Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, December 09, 2005

St. Onge vs. Monaco, round III


        Round one is here, round two is here.  Jerry has expressed the opinion that the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program is illegal, immoral, and fattening, not to mention useless, and he can't understand why everyone doesn't it see it that way.  I've been trying to explain a different perspective to him: We are at war.  When we did what he wants us to do, it didn't work.  What we do now does work.  We should stick with our present policies, pretty much, though we should refine them when possible to make them work better.

At length:


        Let me say that I am enjoying this exchange, so no reason to apologize for writing quickly.

        You said:
        First, before we go on I must ask what standard of evidence we should use?
        An excellent question.  Allow me to suggest we use the standard "proponderance of evidence" (since that is probably the best we can do under the circumstances), but I must insist that we apply it consistently to all parties.  And I also insist we apply it intelligently.

        For instance, one fact for which the evidence is overwhelming is that almost everyone will lie under some circumstances.  As an example, go here, and you'll find the U.S. Constitution on a single web page.  Search for the phrase "the right of the people," and you'll find it in Amendments I, II, and IV.  It is the official position of a certain 'human rights' organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, that, when Amendments I and IV were written, debated on, passed by Congress, and ratified by the states, the phrase "right of the people" referred to rights vested in individuals, but when exactly the same people wrote, debated, passed and ratified Amendment II, the phrase "right of the people" referred solely and only to state governments, with individuals being specifically excluded.

        The ACLU is lying.  They know, quite well, that the phrase refers to individuals in all three cases.  So when you say
I trust human rights organizations more than I trust State administrations or similar institutions,
I dissent.  I trust either to exactly the extent it demonstrates itself worthy of trust.  Everything I've seen about 'human rights' organizations says they're less trustworthy than the government of the United States.

        By the way, one day I read a statement purportedly made by the ACLU's founder, Roger Baldwin.  The statement's essence was that he'd founded the ACLU for the sole purpose of protecting left wing political activity that aimed at destroying capitalism, that he sometimes defended rightists as a public relations ploy to maintain credibility, and that in the Soviet Union, since deceased, (let us stop a moment to take pleasure in the demise of the USSR), those rights were an unnecessary and harmful restriction on the government, which of course could be trusted in all cases since it was in the hands of the people.  In short, the ACLU was founded to further the imposition of Communism on the U.S.  Somehow, that seems to get left out of the official mission statements.

        You write:
        The leaks on secret prisons has [sic] come from the CIA.
  Well, accusations and unconfirmed reports on secret prisons have come from the CIA.  Your use of the word "leaks" shows a willingness to believe them that I regard as quite naive.  But while the general statement that people are being held in secret prisons appears well supported, the specific accusations made about them aren't.  They come, basically, from those accused of terrorism, and those opposed to the Administration's policy.  This makes them automatically suspect in my eyes.

        So, I do not apply a double standard of
        Evidence that the governments of our enemies have done wrong is believed without a bit of skepticism.  Evidence that our government has done wrong can never be proved.
I know quite well that all governments have done wrong, including ours, and the state should always be held in suspicion.  But unless you are bugfuck insane, you realize that we are not living in a totalitarian society where the government and its designated thugs kill people for their political opinions, their religion, their way of life, or just because they can.  We are presently engaged in a struggle with people who want to do precisely that, who did in fact do it in Afghanistan, in Iran, and in portions of Iraq and other Muslim states they've gained control of.  Furthermore, the Islamofascists who do these things lie without hesitation to further their ends.

        Anecdote: I once read a story titled "The Curious Profession," the profession in question being patent law.  Two scientists and a layman appear before a board of patent examiners for an "interference" hearing, to determine which one has the valid patent on a certain invention.  Trouble develops for the scientists when they have no witnesses for their claim that they independently developed the invention on a certain date.  The layman, by contrast, has three witnesses saying that they were present when he came up with the idea.  The kicker is, the layman inventor is a convicted felon incarcerated in Sing Sing, and his witnesses are fellow prisoners.  The patent examiners refuse to credit the testimony of one of the witnesses, a convicted con man, but accept that of a burglar and a murderer.  The examiners reason that just because someone breaks into a home to steal, or deliberately kills without legal excuse is no reason to suspect they'd lie under oath.  When I read that those accused of conspiracy to commit mass murder are regarded as automatically more credible than those in the U.S. government, I think of that story.

