Friday, September 16, 2005

1984 Plus One Score And Change

by Tom Bozzo

While I was having a tough time staying alert through the platitudes of Bush's speech from New Orleans last night, The Editors were kind enough to remind me about this part, which did indeed catch my attention and which merits particularly close scrutiny as legislation that will no doubt be forced through Congress in haste materializes (with gloss from Josh Marshall):
The Poor Man Institute: Easy answers to unnecessary questions: Q: Josh Marshall asks:

Then there’s the president’s great line from the speech: “It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces.”

No, it’s not. Actually, every actual fact that’s surfaced in the last two weeks points to just the opposite conclusion. There was no lack of federal authority to handle the situation. There was faulty organization, poor coordination and incompetence.

Show me the instance where the federal government was prevented from doing anything that needed to be done because it lacked the requisite authority.

This is like what we were talking about a few days ago. This is how repressive governments operate — mixing inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

You don’t repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent. If conservatism can’t grasp that point, what is it good for?
And this:
Frogs and Ravens: ARGH!: Remember that we're in a neverending "war" on terror. Remember too that the courts have upheld the "right" of the government to imprison U.S. citizens indefinitely as "enemy combatants" for the duration of the "war" (cf. Padilla). And now the president is saying that we need more military involvement in domestic affairs, because it is the "most capable" institution of our government in these sorts of situations.

Can we say "military dictatorship"?

What's even more disturbing is how people are glossing right over this in order to talk about funding concerns or to complain about the aesthetics of the speech itself. This expansion of military power wasn't in the published "talking points," so apparently it can be ignored.
This is as good of a time as any to suggest that interested visitors who haven't already done so give a read to David Neiwert's 2004 Koufax-winning series at Orcinus, "The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism," Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7. (Hat tip to Wendy for an old but not forgotten reminder.)
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