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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror


Bin Laden's little helper

US administration lectures about God delivered to Muslims are a dangerous folly

Sidney Blumenthal
Friday September 30, 2005
The Guardian


President Bush has no adviser more loyal and less self-serving than Karen Hughes. As governor of Texas, he trusted the former Dallas television reporter-turned-press secretary with the tending of his image and words. She was mother hen of his persona. In the White House, Hughes devoted heart and soul to Bush as his communications director until, suddenly, she returned home to Texas in 2002, citing her son's homesickness. There were reports that Karl Rove, jealous of power, had been sniping at her.

From her exile, Hughes produced Ten Minutes from Normal, a deeply uninteresting and unrevealing memoir. Long stretches of uninformative banality are broken by unselfconscious expressions of religiosity - accounts of how she inserted Psalms 23 and 27 into Bush's speeches after 9/11, the entire sermon she delivered aboard Air Force One on Palm Sunday. Hughes quotes the then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice: "I think Karen missed her calling. She can preach."

When two undersecretaries of state for public diplomacy resigned this year in frustration, in the face of the precipitous loss of US prestige around the globe, Bush found Hughes a new slot. She may be the most parochial person ever to hold a senior state department appointment, but the president has confidence she can rebrand the US.

This week, Hughes embarked on her first trip as undersecretary. Her initial statement resembled an elementary school presentation: "You might want to know why the countries. Egypt is, of course, the most populous Arab country... Saudi Arabia is our second stop; it's obviously an important place in Islam and the keeper of its two holiest sites ... Turkey is also a country that encompasses people of many different backgrounds and beliefs, and yet is proud of the saying that 'All are Turks'."

Hughes appeared as one of the pilgrims satirised by Mark Twain in his 1869 book Innocents Abroad, on his trip on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "None of us had ever been anywhere before; we all hailed from the interior; travel was a wild novelty... We always took care to make it understood that we were Americans - Americans!"

Hughes's simple, sincere and unadorned language reveals the administration's inner mind. Her ideas on terrorism and its solution are straightforward. "Terrorists," she said, "their policies force young people, other people's daughters and sons, to strap on bombs and blow themselves up." That is: somehow, magically, these evil-doers coerce the young to commit suicide. If only they would understand us, the tensions would dissolve.

"Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives," she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that "previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites 'one nation under God'."

"Well, never mind," he said.

With these well-meaning arguments, Hughes has provided the exact proofs for Bin Laden's claims about American motives. "It is stunning to the extent Hughes is helping bin Laden," says Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who has conducted extensive research into the motives of suicide terrorists and is the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. "If you set out to help bin Laden," he says, "you could not have done it better than Hughes."

Pape's research debunks the view that suicide terrorism is the natural byproduct of Islamic fundamentalism or some "Islamo-fascist" ideological strain, independent of certain highly specific circumstances.

"Of the key conditions that lead to suicide terrorism in particular, there first must be the presence of foreign combat forces on the territory that the terrorists prize. The second condition is a religious difference between the combat forces and the local community. The religious difference matters in that it enables terrorist leaders to paint foreign forces as being driven by religious goals.

"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."

The undersecretary's blundering tour of the Middle East might be the latest incarnation of Innocents Abroad. "The people stared at us everywhere, and we stared at them," Twain wrote. "We bore down on them with America's greatness until we crushed them."

But the stakes are rather different from those on the Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. "It would be a folly," says Pape, "were it not so dangerous."

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is the author of The Clinton Wars
sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 12:25 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

Here, this should help wash that Blumenthal out.

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ONSERVATIVES CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING AND LIBERAL PRESS
August 24, 2005


In case you missed this week's top story, I half-agreed with something a New York Times editor wrote in a "Letter to the Editor" of his own paper. If nothing else, at least Bill Keller now knows how it feels to have to write an angry letter to the editors of The New York Times.

I wouldn't have mentioned it, but now that Keller has opened the door, Judge Posner did write a ridiculous review.

