Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 7, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEEDS, NOT WORDS....As near as I can tell, virtually every commentator agrees that George Bush's decision yesterday to release 14 prisoners from CIA prisons and transfer them to Guantanamo was timed for political reasons. As Ronald Brownstein points out, he's hoping to recreate the great Department of Homeland Security triumph of 2002, where he deliberately inserted into the bill some union-busting features Democrats would object to so that he could then go out on the campaign trail and claim that Democrats were "more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people."

Well, that's an old trick, and who can blame Bush for trying it again? He doesn't have many other arrows left in his quiver, after all. But I hope Democrats don't get suckered this time around. How about just saying this?

In America you have the right to decent treatment and a fair trial, no matter who you are. We'll be working closely with Republicans to craft a bill that shows the world we really mean it when we say this.

Why should Dems say this? Because it's what they actually believe. Right? Please tell me I'm right.

Kevin Drum 6:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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Comments

Dems only believe that these worse-than-Hitler Islamofascists should be allowed to rape me, Al, and Hawk!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on September 7, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately this won't wash with the unwashed masses.

Dems have to devise a strategy that clearly implies that the Dems want to punish the terrorists more than Repubs. Perhaps they should ask for the nuking of their hometowns.

Posted by: gregor on September 7, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

If Dems really want to use this to their advantage, they should shout, 'Look, GWB is so weak on national security that he wants to give same rights to terrorists as American citizens!'

Posted by: gregor on September 7, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds wimpy. Counter-balance it with a proposal that all airline passengers undergo five minutes of waterboarding to find out if they are terrorists.

Posted by: asdf on September 7, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

AND, what Dems means really matters to WHO???? Not Matthews who just teased his next segment with "Lieberman and the 'other guy'"...then spent most of that time trying to find out how "waspish" Lamont was and if it was too much to resonate with voters...MY GOD!!! Somebody pull his plug!

Posted by: Dancer on September 7, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

TREAT THEM LIKE NAZIS. That's all that Democrats need to say. Follow the Nuremberg precedents. If a captive is guilty of a capital crime, then give him a fair trial and hang him. Bush already said they're Nazis. How can he object if we say to TREAT THEM LIKE NAZIS.

Posted by: sysprog on September 7, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Harsh interrogation of terrorists, short of torture, is probably the preference of most Americans. If the Democrats want something more kid glove, they should keep quiet about it. And if they want the exclusionary rule, the Miranda rules, etc. to apply to al Qaeda members captured abroad, they should definitely keep quiet about that.

Posted by: sean on September 7, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

You're absolutely right, but if the Dems can find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they will. And I am a Dem.

Posted by: kimster on September 7, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sysprong is right. If the GOP wants to keep comparing them to Nazis we should simply propose that we recreate the Nuremberg trials.

Posted by: Mike S on September 7, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

But I hope Democrats don't get suckered this time around.

did you hear that? it was the sound of a million Democrats sighing.

Posted by: cleek on September 7, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, that's a defense constructed from within the box Rove has neatly arranged.

A more useful attack would be to go meta, attacking Rove's arrangement.

Example:
*********
The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld regime is trying to make you choose between giving it more power, or letting terrorists go free, so those same terrorists can attack your family.

Don't let the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld regime grab more power for itself by forcing you to accept a false choice.

It's time to tell the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld regime that it can't make you give up the Constitution by putting a gun to your head.
*********

Or, "by twisting your arm". One needn't write, "by beating your legs into pulp and drowning you" to make the point...

Posted by: headspace on September 7, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Treat them like Nazis?

They all get a b.j. from Marge Schott?

Posted by: Achtung Scabies on September 7, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hear, hear. Treat them like Nazis. Interrogation IS NOT punishment, and shouldn't be regardless of who you are. Put them on trial, fair and square. If we're right, we'll win.

Posted by: Everett on September 7, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's an old trick.

It's a stupid trick.

It's going to work - because by now, it's pretty obvious that the Dems didn't see it coming, and they don't really have any kind of response or message prepared.

Sad. Sigh. No justice for Bush.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

sysprog nailed it.

