Bergen Community College Shows Us Why Justin Carter Is Being Persecuted

Can't have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Can’t have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Remember Justin Carter? Last I checked, he was being tried for making a joke on Facebook, because of the culture of fear and speech monitoring created by the irresponsible hysteria over guns and terrorism.  He faces prison time. That this is a freedom-suffocating societal illness that threatens any and all of us is chronicled in Ken White account, and accompanying commentary, on the astonishing mistreatment of Bergen Community College Professor Francis Schmidt by the school, which was sent into a frenzy of terror because he posted to Google+ “a cute picture of his young daughter wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt in a yoga pose next to a cat.”  Inside Higher Ed reports what happened next:

“But one contact — a dean — who was notified automatically via Google that the picture had been posted apparently took it as a threat. In an email, Jim Miller, the college’s executive director for human resources, told Schmidt to meet with him and two other administrators immediately in light of the “threatening email.”Although it was winter break, Schmidt said he met with the administrators, including a security official, in one of their offices and was questioned repeatedly about the picture’s meaning and the popularity of “Game of Thrones.” Schmidt said Miller asked him to use Google to verify the phrase, which he did, showing approximately 4 million hits. The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that “fire” could be a kind of proxy for “AK-47s.” Despite Schmidt’s explanation, he was notified via email later in the week that he was being placed on leave without pay, effectively immediately, and that he would have to be cleared by a psychiatrist before he returned to campus. Schmidt said he was diagnosed with depression in 2007 but was easily cleared for this review, although even the brief time away from campus set back his students, especially those on independent study.”

Incredibly, the school refuses to acknowledge that it acted rashly, excessively, ignorantly and in disregard for common sense, human dignity and proportion. Safety, you know. Children. All those guns. Violence. Bad people thinking bad thoughts. Ken lets loose with a typically resonant attack on the trend:

But Bergen isn’t an anomaly. It’s not a collection of dullards and subnormals — though Jim Miller and Kaye Walker could lead to think that it is. Bergen is the emerging norm. Bergen represents what we, the people, have been convinced to accept. Bergen is unremarkable in a world where we’ve accepted “if you see something, say something” as an excuse to emote like toddlers, and where we’re lectured that we should be thankful that our neighbors are so eager to inform on us. Bergen is mundane in a world where we put kids in jail to be brutalized over obvious bad jokes on social media. Bergen exists in a world where officials use concepts like “cyberbullying” to police and retaliate against satire and criticism. Bergen exists in a world where we have allowed fears — fear of terrorism, fear of drugs, fear of crime, fear for our children — to become so powerful that merely invoking them is a key that unlocks any right. Bergen exists in a country where our leaders realize how powerful those fears are, and therefore relentlessly stretch them further and further, so we get things like the already-Orwellian Department of Homeland Security policing DVD piracy.

Exactly.

And may I add my own, somewhat more specific quote from my original post on Justin Carter, whose offense was no more of a crime than the professor’s T-shirt and whose life, not just some classes, have been disrupted for almost a year:

“The people who have done something terribly, unforgivably wrong, in fact, are President Obama, Vice President Biden, the hysterical exploiters of Newtown, the Justice Department, the IRS, the NSA, the members of Congress and the media who make excuses for the secret and excessive gathering of personal private data to “keep us safe,” and every other voice urging a nation founded on individual freedom and liberty to give up that core element of the American soul in cringing capitulation to fear that death is lurking around every corner.”

The majority of the public doesn’t have to be cringing in fear and determined to bring all non-conforming (that is, risky) individuals to heel, either. A silly Canadian busybody was all it took to ruin Carter’ s young life; a single pop culture-ignorant fellow-faculty member was enough to make the little girl’s T-shirt the equivalent of an empty backpack along the Boston Marathon route. This kind of environment gives  the weak, the officious and the censorious the power they crave.  Says Bergin,

“In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern.”

Translation: “We don’t care who get hurt or what injustices result, what creativity gets lost or what liberty is stifled. Safety. Security. Freedom from risk and offense is the only freedom that matters.”

