How ‘Awesome’ Is America?

Exclusive: America has an extraordinary capacity to submerge unpleasant truths about its past and present, from African-American slavery and Native-American genocide to bloodbaths in Vietnam and Iraq. Now faced with clear evidence of torture, one cheerleader simply says the U.S. is “awesome,” as Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros is facing some well-deserved ridicule for refuting the stomach-turning Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture by declaring that “The United States is awesome. We are awesome” and claiming that the Democrats and President Barack Obama released the report because they want “to show us how we’re not awesome.”

Tantaros’s rant did have the feel of a Saturday Night Live satire, but her upbeat jingoism was only a slight exaggeration of what Americans have been hearing from much of their media and politicians for decades. At least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, any substantive criticism of the United States has been treated as unpatriotic.

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros.

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros.

Indeed, a journalist or a politician who dares point out any fundamental flaws in the country or even its actual history can expect to have his or her patriotism challenged. That is how debate over “how we’re not awesome” is silenced.

Fox News may be the poster child of this infantile anti-intellectualism but the same sentiments can be found on the Washington Post’s neocon editorial pages or in the higher-brow New Republic. If you dare point out that America or one of its favored “allies” has done some wrong around the world, you’re an enemy “apologist.” If you regularly adopt a critical stance, you will be marginalized.

That’s why so many serious national problems have lingered or gotten worse. If we don’t kill the messenger, we denounce him or her as un-American.

For instance, the data on racial disparities in police killings and prison incarcerations have long been available, but the vast majority of whites seem oblivious to these continued injustices. To point out that the United States has still not done the necessary hard work to correct these history-based imbalances makes you seem out of step amid the happy-face belief that whatever racism there was is now gone. We have a black president, you know.

So, when white police shoot or otherwise apply excessive violence against blacks at a wildly disproportionate rate to whites, many white Americans just shrug. They even get annoyed if black athletes join in some symbolic protests like raising their hands as Michael Brown did before he was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri. Many people hate to have the real world intrude on their sports entertainment.

In reaction to such events, Fox News and much of talk radio find reasons to ridicule the victims and the protesters rather than address the real problems. The unwelcome evidence of racism is just another excuse to roll the eyes and infuse the voice with dripping sarcasm.

Mundane Neglect

On a more mundane level in Arlington County, Virginia, where I live, many whites simply don’t see the racial disparities though they are all around. While overwhelmingly white North Arlington benefits from all manner of public investments, including a state-of-the-art subway system which cost billions upon billions of dollars and amenities likes a $2 million “dog park renovation,” racially diverse South Arlington, the historic home of the County’s black population, is systematically shortchanged, except when it comes to expanding the sewage treatment plant.

When the County Board finally approved a much cheaper light-rail mass-transit plan for South Arlington’s Columbia Pike and voted for a public pool complex in another South Arlington neighborhood, North Arlington residents rose up in fury. The local newspaper, the Sun-Gazette, which doesn’t even distribute in much of South Arlington due to the demographics rallied the political opposition.

Before long, the County Board was in retreat, killing both the public pools and the light-rail plan, all the better to free up taxpayer money for more North Arlington projects. Yet, when I have noted the racial component to how the two halves of the county are treated, many Arlington whites get furious. They simply don’t see the residual racism or don’t want to see it. They view themselves as enlightened even as they favor neglecting their black and brown neighbors.

After I wrote a column about the history of Columbia Pike, which became an African-American freedom trail after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and ex-slaves escaped up the roadway toward Washington, one reader complained that I had slighted Robert E. Lee by saying he had “deserted” the U.S. Army when his fans prefer saying that he “resigned his commission,” which sounds so much more proper.

The point is interesting not only because the commenter didn’t seem nearly as concerned about the fate of the African-Americans, some of whom joined the U.S. Colored Troops to fight for the final defeat of slavery. And not only because General Lee violated his oath as a U.S. officer in which he swore to “bear true allegiance to the United States of America” and to “serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States.”

But the commenter’s point is also interesting because it underscores how white Americans have excused and even glorified the Confederate “heroes” who were fighting to protect a system based on the ownership of other human beings. If you have any doubt about the glorification, just visit Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, where towering statues of Confederate generals dominate the skyline.

