Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LOOSE LIPS....Max Boot is unhappy that Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this year to stories that exposed an illegal domestic spying program and the torture of prisoners in a secret network of prisons in Eastern Europe. It wouldn't have been tolerated during World War II, he says:

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil. And when the good guys that would be U.S. officials say that certain revelations would help the bad guys, I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt. So, I suspect, do most Americans.

Nice try, Max, but FDR earned the benefit of the doubt. This gang hasn't. They've made it crystal clear that they consider the war on terror little more than a useful campaign topic of unlimited duration.

Kevin Drum 12:23 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (109)

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Not to mention the fact that FDR wouldn't have tortured prisoners in a secret network of prisons, either.

Posted by: Tom on April 26, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it was rightwing darling Joe McCarthy who passed on stories of US torture in defense of Nazi war-criminals.

But he was only the dupe of a Soviet agent, so I guess that makes it OK.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on April 26, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

We all want the press to present the world as we see it, don't we? But most of us are grown-up enough to know that government officials aren't always good guys. You'd think a conservative would know that.

Posted by: Kit Stolz on April 26, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

fuck Max Boot and what he wants "journalists" to do. enabling goernment secrecy is not what this country was founded on.

Posted by: cleek on April 26, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

5 years after Pearl Harbor FDR has Japan declaring unconditional surrender

5 years after 911.... Osama who?

Posted by: clone12 on April 26, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt--there are WMD in Iraq, tax cuts won't lead to deficits, schools will improve through more standardized testing, the US shouldn't get involved between Israel and Palestine, there is no genocide in Darfur, Abramoff gave money to Democrats, Brownie is doing a great job, Hussein harbors Al Qaeda terrorists, global warming is all wild speculation, there is no reason to protect our ports, Democrats control what legislation gets passed, and Rumsfeld is competent.

The proof will be a mushroom cloud.

Posted by: reino on April 26, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Boot: "I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil."

If the bushies were really behving like the good guys, it'd be a lot easier to cover it that way. Instead, he wants journos to hide their bad acts.

Feh.

Posted by: ferar on April 26, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Locals in Fallujah are only the enemy to the extent that we invaded and occupied them: they hadn't done bupkus against us beforehand.
They're not the real enemy. Gee, who is? Not Iraqis - but who then?

Posted by: gcochran on April 26, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

I like this quote from Max Boot:

No one working for the mainstream media today would refer, as Ernie Pyle did during World War II, to "our soldiers," "our offensive," "our predicament." Today it's "American soldiers," "the military offensive" and (most damning of all) "the president's predicament" as if this were Bush's war, not ours.

God, why would anybody think that this was Bush's war, not ours?

Might it be because he lied and manipulated his way into it? Might it be because he acted as a lone "decider" to proceed recklessly into a situation he knew little about, and where the evidence from the WMD inspectors kept coming up empty? Might it be that he made no serious effort to prepare for any of the likely outcomes of the war? Might it be because he used the war as a political wedge to smear his critics?

I'm just not getting why people thought it was Bush's war??

Posted by: frankly0 on April 26, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

How does someone who still refers to Bushco as "the good guys" and believes that this is a simple "fight between good and evil" manage to feed and dress himself? Should we put him in a glass case as a curio?

Posted by: shortstop on April 26, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

They're not the real enemy. Gee, who is? Not Iraqis - but who then?

You and me, baby. You and me.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Assuming Max Boot doesn't actually believe the Japanese-American relocation was a good idea, does he think it was a good thing that this didn't receive more critical and probing press coverage at the time?

When the "good guys" said that it was necessary to take Nisei property and send them off to camps, to help fend off the "bad guys," was it the obligation of journalists to shut up and give the "good guys" the benefit of the doubt then, too?

Posted by: nandrews3 on April 26, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The funniest part of the Max Boot's article is his objection to the award of the Pultzer to a cartoonist who always portrays GWB as a dolt and to a 'Style' section author who wrote a long piece on the appropriateness of the VP's attire for a particular occasion.

Boot wants the journalists to be court jesters and flatterers of the king.

Posted by: lib on April 26, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Three other points:

1) Islamic terrorists don't have a massive war machine that's overrun most of Europe.

2) US officials also said that criticism of the Patriot Act (i.e. a normal democratic debate) gave "aid and comfort to our enemies". This tells me exactly how seriously I should take their assurances that exposing this program damages national security.