Reviewing a spate of books about the media last month, federal appellate court judge Richard Posner argued that all the complaints about the media from the right and left simply reflected how market forces are changing the news business. He says the mainstream media are "more liberal than they used to be" and attributes that to "the rise of new media ... pushing the already liberal media farther left."

His premise is obviously true — no industry can remain immune from the laws of supply and demand as long as there is competition. After a century of running an oligopoly, media chieftains are now facing competition for the first time — from the Internet, radio and cable TV. The Internet alone ensures that the supply will not abate.

But the result Posner sees doesn't correspond with either the laws of capitalism or my TV screen.

The old media aren't moving left: They already were left. If anything, they are moving to the right. (This can be hard to detect inasmuch as Pravda was their starting point.) When they resist, they lose customers.

That was precisely Keller's complaint with Posner. He objected to the idea that the august New York Times is subject to the laws of capitalism, blathering about reporters' "idealism" and their commitment to the craft of journalism, blah, blah, blah. Of course, if I were losing readers as fast as The New York Times, I might want to believe I was immune to the laws of the market, too.

Posner's description of the media, then and now, leaves the impression that he does not himself consume the news. Contrary to evidence, he says: "The rise of the conservative Fox News Channel caused CNN to shift to the left. CNN was going to lose many of its conservative viewers to Fox anyway, so it made sense to increase its appeal to its remaining viewers by catering more assiduously to their political preferences."

Now that's what I call a business model: American news consumers are moving to the right. Quick, let's move to the left!

It doesn't make economic sense that CNN would respond to the runaway success of Fox News by moving to the left, as Posner claims. In every other industry, competitors follow trends; they don't run from them. When a reduced-calorie snack food is introduced and becomes a hit, that doesn't "push" the other snack food companies to roll out their own "extra-calorie!" versions.

I enjoy making fun of CNN as much as the next guy, but CNN is not that liberal. It may be liberal compared to an average American, but it's certainly not liberal compared to CNN pre-Fox News. Consider that Peter Arnett used to be treated as a serious journalist on CNN. Even his work on the "Tailwind" hoax program did not jeopardize his standing.

Now, even MSNBC won't hire him. (Although I hear Arnett has a big interview at al-Jazeera next week — good luck, Peter!) After initially trying to stand by him, NBC was forced to fire Arnett after Americans erupted in fury at his traitorous comments on Saddam's state-run TV at the outset of the Iraq war. This is what liberals mean when they say the country has become "polarized." Now when they try to put traitors on air, Americans complain.

Indeed, the only network still assiduously following Posner's "give the consumers what they don't want" business model is MSNBC. They will go to dead air before giving a conservative his own TV show (except poor, lonely Joe Scarborough, who has a terrific show — if only anyone knew how to find MSNBC on the dial!).

Turning on TV and seeing Wolf Blitzer instead of Peter Arnett is not evidence of the media becoming more polarized. It's evidence of the media becoming more sane.

Instead of recycling tidbits he picked up from books written by people who subscribe to the bizarre notion that the media has a conservative bias, Posner should occasionally consume some media himself. It's a wondrous example of the virtue of competition. The country isn't more divided. All that has happened is that, now, conservatives are talking, too.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 12:31 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

WOW deep
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 12:34 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

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Demon_possessed - 10/1/2005 3:31 PM

WOW deep
Wow, nice little world we have here, huh?

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 12:44 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

War of the ruse'

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 01:24 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

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ThrillKill - 10/1/2005 3:44 PM

War of the ruse'
Nice! I always enjoy your wit.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 01:33 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

Most would half agree with you.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 03:37 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

This half wit agrees![:D]
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 09:09 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

Quote:
"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."
This guy is right on.

OBK #35

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 04:47 PM
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RE: Bush politcal hack screwing up War on Terror

Quote:
old300D - 10/2/2005 12:09 AM

Quote:
"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."
This guy is right on.

Yes, he is. American ethnocentrism, as promoted by the current administration, is incapable of understanding this. Selecting Karen Hughes, who is not schooled in the ways of the Arab world, as an envoy who is to make Arab/American relations somehow better was a preposterous move, as her speechifying has already shown.

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