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In case you missed it

August 26th, 2007

A website run by the neocon thinktank the Center for Security Policy (members include Frank Gaffney, Richard Perle and Doug Feith) has published (then removed) a piece calling for Bush to use his military powers to “the first permanent president of America” and “ruler of the world”. Along the way he suggests that the population of Iraq should have been wiped out. The website Family Security Matters also runs pieces by Newt Gingrich, Judy Miller and other luminaries.

The full piece is preserved here at Watching the Watchers. I found it via Wikipedia.

As someone would say (though maybe not in this case) “read the whole thing”. It’s impossible to tell if this is satire by someone who has cleverly infiltrated FSM over a lengthy period (quite a few other pieces by the same author, Philip Atkinson were also removed), a sudden outbreak of insanity, or the actual views of CSP/CFM, accidentally revealed and clumsily concealed.

As things stand, there’s a presumption in favor of the last of these views. The piece was published by CSP/FSM and constitutes, at present, their last word on the subject. If they repudiate Atkinson’s views they should say so openly, and live with the embarrassment of having published him.

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  1. BilB
    August 26th, 2007 at 17:31 | #1

    Wow!!!!!!!

    No doubt King Bush would want to have some permanent friends,…in similar positions,…..to, you know….chat with, on the phone.

  2. Jill Rush
    August 26th, 2007 at 19:15 | #2

    Interesting prospect and also interesting that Philip Atkinson has a post on sanity. But what if the President did adopt the insane tactic proposed. If the military supported the position it could lead to a civil war as the citizenry has a lot of arms – would the NRA support him or not? And if the army arrested all of the legislature there would be no way he could be impeached. However whilst he has mangled the English language and USA foreign policy hopefully he will not be so deluded as to follow the recipe for disaster outlined in the post. However it should as Prof Q states be followed up by an emphatic announcement on the web site that what was proposed and taken down was pure madness.

  3. gaddeswarup
  4. mugwump
    August 26th, 2007 at 20:41 | #4

    Another example of the idiosyncratic Quiggin doctrine of guilt by dissociation.

    Isn’t obvious that by taking it down the FSM is distancing itself from the piece? The simplest inference is that the organization disagrees with its views.

  5. BilB
    August 27th, 2007 at 07:33 | #5

    Mugwump

    On Quiggin it is our duty to be vigilant to protect the society that we can , in todays world, no longer take for granted. I suspect that such comments if made in Australia might be considered seditious, and therefore dangerous to the organisation rather than not generally supported. Another possiblity in a country (the USA) strong with a “minuteman” tradition the flashing comment might be a “call to arms”, a signal to register support.

    The probability of success for such a scenario is near zero, but those odds have not, through history, stop people from trying. There are a number of recent examples.

    Closer to home, no one can convince me that such thoughts are not tempting for our own JWH. On the surface of it we have here a PM, who if his statements are to be taken seriously, believes that his opposition is incompetent. Even dangerous to the success of the country. And the public are about to make a huge mistake by not continuing down his vital path of enlightened governance. He has been able to maintain slavish survitude amoungst his party followers and has enjoyed a period of unrivalled legislative freedom. He would feel confident of commercial support and he has shown no amount of disdain for the public whom he feels can be bought with a few tax handouts, and his coffers are brimming full. He has made significant changes to media structures. He has shown a dislike for the general makeup of the Australian state and declared a determinantion to change it to his liking. Coupled with all of that is his belief that we are in a state of terrorist siege.

    Having said all of that I do not think that Howard is that stupid to try bend circumstances to improperly maintain control of government, but I would be willing to put money on the probability that the thought has crossed his mind more than once.

  6. gandhi
    August 27th, 2007 at 09:39 | #6

    I saw the piece elsewhere last week – it is obviously doing the wingnut rounds. These things do not happen by accident in Rove’s USA.

    When you look at the current crop of GOP candidates for 08 and the likelihood of a Democrat win, it’s little wonder that panic is setting in among the Bush-loving GOP fantasy reality crowd. And what else can they do, except nullify the election or start a new war? As Josh Marshall noted over the weekend, Bush has nothing left to lose. Neither do his very dangerous supporters.

    “We are bigger than Iraq.

    By that I do not mean we, as America, are bigger or better than Iraq as a country. I mean that that sum of our national existence is not bound up in what happens there. The country will go on. Whatever happens, we’ll recover from it. And whatever might happen, there are things that matter much more to this country’s future — like whether we have a functioning military any more, whether our economy is wrecked, whether this country tears itself apart over this catastrophe. But we’ll go on and look back at this and judge what happened.

    Not so for the president. For him, this is it. He’s not bigger than this. His entire legacy as president is bound up in Iraq. Which is another way of saying that his legacy is pretty clearly an irrecoverable shambles. That is why, as the folly of the enterprise becomes more clear, he must continually puff it up into more and more melodramatic and world-historical dimensions. A century long ideological struggle and the like. For the president a one in a thousand shot at some better outcome is well worth it, no matter what the cost. Because at least that’s a one in a thousand shot at not ending his presidency with the crushing verdict history now has in store. It’s also worth just letting things keep on going as they are forever because, like Micawber, something better might turn up. Going double or nothing by expanding the war into Iran might be worth it too for the same reason. For him, how can it get worse?

    And when you boil all this down what it comes down to is that the president now has very different interests than the country he purports to lead. ”

    Much the same argument could be made for our own PM.