3) Boot's Chicago Tribune anecdote is irrelevant to the matter at hand. Based on the information he gives us, breaking enemy codes didn't violate any deeply held national principles (or laws), and it certainly helped us defeat the Japanese. The current crop of stories gained notoriety and prizes because the media (and many Americans) believe that the government abused or exceeded its power.

Why do conservatives insist on repeating the same tired historical parallels? It's like reading a stack of 9th-grade history essays. I can't stand it when leftists make sweeping comparisons to 1930s Germany, but it's clear that both sides have an atrocious lack of perspective.

Posted by: Nat on April 26, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Boot is right--this is a question of good vs. evil, and W's administration is evil.

Posted by: anonymous on April 26, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I've been gradually realizing over the last day or so that you could do a pretty solid cultural-history thesis tracing much of the Bush presidency to the lamentable "Greatest Generation" craze of 1998.

This Max Boot article would make a nice piece of evidence.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

"I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil."

What Boot wants is propaganda, not journalism. Why the LA Times gives him the space to shit on the reputation of their profession is beyond me.

Posted by: David W. on April 26, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I can't stand it when leftists make sweeping comparisons to 1930s Germany

That's just what Goebbels would have said.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil."

That's really an astonishing thing to say. It has no hint of seeking truth or of respecting the line between fact and fiction. The modern Republicans truly want to be fed a particular story line, regardless of whether it matches up with the reality on the ground.

With the advent of Fox News, the Washington Times, and a blogroll of neanderthals, conservatives can now roll themselves up in a bubble wrap of security and live out their daily lives in a near-perfect sensory deprivation zone where sharp, uncomfortable truths need never intrude.

Posted by: Oregonian on April 26, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I've been gradually realizing over the last day or so that you could do a pretty solid cultural-history thesis tracing much of the Bush presidency to the lamentable "Greatest Generation" craze of 1998.

Somehow I see it more as an extension of our glorious conquest of Grenada.

Iraq was supposed to be just another crappy little country that we could beat the shit out of.

Who knew it might dare to fight back?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 26, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

So in the meme time ...

... let's continually refer to him as --

"Max (das U) Boot"

Because as long as Mr. Boot champions a more totalitarian domestic political culture here at home, not to mention his explicit support of actual totalitarian policies and practices --

-- then he deserves an appropriate and accurate name.

I always thought "Max Boot" was pseudonymous.

Bad luck for poor Max-das U-Boot!

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 26, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Boot has a schtick. Talking like a hardass, fascist, nationalist, whatever. He's either stupid enough to believe it, or he's just a manipulative, pandering jerk to sell column inches. Like a Jerry Springer of foreign policy editorilizing.

Maybe we shouldn't dignify his drivel with a response? Maybe he'll become as irrelevant as Springer, along with our "liberal" muscular hawks who so desperately wanna believe in the transformative power of War against Muslims.

Posted by: luci on April 26, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

roll themselves up in a bubble wrap of security and live out their daily lives in a near-perfect sensory deprivation zone

I understand Rumsfeld has approved this technique for interrogations of unlawful combatants.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

One wonders which side Boot would have been on in WWII.

Posted by: SavageView on April 26, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Max Boot needs to wipe his chin.

Posted by: Jon Karak on April 26, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Like a Jerry Springer of foreign policy editorilizing.

Hey. Don't knock Jerry Springer. He's on our side.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil. And when the good guys that would be U.S. officials say that certain revelations would help the bad guys, I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt. So, I suspect, do most Americans.

And this is exactly the problem with the right wing point of view on the war. Not only is there a decidedly stubborn insistance to paint things in black and white. but the mindless deference to THEIR government, after how long of criticizing government in general. They ignore the fact that there's more shades of greys here than anyone can realize. There IS no stark good guy or bad guy here, because the so-called 'good guys' keep using tactics similar to the 'bad guys' they decry so much. Not to mention the sudden hypocritical deference to government only when THEY'RE the ones running it. If Clinton were giving the orders, who here would bet AGAINST Max Boot giving those same US Officials the finger? I wouldn't.

Posted by: Kryptik on April 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

The right is schizo--it's either blind faith and obedience to the government(the "war") or complete distrust to the point that any real or proposed government program is a communist plot(healthcare).

Posted by: Ringo on April 26, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

1) Islamic terrorists don't have a massive war machine that's overrun most of Europe.

Let's keep this in mind whenever these lunatics use the word "appeasement" in reference to U.S. policy towards Iran.

Iran didn't preemptively attack another nation that without evidence, provocation, or imminent threat.

There can be no appeasement without those conditions.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 26, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

So, I suspect, do most Americans.

