Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shifting the goalposts ...

I plan to get to Dave Armstrong's comments in the combox in a post later today (it deserves a post on its own right), but first I want to follow up on the point that I mentioned the other day and retract the part of it where I said that Mark was adopting a reductio ad Maher Arar mentality. In retrospect, this clearly isn't true.

The original substance of the discussion was about why Bilal Hussein had been detained. I think that Chris Blosser and Blackadder provided answers that, even if one continues to disagree with Hussein's detention, can at least understand why how someone might feel differently.

Mark, however, sees this as the perfect opportunity to conflate the detention of Bilal Hussein with Jose Padilla, Maher Arar, the Unitary Executive theory of the presidency (which I would be very interested to hear Mark actually try and define in his own words) and apparently Shawn McElhinney's defense of the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Blackadder again notes that there are a lot of differences between these various cases and makes what I think is an apt comparison between Bush and Lincoln.

I myself used FDR as an analogy, but whether it's Lincoln or FDR I think that it is important to note that, contrary to Hollywood, every time a leader invokes emergency wartime powers (which Bush has not done anywhere near the level of degree that Lincoln or FDR did) does not automatically lead to a Weimar-style end of democracy and the imposition of a dictatorship. Of course, there were a lot of people who thought that Lincoln and FDR were dictators at one point or another, and there some who still do (including, not surprisingly, one of Mark's most vehement allies on this stuff), which is one of the reasons why such people have a tendency to remain politically irrelevant.

This comparison prompted Mark to argue that we are in a state of emergency powers in perpetuum, embracing some of the worst libertarian, paleocon, and ACLU hand-wringing while doing so:
Finally, I'm informed that it's all perfectly fine because the executive has power to suspend habeas in time of war. The difficulty is that we are in a "time of war", not with a nation state but with a tactic: terror. Since "terror" has been a tactic ever since the dawn of time and will continue to be a tactic till the parousia, that would apparently mean it is okay for the executive to suspect habeas forever. It is a small consolation that, with the exception of Jose Padilla, the executive has chosen to wield his power to imprison anybody he likes for as long as he likes without charge only against foreigners. But given the precedent of Padilla, I don't see any particular reason this executive, or some future one, cannot extend the suspension to whatever citizens he chooses--all under the claim that he or she is keeping us "safe". Indeed, I don't see why Lincoln will not be invoked to do precisely this. If we are in an eternal emergency (and that's what a war on "terror" means) then we are granting the Unitary Executive eternal emergency wartime powers.

Here again, I would ask him to take a deep breath and ask himself if he actually believes this or is just throwing out the rhetoric for good measure. The war on terrorism is a politically correct short-hand for the war against what Mark himself refers to as "the Bronze Age Thugs," which is apparent to the overwhelming majority of people who actually use the term. Mark himself has stated in the past that he supports the war on terrorism, though I think that it's fair to say that he is more in the neutral position right now than anything else with his recent sickening prayer that the Islamic world and the West destroy one another.

One thing I want to make clear is that it is this frequent tendency to lapse into the realm of tin foil and black helicopters that keeps bringing Mark back to my attention. I don't think that I have directly mentioned my view on torture with regard to him in some time - certainly I don't think that this has been the thrust of my recent opposition to his views. That debate is over and I think it's chronciled for anyone who wants to read it. I certainly think that this tendency for him to shift goalposts in a debate makes such a venture pointless. But for better or worse, Mark is seen as a public spokesman for the Catholic faith by a number of people, so if he is going to start using Marxist-style dialectic of class warfare (his "conspiracy of millionnaires"), arguing that American democracy is basically a sham and a puppet theater, and launching into increasingly conspiratorial rants against the Bush administration all from the quasi-Donatist position that his views represent true fidelity to the Church in contrast to those unworthies who differ with his take on the situation, I think that a case can be made that he needs to be reproached using the Biblical precedent of St. Paul to St. Peter in Galatians.

If I had received Shawn's offer and lived in the Seattle area, I would be more than happy to make this clear to him in person in a respectful manner. Failing that, I do pray for him because I think that regardless of his positions to be consumed by this type of anger is bad for the soul, which is pretty much the same thing that others in the combox were attempting to do to begin with.


Phillip said...

