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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Why I hate, rather than dislike, the Bush movement

(updated below)

Dick Cheney, October 24, 2006

Q. Are the terrorists trying to influence our election in your view?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think they're very much aware of our political calendar here, I really do. . . . So I think they are very conscious of the electoral timetable in the United States.

I can't say that they make a specific decision for a particular act, but there's no doubt in my mind that it's a factor that enters into their thinking.

Q I have a Pentagon source that tells me there are websites out there that they've just recently translated that actually refer to the election and ask for an up-tick in violence to try and influence the election, is that accurate?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I wouldn't be surprised. It sounds right to me.

UPI, October 23, 2006

Senior U.S. government officials and military officers have suggested that Iraqi insurgents are trying to influence the U.S. midterm elections. A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq last week attributed the increase in violence at least partly to terrorists who want to influence the American vote.

His comments Thursday echoed those made by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney two days earlier on conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh's radio show, which is carried on the Armed Force Radio network in Iraq.

George Bush, October 18, 2006

There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election.

Don Rumsfeld, October 26, 2006

Here they are, getting up every day saying, “We’ve got an election in two weeks in America, gang, and we want to change horses over there because we don’t like the folks we’re having to deal with now; they’re a little tough on us. So let’s get out there and let’s make some noise.“

John Hinderaker, November 10

I don't think there is any doubt about the fact that the terrorists, world-wide, were hoping for a Democratic victory. See, for example, this article by Aaron Klein. And the spike in violence in Iraq prior to the election was generally understood as an effort by the terrorists to help Democratic candidates.

New York Times, today

In the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the American-led invasion, explosions from five powerful car bombs and a mortar shell tore through crowded intersections and marketplaces in the teeming Shiite district of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, killing at least 144 people and wounding 206, the police said. . . .The attacks were the worst in an intensifying series of revenge killings in recent months, in a cycle that has increasingly paralyzed the political process and segregated the capital into Sunni and Shiite enclaves, and threatened to drag Iraq into an all-out civil war.

Boston Globe, yesterday

Yesterday was no different: About 100 people were killed in the country. Among them was a bodyguard to the speaker of Iraq's parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who himself escaped an apparent assassination attempt the day before. A journalist for the state-run al-Sabah newspaper was also killed, gunned down as he drove through the capital.

Washington Post, today

More than 1,000 Iraqis a day are being displaced by the sectarian violence that began on Feb. 22 with the bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine in Samarra, according to a report released this week by the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, a U.N.-associated group.

This increasing movement of Iraqi families, caused by the lack of security and by the growth of armed local militias and criminal gangs, is adding to the already chaotic governmental situation in Baghdad, according to U.N., U.S. and non-governmental reports released over the past weeks.

Everything they accuse others of doing -- exploiting national security for domestic political gain, being 'unserious' about war matters, playing games with the mission of the troops -- is what they do as transparently as possible. And note how they used a senior military official to make the disgusting claim that the violence in Iraq was related to a desire to help Democrats win the midterm election: "A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq last week attributed the increase in violence at least partly to terrorists who want to influence the American vote."

The idea that the sectarian violence in Iraq, which has been spiraling out of control since the beginning of the year, had anything to do with trying to make Democrats win the election was always as transparently false -- stupid even -- as it was repugnant. Yet they say anything, and the media largely lets them get away with it.

And now the incontrovertible proof is here that what they said was a lie designed to manipulate Americans into voting Republican out of a desire to punish the Democrat-favoring terrorists in Iraq, and what are the consequences? They lie and manipulate like this not only because they lack any shred of integrity and character -- although that's true -- but also because they know they can do so with impunity.

Ponder how corrupt and misleading their coordinated pre-election claim was: All the increased violence in Iraq was just about the midterm election, not a sign of a spiraling civil war. It was just The Terrorists who hate Bush, because he is so tough with them, trying to help the Democrats. Nothing was really that bad in Iraq. Once the elections are over, it will all subside, because it's only about that.

The only thing worse than government leaders lying to their citizens so blatantly about a war is lying in order to benefit themselves politically for cheap electoral gain, so that's exactly what Bush officials and Bush followers do.

UPDATE: Nobody glorifies the power of the Islamic Terrorists more than Bush followers do. As The Heretik says in comments: "What's so impressive about the terrorists and the insurgents and the Shiites and the Sunnis who yearn so for the inevitable caliphate that will stretch from Spain to Pluto and beyond is that even as they fight amongst themselves, they have time to sit down and figure out how to influence our politics here."

And he says over at his own blog: "Our midterm elections are over and the violence that was raised to influence those results has spiked even higher" (The Heretik also has an extremely satisfying illustration of what Pat Leahy is doing to the White House). And as James Raven notes, some Bush followers are blaming Nancy Pelosi for this increased violence (because her desire to withdraw from Iraq is galvanizing The Terrorists).

So, to recap: when insurgents engage in violence before the elections, that's the fault of Democrats because it's done to help them win (and credit to Republicans because it shows how tough they are on The Terrorists). When the insurgents engage in violence after the elections, that's also the fault of Democrats because they are excited by the Democrats' success (and credit to Republicans because Republicans want to stay forever, which makes the insurgents sad and listless). And when there is no violence, all credit to Republicans because it shows how great their war plan is.

Put another way, no matter what happens in Iraq (violence increases, violence decreases), and no matter when it happens (before the election, after the election), it is the fault of Democrats and it reflects well on the Republicans. Isn't it fair to say that that's the very definition of the mindset of a cultist?

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