Or, if you’re in Arlington and driving on Route One, you might notice that it is still named in honor of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy who was a fervent white supremacist and a major slaveholder. And, if President Davis and General Lee had been successful in their war of secession, it could have meant that slavery might never have ended. Yet, these protectors of slavery are treated with the utmost respect and any slight toward them requires a protest.

Crude Racism

My writings about Thomas Jefferson also have elicited anger from some people who wish to idolize him as a noble philosopher/statesman when the reality was that he was a crude racist (see his Notes on the State of Virginia) who mistreated his Monticello slaves, including having boys as young as ten whipped and raping one and likely other of his slave girls. [See’s “Thomas Jefferson: America’s Founding Sociopath.”]

Much like the defender of Robert E. Lee who preferred more polite phrasing about the general’s betrayal of his oath, defenders of the Jefferson myth expressed much more outrage over my pointing out these inconvenient truths about their hero than they did about the victims of Jefferson’s despicable behavior and stunning hypocrisies.

Which gets us back to Andrea Tantaros and how “awesome” America is. The context for her remarks was the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report which detailed what can no longer be euphemized away as “enhanced interrogation techniques” or EITs as CIA officials prefer.

The only word that can now apply is torture, at least for anyone who has read the page-after-page of near drownings via waterboard, the hallucinatory effects of sleep deprivation, the pain inflicted by hanging people from ceilings, and the sexual sadism of keeping detainees naked and subjecting them to anal rape under the pretext of “rectal rehydration” and “rectal feeding.”

The various apologists for this torture people like Tantaros, Vice President Dick Cheney and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer prefer to counterattack by questioning the patriotism or the intellectual consistency of those Americans who are outraged at these actions. The torture defenders excuse the behavior because we were scared after 9/11 and wanted the Bush administration to do whatever it took to keep us safe.

All of these excuses are designed to prevent the sort of soul-searching that one should expect from a mature democratic Republic, a country that seeks to learn from its mistakes, not cover them up or forget them.

Instead of Americans confronting these dark realities of both their history and their present and making whatever amends and adjustments are necessary the torture apologists or those who don’t see racism would simply have us wave the flag and declare how “awesome” we are.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

44 comments for “How ‘Awesome’ Is America?

  1. Carlos
    December 15, 2014 at 14:50

    I am disappointed in this piece, coming from the author of “America’s Stolen Narrative.” Normally deserving of the appellation “investigative journalist,” the author has given us here an audience-inspired narrative that accepts and promotes group think in its own way, with no investigation required. This is just another pundit piece concocted from unexamined assertions. The Fox commentator made a fool of herself with blind and trivialized tropes from her myopic narrative. It is not up to par to answer her with another narrative.

    When are we going to admit to ourselves that we were not there in Ferguson to see precisely what happened, and we have heard almost exclusively from other people who were not there. We don’t need Ferguson as the lodestar of a movement to reform law enforcement: there are so many data points of excessive force (the death penalty imposed for minor transgressions) that we have near certainty for the need for reform. All this “hands up, don’t shoot” imagery is a propagandistic trope which is not based in incontrovertible fact.

    Parry’s critique of Jefferson as a hypocrite and slave holder is factually correct as far as it goes, but Jefferson was captured in the dominant paradigm of his time, which was at its core a racist view of humanity. He had partaken too much in the unexamined narrative of his time and place. The hypocrisy fades if the narrative of subhuman blacks has become the cultural norm. Alas, he was a man and not a God. If we are to criticize Jefferson, then we should all stay vigilant not to be manipulated into narratives of which we have no substantiating evidence.

    • Gregory Kruse
      December 15, 2014 at 19:43

      What happened in Ferguson is that a man was shot at seven time and hit six times by a police officer. The officer thought it was legal to kill the man to prevent him from escaping.

    • Zachary Smith
      December 18, 2014 at 01:29

      When are we going to admit to ourselves that we were not there in Ferguson to see precisely what happened, and we have heard almost exclusively from other people who were not there.