NIce post Torq.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Shawn's defense of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has nothing to do with the Bush Administration's policy on "torture," "enemy combatants" and the war on terror. Mark merely brought it up to discredit's Shawn's credibility in yet another attempt to create a rhetorical straw man, and then somehow connect that straw man to his own position.

This is why I don't believe Mark has changed, despite his pre-Lenten "apologies" for his behavior. He hasn't changed a damn thing. All he's doing is shifting targets -- and hoping to fool people in the process.

Donald R. McClarey said...

For those who wonder why this site is needed, I submit a copy of an e-mail I sent out tonight to a Catholic gentleman who took me to task for my recent comments on Open Book. My responses are underneath each of the quoted sections:

1."Not even the Bush people peddle that line. 93% of the Iraqi's want the American soliders out of
the country. The only reason we are there is because the PNAC manifesto was adopted by Bush and others and a bogus war was launched.
This was to neutralize Iraq and secure the oil fields, and the all important pipline to Haifa."

PNAC manifesto causing the invasion of Iraq? Please, that is tinfoil hat wearing conspiratorial garbage and unworthy of a response. We went to war against Saddam for numerous reasons, all of which were set forth in the Congressional Authorization for the Use fo Force. As for the Iraqi people, their freely elected government can ask us to depart at any time and we will. They haven't yet because they realize the blood bath that would ensue if US forces were to depart right now.

2. "Saddam was a dictator but one who allowed Catholics to practice their faith. America has installed more dictators in the world in the past 150 years, than there are states in our union. "

Actually the US has worked with the local governments thrown up by competing factions in other nations. The idea that the US is a malign force preventing people from choosing their own governments is ahistoric. Of course you hold this belief while also condemning the US for toppling a dictator and fostering democracy in Iraq. The US in your eyes is evil if it works with a dictator and evil if it topples a dictator. As to Catholics in Iraq, they made up their fair share of Saddam's victims, and now are under assault from the Jihadists who
we are fighting. You of course would like us to withdraw yesterday and leave these fellow Catholics to the tender mercy of the beheaders.

3. "John NegroPonte turned a blind eye to the massacres in Central America in the 1980's.
And he is just one of many with blood soaked hands that helped push this war in Iraq. "

Balderdash. The Reagan policy in Central America prevented the creation of a series of little Cubas where the populations would have to endured the type of tyranny that have caused millions of Cubans to flee their own country. The attitude of the Sandanistas when the Pope visited Nicaragua in the 80s showed the contempt the Marxists had for the Catholic faith.

4. "America was not threatened by Iraq. and if Iraq had WMD's at one time, it is because America sold them to Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld was the
salesman in 1983!"

You really don't know your history do you? The US had zero involvement in any chemical weapons produced by Saddam. His arms purchases from the US during 1973-1990 constituted .5% of total arms sales to Iraq Arms from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact totaled 68.9%, France 12.7% and mainland China 11.8%. Source: Stockholm Intertnational Peace Research Institute. As to Iraq not constituting a threat are you kidding me? In 1990 Saddam attempted to corner the world oil market by seizing Kuwait. He failed to honor any of the terms of the truce which ended the First Gulf War. He was up his eyeballs in the first World Trade Center bombing and an attempt to assassinate Bush 41. Through the oil for food scam he was rapidly rebuilding his military. He had links, and had given funding, to most Arab terrorist groups. He was a clear and present danger.

5. "Israel has 800-2000 nukes, and yet not one American politician calls for inspections. If they have nukes they are not allowed to receive any aid. israel kiiled 34 unarmed americans in 1967. Iraq has killed no Americans, until forced to defend itself."

Got a thing about Jews don't you? It doesn't matter to us if Israel has nukes. They are not a threat to us, just as we do not care that the Brits or the French have nukes. Iraq didn't kill many Americans during the First Gulf War, but it wasn't for want of trying, or do you contend that Iraq was merely defending itself when it invaded Kuwait? As for the attack on the Liberty, Israel instantly apologized and paid compensation to the families of the survivors. In other words it acted like a friendly power that had made a mistake and not an enemy power out to kill Americans.

6. "George Bush is a man who has introduced real
WMD's into the nation of Iraq by using depleted Urainium."

You really have got to stop getting your information from Moonbat sites on the net. Depleted uranium rounds pose no health risk except to occupants of an armored vehicle when the rounds slam home.

