Barry Eisler

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Militarization and the Authoritarian Right

Yes, former Bush administration speechwriter and current Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen's demand that "WikiLeaks Must Be Stopped" is, as his colleague Eva Rodriguez notes, "more than a little whacky." But it's useful, too, because an infatuation with the notion of using the military in non-military operations, particularly domestic ones, is a key aspect of the modern American right and of the rightwing authoritarian personality. Examining Thiessen is a good way to understand both.

Thiessen lays out his premise in his first sentence: "WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise." The premise is silly -- unless the Washington Post for whom Thiessen writes and every other news organization that seeks and publishes leaks is a criminal enterprise, too (apparently Thiessen didn't bother to read 18 USC 793, which he cites as the basis for his opinion about criminality, citing it instead just to sound authoritative). But as whacky as the premise is, it's nothing compared to Thiessen's conclusion.

Which is: that the government "employ not only law enforcement but also intelligence and military assets to bring [Wikileaks founder Julian] Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business." This notion -- that crime should be fought with the military -- is part of the creeping militarization of American society. You can see it, too, in rightist support for military tribunals to replace civilian courts in trying terror suspects; in the increasing militarization of our border with Mexico; in the numbers of soldiers deployed in American airports and train stations; and in then Vice President Cheney's attempt to have the military supplant the FBI in arresting terror suspects on American soil.

Thiessen tried to back away from his authoritarian argument when Rodriguez called him on it, but his disavowal rings false. First, Thiessen claims that when he said "military," he only really meant the National Security Agency, because (after all!) the NSA is part of the Department of Defense. But the NSA, which specializes in signals intelligence, would logically fall under the "intelligence assets" Thiessen had already called for is his op-ed. If all Thiessen had in mind was the NSA, the call for "military assets" on top of "intelligence assets" would be redundant. Second, Thiessen claims he was also merely referring to the Defense Department's Cyber Command. But if by "military assets" he meant only the NSA and the Cyber Command, why didn't he just specify these two in the first place?

Regardless, the Cyber Command has on its website the following (style, grammar, and clarity-challenged) mission statement:

USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.


This is one of the organizations Thiessen now wants to task with... law enforcement? That Thiessen believes it exculpatory to explain that he was merely calling for the use of the Cyber Command, in addition to the NSA and whatever other "military assets" he might have had in mind, to fight crime is as revealing as his argument itself.

In a probably futile attempt to forestall a barrage of partisan responses, I'll emphasize that the policies and views I describe above don't correlate neatly with either of America's two major political parties. President Obama, for example, has (in addition to escalating the war in Afghanistan and privatizing the one in Iraq) deployed the National Guard to the Mexican border, has secretly deployed special forces to 75 countries, and favors military commissions to try some terror suspects (and indefinite detentions and assassination for others, including American citizens). But the notion that Obama is by any meaningful policy definition liberal is at this point as laughable as it is baseless, and the popular view of Obama as a progressive is testament to the astonishing power of certain brands to outlast the loss of their underlying substance.

Still, my sense is that Republicans argue for authoritarian policies out of conviction, while Democrats cave in to them out of cowardice. The distinction is interesting, though of course in the end the result is the same. Either way, if you believe tasking America's military with investigating, pursuing, apprehending, holding, trying, and imprisoning criminal suspects and criminals is a profound and insidious threat to democracy, you'll fight this excrescence wherever you find it.
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24 Comments:

Blogger PBI said...

Agreed! Talk about TRULY un-American...

And for what it's worth, I think both parties pursue authoritarianism out of a combination of cowardice and ignorance. Republicans out of fear of "the other" and ignorance of the law and constitution they claim to support; Democrats out of the fear of political loss and ignorance of the cumulative consequences of expedient action.

But, in the words of Dennis Miller back when he was still funny, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong. : )

Cheers,
Paul
Sensen No Sen

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

It’s a profound and insidious threat to democracy and our constitution on so many levels and is the antithesis of the ideals on which this country was founded.

In regards to the Assange / Wikileaks / Afghan War Diaries affair, it is especially troubling since the US Military is where the information security system and its enforcement was so lax that the information was able to waltz out the door in the first place.

