Asking Gold and the War on Fiction posted by Vynce at 11:46 PM
Now, I'm no huge fan of Arlen Specter, but I think he's on the right track here:
You think you're right, but there are a lot of people who think you're wrong. As a matter of public confidence, why not take it to the . . . court? What do you have to lose if you're right?
As far as I'm concerned, that's one of the Golden Questions of politics, and it's exactly what the public needs to hear asked. "If you're so sure, what are you afraid of?" It's a sensible solution to a common problem in politics -- spinsters claiming that there's no reason to investigate, they're certain of the outcome. (It's worth distinguishing this question from its twisted cousin, the accusation that "If you're so concerned about your privacy, you must have something to hide.") Anyway, I applaud the Republican of PA for asking this question, and I hope the public hears it.
Arlen doesn't stop there, though -- he also wants to talk to Ashcroft. Why? Apparently John Ashcroft had concerns about the legality of this program. Hm. Maybe it's not as clear cut as AG AG says.
So Senator Specter, keep grilling Gonzales. Though I do wish you'd ask yourself that same Golden Question about putting him under oath: if he's willing to do it, why not ask it of him? You lose nothing by putting him a little more firmly on the record.
Speaking of the GOP spin machine (and "If you're so sure, what are you afraid of?"), did anybody notice Rumsfeld recently trying to have his war and win it, too? They say that the U. S. is winning the war on terror, but that the threat is greater than ever before. Their argument seems to be that the enemy is more determined and has better weapons. (Is that an admission that they didn't have the worst possible weapons when we started? I mean, I know they didn't, but that was supposedly a major reason we went, so I'd like to hear the clear admission on that point.)
Anyway, if they were talking about fighting a particular group -- say the Martians -- and that the group was more dangerous now because they're more desperate, I might believe that. Them Martians, man, they can get mean when they're cornered. And they're fighting for their homeland, after all. So yeah, the most dangerous time might be when we've pounded on them for a while and are about to wipe them out. But we aren't fighting the Martians. We have nothing against them as a people; we claim to accept them as our own. The U. S. even claims to take genocide seriously, so we say we have no plans to completely eradicate them. It's a good thing, too, because soem of oru best friends are Martians, and if they thought we were out to get them all... well, it wouldn't be pretty. And I'd not be proud to be an American.
But this war is -- supposedly -- on "terror"; and if the threat -- the reason to fear -- is greater, then terror is winning. That, to me, seems obvious from the definition of "terror". (Will this teach them not to declare war on nebulous, non-sentient enemies? Abstract, intangible nouns are hard to beat. Even the tangible ones are pretty hard to defeat if you don't define them rigidly. If only we had learned anything from the war on drugs, war on poverty, war on illiteracy, or war on Christmas. The nouns are winning those wars, too.)
So if we're winning, which war are we winning? The war on a people? Or the war on our own emotions? Or maybe just the war on news coverage of the problems we have here at home...