7. "Any Catholic who supports Bush and his Neo Bolsheviks in their pursuit of plundering other nations is acting in opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church ,which has ruled this war
totally unjust. "

The Church hasn't ruled the war unjust, and all the neo-Bolsheviks probably contribute to anti-Bush sites you frequent. You will find a lot of them under a group known as A.N.S.W.E.R

As you can see my correspondent was just a mine of misinformation. I believe sites such as this one serve to allow Catholics to band together to fight this type of bilge. Mark is only important to me insomuch as he serves as a sounding board for the type of views expressed by my correspondent.

Christopher said...

Torq, don't let it go to your head, but that was a good post and demonstrated why this blog is needed.

As far as Mark's mention of Shawn McElhinney's defense of the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that was a really cheap shot.

To even understand the decision to use the bomb requires some serious reading and an understanding of the immediate, historical context. I don't think the casual reader -- much less Mark Shea -- is going to bother doing the heavy-lifting, research-wise, to go about discussing the issue in an intelligent manner.

All too easy then to rile up the readers against a straw-man (to interact with Shawn's position would be too much to ask) and then dismiss him as a "loyal Bushie":

We are talking about the power of the American executive to deprive anybody he names an "illegal combatant" of liberty indefinitely and without charge. Shawn simply assumes the Hussein is justly imprisoned, despite the fact that his jailers have refused to give reasons for that imprisonment. . . .

Not a single assertion in that paragraph is true -- not with respect to the President, nor the U.S. military, nor Shawn. But why address the possible reasons why Balil Hussein might be justifiably detained by the U.S. military (reasons several readers have reiterated in his combox, including myself) and critique them on their own merits when you can play the demagogue?

Agree with Torq or not, at least with this blog you'll have the confidence of getting a serious treatment of the subject.

Phillip said...

"As you can see my correspondent was just a mine of misinformation. I believe sites such as this one serve to allow Catholics to band together to fight this type of bilge. Mark is only important to me insomuch as he serves as a sounding board for the type of views expressed by my correspondent."

Not only the sounding board. Look at a number of new commentators on his blog these days. They hold such beliefs as a matter of faith. One can see that he is becoming a draw for those with serious reality testing problems. I include Mark's newly arrived devotee Fr. O'Leary in this group.

But what do you expect when you detach from reasoned analysis and resort to raw emotionalism to make one's points.

Donald R. McClarey said...

My correspondent came back for more. Interesting how wackdoodle Bush hatred often walks in tandem with Jew hatred. The last comment from my correspondent is classic.

1."Your responses offer a level of obstinate ignorance in the face of indisputable truth."

That statement has as much substance as "No, I'm right, you're wrong."

2."Please look up the definition of delusional."

Why, when I see such a fine example of it in your ravings?

2. "Yes, the good ole USA only acts to do good and help other nations all the time. And Jews are the friends of America."

Yes almost all the time to the first, and most Jews I believe are friends of America due to our lack of persecution of members of their faith, no doubt to your dismay.

3." Do you also believe the Jews who brutally took over Palestine in 1946-1948 did so because God wanted them there."

No, they created Israel by accepting the UN division of Palestine. The Palestinians did not because they thought they could exterminate the Jews with the aid of the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. Big mistake. To the astonishment of the world, the outnumbered Jews won.

4. "Look, you are 100% wrong on the USS Liberty.
Obviously you never served in the military."

Three years in the US Army Reserves 1975-78.

5. "The radar codes that are emitted from ships have a unique fingerprint which identifies them as US. French etc...
The Israel defense forces had to jam our radar in order to prevent the USS Liberty from radioing for help. That means they had to jam USA military codes.

It was not a mistake and our American flag on that ship was 15 x 30. 2 Israeli pilots were punished for refusing to attack the ship becasue they knew it was American. Israel never admitted it was a mistake. "

Too bad every official report has found that the attack was a tragic error caused by the Israeli pilots misidentifying the ship. You can find these reports online:

U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, June 18, 1967
" Available evidence combines to indicate the attack on the Liberty on 8 June was in fact a case of mistaken identity."

CIA Report, June 13, 1967
The attack was a mistake. In 1978, in a response to an inquiry, Director of Central Intelligence Stansfield Turner wrote: "It remains our best judgment that the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was not made in malice toward the United States and was a mistake."

