Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Here's Jamelle Bouie talking about Mitt Romney's failed rhetorical assault on the subject of Libya in last night's debate:
It was the mos t brutal moment of the debate. More to the point, though, it was a direct product of Romney's foreign policy convictions, and his substance-less view that the best way to project American strength is to label things as "terror" at every opportunity.
But obviously that's not just Romney's approach to this issue -- it's the right's approach to virtually every issue having to do with terrorism. The right always insists that the important thing is to say the right words. If you say "Rumpelstiltskin," or one of its foreign policy equivalents, terrorists lose! Freedom wins!

Rudy Giuliani, July 2007:
"At no time during their three debates have they used the words 'Islamic terrorists,'" Giuliani said of the Democratic contenders who, as he spoke, were debating at The Citadel military college in South Carolina.
Giuliani again, April 2009:
"It's already been two and a half months since President Obama was inaugurated," he said speaking at Liberty University in West Virginia. "Not once has he mentioned Islamic extremism and not once has he uttered the words 'Islamic terrorism.'"
Dick Cheney, December 2009:
"[President Obama] seems to think if he gets rid of the words, 'war on terror,' we won’t be at war."
The Weekly Standard, May 2010:
Attorney General Eric Holder won't say "radical Islam" is a reason Faisal Shahzad tried to blow a hole in Times Square....
Honorary Republican Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, February 2011:
What message should we take away from the Fort Hood massacre, where 13 people were allegedly murdered by radicalized Muslim army psychiatrist Nadal Hasan? According to Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the takeaway is that the U.S. should to stop beating around the bush and call America's enemies what they supposedly are: "Islamic extremists." ...

"The administration is refusing to acknowledge that violent Islamic extremism is the ideology that fuels attacks," said Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). "The refusal to distinguish violent Islamic extremism from the peaceful, protected exercise of the Muslim religion sends the wrong message," she said, "as it implies they can’t be distinguished."

Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) criticized "some people in the executive branch of government," for refusing to use the term 'Islamic extremists," saying "I think some people in the administration feel it will compromise our relations with the broader Muslim world."
It's always about the words.

And why wouldn't it be? Republicans don't care about proper governance -- domestically or in foreign policy. All they care about (besides shoveling money to the rich) is achieving victory in the war against liberals and Democrats. Words (on Fox, on talk radio, in super PAC ads) have always been effective weapons in that war. So they think they're the best weapons of all.


Philo Vaihinger said...

You're missing the substance of the Republican charge that the administration did its best to deflect attention from the Benghazi incident as an al-Qaeda terrorist attack and mask it as a mass civilian demonstration of outrage at a silly video both to avoid being charged with inadequate preparation after plenty of warning and to avoid embarrassment for their many claims to have al-Qaeda on the ropes and their brags about killing Osama.

The first is a possible motive but less likely, I think, than the second.

The second is a pretty safe bet.

Not only were they visibly and repeatedly and angrily seeking to direct blame onto that schmuck and his video in order not to be blamed, themselves, for exaggerating the successes of the "war on terrorism" Obama so willingly inherited from GW, but also they were reinforcing their standard rap that even specifically religion-based Muslim hatred for us is actually our fault rather than, say, an especially repulsive trait of an especially bloody and awful religion.

I refer to that whole, shameful free speech versus "irresponsible" or "offensive" speech thing of theirs.

Oh, that's right.

And yours.

Philo Vaihinger said...

None of which is to say that al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or Muslim extremism can in any sense by any policy short of outright genoicde be defeated or that we ought not to just vacate the region, right now.

In fact, we should never have invaded either Afghanistan or Iraq and the sooner we leave, totally, the better.

Thinking as I do on that topic, I will vote, if at all, for the lesser idiot, next month, Mr. Obama.

And I sincerely hope he wins, though mostly for reasons having nothing to do with foreign affairs.

Unknown said...

Also, beware of using the "wrong" words about terrorism. Kerry said we should get to a point where terrorism is no more than a "nuisance," a perfectly acceptable statement. Of course it was turned into a horrible statement indicating that Kerry was discounting the terrorist threat.

Steve M. said...

You're missing the substance of the Republican charge that the administration did its best to deflect attention from the Benghazi incident as an al-Qaeda terrorist attack and mask it as a mass civilian demonstration of outrage at a silly video....

The guy who missed the substance is Mitt Romney, if he got bogged down in this.

And, with all due respect, I'm tired of hearing the video described as "silly" or some other dismissive word, as if stylistically inept propaganda can't have a negative impact. The Turner Diaries didn't win the National Book Award or the fiction Pulitzer. So what?

Oh, and, as I noted yesterday, David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times says the video did inspire the terrorist act.

Victor said...

Only a moron, or a Conservative (but I repeat myself), thinks that the video and the attack on the Consulate was a koinky-dink.

The protests in other countries, and the likelihood that it would happen in Libya, would be a perfect cover for committing a terrorist attack, and improve the possibility of your own escape.

Now, the real worrisome thing for the President in next debate, is that the entire thing is about Mitts real area of expertise:

Victor said...

Maybe we can call this, Mitt's "Beetlejuice Diplomacy?"

Philo Vaihinger said...

I read the Turner Diaries and the comparison is absurd.

GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well, if you say so with no elaboration, you must be right!