As a librarian and an archivist I have censorship “issues” so I’m rather biased when it comes to discussions about withholding or hiding information. I don’t condone Assange or Wikileaks actions but humans have been playing this information game for as far back as there are written records and probably before, we just don’t have proof.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 1:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Re: Katherine's comment:

Proof?? Proof of what? The Wikileaks issues only confirm what many people have been saying.

La Tracy

Friday, August 06, 2010 7:49:00 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

I wasn’t referring to the WikiLeaks episode, but to the game of buying, selling, trading, or leaking of “sensitive" information that we’ve engaged in since the beginning of the written word. We probably played it before we could write but archeologists are still looking for that pictograph….

Friday, August 06, 2010 8:27:00 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

"The premise is silly -- unless the Washington Post for whom Thiessen writes and every other news organization that seeks and publishes leaks is a criminal enterprise, too"

Is your argument really 'lots of people do it, so it's okay'?
Besides which major legitimate news organizations have a long history of redacting personal identifying information or other details which can lead to people getting killed and publishing only the newsworthy portion- behavior which justifies treating them differently then Wikileaks wholesale release.

I just read 18 USC 793 and I don't see why you are claiming that Thiessen didn't. There is nothing in his argument incompatible with the statute. In further point of fact Wikileaks actions seem to fit EXACTLY the kind of behavior contemplated by the law.

Re: use of military/ intelligence assets:
First, he's right about the NSA. Per DoD Directive 5100.20 " The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is a Combat Support Agency of the Department of Defense (DoD) under the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense.”
Why not specify only NSA and Cyber Command? Perhaps you’re reading too much into what is an op-ed piece and not a detailed analysis of capabilities and mission requirements. Why would he limit it to those? Depending on the facts of the investigation and what happens maybe some other agencies will need to be involved.
You also overlook the key point that Assange is not a US citizen and Wikileaks is not a US business. We’re not talking about a US law breaker. We are talking about an internet based organization providing intelligence to enemy forces. There are certainly issues of diplomacy and jurisdiction involved as well but just like we sent the military after AQ rather then a bunch of New York cops his argument makes perfect sense. (Of course you could raise the jurisdictional argument against applying 18 USC 793 but then that strengthens the military/intelligence angle.)
Sorry to come on so strong for the opposition but it seems like you glossed a few points here.
By the way, I don’t belong to a party, don’t support - military tribunals to replace civilian courts in trying terror suspects; I’m somewhat impartial on- increasing militarization of our border with Mexico; don’t really care about -the numbers of soldiers deployed in American airports and train stations; and think this last one would have been horrendously dumb- then Vice President Cheney's attempt to have the military supplant the FBI in arresting terror suspects on American soil.

Sunday, August 08, 2010 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Travis said...

"I don’t condone Assange or Wikileaks actions but humans have been playing this information game for as far back as there are written records and probably before, we just don’t have proof."

Of course, humans have also been killing people who sell secrets for as long as we have written records too.

So, per your reasoning, that's kind of okay then?

Sunday, August 08, 2010 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Travis, the key language of USC 1793, which Thiessen avoids, didn't read, or didn't understand, is "with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation." That's a very high evidentiary burden, and perhaps explains why the statue hasn't (as far as I know) been used against the NYT, Wash Post, etc in response to the publication by those institutions of classified information.

"Is your argument really 'lots of people do it, so it's okay'?"

My argument is that it's fatuous to demand the government enforce a law against actor X for the same behavior in which actors Z, Y, and numerous others have been engaging and in which they continue to behave. If leaking classified information makes Wikileakss not a news organization, but rather a criminal organization, as Thiessen asserts, then it must also be true that the New York Times, Washington Post, and every other institution that has ever leaked classified information is similarly not a news organization, but rather a criminal enterprise -- the absurd result of a consistent application of Thiessen's principle.

I think this is pretty obvious from my post, so I don't know how you missed it in favor of a strawman like "lots of people do it, so it's okay."

Monday, August 09, 2010 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

"Besides which major legitimate news organizations have a long history of redacting personal identifying information or other details which can lead to people getting killed and publishing only the newsworthy portion- behavior which justifies treating them differently then Wikileaks wholesale release."