      Turns out that the star witness for the Grand Jury wasn’t there either.

      The woman seems to be an unbalanced racist whom the FBI totally discredited.

      That didn’t prevent the non-Prosecutor from giving her extensive time testifying to the Grand Jury.

      He REALLY wanted to get Wilson off, and his dishonest work was, as we know, successful.

      OK, I wasn’t there, so I don’t really know what happened.

      Ferguson may, for all I know, be an imaginary place.

  2. Peter Loeb
    December 14, 2014 at 07:22

    DO PALESTINIAN BODIES MATTER? Or Palestinian families, children, homes, dreams, dignity? Evidently not and although details differ for essentially similar reasons. Palestinians are considered by the US and Israel as inferior forms of humanity. The suprreme majority (Israel and US) are entitled to rights and privileges. I have seen pictures of the destruction of Palestinian homes, of their near disintegration, ,murder of families, deprivation of water etc. for some fabricated alleged “legal reasons”. I have seen photos of Palestinian resistance to US and Israeli attacks. (In Palestine it is for Jews only, paid for by the US in fortress-like “settlements” (Palestine has been under Military Law for decades).

    This writer has been on the front lines with blacks in the south and north of the USA, battles that many today have so easily forgotten. Instead, murdering other minorities far, far away has replaced the lack of respect here in North America.
    (The PR calls this “heroism” “defending out rights.”)

    Let us reassert our rights in the US. Let us not replace their lack with the murder and suffering of other minorities. Nelson Mandela (not entirely non-violent!) said: “The struggle of the Palestinian people is our struggle…”

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  3. Julian
    December 13, 2014 at 07:59

    I believe the image of the three monkeys is appropriate for the current state of many white Americans: See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing.
    Ignore the many problems the USA has accumulated over the years, ignore anyone who points them out (certainly not Fox News) and don’t dare actually have a discussion about them.

    What separates the USA from any other totalitarian state where an ethnic majority is stomping on the rights of a minority? In China, if you’re not a Han Chinese, you’re a second-class citizen. In Israel, if you’re not Jewish, you’re a second-class citizen. In the USA, if you’re not a white Christian, you’re a second-class citizen.

    How long can this be maintained? The white population flag-waving patriots (a cute word for nationalism) is shrinking while the numbers of non-whites (blacks, hispanics, etc.) is growing. Failure to accept change will result in a minority stomping on the rights of everyone else (like in apartheid South Africa), finally cementing the USA’s reputation as a heavily biased, latently racist state run by a small white elite.

  4. Daniel Guyot
    December 13, 2014 at 06:44

    I am French, living in France with my wife who is Russian. We married in 1977, and we have 2 children living in France, and relatives in Russia. We feel very concerned by the propaganda war and the economic war presently going on, and we fear, that it is only the preparation for a real war.
    The majority of French people jusfify the CIA methods and torture, just like your American “patriots”. In other words we go back to Middle Age, and nearly nobody seems to care.
    To read Mr. Parry’s articles and comments on this site is sort of a consolation, we can see that not all Americans approve the neocon course of US Policy, and that some people in America are still thinking reasonably.
    In France, unfortunately, there is no journalism that I’d know comparable to Consortium news.
    Mr. Parry, it is time for you to open a branch in France. Any French journalist or publicist who would express here in France ideas or comments comparable to yours, would be immediately disqualified as pro-Russian, pro-Putin, pro-Soviet, anti-American, etc., etc. You should come to Paris and give us a few conferences, because people will listen to you, and that will be very helpful.

  5. Terry Washington
    December 13, 2014 at 05:12

    Andrea Tantaro is unfortunately correct in a sense(even though I hate to admit it)- the US is INDEED “awesome”- in its self centered hypocrisy!!! Case in point, Rep Peter King , Republican of New York, who has vigorously defended the Agency’s torture program.
    I am old enough to recall the aforementioned Mr King decrying the British use of “deep interrogation” of IRA prisoners during the NI “Troubles”( which were not especially different from the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques”).
    Torture for me but not thee, it seems!


  6. Joe Tedesky
    December 13, 2014 at 02:28

    Read the link. You will see how through think tanks these Neocon’s lie to themselves.

