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Interview with McGruder

2001-12-10 15:13:08+00 by Dan Lyke 24 comments

Just when I was whining that Salon seemed to have lost all interesting content when they went "premium", Salon interviews Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder. McGruder hit his stride in Boondocks post September 11th, and while the interview doesn't pull anything new, it's clear that McGruder's asking the same hard questions I want to ask:

This is gang warfare on an international level. That's all it is. And when gang warfare happens in American cities, we say it's wrong. When somebody loads a gun, goes 20 blocks and kills the guy who killed his brother, it's not justifiable homicide or self-defense, it's murder and we put people in jail for it. Why is it acceptable that we do it now?

[ related topics: Politics Humor WTC/Pentagon attacks ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:39+00 by: Pete

Jesus Christ, Dan. Are you serious in thinking this interview says anything substantive about the Current Situation? I'm maybe half way through the interview, and my ability to tolerate non-sequitors, irrational thinking, and flat out lies is right at it's limit. I'm not sure I've seen a single statement that holds up to scrutiny. The last straw may turn out to be the hoary tale of the US giving $43 million to the Taliban, which is completely false.

I expect better. I hope you do too, Dan.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:39+00 by: dhartung

I enjoyed McGruder's jibes at "flaggy" and "ribbon" patriotism for what they were, and Ashcroft deserves to be poked with a sharp stick for his overbearing approach.

But jeez. "We put people in jail" isn't something that just magically happens. We have to have policemen who go into those areas of gang warfare, find the bad guys, and arrest them, and sometimes they shoot back. Does that make the police a "gang"? Who in Afghanistan was going to put Osama in jail, until we helped them put in place a government that wants to? Moral relativism is pretty disgusting at this level. And unlike gangs, when the people McGruder implies we're traveling 20 blocks to kill happen to surrender, we don't kill them -- we arrest them. A kindness not granted those in New York City.

#Comment made: 2001-12-11 14:50:41+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Pete: Yes, McGruder is over the top, but...

Dan: The closest we've got to presenting evidence to a third party is convincing John Major. I'm mostly pissed off at internal politics right now, but in terms of foreign policy I'd like to see some deliberate attempts at showing evidence, at deliberating involvement so that we can make decisions before-hand rather than negotiating on the fly with a bunch of tin-hat warlords (the ridiculous stuff flying back and forth over the fall of Qandahar is great evidence of people not paying attention).

So I don't agree with McGruder, but I think he's saying things which need to be said and listened to, because the current activities definitely aren't right.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:40+00 by: Dan Lyke

One more clarification: Has anyone reading this seen evidence that implicates Osama bin Laden in the September 11 attacks?

I'm happy as a clam that the Taliban are getting smacked around, I'm glad that Pakistan is finally getting spanked in a way that makes them have to cooperate. I'm of the opinion that Osama bin Laden is probably a really bad person, but I'm being told that he was responsible for the September 11 attacks by people who are lying to me on other issues, who have financial stakes in the region where the war is being waged, and who are taking a paternalistic "shut up and do what you're told" approach to both domestic and foreign policy.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:40+00 by: Dan Lyke

And more: Although that widely reported "$47 million" figure may have been discredited, the press releases of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention make it clear that the UNDCP surveyed opium production in Afghanistan with the approval of the Taliban.

And this UN press release cites "the report on the inspection of programme management and administrative practices in the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (document A/56/83)":

The report states that the most impressive results have been achieved in Afghanistan, where UNDCP surveys and work have confirmed the near disappearance of the opium poppy in areas controlled by the Taliban.

If you think there weren't kick-backs for that going down, even if only in terms of diplomatic pressures on other topics, you haven't been paying attention to how foreign policy is done.

(I'm fairly convinced that most of the reduction in Opium production was actually due to unfavorable growing conditions in the region in '98 and '99, but in diplomatic language you don't single out "areas controlled by the Taliban" unless there's some mutual back-scratching going on.)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:40+00 by: Mars Saxman

"Has anyone reading this seen evidence that implicates Osama bin Laden in the September 11 attacks?" - no, but I've read endless assertions that such evidence exists... Wouldn't surprise me if it did turn out that Mr. bin Laden was involved, somehow, but it hasn't been proved so far as I am concerned. -Mars

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:40+00 by: Pete

If you think there weren't kick-backs for that going down, even if only in terms of diplomatic pressures on other topics, you haven't been paying attention to how foreign policy is done.

You're wrong.

Wasn't that lovely? And just as well supported as your statement. Better supported than McGruder's.

And let me get this straight--according you, DL, McGruder is wrong, but the wrong things he says need to be listened to? Sorry, but I don't think using one's public prominence to spread misinformation is something worth showcasing.

