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Crocodile (Hunter) Tears

Tuesday, Sept. 05, 2006 11:05 AM


Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed while filming an underwater sequence for a series called, "Ocean's Deadliest." Irwin was lanced through the heart by a stingray.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, when someone is hurt by an animal, it is your fault," said fellow animal handler Jack Hanna. "People use the word dangerous and that sometimes is a word that's not fair to that animal because the animal has been given the defenses that God gave it, so you have to understand what all that is involved and if you understand that, hopefully nothing will happen."


I finally saw Keith Olbermann's commentary from last Wednesday, in which he has some pointed words about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush Administration as they continue their efforts to paint the war on terror as the modern equivalent of fighting Nazi Germany.

Olbermann turns the tables on the oft-used comparison of liberals to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, pointing out that it was Chamberlain and his supporters who insisted on a world view not supported by facts in evidence.


"The problem is we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don't like us," Bush said in a speech on Labor Day. "And so the more dependent we are on that type of energy, the less likely it will be that we are able to compete, and so people have good, high-paying jobs."

Dump the Hummers and Escalades, folks. It's unpatriotic. Bush said so.

But I'd really like to know how oil executives are making these amazing salaries and reaping incredible profits when 'dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our capacity to grow.'

Which means liberating Iraq isn't part of the solution, because it's still not our oil. Our domestic supply simply isn't sufficient. As I've said before, we need to invest in advanced technologies for energy production. We need to be the innovators, the leaders, and put Made in America all over those technologies.


Time for another PowerPoint presentation to sell the war on terror.

We're safer, but not yet safe. Or, rather, your patriotic duty is to be paralyzed by fear and let Uncle Dick, Rummy the Wonder Dog, and the amazingly well-heeled Condoleezza Rice (did I mention she plays the piano?) take care of everything.

And, just like the legions of child pornographers out there lurking on the internet, there are hordes of terrorists using it to, ... rally support, proselytize and spread their propaganda without risking personal contact.

Would that be like paying for stories to cast America in a positive light?

But the new strategy paper on combatting terrorism flounders about every bit as much as previous versions. Did you know that nations are only now figuring out the targeting of innocents is never justified by any calling or cause? Really! It's a broad and growing consensus!

We've 'significantly degraded' the al-Qaeda network, but we're afraid of 'sports drinks and gel-like substances'.

We've magically converted countries that have previously been viewed as 'part of the problem' to 'part of the solution' without destabilizing friendly regimes in key regions. Which must explain why we wanted so badly to sell the operation of our ports to Dubai, and why Yemen didn't notice a major terrorist digging his ass out of a cell in police headquarters. They're our friends now.

The strategy paper also has an exclusive focus on terrorists in the Middle East, yet reminds us it isn't bound by states or borders. It ignores that disenfranchisement is not only a matter of perception, but often of fact. (To wit, the long-standing problems between Britain and Ireland.)

But on page 15, the paper points the finger at Iran as the leader in state-sponsored terrorism.

The paper claims we will use 'truthful and peaceful messages' to discredit terrorist propaganda, but implies that the Bush Administration is seeking to suppress or restrict terrorist-related content on the internet. If it's flawed thinking, it needs sunshine, not a space in the closet.

It also praises the legal system for upholding First Amendment protections ... but says nothing about the Fourth Amendment, which things like warrantless wiretaps flagrantly violate.

The document repeats an earlier exhortation to create a 'Culture of Preparedness,' which was a post-Katrina catch-phrase that never adequately explained why or how, four (now almost five) years after 9/11, we don't have adequate response plans.

The paper is not a strategy for fighting terrorism; it's internal propaganda, a fresh coat of paint over the same tired rhetoric that spews every time Bush talks about terrorism. It defines the terms of the discussion, arguing neoconservative ideology more than presenting a national strategy.



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