UPDATE: See update below from Chuck Ziegenfuss
I begin this book review as I do all book reviews at TAH, with a quote that the publishers are free to use in the next printing of the work:
Vigorously fact-checked by a pride* of glue-sniffing marmosets with a Ouija board, Rules of Disengagement is a useless compendium of all the debunked canards from the last 7 years. I wish that instead of spending the $14.95 on this piece of shit I had simply replicated the experience of reading it by giving myself a scrotal laceration and then dipping it in turpentine and lemon juice. The legal reasoning behind this book it is roughly as logical as eating an omelet made of pigeon droppings.
*I have no idea if Marmosets travel in a pride.
I think I may very well be the only person in America to read these pieces of shit. This is borne out by the sales at Amazon.com. So far I have read Camilo Mejia’s The Road from Ar Ramadi, which was kind of like Ishtar, only with more fantasy. Then I read Joshua Key’s timeless classic The Deserter’s Tale, wherein the laws of Physics cease to operate in conjunction with the rest of the universe when Joshua is in the area. I read Winter Soldiers even though I had gamely sat through the testimony prior to that, and I have read everything Raoul sends to me, which is a Herculean task in and of itself. This book is currently ranked #322,224 at Amazon, and I wish I could send it back and read 322,225 just to see how this book could possibly be better than any other.
One of the biggest shocks for me in law school (with the possible exception of my actually graduating) had to have been in my first semester, in roughly my third class when I realized that Law Students are in no way any brighter than any other group of people I had been around. This is best illustrated by an actual question from one of my classmates, who in response to a hypothetical asked our professor “Would it be any different if the Child was retarded?” True story I am ashamed to say. Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild personifies the “Lawyer as mental midget” image, and goes one step further by showing how some lawyers will even go so far as to repeat obviously untrue stories, provided it illustrates the proof which they aim to demonstrate. She represented Matthis at his recent hearing, and all I can say is that those two absolutely deserve each other, each one striving to be more integrity-challenged than the other.
Take for instance this from Page 9:
Today we have a “poverty draft” where the bulk of those who enlist have few options other than joining the military.
In addition to being recklessly inaccurate, this statement only serves to further stereotype our service-members as morons who couldn’t make it in regular society. Asinine regurgitation of this asshattery is one of the primary motivations in me writing for this blog. As numerous studies have proven through the years, this statement has no basis in fact, and yet Majorie not only blithely uses it to make her larger point, but cites to a Sojourners Magazine article to prove her point. What? You’ve never heard of Sojourners Magazine? They must be a think tank dealing with National Security issues right? Well, not exactly:
The magazine publishes editorials and articles on Christian life, the Church and the world, Christianity and politics, and the Church and social issues. Articles frequently feature coverage of fair trade, interfaith dialog, and poverty aid.
Now, Marjorie was Matthis Chiroux’s attorney in his recent hearing in St. Louis, and see if you can spot in this passage from Page 13 some of the “truths” as seen in that case:
…current cases also demonstrate that military judges, juries (called panels in courts-martial), and the public are increasingly sympathetic to these arguments, and to the fact that men and women of conscience have put their futures on the line for their opinions and actions against illegal wars and illegal orders.
Yeah, sure they do. One recurring theme with this dimwit is that in every case her clients seem to get the worst possible judgment against them and she claims victory. I half expect to read a case someday that says:
When 14 Year old Tommy O’Toole was convicted today of stealing a Twix bar from the PX, his attorney, Marjorie Cohn proclaimed victory, “Tommy very likely could have gotten the electric chair, but we proved to the jury that Tommy was merely acting out his extreme disgust with the Rove/Bush evil empire, and he will spend the rest of his days in prison content in the knowledge that his actions have resonated with Americans of all political views.”
How about this story on page 35 that should resonate right now, as we await the Abu Ghraib pictures:
“At Abu Ghraib, we shot prisoners for protesting their conditions; four were killed,” [Aidan] Delgado maintained, calling Abu Bhraib “a leviathan of oppression, negligence, and monstrous cruelty.” Delgado told a San Diego audience that he has photographs of troops “scooping their [prisoners’] brains out.”
Yeah, I saw a lot of that. Prisoners brains are best enjoyed with lots of Tabasco sauce. Actually, that is the primary reason for the Tabasco in the MRE’s, well, that and the salt peter that is in those little bottles. Look, Abu Ghraib is bad enough without this baseless shit. Let’s see those photos, hell, give ‘em to me and I’ll put them up. But Cohn is perfectly content to repeat this fantasy without any proof of validity whatsoever, that’s essentially her basic philosophy.
