietnam. For your information, Cleland was wounded as he got off the helicopter and he saw a grenade on the ground. It was NOT his grenade, but since you are too stupid to even know elementary physics, you would know that if it had been his grenade he would have been long gone and it would have been behind him. Turns out it was a grenade from the GI in front of him who was new in country and did not secure the grenade properly, and used the pin to secure it to the harness. When the guy jumped out, hitting the ground dislodged the pin, and left it there where Cleland saw it and tried to get it away. You are fully exposed as the same kind of fake patriot as Wayne, and worth about as much.

  46. Touche…you’re right I had forgotten about Gore.

    I can’t help but add something here: when you see John Wayne, or other actors, put the pin of a grenade in his mouth and then yank on the grenade to throw it. Ain’t gonna happen, it would take Richard Kiel playing “Jaws” to accomplish that feat.

  47. ANY list of celebrities who when @ the peak of the career MUST include Ted Williams, fighter pilot in WW2 and Korea, and wing man for John Glenn.

    Al Gore was a pencil pusher in Viet Nam.

  48. While I agree about Ted Williams being a real American hero, I have to take extreme exception to Nick’s characterization of Al Gore’s service. First off, look at the contrast with W Bush who got a plush job defending the US from VC aircraft bombing the USA, and who put down on his National Guard enlistment papers, NO OVERSEAS DUTY. Then we have to consider how many of Gore’s class at Harvard or any other Ivy League school ever went into the military, much less served in Vietnam. It might be as much as 10% if that. Then you overlook the FACT that all of Vietnam was a war zone, and I see that the nurses are now demanding recognition as combatants since a number of them were killed, and they were as far in the rear as possible and in a safe zone. Then you misstate Gore’s job which was as a military reporter for the battalion newspaper. I am not a journalist, but as I recall, most reporters MUST go out in the field to report. I was unaware that GI reporters were allowed to do all of their reporting with rest of the press corps from the bars in Saigon. So I take issue with Nick’s contempt for Vietnam vets.

    Then we have to look at how Republican Presidents, treated their inlaws during wartime. Nixon made damn sure NONE of his son-in-laws were in the military, with Cox getting out of the draft, and worse still, David EISENHOWER running from military service. While I do not like LBJ, at least he had the decency to make damn sure HIS son-in-laws went to Vietnam. Robb as a USMC captain out in combat, and even though Nugent thought he had his butt covered by being in the Air National Guard, LBJ had a little heart to heart chat, and he “volunteered” to go on active duty to get to Vietnam.

  49. “Nick’s contempt for Viet Nam vets.” My contempt is for Fat Al Gore, and now you. I have spoken passionately about Viet Nam vets. I lost a dear friend there. Look up what I said just yesterday about Chuck Manarel on the Pollard thread. Read what I said about my cousin. You’re a hater. Take your hate elsewhere, those days are over here.

  50. .” My contempt is for Fat Al Gore, and now you. I have spoken passionately about Viet Nam vets.

    NO Nick, you have only spoken passionately about SOME Vietnam vets who you like and approve of. You have spoken with CONTEMPT about Gore’s Vietnam service. You are like the GOPers who spoke with contempt about Kerry and his service and wounds. YOU are the hater. I do not denigrate any GI who served in Vietnam doing their job whatever it was.

    It is the pro-war folks and the GOPers who SPIT on Vietnam vets, not the anti-war movement since I was part of that movement and was a draft counselor when I got out. So I can say that the anti-war movement most certainly did not spit on Vietnam vets and in FACT welcomed them and they led all of our marches. The list of things Nixon and the US government did to Vietnam vets to screw them is too long to list here. I would take some spit rather than some of the things that they did from cutting GI Bill benefits, to kicking the severely wounded out of the military ASAP to save money.

  51. I have to make a correction since I DO denigrate and have nothing but contempt for some Vietnam vets. IT is a short list and is Willian Calley, Capt Ernest Medina, Gen Westmoreland. The first two should have been shot for the murders they ordered and carried out of women, children, babies, and old men, all of them non-combatants. Westmoreland should have been put on trial for his policy of free fire zones which as John Kerry noted is a war crime and he regretted carrying out that order. He chalked that up to ignorance and only found out later that what he did was in fact illegal.

    One of the better things about the US military is its institutional reluctance to execute malefactors compared to all other militaries which I have some knowledge about. They also for the most part have a great aversion to killing non-combatants too compared once again to other militaries. This was very true during WWII, when they would prosecute GIs who were guilty of war crimes such as executing prisoners or torturing them. In Vietnam they lost a lot of that reluctance, but I see that it is still in force with the conduct that is the common practice now.

  52. Randy,
    Thank you for the support you give us Veterans. We have all served our country and deserve the care and treatment we were promised.
    It breaks my heart when I see Rs close down Veterans Hospitals which, as you mentioned, happened during the Nixon administration as well as Bush Jr’s disastrous stay at the White House.

    I’ve been treated in Veteran Hospitals and my experience with them has always been positive. However, I have seen Veterans in desperate need of help and now I see them being abandoned so Rs can give hore money to greedy individuals who wouldn’t begin to defend this country in a time of need. Rs wear an American Flag on their lapel, utter the well rehearsed phrase “we support the troops” but they are as unPatriotic as they come.

    Rs. win elections by gerrymandering and voter suppression—without these the grand old party would cease to exist. Now that is a happy thought !

    I’d be ashamed to admit that I was a Republican, and I come from a very conservative Republican family…but that was in a different time when Republicans actually cared about our country. Today, Rs would gladly destroy our economy or our Country in their unabashed effort to get a black man out of the White House.

  53. on 1, April 5, 2014 at 1:34 amWayne said…

    “I’ve been treated in Veteran Hospitals and my experience with them has always been positive. However, I have seen Veterans in desperate need of help and now I see them being abandoned so Rs can give hore money to greedy individuals who wouldn’t begin to defend this country in a time of need. Rs wear an American Flag on their lapel, utter the well rehearsed phrase “we support the troops” but they are as unPatriotic as they come.”

    Not just R’s Wayne, some libertarians too. I’m glad to hear your experiences in Veterans hospitals have been good ones. My sister, a nurse retired from the Tomah, WI Veteran’s Hospital after many years. Her husband died of a rare sinus cancer relayed to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam.

  54. I tend to generalize when I’m speaking about or defending my fellow Veterans. I’ve had medical care at the San Francisco Veterans Hospital and volunteered for a Post Traumatic Stress study at that facility. I was always treated with respect, dignity and have nothing but admiration for the doctors and nurses that I saw at what is a very beautiful campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Tell your sister that while we’ve never met, I’m willing to bet I met someone exactly like her. Thank her for the work she did at Tomah Veterans.

  55. ” I have to take extreme exception to Nick’s characterization of Al Gore’s service. ”

    With his family connections Gore could have sat it out in grad school, in the national guard or where ever. He must have chosen to be in Viet Nam.

    The last I remember they were blowing people up in bars, shooting people from the back of motor bikes, and mortaring well defended air bases.

    BTW, I am no fan of Al Gore – except for the internet – he did a good job on that.