What does the government argue every time a news organization publishes information the government wanted kept secret? That the release of the information will damage national security, lead to loss of life, etc. What the newspapers in question choose to redact or not to redact is a secondary point at best -- the government always makes the same claims regardless, and I've heard such predictable accusations often enough to know not to take them at face value. In fact, no one has shown in any credible way that the Afghan war logs (unlike, say, the war itself) have led to anyone dying, and indeed, Thiessen himself is careful to couch his accusations only in terms of what Wikileaks "may" have done.

If the government doesn't respond with some version of "this leak will cause people to be killed and will otherwise cause catastrophes," it can't very well argue that the information should have been secret at all, can it? Do you expect the government to respond to a non-governmental leak by saying, "Hey, no harm, no foul?" What would such an admission do for the government's authority to impose secrecy in the first place?

I guess what it comes down to is how much you trust the government -- especially a government that operates with little or no accountability, Constitutional or otherwise. I trust such a government very little, and evaluate the worth of governmental talking points accordingly.

"We are talking about an internet based organization providing intelligence to enemy forces."

Please explain how this point applies to Wikileaks, but not to, say, the NYT reporting on government wiretapping operations, or the Wash Post reporting on CIA and JSOC black sites. What does Internet vs bricks and mortar and paper have to do with anything? The distinction you're drawing is irrelevant, and regardless has no statutory authority in USC 793 or anywhere else. If you're going to rely on the fact that Wikileaks isn't a US organization ("We’re not talking about a US law breaker"), I guess we come to your next point:

"There are certainly issues of diplomacy and jurisdiction involved as well but just like we sent the military after AQ rather then a bunch of New York cops his argument makes perfect sense."

Yes, following 9/11 we sent the military after a terrorist organization pursuant to a Congressional resolution authorizing the president to do so. And now, for you, it "makes perfect sense" that we would send the military after an Internet organization for the kind of reporting in which the establishment media, in its finer moments, has long engaged. I can't think of a better illustration of the kind of creeping militarization at work in the country than your casual conclusion of what "makes perfect sense" here -- that the president be free to deploy the military against non-US actors who have (arguably, at best) violated US law.

Monday, August 09, 2010 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

"Besides which major legitimate news organizations have a long history of redacting personal identifying information or other details which can lead to people getting killed and publishing only the newsworthy portion- behavior which justifies treating them differently then Wikileaks wholesale release."

What does the government argue every time a news organization publishes information the government wanted kept secret? That the release of the information will damage national security, lead to loss of life, etc. What the newspapers in question choose to redact or not to redact is a secondary point at best -- the government always makes the same claims regardless, and I've heard such predictable accusations often enough to know not to take them at face value. In fact, no one has shown in any credible way that the Afghan war logs (unlike, say, the war itself) have led to anyone dying, and indeed, Thiessen himself is careful to couch his accusations only in terms of what Wikileaks "may" have done.

If the government doesn't respond with some version of "this leak will cause people to be killed and will otherwise cause catastrophes," it can't very well argue that the information should have been secret at all, can it? Do you expect the government to respond to a non-governmental leak by saying, "Hey, no harm, no foul?" What would such an admission do for the government's authority to impose secrecy in the first place?

I guess what it comes down to is how much you trust the government -- especially a government that operates with little or no accountability, Constitutional or otherwise. I trust such a government very little, and evaluate the worth of governmental talking points accordingly.

Monday, August 09, 2010 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

"We are talking about an internet based organization providing intelligence to enemy forces."

Please explain how this point applies to Wikileaks, but not to, say, the NYT reporting on government wiretapping operations, or the Wash Post reporting on CIA and JSOC black sites. What does Internet vs bricks and mortar and paper have to do with anything? The distinction you're drawing is irrelevant, and regardless has no statutory authority in USC 793 or anywhere else. If you're going to rely on the fact that Wikileaks isn't a US organization ("We’re not talking about a US law breaker"), I guess we come to your next point:

"There are certainly issues of diplomacy and jurisdiction involved as well but just like we sent the military after AQ rather then a bunch of New York cops his argument makes perfect sense."