The real fear that matters, then, is the fear of the individual, who risks colliding with the bureaucratic determination to treat all variance from the norm as strange, and thus  threatening to the security of all and warranting investigation, harassment, and punishment. If is isn’t a bureaucrat doing the enforcing, it’s the mob. Tell the a joke on Twitter that is a little too sophisticated, and you are too dangerous to have in the workplace: the Twitter mob gets you fired. Contribute to a cause that bucks political correctness, and the your employer will be pressured by another mob to terminate you. Defend the rights of a criminal defendant that a union mob hates, and those ignorant of the justice system will pronounce you a menace, as those responsible for making the laws capitulate. Courage, principle, innovation, dissent, self-expression, individualism, protest, political debate, humor, art and whimsy are all secondary to fear in a society like this, hostage to it, and crushed by it.

There are only two sides in this struggle, and they aren’t liberal and conservative. It is fear versus liberty, don’t deceive yourself. As far as I can see, fear is winning.

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80 thoughts on “Bergen Community College Shows Us Why Justin Carter Is Being Persecuted

    • Believe me, this story settles it. I thought about you the whole post, I really did. And Bruce and Barry’s insistence that they had to feel “safe” on blogs. I believe in civility, but I believe in letting people communicate more. Incivility is static, and that’s unfortunate, but the trend is now in favor of punishing, intimidating, censoring, shaming, weakening, homogenizing, and dictating discourse, and I refuse to be a part of it. If it costs some commenters who want all to be faux respect and roses—like Barry–I’ll pay the price.

  1. Well, now we know that there are some places in which we can’t say or write the word “fire” because it’s code for AK-47s.

    Oh shit…I just wrote fire! And I just did it again!

    And I wrote AK-47 also. Surely, I wasn’t supposed to write out AK-47 when a person can get into trouble for just using a term that takes the place of AK-47 because obviously we shouldn’t use the word AK-47. Shit! I just said it again.

    Wait…we can still say “those words” in Texas, right?

  2. I think the world of academia has become unhealthily isolated from reality, Jack.

    For their own good, I think every 4-5 years they should take a 3-4 year break in the real world and interact with real people in real situations.

    Academia has lost all perspective.

    • I wonder how far along the same lines you and I are thinking, Tex.

      A “Higher Education Affordability Promotion Act” comes to mind – what a wonderful intervention on behalf of the CHILDREN that would be! Such a “cleansing” federal program could: Impose regulations on all the colleges and universities, so that each member of faculty and staff must demonstrate prior employment in for-profit, private sector jobs (during periods when their employers are actually generating profits, of course). Force all deans, professors, instructors etc. to be so employed for at least 5 years before being eligible to join a faculty (with no exemptions for career public sector employees – and NO grandfathering). Then, a 10-year rule could follow up that regulatory requirement, mandating that all staff must “rotate” back out of the education and academic environment, for another minimum 5-year, successful profit-making “tour” in some other private sector, before rotating back in to the hallowed halls of higher ed. God, I love regulation and big government! SO much potential to do good! No more insularity for “cacademia!”

  3. This was the inevitable outgrowth of the dogma of political correctness on campus. Once you’ve established that a college administration can monitor and control your words, deeds and thoughts, it’s a small step to extending this to grade schools, to parents and to all whether on or off campus- and via personal communications online that may likewise not meet the specifications of the principal, chancellor, superintendent, dean… whatever. Nor does it thereby become surprising that these controlling entities will seek to extend their control ever further and ever tighter. This will continue, too, until either they are stopped and pushed back by constitutionalists or until every vestige of the 1st Amendment is functionally erased. This is totalitarianism by degrees. The degrees have just about mounted to the boiling point.

  4. “This is totalitarianism by degrees.” Exactly.

    Now wait for the pedantic argument that it isn’t technically totalitarian, since it doesn’t involve a central authority. YET…

    • Now wait for the pedantic argument that words have meanings and totalitarianism is a specific thing, not just when things I don’t like happen!

      Although this is closer- it’s still not a systematic government authority, but within the microcosm of the college the fact that the college authorities can suspend you for such a ridiculous reason creates a totalitarian atmosphere within said college.