Joint Chiefs of Staff, Russ Report, June 9-20, 1967 General Russ did not make any findings about the actual attack. The report compiled all message traffic and contains no evidence that the attack was not a mistake.

Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Clifford Report, July 18, 1967
"The information thus far available does not reflect that the Israeli high command made a premeditated attack on a ship known to be American…. "

National Security Agency, 1981
"Liberty was mistaken for an Egyptian ship as a result of miscalculation and egregious errors."

Israeli Report
Ram Ron Commission of Inquiry, June 16, 1967
"[T]he attack on the ship by the Israeli Defense Forces was made neither maliciously nor in gross negligence, but as a result of a bona fide mistake."

6. "You think DU is not toxic? Then why was it banned under international treaties? The known birth defects from its use are well documented."

More Moonbattery. Here are the facts:
"Study Finds Little Risk From Depleted-Uranium Particles
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2004 – A new study finds the health risks from inhaling airborne particles of depleted uranium are very low.
The Capstone Study found that even soldiers in armored vehicles hit by depleted-uranium munitions would still not suffer health risks from inhaling the particles. Of course, officials said, soldiers would certainly have other problems if their tank or armored personnel carrier was hit by a depleted- uranium round.

The U.S. military uses depleted uranium as armor and in munitions. The five- year, $6 million study, analyzed for the Army and the DoD Deployment Health Support Directorate by Batelle Memorial Institute, found that even in extreme cases exposure to "aerosolized" depleted uranium did not pose a health risk.

The study looked at the health risks faced by servicemembers who had been in an armored vehicle that was breached by a depleted-uranium round. It also looked at the exposures mechanics or other maintenance personnel would get from working in such a vehicle. "What we found in this study is the highest-exposed individuals are those that are in, on or near vehicles when they were struck," said Army Lt. Col. Mark Melanson.

"What we found is the radiation doses for people in that situation are below peacetime safety standards," he continued. "We also found that the chemical risks of breathing in uranium dust is so low that it won't cause any long-term health risks."

Melanson, who holds a doctorate in radiation health sciences, is the program manager of the Health Physics Program at the Army's Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

DoD has been assessing the safety of depleted uranium for more than 30 years. The radiation risk from the rounds and armor is negligible. Melanson pointed out that uranium is a common element. Depleted uranium has most of the U-235 isotope -- the type used to make atomic bombs -- taken out of it, leaving the more stable U-238.

But uranium is a heavy metal and, like lead or mercury, can pose problems if enough is ingested.

Specialists at Aberdeen fired depleted-uranium rounds at the turrets of M-1 tanks and at Bradley fighting vehicles. They measured the concentration of DU inside the turrets and passenger compartments and compared those rates with allowable peacetime standards. The levels were below the standards set for peacetime civilian workers.

"If it's safe for workers in the States to receive these exposures during peacetime, it's definitely safe for our troops to receive them in combat when there are other more dangerous risks out there on the battlefield," Melanson said.

The study is further proof that DU poses little danger. Since 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been assessing the health of American soldiers wounded in 1991's Operation Desert Storm by depleted-uranium rounds. These individuals have particles of depleted uranium remaining inside them.

"There are no health affects attributable to DU," Melanson said. "There are health problems from their wounding, but nothing from depleted uranium."

Related Sites:
DoD Deployment Health Support Directorate
Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine
Health Physics Program"

7. "America sold Iraq its WMD and it was Donald Rumsfeld who was the salesman."

Only in Moonbat land. The US sold no chemical or biological weapons to Iraq.

8. "You forget that John Negroponte helped to organize and fund the death squads in Guatemala under General Martinez, a man responsible for

50,000 deaths in the region. General Martinez was his most frequent lunch guest."

You can't even keep the info you get from kook leftist or paleocon web sites straight. Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras not Guatemala. General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez is probably the man you are attempting to refer to. He was the head of the Honduran military while Negroponte was ambassador. As for the figure of 50,000, here is the reality: "The human rights situation deteriorated significantly after the return to civilian rule in 1982. Under the new civilian president, the military, under the command of General Gustavo Álvarez Martínez, initiated a campaign against leftists. This campaign allegedly led to the disappearance of more than 100 people. Small insurgent groups also began operating during this period, but the overwhelming majority of political killings were carried out by the military, according to human rights observers. Although this violence paled in comparison to that in neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala, it marked a departure from the relatively tranquil Honduran political environment. " Source: Library of Congress Country Studies. Where you get the 50,000 figure from, only God and the Moonbats know.