Yes, following 9/11 we sent the military after a terrorist organization pursuant to a Congressional resolution authorizing the president to do so. And now, for you, it "makes perfect sense" that we would send the military after an Internet organization for the kind of reporting in which the establishment media, in its finer moments, has long engaged. I can't think of a better illustration of the kind of creeping militarization at work in the country than your casual conclusion of what "makes perfect sense" here -- that the president be free to deploy the military against non-US actors who have (arguably, at best) violated US law.

Monday, August 09, 2010 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

"Travis, the key language of USC 1793, which Thiessen avoids, didn't read, or didn't understand, is "with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation."

You're arguing with a straight face that publishing the names of intelligence officers and their sources in Afganistan doesn't qualify as something that would count as a 'reason to believe..injury of the United States", etc. That doesn't pass the sniff test for me. Simply redacting personal info would bolster that argument dramatically but wikileaks has shown little if any desire to do so. thinking more upon it that last statement might be overly strong depending on which news sources one chooses to believe. Perhaps I should say 'insufficient desire' rather then 'little if any'.

"My argument is that it's fatuous to demand the government enforce a law against actor X for the same behavior in which actors Z, Y, and numerous others have been engaging and in which they continue to behave"

So cops should stop issuing warnings on a case by case basis for speeders and seek to treat them all the same? Come on, you've been to Law School, you know that discretion and judgment are inherent in the law enforcement/criminal justice system all the way from the officer on scene to the Supreme Court. How is leaked info different? Why wouldn't the government show a preference for news organizations that agree to redact info or delay publication until after the operational harm has passed?

Besides which 'why punish x if z and y got away with it' sounds to me like a better argument to go round up z and y rather then to ignore x.

I actually like your argument on why the government feels compelled to protest the release and the nature of secrecy/classification and find that to be pretty insightful and the most persuasive part of your argument.

"Please explain how this point applies to Wikileaks, but not to, say, the NYT reporting on government wiretapping operations, or the Wash Post reporting on CIA and JSOC black sites. What does Internet vs bricks and mortar and paper have to do with anything? The distinction you're drawing is irrelevant, and regardless has no statutory authority in USC 793 or anywhere else. If you're going to rely on the fact that Wikileaks isn't a US organization ("We’re not talking about a US law breaker"), I guess we come to your next point:"

Conceded, internet vs. brick and mortar is not determinative in any way of legal status/rights/jurisdiction (although the law and courts have been slow to adapt). The real differance is still the extent of the info. It's one thing to say, 'hey look they are running black sites' (something I took for granted was surprised to see as "news") and printing the building plans and shift schedules. I think there is legitimate newsworthy material in what wikileaks has released. They also went way to far in providing details that don't add to the newsworthiness but do provide intelligence to Taliban/AQ fighters.

Monday, August 09, 2010 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

"You're arguing with a straight face that publishing the names of intelligence officers and their sources in Afganistan..."

Travis, please reread the paragraph in my comments that begins, "What does the government argue every time a news organization publishes information the government wanted kept secret?" and the one following it. If you've formed your opinion based on evidence other than government accusations, please cite that evidence. For example, please city the names of the specific intelligence officers and their sources in Afganistan that have been outed in the Wikileaks Afghan war logs.

"So cops should stop issuing warnings on a case by case basis for speeders and seek to treat them all the same?"

Here, the cops have never pulled over a speeder (and in fact encourage and enable speeders, by leaking secrets deliberately, to mix the actual example in with your analogy), and now, while dozens of other cars continue to zoom past them, have decided for the first time not just to apply a law, but to call in the military, against a single driver. Yes, I have a problem with this.

But that's not even the heart of my argument. Please reread the whole paragraph in my comment that begins, "My argument is that it's fatuous...," and please explain why The New York Times and Washington Post, to name just two, are not criminal enterprises, while Wikileaks, for the reasons Thiessen suggests, is.

"Besides which 'why punish x if z and y got away with it' sounds to me like a better argument to go round up z and y rather then to ignore x."

Bravo. The government should immediately deploy the military (sorry, just the Cyber Command and the NSA) against The New York Times. Travis, the more you comment, the more you prove that the militarization infection currently afflcting our society is even more severe than I'd feared.

"[Wikileaks] also went way to far in providing details that don't add to the newsworthiness but do provide intelligence to Taliban/AQ fighters."