  5. ” And Bruce and Barry’s insistence that they had to feel “safe” on blogs. ”

    This just aggravates the hell out of me, this insistence on baby-proofing the universe down to written words on a blog so people can feel ‘safe’. What is ‘safe’, and why are supposed adults so afraid of words that they need to pepper their blogs with ‘trigger warnings’ and try to censor others’ speech? What can those words on blogs and tee shirts actually do to them? I can’t imagine living in such a delicate frightened state. How are people like these going to survive if a real disaster occurs? An earthquake, or death or illness in older family members, if words on a page can send them into attacks of the vapors? None of us is truly safe…any one of us could be diagnosed with an illness or hit by a bus tomorrow. No one knows what will happen next week or next year, but that’s life, and wrapping ourselves in bubble wrap and banning scary words isn’t going to change that.

    • How are people like these going to survive if a real disaster occurs?
      ************
      I’ll tell you how.
      They will expect the gov to rescue them.
      We’re growing a nation of sissies and cry babies.

  6. About ten years ago when this stuff was ramping up I was begging for someone with some cultural pull to do an update of FDR’s inaugural because unending fear is putting us all in straight jackets. It’s like some runaway infection or nuclear reaction and we desperately need some kind of dampeners.

    • This is an uncredited virtue of George W. Bush that he will eventually be honored for, as this administration’s contrary approach has its full effect. He showed that when America is threatened, attacked, menaced, it will strike back, even when it is painful and costly. This is what pacifists and appeasers and hindsight bias specialists can’t comprehend. Make the bad guy afraid. It’s not a complicated principle, and it’s even primitive. One of the enduring truths that some ideologies refuse to accept. Drawing imaginary and cynical red lines, blustering and promising reprisals that never come is a sad, dangerous and incompetent alternative.

      • Oh I don’t know…while you’re saying “Look! A Parrot!” like this people don’t notice you’re quietly neutralising threats (and sadly some innocents too) using drone strikes of dubious legality in a dozen minor acts of war every month..

        Moving armour into Poland helps too of course. You publicise the stuff that doesn’t matter, and use nacht und nebel on that that does.

      • Um… what??? Bush invaded 2 countries. One was in retaliation, the other was insane. Iraq didn’t attack us. Bush’s attack of them didn’t say we respond against our attackers; it said we’re loonies who can’t tell one Arab from another. Moreover, Bush’s administration manipulated the populace with fear to gain support for the ill fated second war (which doomed the necessary first war). He’s about as far from FDR’s quote as is possible.

        Zoe’s got it right. International politics isn’t about bumper sticker slogans and whose dick is bigger. I’ll take Andrew Sullivan’s “Meep meep” Obama over Bush’s “Mission accomplished” bluster any day of the week.

        • Come on, get off the partisan mythmobile. But anyway, it’s a side issue, and the facts have been so thoroughly distorted by reporting that a coherent discussion is impossible. As I already said, I will not let any statement about any President disgracing the Presidency stand unchallenged in a thread involving Bill Clinton.

          I will only say this: enforcing a violated cease fire is not “insane” but critically important. Irag didn’t attack us, it violated a ceasefire. And what is supposed to happen when a country does that?? No country should enforce it alone, however, and this country shouldn’t have had to in Iraq’s case. Bush was right in principle, wrong practically, and made the mistake worse by not funding the two wars with higher taxes—irresponsible and reckless. The UN was obligated to enforce the broken cease fire and didn’t because it was and is corrupt and cynical—luckily, the current US leadership supports the UN’s familiar act of making resolutions it won’t do anything about and sanctions that hurt innocent civilians but don’t phase or restrain the leadership of outlaw countries, and so we are on the same page. Yippee. Let’s see how that works out. I’ll guess “not well.”

          And the “Mission Accomplished” canard is beneath you. We know that was the carrier crew’s banner referring to the carrier’s mission, which was accomplished. Yes, it should have been caught and vetted. It was a PR gaffe, and seldom have I seen one so relentlessly and unfairly flogged. Its about as unfair as talking about the time Obama said there 57 states. Conservatives won’t let that one go, either.

          OK, one more correction: Congress voted to invade in both cases. It wasn’t just “Bush.” So that’s three pieces of conventional disinformation you endorsed. I forgive you.

          This isn’t a Bush post, and I didn’t bring him up.

          • You actually did bring him up as far as I can see, with the “uncredited virtue” line in your previous comment. I agree with your general take on Bush’s war policies though. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the only instance where follow up leadership undermined the potentially valuable lesson the previous leaders established. WW1 established that Great Britain would go to exorbitant lengths to enforce established treaties. Neville Chamberlain killed that idea.