  7. David Sheridan
    December 13, 2014 at 00:50

    Shock and awesome.

  8. John
    December 13, 2014 at 00:13

    Four months ago President Obama stated, “We tortured some folks.” No one has yet been prosecuted. Why an article about an obscure Fox News nobody when the president himself is protecting all those who torture, support torture, defend torture, rationalize torture?
    I learn much from Mr. Parry’s articles, but he seems to give President Obama a pass. Too often the articles suggest Obama is being controlled, misled, obstructed, manipulated. Obama is the president. Obama can fire Brennan at any time. He can order the Justice Department to investigate Brennan and the CIA. Despite the policies and practices of the CIA, and the lies Brennan has told, he still runs the CIA torture team. That’s Obama’s decision, not some Fox News employee’s.

    • Monster from the Id
      December 13, 2014 at 11:36

      Disclosure: I voted for the Green presidential candidate in both 2008 and 2012.

      In Obummer’s defense, I expect he may have been informed that if he actually tried to dial back the Warfare State, he would suffer the fate of JFK.

      The tiny elite of talking apes known collectively as “Capital” want the world, now and forever, and they don’t care how many other talking apes, or which specific other talking apes, they need to kill to win that world.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 13, 2014 at 21:19

      No one has yet been prosecuted.

      John Kiriakou who blew the whistle on torture at the CIA was prosecuted and sent to prison. The criminals he exposed remain free.

  9. Abe
    December 12, 2014 at 19:17

    Full-spectrum awesomeness:
    Decay and Default as the most devastating form of Shock and Awe

    “When the civil is no longer clearly demarcated from the military, nor offense from defense, it becomes impossible to say where the exercise of force begins and ends. Military affairs bleed across the spectrum.”
    Perception Attack: Brief on War Time
    By Brian Massumi

    • Abe
      December 12, 2014 at 19:19

      “Perception Attack” by Brian Massumi

    • Abe
      December 12, 2014 at 19:55

      “The day the world changed.” We all know that means September 11, 2001. From first impact, the attacks on the World Trade Center towers were represented in the United States as an historical turning point on the scale of Pearl Harbor. For the first time since World War II the United States had been attacked on its own soil. Not only had a new war had begun, it would be a new kind of war: a “war on terror.”

      Only: the phrase was already firmly established in the lexicon. Ronald Reagan was waging a war on terror back in 1986, when he invoked it as an argument for expanding US military bases abroad.1 Furthermore, the United States had been attacked on its own soil. It had sustained significant casualties in 1993 when the Oklahoma City Federal Building was bombed. In that case the enemy rose up from American soil to attack it. The new war was old, and the enemy might also be within.

      Such complications aside, the feeling that the world underwent irrevocable change on September 11, 2001 remains unshakeable. The change was perhaps less an advent than a crystallization that brought elements already in play into greater solidarity and clarity of expression around a tighter focal point.

      The Future Birth of the Affective Fact
      By Brian Massumi

    • Abe
      December 12, 2014 at 20:08

      “The day the world changed.”
      November 22, 1963

    • F. G. Sanford
      December 14, 2014 at 23:25

      I’d be shocked to learn you believe this version. Say it ain’t so!

    • Abe
      December 15, 2014 at 18:28

      Ain’t so, F.G.

      I presented the specific webpage as an example of the manipulation of perception at work in versions of a “day the world changed”.

  10. bobzz
    December 12, 2014 at 18:54

    Couple of quick comments: 1) You gotta hand it to the right wingers. Whether the “pitch” is for fracking, torture, energy, the pitchers are disarmingly, charmingly, girl-next-door-beauties. 2) “military defense industry” is a misnomer; it should be “military offense industry”.

  11. Brendan
    December 12, 2014 at 18:22

    Andrea Tantaros is wrong, the Obama administration does believe in American awesomeness, except that Obama calls it exceptionalism. Obama said at West Point in May 2014:
    “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law. It is our willingness to affirm them through our actions”.
    Since nobody seems to be facing prosecution over the CIA torture, then I assume that it’s all legal. Therefore any country can do the same thing to its detainees, including American citizens.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 12, 2014 at 19:16

      Obama also said, “No one is above the law.”