This was my favorite line. The great thing is, Max Boot and his ilk no longer have any freaking clue what most Americans would like. They lost their purchase on the pulse of the nation round about November 2003. When they read the polls these days, they can't believe their eyes - they think there must be some mistake.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

He's right.

Hitler would have executed anyone who exposed his crimes against humanity - Bush simply fires and then defames them.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe: This was my favorite line. The great thing is, Max Boot and his ilk no longer have any freaking clue what most Americans would like. They lost their purchase on the pulse of the nation round about November 2003. When they read the polls these days, they can't believe their eyes - they think there must be some mistake.

Perfectly stated. You're on fire today, BTW.

Posted by: shortstop on April 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is this bit a Freudian slip or what:

"No one working for the mainstream media today would refer, as Ernie Pyle did during World War II, to "our soldiers," "our offensive," "our predicament." Today it's "American soldiers," "the military offensive" and (most damning of all) "the president's predicament" as if this were Bush's war, not ours."

Emphasis mine.

Posted by: craigie on April 26, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I have never, in my life, seen a bunch of moronic goons so eager to find something meaningful to justify their misbegoton existance. The Terror problem is such a minor ridiculously unimportant problem that it is almost laughable. Today, April 25, more people will be killed by traffic accidents than died on 9/11, yet we don't have a War on Autos.

Bush and the Repukeliscum realize that the ridiculous, unimportant Terror problem is not the equivalent of WWII. It is not WWI. This is not the Spanish-AMerican War. THis is not the Mexican War.

This is not the War of 1812.

This is the Barbary Pirates or maybe not even that important.

It isn't important.

I am no longer willing to have these fascists steal my rights for their fake war.

Posted by: POed Lib on April 26, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"I've been gradually realizing over the last day or so that you could do a pretty solid cultural-history thesis tracing much of the Bush presidency to the lamentable "Greatest Generation" craze of 1998."


Brooksfoe, that's a very astute point. You should flesh that out into a column.

Why does everything about to be about World War II? There are other conflicts worth sutdying by a policymaker (or an op-ed columnist), like, say, Napoleon's campaign in Spain, the Algerian War or the beginning of World War I (thank God JFK read The Guns of August just prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis).

|

Posted by: beowulf on April 26, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"No one working for the mainstream media today would refer, as Ernie Pyle did during World War II, to "our soldiers," "our offensive," "our predicament." Today it's "American soldiers," "the military offensive" and (most damning of all) "the president's predicament" as if this were Bush's war, not ours."

Pyle was a columnist, not a reporter. He made no attempt to pretend that he was providing an objective report.

And Max Boot hasn't earned the right to use Pyle's name to support his idiotic position.

Pyle actually experienced war in the front lines and wrote brillantly about it:

The Death of Captain Waskow

AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, January 10, 1944 - In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

"After my own father, he came next," a sergeant told me.

"He always looked after us," a soldier said. "He'd go to bat for us every time."

"I've never knowed him to do anything unfair," another one said.

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow's body down. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley below. Soldiers made shadows in the moonlight as they walked.

Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came lying belly-down across the wooden pack-saddles, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking out awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.

The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road.

I don't know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions.

We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead man lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall.

Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. "This one is Captain Waskow," one of them said quietly.

Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don't cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I'm sorry, old man."

Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

"I sure am sorry, sir."

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/pyle/waskow.html


Posted by: arkie on April 26, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

"I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt." - Max Boot

"fool me once, shame onshame on you. Fool meyou can't get fooled again." - George W. Bush

Under normal circumstances I think it would be fair to give the President the benefit of the doubt, but how many times should he be allowed to abuse that benefit. The NYT gave him the benefit of the doubt and declined to publish the story before the 2004 re-election despite Bush's statements in the reelection campaign where he repeatedly falsely claimed that "nothing had changed" and that whenever wiretaps were obtained against terrorists they secured a warrant because they "value the Constitution."

How many times is the President allowed to fool you and the American people before he loses the benefit of that doubt Mr. Boot? I would like to be in the position of giving the President the benefit of the doubt, but given the actual concrete history of abuse, its no longer realistic or appropriate to give the President the benefit of the doubt with stories such as those at issue here.

Posted by: Catch22 on April 26, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ernie Pyle wouldn't be able to work (embed) in today's military. He had more talent and guts in his little finger than you would find in 30 Max Boots.

Posted by: Wombat on April 26, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

"... an illegal domestic spying program and the torture of prisoners in a secret network of prisons in Eastern Europe ..."

