Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kos Pulls Maccabee Post Off DKos

Whoa. I was all set to do a follow-up story on the right's response to that post by Maccabee about his LSO friend who thinks a massive strike on Iran is imminent. But kos has removed the link from his site. Earlier, he had a brief post up about how we shouldn't trust everything that confirms our opinions just because it's on the Internet. He said that now the right was making fun of Maccabee, and justifiably so. A few minutes later, Maccabee's post was gone.

Obviously, I don't know what this means or why kos did this, but I am at a loss to understand what was so incredibly unbelievable about what this LSO had to say. The massive air attack on Iran she describes is no different from what the Times of London describes in its Sunday, Sept. 2 edition:

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

The only thing that's different in Maccabee's piece is the inside picture his friend gives us of the atmosphere where she works:
Something is wrong with the Navy and the Marines in her view. Always ready to go in harms way, Marines rarely ever question unless it’s a matter of tactics or honor. But something seems awry. Junior and senior officers are starting to grumble, roll their eyes in the hallways. The strain of deployments is beginning to hit every jot and tittle of the Marines and it’s beginning to seep into the daily conversation of Marines and Naval officers in command decision.

"I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval officer", she said. "But we’re all just waiting for this administration to end. Things that happen at the senior officer level seem more and more to happen outside of the purview of XOs and other officers who typically have a say-so in daily combat and flight operations. Today, orders just come down from the mountaintop and there’s no questioning. In fact, there is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. That’s really weird. It’s also really weird because everyone who has disappeared has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on Iran."

And this, courtesy of Neptunus Lex, since this paragraph was not part of my earlier paste, and Maccabee's original post is no longer available:
“We’re not stupid. Most of the members of the fleet read well enough to know what is going on world-wise. We also realize that anyone who has any doubts is in danger of having a long military career yanked out from under them. Keep in mind that most of the people I serve with are happy to be a part of the global war on terror. It’s just that the touch points are what we see since we are the ones out here who are supposedly implementing this grand strategy. But when you liason (sic) with administration officials who don’t know that Iranians don’t speak Arabic and have no idea what Iranians live like, then you start having second thoughts about whether these Administration officials are even competent.”

And this, from Down With Tyranny! (also a portion of Maccabee's post that I didn't copy and paste earlier):
We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe that no American will know when it happens until after it happens. And whatever the consequences, whatever the consequences, they will have to be lived with. I am sure if my father knew I was telling someone in a news organization that we were about to launch a supposedly secret attack that it would be treason. But something inside me tells me to tell it anyway.

... I have become cynical only recently. I also don’t believe anyone will be able to stop this. Bush has become something of an Emperor. He will give the command, and cruise missiles will fly and aircraft will fly and people will die, and yet few of us here are really able to cobble together a great explanation of why this is a good idea. Of course many of us can give you the 4H Club lecture on democracy in the Mid East. But if you asked any of the flight officers whether they have a clear idea of what the goal of this strike is, your answer would sound like something out of a think tank policy paper. But it’s not like Kosovo or when we relieved the tsunami victims. There everyone could tell you in a sentence what we were here doing.

That’s what’s missing. A real sense of purpose. What’s missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening this country with all this power? Last night in the galley, an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke. I mean the table got EF Hutton quiet. Not so much because the man was asking a question that was off culture. But that he was asking a good question. In fact, the discussion actually followed afterwards topside where someone in our group had to smoke a cigarette. The discussion was intelligent but also in lowered voices. It’s like we aren’t allowed to ask the questions that we always ask before combat. It’s almost as if the average seaman or soldier is doing all the policy work.

Now, I grant you, it's pretty astonishing that an LSO on a supercarrier in the Middle East is being so open about her concerns with the Bush administration's plans for Iran and the totalitarian atmosphere in the military, but it should hardly be surprising that things are the way she describes. I mean, it really shouldn't even raise an eyebrow at this point, but clearly righties have been looking down at their feet continuously for the last four years, to come out with statements like this:
As for all of those “disappearing” senior officers, there are a couple of well-trodden paths to professional ignominy - DUIs and “zipper failures” are among the most common - but no one gets vanished for “questioning whether or not” we ought to attack Iran, or any other country for that matter and if they had, you can be sure we’d all have heard about it by now. It’s also passing strange to hear a former Marine complain that orders come down from the “mountain top”, as though at some time in the cherished past they use to bubble up from the mess decks. But even in such a bizarrely constructed paragraph, it’s hard to plausibly and consistently argue on the one hand that orders aren’t being questioned and that people are being relieved for doing so.