  56. Randy,
    Spot on about Kerry, Gore and others. One of the tactics Lee Atwater came up with was to take the opponent’s strongest asset and use it against them. This is how they went after Max Cleland, a triple amputee, painting him as somehow disloyal to the US. Then convinced the voters to replace him with a chickenhawk.

    Got your six on this one.

  57. Serenity now…..

    Civility Rules are on the upper section in the middle of the tabs…. if anyone feel the need to review them….

  58. Bush crew’s deplorable return: How their reemergence sends a deadly message
    Enough with puff pieces about painting, and platforms for their self-defense. It only damns us to repeat the past
    Elias Isquith

    It’s been more than five years since Dick Cheney left the White House and nearly eight years since Donald Rumsfeld was booted from the Pentagon. With the obvious exception of George W. Bush himself, no two men were more responsible for the United States’ disastrous and criminal invasion of Iraq, as well as its embrace of a counter-terrorism model built on the twin barbarities of indefinite detention and systematic torture. In the years that have passed since their departure from public office, both men have released best-selling memoirs, made countless media appearances and no doubt added substantially to their already considerable wealth.

    In fact, to get a real sense of just how little these men have had to pay for their sins, consider three recent examples.

    One is a recent comment from Dick Cheney, delivered in public — not in private, not on background, not via unknown insiders with intimate knowledge of the former vice president’s thinking, but in public — about whether he still supports waterboarding (or torture, as most people besides Cheney tend to call it): “If I had to do it all over again,” Cheney said, “I would.”

    The second is the new documentary, “The Unknown Known,” by Errol Morris and about Donald Rumsfeld. Estimations of the film’s quality vary, but all reviewers are unanimous in at least one regard: Rumsfeld, as he comes off in the film, truly has no regrets. Asked by Morris if invading Iraq for the second time, causing hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths and turning millions more into refugees, was worth it, Rumsfeld shrugs off the question and settles for a fittingly cold and glib answer: “Time will tell.”

    The third story is, to my mind, the most disturbing. It’s a piece in the New York Times, published Friday, about a third man, a man who ignored warnings of a terrorist attack, plunged his country into two disastrous wars, invaded a sovereign nation without sanction from the United Nations and on false pretexts, signed off on the implementation of a worldwide torture regime, secretly initiated domestic surveillance on an unprecedented scale, oversaw the destruction of one of the world’s greatest cities, and cut taxes for, and thwarted regulations against, the Wall Street power-players who destroyed the global economy and consigned millions of people to lives of poverty, unemployment and deferred dreams. That man is George W. Bush, and the article is a puff piece about his kitschy paintings.

    Obviously, the fact that these men continue to live charmed lives offends our sense of fairness. But it has a more tangible consequence, too. Consider the state of foreign policy thinking within the Republican Party today. Granted, with the recent ascendance of the relatively isolationist Sen. Rand Paul, the GOP’s view of foreign policy is somewhat in flux. But Paul is still an outlier, and a quick glance of the Mitt Romney campaign’s foreign policy experts is enough to show that neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith and the rest of that ghoulish clique still call the foreign policy shots for national Republicans. Despite their abject failures — both technocratically and morally — Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld remain in good standing with the people who run one of America’s only two serious political parties. If Mitt Romney were president right now, with Dan Senor by his side, the United States could be ramping up for war with Iran or Russia, preparing to once again spread freedom from the barrel of a gun as if Fallujah and Abu Ghraib never happened.

    There’s next to no chance any of these men will ever be officially held accountable for their crimes. All three clearly harbor no regrets. These are the fruits of belonging to the American elite in an era of widespread inequality, when not only the economy, but many pieces of the state itself, act to reinforce and perpetuate the divide separating those who have from those who do not.

    Of course, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush are hardly the first American war criminals to escape justice. Richard Nixon, in whose administration the former two men served, immediately comes to mind. Henry Kissinger, too. As was the case for Nixon and Kissinger, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld have benefitted from a decision of the political ruling class — and, to a lesser degree, of the general public— that it’s best not to dwell too much on the nastier bits of America’s recent history. Back when some touchingly naïve souls thought it a possibility, President Obama used to dismiss the notion of holding his predecessors accountable for torture by urging America to “look forward.” This was an order that the vast majority of Americans showed themselves willing to follow.

    This same dynamic, this resistance on the part of the powerful to hold their fellow elites to account — as well as the general public’s silent acceptance of these different, looser ethical standards — was also a key driver of the government’s response to the financial meltdown of 2008. After the crisis had passed and the Obama administration had begun reconstituting the financial sector (mostly in its prior form, sadly), there were public demands that some of the Wall Streeters responsible be prosecuted for the damage they wrought. But these flashes of public discontent were mostly ignored by the White House, and here we are, five years later, with essentially no Wall Street villain having had to worry about seeing the inside of a jail cell. Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are richer and more powerful than ever

  59. For all these people who jumped in here supporting the military, I called ANYONE to support the 8 soldiers who died trying to rescue the Iranian hostages. This was just a couple days ago on the aforementioned Pollard thread. You were no where AWOL. Wait, one of you showed up, but failed a gut check. It’s all there if you care to read it..AGAIN! A guy named Waldo SCOFFED @ their deaths. So, the cowards who showed up here to pile on are NOT real supporters. I am willing to bet a couple yelled “Baby killers” @ ANY Vet returning from Nam.

    I am NOT A GOPer. I have NEVER voted for a GOP president. I HAVE voted for 2 Dem presidents. I vote for both parties and 3rd parties. I did not attack John Kerry and thought those attacks on him were despicable. Gore is another case. There are MANY reasons I despise Fat Albert, but the one that trumps all others involves the military. If you all remember, the first Gulf War had a serious debate and vote in the Senate. It was carried live on network TV. Bob Dole was setting the schedule for speakers and counting votes. It was not a slam dunk like the second Iraq war. Ironic, because the first one was the righteous one. But, I digress. Fat Albert came up to Bob Dole, A TRUE WW2 HERO, and offered to sell his vote for a prime time slot!! The most solemn vote any Senator can ever make, and Fat Albert was selling it to further his political career. THAT is why I despise him. The pontificating, the lying, the betraying his wife, pales in comparison to that.

  60. Elaine, I agree that those persons you mention richly deserve prison time. The fact is that Obama has to make a cost benefit analysis as to the worth of prosecuting them. Just as Lincoln had to make the same review after the Civil War as to whether or not the leaders of the Confederacy should be prosecuted for their treasonous acts. To have prosecuted those leaders would have only further embittered the people of the Confederate states, and would have made reconciliation harder. With a few exceptions such as Jefferson Davis and the commander of the Andersonville POW camp who was executed, I think that the policy that was in effect was the correct one. While both sides treated their POWs poorly, the situation at Andersonville was so extreme that Wirtz got justice by being hung.