It is not a "domestic surveillance program"

It has not at all been demonstrated that the surveillance program is illegal

It has not at all been established that these prisons exist

It by no means has been established that any torture is happening in these not-known-to-exist prisons


All of your readers (or at least those who have a pulse between their ears) know all this.

Where do you get off spouting shit like this, Kevin? Do you think it increases your credibility? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or what?

Posted by: am on April 26, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

I get really confused. Alberto Gonzales was very clear that this is not a war so the rules and conventions of war do not apply. Max Boot says that this is a war just like WWII and it for the survival of good, so different rules apply. I wish the right wing could get their story straight. This flip-floppng hurts my head.

Posted by: chad on April 26, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

It by no means has been established that any torture is happening in these not-known-to-exist prisons

Now, there's a campaign slogan the GOP can run on in the fall. Best of luck!

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Boot, like most of the neocons, has World War II envy. Pure and simple. Peace and prosperity horrifies them. They crave to be part of a giant world-shaping military struggle for existence, regardless of whether one is actually necessary, and they spent much of the 1990s trying to manufacture one with China. Naturally, 9/11 was the best thing to ever happen to these people.

Of course, any differences between a Blitzkrieg juggernaut rolling over Western Europe and a loose gang of barbarians who hit the most powerful nation the world has ever seen with a lucky shot must be glossed over at all possible opportunities. We wouldn't want the masses to reject the state propaganda and support calm, sensible defense measures instead of heroic MacArthuresque campaigns, now would we?

Posted by: ajl on April 26, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

If this is such a serious war of good against evil why did they swerve away from Afghanistan to Iraq and why is OBL still at large? And why the eff do they still want to cut taxes and neglect to ask for sacrifices if this war is so important?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 26, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil. And when the good guys that would be U.S. officials

That would be the good guys who run the secret worldwide network of prisons where they "disappear" people and torture prisoners, all without trial, right? The ones who illegally invade other countries that have never attacked them? Those good guys?

say that certain revelations would help the bad guys, I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt. So, I suspect, do most Americans.

What about when they say that Iraq has WMD, or has reconstituted its nuclear program, or that Saddam had tried to buy Niger yellowcake, or that we'll be met as liberators by the Iraqis, or that the war will pay for itself, or that we'll only need a few ten thousand soldiers to hold Iraq, or that we don't toture prisoners in Abu Ghraib? Should we give them the benefit of the doubt then?

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how Max continues to live up to his last name since his esophagus is blocked by Bush's c*ck, but somehow he manages.

Posted by: Ugh on April 26, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil.

So when GIs operating a prison in Afghanistan kicked to death a taxicab driver, believed to be innocent by his interogators, over the period of 5 days...

Sorry - I can't finish the thought because of the of rage this brings up.

Hey, Max Boot. May you, Rumsfeld, and Bush burn in hell for all eternity for sanctioning the torture and murder of an innocent. It's up to that taxicab driver to forgive you, it's not my place.

Posted by: Wapiti on April 26, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil.

Hey, I want US government officials to uphold moral standards and behave as if the present struggle is a fight between good and evil, and not between evil and more evil, but we can't have everything....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Notice that he has to point out the good guys:

"when the good guys--that would be US officials--say..."

I wonder if anyone ever had to point out that US officials are the good guys during FDR's reign ??

Posted by: ScottW on April 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil.

and a pony.

Posted by: Ugh on April 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Today it's "American soldiers," "the military offensive" and (most damning of all) "the president's predicament" as if this were Bush's war, not ours.

So where are Boot's on the record complaints that Republicans were calling Bosnia and Kosovo "Clinton's War"? Was he whining then as he's whining now?

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK
It is not a "domestic surveillance program"

It has not at all been demonstrated that the surveillance program is illegal

It has not at all been established that these prisons exist

It by no means has been established that any torture is happening in these not-known-to-exist prisons

Wow, come to think of it, am is right! Even though the spy program focuses on surveillance of the overseas conversations carried out by domestic targets, the President insists that it shouldn't be called a "domestic surveillance program" therefore it isn't one! Why didn't this occur to me before?

Also, even though nearly every legal observer who isn't on the White House payroll has rejected the President's "Because the President says so" defense of why the program is legal, the actual nature of the program is still secret. Therefore no one can demonstrate (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that it's illegal. Awesome!

And even though the President has not denied that the CIA prisons exist, and the CIA explicitly ordered the journalist not to reveal which countries the non-prisons are located in, we can't be sure that they exist! Reasonable doubt, man! Reasonable doubt!