  12. Joe Tedesky
    December 12, 2014 at 18:06

    Turn the narrative around. Tell the likes of Andrea Tantaros how people like her have ruined our GREAT COUNTRY! Seriously, for my whole life I have never understood how ‘the right’ gets away with being the only patriotic ones. This is not absurd if you consider how many of America’s early founders were ….well progressive. You may debate that statement, but one could also make a great case that this country ‘s founders were anything but right wing. Conservatives at that time would more than likely have taken Britains side, when it came to the revolution. So tell FOX & company to shove it, and for them to give us our country back. Turn it around!

  13. Abe
    December 12, 2014 at 17:58

    The US military-industrial complex wrote the book on awesome. In fact, it totally dominates its greatest adversary… the American people.


    Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade developed the doctrine of strategic dominance, more popularly known as “Shock and Awe”. They published their concept in Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance , a 1996 monograph of the National Defense University.

    The objective of Rapid Dominance is to control the adversary’s will, perceptions, and understanding and literally make an adversary impotent to act or react. It aims to quickly paralyze, shock and unnerve the adversary (xxvii – xxviii):

    “Rapid Dominance must be all-encompassing. It will require the means to anticipate and to counter all opposing moves. It will involve the capability to deny an opponent things of critical value, and to convey the unmistakable message that unconditional compliance is the only available recourse. It will imply more than the direct application of force. It will mean the ability to control the environment and to master all levels of an opponent’s activities to affect will, perception, and understanding. This could include means of communication, transportation, food production, water supply, and other aspects of infrastructure as well as the denial of military responses. Deception, misinformation, and disinformation are key components in this assault on the will and understanding of the opponent.

    “Total mastery achieved at extraordinary speed and across tactical, strategic, and political levels will destroy the will to resist. With Rapid Dominance, the goal is to use our power with such compellance that even the strongest of wills will be awed. Rapid Dominance will strive to achieve a dominance that is so complete and victory is so swift, that an adversary’s losses in both manpower and material could be relatively light, and yet the message is so unmistakable that resistance would be seen as futile.”


    Rapid Dominance uses “awesome shock” (p. 137) in order to physically and psychologically dominate an adversary. The application of Shock and Awe implicitly communicates to the adversary that the next level of escalation would be direct deployment of weapons of mass destruction (pp. xxv-xxvi):

    “Physical dominance includes the ability to destroy, disarm, disrupt, neutralize, and render impotent. Psychological dominance means the ability to destroy, defeat, and neuter the will of an adversary to resist; or convince the adversary to accept our terms and aims short of using force. The target is the adversary’s will, perception, and understanding. The principal mechanism for achieving this dominance is through imposing sufficient conditions of “Shock and Awe” on the adversary to convince or compel it to accept our strategic aims and military objectives. Clearly, deception, confusion, misinformation, and disinformation, perhaps in massive amounts, must be employed.

    “The key objective of Rapid Dominance is to impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on. In crude terms, Rapid Dominance would seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary’s perceptions and understanding of events so that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at tactical and strategic levels. An adversary would be rendered totally impotent and vulnerable to our actions. To the degree that nonlethal weaponry is useful, it would be incorporated into the ability to Shock and Awe and achieve Rapid Dominance.

    “Theoretically, the magnitude of Shock and Awe Rapid Dominance seeks to impose (in extreme cases) is the non-nuclear equivalent of the impact that the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. The Japanese were prepared for suicidal resistance until both nuclear bombs were used. The impact of those weapons was sufficient to transform both the mindset of the average Japanese citizen and the outlook of the leadership through this condition of Shock and Awe. The Japanese simply could not comprehend the destructive power carried by a single airplane. This incomprehension produced a state of awe.

    “We believe that, in a parallel manner, revolutionary potential in combining new doctrine and existing technology can produce systems capable of yielding this level of Shock and Awe. In most or many cases, this Shock and Awe may not necessitate imposing the full destruction of either nuclear weapons or advanced conventional technologies, but must be underwritten by the ability to do so.”