    The more important question is the role of the lawyers in condoning these breaches of international, domestic, and Constitutional law. The reason the government has lawyers is to provide legal advice to the policy makers. When they refuse or distort law to get the results their superiors want, they fail to do their job and they first and foremost need to be held to account. The policy makers do have a legitimate defense claim when they can cite the legal opinions of the lawyers to justify their actions. My suggestion has always been, that the ABA go after those lawyers such as Yoo, Gonzales, and others at the CIA first. The call for Obama to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc..would acquire force if some sanctions were taken against those lawyers who signed off on clearly illegal policies.

    Since I am not a lawyer, it would seem to me that rather than constantly complaining about Obama not going after these crooks, the lawyers here could and SHOULD take whatever actions are available to get some sort of sanction for these crooked lawyers failings. The lawyers need to do this to deter future acts like those which brought such crimes to fruition. It would also send a message to others that you might escape criminal sanctions, but you will pay for it in some form or fashion.

  61. Wayne – just where did you serve, now that you supposedly walked the walk? And John Ford was in the service along with several other directors.and had nothing to do with John Wayne’s draft status. Hollywood, as a group, was in the pocket of FDR prior to the war, and was already making propaganda films against the Japanese. The Germans were another problem because most major studios had large holdings in Germany that they had to deal with, much like some studios are structuring movies to fit China today. Money talks, bullshit walks.

    Exactly what do you have against Westmoreland? Did you serve under him?

  62. Wayne says he served 1965-68. I take him @ his word, mentioned the year were tough ones, and thanked him for his service. That’s what I always do. I disagree w/ him but will always honor his service. That is documented here w/ other vets MANY times over the past couple years.

  63. Busted! I am Professor Irwin Corey. I’m A HORRIBLE sockpuppet because this is only my second attempt. I quit!

  64. randyjet – if you go after the lawyers it sets a really bad precedent. Lawyers give advice. Sometimes the courts uphold it, sometime they don’t. Lawyers have given advice to the Obama administration regarding a variety of topics. Should they be at risk by the next administration? Or the one after that?

  65. Irwin – I believe Wayne when he says he served, I just want to know where. I lived at the same time and I know that you either were drafted or you enlisted. He evidently enlisted to avoid the draft, which gave you certain options, hopefully. However, a study has shown that those that enlisted were less likely to end up in Vietnam. Since the military was investing more time and money in them they got more training and were generally sent to safer postings. Draftees, who were only in for two years, were quickly trained and shipped to Vietnam where they could finish out their tour (assuming they stayed alive).

  66. From Wiki re Cleland:

    “Lloyd says that the unnamed soldier was crying. ‘It was mine,’ he said, ‘it was my grenade.’ According to Lloyd, the private had failed to take the extra precaution that experienced soldiers did when they grabbed M-26 grenades from the ammo box: bend the pins, or tape them in place, so they couldn’t accidentally dislodge. This soldier had a flak jacket full of grenades with treacherously straight pins, Lloyd says. “He was a walking death trap.”[5]”

    It appears that the only thing Cleland did that was stupid was to try to secure a dangerous piece of ordinance before anyone was hurt.

    BTW: “Cleland then served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous action in combat, including during the Battle of Khe Sanh on April 4, 1968.”

    Some people will stop at nothing to disparage the name of a true American hero.

  67. Lots of questions:

    John Wayne’s ‘people’ contacted Ford in an attempt to see if Wayne could be assigned to Ford’s unit—one has to have been in the military to appreciate the audacity of this request. “Hey I’ll join the Army but only if I can be assigned to Ford’s unit.” John Wayne should have had is butt drafted and sent overseas but instead this prima dona ‘decided’ to stay home instead. Yes, he is a coward and very unpatriotic. But Rs love their Duke.

    I have nothing at all against Westmoreland and never said I did. You must be mistaking someone else’s comment about Westy.

    Where did I serve? How about I send you a copy of my DD214? (DOD Summary of one’s military service) I feel as if I’m being cross-examined or interrogated by you and it is not appreciated.

  68. The explosion that disabled Cleland is credited to a type M26 grenade. Apparently this munition had a history of causing problems with accidental or unintended ignition. The M26 grenade was eventually replaced by the type M61. Significantly this type had an extra safety feature:

    “The M61 is the M26A1 with an extra safety (called the “jungle clip”), a twist of wire attached to the lever. This is to prevent detonations in case the pin is accidentally pulled.

    Why this might happen requires a bit of an explanation. The most common method of carrying grenades was by straps on the ammo pouches. If they got the grenade snagged, the grenade’s pin might work loose or the lever would break off, detonating it. Another problem was, although official policy forbid the practice as unsafe, soldiers sometimes hung their grenades from their uniform by the levers. (This was probably encouraged by war movies and TV shows in which “cool” characters are seen hanging inert prop grenades from their breast pockets).[4]”

  69. bigfatmike – as you are probably aware, they were handing out medals in Vietnam like candy. Just ask John Kerry. It is one of the reasons they are so stingy with medals now.
    So, to get back to Cleland. He was blown up while trying to affix the grenade on one of his men. Basically, he blew himself up or was the victim of friendly fire or both.

    Wayne – my bad about Westmoreland – that was randyjet. Still would like to know where you served. Very curious that you would not tell us.

    Was John Wayne a draft dodger?

    July 10, 1998
    Dear Cecil:

    In your book The Straight Dope you were asked whether John Wayne had ever served in the military. You said no–that though Wayne as a youth had wanted to become a naval officer, “during World War II, he was rejected for military service.” However, it may be more interesting than that. According to a recent Wayne bio, for all his vaunted patriotism, Wayne may actually have tried to stay out of the service.

    — Virgiejo, via AOL

    Cecil replies:

    John Wayne, draft dodger? Oh, what delicious (if cheap) irony! But that judgment is a little harsh. As Garry Wills tells the story in his book John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity (1997), the Duke faced a tough choice at the outset of World War II. If he wimped out, don’t be so sure a lot of us wouldn’t have done the same.

    At the time of Pearl Harbor, Wayne was 34 years old. His marriage was on the rocks but he still had four kids to support. His career was taking off, in large part on the strength of his work in the classic western Stagecoach (1939). But he wasn’t rich. Should he chuck it all and enlist? Many of Hollywood’s big names, such as Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and Clark Gable, did just that. (Fonda, Wills points out, was 37 at the time and had a wife and three kids.) But these were established stars. Wayne knew that if he took a few years off for military service, there was a good chance that by the time he got back he’d be over the hill.

    Besides, he specialized in the kind of movies a nation at war wanted to see, in which a rugged American hero overcame great odds. Recognizing that Hollywood was an important part of the war effort, Washington had told California draft boards to go easy on actors. Perhaps rationalizing that he could do more good at home, Wayne obtained 3-A status, “deferred for [family] dependency reasons.” He told friends he’d enlist after he made just one or two more movies.

    The real question is why he never did so. Wayne cranked out thirteen movies during the war, many with war-related themes. Most of the films were enormously successful and within a short time the Duke was one of America’s most popular stars. His bankability now firmly established, he could have joined the military, secure in the knowledge that Hollywood would welcome him back later. He even made a half-hearted effort to sign up, sending in the paperwork to enlist in the naval photography unit commanded by a good friend, director John Ford.