And torture, hey man, just because we rendered them to Uzbekistan doesn't mean they were tortured! They might have been sipping tea with the secret police of Central Asia's most notorious tyrant.

Thanks to am and Johnny Cochran, it's all clear to me now. If it's officially secret, you must acquit!

Posted by: ajl on April 26, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Boot: "I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil, as the struggle between Oceania and Eastasia, and we need two-minutes of hate each night on TV, and to seek out crimethink in our journalists. I do not understand in this day and age of computers, why the historical process of continuous alteration of our newspapers has not already taken place. We have the pneumatic tubes, why have they not been applied? The past must be kept up to date! Jorg Bush uber allies!

Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!"

Posted by: jerry on April 26, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil."

And I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between the alliance of the Men of Gondor, the Rohirrim, the Dewarves, and Elves on one side and Sauron and his orcish hordes on the other....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

am: All of your readers (or at least those who have a pulse between their ears) know all this.

If they believed your lies, they might "know all this".

Fortunately, Kevin's liberal readers are more discerning and reject your attempts to pretend that these things haven't been proven.

Just to take one example:

It has not at all been established that these prisons exist . . .

McCarthy could not have leaked classified information about prisons, as the administration has claimed, if they did not exist - you can't classify something that doesn't exist.

(If they do not exist, then the administration is lying about why McCarthy was fired - which is why they are already backpeddling, since they realized that by tying her firing to the prison story they were admitting their existence.)

And remember, the same people claiming that the prisons don't or didn't exist are the same ones who have now been shown to have lied about the unauthorized flights over EU countries.

So, it seems you are the one that is lying and ignoring the facts, am.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 26, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
It is not a "domestic surveillance program" It has not at all been demonstrated that the surveillance program is illegal

It has not at all been established that these prisons exist

It by no means has been established that any torture is happening in these not-known-to-exist prisons

I do believe in fairies! I do believe in fairies!

Posted by: Ugh on April 26, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

roll themselves up in a bubble wrap of security and live out their daily lives in a near-perfect sensory deprivation zone

I know some clubs in Manhattan where people pay $200 an hour to have that done to them.

Of course there, unlike in the real world, you're also guaranteed a happy ending....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Max Boot will someday write, "And then they came for me."

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 26, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

It by no means has been established that any torture is happening in these not-known-to-exist prisons

Ahahahahaha! Hahahahaahah!

They don't exist, but if they did exist, we don't torture people there, even though it would be OK to torture people there, not that we do, and not that I'm saying that there's a there there, which there isn't, because it doesn't exist, but if it does exist, it would be legal....

And round and round the spinning top goes....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think that's overstated. Bush will do everything he believes he should do to fight the war on terror, as long as it is done in a way that also aims to cement Republican power.

It's not that he doesn't care about the war on terror, it's just that he cares about two things: the war on terror and Republican power.

Posted by: mk on April 26, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

True statement:
Boot, like most of the neocons, has World War II envy. Pure and simple. Peace and prosperity horrifies them. They crave to be part of a giant world-shaping military struggle for existence...

Yes it IS "World War II envy" -- but envy of which side?

I mean this in all seriousness. Let's recognize again, just how BIG the Big Lie is, for Bush AND for Max das U-Boot.

Big Lie about Iraq being a threat, and about actual evidence.

Big Lie about who is the threat to whom. Is reversed the actual facts. It is America that preemptively invaded another nation, without provocation, without imminent threat.

Big Lie about appeasement. Who needs the appeasing? The small, non-invading, non-threatening, oil-producing nations? Or America? How can there be a policy of appeasement towards Iran, when they haven't invaded anybody?

BIG Lie from Max das U-Boot. He asserts we're on the side of the right -- when we break every rule, every principle, every law, every clause of the social contract with the American People, every treaty -- we are equivalent, currently to the wrong side of the WWII conflict.

Max das U-Boot has World War II envy for the aggressor nations of that conflict. His continued use of the Big Lie is more evidence of that fact.

And Max das U-Boot will Lie and Lie and Lie and Lie to get everyone to believe otherwise. They'll be Big Lies. Very Big Lies. In torrents.

But Max das U-Boot's Big Lies will never prevail.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 26, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

World War II was a fight between good and evil. Given our willingness to invade non-threatening countries, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the process, and torture prisoners, the GWOT is a fight between evil and slightly less evil.

Posted by: sc on April 26, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's envy, but not World War II envy.

The neocons fancy themselves as the 21st century version of the British colonialists of the 18th and 19th Century. They desperately want an empire. Read Sullivan and Hitchens and Ferguson and you get the picture.

