Our Magical Thinking Congress

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The House passed a resolution declaring that the United States will win
the War on Terror. The first surprise is the utter unreality that must
exist in our Congress for such a declaration to seem like a sensible
use of resources. The second is that it received the craven support of
42 Democrats in passing.

The complete and institutionalized break from reality required for
anyone to think that simply declaring something to be true, even if
voted on by the House of Idiots, makes it the truth, or even merely
inspirational, makes me rather frightened and sad. The language of the
resolution is revealing of a national leadership deeply in denial about
the hard, cold facts of life.

Text of the Resolution and commentary after the jump…

Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

Whereas the United States and its allies are engaged in a Global War on Terror, a long and demanding struggle against an adversary that is driven by hatred of American values and that is committed to imposing, by the use of terror, its repressive ideology throughout the world;

The first place the declarants run up against reality is this non-sense about the ‘adversary’ being driven by a hatred of American values. You cannot defeat an enemy you do not understand. Terror is driven by nationalistic geopolitical forces every bit as amenable to reason and negotiation as any other international dispute.

Suicide terrorism in particular is caused by the military occupation by a democratic state of what the terrorists view as the homeland by those who have significant cultural differences which lead to mistrust and demonization of the opponent.

As for ‘repressive ideology’ we need look no further than the Religious Right in this country if we wish to fight such a thing.

Whereas for the past two decades, terrorists have used violence in a futile attempt to intimidate the United States;

Actually, not so much. Hamas bombed the American Marine barracks in Lebanon to get us to withdraw; we did so. Al Qaeda attacked the WTC and Pentagon to get us to withdraw our troops from Saudi Arabia; we did so. The next terror campaign will no doubt be aimed at securing our withdrawal from Iraq; we’ll likely do so. Where’s the futility?

Most Americans have stood idly by as the cretins in our government have shredded our Constitution. Our Congress has also stood by and allowed it to be shredded (some are the very same people who voted for this dumbass resolution) in order to ‘protect us from terror’; I’d say that’s fairly good evidence that we have been effectively intimidated.

Whereas it is essential to the security of the American people and to world security that the United States, together with its allies, take the battle to the terrorists and to those who provide them assistance;

(In a high, sing-songy mock-homosexual voice) Meaningless!

Whereas the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorists failed to stop free elections in Afghanistan and the first popularly-elected President in that nation’s history has taken office;

Whereas that President is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron, controls only Kabul, tolerates a degree of warlordism that betrays the people of Afghistan to servitude, and has presided over the explosive growth of the Afghani heroin trade…

Whereas the continued determination of Afghanistan, the United States, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be required to sustain a sovereign, free, and secure Afghanistan;

If by ‘sovereign, free, and secure’ you mean fractured, impotent, warlord-infested, and at the mercy of religious fanatics…

Whereas the steadfast resolve of the United States and its partners since September 11, 2001, helped persuade the government of Libya to surrender its weapons of mass destruction;

Except, of course, that it was diplomatic measures taken far in advance of 2001 that caused Libya to renounce WMD and surrender the pitiful fruits of a tiny and unsophisticated program. This is one of those lies that refuses to die.

Whereas by early 2003 Saddam Hussein and his criminal, Ba’athist regime in Iraq, which had supported terrorists, constituted a threat against global peace and security and was in violation of mandatory United Nations Security Council Resolutions;

The criminal regime we supported right up to the first Gulf War in all their many crimes, such as attacking Iran as our proxy, and which we refused to overthrow even after the first Gulf War in the well-founded fear of creating chaos in the region. The criminal regime which languished under the severest economic sanctions ever levied against a sovereign nation, and which even according to its neighbors constituted no military threat to anyone, let alone to world peace, or America.

As for the value assigned to Security Council resolutions by United States in the normal course of events, check the American delegations’s executive toilet, where you will find a whole ream of them.

Whereas the mission of the United States and its Coalition partners, having removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, is to establish a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq at peace with its neighbors;

This particular lie beggars the imagination. This is the point at which even the Hawkiest Democrat should have done a spit take, then voted against this pack of lies.