Let GWB make the argument that they are worse than Nazis, and see how that flies with the neocons.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

please , please listen to kevin.

The GOP will have 60 Senators

Posted by: rdw on September 7, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

OBF:

Do you really think this issue has that much relevance to change the dynamics of the entire midterms?

I don't. I think these guys are abstractions to most people. As long as the Democrats aren't talking about letting them out on the streets, the Dems can keep it framed in terms of process and American values without looking "weak on terrorism."

Remember -- this is Bush attempting to use Congress to make an end-run around his own recently-stacked SCOTUS. It's they who rejected Bush's original tribunal plan, not the Democrats.

Doesn't strike me that this issue is going to trump high gas prices, or Katrina, or Iraq, or corruption, or healthcare, or a soft housing market, or economic uncertainty, etc. etc. etc.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Keven, you are right.

And at the same time we should ask why GWB and the Republicans consistently try to demonize judges and our entire judicial system. Especially when they lose.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Let GWB make the argument that they are worse than Nazis, and see how that flies with the neocons."

The Likudniks that run our foreign policy -- and will continue to run it after any future Democratic takeover, BTW -- might be offended personally, but they know Bush is their tool and is only saying what needs to be said to push the perpetual war agenda.

It's a game of Risk they play, and we are now at the point in any Risk game where one side attempts to clean everybody out and win in a single turn. So they'll overlook the little stuff.

Posted by: Jim J on September 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Not exactly on topic, but it's really a shame the armed forces are purging linguists for having had community theater experience.
Those folks might actually have a shot at convincing prisoners that they've been rescued by friendlies who just need some info to make sure the operations they were involved with can be carried to fruition.

A little psilocybin, a little diazepam, a fog machine, a staged shoot-out, and a scary fast ride in the back of a van with some folks speaking the right language.
"Ahmed my brother, you're free from the infidels! We think they used nerve gas on you .. we can help you carry out your objective, if we just know who to contact ..."

How hard can it be to imagine you can get better information out of someone by fooling them than threatening them?

Posted by: kenga on September 7, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic Party always falls on its face when they're backed into a corner where they're forced to actually take a real position on something.

Remember the votes on withdrawal?

Posted by: rnc on September 7, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

(1) Kevin, absolutely right. The Dems should say "we're glad the President has decided to uphold American values on the treatment of prisoners. Now the US will win the war on terror! He finally fears a Democratic Congress! Vote Democrat so he doesn't fall backward again!"

(2) HIT EVERY ISSUE! The Republicans will try to privatize Social Security again if they keep Congress! They have said so, the President says so. Tell everybody!

See two old pop videos on financial flows in government policy -- on Social Security and the distributions of income and taxes:

SOCIAL SECURITY:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tts2uTWt6e8

BUSH TAX CUTS:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=SA1f2MefsMM

FREE: These two videos can be seen, emailed to others, and embedded to the website of your local Congressional candidate, at YouTube.

Take back Congress!

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on September 7, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

How come we keep getting outmaneuvered by an idiot?

Posted by: dnc on September 7, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

In response to your last sentence: Democrats need to get out of the bad habit of openly saying "we should say this because it will win votes", because that's a way of communicating that you don't believe in anything other than saying what it takes to be elected.

Posted by: Joe Buck on September 7, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

The DEMs should say that everyone deserves a fair trial (as has already been said), but that this administration is so incompetent that they fear they cannot convict these obviously guilty in a fair trial.

Posted by: Gem on September 7, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

WRONG (in my humble opinion) Kevin's response allows Rove to say "DEMOCRATS LOVE TERRORISTS MORE THAN AMERICA!" Idiotic? Yes. So was Max Cleland's face morphing into Osama's. (NOTE -- No matter what the Dems do -- including nothing -- Rove will do this anyway.

What should the Dems do?
1) YOU HAVE ONE, AND ONLY CHANCE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY -- ELECTION DAY. If you're happy with the way things are going, vote Republican. Not, vote Democratic

2) See #1

Posted by: planetniner on September 7, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

"In America you have the right to decent treatment and a fair trial, no matter who you are. We'll be working closely with Republicans to craft a bill that shows the world we really mean it when we say this." - Kevin

Then why is this not demonstrated when it comes to conservatives? You had Rove and Cheney all but convicted and sentenced over the Plame incidient. Big woops on that one huh?