Give her credit though, she was out in front of DHS on the neo-Nazis overrunning out military story (page 91):
In 2006 the Southern Poverty Law Center reported the infiltration of neo-Nazis and skinheads into the military. The center revealed the presence of racist networks and organizations on a number of bases; over 300 extremists were identified at Fortt Lewis, Washington, alone, from 2005 to 2006.
And a former Army investigator at Fort Lewis says he identified more than 300 gang members in the past 4 years at the fort alone.
If you don’t understand the difference between neo-Nazis and gang members, I don’t know how I can help you.
No matter how many times you debunk a story, no matter how solid the evidence that an event did not occur, Marjorie will resuscitate it. Take for instance this zombie of a story which has been debunked so thoroughly that only the most logically intransigent still buy into it:
In a startling revelation, [Abu Ghraib former commander Janis Karpinski] stated that several women at Camp Victory in Iraq had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. The women were afraid of being raped by male soldiers if they had to walk to the women’s latrine after dark. Karpinski also stated that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause death for some of these women.
Go ahead, name these women. How many died? Waiting. I could wait forever, because this particular smorgasbord of shit-tastic fiction has been debunked repeatedly. But what I find the most interesting is that in one context Karpinski is so brave to bring these evil acts out into the open, without Cohn accounting for the fact that she’s already asserted that Karpinski presided over a “leviathan of oppression, negligence, and monstrous cruelty.”
My coblogger Jonn is up at Walter Reed today, and notwithstanding his report about the excellent medical care he gets there, the reporting of Ms. Cohn strikes fear in my heart for Jonn:
[At Walter Reed] Nursing care was minimal, and in many cases family members had to attend to routine care like bathing patients and changing their beds. Many became lost in the system; misplaced and inaccurate paperwork often caused the delays.
I spent months planning on staging a coup and taking over this blog. Then Jonn reminded me I would actually have to post, and couldn’t go weeks at a time without posting if I wanted to keep the numbers up. So, I guess I am left with little option other than to go to CVS and buy a sponge and head on up there. Jesus, I’m getting sick just thinking about sponging him down. But, it’s better than having to read the rest of this stupid ass book.
Marjorie Cohn, you are exactly the type of lawyer that gives all lawyers a bad name. Thankfully, you are also apparently the least effective advocate in the history of jurisprudence. I’m never going to be a practicing attorney because I couldn’t stand being near a disingenuous piece of [IVAW] like you without losing my ever-loving mind. They say that Karma is a bitch, and that people get what they have coming to them. In your case, I pray that is true.
UPDATE: The Great Chuck Ziegenfuss of TC Override “From my position…on the way” writes:
You may have left out “…I found this read delightfully funny, especially after realizing I’d been sitting on a Fentanyl transdermal patch throughout the read. People with an agenda, frontal lobotomy, and Jack Murtha, beware! After enjoying this treasure trove of sycophantic twaddle, you’ll skip, not run to the nearest 9/11 truther’s meeting, wearing nothing but a banana smuggler and your X Files/”I want to believe” sleeveless Tee. With your newly discovered “Facts” you’ll once and for all be able to dispel any arguments over JF Kerry’s heroic and faithful service in Vietnam; the rabid right wing screeds about How Bushitler Cheney McHaliburton & Co. formed their plans for global subjugation of “brown people” during a sooper top-seekrit skull and bones clubhouse meeting; How Nixon played a pivotal role in both the execution of Marilyn Monroe and in faking the Apollo Moon Landings. You’ll learn the intricate details of how the right-wing petty hate machine has prepped Meghan McCain to lead the revolution against the Obama administration’s righting of wrongs, and how she plans on enlisting the help of her media-savvy illumiati cabal–namely Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears to keep the media distracted long enough to put her pawns–the Screaming Harpies from American Idol, led and masterminded by Paula Abdul–into place for their hostile takeover of Hollywood and Washington.
Plus, if you are a truly discrening leader, you’ll shit your britches when you realize there are people out there who will real this tripe and belive it is gospel, except most of them don’t believe in God.”
Charles W. Ziegenfuss
oderint dum metuant
Let them hate us, so long as they fear us