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January 31, 2003

Good morning! Still on that first cup of coffee? Me too. But I’m awake and gibbering now! Fred Clark of Slacktivist responds to my tinfoil-hat post with a quotation from a satirical novel published in 1993 that will leave you with your jaw on the floor. Go, read, now. [07:05 AM]
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Comments on Good morning!:

Fr. Bo ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 07:16 AM:

Patrick,
The more I read, and now that I've read Fred Clark's excerpt, the mother of all conspiriacies comes to mind...Sure, American Hero had Bush murdered by terrorists as an excuse to whip the country into a frenzy and go after whomever they want to on whatever pretext. When you think about it, instead of getting Daddy knocked off, why not just run a couple of airliners into the WTC? A better result, nobody in the family gets hurt, and the connections are there to pull it off. I'm probably being nuts here...but I've run out of tinfoil...

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 07:34 AM:

The point for me isn't that I seriously propose to argue stuff like this. Rather, it's that these guys regularly behave badly enough that I find it impossible to entirely dismiss even the most lurid suspicions.

In bipartisan fairness, over the years I've also found it impossible to completely dismiss various similarly paranoid speculations about the Kennedy family. In both cases you have a dynasty of people raised to the assumption of great personal power, power intitially founded in some fairly shady dealings, and surrounded by layers of ambitious underlings eager to arrange events in such a way that will please the top dogs. These are precisely the circumstances under which troublesome priests have a tendency to find themselves bleeding to death on the cathedral floor.

Fr. Bo ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 09:26 AM:

There is certainly precedent for troublesomeness/meddlesomeness (if indeed those are words)...Becket and Henry, Christ, himself. If one stands for justice and peace and is unwilling to attempt to thwart those who are willing to cast aside these things for their own ends, then we deserve all we get from these people. There's nothing said about whether the stand will be successful. There's a lot to be said about whether or not the stand is made at all.

Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 10:48 AM:

I'm not buying into the conspiracy theory, but the writer's thought processes in the excerpt resonated with my thoughts of why the response to 9/11 was massive force against Afghanistan rather than (say) a Delta Force extraction or assassination of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda principals. Within the world of the novel, a full-scale military assault is required rather than an extraction to get the country on a war footing, avoiding the unexciting classification of the response as a police matter.

In the world outside the novel, getting the USA to perceive a war against Afghanistan as the only reasonable response to 9/11 might have been thought of as useful as a prelude to the war against Iraq that Mr Rumsfeld and company have been trying to promote for the last five years or so. Not saying that they weren't genuinely outraged and horrified by 9/11 like the rest of us, but that American anger could be used by opportunists as grist for their Iraq-war mill.

Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 11:36 AM:

The Kean issue has set my mind a-percolating as well. In conspiracy-theory mode, I wonder if Bush is gaming the system: He appoints a controversial chairman, a hue and cry is raised, the chairman steps down. Time is wasted. The commission has an 18-month lifespan and 2 months are already shot. Maybe Bush is trying to run down the clock?

Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 12:03 PM:

Another alternative, similar to Adam's. Bush appoints a chairman so odious that there is no chance of his acceptance. But he serves as a lightning rod, drawing fire from all quarters. When he steps down, a slightly-less-odious choice is announced. This person will now face almost NO serious opposition, since most of the righteous indignation was already used up against the previous appointee.

Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 02:25 PM:

After you've read Slacktivist's quote from American Hero, scroll up to read a letter by Abraham Lincoln from 1848. It is so staggeringly appropriate to our current situation that I rushed off to the nearest copy of Lincoln's Collected Works (ed. Roy Basler, Rutgers U.P., 1953-5) to make sure it was really there and nobody had recently made it up. (v.1, p.451-2)

Folks, Abraham Lincoln is here! Now! He's talking to us!

I'm sorry, I'll go put the tinfoil on over my mouth now.

Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 03:15 PM:

That Lincoln quote is excellent, and is very much in the same spirit as a recent This Modern World cartoon.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 04:18 PM:

Bob: When they first started calling Sept 11 and act of war rather than a crime was when I suggested on RASFF that people consider who was promoting act of war over crime and what motives they might have for same. I pointed out names are important and powerful. I was roundly booed and shouted down. Huh, imagine that.

MKK

Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2003, 10:30 PM:

Mary Kay, having seen some RASFF stalwarts commenting on items in this blog and having recently dipped my intellectual toe back into that pool, I'm not entirely sorry that I haven't been active in the group for a while. Your experience exemplifies why I don't go there much any more -- if I had more energy to be involved and writing, I'd put it into LiveJournal (as webbob) or follow PNH's suggestion to start my own blog long before I'd jump back into that noisy maelstrom. People I like, and even love, are still there but the stubborn fixations of some regulars make me too frustrated to stay engaged.

The thread on 12 Step Programs as a refuge of weaklings seemed typical of the kneejerk argument from prejudice which makes constructive discourse more effort than it's worth. I'm not a 12 Step follower myself, but I do think that people who haven't had to overcome an addiction don't know what's weak and what's strong in the context of that kind of suffering.

Hal O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2003, 01:26 AM:

Two more from Rep. Lincoln. First, from 1848:

Again, it is a singular omission in this message, that it, no where intimates when the President expects the war to terminate. (The President was Polk, and the war was the war against Mexico. -- Hal) At it's beginning, Genl. Scott was, by the this same President, driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, for intimating that peace could not be conquered in less than three or four months. But now, at the end of twenty months, during which time our arms have given us the most splendid successes -- every department, and every part, land and water, officers and privates, regulars and volunteers, doing all that men could do, and hundreds of things which it had never before been though mean could not do, -- after all this, this same President gives us a long message, without showing us, that, as to the end, he himself, has, even an imaginary conception.

As I have before said, he knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show, there is not something about his conscience, more painful than all his mental perplexity!

And, from 1838, when Lincoln was only 29:

...Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.