How about Tom Delay? Seven grand juries later you finally got a very weak indictment.

Are these examples of Democrats and their "decent treatment"?

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK


I just cringe when I read about the Department of HOMELAND SECURITY.

It has a Soviet sound that I find really distasteful.

I hope when the Dems come into their own they will lose that name.

Posted by: trent on September 7, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

You're right.

Posted by: SteveAudio on September 7, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Likudniks that run our foreign policy -- and will continue to run it after any future Democratic takeover,

. . . yeah, but we can get rid of them, and we are. One Lieberman at a time.

I think it's more than that. It's an attempt to refresh the whole "Repbulicans want to do whatever it takes to protect you, Democrats want to give terrorists therapy" meme. It was very noisy. Noisier than anything Howard Dean has said in the past 3 months.

Doesn't strike me that this issue is going to trump high gas prices, or Katrina, or Iraq, or corruption, or healthcare, or a soft housing market, or economic uncertainty, etc. etc. etc.

Haven't you noticed? Gas prices are down. (it's the market, really, trust me, it's the market).

Katrina is over. It's out of the news cycle.

Iraq - "cut n run" and "they dont' have a plan" is still working fine, as far as I can tell.

Corruption - "William Jefferson"

Healthcare - "Oh Noes! Not commie socialized medicine!"

Soft Housing Market - this could work, but I think this is more of a long-term concern, and it will not begin to affect large numbers of people for at least another 6 months. The market has started to soften, true, but it's going to take time to deflate. It took a LONG time for it to slow down. Sales were down in my region something like 30% in July, over last year's July. But prices still went up 5%.

I'm still very pessimistic, not because the Dems have no Ammo, but because they seem to have no fight.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

How come we keep getting outmaneuvered by an idiot?
Posted by: dnc on September 7, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Because all of the major media outlets have been consolidated into a few major corporations run by conservatives.

fucking DUH!

Posted by: Karl Rove on September 7, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Doesn't strike me that this issue is going to trump high gas prices,........" rmck1

$2.79 and falling


"or Katrina,..........." - rmck1

What did Nagin say the other day? And you don't think that much of the problem in NO is because state and local incompetent Democratic leadership?


"or Iraq,....." rmck1

Thursday, September 07, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq For the first time since its defeat by U.S.-led coalition forces in 2003, Iraq is in command of its own armed forces.

"From today forward, the Iraqi military responsibilities will be increasingly conceived and led by Iraqis," top U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. George Casey said Thursday, after signing over command of Iraq's military to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Miliki.

"or corruption,......" - rmck1


Whatever was the outcome with that Valerie Plame thing?


"or healthcare,............." - rmck1

Much to my chagrin, seniors are having a ton of money thrown at them for health entitlements.


"or a soft housing market, or economic uncertainty, etc. etc. etc." - rmck1

Real GDP quarterly growth

GDP grew by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2006, up from growth of 0.7 per cent in the first quarter. The level of GDP is now 2.6 per cent higher than the second quarter of 2005.


http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=192


The left may have a tougher time this fall than you think.

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Because all of the major media outlets have been consolidated into a few major corporations run by conservatives.

fucking DUH!" - Karl Rove


So MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NYT and LAT to name a few are all conservative?

Who is liberal then?

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

The NAZI analogy and treatment won't hold. The Nuremberg trials were after the war and so revealing operational secrets wasn't nearly the problem as it can be here.

There may really be ways in which we want to reveal enough of the details of the information so that the defense can put on a defense, but not enough to actually expose real secrets.

No fear though, the military does have experience with that.

So nurumberg good to a point, but it may need to be altered to take into account how legitimate secrets are maintained.

Posted by: jerry on September 7, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK


BAGHDAD, Iraq For the first time since its defeat by U.S.-led coalition forces in 2003, Iraq is in command of its own armed forces.