  7. wilful
    August 27th, 2007 at 10:08 | #7

    Charmingly, Philip Atkinson is an Australian.
    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/author.htm

  8. frankis
    August 27th, 2007 at 13:02 | #8

    If the obscenity filter just ate my comment here it is redacted:

    Douglas Feith is better known these days as “the f***ing stupidest guy on the face of the earth” (Google it), and Perle’s a more unacceptable face of evil even than Cheney, so I think their magazine’s reaction to a loon such as Atkinson is likely to have been love at first sight. The more rational members of FSM’s board, if there are any of those lurking somewhere, can now repent at their leisure. Atkinson’s the real deal himself, check his website inc bio for confirmation.

  9. snuh
    August 27th, 2007 at 15:10 | #9

    Another example of the idiosyncratic Quiggin doctrine of guilt by dissociation.

    Isn’t obvious that by taking it down the FSM is distancing itself from the piece? The simplest inference is that the organization disagrees with its views.

    if the goal is to distance themselves from views with which the FSM disagree, deciding to publish the article in the first place seems like a really counter-intuitive way to go.

    also, the author says julius caesar gave the world “peace and prosperity.” insert calgacus reference here.

  10. Jill Rush
    August 27th, 2007 at 17:16 | #10

    gaddesarup
    Your link raises the possibility that the scenario mentioned by Philip Atkinson is all too realisable as the protections built into the USA political system will not be able to resist any incursions by an insane president due to enabling acts.

    Meglomania is not unknown amongst leaders who have been in power for a long time and who have grown to like the power, position, authority and other benefits. There are many examples in the world today.
    The trashing of constitutional niceties by Mr Howard and the variable rights of individuals shows that our liberties are as shaky as those of the citizens of the USA under the Patriot Act, other legislation and associated administrative powers.

    The one thing that the USA has, which Australians lack, is a Bill of Rights. In the event that Bush did decide to continue ruling, without an election, the Bill of Rights would be the key document to help fight that decision. Australians would rely on the Governor General to enforce an election and he would no doubt be loathe as a Howard appointed military man to countermand the PM.

  11. derrida derider
    August 28th, 2007 at 11:52 | #11

    I’m sorry, but this sort of paranoia (ie Bush/Howard are plotting coups …) is just making you look ridiculous. It’s an exact counterpart to those conspiracy theories on the right during Clinton’s time.

    mugwump’s right – they took the barking mad piece down because even Feith/Perle et al recognised it as barking mad. There’s no evidence that it was scrutinised before being posted.

  12. BilB
    August 28th, 2007 at 12:42 | #12

    You’re absolutely correct Derida, this is all pub talk. Have another round?

  13. jquiggin
    August 28th, 2007 at 14:05 | #13

    As I mentioned, they published a bunch of stuff by the same guy that was almost as extreme as this, all of which was taken down at the same time. That stayed on the site for months with links saying what good material it was. So, do you think removing it without saying anything counts as a retraction in this case also?

    My point is simple: having published something barking mad, they should either stand by it or retract it. Wiping it is not an adequate response.

  14. 2 tanners
    August 28th, 2007 at 15:13 | #14

    DD and BilB,

    It may indeed be the talk going on at the FSM pub, and Atkinson is (to extend the metaphor) the obnoxious drunk who’s hustled out of the room before he causes a more-than-verbal fight.

    That doesn’t prove that they disagree with what he says. And JQ wasn’t sprouting paranoid conspiracy theories or even agreeing that the weirdo wingnut scenarios were at all likely – he was pointing out what the tone of the discussion down at the pub usually is: Wipe out all the opposition, repopulate with nice folks and King George will make everything as hunky dory there as it is in the US. Which is a Good Thing.

    With people even thinking this way, in the name of family values, there are political and economic consequences, depending on their influence.

    This sort of stuff needs to be taken together with the earlier thread about the Foreign Policy Community assertion of the right to invade anyone, anytime. I would be less concerned about the prospect of King George than the concept that non-Americans automatically have no right to life or liberty, never mind the pursuit of happiness, which appears to underlie the view of both FSM and FPC.

  15. BilB
    August 28th, 2007 at 15:51 | #15

    2 T,

    I think that Ghandi framed it pretty well, and I was trying to make the point that there are forces at work here, coupled with those that you point out, all building stress that, unlikely, but may, extremely unlikely, but may cause a tremour or two. JQ is completely correct in saying that having gone public with this, potentially treasonous talk, a centre for discussion must accept and close off formally such a discourse, and for their own credibility state what their position is. The rest of this election campaign is shaping up to be like a highly tactical cricket match, short stabs tight play, no wild swings,… unless you accept this welling of tension, the entrenched positions, the fear of loss, the expectation of change, the electrifying anticipation of extreme events.

    And that will not happen, so then it is really all…just pub talk.

  16. Jill Rush
    August 28th, 2007 at 19:30 | #16

    Pub talk or not it doesn’t hurt to consider the constitutional niceties of such an event – this is what risk analysis is all about .

    Likelihood low: Consequences high: Treatment – check out the law and the actions required to ensure that it can never happen.

  17. BilB
    August 29th, 2007 at 05:13 | #17

    Good point JR.

    I don’t think that the possibility can be completely locked out. The main mechanism to achieve a significant delay of elections would be through some national emergency. In Howard’s case he could discover that the earth was warming up and emergency powers were needed to protect the public from a very hot summer, of he might happen upon a report that suggested that most fathers in Australia were abusing their children and an emergency response was required, or something. The real protection against that sort of nonsense is the state and federal seperation.

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