August 30, 2006

Me and My 'Intellectual Confusion'

Yesterday, our esteemed military leader Donald Rumsfeld delivered a speech. Some aspects of it were alright. Some weren't. Allow me to highlight a few prescient passages.

"We find ourselves in a strange time...It is a time when Amnesty International disgracefully refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare, as 'the gulag of our times.'"

It is disgraceful. Disgraceful that our country which values freedom so much, values the individual rights of others, is responsible for something which runs so counter to those very values. I would argue that, while the terrorists are indeed threatening and did intend to do us no good whatsoever, sinking to their level is hardly the appropriate course of action. This double standard might be part of the reason we're hated in some corners of the world.

"Not so long ago, an exhibit on the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian during the 1990s seemed to try to rewrite the history of World War II by portraying the United States as an aggressor. Fortunately, the American Legion was there to lead the effort to set the record straight. This watchdog role is even more important today in a war that is to a great extent fought in the media on a global stage -- to not allow the lies and the myths be repeated without question or challenge -- so that at least the second and third draft of history will be more accurate than the quick first allegations."

Wait. I thought you were going to besmirch the reputation of all of us liberal bloggers. And here you embrace us. Feel the love. Oh, but one thing - there are no drafts of history. Or at least, there shouldn't be. Facts are facts. They should be presented based on evidence and truth, not sensationalistic drivel delivered by Bill O'Reilly and Fox News.

"And in every army, there are occasionally bad actors -- the ones who dominate the headlines today -- who don’t live up to the standards of their oath and of our country. But you also know that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of honorable men and women in all theaters in this struggle who are serving with humanity and decency in the face of constant provocation. And that is important in this “long war,” where any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."

Donald, you just called me stupid didn't you? Worst of all is this implication that, somehow, those that oppose the administration suffer from small IQs or confused mental states. Throughout the speech, Rumsfeld peppers his remarks with meditations on Hitler, Nazis and the Allied forces that, eventually, set the European situation right. Yet, I would remind Rumsfeld that it was the Nazis who believed that thoughts and beliefs which deviated from their core beliefs were deviant and resulted from a lack of intelligence, poor breeding and confused moral compasses. The same thing he accuses me of as a liberal who vastly disagrees with his and his administration's policies on damn near everything. History is, in fact, rife with similar examples, administrations or dictatorships - legitimate and illegitimate - in which right-thinking, adopting a set of beliefs even against one's better judgment was a key to survival. We now understand that many of these regimes were completely and utterly wrong, politically and morally. If opposition to this failure of an administration is the result of a lack of morals or confused thinking, then paint me with that rather wide brush. I'm not confused. Rumsfeld is.

But let's get to the questions Rumsfeld asked during his speech. I didn't hear anyone in the audience providing any answers so I figured I would.

Rummy: With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?
Me: Nope. But if we, as a people, are going to align ourselves against them, we must be united and share a common understanding of the situation in full. We can't accept being lied to.

Rummy: Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
Me: Of course not. But then, when have we ever thought that?

Rummy: Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply “law enforcement” problems, rather than fundamentally different threats, requiring fundamentally different approaches?
Me: I don't recall anyone speculating that an enforcement of laws could combat terrorism. But I don't believe sacrificing our privacy and other civil rights under the banner of the Patriot Act is the way to go either. We can go to extremes to protect our country and the lives of its citizens. We should do what we can. But if we sacrifice our liberties, what do we have left when we win the battle?

Rummy: And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America -- not the enemy -- is the real source of the world’s trouble?
Me: The sources of the world's problems are, in many cases, those in positions of power who believe their opinions to be fact and impose their will upon not only their constituents but the world around them, who back those opinions with force, unwavering, even when they're proven incorrect. Dictators do this and, unfortunately, so do Presidents. The real question you should ask yourself, Rummy, with all your military might, strategic thinking and problem solving, is simple - how do armless guys pee?

P.S. - Seriously, do you guys have any answer to that last one? That's been driving me nuts all night!

Son Of P.S. - Courtesy of a faithful reader. Go to Google and do a search on "Failure." Heh.

Posted by Chris at August 30, 2006 07:15 AM

'Nuff said. Chris Cactus for President of the free world. ;)

Posted by: HR MOMMY at August 30, 2006 07:32 AM

nice work. ever think of being an actual politician? just curious.

Posted by: s@bd at August 30, 2006 07:42 AM

I googled that google and almost fell out of my chair. OMG!! That is hilarious!

Posted by: Red at August 30, 2006 07:44 AM

LMAO. How do armless guys pee indeed. If I ever run into Rummy at the Pgon, I will be sure to pose this to him.

Posted by: Nicole at August 30, 2006 07:56 AM

Funny how people like Rumsfeld and Cheney use examples like Hitler to describe the enemy (as well as the "evil leanings" of the liberal front)-- and yet--those same principles of "unquestionable authority" and "blind obedience" were what brought someone like Hitler to power in the first place. What do you call leadership which demonizes independent thought and the right to question? I call it the beginnings of Fascism.

Posted by: wordgirl at August 30, 2006 08:22 AM

well said chris.

And that failure google is fantastic. Have you seen Lakehead University's (a university here in Ontario, Canada) new ad campaign?

Posted by: suze at August 30, 2006 08:41 AM

Wow, that Google search almost made me spit out my coffee.

Posted by: Liz at August 30, 2006 08:52 AM

Unless it's changed since yesterday, you'll get a similar result by googling "asshole".

I should listen to more of what the neo-cons have to say but it never changes. Repeating the same lies over and over doesn't make them true.

I'm linking to this post. Thanks.

Posted by: ann adams at August 30, 2006 09:02 AM

I couldnt finish this post because once again you attack but offer NO solution. I would gladly finish this post if you would tell me and the internet what you would do with people that are intent on killing innocent americans.

Posted by: linda at August 30, 2006 09:09 AM

Linda - I think a policy change with regards to the middle east and the Muslim world, in general. The reason we are losing is because much of the Muslim world, while they believe the killing is wrong and evil, also does not agree with US policy in their part of the world. Because of this, they stay neutral. If we are going to reduce terrorism, we will need to change our policies so that the Muslim world WANTS to help us fight terrorism. We won't do it on our own (have we caught Bin Laden?).

I think it starts with, as Chris said, not lying to get us into a war which has nothing to do with terrorism.

ps - armless guys pee sitting down

Posted by: AnswerDude at August 30, 2006 09:18 AM

my son has perfected the art of peeing without touching anything, including himself.

perhaps armless guys can take a lesson from my 4-year-old??

Posted by: ali at August 30, 2006 09:58 AM

Wow . . . me thinks we're in for some WWF-style smack-down speaches come the circus of 2008 - who writes for Rumsfeld anyway? Does he wear spandex and muscle shirts or what?

Posted by: Betti at August 30, 2006 10:23 AM

Once in the grocery store I saw a butternut squash that looked like Donald Rumsfeld. Now everytime I look at him I can't help but think that he looks like a giant talking Cucurbita gourd. Which is fitting really, because I despise squash. It sort of fakes you out, butternut especially, with it's pretty colors and shape. But inside it's just mushy and nasty and bitter. Blah.

Posted by: krystyn at August 30, 2006 10:27 AM

What did you think about his comment on facism?

A bloggy friend of mine, wrote this interesting post on it...

Posted by: Autumn at August 30, 2006 10:38 AM

Suze - that yaleshmale ad is freakin' hilarious! I love it!

Chris - Our little family is doing a fundraiser for the Cancer Society @

You have, like, 149 764 more readers than I do, so I thought this would be a good place to pimp it ;-)

Posted by: Much More Than A Mom at August 30, 2006 10:39 AM

I would assume armless guys pee sitting down.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at August 30, 2006 11:16 AM

It's hard to say what I find most offensive about the Bush administration, because there are so many things I don't like, but one of them is definitely the "how dare you question us or have a different opinion. you must be stupid or a coward or a traitor" attitude is pretty high on my list.

Posted by: bad penguin at August 30, 2006 11:17 AM

When ruthless consumption and subsidization of wealth become our national policy - oh, wait, they are! - then we are the real source of the world's trouble. Even kindergartners could figure that one out. It's yer basic schoolyard bully problem, innit? Rummy's spin is getting kinda desperate and pathetic, though.

Posted by: bhd at August 30, 2006 12:25 PM

I hate that we are collectively caught up in this game the administration has gotten so good at playing. They say, "stop suggesting that we appease the terrorists!" Reasonable people respond, "Um, nobody ever said that."

But by then it's too late -- the accusation is out there, and they wouldn't have made it if it weren't true, right? And the dog is wagged, just like that.

Posted by: Julie at August 30, 2006 01:36 PM

I'm too dumb to understand what Rummy said, so I'm just going to nod my head and agree and I'll vote for the guys he tells me to.

That's what they want, isn't it?

Posted by: candace at August 30, 2006 01:43 PM

What this or any U.S. administration will NEVER address is the fact that The War(s) are never about whatever recent attack or wrongdoing they point to. They are about keeping a powerful nation in power. Period. They convince their fans and followers that the argument needs to be all about whatever recent buzz phrase they've invented ("appeasing the terrorists" for instance) to take the focus away from that more fundamental, sad, and frightening truth.