Are you sure you should be using plural there? One division doesn't quite rank as "forces". Maybe "force" is more appropriate.

Posted by: The Grammer Nazi on September 7, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

How about this approach.

The military lawyers have proposed a plan that is pretty close to the Uniform Code because they really want any convictions to stick. So do Democrats. As usually the incompetent Bush administration has proposed a procedure that is well, incompetent. The Bush plan is fatally flawed. By not allowing the defendant to see the evidence against him it will not pass constitutional muster. The Bush procedures will result in the trials being overturned by the Supreme Court.

A fair procedure is the best way to bring the really bad guys to justice.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 7, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Competence, competence, competence. We can't trust Bush and the Republican Congress to set up a tribunal and prosecute the terrorists. They've fumbled everything else. We can have absolutely no confidence they would get this right.

Posted by: westo on September 7, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

That's right. Who, when reminded, will believe anything Bush does is done right. Have you been reading who has come out against the Bush tribunals so far. Not the loopy left. Right now the opposition is being lead by hard nosed JAG officers. Those guys know what the hell they are doing. The political wack jobs in the White House don't. Run with that meme and Rove is neutralized. It is also the truth. The Supremes will overturn fatally flawed procedures. Then we will be back trying these guys again.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 7, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

How about just declaring, firmly and resolutely: "We're Americans. We believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. We don't torture. And we are not a tinpot dictatorship"?
Jim (a Brit who still admires this place despite the last six, catastrophic years)

Posted by: Jim on September 7, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Who is liberal then?
Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Are you questioning me? I'll fuck you like you've never been fucked before! I'm a conservative tough-guy cowboy! Arrrr!

Posted by: Karl Rove on September 7, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Right now the opposition is being lead by hard nosed JAG officers. Those guys know what the hell they are doing.

Aw they're just a bunch of bedwetting commie liberal terrorist sympathizers. They probably get money from George Soros.

Posted by: (fake)Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

"How about just declaring, firmly and resolutely: "We're Americans. We believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. We don't torture. And we are not a tinpot dictatorship"?
Jim (a Brit who still admires this place despite the last six, catastrophic years)"


"I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture," Bush said. "It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it, and I will not authorize it."


Bush Vows to Use All Anti-Terror Tools
Sep 07 10:41 AM US/Eastern

By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press Writer




Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK
"I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture," Bush said. "It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it, and I will not authorize it."

The problem is; this is a lie. It was proven false, both by sworn testimony, and by signed official documents. Sorry if you weren't paying attention through that whole Abu Ghraib thing, Jay.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

If there is a contest between two parties with one of them appealing to the baser instincts of the people and the other to the nobler ones, usually the former wins. Unless the appeal to the good in the voters is made by a saint like Gandhi or King.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party does not have any leader who can even remotely be considered a saint.

Posted by: gregor on September 7, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

gregor

I hope you are wrong.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 7, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Extraordinary article in Asia Times,

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HI08Df03.html

Details of Pakistani peace deal with Waziristan. Then,

An article by retired US Major Ralph Peters titled "Blood borders" published in the Armed Forces Journal last month has given Pakistan some food for thought over manipulating the geopolitical game on its own terms and conditions.

Peters, formerly assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he was responsible for future warfare, argues that borders in the Middle East and Africa are "the most arbitrary and distorted" in the world and need restructuring.

Four countries - Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - are singled out for major readjustments. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are also defined as "unnatural states".

Though the US State Department was quick to deny that such ideas had anything to do with US policymaking, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey read much between the lines of talk of restructuring their boundaries.

Among Peters' proposals was the need to establish "an independent Kurdish state" that would "stretch from Diyarbakir [eastern Turkey] through Tabriz [Iran], which would be the most pro-Western state between Bulgaria and Japan".

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz recently visited Turkey and then Lebanon, where he announced that his country would not send any peacekeeping troops to the latter. Ankara then said that if peacekeeping forces tried to disarm Hezbollah, Turkey would pull out of the peace mission. These decisions are the result of back-channel diplomacy among Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan.

Across Pakistan's border in Afghanistan, the Taliban have control of most of the southwest of the country, from where Mullah Omar is expected soon to announce the revival of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - the name of the country before the Taliban were driven out in 2001. Once the proclamation is made, a big push toward the capital Kabul will begin.

Posted by: cld on September 7, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just a few thoughts:

"No one ever went broke betting on the stupidity of the American people." (Sorry, I cannot name the source.)

If the Dems really want to win the mid-terms, they should slam Bush for proposing anything like a fair trial. Have you watched TV lately...offer'em a new rope and a tall tree, to hell with confronting an accuser, rules of evidence, rules of procedure, competent assistance of counsel, and heaven forbid, a presumption of innocence.

Actually, that gives me an idea, the dems should support legislation that has a presumption of guilt, but all of the other procedures of traditional trials. I like it.

But remember, you read it here first, Republicans maintain control of both houses of Congress in November. This administration would force a nasty Constitutional crises before letting itself be called on the carpet by a bunch of democratic appeasers. Sometimes, I think it may be a good idea to just ride out the next two years with the admin in place and Republicans holding majorities in both Houses. Does anyone really think that Bush & Co will not do something extreme if Cheney is subpeonaed to testify before a congressional committee on the energy task force ? Think about it.

Posted by: Out on Bond on September 7, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Abu Ghraib story was a pseudo-event, in the sense that it was irresistibly, conveniently and powerfully linked to a rhetorical situation which in the process undermined our sense of the reality of war and whatever objections we may have to it. A human (military) situation became embedded in a political rhetoric, consistent with Boorstins analysis of the media-generation of false stories. The real story was, shit happens and this was regrettable, within a social and psychological context we can neither imagine nor judge: the horrors of war, and how people react within it. The pseudo-story was, the Bush administration was responsible, it exemplified their entire attitude, the war was wrong, etc. etc. This strange and questionable blend of rhetoric and reality is a typical occurence and outcome of the media.

http://www.jameslomax.com/words/509/photography-and-the-pseudo-event-abu-ghraib

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Neat point, Jay (see below). But I meant of course that Democrats should say it. They still have some credibility.

"How about just declaring, firmly and resolutely: "We're Americans. We believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. We don't torture. And we are not a tinpot dictatorship"?
Jim (a Brit who still admires this place despite the last six, catastrophic years)"


"I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture," Bush said. "It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it, and I will not authorize it."


Bush Vows to Use All Anti-Terror Tools
Sep 07 10:41 AM US/Eastern

By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press Writer

Posted by: Jim on September 7, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bob wrote about the President's call for the Congress to approve the use of military tribunals):

"Remember -- this is Bush attempting to use Congress to make an end-run around his own recently-stacked SCOTUS. It's they who rejected Bush's original tribunal plan, not the Democrats."
_________________

Not quite, Bob. The SCOTUS ruling said that the Guantanamo tribunals would have been proper if they had been approved by Congress. Whatever the reason for the timing, the process is appropriate - petition for Congressional action. Otherwise, these detainees will remain in limbo at Guantanamo.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Jay, like anything he's said has had any relevence to anything he's done as President.

Posted by: Crissa on September 7, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

trent wrote:

"I just cringe when I read about the Department of HOMELAND SECURITY.

It has a Soviet sound that I find really distasteful."
________________

I agree. The name gives me the willeys.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

If the logic appropriated from someone by Jay above is followed, any war-time atrocity by the winning or the stronger dominant side is forgivable.

Perhaps that's his point.

Posted by: gregor on September 7, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm dead serious about my suggestion (see above) that our "talking points" need to be boiled down to a four word (and slightly ungrammatical) slogan. TREAT THEM LIKE NAZIS. And we need to say that over and over. And we also need to emphasize that on this issue, there's a group of apolitical (probably mostly Republican, if pressed) experts whose expertise should be heeded, namely, the senior uniformed legal eagles at the Pentagon. (see http://fox28.com/News/index.php?ID=3955)

Okay, are you getting the idea now? This is how to handle all issues. Speak plainly. Be tough. Love America's values. And emphasize that the Bushistas are against America's values, and endorsing an incompetently crafted scheme, and not talking plainly about their true aims.

This isn't a left-wing / right-wing issue. This is a battle, one of many, in which McGovern liberals and Goldwater conservatives must unite to defeat Bushist authoritarians.

Together we can do it. Onward, wingnuts and moonbats together. S, Se Puede! (oops, I just lost the Buchananites.)

Posted by: sysprog on September 7, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

It is hard to ever know what Jay's point is, since half of what he posts is cribbed from others without proper delineation or attribution.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten wrote about the assertion that we do not torture:

The problem is; this is a lie. It was proven false, both by sworn testimony, and by signed official documents. Sorry if you weren't paying attention through that whole Abu Ghraib thing, Jay.
_______________

On the contrary, the sworn testimony does not say that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib was torture, nor are there any documents that authorized the abuse.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

"In America you have the right to decent treatment and a fair trial, no matter who you are. We'll be working closely with Republicans to craft a bill that shows the world we really mean it when we say this.

Its AS Americans..... Not IN America... (their not even in America by the way...nor are they Citizens)

Posted by: Fitz on September 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

'A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth gets it's boots on.'
--Mark Twain

Posted by: Quotation Man on September 7, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're wrong. There's no sense working closely with Republicans on anything. It's just an invitation to date-rape. Democrats should put forward our alternatives. If
"moderate" Republicans ride their unicorns to the Capitol to vote for it, great. They won't, of course--they'll vote in lockstep behind their leadership, as they always do. Bipartisanship is dead, because Bush and the Republicans shot it. We should stop pretending it's still viable.

Posted by: Ron Thompson on September 7, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

"I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture," Bush said.

Yawn. Another Bush lie. Just throw it on the pile.

Posted by: exasperanto on September 7, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

...nor are there any documents that authorized the abuse.
Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

"make sure this happens!" -signed Don Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

MC: What did that memorandum say?

JK: The memorandum said that it was an approval of harsher interrogation techniques.

Q: And who had signed that memorandum?

JK: That memorandum was signed by the Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld.

MC: And what kinds of techniques were authorized in that memorandum, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense?

JK: It was one page, and he authorized sleep deprivation, stress positions, meal disruption--serving their meals late, not serving a meal. Leaving the lights on all night while playing loud music. Issuing insults or criticism of their religion, their culture, their beliefs.

MC: And was there a note in his handwriting on the side?

JK: Yes, in the margin on the left-hand side.

MC: And what did that say?

JK: It said, "Make sure this happens!!" With two exclamation points. And it was written alongside of the list of the interrogation techniques.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

JK: I believe that the Pentagon wanted to put this into a nice little package, seven so-called bad apples, out of control on the night shift, and a female general officer, who is obviously incompetent. Wanted to put that in a package, tie it up in a bow, and sink it forever to make people believe we got it under control, we solved the problem. Theyre going to be court marshaled, theyre going to be punished for this, lets move on to the next subject. In fact on the 23rd when I saw the photographs then I was by Colonel Marcellus the CID commander to go over to see Gen Sanchez, so I did, and I was prepared. I said to him, I was sickened by the photographs as well. He didnt want to have a conversation with me and I said to him, Sir, since I heard about this ongoing investigation Ive been planning in my head. Ive been working on a release to the press, and I have a good relationship with the media here in the Middle East. Ive served a lot of time in the Middle East and I want to go and say to them, look this is what we know. And focus on the things weve done together correctly and what weve achieved so far.

MC: You speak Arabic right?

JK: Yes. So I planned to do it. I was even talking to one of the translators down at Ambassador Bremmers headquarters saying how exactly would I say this or how exactly, without giving them details about what I was planning to do. Because bad news doesnt get better over time. Tell the truth and tell it early. But he said, Absolutely not.

MC: He meaning Sanchez?

JK: Yes. He looked me dead in the eye and said, No, absolutely not. You are not to discuss this with anyone. And thats an order. And if anybody approaches you about this, you direct the questions to Col Warren.

MC: How high up do you think the orders for that torture went?