        You ask:
        By the way why do you think people inside the CIA are leaking so much information about torture and secret prisons?

        Because the Bush Administration is carrying out a policy they disapprove of, and wish to sabotage.  Some of them are willing to break the laws against revealing classified information, and tell a mixture of truth, exaggerationas and lies about the government's actions, as a way of influencing policy.  What's hard is not understanding that, but finding out what's really going on.

        Recall Valerie Plame Wilson's recollection of what she told her husband in 2002, that there was a 'crazy report' that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger.  That Saddam had sought nuclear weapons was known, that he'd come close to getting them was known, that he'd had a program for them that he'd concealed from UN weapons inspectors was known, that the inspectors had been withdrawn because Saddam wouldn't cooperate with them was known, the Africa was full of kleptocratic dictators who'd do anything they thought they could get away with was known — but the Niger uranium story must be false, and known to be so before being investigated, because . . . And then there was her hubbie's report, which he claimed proved that Iraq hadn't sought uranium from Niger, but which the CIA regarded as evidence that Saddam had tried to get uranium.  The Wilson's and their political allies seem to have made up their minds what they'd believe because it suited their political purposes.

        It's interesting, by the way, that you believe the anonymous CIA sources who accuse the government of things you disapprove of, but don't believe the named sources like George Tenet, who claim that the prisoner interrogations yielded information that stopped attacks.

        Another question, which may sound like a non-sequitur, but are you familiar with what happened in Latin America from 1960 to 1990?  I am just curious?  Because in Argentina alone some thousands of people were murdered (with the help of the U.S. government by the way) and the justification was a "war on terrorists".

        In general terms, yes.  Castro took over Cuba, Allende took over Chile, and Ortega took over Nicaragua, and each instituted a Marxist dictatorship that began murdering political opponents, and sought to prevent any free election from ever being held again.  That's what you were referring to, right?

        Of course, that isn't what you were referring to.  This is somewhat of a sore spot for me, as I recently had an exchange with someone who kept saying that the Congresscritters who cut off funding to the Contras in the '80s were not in favor of Ortega's brutalities, or the Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan aggression against neighboring countries.  It was just that the Contras were such obviously evil people that they had to be stopped.  Whenever I asked him for the Congressional plan for stopping the Communist insurgents that the USSR, Castro, and Ortega was supporting, he changed the subject.

        Another example of that refusal to address the issue came in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.  There was an endless parade of people who wanted to give diplomacy another chance, to send in more inspectors, to work through the UN, etc.  The one thing none of them ever said was 'Here's what I regard as a satisfactory outcome (insert list), and here's the deadline (insert date).  If we don't get the minimum outcome by that date, we should invade.'  Neither would they say 'We shouldn't invade unless and until Saddam carries out an attack on the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, or gets caught giving them to al-Qaida, or wipes Israel off the map, or some such.'  They always pretended that stopping Saddam was a priority with them, while insisting on using means that had repeatedly failed to stop him.

        So yeah, I know a lot of Latin American governments were brutal in surpressing people they claimed were Communists.  Compared to what the Communists did whenever they took over I'd take the generals in a heartbeat.  Judging by the number of refugees moving in various directions, so would the vast majority of Latin Americans.

        You say:
        Yes, I am primarily worried about the actions of the U.S. government because the U.S.G. is partially my responsibility. What the Iran government does is not my direct responsibility. What the U.S. government does is my direct responsibility. That, I believe, is what it means to recognize oneself as a citizen.

        I say:
        The government exists "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."  Sometimes, balancing those objectives is hard, and attaining them harder.  To obsess on the possibility of wrongdoing by our government, while objectively ignoring the possibility that terrorists will smack more planes into highrises, or release anthrax in subways, or smuggle a nuke into Manhattan is pretty much the paradigm case of abdication of citizenship.  The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and protecting the right to life of those not accused of anything is more important than protecting the rights of those suspected of plotting said innocents' murder.

        You asked me:
        Is it your opinion that "mistakes will be made" but we should trust Big Government and the CIA to kidnap people off of the street because they know best?  Then why not institute the same programs in the United States?  I simply don't understand. . . .