Posted by: lib on April 26, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for posting that Ernie Pyle piece, arkie. It's the saddest, most moving piece I've read in a long time.

Honor all the poor unknown Captain Waskows who've died in this stupid, senseless war.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

stefan: Was he whining then as he's whining now?

I bet I know the answer to that.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"bubble wrap"

Ah, the nights of Plato's - Max would have loved it.

Posted by: stupid git on April 26, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Quoth Max of the Boot:

I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil. And when the good guys that would be U.S. officials say that certain revelations would help the bad guys, I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt. So, I suspect, do most Americans.

Since when are U.S. officials a priori "good guys"? Yeah, yeah, Boot wants journalists to cover this as if the people he supports -- the present executive branch -- were by definition good, and anyone, foreign or domestic, they disagree with were, ipso facto, evil. That's clear.

However, journalists' jobs are not to be evangelists for Boot's political dogma.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that one had me thinking too. Wrapped up in bubble wrap, in almost perfect sensory deprivation, with unpleasant truths intruding from all sides...

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Since when are U.S. officials a priori "good guys"?

From September 11, 2001 until about April of 2004, as far as this CNN viewer could tell.

One way to make sure the press treats you as the good guys: make sure you only fight good wars.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Most of our troops out there are just patriotic kids doing what the people they trusted told them was the right thing to do. I don't like to see the US side in the war referred to as "evil", even a "lesser evil", because even torture-boy Rumsfeld is a choir boy compared to those jihadist swine.

But the Bush Administration sure haven't been acting like "Good Guys", have they?

Yes, in the global struggle between Bad and Evil, I certainly still want the Bad Guys to defeat the Evil Guys. If they somehow, by sheer dumb luck, manage to create a peace-loving democracy in Iraq and reduce the number of terror attacks in the world, I'll be glad they did.

But asking journalists to cover up for the men in power, mislead the public, and regurgitate propaganda instead of reporting the facts? Boot, you make sick.

Posted by: ajl on April 26, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

No one working for the mainstream media today would refer, as Ernie Pyle did during World War II, to "our soldiers," "our offensive," "our predicament." Today it's "American soldiers," "the military offensive" and (most damning of all) "the president's predicament"...

If Bush asked the country to commit more than rhetoric--say, by rolling back tax cuts to help pay for the war and requesting and demanding substantive sacrifices--then it might really be the country's war. But Bush doesn't have the spine or the inclination, and I'm sure both Bush and Boot know what the public's reaction would be at this point.

Boot is essentially demanding that the press provide the leadership and spine that Bush lacks. How... ummm... stupid. The press is not the problem Max; the problem is sitting in the White House

Posted by: has407 on April 26, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

It has not at all been demonstrated that [Saddam had a WMD] program.

It has not at all been established that [Iraq posed any sort of threat to the US]

It by no means has been established that any [terrorists were operating in Iraq prior to the War]

All of your readers (or at least those who have a pulse between their ears) know all this.

Where do you get off spouting shit like this, [W, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi] Do you think it increases your credibility? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or what?
Posted by: am


Wow. I finally agree with am.

Posted by: ckelly on April 26, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

ya know, the Library of America has two splendid volumes of world war ii reporting that i have perused. Let me say that Boot quite obviously hasn't done his homework and, as usual for the right wing, is living in a fantasy world.

as for am, every now and then there are contenders to throne, but am is, without question, the champion idiot of all posters....

Posted by: howard on April 26, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Max Boot."

Wasn't that a Stallone movie from around 1987?

Posted by: HeavyJ on April 26, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

They don't exist, but if they did exist, we don't torture people there, even though it would be OK to torture people there, not that we do, and not that I'm saying that there's a there there, which there isn't, because it doesn't exist, but if it does exist, it would be legal....

LOL, oh my, that's basically what it's come down to for these people--an Abbott and Costello routine.

Posted by: Ringo on April 26, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't that a Stallone movie from around 1987?

No, but "Max Bootie" would be a great title for a porn film.

And "Max Boot Camp" would be an even better title for a gay porn film....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Max das Boot

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Max's nickname is "Jack," right?

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Max "das Jack" Boot

Posted by: SombreroFallout on April 26, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

. . . the Dewar(v)es, and Elves on one side and Sauron and his orcish hordes on the other....
Posted by: Stefan

I didn't know you were a Scotch drinker.

Saw a somewhat related bumper sticker last week: Republicans for Voldemort.

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't know you were a Scotch drinker.