Whereas the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology;

Boy, the terrorists must have a well-developed policy apparatus to have take such a decision and declared it so clearly. Most sovereign nations fail to speak with such unity and purpose; amazing that a motley collection of terrorist cells around the world can do so. Perhaps we have a bit of projection here folks.

Whereas the Iraqi people, with the help of the United States and other Coalition partners, have formed a permanent, representative government under a newly ratified constitution;

A permanent, represenative government that is irrelevant outside the Green Zone, so divided they can’t even make policy, infiltrated by insurgents and sectarian death squads, and cannot field an armed forces capable to standing up to the indigenous militias. A government that was designed and created as puppet for U.S. interests, but nonetheless seems to slipping out of control. And a Constitution that enshrines theocratic law as the highest authority in a multi-faith, multi-sect society, practically ensuring dissolution and civil war.

Whereas the terrorists seek to destroy the new unity government because it threatens the terrorists’ aspirations for Iraq and the broader Middle East;

98% of the insurgency is Iraqi. The ‘terrorists’ are irrelevant and never more than the use of a widely recognized brand for a local franchise. The insurgency’s aspirations for Iraq is mainly that Americans not be occupying it; to that end they do oppose the ‘unity government’ which legitimates and abets the continuing occupation.

Whereas United States Armed Forces, in coordination with Iraqi security forces and Coalition and other friendly forces, have scored impressive victories in Iraq including finding and killing the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi;

Impressive victories like the slaughter of Fallujah, the massacre at Haditha, the tortures and killings within Abu Ghraib and other detention centers, and the unremitting and unreported daily killing of innocent civilians at checkpoints and via aerial bombing. Yes, we are making progress at ensuring that Iraq is pacified, i.e. no longer has a population to oppose us.

As for the Coalition, they must mean that ever-shrinking list of minor nations and closely allied countries that have not quite yet decided to pull out and condemn the whole affair as a complete clusterfucking failure.

Whereas Iraqi security forces are, over time, taking over from United States and Coalition forces a growing proportion of independent operations and increasingly lead the fight to secure Iraq;

At least in the nightly slaughter of civilians by sectarian death squads. They are really doing a great job of taking the heat off in terms of body count. Of course, they won’t fight the ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ because they are members of those organizations on the weekends and evenings.

Whereas the United States and Coalition servicemembers and civilians and the members of the Iraqi security forces and those assisting them who have made the ultimate sacrifice or been wounded in Iraq have done so nobly, in the cause of freedom; and

Yes, they are noble. Pity that their noble sacrifices, which this country’s leadership ensures stays out of the press with embargoes on coverage of returning casualties and funerals, go largely unnoticed. Pity also that those sacrifices where made only for lies, not to advance either American or Iraqi freedom.

Whereas the United States and its Coalition partners will continue to support Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror: Now, therefore, be it

Whatever you may call it, a pig is still a pig. Call it ‘Global War on Terror’ of the ‘Global Struggle against Extremism’… whatever. It’s still a pig.

      Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

            (1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;

Honors them. Note that they don’t support them by actually funding the programs which support their well-being and provide them the equipment they need. Nah, we just honor them, then turn around and cut their budgets.

         

   (2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

But won’t send the President, or Vice President, or even a cabinet secretary, or even a peon delegate to their goddamn funerals. But won’t fully fund the medical care and rehabilitation they need when they get home. But won’t pay a decent death benefit to the heirs when they die in service to their nation.

         

  (3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

I agree. An arbitrary date would not be a good thing. A rational and strategically sound date which provides for adequate force protection, on the other hand… Can you say Strawman?

    

       (4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

And to fully enumerating Pi, and squaring the circle, and making everyone richer than everyone else, and to touching our tailbones with our toungues, and seven other impossible things that sound like fun. How about we just leave it at sovereign, and let the Iraqis take it from there?

         

  (5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq’s new constitution;

Yes, congratulations PM Al-Maliki. In English we still have a word that honors leaders like you: Quisling. It honors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vidkun_Quisling) PM Quisling’s brave and visionary leadership of the Norwegian people when they were liberated by the Nazis. Perhaps you, too, will have a word to commemorate your visionary leadership in the Iraqi vernacular.