            • Yup, I did. I stand corrected.

              It was fascinating hearing former Obama-admirer David Brooks admitting in a liberal forum that Obama is regarded as a weak leader–one who is not feared, and who can be rolled—on TV yesterday, while today the Washington Post’s chief editorial editor makes the same diagnosis. This was all so painfully obvious years ago…I wrote about it, flagged it, pointed it out as what should have been a decisive re-election handicap. So frustrating.

              • I agree with this completely. Of course, being seen as a weak leader doesn’t mean one doesn’t accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

                  • It’s probably because “weak leader” is not a synonym for “weak at international politics.” Throw in a bit about how people tend to react to short term appearances over long term strategy and behind the scenes machinations and we’d be in agreement.

                    • Expand.

                      Do I assume correctly in positing that Obama’s lack of any real foreign policy vision is actually just some clever “long term strategy and behind the scenes machinations”?

                    • Uh…what I’m saying is that your conclusion that Obama lacks any real foreign policy vision is bullshit. It seems to be based on him not being splashy. It’s pretty clear that he has been trying to win over people as allies and work from inside to make things better. You know, the opposite of starting wars with everyone. The latter is splashy, but stupid. The former is quiet, but has a possibility of succeeding.

                    • Ludicrous on its face. That’s Obama’s ‘doubles and singles’ nonsense. It can’t succeed, because it is self-evidently weak, feckless and unfocused. If you really think that the US handling of the Ukraine is anything but dangerous and embarrassing, you need to excise foreign policy from your large category of topics where your insight is valuable.

                    • Jack,

                      It can’t succeed, because it is self-evidently weak, feckless and unfocused.

                      This is not a statement of fact. It’s circular logic. You think it can’t work because it appears weak. And you think weak appearances can’t work. You think it’s unfocused because you think hard line direct action is the only thing that’s focused. Again, it’s circular. I think you threw feckless in because you wanted a third value, but it’s just a synonym for weak.

                      It’s also counter-factual, as this kind of diplomacy has worked at times in history, just as the “I’m the biggest guy on the block, so do what I say” has also worked. Neither seems to always work. The problem hasn’t been fully modeled in game theory, but I suspect the best strategy would combine some of each.

                      As for the U.S.’s strategy in the Ukraine, I don’t see that there is a good option. Being strong enough to actual threaten Russia risks getting nuked. Russia knows this, and knows we aren’t willing to risk such over an area that far from our borders. The same problem would exist for Russia if we invaded Mexico.

                      Sometimes, you can’t win. Obama is more a pragmatist than a leftie, so I suspect he realizes this. He’s trying to play whatever cards he can to keep Russia from invading more locations. What would you have him do instead?

                    • Scott,

                      Are you so deluded to think Obama has simply given speeches in an attempt to fix issues? Speeches are used to try to change minds. Which speech wasn’t backed with executive orders or proposed legislation? The only one I can think of off the top of my head was the Sandy Hook speech (the executive orders were pretty nominal things), and the proper response to that tragedy WAS simply a speech.

                    • Name me what action he has taken or taken ACTIVE steps towards in regards to the IRS, the VA, Benghazi, the ACA, or the economy.

                      And “calling on congress” doesn’t count, since he seems to forget there is a Senate that kills stuff after the House passes it.

                    • Scott,

                      Name me what action he has taken or taken ACTIVE steps towards in regards to the IRS, the VA, Benghazi, the ACA, or the economy.

                      And “calling on congress” doesn’t count, since he seems to forget there is a Senate that kills stuff after the House passes it.

                      I refuse agree to your framing. If the President unilaterally created any law, he’d be violating the constitution. Can you imagine what would happen? Hell, he gets attacked for violating the constitution when any of the executive agencies do anything conservatives don’t like.

                      That said, he has taken actions that he could take. Let’s look at Benghazi first. After the attack at Benghazi he directed the state department to review the security risks, security protocols, and compliance with all US Embassies. What more was he supposed to do? Republicans are trying to make this out to be a scandal, but there’s no scandal there. When the attack started, it was believed to be in response to the video, likely because things attacking Islam have led to mob attacks in the past. This was accurately reported. When it was learned that the attack timing was coincidental, they said as much.

