Flash: Iran is not Nazi Germany and a suggestion for covering the U. S. Senate race in Florida
Harris wins nomination in Florida Senate race
By Jane SuttonWed Sep 6, 8:17 AM ET
Katherine Harris cinched the Republican party's U.S. Senate nomination in Florida on Tuesday, despite the best efforts of party heavyweights who begged the former election official not to run.
The U.S. congresswoman won about 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary election and will face a tough battle against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record) in the November general election.
She trails Nelson by more than 30 points in voter opinion polls, lags far behind him in fund-raising and came under scrutiny after receiving illegal campaign contributions from a defense contractor who admitted bribing another congressional representative.
Harris, 49, has seen a steady exodus of disgruntled campaign staffers, who described her as obsessed with unimportant details and prone to screaming tantrums.
None of that fazed Harris.
"Standing here tonight with you is proof positive just how we can courageously beat the odds as we have time and time again with your help," Harris said at her victory party in Tampa.
Harris has scant support among independents, who account for one in five Florida voters, and even 31 percent of Republicans said they disliked her in a recent Mason-Dixon poll.
She recently provoked an uproar when she dismissed the separation of church and state and told a Baptist publication that "if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
The strongest enthusiasm for Harris seems to be among the bloggers and comedians who delight in ridiculing her tight clothing and flirtatious manner. [...]
Hmmm, my hope is that the PBS News Magazine NOW covers this race and gets Maria Hinojosa to cover her. Then perhaps we can see who can wear the tightest clothing.
Are We Really Reliving 1938?
Fortunately, it appears that aside from some of the most ignorant among us, many aren't buying this line:
From a Ted Rall Column:
NEW YORK--Poor Bush. You know the economy is lousy when Karl Rove orders him to talk up Iraq. Iraq--car bomb/civil war/assassination/roadside bomb/more dead Marines/mosque explosion Iraq--is his good news. Then, when he goes to unveil his newest talking point in the war of words to distract us from our Great Disappearing Paychecks, he mucks up the sound byte.
"As veterans," he warned the American Legion on August 31, "you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century, and history shows what the outcome will be. This war will be difficult, this war will be long, and this war will end in the defeat of the to...to...toma...tomatolitarians."
Chris Mooney's book "The Republican War on Science" details Bush's jihad against rationality. [...]
What we do know is that the Bushies have also declared war on history.
One of the curiouser traits of Fool and the Gang is their habit of lying about bad historical figures. Saddam Hussein, for example, killed about 100,000 people and started wars against Iran and Kuwait. The Bushies say he killed 400,000 and was seconds from taking over the world. Isn't 100,000 and two wars bad enough? Why not leave it at that?
The Bushies' newfound/reheated Islamofascist trope follows the same pattern of libeling evildoers. Politicized Islamic fundamentalists dream of installing Taliban-style governments and of enforcing a rigid Saudi/Wahhabiist-style version of Sharia (religious) law throughout the Muslim world. They want to force everyone to follow Islamic strictures, censor and/or eliminate news media, and deny women the rights enjoyed by men. That's the truth, and it isn't pretty. (It's also worth noting that, when the Saudis began lopping off the heads of adulterers in the '80s, liberals screamed while the Republicans shipped them high-tech American weaponry.)
The truth, scary as it is, is never enough for Bush. So he abuses his bully pulpit, preaching mangled history to a nation notoriously ignorant of the lessons of the past. "Islamofascism is nothing but an empty propaganda term," writes conservative columnist Joseph Sobran. "And wartime propaganda is usually, if not always, crafted to produce hysteria, the destruction of any sense of proportion. Such words, undefined and unmeasured, are used by people more interested in making us lose our heads than in keeping their own."
Despite Bush's latest attempts to conflate them, radical Islam has nothing in common with communism or fascism (which, moreover, have little have in common with each other). Totalitarianism is an ideological tool deployed by oppressive nation-states; they monitor and regulate every detail of their citizens' everyday lives. Citizens of radical Muslim societies like Taliban-era Afghanistan and present-day Saudi Arabia enjoy privacy and autonomy in their homes; state oppression manifests itself externally, in the streets.
Fascists use state control for the benefit of business, communists seize businesses for the benefit of the state, and Islamists have little interest in controlling economic activity as long as it doesn't violate Sharia. (Liquor stores, for example, are banned.)
"Islamic terrorist attacks," Bush told the National Endowment for Democracy in October 2005, "serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom."
Along with his comparison of Islamists to Nazis and communists, implicit in Bush's "totalitarian empire" argument is the assertion that we'll have to defeat them Over There or end our lives fighting desperate house-to-house battles against turbaned hordes in the streets of Nashville. There isn't even a smidgeon of truth to this--not even the most extreme Islamists have expressed a desire to invade or subjugate the United States or any other historically non-Muslim country--but Bush isn't out to spread the truth.
And from a very different kind of columnist, Fareed Zakaria:
Sept. 11, 2006 issue - It's 1938, says the liberal columnist Richard Cohen, evoking images of Hitler's armies massing in the face of an appeasing West. No, no, says Newt Gingrich, the Third World War has already begun. Neoconservatives, who can be counted on to escalate, argue that we're actually in the thick of the Fourth World War. The historian Bernard Lewis warned a few weeks ago that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could be planning to annihilate Israel (and perhaps even the United States) on Aug. 22 because it was a significant day for Muslims.