   

         (6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and

Well, I suppose they have to. But there ain’t no use in talking when there’s nobody listening.

            (7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

This is my favorite part. Just declare victory. Say it like you mean it and the rest will follow. No need for strategy, or foresight, or a realistic assessment of the problem; just claim that you will prevail. It’s a law after all; Congress passed it. Must be true.

Yay for us! We’re gonna win! Congress says so!

Fucking idiots.

For your 5 minutes of hate exercises, I present the 42 dumbass Democrats who voted AYE on this piece of neo-con reality fluffing:

  1. John Barrow (GA-12)
  2. Melissa Bean (IL-8)
  3. Howard Berman (CA-28)
  4. Marion Berry (AK-1)
  5. Sanford Bishop (GA-2)
  6. Dan Boren (OK-2)
  7. Leonard Boswell (IA-3)
  8. Rick Boucher (VA-9)
  9. Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
  10. Ed Case (HI-2)
  11. Ben Chandler (KY-6)
  12. Jim Cooper (TN-6)
  13. Jim Costa (CA-20)
  14. Jerry Costello (IL-12)
  15. Bud Cramer (AL-5)
  16. Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
  17. Artur Davis (TN-7)
  18. Chet Edwards (TX-17)
  19. Bob Etheridge (NC-2)
  20. Bart Gordon (TN-6)
  21. Green, Gene (TX-29)
  22. Stephanie Herseth (SD-At Large)
  23. Brian Higgins (NY-27)
  24. Tim Holden (PA-17)
  25. Ron Kind (WI-3)
  26. Rick Larsen (WA-2)
  27. Daniel Lipinski (IL-3)
  28. Stephen Lynch (MA-9)
  29. Jim Marshall (GA-3)
  30. Jim Matheson (UT-2)
  31. Carolyn McCarthy (MN-4)
  32. Mike McIntyre (NC-7)
  33. Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
  34. Dennis Moore (KS-3)
  35. Colin Peterson (MN-7)
  36. Mike Ross (AK-4)
  37. John Salazar (CO-3)
  38. Adam Smith (WA-9)
  39. Vic Snyder (AK-2)
  40. John Spratt (SC-5)
  41. Gene Taylor (MS-4)
  42. Bennie Thompson (MS-2)

And for your adoration as paragons of reason in a party gone wild, the only three Republicans who refused to put their names to this dumbassery.

  1. John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN-2)
  2. James A. Leach (IA-2)
  3. Ron Paul (TX-14)
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Michael founded BlogForArizona as the Howard Dean campaign blog for Arizona in 2003, and has been blogging ever since. Michael is an attorney living in Tucson with his wife Lauren Murata. In 2008, following some health issues and new time constraints, Michael stepped back from regular blogging and began remaking BlogForArizona into a collaborative project. Michael now contributes occasionally to the blog and provides editorial and publishing direction. Also if you want to keep up with the latest Arizona and National political news that Mike finds important, check out the BlogForArizona twitter feed, which he curates.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think were arguing about two different things. I took issue wiht this statement.

    “Terror is driven by nationalistic geopolitical forces every bit as amenable to reason and negotiation as any other international dispute.”

    I do not believe that most terrorists are open to diplomacy. I believe we can dry up local support for terrorism, but thats about it. For instance in Iraq, if we ensure Sunni rights and maintain only an “over-the-horizon” presence in Iraq they would no longer feel threatened and would be less enclined to support the goals of terrorists.

    Bin Laden’s ultimate goal is hte purification of Islam a big part of which is the complete removal of all western presence in Islamic lands. We can all agree that any western presence in the Middle East upsets Al Queda, and we can all agree that we must not yield to their demands and must remain resolute in our commitment to help the Middle East move forward.

    Iraq has seriously damaged this goal. It has created, as you know, a huge anti-american backlash in Islamic nations not only because there was no broad international support but because we did not give the Iraqi people a lot of autonomy in setting this government. We need to follow the Murtha plan if we want to secure the Iraqi’s future and dry up that local support for terroism.

    I think that is pretty reasonable foriegn policy, and it is all based off of the idea of defeating local (and inherently nationalist, as you suggest) support for terrorists so that they can never achieve their wider goals that they could never get support for otherwise.