                      Fixing the economy. We can start with the stimulous that Obama helped orchestrate. We can talk about Obama fighting against the ridiculous cuts to government (a war he mostly won). Or, since you hate that the President does constitutionally rely on congress, we can even talk about the fed, which has cut interest rates to spur growth.

                      I’ve shown two of your examples to be complete bunk. I can do the same for the rest, but there’s no need. I’ve proven my point that you’re completely out of touch with reality here.

                    • “trying to win over people as allies and work from inside to make things better.”

                      1) not trying very hard.
                      2) failed to change that strategy when that strategy has been shown to be a colossal failure on its face.

                      “starting wars with everyone”

                      That’s a dumb comment. Who’s done that?

                      “The latter is splashy, but stupid. The former is quiet, but has a possibility of succeeding.”

                      Good thing no one has tried the latter. And it appears the possibility of the former is next to nil.

                      Unfortunately, true to TGTesque form, you’ve posited a false dichotomy. I’ll give you a few days to meditate on the other options available.

                      Your Response to Jack

                      Calling something circular logic doesn’t make it so. I know in your Obamatopia fantasy land it has to be circular logic lest the thin veneer of your love of him might shatter. It’s nice you have to follow up with the false dichotomy again– Obama’s “vision” and direct hard-line action aren’t the only choices. This is twice you’ve made this error TGT.

                      Without discussing the intricacies of available options on Ukraine, you’ve resorted to false dichotomy again. There aren’t two options of “Next to Nothing” or “Risk Nukes”. Gads… you lack depth these days.

                      Your Response to Ablative

                      You failed to address Ben Ghazi and merely parrot the expected diversionary talking points. You could stand-in for the White House Spokesliar…

                      1) There’s no reason why the administration had any need to point to a cause of the attack that early. (you’ve been spanked by the logic stick on this before)

                      2) There’s no reason why the administration didn’t have the information showing the actual nature of the attack within 8 hours of the attack and actually much sooner.

                      3) The real controversy isn’t even those two points (which have been amply shown to be utter dishonesty and incompetence on behalf of the administration). The controversy is why the hell there was no real action taken to help the men on the ground despite knowing the nature of the attack. Either due to colossally misaligned values originating from the top (the fish rots…) or because the top knew but did nothing.

          • I will only say this: enforcing a violated cease fire is not “insane” but critically important. Irag didn’t attack us, it violated a ceasefire.

            We didn’t invade because of the violated ceasefire. The populace and congress were sold on WMDs. WMDs, WMDs, WMDs. Without that drumbeat, we can’t know what would have happened, but we do know the war was sold on a lie.

            And the “Mission Accomplished” canard is beneath you. We know that was the carrier crew’s banner referring to the carrier’s mission, which was accomplished. Yes, it should have been caught and vetted. It was a PR gaffe, and seldom have I seen one so relentlessly and unfairly flogged. Its about as unfair as talking about the time Obama said there 57 states. Conservatives won’t let that one go, either.

            Those two things can not be conflated. Obama’s was a slip of the tongue. Bush’s was an attempt to conflate the banner with the speech. The other option for the “Mission Accomplished” situation is complete incompetence. Bush’s staff was politically shrewd and intelligent. This is one case where Hanlon’s razor fails.

            OK, one more correction: Congress voted to invade in both cases. It wasn’t just “Bush.”

            I didn’t say it was just Bush, but he led the call to both wars. His administration also built support for the second war, a war we didn’t have the manpower for (even if he had raised taxes). Also, by your logic, it’s not just Obama who hasn’t done anything in the Ukraine. That’s silly logic though. The commander and chief tends to be the one who decides they want to go to war, and then works on congress to support it.

            • The WMD’s were over-hyped, but that was also part of the busted cease-fire. Saddam was supposed to satisfy the UN and us that he had destroyed all WMDs and he impeded inspections, and more. Saying that the invasion wasn’t about the cease fire is like saying the South wasn’t fighting for slavery. The WMD’s were hyped to get public approval for a decision that was not based on WMDs. Surely you know this.

              Bush was not responsible for the banner. Bottom line. My point is not to conflate the Presidential actions/non-actions, which truly have nothing in common, but rather the similar persistence of partisan critics (of the fanatic bent) to over-inflate their significance and the agent’s culpability. That was and is the comparison.