    Interestingly, the word “torture” appears only once in Ullman and Wade’s opus. The authors enumerate nine historical applications of the concepts of shock and awe. The ninth application is termed “Decay and Default” (p. 32):

    “based on the imposition of societal breakdown over a lengthy period, but without the application of massive destruction. This example is obviously not rapid but cumulative. In this example, both military and societal values are targets. Selective and focused force is applied. It is the long-term corrosive effects of the continuing breakdown in the system and society that ultimately compels an adversary to surrender or to accept terms. Shock and Awe are therefore not immediate either in application or in producing the end result. Economic embargoes, long-term policies that harass and aggravate the adversary, and other types of punitive actions that do not threaten the entire society but apply pressure as in the Chinese water torture, a drop at a time, are the mechanisms. Finally, the preoccupation with the decay and disruption of society produces a variant of Shock and Awe in the form of frustration, collapsing the will to resist.

    “The significant weakness of this approach is time duration. In many cases, the time required to impose such a regime of Shock and Awe is unacceptably long or simply cannot be achieved by conventional or politically acceptable means.”


    September 11, 2001 was truly awesome. On that fateful day, the doctrine of strategic dominance was applied domestically. The US military-industrial complex continues to dominate its adversary.


  14. Bill Bodden
    December 12, 2014 at 17:21

    If I had a son who participated in the CIA’s torture program and a daughter who defended him I would be mortified and disown both of them.

  15. Joe
    December 12, 2014 at 16:04

    Thank you for the article Mr. Parry. It amazes me that people can be faced with an overwhelming amount of wrongdoing on behalf of their government and still turn around and cheerlead. I am Canadian, and I sometimes wonder if the Americans that brand other Americans “traitors” or “anti-American” for speaking out against government atrocities realize that the United States itself was founded by people that spoke out against the government they had and revolted against it which created the United States itself. I also wonder, Mr. Parry, that if you broke the Iran Contra Scandal in today’s climate if it ever would have made it into a mainstream newspaper or if it simply would have been branded as a “conspiracy theory”. I think the climate that we live in today is quite sad, even in Canada, that people will put “patriotism” above “logic”.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 12, 2014 at 17:29

      It amazes me that people can be faced with an overwhelming amount of wrongdoing on behalf of their government and still turn around and cheerlead.

      Ms. Tantaros probably spent too much time with the Young America Foundation and listening to the likes of Ann Coulter.

  16. F. G. Sanford
    December 12, 2014 at 15:43

    And for all these years, I thought pretty young ladies enchanted by the romance of restrained sexual submission, coprophilia and the sadistic objectification of helpless playthings were just the stuff of tawdry paperbacks written by the likes of Anne Rampling, AKA Anne Rice. Some sources list her as an author of “Christian” literature, but “The Vampire Chronicles” might cast some doubt. “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “An English Education” are apparently more reflective of America’s moral compass than one might suspect. But speaking of vampires, Dick Cheney certainly personifies the sinister, sanctimonious rejection of moral constraint captured by Frank Langella’s portrayal of Dracula: “I am the king of my kind” must be one of the most stirring lines Hollywood ever produced. But, I have to admit, that crap has made a lot of money. I bet I could write better stuff, but then, I’d have to live with myself. Being that “awesome” would put me right up there with Ayn Rand, who also flirted with psychosexual sadism. It occurs to me that we need a new women’s organization for Tantaros and her fans. How about, “Daughters of the American Inquisition”?

    • Abe
      December 12, 2014 at 20:57

      “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.

      “We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world.

      “A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we’re going to be successful.

      “That’s the world these folks operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.”

      – Dick Cheney, interview with NBC’s Tim Russert on Sept. 16, 2001

  17. Zachary Smith
    December 12, 2014 at 15:00

    …like children with limited vocabularies in their early stages of development.

    I was thinking along the same lines, but would use the term “arrested development”. The Tantaros woman gives the impression of having a mentality of an earnest high school sophomore. Unless she’s a consummate actress (which I doubt) that’s the way she really is. A recipient of Wingnut Welfare to the tune of $300k/year, she’s fixed for life, or until her particular style of air-head jabber goes out of fashion.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 12, 2014 at 19:11

      Good point.

