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Don’t you dare talk about this
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, August 10, 2006

Apparently, Glen Greenwald is into preemptive attacks now. In a post at Salon he notes - as he is apparently writing the post - that "roughly 12 hours have elapsed" since the British announced foiling today's terror plot and surely, he assures us, surely, the White House is going to try to exploit it:
The White House is sure to follow suit any minute now, insinuating — or explicitly claiming — that this incident proves that Bush was right about the whole array of our country's foreign policy disputes, from Iraq to the current Israel-Lebanon war. This naked exploitation of terrorist threats for political gain occurs every time a new terrorist plot is revealed, no matter how serious or frivolous, no matter how advanced or preliminary, the plot might be. Each time a new plot is disclosed, administration officials and their followers immediately begin squeezing the emotions and fears generated by such events for every last drop of political gain they can manufacture.

But this effort is as incoherent as it is manipulative. Nobody doubts that there are Muslim extremists who would like to commit acts of violence against the U.S. and the West. No political disputes are premised on a conflict over whether terrorism exists or whether it ought to be taken seriously. As a result, events such as this that reveal what everyone already knows — that there is such a thing as Islamic extremists who want to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. — do nothing to inform or resolve political debates over the Bush administration's militaristic foreign policy or its radical lawlessness at home.
You have to at least admire the effort if not the rhetoric.

Note he begins by saying that the White House is sure to do what he predicts and then condemns it before it ever happens with his 'this naked exploitation of terrorist threats for political gain ...' etc., etc.

But even if he's right, I'm afraid I don't understand the point. What administration, Democratic or Republican, isn't going to politically exploit something which happens which tends to bolster their narrative or point of view?

Seriously, when John Murtha blurted out that Marines had killed 24 in cold blood in Haditha, were we to have assumed he wasn't exploiting an event which supported his narrative of "the military is broken" or we should "redeploy" our troops?

Any doubt that when Harry Reid was on his "culture of corruption" kick he wasn't going to exploit Jack Abramoff's conviction or Tom DeLay's indictment?

When any Democratic politician cites a particularly devastating car bomb or a significant loss of life by members of the US military as a reason to end our involvement in Iraq, is it purely nonexploitive rhetoric, or are they bolstering their political point of view?

That's politics and Greenwald's clumsy attempt to condemn the White House before it says anything on an event of national importance is, in reality, silly.

So when Greenwald claims ...
As a result, events such as this that reveal what everyone already knows — that there is such a thing as Islamic extremists who want to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. — do nothing to inform or resolve political debates over the Bush administration's militaristic foreign policy or its radical lawlessness at home.
... he tells us something "everyone already knows". Politicians of all stripes use events that bolster their world view and will until the end of time. That's politics. And all politics is manipulative. Each side tries to sell it's narrative and uses situations and events to do so.

A good example of political manipulation is Greewald's post in which he cites something which hadn't even happened at the time and exploits the possibility in an attempt to shape public opinion before the fact. Pretty cool if you can get away with it.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
On the June 29th post "Stampede For the Gutter" mkultra had this to say in reference to a comment I had blockquoting Salon.
Your example is a post on Salon. ’Nuff said.
Well mkultra, are you still so dismissive of the quoality of Salon?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
"Greenwald’s clumsy attempt to condemn the White House before it says anything on an event of national importance is, in reality [my emphasis] , silly."
Mr. Greenwald has only a passing acquaintance with reality, as has so definitely been established. Silly in reality, yes, but those in NYTLand lap it up. Just click your latte cups together three times and say: "There’s no place like NYTLand." and you will be there.

OK. I’ll quit. I’m still having fun, but I know....sorry.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
I don’t know about MK, but if Salon is going to publish a two-bit cold-reading propaganda weasel like Greenwald, then they just earned a place in my kill file.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Sooner or later, Mona’s "Glennbot 3000" search algorithm is going to lead her here to defend Big Daddy Greenwald, explaining AGAIN how Glenn (and her) are not, in fact, lefties masquerading as libertarians. Never mind the article in Salon, or publishing his "best seller" through a left-wing fundraising group.