Actually, I prefer Jameson's Irish whisky.

So if anyone's wondering what to buy me for Christmas this year....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Orwell describe the future as "a Boot stomping on a human face, forever"? Makes more sense to me now.

Posted by: mmy on April 26, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

MAX BOOT vs. WOLF BLITZER

Japanese plastic toy action figures!!!

Posted by: ogmb on April 26, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for posting that Ernie Pyle piece, arkie. It's the saddest, most moving piece I've read in a long time.

The move The Story of GI Joe details Pyle's and the Captain's stories. TCM shows it often. The movie ends with the depiction of the story posted above.

Posted by: Hostile on April 26, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Boot also wrote a book extolling the notion of an American Empire. I can never figure this stuff out -- if the conservatives are going to insist on drawing their political vocabulary from Star Wars and make us all refer to "good guys" and "bad guys", can't they at least get it straight that the Empire are the bad guys?

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 26, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

They've made it crystal clear that they consider the war on terror little more than a useful campaign topic of unlimited duration.

Some days you are too funny.

Posted by: republicrat on April 26, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Saw a somewhat related bumper sticker last week: Republicans for Voldemort.

I love this. But was it on the car of a fun-loving Democrat or a bragging Republican?

Stefan: So if anyone's wondering what to buy me for Christmas this year....

Oooo-eeee, no. I won't make the mistake of jettisoning the Brasilian twins again. I'm still living that down.

Posted by: shortstop on April 26, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"they consider the war on terror little more than a useful campaign topic of unlimited duration."
I hope you wrote that off the cuff because it is
worth using again and again.

Posted by: Noel Gallagher on April 26, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

They've made it crystal clear that they consider the war on terror little more than a useful campaign topic of unlimited duration.

Some days you are too funny.

Posted by: republicrat

Yeah, the tragedy that is Iraq is a regular laugh-riot.
Heavy on the riot.

Posted by: ckelly on April 26, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK


I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil.
--Max Boot

Max sounds like Bush the other day, when he insolently snapped, Im the decider. Dont they both sound like small children? Grown men who speak like little children earn no respect from me. I would hope Americans could discuss matters of world politics and governance in a more mature fashion. Its very obvious to me from these types of comments, that the hard right-wing is incapable of that.

Further, this struggle that Boot refers to Does he mean the West vs. Islam? The U.S. Army vs. the insurgents in Iraq? Osama bin Laden vs. George W. Bush? If you write in vagaries like the present struggle, how is that to be interpreted? Finally, anyone with a mature worldview knows there is no such thing as a fight between good and evil anywhere except in comic books. Is what our soldiers did to Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib good? How about the strafing of Fallujah with AC-130 gunships? Was that the act of forces of good? What about our unwavering support of Israel in their often brutal oppression of the Palestinian people? Is that what good people do? These simple-minded, dichotomous framings of complicated world issues do nothing to further world peace or contribute to finding rational solutions to complex problems.

People like Max Boot need to be soundly ignored.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 26, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you get the benefit of the dubt by virtue of being elected? Do you mean that a President can't conduct his foreign policy until he meets some subjective "benefit of the doubt test?" I thought that's what elections were all about.

Posted by: Aaron on April 26, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you get the benefit of the dubt by virtue of being elected? Do you mean that a President can't conduct his foreign policy until he meets some subjective "benefit of the doubt test?" I thought that's what elections were all about.

Benefit of doubt is bought with political capital. Bush has overspent his like a drunken sailor.

Posted by: lib on April 26, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK
Don't you get the benefit of the dubt by virtue of being elected?

Yeah, but then you lose it when you lie your face of and engage in overt evil.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: mhr on April 26, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mhr,
What's you point? You have no point. Just a flurry of insults and some old Bircher chesnuts of "oh yeah well FDR..."
It's not relevant to the situtation we are in and the challenge ahead.
You seem like underneath the conservative worldview you might have a serious mind and a passion for America.
I dare you to test your current thinking and read this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097794400X/sr=8-1/qid=1146083259/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-9625198-4601708?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Posted by: Northern Observer on April 26, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

A nickname for Max Boot?

I prefer Caligula Parva-"Little Boot the Lesser."

Perfectly in keeping with Mr. Boot's imperalistic fantasies and his actual ablity to fulfill them.

Posted by: Nemo Ignotus on April 26, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Noel Gallagher on April 26, 2006 at 3:55 PM

Definitely Maybe is awesome.

Posted by: Ringo on April 26, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Boot wants to prove that it's not enough to say that stupid people are generally conservative, but that conservatives are generally stupid.