    I recommend the book No god but God and these links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafis (here is a very important quote to understand Al-Queda’s goals: “Some Salafis believe that violent jihad is permissible against foreign, non-Muslim, occupation, but not against governments that claim to be Islamic. Those governments are to be reformed, not violently overthrown. Civil war (fitna) is to be avoided. Some Salafis believe that most majority-Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, have strayed and that the only answer to the plight of Muslims today is violent jihad. Osama bin Laden is a prominent example of a Salafi Saudi Muslim who has gone from supporting the Saudi regime to violently opposing it. ”

    And one on Osama Bin Laden’s teacher:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Azzam

  2. Yes, we will have to agree to disagree. The notion of bin Laden leading Al Qaeda to reunify the entire Sunni world under theocratic rule is almost as absurd as asserting that AG Alberto Gonzales will lead all Catholics to unify all of Latin America. It COULD happen, sure… and, as they say, pigs could fly out of my butt.

    It is a silly fucking idea on which to base the foriegn policy of the world’s most powerful nation. It is a fine premise for one of those Left Behind books, and like those books it is pure fiction with an intentional patina of plausibility for those predisposed to believe in it, and an effective means of accumulating and distributing large amounts of cash.

  3. Mike,

    This is one of those rare instances where we disagree. The idea of a pan-Islamic state (or at least an untied coalition of Islamic states) is still very alive and is still central to the goals of Al Queda, though they achieve this by taping into local concerns and Islamic populism. As Tip O’Neill said “All politics is local”. The same is true for terrorism. In order to achieve this broader goal they tie it to more detailed concerns of the people in whatever are they are in. Allow me to go into further detail:

    Al Queda is Salafist to its very core. Salafism is to Islam what Puritanism is to Christianity. As Wikipedia says: “The Salafis view the first three generations of Muslims, who are the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, and the two succeeding generations after them, the Taba’een and the taba Tabe’een as perfect examples of how Islam should be practiced in everyday life.” To attain this purity they must cast off all western influence. They oppose the United States because it has a noticeable hand in Middle-Eastern affairs, and the United States’ impure morals then taint the governments and people of the Middle East, and therefore taint Islam. As a result, they wish to remove anything western in traditionally Islamic lands, which does include governments. I do not claim to know whether this would automatically result in one Caliphate ruling over all Islamic nations or whether it will just be many, but either way, they will all be united against the west.

    Now to go back to my point that “All politics is local.” Al Queda uses negative instances of the west’s influence to shore up support. For instance in Iraq, they’ve gained much Sunni support because the Sunnis are slowly becoming an oppressed minority. All an Al Queda operative has to say is “Look what the west does! They come in where they are not wanted, impose their will, and oppress good faithful people!” and BAM they have a whole bunch of support. Now all these people really care about is ensuring they have a voice, a home and that they are not oppressed. Al Queda gives them what seems like an opportunity, but ultimately just uses their fear and desperation to achieve their own goals.

    You also talked about a Shiite theocratic alliance. I agree there is much to fear from that. But those that have to fear the most are the Sunnis, which gives them even MORE reason to side with Al Queda (which is by the way mostly Sunni.) These people join not because of the broader goal but because of very local concerns, but by acting locally they contribute to the final realization of Al Queda’s dreams.

  4. The Terrorists we knew in 2001 have moved on into many other ways to do business. I have been working with the Canadian Mounted Police and The Department of Homeland Security and The F.B.I. on Terrorist operated telemarketing centers in Canada that are funding operations worldwide. The web-site http://www.phonebusters.com is The Canadian Mounted Police web-site that has more information posted and how to combat it than I can explain here. I have been targeted by these people for some reason that I can’t figure out. There is a Police, Arizona Attorney General and Canadian Mounted police investigation now on going. I can not go into everything that is being done but know it has something to do with the I.D. thieft that has been going on and stolen phone numbers from an AOL call center in M.D. in 2003 where over three million phone numbers and passwords were stolen and sold to these Canadian Call Centers. Most are dealing with fake loans and selling fake I.D. information to American Lenders for $75.00 a transfer. My phone number alone was used over 1,000 times last year. I have an Arizona Attorney General associate helping me try to work though this as there hands are tied legally but terrorism opens the door.