SHE READS REASON!!!!

Of course, now I’M exploiting events as they happen to bolster my narrative.
But that’s just how I roll.

And, cue Mona!
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
Well if Bush doesn’t talk about it, nobody on the left certainly will, except for the odd "its Bush’s fault" snark the lefty blogs have gone into the oblivious mode they enter when something like this happen
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
That last post must be from one of the sock puppets gone haywire. Looks like you’re in trouble now, McQ.

[David - so your comment doesn’t look completely foolish or have shark think you’re talking about him, let me acknowledge here that I removed the comment you are citing since it was good old spam. - McQ]
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Talk about the power of procrastination.

I was going to write a piece about somebody would write a piece saying that the events of the day would be exploited, but alas Glen "Sock Puppet" Greenwald was beaten me to the punch, exploiting the exploitation angle for his own purposes.

I can further bet that a whole rash of Democrats will say that the day’s events change nothing. Further saying that Bush has done nothing to protect us.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
After 9/11 it was obligatory for everyone on the Left to demand that "root causes" be addressed. The current buzz phrase is "fear mongering". Any time the administration mentions the threat of terrorism in any context someone on the Left has to stand up and accuse them of fear mongering.

It would probably be smoother, though, to hold off on making the fear mongering charge until the administration has actually said something.

Greenwald goes on to say:
No political disputes are premised on a conflict over whether terrorism exists or whether it ought to be taken seriously.
If this premise universally accepted, and does not lead to any controversial conclusions, then why does the Left shout down anyone who tries mention it?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Greenwald mentioned...

Humm, where’s Mona?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
And per Greenwalds "radical lawlessness;" isnt that part and parcel of the "naked exploitation... for political gain" he is railing against?

Maybe Ellers will show up to explain.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
As a result, events such as this that reveal what everyone already knows — that there is such a thing as Islamic extremists who want to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. — do nothing to inform or resolve political debates over the Bush administration’s militaristic foreign policy or its radical lawlessness at home.
Evidently not every one knows this. If they did we would have Americans hitting the street wanting to know why we aren’t killing more of them. Instead they are out there protesting Israel going after hezbollah and screaming for us to pull troops out of Iraq. As far was Bush’s foreign policy goes it can’t be any worse than clintons since it was during his presidency that they came up with he plan to bomb the USS Cole and the WTC.
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
Actually John Aravois spewed on this already. Lets all click our heels and pretend it never happened. 1..2...3... click
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
It would be nice if the left considered Islamic terrorism a worse threat than the right. ;)
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
After 9/11, the Left-wing criticism of the Bush administration was that they should have "done something" to prevent the attacks after receiving a memo warning that al Qaeda was determined to strike inside the US. In the subsequent five years, though, it has become clear that the Left actually opposes proactive action against terrorists.

Any military action against terrorists outside of US borders would necessarily be preemptive and based on intelligence estimates. Such actions would also probably be unilateral and lacking the blessing of the UN. Although the Clinton administration routinely did them, in the wake of the Iraq war the Left now deems such things morally wrong, if not actually war crimes.

Domestically, any attempt to identify terrorist sleeper cells would require intelligence gathering. That is a phrase that goes over like a fart in church on the Left. Any intelligence gathering operation would have to identify targets either narrowly, by penetrating the Islamic community (profiling), or broadly, by using data mining techniques (like TIA) across the whole population to identify suspicious patterns. Both approaches are widely opposed on the Left.

Once these tactics are ruled out, what remains is the approach that John Kerry advocated in his 2004 Presidential campaign: hire people to protect high-risk targets like nuclear power plants and beef up "first responder" capabilities. Not coincidentally, this approach would massively increase the Federal funds flowing into the coffers of the public employee unions which fund the Democratic party. It is also a defensive, and ultimately reactive approach. After all, no matter how many union members we hire, there is no way to protect every possible hard and soft target in a country as large and populous as ours.