    But he didn’t follow through. Nobody really knows why; Wayne didn’t like to talk about it. A guy who prided himself on doing his own stunts, he doesn’t seem to have lacked physical courage. One suspects he just found it was a lot more fun being a Hollywood hero than the real kind. Many movie star-soldiers had enlisted in the first flush of patriotism after Pearl Harbor. As the war ground on, slogging it out in the trenches seemed a lot less exciting. The movies, on the other hand, had put Wayne well on the way to becoming a legend. “Wayne increasingly came to embody the American fighting man,” Wills writes. In late 1943 and early 1944 he entertained the troops in the Pacific theater as part of a USO tour. An intelligence bigshot asked him to give his impression of Douglas MacArthur. He was fawned over by the press when he got back. Meanwhile, he was having a torrid affair with a beautiful Mexican woman. How could military service compare with that?

    In 1944, Wayne received a 2-A classification, “deferred in support of [the] national … interest.” A month later the Selective Service decided to revoke many previous deferments and reclassified him 1-A. But Wayne’s studio appealed and got his 2-A status reinstated until after the war ended.

    People who knew Wayne say he felt bad about not having served. (During the war he’d gotten into a few fights with servicemen who wondered why he wasn’t in uniform.) Some think his guilty conscience was one reason he became such a superpatriot later. The fact remains that the man who came to symbolize American patriotism and pride had a chance to do more than just act the part, and he let it pass.

    — Cecil Adams

  71. Nick, I see that you are willing to believe any gossip in your hatred for Gore. I guess you must have heard Gore make that offer personally. I rather doubt that. I also did not know Gore was having affairs either, or you must be like one of my F/Os who said the reason he voted for Bush was that he could not vote for a man who had sex in the Oval office. I told him I was unaware Gore got a blow job there too. I guess Monica must have had a VERY busy day. Then you say Gore lied without any specific instance given. Rational folks require things like proof, and examples instead of blanket condemnations.

    Since I was a very active participant in the anti-Vietnam war movement, I can state that NO protestor in my hearing or seeing EVER denigrated ANY Vietnam vet, and if they had there were plenty of vets around to straighten them out. It was the pro-war folks who spit on the Vietnam vets in so many ways I cannot count them all.

    Paul, I am the one who posted that Westmoreland should have been prosecuted for war crimes. I give you some examples of his policies which were outright illegal. Free fire zones, strategic hamlets, destruction of homes, mass murder by fire on non-military targets are just a few of his criminal actions, then we have the concerted attempts to deny the FACT of mass murders by US forces. He is also less well known for his handling of the Hurtgen forest massacre of our forces in WWII. He simply followed stupid orders that destroyed his regiment with nary a word of protest. It was a worse slaughter than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, but at least Pickett had the decency to protest after most of his troops were killed. So I have no respect for him at all since he was an absolute careerist who would do and say anything to advance his career no matter the cost. He was also the classmate at West Point with Benjamin O Davis and took part in the silencing of Davis because Davis was black and did his best to force him out of the Academy. Westmoreland denied the FACT of their actions and thus betrays the honor code he was supposedly trained to uphold. Are those enough specifics for you?

  72. It was not gossip. It was a detailed, straightforward account, made by Alan Simpson, corroborated by Dole, AND NEVER REFUTED by Fat Albert. What about being AWOL on the 8 dead US soldiers scoffed @ by Waldo? As a PI I know you learn much from what people don’t say. I take you @ your word that you were a noble Viet Nam protestor. Many were not!! Jane Fonda was a traitor. What do you think?

  73. “as you are probably aware, they were handing out medals in Vietnam like candy.”

    I am not aware of that. That remark seems to disparage everyone who was awarded a medal for service in Viet Nam. I am confident that most medals were well deserved.

    “So, to get back to Cleland. He was blown up while trying to affix the grenade on one of his men. Basically, he blew himself up or was the victim of friendly fire or both.”

    There was nothing in the record I read that would suggest Cleland was ‘trying to affix’ the grenade. If he had been close enough to anyone to try to affix the grenade there would have been multiple casualties. Most grenades have LD50 radius of several meters. There is nothing in the record that I read to indicate multiple casualties.

    I don’t think the rubric of ‘friendly fire’ applies here. However, if you believe this is a ‘friendly fire’ incident why would you repeatedly call the victim ‘stupid’? That characterization would seem wildly inappropriate and incredibly unfair for a ‘friendly fire’ incident.

  74. Paul,

    Your following comment is rather abrasive and insulting: …”He (me) evidently enlisted to avoid the draft.” How about I enlisted out of a sense of honor and duty, did that ever occur to you?

    Yes, many draftees were sent to Advanced Infantry Training right out of Basic Training and then on to Viet Nam. Many other draftees were sent to other training facilities and not sent to Viet Nam. Many enlistees were also sent to Vietnam right after their individual training. You seem to be under the impression that one could enlist for a particular job training and then the US Army would honor that request out of the goodness of their hearts—you’ve never been in the Army. Yes, the Army would make an effort to send an enlistee to the school of his/her choice; however, at that point the Army’s commitment is done. When the enlistee’s training is finished he/she would be sent wherever the Army wanted—-including Vietnam carrying a rifle. Based upon my own experiences, your generalities about draftees and enlisted personnel are not completely accurate, there were many and numerous exceptions. However I am wrong about one particular draftee, my friend and bunk mate:

    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was sent to Ft. Polk, LA for Basic Training in November, 1965. My bunkmate was a young black man from Richmond, CA–hell we were all young. We were given Christmas leave that year with my friend and I traveling together. Our first stop was the airport in Lake Charles, LA to catch a flight to the West Coast. When we got to the airport we immediately headed to the men’s room where we both encountered something out of the Twilight Zone, only this was really happening. There were restroom signs for White Men, White Women and Colored. The drinking fountains were simply labeled: “Whites Only.”

    I’ve heard of this type of overt racism but this was my first experience with pure hatred. Here we were, being trained to fight in our Nation’s war yet we couldn’t use the same bathroom. We could share a foxhole but not a toilet. While we were both angered, I felt ashamed of my country. We both used the Colored Bathroom—I wasn’t going to leave my friend alone to fend for himself in that disgusting racial atmosphere. I was the recipient of some angry stares when leaving the Colored bathroom but could give as good as I got. Guess the local racists didn’t want to have an altercation with two GIs wearing their Class A uniforms. I’m sure they were good Christians so maybe they had the Christmas Spirit?

    A number of years later I visited the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall in a nearby city where I was living at the time. I examined the names, found a good High School friend, a number of buddies I served with, and then I saw my friend’s name, my friend who wasn’t allowed to use the same bathroom as whites. He was shot and killed in a worthless war while being treated as cannon fodder. I’m not ashamed to say I fell on my knees and everything started pouring out…..

    So, yes Paul in this case I did know a draftee who was sent to Vietnam. Do you have any other questions or subtle insults you would like to throw my way?

  75. Paul,
    You are disgusting and I’m through with your insults….you know nothing about those who have served, your disrespect is callous and not appreciated, but so typical of your ilk.
    Good Day…..