              • WMDs

                Yup. We never should have invaded Iraq. Breaking the cease-fire wasn’t a good enough reason to invade. That’s why the WMDs were trumped up.

                Mission Accomplished
                Bull. Bush’s staff made the freaking banner, and the speech was triumphantly saying that major fighting had ended. If there’s one thing Bush’s administration has never been accused of, it’s being politically stupid. The banner matched the tone, tenor, and CONTENT of the speech. Bush was claiming we won. He was horribly wrong. Even if the banner wasn’t there, that speech would have been lambasted. The banner is just a shortcut to pointing out how out of touch the administration was with the reality of the war.

                Over inflation
                Yes, both sides over inflate trivial things. Bush not remembering the “fool me once” proverb parallels the 57 states slip up. The speech and banner claiming the war was over? Not the same.

                • 1. Hindsight bias. And I’m still not sure we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq based on what we knew, though W. said if he knew there weren’t WMD’s he would not have. And who knows if it’s not better that we did.

                  2. I’d love to see the documentation that Bush’s staff made the banner, though it is still a puny, minor, insignificant issue that has been driven into the ground. I promise I will give the same pass to this President when his chest thumping over Obamacare looks ridiculous in about six months. Bad PR, risky, and premature boasting.

                  • 1. No. As I said, the reasons they had weren’t good enough to invade, so they had to trump something up. It wasn’t a bad idea because it failed; it was a bad idea because we didn’t have the manpower to fight two wars. If you have to lie to get someone to do something, it’s not hindsight bias for that lied to person to say the thing shouldn’t have happened.

                    2. http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/mission.accomplished/
                    http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=3744

                    From the first link: “The White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the [White House] spokeswoman.”

                    From the second link, in Rumsfeld’s own words: “I took ‘mission accomplished’ out. I was in Baghdad, and I was given a draft of that thing to look at. And I just died, and I said my God, it’s too conclusive. And I fixed it and sent it back

                    And we got it back and they fixed the speech, but not the sign.”

                    The latter quote suggests the banner was an oversight. Of course, that explanation contradicts the White House’s original story that it was completely an idea of the Navy.

                    2b. I’ll hold you to that on the ACA.

                    • 1.You don’t think the reasons were good enough to invade. Obviously they did, right or wrong. If they agreed with you, they wouldn’t have felt they had to invade. Based on what they thought they knew and the conditions at the time, I agreed with them, and based on those, I still agree with them.
                      2. They didn’t need to lie, and didn’t. They overstated the justifications for their conclusions, but the conclusions were genuine. They believed that there were WMDs, as did most of the World, the CIA and John Kerry. The criticism of the Iraq invasion decision is the best example of hindsight bias I know. If the WMD’s had shown up, would be having this discussion about the process of deciding to go in? Point proven.
                      3. As I said, the banner was a botch.
                      4. Of course we could fight two wars! We fought two bigger wars when we were dedicated to it, willing to sacrifice, and determined to win. We just didn’t do those things in this case, and yes, I blame Bush for that, completely. If you wage war, you better be prepared to wage it competently and responsibly.

                    • 1) Interesting rebuttal and atypical for one from your political persuasion. Do I take it then that you agreed with the war on Objective principle, but merely oppose it for a “lack of manpower”. That, had we had the military of Reagan — 20 active duty Divisions (pre-Clintonian reductions) — that you would have been on board with the invasion?

                    • I’ve been out of touch. I’m trying to come back to discussions I left off of. Sorry about that.

                      Jack,

                      1) They thought the reasons were good enough. Yes. I don’t disagree with that.

                      Despite thinking there reasons were good enough, they didn’t use them to back the war. Instead, they lied to get support for the war.

                      That you agree with their reasons doesn’t mean their reasons were good. It also doesn’t mean that the people who were convinced based on the lie can’t complain.

                      2. “They didn’t need to lie, and didn’t. They overstated the justifications for their conclusions, but the conclusions were genuine.”

                      That’s enough to show why you fail here. Overstating a justification IS a lie. They claimed intelligence that they knew to be fraudulent.

                      3. You said the banner about the ship’s mission. The quotes show that the banner was about the Iraq mission generally. Why can’t you admit when you’re wrong?

