Monday, November 10, 2008

Bush Approves Secret Orders! Warrantless Wiretaps! Liberties in Danger!

Or, not.

'Everybody knows,' in some circles at least, the CNN works for the Democratic party, and FOXNews is a tool of the Republicans. And, my guess is that quite a few people still believe that The New York Times publishes "all the news that's fit to print."

That slogan is true, in my opinion, if you recognize that The New York Times is more New York City's hometown paper, than America's newspaper of record. But I'm getting off-topic.

The New York Times Breaks Story Favorable to George W. Bush?!

"Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda in Many Countries" (The New York Times (November 9, 2008)) seems to be the headline that started this news story. Since 2004, "The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials."


Details of a highly-effective policy, which probably saved hundreds of lives, carried out by the Bush administration. And in The New York Times, of all places. Actually, this "broad, secret authority" may have saved thousands of lives. Quite a few people didn't get out of New York City's World Trade Center in time: and there's no reason to assume that Al Qaeda isn't trying for a sequel.

Wait a minute. Terms like this aren't viewed the same way by all people:
  • "...broad, secret authority..."
  • "...a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States..."
  • "...the Bush administration had already granted America's intelligence agencies sweeping power..."
  • "...warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications..." (not exactly 'warrantless' - I've discussed this before)
And, "CIA" was mentioned three times in two paragraphs.

At first glance, I saw the article as an out-of-character affirmation of the George W. Bush administration's no-nonsense approach to keeping Al Qaeda from killing more Americans.

But, I regard Al Qaeda as a bigger threat than the FBI, the CIA, and the Republican party put together. Not all people see the world that way. If I take my mind on a journey back to the coffee shop on campus, this article reveals a plot by the 'diabolical' Bush to steal our freedom and endanger the world with his militaristic and intolerant ways. Just like Richard Nixon.

Viewed that way, the article makes a lot more sense.

It Gets Weirder

The New York Times with a story that some guy in Minnesota could see as pro-Bush is just the beginning of the strangeness.
CNN Isn't Covering This?
The last I checked, a couple minutes ago, I couldn't find mention about Bush's secret orders (Rumsfeld's, really, but with White House approval). There was "Bush leaving office more unpopular than Nixon" (CNN (November 10, 2008)), though. I suppose that being able to boast that a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey got 76% of a sample to disapprove of George W. Bush may be more important than secret orders.
FOXNews IS Doing a Bush Expose?!
"Report: Secret Order Lets U.S. Strike Al Qaeda Anywhere" (FOXNews (November 10, 2008)). That does make sense, since FOXNews emphasizes how the order made it possible for the American military to stop Al Qaeda in places that would normally be safe havens. And, significantly, ignores the threat posed by Nixon-style wiretaps of our private telephones by the CIA.
Across the World, It's More Business As Usual
The Australian, BBC, and Reuters covered the story more routinely, although without The New York Times' relevant focus on the CIA and other threats to liberty and privacy.

Am I being unfair? Maybe. A little. Just a little.

But I think how this story was - and wasn't - covered is a good example of why it's a good idea to study the news: not just read it.

Related post: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.