  76. Paul, Once again, you show your ignorance about the medals. It is quite true that many medals were given out with little merit, but those went mainly to the career officers and troops who needed Vietnam service and medals to advance their careers. As for Purple Heart awards, Kerry did not put himself in for those, they had to be validated by the commanders above him along with medical reports. I do not know if Max Cleland got a purple heart for his grenade wounds, but I do know Bob Dole got one of his because he caused his own injuries. He was fighting in Italy, and threw a grenade that bounced off a tree and came back at him. it exploded and wounded him slightly. He later got terribly wounded by a machine gun taking apart much of his body.

    Nick, I would like to see a reference to the allegation about Gore. I do not read all of your posts, so I cannot comment about those. I do agree that there was a minority among some anti-war protestors who viewed GIs as the enemy. They were such a minority that we disregarded them and I only got to actually fight with them when they disrupted anti-war conferences. Turns out they were agent provocatuers for the most part.

    I like Jane Fonda for her anti-war works, but she certainly made dumb mistakes and she has acknowledged that and made apologies. She made a tour of US military bases off post of course, and brightened up our days. I don’t know about you, but I would MUCH rather see Jane than say Kate Smith.

  77. You must have better sources than I do because none of the stuff you are accusing Westmoreland of is popping up in my Internet searches. Are you talking about Malmedy? And are you aware of strategic bombing? The bombing of Dresden by the Allies, etc? War is messy as hell. Actually, war is hell.

    BTW, Pickett broke the Union lines, he just could not hang on.

    Davis was talked to by his classmates about school related subjects, other than that they iced him out. They did not try to silence him, they were silent to him. I would like to see where Westmoreland denied it and how it was stated. It is all context. BTW, Westmoreland graduated from West Point as the top cadet. He won the Pershing Sword.

  78. I have to agree, Jane Fonda is a traitor. I do not care how good she looks with her clothes off, she is still a traitor. You do not apologize for being a traitor. That does not get you off the hook. However, being married to Ted Turner might have been some punishment for her.

  79. Jane Fonda was a traitor and gave aid and comfort to the enemy. I have a good friend who died this past January. He was a WW2 vet and as liberal as anyone here. He lived in the Twin Cities and spent winters in San Diego w/ us. Ray was a calm, easy going, gentleman. I never saw him riled up except about Jane Fonda. Do you realize the PROFOUND difference between protest and being a traitor?? Any vet I know, and I know many, despised Jane Fonda for being a traitor. You’re still AWOL.

  80. randyjet – my take on the medals is just what is reported by the armed services themselves. And there is evidence the Kerry wrote his own ‘action report’ to get one of his Purple Hearts. We still have Purple Hears left over from WWII so no reason not to be handing them out like candy.

  81. randyjet

    the only documented case of spitting on vietnam vets that i’ve been able to find was at the 1972 republican national convention in miami.

    you remember the republicans, the same people who sported purple heart band aids at their convention in 2004.

  82. Wayne – I told you yesterday that the military did with you what they wanted regardless of what you wanted. Evidently you were not listening.

  83. pete – are you inferring that Republican spit on Vietnam Vets? Or was this that faux group that Kerry was a part of?

  84. To clear the record, there are well known commenters who have a nasty habit of misrepresenting what other commenters have said. Waldo did not do and say what his accuser here stated regarding a different thread. Very telling that one must twist words of others to try to get an ally, it’s pathetic actually.

  85. Oliver Stone’s film Born on the Fourth of July, based on Ron Kovic’s autobiography of the same name, depicts Kovic and fellow Vietnam Veterans Against the War activists Bobby Muller, Bill Wieman and Mark Clevinger were spat upon at the convention.[5] The scene was actually not in Kovic’s autobiography, but was taken almost frame for frame and word by word from a documentary film made at the 1972 Republican Convention in Miami 1972 titled “Operation Last Patrol” by filmmaker and actor Frank Cavestani and photo journalist Cathrine Leroy.

  86. pete – regardless of the veracity of the incident, I have real trouble with anything that Oliver Stone does. He is a fine film maker but he is not a truthful filmmaker.

  87. pete – checked out Operation Last Patrol on both IMDb and RottenTomatoes. It has NO reviews. Where did you get the info on the film?

  88. pete – you have proof that breitbart is untruthful? anymore than MSNBC or ABC or etc.

    Thanks for the film, but could you give me the point where they are spit on so I can fast forward. :) BTW, I am not sure that I am not violating some copyright law here.

  89. The record speaks for itself. That is one of the beauties of a documented, unedited, non-delete blog. Waldo contends the Iranian hostages are not responsible of the death of 8 US soldiers, trying to rescue the hostages, some of who were being tortured. It’s all there!! And also some other interesting comments! Res ipsa loquitur, baby.

  90. pete, I was quite conflicted when I was in college[1970-74]. I came from a blue collar background. I was taught to respect servicemen. My father and 5 of my uncles fought in WW2. My uncle Dom was left for dead @ the horrible Battle of the Bulge. He spent 6 months in a UK hospital. As mentioned, I had a friend and mentor die in Viet Nam. In my classes were quite a few Vietnam vets. Some were liberal, some conservative. They told me of being called “Baby Killers.” I don’t remember any saying they were spit on. The conflict came w/ classmates from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who were adamant, and even violent anti-war. They scoffed @ the vets who I knew were good people. The protesters was primarily upper middle class white. I was blue collar who supported the vets and most supported the war. Tough times when you’re torn, tough times.

  91. No you do not. I don’t have any censoring ability here. I appreciate the truth, not too much to ask, is it?

  92. It is very troublesome that Cheney can be treated as a legitimate, scholarly, and authoritative voice in the media. The passage of time has already made some people feel comfortable with that administration, and that is very troubling.
    Is there any chance that the law will come back that requires equal time for left and right commentary? That may keep the flames from getting out of control to start with.

  93. Annie – you responded to a comment I made, now that comment is gone. Is there a phantom censor? I ask a legitimate question based on something you said and I get censored? Who is doing it?

  94. Paul,

    I just deleted a whole series of comments, many from Anonymously Yours, that seemed to be returning once again to the prior problems of personal attacks and references. Rather than ban individuals who have been repeatedly violating our civility rule, I have tried to quickly remove such comments. Frankly, I am growing weary of a handful of people using this blog to take cheap shots or make personal attacks. I have been trying to be pro-active to see if more control over comments will allow us to avoid the extreme step of banning people — something that I find anathema from a free speech perspective. Some posters seem determined to start fights or revive past conflicts on the blog. I am not sure why but these cheap shots are clogging the comments section and forcing everyone to read juvenile attacks. I do not recall your comment but I will look for it. If it was misinterpreted as a dig, you have my apology. However, we will be trying to deter posters from engaging in personal observations and attacks on this blog. There are many blogs that relish such comments. We just do not happen to be one of them.

  95. Jonathan – I happen to like Annie, she is my frenemy. :) My question was legitimate based on her previous comments and I was trying to get clarification.