If your party is trying to sell the American public on a reactive policy towards terrorism then you really don’t want voters dwelling too much on the idea that terrorists are determined to carry out an apocalyptic attack on our soil. I think this is why any reference to terrorism is now shouted down (a priori in this case) as "fear mongering".

 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
After 9/11, the Left-wing criticism of the Bush administration was that they should have "done something" to prevent the attacks after receiving a memo warning that al Qaeda was determined to strike inside the US. In the subsequent five years, though, it has become clear that the Left actually opposes proactive action against terrorists.
Nonsense. Give me one quote, or even half-baked argument that the left opposes "proactive" action against terrorists.

You are just another lazy wingnut. Give me a quote, or a position, or any evidence that you can use to support your nonsense.

I dare you.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Ah, so this is what is known as a preemptive strike.
 
Written By: Knox
URL: http://knoxscape.blogspot.com
Picture this from the Democrat point of view;

Here we find ourselves with a Republican congress, AND to top THAT off, a Republican president, who for good or ill, who doesn’t substantially disagree with the Democrats on any issue other than the war on and the handling of the war.

That war on terror thereby is the only area on which the Democrats can argue politically with the president. It’s the only place they can make their political points. I suspect that the level of desperation we have been seeing from the democrats of late as regards the war can be explained by this alone.

But with yesterday’s events, it would appear that argument has been shot out from underneath them, as well. Greenwald knows it, too. He knows unless he discredits the event, the last argument he has is sunk. Thus his ’pre-emptive’ strike.... it’s not really preemptive. Rather, it’s the last act of a desperate and hopeless cause.

You’ve almost gotta feel sorry for him.
Almost.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Domestically, any attempt to identify terrorist sleeper cells would require intelligence gathering. That is a phrase that goes over like a fart in church on the Left. Any intelligence gathering operation would have to identify targets either narrowly, by penetrating the Islamic community (profiling), or broadly, by using data mining techniques (like TIA) across the whole population to identify suspicious patterns. Both approaches are widely opposed on the Left.
Aldo:

I agree with everything you’ve said above except for equating "penetrating the Islamic community" with "profiling." Infiltrating nefarious organizations — from the Mafia on down — is a time-worn tool of law enforcement and I don’t think it equates to profiling. Infiltration generally takes place after some preliminary work is done to identify relatively narrow targets. The FBI did not target Italian-Americans generally — it did not "profile" Italian-Americans — it identified those Italian-Americans who were associated with the Mafia and then penetrated those groups. Admittedly, the lines are not precise, but when I think of ethinic "profiling" I interpret that to mean targeting a person solely because of his membership in that ethnic group — whether Italian, Islamist, or whatever — and not because of any individualized grounds for suspicion. I would be opposed, say, to tapping the phones of all Islamic-Americans merely because they happen to be Islamic, but I certainly would have no problem if a FISA-warrant is issued to monitor specific Islamic-Americans because that would be based upon specific facts. What the Left thinks of all this I don’t know.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Give me a quote, or a position, or any evidence that you can use to support your nonsense.
Fairly simple ... review John Kerry’s "law enforcement" position on terrorism put forward in the’04 elections (and one of the main reasons he is sitting on the sidelines right now). Don’t mistake opposition to the war in Iraq as opposition to the War on Islamic radicalism.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Not only will the Bush admin exploit this, but there is no doubt in my mind that they *SHOULD* exploit it! It’s amusing and insightful that Bush’s critics would whine about it. Calling Lanny Davis! Because in their delusional minds, only the "good" lefties don’t exploit these typs of events. Yep, it’s just those mean, sick Republicans who do it. Good grief - how do alleged adults go through life with such a childish view? How else can you describe Greenwald’s immature and silly hissy fit?