        Do you think that secret prisons are justified simply by putting a label on them that they are part of a fight called "the war on terror"?

        Questions like this really amaze me.  Yes, I think mistakes will be made — human beings invariably make mistakes.  No, I don't think we should trust Big Government to know best.  No, I don't think that putting a label on something that says 'part of the war on terror' justifies it.  And yes, I've stopped beating my wife.  Now can we be serious?

        We are at war, with people who've killed thousands in the U.S., and tens to hundreds of thousands worldwide.  In MY arrogant opinion, the first priority is war is victory.  During the 1990s we tried treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem at home and overseas, with the first priority being to build bulletproof legal cases that would result in convictions at trial in U.S. courts.  The results of that were visible outside the CIA in January of 1993, in the World Trade Center basement in February of 1993, in Riyadh at the Kandahar Towers, at our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in Yemen harbor in October 2000, and on the morning of September 11th, 2001.  Since then, we've changed our policy, strategy, and tactics, and "extraordinary rendition" is one of the changes.  As a result, it's quite possible that we're holding people in prisons that shouldn't be there.  I'm sincerely sorry about that, and I'm quite willing to release them if there's good evidence they're innocent.  But my first priority is stopping terrorist murders of USAmericans, and I can't help but notice that since we altered our tactics, the number of said murders has declined, drastically.  Since what we're doing seems to be working, I'm in favor of sticking with it.  Since we've achieved apparent success without kidnapping people off the streets of the U.S., I'm against doing that.

        Look, I once read an article about packs of wild dogs in some southern state, Georgia I think.  These dogs would attack utility workers, campers, and other people without warning.  So the state issued liscenses for hunting these dogs.  If that was a good idea (which I think it was), does it mean Georgia should license hunters to roam downtown Atlanta, killing any stray canine they think might be a threat?  If hunters should be kept out of municipal boundaries (which I think they should be), does that mean the dog catcher should be called to deal with the packs of wild dogs?  No, and no.  Circumstances alter cases.

        I happen to read a fair amount of military history.  In books I've read from the 1930s, there were those who argued over whether tanks were a new form of infantry, a new form of cavalry, or perhaps a new form of artillery?  The possibility that tanks might be a new arm, not infantry, cavalry, or artillery, and might need to be used in new ways, was just beyond them.  What seems to be beyond you is the idea that terrorists might not be criminals akin to the mafia, or enemy soldiers like Saddam's Republican Guard, but a different kind of foe that needs to be fought in different ways.  But that happens to be what I think, and what a lot of people think.  "I'm surprised that I have to explain this to you."

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  • I'm not sure if this has not degenerated into non-sequitors.

    The Latin American National Security States

    The reason I thought that the National Security States in Latin America were relevant is because we installed them in the first place and because they ran secret prisons where thousands of people disappeared. We weren't fighting Marxists in the cases of Brazil and Argentina, we were opposing governments that sought "independent development outside of the U.S. economic system," or so the liberal Kennedy administration documents say. In Brazil the generals had very little Communist opposition at all. Most of the people the Brazillian generals persecuted were Catholics, many of them priests and nuns, some of them people I knew of from my own Catholic school days. A similar situation occured through-out Latin America, and though Pope John Paul II was opposed to groups such as the Sandinista he was also equally opposed to what he called the war on the Catholic Church by U.S. supported governments in Latin America. Of course the great anti-Communist Popes condemnation of U.S. inspired terrorism rarely got reported in the liberal newspapers. To say that you would "take the Generals in a heartbeat' only shows me that you really don't know what happened in those countries and how many thousands disappeared and how many thousands more were tortured. I simply don't understand expressions of such callousness, by you and many of the people who consider themsellves conservatives, and I am not sure where it comes from. Such expressions are not conservative but sound to my ears bloodthirsty and, frankly, willfully blind. I beg of you to think outside of the stock phrases and labels and try to understand what is actually happening in the world. When you use an excuse like the "war on terro" it can justify anything.