                      4. If we reinstituted the draft, maybe we would have had enough manpower. That wasn’t going to happen. This was a no go from the start.

                      tex,

                      I think you missed something. I don’t think it was proper to invade. I don’t think there were valid justifications. Separate from justifications, it was not something we were capable of completing.

                      Here’s my oversimplified example, In a game of risk, I might have south America, fighting to take over Africa, and in a truce with North America. I might not invade from South America to North America because my alliance with North America seems important. Another player in the same spot may be willing to burn the alliance with the person owning North America. In either case though, If I don’t have the troops built up to invade North America, the drain that war would cause would make the war in Africa unwinnable.

                    • Then this line:
                      “It wasn’t a bad idea because it failed; it was a bad idea because we didn’t have the manpower to fight two wars.”

                      Needs rewording.

                • WMD’s.

                  Jack IS correct. Violating a cease-fire agreement IS the reason to re-engage. What was lacking was a generally spine-less body of other countries, who were ALL A PARTY to the original cease-fire.

                  • My God, how can one seriously argue that a violating cease fire predicated on a defeated nation meeting certain demands ISN’T a reason to re-engage? What’s the point of the cease fire, if not to hold a threat over the head of the outlaw country?

                    • What’s the point of the cease fire, if not to hold a threat over the head of the outlaw country?

                      They sound really cool, and we all know that’s the most important thing…

                    • You think we should have invaded Israel then? They have violated cease-fires, and cease-build compacts multiple times in the west bank.

                    • We have been party to treaties that included cease fires. Our might was supposed to enforce the provisions of the truces. We have never backed it up.

                    • So, if one of your friends breaks a cease-fire, that’s cool, even if we were the ones who brokered the deal. If one of our enemies does it, we attack.

                      I don’t agree. If anything, Israel’s actions have played us for a dupe. Over and over. We’ve lost more position in the world based on our lack of response to Israel than anything else I can think of.

                    • Scott,

                      And you’re severely misinformed. They have violated cease-fire truces repeatedly, in encroaching upon more land on the west bank. Do you remember the brief fighting in fall of 2012? Why did that occur? Because Israel had violated their agreements and been taking more west bank land for years. It reached a point where the invaded got fed up. No, Israel did not fire the first projectile, but yes, they violated the cease-fire truce.

                    • Do you remember the brief fighting in fall of 2012? Why did that occur?

                      Actually, it happened because of repeated rocket attacks.

                      But please, continue to parrot talking points. It does wonders for people’s opinion of you.

                    • Scott,

                      You mean land they took after the had several nations attack them? Land that becomes useful and productive after they start to work the land?

                      Uh, what? The settlements in the west bank are not in response to attacks. They are the cause of the attacks. Israel keeps encroaching on land that they have agreed they won’t encroach on. They are the ones that are violating agreements first. The rocket attacks are attempts to dissuade them from continuing to violate their agreements.


                      Actually, it happened because of repeated rocket attacks.

                      But please, continue to parrot talking points. It does wonders for people’s opinion of you.

                      The rocket attacks were in response to the violations of the cease fire agreement: the additional and enlarged settlements. You are the one who seems to be misinformed here.

                      The improperly enlarged settlements are not up for debate. You can simply look at the maps of the territories. Lines were drawn and peace was achieved….then Israel would create more settlements, then fighting would ensue, then peace would again be achieved, with Israel keeping their annexed lands. Repeat.

                      The Palestinians definitely have fault in the early, fighting, but since the 80s, blame is heavily on the side of Israel.

                    • This discussion of Israel/”Palestinian” cease-fires is somewhat irrelevant. It’s cherry picking the past 20 years out of a much larger context.

                      I’d advise espousing the attitudes of George Friedman on topics like this. Israel is and has faced a continual existential crisis since day one. And rule #1 of national survival — when faced with an existential crisis, always overreact.

                      The “Palestinians” (who actually had a great situation in Israel until external elements began fomenting the unrest of the late 80s to today) did not face an existential crisis other than that of their own making. They are the only ones who can end this short of another Jewish diaspora.

                    • And also to be clear, I think TGT is referencing the “Roadmap to Peace” (apparently a comedian was hired for that title) when he says Israel violated agreements to cease settlements in the West Bank. I don’t recall the Roadmap ever being adopted by Israel or the PLO…

                      So, to be clear, Ablative’s assertions hold considerably more weight than TGT’s.

