“War Cries” from the Unhinged Right

Powerline’s Scott Johnson, ratcheting up the rightwing rhetoric about the NY Times:

If America is going to wage a war against terrorism, it must indeed act on all fronts. In 2006, it needs to act on the home front and direct its attention to those whose war on the administration is unconstrained by the espionage laws of the United States.
Conservatives like Johnson would have us believe that the Times has subverted a key tool to fighting terror by revealing that the Bush administration has “gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States.” But as Glenn Greenwald points out, Bush himself spoke of how the Patriot Act made it easier to “catch terrorists” by chasing money trails, in a campaign speech, so all the hyperbole about how the Times tipped off terrorists that their financial transactions might be monitored is complete hooey. What Bush supporters are really getting so exercised about is the dissemination of information that undermines the administration’s ability to do whatever they want without oversight or accountability. That’s what the “war on the administration” actually is—any attempt to hold them to account.

So they’ve decided that “America” must, as part of the war on terrorism, “direct its attention” toward anyone who wages the war of casting sunlight on the administration’s policies. In other words, they’re casting the criticism, analysis, and freedom of information that has been a normal—and important—part of the American political process for over 200 years as a war, so they can declare war right back.

“War cries” have been the modus operandi for many years now. According to conservatives, the media and/or liberals have declared a War on Christmas, a War on Easter, a War on Christians, a War on the Family, a War on Marriage, and now a War on the Administration. In each case, trumping up the existence of an alleged “war” is subsequently used as a rationalization for all manner of lunacy. They flatly refuse to see that expressing a difference of opinion—say, for example, that legalizing gay marriage expands the notion of family, rather than decimating it—is not the same as declaring war. Any challenge to their beliefs is a war, and it demands a war in return.

There are two possible options here. One theory is that conservatives are simply too stupid to discern the difference between a policy disagreement and a war. The other is that conservatives find it useful to deliberately mischaracterize policy disagreements as war in order to justify behaving like unhinged authoritarian cultists.

Gee, I can’t imagine which it might be.

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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