  96. Jonathan,

    I think you are missing the greatest offender of breaching the civility rules…. You may have deleted mine as well as Pete’s and AP…. But you don’t stick close enough to realize the damage that is being done by one unnamed…. It’s unfortunate…. This used to be a premiere site that one could express opinions, ideals, beliefs, life etc without fear of reprise… Today not so much….

    There are digs put out there and as soon as they are called in it they go mea culpa…. And the change the subject…. No sooner do you go away …. They start right back up….

    Have you noticed the quality and quantity of the posts going down in here in the last few months…. This should be an indication something else is going on….. And it’s not just you not being here…..

    I have been getting attacked for spelling errors…. You should take exception to that…. You need to look deep and hard to really see what’s amiss here….

  97. Yesterday’s Federal Court Ruling Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging U.S. Drone Killings of Three Americans on top of the torture and spying… Chilling!

    ANY Administration can target an American citizen, refuse to provide evidence to a court for review (aka Due Process), and commence assassination. The Judge basically dismissed the Federal Courts from ruling on Constitutional matters… when the object of the Administration’s cross hairs happens to be ‘during a time of war’.

    Perpetual war…

    Would have great to be able to inform the judge that the USA successfully tried a foreign national in a Federal Court on Terrorism charges… AND WON!!!

    Why doesn’t the Admin have to do that with Americans?

    Now, we get torture and spying thrown in there too…
    … I’ll join any Law group willing to march and fill the streets calling for the restoration of the Rule of Law.

  98. You can bet you bottom dollar… in five years Obama will give interviews stating he’d do it (sic) all over again, too!

  99. If the USA can afford Bin Laden’s son (foreign national) a Federal Trial…
    … Why couldn’t the USA afford an American (Al-Aulaqi’s son) a trial?

    I guess the American Legal Justice system isn’t cut out for Americans…

  100. Max, it’s so way beyond past time to end these wars, spying and amnesty for war criminals. I think Americans left and right are fatigued, disgusted and demoralized by it all.

  101. Since the evidence points to 9/11 being a false flag, covert op – with Cheney himself playing a major role, it COULD have been prevented, but that wasn’t
    the plan.

  102. Since I saw one of the planes fly into the towers on tv and a friend of mine saw the plane fly into the Pentagon, I am not sure how it was a false flag operation.

  103. I am in agreement with the federal courts backing the targeted killing of hostiles regardless. If you use the ACLU’s reasoning we would not have been able to prosecute the Civil War.

  104. I think this blog has become much more diverse, making the quality better. But, to each their own.

  105. Prayze Cheezus of Oilah and pass the bigotry:

    The great empirical social psychologist who specialized in studying bigotry, Bob Altemeyer, in his 1996 The Authoritarian Specter, and his other writings, reported his exhaustive empirical studies, of more than 50,000 individuals in many countries, demonstrating that bigotries against each and every minority group were the highest amongst the individuals who scored as being the most religious in any religion. In each religion, the more fundamentalist one was, the more bigoted one tended to be, not just against non-believers, but against homosexuals, Blacks, and so forth. Religious belief, in other words, causes bigotry. His studies also found that his scale for “Right-Wing Authoritarianism” (RWA) or what’s commonly called conservatism was exhibited the most strongly by fundamentalists (and, in the Soviet Union, those fundamentalists took as their inerrant Scripture not the Bible, but instead Marx’s Das Capital). Moreover, as one would expect from persons of faith (even of an atheistic one), people of high RWA tended to make incorrect inferences from evidence, accept internal contradictions within their own beliefs, oppose constitutional guarantees of individual liberty, believe more strongly in sticks than in carrots to correct a person’s behavior, and were closed-minded to criticism of themselves.

    (Eric Zuesse, citing Bob Altemeyer).

  106. My name is Dick Cheney and George Bush and we approved this message: “The next day, McClatchy reported that the investigation includes the horrid details of at least five suspects to die in CIA custody, including “the death of Gul Rahman, an Afghan who was shackled, doused with cold water and left in a cold cell partially clothed until he died of hypothermia”, and “Manadal al Jamadi, who reportedly died after he was hung in a crucifixion-like pose and his head had been covered with a plastic bag.”

    see the Guardian from Glenn’s twitter

  107. Ooo, crucifixion, right before Easter! Yes, I am so proud of Cheney, Bush, Obama, and others who order torture. What more could I want to prove this is christian nation but a good, old-fashioned crucifixion?

  108. Some in the church where Dick hides reject The Cheney:

    We, the undersigned, do hold that George W. Bush, a member of Park Hill United Methodist Church (UMC) in Dallas, Texas, and Dick Cheney (local membership unknown) are undeniably guilty of at least four chargeable offenses for lay members as listed in 2702.3 of the 2000 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. These offenses are: crime, immorality, disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The UMC, and dissemination of doctrine contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The UMC. For these offenses, we the undersigned call for an immediate and public act of repentance by the respondents. If the respondents do not reply with sincere and public repentance for their crimes, we demand that their membership in the United Methodist Church be revoked until such time that they sincerely and publicly repent.

    (Methodists Call for Expulsion of Bush, Cheney from Church).

  109. Dredd, they can always join the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin’s and my childhood church. They’d be welcomed with open arms.

  110. Well, I do remember Richard Clarke trying his best to get someone in the White House to listen to him. He said that when they were doing the briefing during the change of administrations, he and the CIA were trying to point to Al Queda and Bin Laden, when Rumsfeld and Cheney were only interested in Iraq. Then, there was the courier who brought the bad news (perhaps the “Bin Laden determined to attack in U.S.”?) to the ranch in Crawford, and Bush said “OK, you’ve covered your ass.” The fact is, no, there wasn’t a memo that said “hey, some f**kers are going to hijack 4 planes”, but there was a lot of chatter. Up to, and including, the fact that Sadaam wasn’t trying to buy yellowcake from Africa, but then that was Valerie Plame and her husband, and who would listen to them? No, better torture someone who would have possibly provided solid information, as some did, and get a load of crap from them because they’re going to say whatever it is you want them to say.

  111. “amnesty for war criminals.”


    Maybe we ought to have a full accounting of war crimes first.

  112. BFM, you don’t think Cheney or Bush guilty of war crimes? Isn’t water boarding considered torture? Isn’t torture a war crime? I’m no expert in these things, so perhaps I’m mistaken.

  113. Nick,

    During the mid 60s I was in and out of demarcation centers, traveled through numerous airports while wearing a uniform and never once had anyone spit on me or call me any names. I’ve never seen that happen to any soldier at any time. Yes, it probably did occur but it certainly wasn’t common place. And many of my travels took me to and through the San Francisco Bay Area not known for its quiet conservative ambiance.

    At one airport my plane had just left the gate as I arrived to board. The airline stopped the plane on the tarmac, brought out some portable steps for me to use, all so I wouldn’t miss my flight.

    At another airport I was filthy tired, and I emphasize the word filthy as I really needed a shower. So one airline directed me to the pilot’s “locker room” facility so I could clean up—it was very interesting listening to the pilot’s stories.

    When I traveled in uniform during the 60s I was always treated very well here at home. Not so much in some overseas assignments but that was to be expected.