8. "The Downing Street memos prove that Bush had no reason to invade Iraq. He went with WMD because there was no link to Osama or anyone else.
The war is all about reordering the Middle east according to the PNAC manifesto which if you ever read it, which you have not, clearly outlines regime change in Iraq, Syria and Iran, as good for the United States"

Actually virtually every intelligence agency on Earth thought that Saddam had WMDs. His own generals were shocked during the war when Saddam did not order the use of chemical weapons because they assumed he had them. The rest of what you say is typical of the type of paranoia common among conspiracy mongers.

9. " As to the Israelis and their illegal nukes, why are you so willing to turn a blind eye to the law?"

Actually, Israel possessing nukes is no more illegal than the US possessing nukes. I assume that your statement is merely rhetorical, and you are not referring to a specific statute of Israel that would prevent it from having nuclear weapons.

10. "I assuem you are a Jewish Zionist. Let me encourage you to convert to the One True Faith
soon, as the blood curse your forefathers called down upon you, will remain with you, until you are baptized."

Actually, as you might have guessed from my name, my forebears are Scots and Irish with a few Cherokees tossed in for seasoning. I am a Catholic as you might also have guessed from my frequent posts at Open Book. As for you, you are a deluded anti-Semite. Here is something for you to contemplate. Saint Ignatius of Loyola was warned that one of his novices might have Jewish blood. This was at a time when such a charge was serious business in Spain. The Saint responded how fortunate for the novice in having a blood kinship with Our Lord and His mother.

Free yourself from the foul hatred that obviously has you in its grip, lest it be held against you when your soul comes before Christ.

Shawn said...


I found myself forming responses to each inane quote you posted and then shouting "Amen" in true Southern Baptist-style after reading the lions share of your responses. It made me think that if I was inclined to invite someone to contribute to my weblog Rerum Novarum, your stuff has impressed me enough to put you in the top tier of such consideration.

Actually, would you mind if I posted those threads as a guest editorial to my weblog{1} -a kind of random "response to the usual idiots" sort of thing akin to what I have done myself at various times in the past. (And have way too much I am working on at the moment to delve into these matters again as they need to be touched on periodically to innoculate people against the msm's propagandizing.) Again, very well done!!! :)

By the way, am I seeing things or did a lot of the inanities you responded to read like they could have come from Markmoud AhmadinaShea's keyboard???

Joseph and Chris:

Thanks for pointing out Mark's attempts at cultic deadagenting as far as I am concerned. He is too much of a sniveling coward to interact with my arguments so he takes the predictable approach. I am surprised he has not decided to post doctored photos of me and General Franco but I better not say more lest I give him ideas in that area to contribute to his red-herring fest.

It is evident that for all of his pre-Lenten public "repentance" schtick that it was a sham as Joe said. This is unfortunate but I explained my reasons HERE when Mark asked me why I had not met with him in private on these matters. If someone cannot avoid acting like such an ass in public, why should we presume in private that they would act any differently??? It is explained in those threads above as is my response to Mark's obvious hypocrisy in how he handled disagreements with Jimmy in obvious contrast to how he handled Victor, Joe, Greg, and others who took the same general positions Jimmy did.

I have my own suspicions which I have noted before (and furthermore which I expect will in time be vindicated) but I have said all I plan to on it at the present time and will leave it to others to speculate as to why the hypocrisy and double standards exists as it does in that area with him and not a few others.


{1} It could go up after the second installment from "Rod Serling" which was sent to me from a reader some time back and is slated for posting in the coming week.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Actually, would you mind if I posted those threads as a guest editorial to my weblog{1} -a kind of random "response to the usual idiots" sort of thing akin to what I have done myself at various times in the past."

Please go ahead. I want my correspondent's "wisdom" to be shared with the world! I actually feel great pity for the fellow. His main motivation is obviously hate: hate of Bush, neo-Cons and, above all, Jews. He seizes upon material he obviously doesn't understand well at all in order to butress his hates. It is a sad way to go through life.

Your comments on my poor efforts are greatly appreciated.