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Monday, 14 November 2005
We won't torture! Suuuure we won't, wink, wink.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

I'm back! Man, it’s been a weird week and I haven't been able to write at all. I hope all two of you who read this blog will come back occasionally to check up on what is going to be a very uneven posting schedule for a while.

Since I last posted, I have yet to see anything in the mainstream press about the chemical weapons in Fallujah story. Its good to see, though, W. has at least said that "we don't torture," although one has to wonder, if this is such an absurd notion, why he feels the need to say it in the first place. The whole Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, "black site," controversy is all just an aberration, I'm sure. We have to keep in mind that we're dealing with an enemy that "lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again." (Why is it whenever I hear him say, "hurt America again," it always makes me think he's talking about child abuse?) You can bet, "we'll aggressively pursue them, but we'll do so under the law."

That will be quite a departure from the current policy. The trick is to rewrite the laws to make anything they feel like doing legal from now on. This is why while the administration talks about following the law, they've got Cheney going up to Capital Hill to strong arm the senate into exempting the CIA from John McCain's defense bill provision to ban torture and Lindsay Graham---who should know better---is trying to get congress to pass a law preventing the courts from ruling on any aspect of our detainee policies, except for narrow procedural questions, saying basically that Habeas Corpus doesn't apply to detainees at Gitmo anymore. (So, Habeas Corpus is one of the oldest and most fundamental underpinnings of our basic freedoms, big deal, we're fighting people who don't care about that, so we have to act more like them!)

All these frivolous lawsuits are totally unnecessary! "It’s not fair to our troops fighting in the war on terror to be sued in every court in the land by our enemies based on every possible complaint," says Graham. What the hell is he talking about? Which soldiers are being sued and wouldn't this sort of thing tend to endanger our troops in the future if we set the international standard for prisoner treatment by saying no laws apply? Every possible complaint?: From what I understand all the detainees are asking for is a hearing to determine whether their ongoing confinement is justified.

There seems to be a bit of a conundrum involving our war aims: on the one hand, we're losing about 3 soldiers a day and spending a billion dollars a month in Iraq trying to spread our form of democracy around the world---which includes everyone having the right to their day in court---but on the other hand we're denying the most basic legal rights of our great democracy to the detainees at Gitmo on the pretext that since they aren't on US territory they aren't entitled to them.

Five democrats voted for Graham's bill:

-Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut
-Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana
-Ben Nelson of Nebraska
-Kent Conrad of North Dakota
-Ron Wyden of Oregon

Shame on them!

[The New York Times - Freedom And Human Rights]


Leaders against terror to get the boot?

Things aren't going well for Tony B-liar and W. in their war on terror these days. Last week B-liar's draconian terror laws were voted down in the House of Commons, with many of his Labour MPs turning against him. Questions are now being raised about whether he can continue to stay in power after being so weakened by his lying about the war. His entire legislative agenda is in danger now that he's basically suffered a massive vote of no confidence by his own party.

The same could be said about W.’s agenda. Congressional Republicans weren’t even able to force through their big budget slashing bill last week, which before the elections on Tuesday seemed to be a sure thing.

W. showing up in the 11th hour to support Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore for governor of Virginia didn't help. Peter Baker in the WaPo wrote before the vote that, the White House decided at the last moment to reroute W.’s plane from his very successful trip to the Summit of the America’s in the hope that a Kilgore victory might revive Bush’s political corpse. Baker quotes Scott Reed, a Republican strategist who ran Robert J. Dole's presidential campaign in 1996 as saying, “They're going to own the results either way, so why not land the plane? If Kilgore wins, the president's political heart keeps beating. At the same time, given Bush's broader problems,” Reed said, "it doesn't change the dynamics."

No, indeed, the dynamics are still pretty bad. A new poll out has Bush’s approval rating at about 36%; that’s pretty low and two thirds now find him untrustworthy. His party is running away from him as fast as they can. As already noted by many pundits, the Democratic win in New Jersey wasn’t such a big shocker, but it is significant that John Corzine attacked Doug Forrester’s link to Bush, showing pictures of the two together while at the same time using a speech in which Clinton, of all things, praised the democrat. When a democrat can win an election in any state using Clinton as a cheer leader, you know the Republican’s have problems.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:39 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005 3:44 PM EST
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