    Allende was the elected president of Chili. He wond the election. Chili was a democracy for more than a hundred years and there was no question that the election was as free and fair as any U.S. election. His program was to institute a Swedish style welfare state. Our government opposed those reforms because Allende had promised to nationalize the coal mines, the energy companies, and the utilities. He promised compensation but U.S. businesses were opposed to Allende's program. He himself was a Socialist, a member of a Socialist Party no different than the Labor Party in Britain at that time. He had Communists in his cabinet but the were not very powerful. And so what? If we don't like the government that gives us the right to overthrow them? More than 50,000 people were murdered by the Pinochet government and in the first years they did so with our assistance. Some of my friends from college moved back to Chili and were themselves caught up in the terror. (Not much different from the kind of terror you read in history books from Robespierre or Hitler in his first few years. This is what you support?) One of my friends was first raped repeatedly, tortured, and then thrown from an airplane over the Atlantic ocean by an Argentine military plane (made in U.S.A.) doing a favor for the Pinochet government. (This is what you support?) The Pinochet government was a terrorist state that the U.S. government, the Nixon-Kissinger gang, helped into power. This was massive terrorism on a grand scale that our tax dollars supported.

    The Nicaraguan Sandinista regime was not nice but they were not a terror regime on the scale that U.S. administrations of both parties (but mainly the Democrats) supported throughout Latin America. We supported the Somoza family in Nicaragua for more than two generations and invaded Nicaragua several times. After Somoza fell we switched to supporting business interests in Nicaragua and when that failed we supported a terrorist army that attacked clinics, schools, cooperative farms, etc. Nicaragua was bled death by U.S. supported violence.

    I have witnessed two acts of terrorism in my life. I was downtown in New York in 11 Sept. 2001. But the other act was in Nicaragua. I saw a school and children clinic torched by these so-called Contras with children still inside. That is what the U.S. government supported and I am opposed to such support. By the way the clinic was also run by the Catholic church, but those Catholics must be communists, which of course justifies atrocities, just like calling people terrorists justifies atrocities. Is this what you believe?

    I do not support any government or group that deliberately targets civilians. We fully supplied trained and directed a terrorist organization we called "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua to target civilians and avoid military contact. Do you want the website of the National Security Archives so that you can read where our government instructed the Contras to attack "soft-targets" and then listed those soft-targets. Do some research and learn about the atrocities we commit. By the definition of our own government attacking such "soft targets" is terrorism. Judging ourselves by the same standards as we judge our enemy is simply the beginning of ethical thought. It does not matter whether Allende or the Sandinista were "Marxists", the torture and slaughter of thousands of people is simply wrong, whether it is done by the people our government once supported (such as Pinochet, the Contras, and Saddam Hussein, when he was our good buddy) or when done by people we call our enemies.

    The ACLU

    By the way, by international standards the ACLU is not considered a human rights organization, though they are concerned with human rights and often do good work in that area. The ACLU is a political advocacy group, that advocates for a civil libertarian interpretation of the constitution.

    Human rights groups are such organizations as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders, etc.

    Constitutional Interpretation and Category Mistakes

    Actually, what you call a lie, in referring to the ACLU doesn't make sense. Calling such things lies is a category mistake. Your interpretation of the constitution is wrong and I don't think you are lying.

    As a matter of fact none of the amendments that you referred to when first written had very much to do with individual rights. None of them. They all referred to what what the Federal Government could not do to infringe upon the people in the individual states. Thus when originally written nobody had a "right to free speech" except in-so-far that those rights were warranted by the individual state governments. The federal government could neither infringe on state guarantees of free speech nor limit the states from taking away rights of free speech. In short when originally written the Bill of Rights did not apply to individuals as citizens of the states at all. It was until the mid-20th century that much of the Bill of Rights was applied to the States through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court never applied the Second Amendment of the United States to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it has never come up. In fact there is only one case that is on point and that case was before selective incorporation of the Bill Rights through the Fourteenth Amendment. (By the way the incorporation of the Bill of Rights through the Fourteenth Amendment is the prime example of judicial activism. The framers never intended for, say the First Amendment to apply to what the State of New York would do to curtail my speech. This is an example of judicial activism that most people agree with and the ACLU makes it living from.) See http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment02/ for the legalistic evaluation.

    So as the constitution is interpreted now the ACLU is not lying. But what is your point? I would not call you a liar because your interpretation of the Constitutions is wrong. And will you please give me that statement by this guy Baldwin! It sounds funny.

