Saturday, January 07, 2006

Insulting hyperbole

Dean's World - High Treason and the New York Times (N.B. that's Dean Esmay, no connection to Howard Dean):
When I say "treason" I don't mean it in an insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Julius Rosenbergs, these modern day reincarnations of Alger Hiss, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hang them by the neck until the are dead, dead, dead.

No sympathy. No mercy.

Am I angry? You bet I am. But not in an explosive way. Just in the same seething way I was angry on 9/11. These people have endangered American lives and American security. They need to be found, tried, and executed.
Who are "these people"? What did they do that endangered American lives, that measures up to crashing four airplanes into buildings full of people, destroying one of the architectural landmarks of the world, and changing the way each of us lives our life forever?

Surely they did something worse than sending hundreds of thousands of Americans off to Iraq – where 2193 have died – and doing it on the basis of false and misleading statements about the risk Iraq posed.

Surely they did something worse than reducing oversight of mine safety and reducing enforcement of safety rules to a level where a dozen miners died in a mine collapse.

Surely they did something worse than sitting on their thumbs while a hurricane swept towards one of America's great cities.

These perfidious beasts, these, monsters among men are none other than…

The New York TImes reporters who revealed that the government is spying on American citizens when they make international calls or send emails overseas, without using warrants.

The revelation was those last three words. The part that revealed something interesting about national security was the first part. Do you think that al Qaeda didn't think its members were having their phones tapped? Does anyone doubt that they use code phrases, encryption, and non-electronic systems to avoid that? Reportedly, bin Laden (remember him? Public enemy number 1, etc.) sends messages by writing them on paper and giving the paper to a courier. All the phone taps and email surveillance in the world won't catch that.

I'm reading James Bamford's latest,
A Pretext for War : 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies
, and the major problems the intelligence agencies had before 9/11 and still have today are too much signals intelligence to analyze quickly and effectively, and too little willingness to commit resources to getting human intelligence, especially by sending agents into al Qaeda undercover. As of 2003, when he published, the CIA had made no effort to get an undercover agent inside al Qaeda. All the operatives with official cover are spying on embassy cocktail parties, and the non-official cover agents (like Plame) are set up as businessmen and women, and are badly treated (even when their identities aren't being leaked for partisan gain.

Speaking of which, Dean said of the Plame affair (in which terrorists and other enemies of America actually learned something they didn't already know, the identity of an American spy working to stem the spread of WMD):

I think it's probably the dumbest faux-scandal in Washington DC history.
Of Scooter Libby, who had been indicted for lying under oath about revealing her identity:
Scooter Libby panicked and thought he might have violated a law (even though he hadn't) and said some incoherently stupid things to the special prosecutor, and was indicted for that.
Of Robert Novak, who published the leaked information in the first place, Dean says nothing at all. Not even an inquiry about his noose size for the sake of balance.

Shameless. I wish some people would spend a little more time thinking about what would keep the nation safe, and less about covering the President's ass.

President of What?

” by

Death Cab For Cutie

from the album

You Can Play These Songs With Chords

(2002, 4:06).

I took a little more of what I take for granted
And filled my plate for fear that gears would turn
And wheels would roll away

Something's got to break you down.

Technorati Tags: