Friday, November 11, 2005

Inalienable Rights



In recent posts responding to Hyman’s commentaries on “Operation Welcome Home” and on the occasion of the anniversary of the Marine Corps’ founding, I’ve commented on the inherent duplicity of Hyman’s calls to honor the military, their families, and veterans when his own support of these people is often conditional on their holding of political beliefs of which Hyman approves.

Much of these comments apply just as well to Hyman’s
Veterans Day commentary. But there’s one critically important point that we need to note, here.

Hyman says that it is the veteran who “has given you” the rights of freedom of religion, press, speech, assembly, and a fair trial.

Wrong.

The veteran has protected these rights. They are yours simply by virtue of you being endowed by your creator with these inalienable rights.

This is no small matter of semantics. This speaks to the very heart of what it means to live in a democracy. There is no room for any equivocation or fuzziness when it comes to this central principle upon which our country was founded.

Veterans deserve our enduring gratitude, not for giving us these rights, but for serving to protect them from those who might take them away.

And, as painful as it might be to acknowledge it, we must also be honest enough to say we owe veterans an apology for those times when we have sent them in harm’s way to fight, kill, and die in conflicts in which our rights were not truly threatened, but which we engaged in out of choice. Those mistakes, that squandering of our most precious resource, lie at our feet, not those of the men and women who heeded our call.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

23 Comments:

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

I find it interesting to note that Ted puts his focus into complaining about comments from Hyman, while totally ignoring higher priority matters such as Sandy Berger stuffing classified national security documents in his pants....Ignoring the complete hypocrisy of liberal democrats like Kerry, Kennedy, Reid, and others who say one thing one day, then the complete opposite the next.

“One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

“If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

“Iraq is a long way from USA but, what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

“We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S.Constitution and Laws, to take necessary actions, (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

“Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

“There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue a pace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force– if necessary– to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

“He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” Rep.
Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

“We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction… So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real …”
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan.23.2003

-----------

From President Bush's speech today, and he hit the nail right on the head:

"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critic's are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security. That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."

 
At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ted,

Thank you for your simple and eloquent statement on rights, natural and man-made. And the distortion of those notions made by craven, self-centered interests (Sinclair & Co.)

Is there any point in trying to tell our pal, SOS, that this blog concerns distortions produced by Hyman and company, and not every single person with whom SOS disagree? And from SOS's diatribes, it seems that that is a very lllllonnnnnnnnnggggg list.

On a related topic, it was telling, in an Orwellian way, to hear in Mr. Bush's speech that dissenting views are okay (cue the flag) while SOME dissenting opinion (the opinions against his policies) can give aid and comfort to the enemy. So much for freedom of speech.

And, considering that the latest WSJ poll reported that only 1/3 of the public thinks bush is honest and that 60% thinks he lied us into a war, I guess SOS and company must think that a majority of Americans are un-American. (Sounds like communist-China talk to me!)

But we've seen how BushCo has assigned rights, whether to a trial or simple expression of dissenting opinions, to his crowd, while withholding it for others.

Ted, thank you for all of your efforts.

One hopes that SOS would start to get some traffic on his own blog so that he might feel less of a need to put his mean-spirited stuff on yours. (one can hope!)

Keep it up!

 
At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Anonymous,

AS IF, inferences are never made to other people/issues by many who post on this blog!

Get real....

You apparently have a ski slope for a nose. You like to look down on others who don't agree with you so much, but perhaps you should look in the mirror and realize that you need to wipe some snot away.

Yes, a personal insult, but your arrogance deserves it.

Your responses deserve it.

 
At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOS,

I'm the person you think has a ski slope and is arrogant.

I'm not sure all of that is correct, but I'll have to give you your point. I got a little off track there, ranting about Bush. Yep, some of us, including me, do go off a bit.

Thanks for the reality check!

 
At 3:29 AM, Anonymous hyman's turtle said...

sos,
with apologies to ted, i'd like to answer one of your quotes that jumped out at me.

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

here's a few snippets of the rest of gore's speech. since i'm sure you didn't read any of it, you may be surprised to learn it was a long explanation of why the war in iraq would be A HORRIBLE IDEA:

"President Bush is telling us that America's most urgent requirement of the moment is not to redouble our efforts against Al Qaeda... he is telling us that our most urgent task right now is to shift our focus and concentrate on immediately launching a new war against Saddam Hussein...
If we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth-rate military of Iraq and then quickly abandon that nation, as President Bush has quickly abandoned almost all of Afghanistan after quickly defeating a fifth-rate military power there, then the resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam...
...It is reasonable to conclude that we face a very serious problem in Iraq. But is a general doctrine of preemption based on a theory that would overturn the international law and the structure that has existed since our victory in WWII? Is that necessary? No. I believe not...
I believe that we can effectively defend ourselves abroad and at home without dimming our core principles. Indeed, I believe that our success in defending ourselves depends precisely on not giving up what we stand for. We should have as our top priority preserving what America represents and stands for in the world and winning the war against terrorism first.


that being said, sos, how 'bout you stay on topic. and sorry ted, i'll never cut-and-paste quotes again.
hyman's turtle

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Turtle---

I think in this context, citing quotations is completely appropriate. The context-free quotation, as our friend SOS shows, is the evergreen blossom of the spinmeister's rhetoric. Resituating these quotations in their context is exactly what's called for in responding to this tactic.

Nicely done!

tjr

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

The Kennedy quotation, in context:

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence community is also deeply concerned about the acquisition of such weapons by Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and other nations. But information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction."

As someone we know and love might say, "Stop spinning!"

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bloggers,

Ah, a fresh breeze of actual discussion and true dialog. Yea!

Thanks, Ted, for you seemingly tireless efforts in trying to keep us on task and talking with each other in a way that focus on the issues.

Ted, I'm curious, has Mark ever given you a voice on his "Mailbag" segment of his Saturday "Point"??

 
At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Ted opined:

The Kennedy quotation, in context:

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence community is also deeply concerned about the acquisition of such weapons by Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and other nations. But information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction."

This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about folks, you can't have it both ways. It is undeniable that Ted Kennedy believed, "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

His belief is right there in black and white, to pretend his words are taken out of context is crap. You who claim this are in willful and ignorant denial. That Kennedy is guilty of double-speak is undeniable.

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOS,

Politicians posture and say many things. Many have railed against North Korea, Iran, Iraq, the PLO, the Congo, etc.

And, yes, there were several Democrats who made quotes such as what you noted.

But it was Cheney and his puppet that not only rattled sabers, but sent this country into an optional war based on spun intelligence.

Talk is cheap. Actual war is bloody.

While I blame both parties (and the media) for being uncritical about the threat-level of Iraq, I blame the Cheney-Bush administration for deceit, hubris, and worse.

The plan against Iraq was hatched in the early ninteties by Wolfowitz, Pearl, and friends. They just waited until they got their puppet installed (yes, installed). And with incredible naivete and hubris, they went in, with 100,000's too few troops. So much for "support the troops".

Our troops are paying the price, as has out country's prestige, and the public's support.

People are waking up to see what a dumb and immoral thing Cheney-Bush did. Even the press are finally figuring it out, but only to sell magazines.

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Many of you here cry foul about the war on terrorism and the focus on Iraq - but have you not 'noticed' that the U.S. has not suffered another 9/11 like attack since we got proactive in approach? This isn't a matter of coincidence or blind luck.

What is sad, is that many of you are sadly watching the body count of U.S. soldiers, when it hits 3,000 (matching those murdered on 9/11) you'll attempt to score some political points with a pathetic, "See, 3,000 U.S. soldiers dead, + 3,000 killed on 9/11....was it really worth it?"

To answer, yes, it is worth it. The soldiers are after all doing the job they signed up to do. The lives of innocent men, women, and children are saved and long term, democracy is being established in the middle-east which will reduce the cold reality and acts of senseless terrorism.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

The claim that since there has not been a "9/11-like" attack since the invasion of Iraq is a textbook example of the post hoc ergo prompter hoc fallacy. The New York Yankees have not won the World Series since the invasion of Iraq--does that mean the latter event is responsible for the former? No.

The invasion of Afghanistan likely helped break up al Qaeda, but there is no evidence that Iraq had any links to 9/11, al Qaeda, etc. (despite the number of times architects and supporters of the war have rhetorically juxtaposed "9/11" and "Saddam Hussein." In fact, we know that in the wake of the invasion of Iraq, terrorism worldwide has gone up (a lot), not down. By itself, this doesn't necessarily mean anything, but the lack of securing Iraqi borders, the lack of securing huge storage facilities of high explosives, and the fact that our nation has collectively played exactly according to the script the al Qaeda propagandists have always claimed we would, all suggest that the linkage between the rise in worldwide terror and the invasion is far more tenable than the belief that somehow the invasion has prevented another 9/11, a belief for which there is not an iota of evidence.

tjr

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I think that's exactly what W did when he said he doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about getting Osama Bin Laden. To me this sends a clear treasonous message that Iraq was a target as soon as he stepped foot into the White House, perhaps as a thank you to his neocon friends, most of whom were installed in various positions, Perle, Libby, Cheney (who actually installed himself).

"If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force. This is a chance for Congress to indicate support. It's a chance for Congress to say, "We support the administration's ability to keep the peace." That's what this is is all about. (October 19, 2002).

So Congress votes, thinking that force will be used as a last resort, that weapons inspectors will be re-deployed. Instead Bush and Company did the unthinkable.
With torture. With too few troops. Cutting pay and benefits. Lining the pockets of the neocons, while the soldiers are redeployed over and over, their families going broke and breaking up.

And this does not even cover what we've done to the Iraqis. If the American citizens were duped into this war, which is idedologically painful to me and other American citizens, imagine how they Iraqis feel. They have suffered more profoundly than we will ever know.

This administration's pursuance of torture is despicable, but the worst Abu Ghraib documenation has not yet been released. Whether documenation is released is a moot point; our moral high-ground resembles post-Katrina New Orleans. And we have this president and his thuggish administration to thank. As far as I am concerned, they are the enemy.

 
At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch the media report about how the White House altered its official transcript of a recent Scott McClelland press conference? I just heard part of this report. Something to the effect that McClelland agreed with a critical reporter's comment by saying something like "that's accurate" and the WH changed it to something like "I don't think that's accurate.

Worse, the White House contacted two private transcription services and requested that they also change their transcripts!

This is incredible.

Just this week, Bush warned dissenters (to his war) not to engage in revisionist history.

And here is the White House, trying to alter what one of their own said!

With people like that in control, I fear for our country.

 
At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an answer to a previous question:

From "Editor and Publisher" at:
http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001477236

White House Stands by 'Not Accurate' Quote in Dispute
Aya Kawano


By Joe Strupp

Published: November 09, 2005 11:30 PM ET

NEW YORK Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan's short answer to a question at his daily press briefing last week has prompted a dispute between the White House press office and two news organizations that offer transcripts of the events.

A spokeswoman for McClellan's office told E&P late Wednesday that the White House is standing by its version of what he said.


At the Oct. 31 briefing, David Gregory of NBC News stated the following question to McClellan about White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby: "Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations."

The official White House transcript states that McClellan's response was "I don’t think that's accurate."

But two outside news agencies, Congressional Quarterly and Federal News Service -- which provide transcripts for a fee -- both reported the response as "that's accurate."

The differing accounts have sparked a flurry of buzz on numerous blogs, such as ThinkProgress, Wonkette, Eschaton and DailyKos. They say a video of the press briefing reveals McClellan saying "that's accurate."

White House officials contacted the news outlets and ask for a change to their versions of the transcript.

"They asked me to take a look at it about a week ago," said Kirk Hanneman, news director of Federal News Service, which provides transcripts of different government events. "We took a look at it because they did have a problem with it and in the end, we had what we originally had and we are sticking by that because we believe it is correct."

(report truncated at this point)

 
At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Previous Blogger,

Thanks! And I found this great quote from the white house (from the account you forwarded):

When asked about the fact that the White House version contradicts video accounts of the briefing, Perino added, "the White House stenographer was in the room and I was in the room" and they heard McClellan say "I don't think that's accurate'."

(FYI: Perino is the White House press office spokesperson)

Oh this gang is great: They are so incredibly arrogant, basically taunting the American public with this question:

Who ya gonna believe, me or the videotape?

Launch the flares! This ship is going down and taking us all down with it!