  114. Cheney can call waterboarding anything his sweet little ol’ rebuilt heart desires, but it will always be torture. I’m betting that if someone waterboarded Cheney that he would very quickly agree that it is torture.

    A rose by any other name……

  115. Thanks for the link Dredd. BTW your blog is terrific, I’ve been reading it and I’m gettin’ an edumacation.

  116. If Herr Cheney is ever brought to justice, it would be fitting for the trials to be held in Nuremberg.

  117. Yes I do think those are war crimes.

    The question is why on earth would you want to give them amnesty?

  118. Jill
    Ooo, crucifixion, right before Easter! Yes, I am so proud of Cheney, Bush, Obama, and others who order torture. What more could I want to prove this is christian nation but a good, old-fashioned crucifixion?

    for cheney, isn’t it more like drive a stake through his heart (or whatever mechanical device they’re using just now)

  119. Not to put too fine a point on the discussion here, which has taken on elements of a lynch mob, but SEALS are routinely water boarded during training.

  120. What? Rules without enforcement are just suggestions? Now where have I heard that before?

    This is a really excellent thread. Did I mention that the word of the day on my “Word-A-Day” calendar is “schadenfreude”? Yep.

  121. Dredd – there are some things the government does that your local government is not allowed to get away with. The first duty of any national government is survival. Actions leading to that survival might not be pretty, but if they work, they are usually allowed. However, there is ‘victor’s justice’ which we saw at the German and Japanese War Crimes Trials. There were things the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union Union that should have had them in the dock. FDR was guilty of war crimes using the criteria used against both the Germans and the Japanese.

    As for amnesty, look up Operation Paperclip.

  122. Paul Schulte

    Dredd – there are some things the government does that your local government is not allowed to get away with.

    The conflation of immunity with impunity is hidden in plain sight.

    It was and is a crime for anyone to commit torture, or even take part in a plot or conspiracy to do so:

    Section 2340. Definitions

    As used in this chapter –

    (1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

    (2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from –

    (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

    (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

    (C) the threat of imminent death; or

    (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality;


    (3) “United States” includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places described in sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49.

    Section 2340A. Torture

    (a) Offense. – Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

    (b) Jurisdiction. – There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if –

    (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
    (2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

    (c) Conspiracy. – A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

    (The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death). The failure to prosecute is an indictment of our government culture that is no longer a traditional American culture (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala – 4).

  123. “What? Rules without enforcement are just suggestions?” -Gene H.

    And then there’s the troubling issue of selective enforcement.

  124. I think that has been pointed out by multiple parties on multiple occasions as well, AP. Non-enforcement was a huge factor in deciding to no longer contribute as a GB or indeed participate much. I haven’t been actively participating, but I have been watching as time allows (a fuller plate than usual). Usually when someone sends me an email to check something out or posts something elsewhere about it. In many ways, this forum has taken on all the charm of a slow motion train wreck. Pretty much everything I predicted in private has come to pass. True, there is a certain amount of schadenfreude in that, but it is tempered with sadness as well. I wonder if the mythological Cassandra felt this way.

  125. Dredd,

    Very nice summary. One of my disappointments in President Obama (I did vote for him in 2008 and 2012) is the failure of his administration to seek prosecution of those who led us into war with no just cause. Not only creating a false atmosphere to justify a war but then openly used torture as a routine practice.

    People like Cheney are monsters that do not represent what our country is suppose to symbolize. Sadly, the quality of our government is slowly slipping into the third world status with one remaining difference—our military strength.

    We’re suppose to be #1 or the best country in the world? By what parameter?

    Infant Mortality: we’re number 6 (Source CIA)

    Education based on reading, math and science of 15 year olds: #14 (The Guardian)

    Per Capita cost of health care: The highest of all industrialized countries. (Common Wealth Fund)

    Economic Freedom based on: Rule of Law, Limited Government, Regulatory Efficiency and open Markets: We place # 12. Top Three: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia. (

    Press Freedom, 0 being the best, 100 the worst: We score 18. (

    Military Expenditures: Now here is where we really shine: #1

  126. Wayne, we are regrettably advancing an American exceptionalism position that is understandably problematic for most other countries which assume that international laws are meant to apply equally. What is particularly disturbing is that we were the driving force behind most of those agreements and treaties when we led the world on human rights and civil liberties.

  127. Well stated and I truly appreciate and value your comments.

    I’m also disappointed in this administration for its failure to address the abuse of Wall Street Bankers and for Obama’s general lack of leadership. I’m not sure where President Obama will fall on Presidential rankings but I doubt if it will be in the top 1/3.

    I know from following your comments that you are concerned about Obama’s usurpation of Executive Power and I’m starting to come around to your viewpoint.

  128. Johathan – Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism, which is just sad. Every country should believe in its exceptionalism.

    The problem with international laws is that they are relatively new and often driven by those who have no concept of the push-and-pull behind them. We now have some of the worst civil rights offenders sitting on the commissions for civil rights.

    I am one of those who firmly believes the United Nations should be shut down in NYC and sent to Europe, where they can annoy them. First they have to pay off their parking tickets, though. It has become as useless as the League of Nations.

  129. Deletion notice: It appears that there remain a couple of posters who, despite repeated requests not to, continue to raise the past conflicts on this blog. I understand that some people feel I should have banned a couple of posters. On a site committed to free speech principles, we have tried to work with all of our posters to ask them to comply with our policy not to engage in personal attacks and tit-for-tat exchanges. When that has not worked, I have deleted comments. I just deleted two more such comments.

    I have no problem with people criticizing me or my disinclination to ban people. However, the rather transparent effort to again start a fight over prior conflicts is bizarre — as is repeating posts on a site that some say they no longer support. I understand that our site is not right for some people. Some want more people banned. Others want to engage in personal attacks. There are a lot of sites that fit those desires. This just does not happen to be one of them. For some of us, this site remains an island of relative civility and mature discourse. We are having a banner year. Since last year, this site has experienced considerable growth in traffic and we are now more popular than ever in terms of traffic and links. We are about to top 21 million views (a record growth rate from our recent 20 million mark) and remain in the top ten most visited legal sites in the world. We have an increasing number of secondary hits on both television and print media citing the blog. I hope that that reflects a preference for our type of discourse and the array of different views that we have on the blog. It is certainly not because people want to see adults badgering each other over past history or making juvenile or snide comments.

    Now, please, just let it go or go down the virtual road. If you still have anger issues or unrequited personal animus, there are other sites without those individuals and probably more to your liking in terms of administration. We have moved on at this site. I have banned a few people and deleted dozens of comments. I do not like to do it. We value each and every voice on this site. I just ask you not to bore readers with personal attacks or revisionist posts. We get it. You don’t like each other or the policies of the blog. Time to move on.

  130. That’s okay, JT. They were saved elsewhere. Interesting take on free speech you’ve got there though. Still think it exists outside the context of other rights? I’ve seen how well that’s been working out for you. I’ll just say some have noticed that quantity is not quality. Thanks for confirming what some of us already suspected though: that your recent handling of events was motivated by brand and not really principled based reasoning related to preserving free speech in a commons-like forum.