Again, if you've formed your opinion based on evidence other than government accusations, please cite that evidence. For example, please city the specific leaks that have provided intelligence to Taliban/AG fighters. If you can't, though you claim to like my argument on why the government reflexively claims unauthorized leaks cause people to die, you haven't really understood it, because you're still basing your opinions solely on those reflexive and historically bogus government claims.

Monday, August 09, 2010 7:58:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

"You're arguing with a straight face that publishing the names of intelligence officers and their sources in Afganistan..."

Travis, please reread the paragraph in my comments that begins, "What does the government argue every time a news organization publishes information the government wanted kept secret?" and the one following it. If you've formed your opinion based on evidence other than government accusations, please cite that evidence. For example, please city the names of the specific intelligence officers and their sources in Afganistan that have been outed in the Wikileaks Afghan war logs.

"So cops should stop issuing warnings on a case by case basis for speeders and seek to treat them all the same?"

Here, the cops have never pulled over a speeder (and in fact encourage and enable speeders, by leaking secrets deliberately, to mix the actual example in with your analogy), and now, while dozens of other cars continue to zoom past them, have decided for the first time not just to apply a law, but to call in the military, against a single driver. Yes, I have a problem with this.

But that's not even the heart of my argument. Please reread the whole paragraph in my comment that begins, "My argument is that it's fatuous...," and please explain why The New York Times and Washington Post, to name just two, are not criminal enterprises, while Wikileaks, for the reasons Thiessen suggests, is.

Monday, August 09, 2010 7:59:00 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

"Besides which 'why punish x if z and y got away with it' sounds to me like a better argument to go round up z and y rather then to ignore x."

Bravo. The government should immediately deploy the military (sorry, just the Cyber Command and the NSA) against The New York Times. Travis, the more you comment, the more you prove that the militarization infection currently afflcting our society is even more severe than I'd feared.

"[Wikileaks] also went way to far in providing details that don't add to the newsworthiness but do provide intelligence to Taliban/AQ fighters."

Again, if you've formed your opinion based on evidence other than government accusations, please cite that evidence. For example, please city the specific leaks that have provided intelligence to Taliban/AG fighters. If you can't, though you claim to like my argument on why the government reflexively claims unauthorized leaks cause people to die, you haven't really understood it, because you're still basing your opinions solely on those reflexive and historically bogus government claims.

Monday, August 09, 2010 7:59:00 PM  
Blogger Travis said...

Why do I need to provide specifics from the reports? Am I not allowed to trust The New York Times and other major news sources that say, in essence, 'wikileaks names names and we decided not to print or link to that information because it would put people's lives at risk'? Attempting to shift the burden to me to provide the specific examples is a distractor from the key issue of WHY THE HELL IS WIKILEAKS INCLUDING PEOPLE'S NAMES? Oh none of the Afghan informants have been killed YET. So then it's okay? We should wait and see if the Taliban ACTUALLY kill them?


Let me ask you this, if organizations such as the CIA, NSA, Cyber Command shouldn't be targeting wikileaks then who should be doing this job?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

Hey look at today's news! Amnesty International is concerned about the threat to Afghan lives based on the wikileaks reports. Those running dog tools of the US government spin machine!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:23:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Yes, you're right, the NYT and other major news sources are always deeply critical of government claims about national security, as proven by, to take just one example, the history of the run-up to the Iraq war. So although we the people know such claims are often bogus and self-serving and therefore know to discount these claims when they come from the government, when they're repeated by major news sources we can rest assured that they're meritorious and should feel free to repeat them ourselves based solely on the fact that these news sources have chosen to print the government's claims. If we harbor any nagging doubts about the validity of these reprinted government claims, we should repeat them in ALL CAPS because that makes the claims more convincing to others and perhaps even to ourselves.

Again: you claim to like my point about government self-serving motives, but you seem incapable of understanding or applying it.

I don't share your assumption that the CIA, NSA, Cyber Command, or someone else must "target" Wikileaks. If evidence exists that a person or organization has broken laws (even this much is unclear here), I don't know why you can't grasp that it is a law enforcement problem. Have you not heard of the part of the federal government called the Justice Department? Do you not know there's an Article III of the Constitution, not just an Article II, Section 2?