Is this guy for real? People have been getting vanished -- or maybe "banished" is a better word -- in the Bush administration for questioning, contradicting, dissenting, disagreeing with, Bush administration policies on Iraq, on climate change, on warrantless surveillance, on torture, and more. And yes, we have all heard about it by now. If Neptunus Lex hasn't, it's because he's got cotton balls jammed in his ears. And that last sentence is just dense (as in stupid). The reason people aren't questioning orders is because when they do they get canned. You learn not to question orders when you see others losing their jobs for doing so.

11 comments:

Lex said...

Occam's razor, Kathy.

Cheers,

Lex

The Puddle Pirate said...

You missed the entire point of Lex's post: the "source" is almost certainly not who Maccabee claimed she is. Therefore, the whole story's almost certainly a fraud. I doubt the LSO even exists.

Maccabee's a fabulist ... although he claims the "mystery LSO" punked him.

Uh-huh. Right. Even Kos called BS on that.

Chief said...

Apparently DKos doesn't use or doesn't want "Google Cache"

Chief said...

I found a link for you:
http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:NOiHRw6oH2AJ:www.dailykos.com/story/2007/9/1/183018/1527+maccabee+LSO+iran&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us

Google cache - I figured out how to use it.

Kathy said...

I'm not sure what Occam's razor has to do with this.

You missed the entire point of Lex's post: the "source" is almost certainly not who Maccabee claimed she is. Therefore, the whole story's almost certainly a fraud.

I did not miss Lex's point. I understood what he was saying. I just don't agree that if the LSO is a fiction, that invalidates everything else in the post. The supposed fact that Maccabee had this impeccable on-the-scene source who was supposedly speaking from her own experience is not the only reason the account was credible. Even if there is no LSO, the substance of what Maccabee wrote is totally credible, because it's in line with everything we know to be true from the last six years of living with the Bush administration.

I agree that the sourcing of Maccabee's post is very suspect at this point, but I also have to say that the comment ostensibly written by maccabee smells of three-day-old fish to me. The tone and voice sound totally bogus to me. Whoever Maccabee is, and even if he really is a smarmy, slimy liar who made up this friend who is an LSO, I can't see him writing a comment like that. Actually, *especially* if he made up the LSO. It's too pat. You really believe that Maccabee yanked his own post? I find it much more likely that it was kos who yanked it.

Lex said...

Occam's razor has to do with the post itself, especially given the fact that it's been yanked. Does it really seem more likely (simpler) that a US Navy LSO wrote those things to Macabbee despite the comprehensive debunking that they've taken? Or that somebody created a poorly crafted fraud that played upon the fears and prejudices of the kossack krewe?

And as for "Even if there is no LSO, the substance of what Maccabee wrote is totally credible, because it's in line with everything we know to be true from the last six years of living with the Bush administration", you may not agree with us to your right on many things, but you should at least try to understand that when we ask "fake but accurate?" we are expressing an authentic aversion and that statements such as yours feeds certain biases of our own.

The Puddle Pirate said...

Even if there is no LSO, the substance of what Maccabee wrote is totally credible, because it's in line with everything we know to be true from the last six years of living with the Bush administration.

Fake but accurate, eh?

Kathy said...

Or that somebody created a poorly crafted fraud that played upon the fears and prejudices of the kossack krewe?

Actually, despite what you call a "comprehensive debunking" (I've seen those done before by righties, and most of them are more like comprehensive smear jobs -- which doesn't mean this one is, too, but I'm just sayin'), I find it harder to believe the LSO was made up than to believe she is real. The reason I feel that way is because the atmosphere of hostility not just to dissent but to any questioning of Bush's war policy at all is so credible given this administration's history that I cannot imagine why Maccabee would have felt the need to create a fictional friend on a supercarrier to make that point. That is even more true for the Iran air attack plans themselves. The same exact plans that Ms. LSO described in Maccabee's post were detailed in the Times of London on the very same day. Minus the very specific operational details, of course; but the substance of the plans she described was no different from what the Times had. So why would Maccabee feel the need to make up this LSO to present an imminent massive attack on Iran that England's stuffiest most establishment paper had written about the same day -- and that everyone in the entire world already knew Bush and Cheney have been dying to do (pun intentional) for many, many, many months now?