    Congratulations on your successful brand expansion though.

    Looks good on you.

    And I say that in the nicest way possible.

  131. Jonathan,

    I think your site is good…. I’ve always enjoyed seeing you around….. I think your presence here will make a world of difference….. I play no favorites…..

    I am hoping that all adhere to your request…. Things get out of hand quickly when you are attending to other duties…. I forget which one…. But it was Paul or Nick that said there primary purpose is to get me banned…. And that I’m a relic here and should look around for another site…..

    I am most confident that you don’t allow other poster to bait and then play mea culpa…. That’s not why I come here…. It’s for the information to be gleaned….. And your most talented guest bloggers as well as yourself…..

  132. Using the term exceptionalism always reminds me of the old phrase “Love it or Leave it”. If we are truly an exceptional country, we don’t have to keep claiming that we are number 1, do we?

  133. Raff,

    The Pharaohs were number one. So was Ozymandias. Real and fictional, just look what got them. He who dies with the most toys is still dead. “Number One” is an ego game. Exceptionalism is no different.

  134. AY,
    you and the rest of our commenters are the reasons why this blog is still a good place to hang out and learn a few things. We are not perfect, and there are disagreements, but it is still a wonderful site to read and participate in. Sure, we miss our old friends and respect their concerns agree with many of them, but we can still discuss interesting and important issues respectfully, and in good faith, and maybe make new friends at the same time. However, we can only do that if everyone discusses the issues respectfully. And I do mean everyone. Just one man’s opinion.

  135. Raff,

    What I said was respectfully put and said out of concern for the forum. True, it was said in response to a provocation. However, it isn’t a secret that I think self-defense is a human right (be it physical, verbal or otherwise) that is older than any written law. While as a matter of American jurisprudence, self-defense has largely been left to states to incorporate to various degrees from the common law, some cases (like District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago) indicate that SCOTUS considers reasonable self-defense a fundamental right Constitutionally speaking.

    To punish for self-defense is unjust when the response is proportionate. That is why it is allowed as an affirmative defense.

  136. “I have no problem with people criticizing me or my disinclination to ban people. However, the rather transparent effort to again start a fight over prior conflicts is bizarre — as is repeating posting on a site that some say that no longer support.”


    In congratulation for your 21 million visitors and your Fox celebrity. Sometimes winning is in how we, not others define it. :)

  137. “We have moved on at this site. I have banned a few people and deleted dozens of comments. I do not like to do it. We value each and every voice on this site. I just ask you not to bore readers with personal attacks or revisionist posts. We get it. You don’t like each other or the policies of the blog.”

    Sometimes “getting it” is merely the consequence of hubris. Farewell JT, you coulda done me better….but I don’t mind. Obscurity has its rewards, just as fame has its curses.

  138. Let me preface my comment, as I always do on this topic, I BELIEVE TORTURE IS WRONG. However, I am not convinced it cannot be effective, The only way will ever know for sure would be a double blind study, which would be a travesty. What I do not abide is people like Feinstein, who is duplicitous by nature, trying to rewrite history. She knows, most people are not opposed to torture. She also knows, when we’re hit again those numbers of people approving torture will go up. Just take the principled stand that, no matter it’s effectiveness, it is wrong and we shall not do it!

  139. “Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism, which is just sad. Every country should believe in its exceptionalism. ”

    As I see it the problem with the concept of exceptionalism is that some seem to presume that exceptionalism makes us privileged or entitled to special treatment.

    I think perhaps it was Nixon who remarked that it was a good thing this country consumed more than 30% of the worlds energy.

    Now energy consumption has brought many in this country a life style with many advantages.

    But I think it is becoming clear that many aspects about the US are simply unsustainable. It seems undeniable to me that many facts regarding the relation of the US to the rest of the world will change over the next several decades. Special treatment for US citizens, for example in international law, is unacceptable to many others in the world. Even the special place of US currency in international trade is questionable.

    As exceptional as we may be, the fact is that we are also citizens in a world with many others. It seems to me that the idea that we are exceptional leads to a model of individual and national behavior that tends to provoke problems rather than solutions to common problems.

    The question is then how do we simultaneously maintain an attitude that we demand more from ourselves while understanding that we are entitled to, and likely to receive, no special consideration?

  140. BFM, We are a cocky lot. But, the reality is even if we were quiet and humble, other countries would resent us. Hell, we got a lot of people here who resent wealth, be it individual, corporate, or nation.

  141. Raff,

    While I understand the need for growth…. There is also the need for making sure weeds don’t grow in the cracks…. There has always been a healthy exchange of ideals on this site….. Some I agree with, some I don’t…. And if I don’t understand I have never had a problem asking someone to explain what they are saying….. You are aware, here of late it was impossible to have a rational conversation…. And I take exception when you the guest bloggers are singled out…. I am glad that Jonathan is being a little more proactive…. It should cut down on the diminishing dialogue exchanged between rational folks….

  142. I just saw how many posts were on this story. I revisited it hoping to see something interesting in the comments. Disappointed. I used to participate in these conversations a lot more often. I think the good professor is trying his best. Maybe there should be a CLE requirement before people are allowed to post. But then, part of the fun of this site is discussing legal issues with non-lawyers. And where else could one get his daily Schadenfreude from reading all the typos that the professor allows to exist like free range chickens in his posts. So sad.

  143. Seamus,

    Apparently right now it seems to be under control…..whereas the party to the second part not fully understanding that the party of the first part was an intended beneficiary of the part of the second part…..then the unintended beneficiary of the third part decided that they should be a party of the second part….. you know how it goes….

  144. Oh no. Bad spelling should be encouraged. It shows the poster isn’t wasting too much time at work goofing off on the inter-webs.

  145. seamus – why can’t we can pontificate on the legal problems of the day? Lawyers only get it right (on average) half the time in our adversarial system. Why deprive us of the same opportunity to be wrong. The difference is, we do not charge our clients to be wrong or right.

  146. Uh…I thought I said I liked coming to this blog because not everyone here is a lawyer. As a trial attorney I like to see how laymen/women view certain issues.

  147. Well Seamus….. You know how many in the legal profession that are idiots…. And then there are some that are just savants….. I think a lot here are representative….

  148. seamus – in the way you worded it, it sounded as those you were one of those who used to visit Bedlam to view the insane. “And where else could one get his daily Schadenfreude from reading all the typos that the professor allows to exist like free range chickens in his posts. So sad.”

  149. I love fried chicken…. De range is the place to do it….. And if you are not free range then you are deranged…. OMG…

  150. Once again Mike A’s analysis is spot on; our government has been coopted and the hijackers are forcing this moral failure upon us.

    It’s being driven by money. I believe Naomi Klein’s summation of the surveillance state; it’s technologically driven and many of the companies that are producing it are based in Israel. That’s one reason why it should surprise no one that Cheney was preaching to an adoring crowd of Jewish repubs. It essentially amountde to a.n investment seminar.

    William Hefner: You’re in serious need of counseling.

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