  18. erniek
    December 12, 2014 at 14:55

    I’ll always remember one of my U.S History professors saying that Robert E. Lee remains a hero in this country to this day although he was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than Tojo and Hitler combined. Not sure that those numbers can be substantiated, but the message was pretty clear.

    • Bill Jones
      December 13, 2014 at 00:28

      It was, of course, Lincoln who was responsible for the deaths of those killed in the war of Northern Aggression.

      I suggest you read Lincolns First Inaugural Address, not the one you were taught at the government school you obviously went to.

    • Jay Reardon
      December 13, 2014 at 01:08

      I see racists are alive and well and they’re everywhere. War of Northern Aggression? Is that like the black guy handcuffed in the backseat of the police car managing to shoot himself in the head on the ride to the station? Imbeciles like you make all Americans look bad

    • Zachary Smith
      December 13, 2014 at 01:33

      I suggest you read Lincolns First Inaugural Address, not the one you were taught at the government school you obviously went to.

      Dammed gobmint schuls dont lern you nothin!

      First of all, the wiki for Lincoln’s first inaugural address:


      Next, the actual document:


      On another forum a fellow spouting this sort of bull **** was astonished to learn that the South had pulled a “Pearl Harbor” at Ft. Sumter. He’d been ‘taught’ that it was the warmongering Lincoln who had attacked the poor peace-loving South.

      I’d wager he went to the same sort of school as this guy.

    • Zachary Smith
      December 13, 2014 at 01:47

      Your history professor was right.

      But no doubt the home-schooled/private schooled characters – especially in the Slave States – would vigorously object.

      Those types love their traitors, and that’s what Robert E. Lee was.

      I’ve read many accounts like this that Lincoln offered Lee command of the Union army. The article suggests that by merely accepting, Virginia might not have joined the Confederacy. Which would have essentially killed the slave-owner rebellion at the start.

      I suspect one reason the old swine gets such ‘respect’ is because he looks so very distinguished in his photographs. Can’t really think of any other reason.

    • Monster from the Id
      December 13, 2014 at 11:14

      Yes, the Confederates were traitors to the USA.

      And the Patriots of 1775-83 were traitors to the British Crown.

      To be consistent, one must either condemn both or excuse both. Which one shall we choose?

    • Zachary Smith
      December 14, 2014 at 10:45

      To be consistent, one must either condemn both or excuse both. Which one shall we choose?

      I’d invite any readers seeing this to look up a specific logical fallacy called False Equivalence.

      Example: The Germans during WWII operated concentration camps for Jews and others.
      Americans held Japanese citizens in concentration camps. To be consistent, one must either condemn both or excuse both. Which one shall we choose?

      Again from my source: This is a false equivalent brought on by confusing terminology and a lack of perspective and knowledge of what happened.

      IMO it was also an attempt to divert – in my total disgust with the bastard Robert E Lee I used the term “traitor” instead of something like ‘murderous old son-of-a-bitch”. I really don’t understand the need for a certain class of right-winger to rehabilitate him and the other members of the Slave-Holding Class of the South. But I see it all the time – witness the previous remark about “the war of Northern Aggression”.

      This looks to be yet another instance.

  19. Patricia Purcell
    December 12, 2014 at 14:51

    There seems to be a whole segment of our society that is only capable of conditional love. Their condition for loving America is that America must be perfect. Since our country is made up of, and led by, human beings, perfection can never be achieved. In order to sustain their faux patriotism, they must therefore lie to themselves and everyone else.

    Real love of country urges us to acknowledge, clean up, and find ways to prevent repetitions of the messes we make. We are like parents raising a child. If our child behaves badly and we deny he did it, protect him from the consequences, and tell everyone what a perfect child he is, we wind up with an adult sociopath.

    Wake up people! We are a relatively young country – perhaps in our adolescence – let’s strive for perfection by all means, but the only way to really do that is to be honest when we blow it, vow to do better and then… do better!

    • Zachary Smith
      December 12, 2014 at 15:03

      …let’s strive for perfection by all means, but the only way to really do that is to be honest when we blow it, vow to do better and then… do better!