...you may not agree with us to your right on many things, but you should at least try to understand that when we ask "fake but accurate?" we are expressing an authentic aversion and that statements such as yours feeds certain biases of our own.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt on the "authentic aversion" part (meaning that I accept and will not question your sincerity and that you truly feel this aversion to the concept of "fake but accurate"). Having said that, taking you at your word with regard to the genuineness of your aversion, and taking your genuine aversion seriously, are two different things. As for the second, I will take your authentic aversion to the concept of "fake but accurate" seriously, when and if you and a preponderance of others on the right express a similar authentic aversion to, for starters: (1)fake but accurate intelligence about active nuclear and chemical weapons programs that was used to get the American people's support for invading Iraq; and (2) fake but accurate intelligence that Al Qaeda was in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. The latter is still touted as accurate by the right, even though it is demonstrably and unquestionably false.

I might add, in closing, that when we on the left talk about hypocrisy and double standards, we are expressing an authentic aversion; and that your ("your" meaning the right in general) enthusiasm for "comprehensive debunkings" of fakery on the left while ignoring or applauding fakery on the right feeds certain biases of our own. Or, iow, truthfulness and integrity are a two-way street.

Lex said...

Well, you can choose to believe what you want to believe I suppose. You can choose to believe that I am what I claim to be, a naval officer with 25 years of carrier experience who has shown sufficient cause to cast doubt on a diary entry that has been pulled by the author. Or you can choose to believe what even the diarist has acknowledged to be an act of fiction because it conforms to your preconceptions and is congenial to your biases.

But I thought you guys tended to come down on the "reality based" side of things?

Really you know, it's OK to admit that you were deceived or even mistaken. People make mistakes. You won't lose any karma points and might actually gain a degree of credibility.

That is, you know, if you care about that sort of thing.

As for the rest, Iraqi WMD claims, you may recall, were not a "righty" invention. For the Al Qaeda "in Iraq" theory which you purport is still touted by the right I certainly don't feel compelled to defend a point of view that I never held. In any case, this was never put forth as one of the 21 rationales for the war and thus could be understood as something of a strawman by someone less charitable than myself.

Your closing comment brings something to mind about motes and beams, an observation that precedes our own domestic political differences by nearly two millenia. Good luck on fixing that.

Human nature: We make allowances.

Kathy said...

Well, you can choose to believe what you want to believe I suppose. You can choose to believe that I am what I claim to be, a naval officer with 25 years of carrier experience...

I believe you are that. Why wouldn't I? I have no reason not to believe it.

You make some questionable assumptions. First, that I am "refusing to believe" that the diarist is a fraud. This is not true. I simply do not know. He may very well be, but I just don't know that for a fact. You are asking me to accept and believe your conclusions based on your professional experience, which is fair, I suppose, but not entirely reasonable. People with similar professional backgrounds can disagree, and if this presidential administration has taught us anything, it has taught us that professionals with similar levels of expertise in the same field or related can come to totally opposite conclusions.

Second questionable assumption is your statement that "even the diarist has acknowledged that [his post] was an act of fiction." So you say, but as I pointed out earlier, that comment allegedly written by Maccabee sounds totally fake. It may be real; I can't say for sure. But I can say that anyone who takes the authorship of that comment at face value, without questioning its tone, its timing, its content, is being overly trusting.

Your paragraph responding to mine about right-wing tolerance of Bush admin deceptions I'll skip over; we will never agree on this subject.

Your last two paragraphs, if I'm understanding them correctly, are well-taken.

I will say this: You are interesting to converse with.

Lex said...

re: "I will say this: You are interesting to converse with."

Well, thanks for saying so and for keeping an open mind. I do so relish a civil conversation, and it's all to rare these days to have one with someone one disagrees with.

All the best.