Posted by: lib on April 26, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you get the benefit of the dubt by virtue of being elected? Do you mean that a President can't conduct his foreign policy until he meets some subjective "benefit of the doubt test?" I thought that's what elections were all about.
Posted by: Aaron on April 26, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously Aaron can you really not see how President Bush, his cabinet and the leadership of the Republican controlled Congress have lost the "benefit of the doubt"
Are you unware of the number of times they have lied in order to manipulate you? How much contempt can you take from your leaders?
You must not be reading the right material. Some of the stuff at Red State and Townhall is actually RNC propaganda you know.

For a good look at the modus operandi of the GOP Congress try
www.talkingpointsmemo.com
A good one for Iraq information is Juan Cole's site: www.juancole.com
A good economic site is Brad Delong:
http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/

There you go.

Posted by: Nemesis on April 26, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bush doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, and neither did FDR, who was *very* dishonest about events in the North Atlantic in 1940 and 1941.

The difference between then and now is that exposing that the military had intercepted and decrypted enemy communications in a declared war where Congress had clearly given the President broad authority to conduct it is a far different thing from the current situation, where the administration appears to have decided that the limited authorization to use military force meant Princeps non potest peccare. (The Chief can do no wrong.)

Posted by: Nemo Ignotus on April 26, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, the Pulitzer website has an archive of previous winners. Many between 1941 and 1945 are for war coverage. I don't know the details about any of the stories to describe the spin.

However, I was pleased to see this award in 1945:

EDITORIAL CARTOONING: Sergeant Bill Mauldin of United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
For distinguished service as a cartoonist, as exemplified by the cartoon entitled, "Fresh, spirited American troops, flushed with victory, are bringing in thousands of hungry, ragged, battle-weary prisoners," in the series entitled, "Up Front With Mauldin."
It may have been "our soldiers" but hardly a rose-tinted view of them...

Here's the cartoon in question
Furthermore, General Patton personally reprimanded Maudlin for undermining the morale of the army, threatened him and tried to prevent Stars and Stripes from publishing his cartoons.

Posted by: Lis Riba on April 26, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Lis, that was my point earlier about the library of america volumes on world war ii reporting: boot obviously doesn't know what world war ii reporting was really like (not that that's a surprise).

aaron, what kind of wimp in a democratic society gives an elected official the "benefit of the doubt" on anything? Eternal vigilance, you know - putting aside how bush has lost any benefit that any wimp would have given him....

Posted by: howard on April 26, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Bear in mind that "Stars and Stripes" was the official newspaper of the US military. Would Mauldin have been able to publish his cartoons in today's edition?

Posted by: Wombat on April 26, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Lis Riba -- Thanks for the reminder. Up Front is a wonderful book, both cartoons and text, and Willie and Joe are great characters. A must read.

Posted by: has407 on April 26, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

"I want journalists to cover the present struggle as a fight between good and evil."

Yeah, all 11-year olds want that, Max. Isn't it time you grew up and faced the facts?

Posted by: BroD on April 26, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Would Mauldin have been able to publish his cartoons in today's edition?

No, and Pyle would have been 'accidently' killed by a US tank firing into his hotel.

Posted by: Hostile on April 26, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

"when the good guys that would be U.S. officials say that certain revelations would help the bad guys, I want them to be given the benefit of the doubt"

The thing is, of course, that the news media (and for the most part, the country) DID give the Bush administration the benefit of every conceivable doubt.

We're way beyond conceivable doubt here.

Posted by: rea on April 26, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

5 years after Pearl Harbor FDR has Japan declaring unconditional surrender

5 years after 911.... Osama who?

Actually, it's worse than that. The Japanese surrendered about 3 2/3 years after Pearl Harbor. It's now been about 4 2/3 years since 9/11/01. So in WWII, an entire empire, not to mention fascism, was brought to its knees in less time that it took Bush to create a permanent disaster in Iraq and help al Queda to thrive.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on April 26, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

god that's an offensive statement by Boot. he's always struck me as a little weenie.

Posted by: Jones on April 27, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You keep saying that NSA intercepts of telephone conversations between people in the US and foreign AQ affiliates was "an illegal domestic spying program" but as you must be aware, that conclusion is, to say the least, hotly debated. Indeed, based on existing precedents, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would agree with you on that. That doesn't mean you're necessarily wrong - the Supreme Court isn't always right - just that it's misleading for you to characterize the NSA intercept program the way you did.

Posted by: DBL on April 27, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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