Using the military to target "criminal enterprises," as Thiessen terms Wikileaks, is exactly the mindset I criticized in my post. You buy so deeply into this mindset that rather than responding to my comments, you just keep rephrasing Thiessen's militaristic assumptions, now in all caps. Please, give it a rest. Think more, comment less. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

"the NYT and other major news sources" And Amnesty International?

"Again: you claim to like my point about government self-serving motives, but you seem incapable of understanding or applying it."

I said I found it the "most persuasive" not "fully persuasive" or "proof positive".

"If we harbor any nagging doubts about the validity of these reprinted government claims, we should repeat them in ALL CAPS because that makes the claims more convincing to others and perhaps even to ourselves."

So you don't have a direct response to the question?

"I don't share your assumption that the CIA, NSA, Cyber Command, or someone else must "target" Wikileaks. "

Which I was pretty sure was going to be your answer. Perhaps your argument would be stronger if you can divorce your headlining issue of "militarization" from the idea that you think "wikileaks is okay".

"Think more, comment less."

Nice, subtle, ad hominen. Much easier then direct response. But since I have no new data upon which to think I will not be revising my opinions or objections to your argument.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Amanda Sablan said...

I agree that if WikiLeaks is stopped, then so too should every news organization out there that has and still is leaking highly sensitive information, because what's the difference? But what if, hypothetically speaking, that WERE to happen? Should WikiLeaks go too then?

I myself am still undecided on the merits of WL. They may be withholding names, but that does not mean the Taliban can't somehow decipher the information that IS given, and then punish the Afghans and Pakistanis who worked for us accordingly. And who's to say that more detailed information won't find its way onto the site? When it does, there won't be any pinpointing of the uploader; a terrifying prospect.

Then again, whether WL stays or goes, lives will be at risk, and I, like everyone should be, am none too keen on allowing illegal dealings to go unnoticed and unpunished. So I'm content with just waiting and seeing what will happen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

Yikes. Barry got his clock cleaned by Travis in this debate.

Too often, this place is an echo chamber. And that's unfortunate because the comments section is an entertaining read when the topic yields a healthy debate.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

Releasing the name of agents is OK, I guess. Cheney is still free and not behind bars.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jessica B. Burstrem said...

Catching up...

Barry writes: "my sense is that Republicans argue for authoritarian policies out of conviction, while Democrats cave in to them out of cowardice."

Yes. And what many people don't realize is that consequently the Dems tend to out-Repugnican the Repubs. My conservative husband once tried to claim that he left the military because he didn't agree with its downsizing under Clinton. Uh, really? He has since come up with different reasons. ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

I am sitting in a CT Library writing this ... your latest book in my hand, hoping to have found another Vince Flynn or Lee Child. Instead I noticed a reference to Michael Moore. This can't be, I thought. An ex CIA operative actually listening to a Michael Moore. Inconceivable.
Further reading has shown me an author who should know better: there are muslim terrorists out there salivating to begin killing us, (and themselves) and planting dirty bombs in crowded places like airplanes and Broadway ... yet we are behooved to decry any form of interrogation that might make the cowardly monsters feel uncomfortable.

I am returning the book to the shelf (dammit - looked like a good read), but I've had my fill of Michael Moore and their ilk - an incompetent and dangerous president, and now a person who insults those of us, ala Hillary Clinton, as right-wing extremists who want to protect ourselves, our children, and our country.
Very sad. You will become very rich I'm sure but, alas, unwise, until perhaps, someone close to you blows up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011 5:36:00 PM  
Blogger James Finkelstein (Ga.) said...

I just finished Inside Out today (8/27/11). Although I generally enjoyed it, and I agree with the political views espoused therein, I'd like to see a little more subtlety and ambiguity in future efforts to change the hearts and minds of Americans on important topics like the rule of law and accountability for war crimes. Although I have to agree that it is hard to argue that the stereotypical villains in the book were any worse than the reality we endured for 8 years. But Americans' memories are short, or rather our attention spans have been decimated by modern technology. So no matter how outstanding the work that Mr. Eisler or Glenn Greenwald do, unless we are fortunate enough to accidentally elect a President who believes in the rule of law, accountability for war crimes will remain a liberal fantasy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011 10:48:00 PM  

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