      Prosecuting criminal behavior is an important step on the way to “do better”.

    • December 16, 2014 at 17:50

      …this essay has a lot of “truth” to it…however…it always amazes me when people are attempting to define their beliefs, they have to rely upon analogies and prior examples. This writer attempts the same thing with Jeff Davis, RE Lee, pointing out their personal flaws and etc….but he holds out Lincoln as some kind of slavery savior? Anyone who has studied Lincoln knows that he couldn’t have cared less about slavery…and his “Emancipation Proclamation” did not have the force of law..(much like Obama’s attempt to hide political amnesty as executive order power)… slavery still existed until it was repealed by Constitutional Amendment… all Lincoln wanted was power…and he broke his oath to the Constitution when he prevented (by war) the legal secession of the states. All Lincoln wanted was to keep the US together as one nation…and the future power that entailed….and he was a war criminal….So it sounds like the writer has a case of calling the kettle black..?
      RJ O’Guillory
      Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

  20. kevin kresse
    December 12, 2014 at 14:37

    Funny how the primary message I see peddled, in the right wing mainstream (WSJ) elite press, is the partisan nature of the report, and the fact there was popular support for a “by all means necessary” approach to attacking the terrorists who attacked us.

    Funny because these same folks have a long and well documented history of not only supporting terrorists and terrorism across the planet, but also demonstrated supreme disinterest in investigating the traitors inside the US national security establishment who allowed terrorist sponsors to fly out of the country before and after 9-11.

    Most troubling, we still await the release of the 28 pages on Saudi involvement in 9-11, and we still await an independent criminal investigation of those events.

    So many failures of intelligence and air defense coupled with so many promotions of those responsible for protecting the so called homeland.

    Then there is the tidbit of KSM the alleged mastermind of 9-11 and his creative storytelling during his tortured testimonial, upon whom the official 9-11 depends.

    So many unsolved riddles. This report seems to serve to reframe the official debate away from the Elephant in the Room: who are the perpetrators of 9-11?

    Some CIA operatives found KSM to be, according to the Senate Torture Report, a clown not a Mastermind.

    Your honor, may I cross examine the witness?

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 14, 2014 at 03:35

      Kevin, you must read the news. I am convinced the American public is so discused with our nations leadership, that our fellow citizens have just up and quit.

      The MSM does a poor job of reporting the truth, but the Internet has so much, that sometimess there’s to much news to gather out here or there. Unlike you, the American person is not working hard enough to surf the Internet to gain more information. Although, average Facebook Yankees fight all day and into the night with their in laws and friends over politics. They may not vote, but they (the American citizen) pray and wish that someday we will get a good government. Just ask any Blue or Red person you know if they believe US Government is corrupt…if it’s run by bankers…..if the US fights to many wars….just ask your neighbor what he thinks.

      I liked your post, so I commented, and sorry for getting carried away. Joe Tedesky

    • Masud Awan
      December 14, 2014 at 17:24

      The other day I was discussing the events of 9/11 with one of my surgical colleagues who performs robot-assisted surgical procedures which involves introducing 4 to 6 surgical arms into the abdominal cavity and controlling thier movements by remot control. Like most of the general public he believes in “terrorists flying plains into twin towers” nerrative. I asked him if I would be able to perform robot-assisted surgical procedures independently after having 9 to 12 months training in the subject. He immediately said ‘not possible’. Controlling a surgical robot is far less complex than flying a commercial plain on a route never travelled before as a poilot, making acrobatic movements to change the course of the flight, flying it low with high speed, finding the target that you have never seen before from the air and hitting the target with pin-point accuracy with 100% success rate, not to mention defeating security at multiple levels, ovepowering the crew, the passengers and above all, your own emotional turmoil. When I put this scenario before him we could not continue the conversation.

  21. Bill Bodden
    December 12, 2014 at 14:23

    “The United States is awesome. We are awesome”

    People who use “awesome,” “incredible,” “amazing” and other such words that are used to mean anything and everything and have thus been rendered meaningless should not be taken seriously, like children with limited vocabularies in their early stages of development.

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