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« The Case For Surveillance | Main | Just In Case There Was Any Doubt »

It's Bush's Fault

Jim Oberg points out in email that AP has a misleading statement in this story about the European Galileo positioning system:

The $4 billion Galileo project will eventually use about 30 satellites and is expected to more than double GPS coverage, providing satellite navigation for everyone from motorists to sailors to mapmakers. Because Galileo is under civilian control, the ESA also says it can guarantee operation at almost all times, unlike the American system.

Last year, President Bush ordered plans for temporarily disabling GPS satellites during national crises to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology.

The juxtaposition of these two statements implies that it's the Bush administration's actions that have caused Europe to embark on this boondoggle. This is nutty, of course, because the program has been in planning for years, and could hardly be a response to something that the administration did a year ago--it's almost a non-sequitur. In fact, as Jim points out, it was actually caused by the Clinton administration's actions in not just planning to, but actually shutting down the system during the Balkans wars. But they can't bring themselves to mention that, of course.

Jim notes:

Maybe it's just me, but such omissions and slants in general AP stories have gotten more and more noticeable.

It's not just you, Jim.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Oh, and speaking of double standards, Michael Scheuer has admitted that Al Qaeda renditions began under the Clinton administration. But of course, it only made us into a police state when a Republican president is in office, and we're at war.

I'd take a lot of these critics and fair-weather civil libertarians more seriously if I'd heard from them in the nineties, when Janet Reno was attacking churches with tanks, and snatching kids at gunpoint, the administration was collecting FBI files and leaking data against its political enemies, trumping up charges against innocent people so they could replace them with cronies, destroying evidence of wrongdoing in emails, threatening and libeling inconvenient women, etc.

You know, when we weren't at war? Well, other than at war against the evil right wingers...

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 30, 2005 03:43 PM
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Don't forget using the IRS to conduct targeted audits of political opponents too!

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 30, 2005 04:12 PM

If this is all about avoiding the effects of us shutting down our system when need arises, then what a huge waste of resources. The Euros will have to shut their planned system down when we shut ours down, else they'll have to deal with the consequences of their system potentially being used to conduct an attack upon the United States, our allies, or our combat forces, in the field or afloat.

It'll be interesting, in such an event, to see just what sort of ASAT capability we've got.

Posted by Mike James at December 30, 2005 04:18 PM

no dramatic deathstars; just some high power radio transmitters. This will render the nav sats locally invisible.

Posted by Fred K at December 30, 2005 04:44 PM

If it's any consolation I found the whole Wen Ho Lee affair very disturbing, but I didn't have a blog back then.

I expect Europe, Russia and China (and the US) can turn Galileo off when and wherever they like. Heck, it wasn't that long ago when minor foreign entities were able to hijack a UK MOD Skynet satellite and send it off course, and then you've got the Falun Gong hijacking of SINOSAT-1...

Posted by Kevin Parkin at December 30, 2005 05:07 PM

Engineer Republicans, creating the sciences that make life better for all, and Liberal "artists" funded by the government who make money by being hiered to attend Democrat cocktail parties. . . . .

Wonder why I'm a republican.

Posted by Wickedpinto at December 30, 2005 07:20 PM

I was lamenting the drug seizures with no trial in the 90s. And the attack on individual rights by the erosion of state's rights where it hits hardest: the purse. Federalism and individual liberty need not be partisan issues. If only I had a blog I would have dissed the internet tapping by Reno. She had the kind of loving face that could do no wrong, unlike Ashcroft and Cheney.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at December 31, 2005 03:34 AM

Things that began under Clinton...

don't forget the NSA eavesdropping program they are attacking Bush for is actually just a continuation of a program that apparently began with *Carter*

Posted by Mike Heinz at December 31, 2005 06:55 AM

The hypocrisy of the (non) objective (not) non-partisan mass media is a good reason why Democrats must not be allowed the Presidency or controlling majorites in Congress again.

We can only count on the media to truly perform 'watchdog' functions when Democrats are out of power.

Posted by Brad at December 31, 2005 07:54 AM

'Engineer Republicans?'

I won't say you're wrong, because I just don't know. But I would be interested in seeing a real survey of engineers (and technicians) and their political afiliations, vs. those of 'artists.'

Posted by Frank Glover at December 31, 2005 10:08 AM

Hey Rand,
Clinton did stupid things, but they do not make Bush Jr.'s own stupidity any less forgivable. Two wrongs do not make one right. I was against the whole Kosovo invasion/Serbia bombing adventure by Clinton, and I still think we have not seen all the nasty side effects that little episode generated.
As for Iraq, I think people would actually have understood the invasion, had the Bush Jr. administration not blatantly FALSIFIED the arguments for getting into the war in the first place. Heck, they could have taken a leaf out of Clinton's book and claim they were invading to save the poor little Kurds and Shiite muslims from opression by a tyrant (i.e. "Peace-Keeping"). At least it would stick a bit better.
But no. We got metal pipes and baloons of mass destruction. A pimple faced youth could have come up with something better.

As for Galileo, the reason it will be up is obvious. Global Positioning is going to be used just everywhere. I would not be surprised if it eventually gets mandated into every single vehicle and cell phone in the EU. Also, for use in vehicles, you may need more than the 5 meter resolution which I believe current GPS provides. Imagine you are using the Global Positioning info for automobile cruise control in long-haul trucks... Preferably you would like to keep driving on the road! To allow a foreign country to control such a vital resource for the economy and enforce denial of service at its whim, even if it is an ally like the USA, would be suicidal.

Have a happy new year everyone!

Posted by Gojira at December 31, 2005 07:01 PM

A not-very-good rewriting of history, Gojira. The administration never had a single reason for Iraq, and democracy for the Iraqis was always one of the prominent ones. Sorry about your selective amnesia.

And my point is not that two wrongs make a right, but that if Bush was wrong (not at all clear) then so was Clinton (and he was in fact worse on almost any count one wants to consider), but most of Bush's critics choose to ignore that, and they're not to be taken seriously in their complaints. If you don't, then at least bully for you.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 31, 2005 07:13 PM

"If only I had a blog I would have dissed the internet tapping by Reno."

It was a long hard and weird fight at alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater in Usenet. Where were you? The Clintooniacs were there, in an organized invasion that began in 1996, and the presstitutes were there, lurking and ripping people off for lines in their maimstream "work". A lot of good people -- Republican, Democrat, conservative and liberal, libertarian and you-name-it -- committed a lot of hard work that never saw the light of day even though the people who make the pretense to illumination knew that it was happening, and I know many who paid horrendous prices in their personal lives for the effort.

I suppose you could make up for lost time, but you would have a hell of a lot of work to do. And you might understand the bitterness of some who were there as they now survey the rotten cheepness of people who look like they just fell off the back of the black mariah only last night.

You know?

Posted by Billy Beck at January 1, 2006 11:24 AM

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