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

In response to SOS's continuing claims that the Senate knew everything the administration did, etc., etc., the following piece from MMFA is enlightening.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200511110012

tjr

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

I can't believe you folks have bought into the "George Bush lied about WMD's" business. It makes no sense whatsoever for a global leader to state Saddam had WMD's knowing he didn't, then go to war, then send in inspectors, 'not find the WMD's', then not plant any to cover his ass." You folks want the rest of us to believe that George thought: "I'm going to say Saddam has WMD's even though I know he doesn't. Then I'm going to invade, knowing my lie will be exposed for the world to see. I'm going to all this trouble manuevering under a guise, only to have it obviously revealed. Yep, that will be a legacy building move."

What a crock.

The 'he lied' argument is completely void of logic.

It is undeniable that you folks are guilty of trying to parlay faulty intelligence into lies.

Never mind that every other global leader and their brother thought Saddam had WMD's. Never mind there were 17 U.N. resolutions issued to address the matter.

So if you didn't buy into such nonsense but continue to perpetuate such an illogical argument anyway, then you are guilty of shameful partisan politics. Party before country.

Pathetic.

-------

(Insert predictable and lame, 'quotes taken out of context' and/or 'Bush is dumb' response here).

 
At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

Sickofspin said...
I find it interesting to note that Ted puts his focus into complaining about comments from Hyman, while totally ignoring higher priority matters such as Sandy Berger stuffing classified national security documents in his pants....Ignoring the complete hypocrisy of liberal democrats like Kerry, Kennedy, Reid, and others who say one thing one day, then the complete opposite the next.

That comment I posted remains unaddressed. Hyman is more important than Sandy Berger's National Security incident? Hyman deserves your focus moreso than lying democrat leadership?

If Bush lied, than so did they, and they are again now with their recent claims. Let's recap a bit shall we?

“Iraq is a long way from USA but, what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

Was she lying?

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

Was Sandy lying, and why then did he recently feel the need to stuff classified papers down his pants?

“Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

Was Maddy a compulsive liar, like her boss?

And I haven't even gotten into Clinton's comments.....

And Ted, these quotes aren't from legislators..... So much for your lame 'Media Matters' different intelligence briefs argument.

 
At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Sickofspin said...

"It was an intelligence community failure, not a Bush administration failure no matter how you look at it," Bruce said. "The reality is that you have a Congress with people who have been there for decades - much longer than Bush has been president. They have seen this WMD information for years." - Tammy Bruce
http://www.newsmaxstore.com/nms/showdetl.cfm?&DID=6&Product_ID=1971&PROMO_CODE=172F-1

And a lot of democrats supported Bush and a call for military action.

 
At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear SickOfSpin,

Bill Lied, Monica Cried.
Bush Lied, Thousands Died.

SOS, do you watch any of the Sunday morning interview shows? There are plenty of moderate Republicans (McCain, Graham, Hagel, etc.) who think Bush has made several terrible mistakes in his little war. Many of which have endangered the troops.

- insufficient troop strength

- BILLIONs simply lost to reconstruction companies (big-time theft)

- insuffient armor

- "taking off the gloves" (torture)

SOS, you must be one of the most partisan people on the face the this planet if you can't see these things.

WE WOULD NOT BE IN IRAQ IF BUSH DIDN'T WANT US THERE.

PERIOD

(Ted: Sorry about the caps)

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, there is an informative analysis of Bush's new War on Dissenters on Slate.

As most know, Bush is trying to spin the War on Iraq as a bi-partisan effort and that he is not to blame (boy, there's leadership!)

Fred Kaplan analyzes Bush's recent speech and points out mistruths and deceptions in Bush's speech.

It's good to see at least SOME in the media beginning to challenge the Emperor.


Here's the link:

http://www.slate.com/id/2130295?nav=wp

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Nice commentary.

I've been saying this for quite some time now. I'm anti-Iraq, pro-military. We need to stop playing the troops for political ideologies. They deserve our respect and gratitude for fighting, dying, or being wounded for our rights to be preserved. We need to hold ourselves accountable for electing imcompetent leaders. When we fight in wars that do not threaten our securities or rights, we owe an apology to these veterans, not to twist reality and say we need to make the war "justifiable" we need to face the truth, we went into an unjust war.

 

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