Can everyone please take a deep breath?
To review a bit of history: in 1938, Adolf Hitler launched what became a world war not merely because he was evil but because he was in complete control of the strongest country on the planet. At the time, Germany had the world's second largest industrial base and its mightiest army. (The American economy was bigger, but in 1938 its army was smaller than that of Finland.) This is not remotely comparable with the situation today.
Iran does not even rank among the top 20 economies in the world. The Pentagon's budget this year is more than double Iran's total gross domestic product ($181 billion, in official exchange-rate terms). America's annual defense outlay is more than 100 times Iran's. Tehran's nuclear ambitions are real and dangerous, but its program is not nearly as advanced as is often implied. Most serious estimates suggest that Iran would need between five and 10 years to achieve even a modest, North Korea-type, nuclear capacity.
Washington has a long habit of painting its enemies 10 feet tall—and crazy. During the cold war, many hawks argued that the Soviet Union could not be deterred because the Kremlin was evil and irrational. The great debate in the 1970s was between the CIA's wimpy estimate of Soviet military power and the neoconservatives' more nightmarish scenario. The reality turned out to be that even the CIA's lowest estimates of Soviet power were a gross exaggeration. During the 1990s, influential commentators and politicians—most prominently the Cox Commission—doubled the estimates of China's military spending, using largely bogus calculations. And then there was the case of Saddam Hussein's capabilities. Saddam, we were assured in 2003, had nuclear weapons—and because he was a madman, he would use them.
The rest of this column is an excellent read.
So, what about our current war in Iraq? Here is what one Marine says:
by DemMarineVet [Subscribe]
Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 09:41:48 AM PDT
Submitted to the Racine Journal Times. Read the original article Here
After reading some of the comments that were posted about me online I felt it necessary to respond to my critics. On Monday August 28th, the Racine Journal Times ran an article about me. I was interviewed about what I thought about the Marine Corps calling up individual ready reservists to fight the war in Iraq. When I was asked questions about what I thought, I answered honestly.
- DemMarineVet's diary :: ::
I do not believe our national security is at risk in an Iraqi civil war. Therefore I do not believe in sacrificing American lives to mediate Iraqis who kill each other, or for Iraqis who are not thankful for the liberation of their country. They just don't care about the losses the American military suffered doing it. I also think that Al-Qaida is such a small percentage in this conflict that it is not viable to be there. I also do not buy the argument that Al-Qaida will come to our homeland if we leave. Why wouldn't they go to that other country, the real war on terror in Afghanistan? Last I checked Osama Bin Laden is still over there somewhere.
I also have a problem with the leader of our country. The President has failed in a basic tenant of leadership which is keeping his administration accountable. That is the last scourge of leadership, taking responsibility for when you make a mistake. Whether it be Iraq, Katrina, failure to secure our border or our ports, this President has failed in that. As a Marine Sergeant I have practiced more leadership and know more about leadership than the President of this country, and that scares me to death. I have seen people disciplined severely for not filling up a gas tank on a humvee while in combat. If he is not doing his job, it is our job to demand that he does. However there are those who think the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the rest of the administration should be immune to criticism because in wartime we should support our leader by giving him a blank check. The military is in combat and still holds its leaders accountable, why can't the President be held accountable? Giving the leader a blank check regardless of a track record is what happens in Iran, China, and North Korea. That is not American!
After all of this being said I am, a man first. I did sign a contract and I will go back to duty if ordered. That has nothing to do with being a marine. I will go because if I don't another marine will. I will go because there are other marines stuck over there who want to get the chance to make it home. I will go because I will be doing it for those marines; I do not care about Iraq or its people. I care about America.
Finally, I have had numerous people who have decried me as a coward, ungrateful, un-American, a traitor, and everything else you can think of. To those of you who believe that I would ask you to read the Constitution and some of quotes from our founding fathers. Although not a founding father, a quote from Voltaire strikes me as one of the most American of all and is one that greatly inspired our American system
"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it"
After the article about me came out I have been judged by a good part of Racine. For four years of my life I have proudly lived, loved, sweat, and suffered Marine Corps. I will not sit idly by and be slandered for practicing the rights I have defended for those four years and in the name of those rights that I may serve yet again. I have earned my right to say what I want without that kind of nonsense. It is one thing to disagree with what I am saying and use your free speech but it reprehensible to do what a lot of people did in calling me those fore mentioned terms. It is even more reprehensible getting those comments from those like our leaders who have not fought in combat and have no idea what it is like. (That includes our President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense).
There are also those who claim I shouldn't have an opinion while I am in the military. I do agree with that when talking about an active duty unit. The status I am in (inactive), allows me the rights afforded by our constitution and is consistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well. It is not pre-judicial to good order and discipline, and I am not even subject to any punitive articles unless the violation of the UCMJ was committed on active duty. There is no compelling reason like there is in an active duty unit to deny me our basic American rights. If you truly love America and the values that make America, you should not either.
Loving America is more than wrapping yourself in a flag. Its about defending American values.
Let the chickenhawks respond to that!