Thursday, November 27, 2008

Clueless By Design

In the New York Times, Peter Baker and Thom Shanker report:
President-elect Barack Obama has decided to keep Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in his post [...] Democrats close to the transition said Tuesday.
They note that this
will be the first time a Pentagon chief has been carried over from a president of a different party[.]
How audacious!

Is this Change you can Believe in? Or Change you can Hope for?

As an aid to understanding this non-transition, the NYT piece quotes Loren B. Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of the Lexington Institute.

According to Thompson's biography, he
holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.
As Source Watch has noted, Thompson has been quoted in major media, downplaying atrocities committed in Iraq by American troops.

He told the Christian Science Monitor:
You could probably construct an empirical case that US forces are exhibiting more restraint in their treatment of Iraqi civilians than has ever been seen in past wars of similar scale and duration. Almost all of the atrocities that have been alleged involve small units deliberately disobeying rules of engagement and the orders of senior officers.
We know this is not true.

He told the San Francisco Chronicle:
When you look at the circumstances of whom we send and what we expect them to do, it's surprising we don't have more of those cases.
If this is true, it's a powerful indictment. War apologists like to say, in one way or another:
It's a war: What do you expect? Wars inevitably produce atrocities. Get over it.
On the other hand, if all wars produce atrocities, then they shouldn't be waged casually, or on false pretenses, should they?

Regarding the Obama team's decision to keep Robert Gates in charge of the Pentagon, Loren B. Thompson told the New York Times:
I really can’t begin to understand from a political point of view how Barack Obama, a person who got the nomination because he ran against the Iraq war, can keep around the guy who’s been in charge of it for the last two years.
There are plenty of political observers who do understand it, of course, and some who saw it coming a long time ago. But the New York Times cannot possibly quote any of them --- any of us.

Why not? Because we're not part of the established order? Because we might tell too much of the truth?


Heather Wokusch, at Atlantic Free Press, writes an open letter to the president-elect:
To be honest, Obama, you lost me when you voted for the PATRIOT Act reauthorization in 2006. You lost me again when you voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendment in 2008. And you lost me every single time you voted for yet more war funding.

Don't even get me started on your vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

I cast a ballot for you in November ...
And so did millions of others.

And now we will all get what they deserve.


In honor of the cluelessness around us, and in recognition of the day when we celebrate our genocide against the people who lived in North America before it was "discovered", I've made a list of all the things that we -- as Americans and as citizens of the world -- have to be thankful for today:
Our so-called enemies may have a shorter list.

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