                  • I’m pretty sure I’ve been arguing that the violation of the cease-fire was not what we were sold on. If it was such a shut and dry case, why trump up the the false WMD intel?

                    • Jesus…

                      It was, in fact, one of the reasons. There were many reasons, not just “they have WMDs”. Have you read the authorization for force?

                      And I guess democrats were all lying to give Bush an excuse to invade back in ’98, right?

                    • Argh. What’s in the authorization of force is the cease fire AND the WMDs. The case made to the media was mainly about the WMDs and the links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The public wasn’t swayed by the technical document.

                    • Classic politics. The lies about the Iraq, the risks and the violation of the cease fire were coming from all sides, so the Administration sought a guts issue to sell what was justified and justifiable anyway. You counter exaggeration with exaggeration—the problem is, once you go in, the opposition’s lies are irrelevant.

                    • Jack,

                      That’s a “they did it too” justification combined with “ends justify the means.”

                      This is pure special pleading. You agree with a justification for what occurred, so you’re okay with them lying to get support. Other people also lied, so there lies aren’t so bad.

                    • I didn’t say I agreed with it. Did I? I think it was stupid, and it was unethical. But it was also not a lie, as it has been portrayed. They did believe that the WMD’s existed. They did not have the proof they represented. Both positions are dishonest, but the first is worse, and that was not the case.

                      The question is more complex that you seem willing to admit. In politics and war, some lies or misrepresentations are necessary in the pursuit of the greater good—Utilitarianism. I’m sure that was the reasoning in this case. If there had been WPD’s, nobody would have argued about the hyping—consequentialism!—but there weren’t. Since there were no WMD’s, nobody is capable now of an objective analysis of whether that lie/exaggeration could be ethically justified then. I guarantee that the lies of the anti-war crowd are justified exactly the same way: if it prevented a war, it was right.

                    • But it was also not a lie, as it has been portrayed. They did believe that the WMD’s existed. They did not have the proof they represented. Both positions are dishonest, but the first is worse, and that was not the case.

                      1) If they did believe it with any confidence, then they were horribly stupid on that front.

                      2) This is still a lie. They lied about the evidence. That one lie is worse than another doesn’t mean that they didn’t lie. The administration absolutely lied about their being WMDs in Iraq. The evidence that they used to support their claim was bullshit. Putting forth information known to be false is lying. That they believed in their goal does not change their lies to truths.

                      I am 99.99% sure there is no god. I can give all sorts of good evidence for my belief, but if I say there is no god because I was technically dead for 5 minutes, and I didn’t meet an god, then I’m lying, no matter how good my other evidence is. I can’t believe you’re still claiming these weren’t lies.

                    • Jack,

                      I missed half your comment. Oops:

                      The question is more complex that you seem willing to admit. In politics and war, some lies or misrepresentations are necessary in the pursuit of the greater good—Utilitarianism. I’m sure that was the reasoning in this case. If there had been WPD’s, nobody would have argued about the hyping—consequentialism!—but there weren’t. Since there were no WMD’s, nobody is capable now of an objective analysis of whether that lie/exaggeration could be ethically justified then. I guarantee that the lies of the anti-war crowd are justified exactly the same way: if it prevented a war, it was right.

                      That the other side does it, too, is not a valid justification. It’s a rationalization, and it’s irrelevant to the discussion. If you rely on utlititarianism to justify something, then you are opening yourself up to consequentialism. That’s not a bug. That’s a feature. It’s a necessary check on the actions of the powerful.

  7. You’ve probably read that Sen. Harry Reid has proclaimed supporters of Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists”… I wonder what the administrators will do when a student(s) wear a name tag/button with the words “Domestic Terrorist” to school?

    As for myself, I’m going out tomorrow to order a few for myself and friends.

  8. I’m trying to figure out, do they mean that “fire” references “firing” a gun? Or simply that because “fire and blood” doesn’t easily translate to code for a school shooting (fire doesn’t make you bleed after all), that they have to go the absurd route that “fire” is representative of the concept of “AK-47?”

    And what does this do to use by the students of illustrative phrases- “Light a fire under him” now means threatening a lazy group member to do his research at gunpoint? “He’s on fire today” means a basketball player is clearing the court with a spray of bullets before making easy layups?

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