    As in 2001 who would have thought that people carrying boxcutters on airplanes would have been a terrorist threat,now they have gone into using the call centers in Canada bouncing calls through-out the United States so that trace trap equipment can not find the originating phone number.

  5. I am surprised that after all this time in the current situation, that grown, intelligent men and women can actually use the term “terrorist” as the sole, unmodified subject of a phrase or sentence regarding the state of the world. “Enemy” also falls into this category. Why not just ratchet this back and call them “bad men” like my 2 year old neice? How about “evil”? Sorry, the kid can get away with generalizations because she doesn’t know any better, but not us. Anything short of “the terrorist faction which set off an IED yesterday” is guaranteed to be inaccurate.

    It is painfully, achingly clear that there is not a single entity at work against US and Western forces and foreign civilians. And yet we are able to draft policy referring to a single group. We do this because we are afraid of the reality of the Medusa’s Head of groups who oppose us. I see IT managers do this all the time with spaghetti code legacy apps that can’t be replaced because they are the reality of the business. “Uh, yeah… Well, let’s start correcting the, uh, DB interface.” Oh really? Which one of the 30 totally divergent interfaces to 3 DB platforms would you like to take on first?

    So how does a more prepared Mr. IT Manager do it? (If I may extend the analogy, though totally inappropriate)
    1. Provide Vision
    2. Assess the Greatest Risk
    3. Operate on High Risk Items First
    4. Listen to Those in the Field
    5. Measure ACCURATELY and Report Progress HONESTLY

    And if this ain’t spaghetti code, then I don’t know what is.

  6. Geoff,

    Nobody gets killed over the idea of restoring the Caliphate. That is as abstract a goal as creating the perfect ‘Soviet man’ was to the communists. Makes a great slogan, but nobody really believes in it – even the true believers.

    Every single suicide terrorist attack is based on nationalism, not pan-Islamic aspirations. The only reason our leaders wave this Caliphate flag is to make the enemy seem global in scope when in fact terrorists are intensely local. The only time the idea of the Caliphate used in the Ulema is to delegitimate the current ruling regime, especially in places of historic significance to the Ulema, such as Saudi Arabia (the birthplace of Islam and the home of it’s holiest city Mekka), or Palestine, for similar reasons. The idea of a restored Caliphate has little or no resonance elsewhere, and is not a significant political factor even among those who desire theocratic rule, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or the Iranian clerical leadership. Pan-nationalism has been dead for some 30 years as a serious political goal in the Arab world.

    I’m afraid to be the bearer of bad news, Goeff, but you’ve swallowed the Administration’s Kool-Aid. A few guys hanging out in caves and making a few videos about how they’d like to rule a reborn Caliphate does not constitute a serious threat… even to Spain and Portugal. The media has transformed a very marginal idea into a global military threat. It’s utter bullshit.

    If you want something to be concerned about in terms of Islamic-based transnationalism, have a few nightmares about a Shi’ite theocratic alliance across Iran, Southern Iraq (where the oil is), the Persian Gulf states, and Eastern Saudi Arabia (where the oil is), all of which have large Shi’ite majorities and serious prospects for destabilization and the creation of rump states. Such a thing would rival OPEC for concerted control of Middle Eastern oil. But even this would not be an ally for bin Laden’s Caliphate, as he and it are Sunni are decidedly Sunni.

  7. While I agree with most of your conclusions I disagree wholeheartedly with the assumption that we can negotiate with terrorists. They are resolute in their demands: The complete removal of all western influence on historically Muslim nations. Which does include Spain and Portugal, if you were wondering.

    Their ultimate goal is for the Arab world (once again including Spain and Portugal) to be united under one government based on the Islam of Muhammed’s time. This is to say that all of the Middle-East, Central Asia (including Pakistan), Northern Africa, Spain and Portugal must fall under the rule of a Taliban-esque government for them to ever be happy. It is not only in America’s best interest to prevent this from happening but it is America’s duty.

    Unfortunately, this administration is adhering to a shortsighted and ignorant foreign policy which only makes things worse and in every way threatens our chances at success.