Posted by: Kristen at August 30, 2006 01:46 PM

Much better to use that google "I'm feeling lucky" button. :).

Yap, pretty good google-bomb. ;)

Posted by: Alex at August 30, 2006 02:46 PM

well said. this administration makes me want to vomit on a regular basis. I am beyond flabberghasted. if you are interested, check out Pen and Sword at he does some good commentary on the goings-ons of the fiasco we have in office. well written and not long winded.

Posted by: kristied at August 30, 2006 02:57 PM

Augh. The Hitler comparisons better come back to bite him in the ass big time.

Posted by: Heather at August 30, 2006 04:24 PM

For Rummy to suggest that the majority of Americans who are critical of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq are “suffering from moral or intellectual confusion” is the final straw. This coming from the guy who said, “We know where the weapons are” as he made the case for war in Iraq, the guy who oversaw prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the guy who, when questioned about the biggest defense procurement scandal in American history said, "I find it strange that, as a government official, the laws apply to me". Somebody is definitely suffering from moral or intellectual confusion and it isn’t the 200 million Americans that are critical of the mess we have made in Iraq.

Posted by: Chris at August 30, 2006 04:35 PM

Here I am nitpicking again:

For the history bit, I would disagree that there are only facts.

Example: what is the difference between the American Civil War and the States War?
Answer: Depends on where the student learned U.S. History.

History is constantly colored by culture, politics, religion, gender, and everything else that changes our views for the future.

Posted by: alektra at August 30, 2006 05:30 PM

I was about to jump out of my seat in anger before I got a third of the way through your post. I didn't hear the speech, so I totally missed these Rummy nuggets (ewwww). I like your answers to his questions. That last question...well. There are several ways to answer it, I think. There's the "has anyone in this country seriously ever thought that?" that can be instantly shot down with a resounding YES. I'm sure someone has. There's the "well, it's true" answer that while I've been guilty of saying it, I can't honestly say I 100% believe it.

You see, I'm the most cynical eternal optimist you could ever hope to meet. I think America could do great things in this world. I hope and pray that someday we become the peaceful, fair, loving, and just country this administration brags about us being. I want us to be good and all that. Instead, I think we're power-hungry and war-mongering and other hyphenated things that reflect on ALL of us poorly...not just those in charge. People in other countries have long viewed this as the land of opportunity, a country wherein whose citizens are free to dissent and voice concerns and complaints without fear of retribution. But our voices and our pleas and our complaints are either falling on deaf ears or causing our FBI files to grow thicker and fatter. Our government doesn't want us to practice the very freedoms that make this country so mothereffing awesome. Our government is SCARED of us. Why don't we rise up and do something about it? Bloodless revolution! Sit-ins! Silent protest! Something...anything...

Totally off topic. And also kind of teary-eyed.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at August 30, 2006 07:10 PM

Guantanamo Bay is the "best run...detention facility in the history of warfare?" Is he serious?

I saw two articles today that made remember that this is an election year. One said that gas prices were on the way down. The other said that the Administration was starting to use the phrase "Islamic fascists" to describe the insurgents.

I'm afraid that history, no matter how many drafts it takes on, will show that Dubya did more damage to this country than any other president ever.

Posted by: Beth in StL at August 30, 2006 07:44 PM

*giggle* (I thought to myself, "OMG. He actually got in the armless pee question!)

The question is not really how do they pee, but really is how do they get it OUT to pee????

Posted by: kristen at August 30, 2006 08:50 PM

The fact that the people who disagree with this administration are viewed by this administration as un-patriotic or un-American or un-educated is the whole problem I've had with this administration. It goes along with that whole antiquated philosophy of "Love it or leave it!"

How are we supposed to progress if we refuse to learn from others or other's opinions or other's ways of life? How on earth are we supposed to be an example of how to live if we are wrapped in a blanket of conceited superiority? Or more importantly, how can improve our situation, if we refuse to see and God forbid, admit that something we have done is wrong.

Apparently we have gotten so emotionally dysfunctional and insecure in this country that it’s permeated into the corporate world, religion, and now of course, politics.

Posted by: Kelly at August 30, 2006 09:18 PM

do you think maybe armless men pee sitting down? I dunno, might be a solution? Ya think?

Posted by: haley-o at August 31, 2006 01:42 AM

I just found your blog today through RSM and I am so glad that I are a breath of fresh air. I am stuck in the damn state that rummy gave that beautiful speech in...yeah...the one where 60+% of the "blind faithful" continue to support gwb and his admin. Thanks for having a brain :)

Posted by: Nanette at September 1, 2006 03:45 AM