    The CIA
    You are partially correct in your evaluation of the CIA but only correct from a very weird point of view. The coterie in the administration (that is often labeled "neo-conservative") looks upon the CIA as a "liberal" organization. All liberalism is by definition "weak" and therefore against the powerful expansion of the U.S. as they conceive of it. Therefore, it is best to get the CIA to do the dirty work that it had previously farmed out to client states in order to drive the weak kneed liberals out and replace them with an organization that is willing to overlook all restraints of the rule of law. That last sentence is a guess at what is happening, the rest is pretty much public record. Now, personally I believe that secret organizations are harmful to the Republic so I am all for abolishing the CIA. (By the way at one time this was considered a "conservative" belief but now days you have to be a radical in order to have a conservative belief in things like openness and the rule of law.)

    Did I ever say anything about George Tenet? Why are you saying that I did? I am not sure. If I did then I apologize. If I remember correctly Tenet did not offer any proof he simply stated his position. But I am still not sure what the relevance is of bringing up Tenet.

    Were we at all talking about nuclear weapons or Saddam Hussein trying to get nuclear weapons? I didn't mention it so why are you bringing it up in your answer to me? That is another debate. The truth is, I think the debate over whether Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons is irrelevant and a smoke screen. It matters not. Saddam Hussein got most of his supplies for weapons of mass destruction before the first Gulf War from U.S., Britain, France and Germany, because we sold them to him. U.S. companies, with the approval of Reagan and Bush the Elder, sold him the supplies that allowed him to construct chemcial weapons to gas Iranians and which he also used on the Kurds. The U.S.(& Britain & France) supported Saddam during the period of Saddam's greatest atrocities. I protested this support of Saddam Hussein by the U.S. in 1986 and so did the human rights organization that I belonged to, Human Rights Watch. But who cares? Why should logic or history matter when it is a matter of raw power and force?

    I am not sure why you are bringing up all the other stuff.

    But here goes. There is nothing wrong with "obsessing" about the wrongs of the government you live under. That is your duty as a citizen. If our governement has committed atrocities through out the world it should not be surprising. The great philosophers I admire are Adam Smith, Voltaire Hume, J.S. Mill, and Bertrand Russell. All of them agreed with something along the lines - The more powerful the government the greater the danger. That statement is simply a truism. (I include among "government" - for this statement alone - state-like organizations such as General Electric as Adam Smith included state-sanctioned corporate entities and Thomas Jefferson included Bank establishments.)

    What Justifies Atrocities Against Civilian Populations?

    Now, this is a story I have to tell. A few years back I went with a friend to a party in Hoboken, N.J. I met a Palestinian from a refugee camp in Lebanon. He was a rather nice man, whose one ambition was to study Tolstoy and get a job teaching Russian literature at a North American School. (Go figure.) He said to me that it was ironic that he was going to Graduate School in New Jersey (Rutgers)because everyone he knew growing up in Lebanon hates "New Jersey." Now I am New Yorker and hating New Jersey is a New York joke. But why should his friends and family hate New Jersey? Well he explained because the Battle ship New Jersey Used to lob artillery shells the size of Volkswagen's on his camp and more than 5,000 died as a result of this while he was growing up. Of course you will say we were fighting terrorists in the 1980s in Lebanon. But practically all the people who died were civilians. I am outraged. As I write this, I am once again as outraged as I was when I watched from the roof of my apartment building as the World Trade Center fell. There is no moral difference between when our country targets and kills civilians and when someone else does it. We, our policies have supported terror regimes through-out the world. We supported Saddam Hussein and we are supporting the House of Saud, as you well know. We support a rampage of death squads in Columbia. It is atrocity no matter who does it.