And regarding Osama and legal-calibur evidence, first of all he's already under indictment from the previous attacks on the WTC, and secondly, I'd keep an eye out for the new tape on Wednesday.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:40+00 by: Dan Lyke

I didn't say McGruder was "wrong", I said he was "over the top". There's a difference, and the difference is in the satire. I think the satire needs listening to.

As for legal evidence, I eagerly await the release of it. So far, in 3 months, the administration has seen fit to grace us with none[Wiki] of it, but in that time they've asked us, without expiration dates or a formal declaration of war, asked us to give up all sorts of liberties. The only hint I've seen that there's real information flowing around was the Gray Davis failed attempt at political maneuvering.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:41+00 by: Dan Lyke

One more thing: Pete, do you agree that the UNDCP[Wiki] got the cooperation of the Taliban in the opium studies? They said they did.

Now I'm going to play ultra cynic here, but we have Colin Powell saying "the money didn't go to the Taliban, it went to the UN", and the UN reporting that they had the cooperation of the Taliban. That sure wouldn't be the first time that UN aid had unintended secondary consequences.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:41+00 by: Pete

So I don't agree with McGruder

I didn't say McGruder was "wrong"


And regarding legal evidence, the place to start looking is with the previous indictments against bin Laden, you know, from back when we had real courts.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:41+00 by: Pete

One more thing: Pete, do you agree that the UNDCP got the cooperation of the Taliban in the opium studies? They said they did.

Going on what you've presented here (the links won't resolve for me), it sounds like something the Taliban would do. They were (the case for past tense is getting stronger by the minute) against the heroin trade on religious grounds since it might have involved fun, and allowing UN drug peeps access to fields was an easy, if superfluous (think satellites) gesture that, finally, did something to make them look good in between blowing up thousand year-old statues.

Beyond that, you're way out on your own. I've got some news for you: the US isn't big on writing checks to the UN general fund (the US is the biggest UN debtor). The money went through specific aid orgs in the UN, as well as aid groups with no UN ties. The UN claims of cooperation from the Taliban do not indicate that the cooperation was in connection with these humanitarian relief efforts, only the drug cultivation survey.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:41+00 by: Dan Lyke

Pete: "...you know, from back when we had real courts."

Dingdingding! Exactly.

#Comment made: 2001-12-11 22:58:08+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

After an awful lot of military action, the first indictments in the September 11 attacks have come out. Osama bin Laden is an unindicted co-conspirator. This is when it stops being gangstas cruisin' the other hood lookin' to cap someone.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:41+00 by: Pete

Why are you agreeing with me when I'm saying the legal justification for pursuing Osama has been there since the Clinton administration, and then turning around and claiming that it just now becomes more than a Greek cycle of retribution?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:42+00 by: Dan Lyke

Because the United States wasn't pursuing military options for the capture of Osama bin Laden prior to September 11th. (I think I've said that wrong, because there were undoubtedly contingencies in place, but you get the idea.)

The difference between rival gangs and rival governments is procedure.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:42+00 by: Pete

They were pursuing military options for killing him prior to 9/11. I'm still not following what distinction you're seeing here. They indicted him, he was suspected in more attacks that took additional American lives, and they (Clinton admin.) tried to kill him in response. All this prior to 9/11. 9/11, none too surprisingly, raised the stakes, and now Osama is being pursued with greater vigor. Which part of this of the American response seems out of line to you?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:42+00 by: Dan Lyke

The fact that no information has been made public linking him to 9/11? The fact that we've been asked to take this on faith by people who have been lying to us, Ashcroft specifically about the powers he's allowed legally versus what he's asking for?

And I'd like to see your references for "pursuing military options for killing him". The U.S. has always been pretty good about not publicly endorsing assasination, in fact, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Kissinger still claims he didn't endorse assasination.

#Comment made: 2001-12-12 11:56:04+00 by: Pete [edit history]


#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:43+00 by: Dan Lyke

Okay, that's scary. Real scary. And as a CIA operation too.

(Was it Buckley who said "It had all the marks of a CIA operation: Everyone but the intended target was killed.")

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:43+00 by: Larry Burton

Actually, after considering the above it kind of makes me view the current administration as being very open and honest in their dealings with bin Laden. (TIC)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:43+00 by: Pete

Not scary enough, obviously.

And so far as I know, only the traditional military operates cruise missiles.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:51+00 by: Pete

New big Washington Post article on the history of Clinton era operations aimed at bin Laden: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...n/articles/A62725-2001Dec18.html

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:53+00 by: Pete

And part two: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...yn/articles/A3616-2001Dec19.html

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:53+00 by: Dan Lyke

While the Washington Post is prone to bad fact-checking and deliberate misquotation, these are good reminders that US foreign policy has been hosed for a looong time. Thanks.