I absolutely DEMAND that the Bush admin and Republicans "exploit" this event. It is but one more step in helping us defeat our enemy.

And notice that no matter what, the one thing the critics seem absoltuely incapable of discussing are ALTERNATIVES and SOLUTIONS. They refuse to address the real problem (i.e. the enemy), and instead chip away at everything the rest of us advocate.
 
Written By: slick
URL: http://
David,

I understand your point, but I think the Mafia operated a lot more openly within the Italian-American community than terrorist sleeper cells do within the Islamic community.

Law enforcement was able to identify Mafia targets based on criminal associations.
In order to identify jihadists in the Islamic community, law enforcement would have to start by looking at RELIGIOUS associations.

It might be necessary to cultivate sources within the congregations of certain mosques, or even to send undercover agents there to develop relationships. Since this would be done before a terrorist attack has occurred, and without specific evidence of a crime (IOW, it is intelligence gathering, not investigation) the Left will object that the Islamic community is being unfairly "profiled", harassed, and discriminated against based on their religion. I suspect that courts would side with them.

Personally, I think that data mining techniques have the potential to be more effective. Anyway, it won’t be long before jihadists learn to avoid openly associating with the larger Islamic community. With proper controls and oversight I think data mining would be no more offensive to civil liberties than other law enforcement techniques. The major problem is that it is easier for the Left to portray these techniques as sccary and Orwellian.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Would someone like to explain how Greenwald’s post isn’t an example of
"This naked exploitation of terrorist threats for political gain?"

Mona? You’re on.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It might be necessary to cultivate sources within the congregations of certain mosques, or even to send undercover agents there to develop relationships. Since this would be done before a terrorist attack has occurred, and without specific evidence of a crime (IOW, it is intelligence gathering, not investigation) the Left will object that the Islamic community is being unfairly "profiled", harassed, and discriminated against based on their religion. I suspect that courts would side with them.
I’m not at all certain the courts would prohibit the "cultivat[ation of] sources within the congregations of certain mosques." Of course, that would depend upon the specific activites undertaken, but, in general, there is no legal prohibition I am aware of against trying to establish good relations within the Muslim community in the hope that those relationships will yield useful intelligence.

On the other hand, using undercover operatives to infiltrate mosques without any specific basis for doing so — other than that the people there are obviously Muslims — would no doubt be politically unpopular, but it would also be a misuse of the resources that, however dedicated we are to the effort, will always be limited. If we do have people who are capable of successfully infiltrating Islamist groups, it is a limited number (of qualified infiltrators) I am sure, and far better to reserve them for when they can be put to best use; i.e., after a particular group has been identified as suspect. There are already plenty of tools available to conduct the limited investigation and intelligence gathering necessary to establish a preliminary basis to suspect an individual or group. (At the risk of diverting from my main points I will add that it is not just "Leftists" who are concerned about the civil liberty implications of these matters.)

It is not enough to be tough in dealing with Islamofacism; we must also be smart. The last thing we want to do, I think, is unncessarily antagonize those moderate Muslims who, if allied with us, will likely be our most valuable resource. Far better, I think, to encourage the ascendancy of moderate Muslims and to cultivate them as resources to combat the extremists who have hijacked their religion.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Glen Greenwald is sure to follow suit any minute now, insinuating — or explicitly claiming — that Bush will falsly use this incident to prove that Bush was right about the whole array of our country’s foreign policy disputes, from Iraq to the current Israel-Lebanon war. This naked exploitation of terrorist threats for political gain occurs every time a new terrorist plot is revealed, no matter how serious or frivolous, no matter how advanced or preliminary, the plot might be. Each time a new plot is disclosed, Leftist bloggers immediately begin squeezing the emotions and fears generated by such events for every last drop of political gain they can manufacture.
 
Written By: Truth is what Townhouse dictates
URL: http://
Humm, where’s Mona?
Probably busy putting together a response to Patterico’s question from last week about Glenn and Mr. G.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com

 
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