    But such atrocities that we commit and we support don't make headlines in the liberal newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post. Atrocities never make headlines headlines until powerful people are disturbed. The reason the secret prisons are making headlines now is that powerful people have been disturbed. I have read human rights reports from around the world about U.S. secret prisons for years. Why are we only hearing about them now? Because powerful people in the CIA and the European Union have been disturbed. Powerful people in the CIA apparatus who don't like doing the neo-cons dirty work of torture, who would prefer that other people torture for them, and don't like that this administration is trying to degrade the CIA, are disturbed and thus the liberal press publishes stories. And powerful people in Europe who don't like being used as a playground for spy games without being informed and are afraid that they too will become targets of the CIA or of terrorist organizations are disturbed that secret prisons are in their backyard. It is a NIMBY reaction. It stinks of hypocrisy. If secret prisons and torture is wrong, if terrorizing populations is wrong, if supporting terror regimes is wrong, it is wrong no matter if powerful people are disturbed or not.

    To simply say we are at war with people who killed thousands of people here in the U.S., is not enough. Because we have killed thousands of people in many countries in the world, we have killed them without justification, or we have supplied and supported the regimes that murdered them. None of these civilians were fighting against the us. Were the thousands of Kurds murdered in Turkey, a country we continually supply and support, fighting the U.S.? Does it matter that the Pakistani terror regime which we supply and support developed nuclear weapons illegally? Does it matter that we supported and continue to support dictators such as Saddam Hussein until those dictators get too big for their for britches? I repeat we supported Hussein through his worse atrocities, supplied him, courted him. We are partially, maybe largely responsible for those atrocities and look where it got us? That is why I think it is the proper thing to "obsess" about the crimes of your own government. The fact that we have committed atrocities elsewhere would not justify any country in the world in kidnapping "known terrorists" that we are harboring off of our streets and it does not justify us in kidnapping "known terrorists" off of their streets.

    In the end I would still like my basic question answered. Do you think the evidence is good that secret prisons are being used by our government or not? There is no doubt that there are secret prisons. The only question is where and how many. The only reason I was asking the question is to discover what standard of evidence you are using. But you avoided the question so I repeat it.

    By the way I read the Pod's piece in Commentary. All I have to say is such rhetoric is irrelevant. The U.S. may win by the standards of Pod or the Bush Administration but what the Pod doesn't understand is that the U.S. has already won by many of the Bush standards. (The Bush administration might still lose politically in the U.S. but I think that fact is also irrelevant.) How has it won? The NSC said about three years ago that one intention of U.S. policy is to make governments such as Brazil afraid of us. Believe me, the last time I was in Brazil fear of the United States was palpable. Success. Further more around the world, the great sympathy that U.S. garnered after 9/11 simply disappeared after the invasion of Iraq. This should be marked as a success also. We spend more on our military and have a bigger military than all of the rest of the countries combined. We have military bases in more than 130 countries around the world. Our strong point is our military. We have become weaker and weaker as far simple political persuasion. Thus the NSC says that we must find ways to back our political goals through the military threats and when possible economic threats. That's the way these guys think. So for instance the monumental incompetence arrogance and ignorance of the Bush Administration in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq does not matter because we are playing to our strengths. They even failed to guard the WMD sites that had been under U.N. supervision before the invasion. Those sites were looted handing over to someone, who knows who high precision instruments capable of producing missiles and dangerous bio-toxins. But who cares? As long as the U.S. can succeed through invasion and military might, then we win. This administration does not care about "security" except insofar as it means the security of a thin layer of the ruling group. The security of the people in New York, of the people who were actually attacked is irrelevant.

    Jerry Monaco

    By Anonymous Jerry Monaco, at 9:02 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Jerry Monaco, at 8:35 AM  

  • The Post That Has Been Removed, Reposted by the Site Owner:

    Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior
    By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

    NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

    Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

    [SNIPPED, the rest of the original newspaper story here, mirrored here.  Retraction of original story here, mirrored here.

    [Original ]

    Wrong Book? Maybe he should have been kidnapped and shipped to a secret prison camp.
    End of Original Post.

            I put it back up as an enduring lesson in gullibility.  Even though some of us suspected something wrong from the beginning (Where's Homeland Security's side of the story?  Where's the library's side of the story?  Who ever heard of supplying your social security number to the library in order to borrow a book?), even though there was no reason to believe harm would ever come to the student if the story was true (though as a taxpayer, it was worth being concerned about, in terms of waste), you automatically believed it and reacted in a manner I can only describe as hysterical.

            I suggest you learn to treat stories about the wickedness of Uncle Sam as skeptically as you do press releases from the Pentagon.


    By Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge, at 4:27 PM  

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