JK: I think that its was very likely or certainly possible that Secretary Rumsfeld, the Vice President, and under Secretary Cambone, Sanchez and all of them, knew about the harsher techniques because General Miller and General Sanchez would not have implemented a new set of techniques without the approval of the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense would not have authorized without the approval of the Vice President. And so it filtered down. And it never filtered down to me because I wasnt responsible for interrogations. But ultimately they had the most convenient scapegoat and seven soldier scapegoats as a result of that process.

MC: So you were demoted is that correct?

JK: That is correct.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

All the Dems have to say is, "It's been years since these guys were captured, and it's even been several months since Hamdan. There's no overriding urgency; we want to take a couple of months to think about how to do this one right. We're not going to let the GOP ram some bill through Congress just because Bush wants it. We don't trust Bush, and neither should they."

Posted by: RT on September 7, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten wrote (apparently quoting testimony):

MC: And was there a note in his handwriting on the side?

JK: Yes, in the margin on the left-hand side.

MC: And what did that say?

JK: It said, "Make sure this happens!!" With two exclamation points. And it was written alongside of the list of the interrogation techniques.
_________________

And there is no finding that the document ever found its way into the consciousness of the abusers on the night shift at Abu Ghraib. This "six degrees of connectivity" theory doesn't amount to proof of anything. The testimony cited makes no mention of authorizing the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

None of the convicted abusers were able to name even one officer or senior NCO who condoned or authorized their actions.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we should have the Idiot from Texas explain why he keeps lying about the size of the federal budget deficit. This report, from the U.S. Treasury says that the accrual accounting deficit is more like $760 billion, instead of $300 billion. This nimrod is bankrupting us. And he is a liar. Period.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 7, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten quoted:

JK: I think that its was very likely or certainly possible that Secretary Rumsfeld, the Vice President, and under Secretary Cambone, Sanchez and all of them, knew about the harsher techniques because General Miller and General Sanchez would not have implemented a new set of techniques without the approval of the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense would not have authorized without the approval of the Vice President. And so it filtered down. And it never filtered down to me because I wasnt responsible for interrogations. But ultimately they had the most convenient scapegoat and seven soldier scapegoats as a result of that process.
__________________

All of the above is supposition, of course, and doesn't even correspond to the correct process in the chain of command.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

>How come we keep getting outmaneuvered by an idiot?

Bush isn't running the political wing of the operation.

Posted by: cleek on September 7, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

And there is no finding that the document ever found its way into the consciousness of the abusers on the night shift at Abu Ghraib.

Trashhauler: read Jane Mayer's article in the New Yorker on this. That's all I'm going to say. Mayer traces exhaustively how interrogation techniques based on the Gonzales and Yoo memos were first authorized for use in Guantanamo and then brought by armed forces commanders to Iraq, where the heads of US prisons were briefed on them in a loose and confusing manner. The result was simply that guards at Abu Ghraib had no clear instructions on what they were or weren't allowed to do, there was no clear chain of command, and that when people who appeared to have more authority told them to "soften this guy up", they did whatever that seemed to suggest to them.

The entire point is precisely that no one ever authorized the guards at Abu Ghraib to do anything -- or prohibited them from doing anything. They had no clear instructions, because the Army Field Manual's prohibitions on torture and degrading treatment had been suspended, but nobody knew what had been put in their place. And it is THAT lack of clarity -- the suspension of the rule of law -- that is the criminal responsibility of senior officers, straight up to Rumsfeld and Cheney, who authorized these practices.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bushie is trying to worm his way out of the inevitable criminal charges for the illegal extraditions, torture and human rights violations and cover his wicked ass.

Nice statement about decent treatment and fair trial but stating "Democrats believe Americans don't resort to evil or become evil to fight evil" probably more effective.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 7, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten quoted:

"MC: So you were demoted is that correct?

JK: That is correct."
____________

Demoted? Nothing was mentioned in the interview (which I assume it was, not testimony) that would lead to demotion. In any case, if this is an officer, it would take a courtmartial to demote him. I suppose it's possible he's an enlisted man who accepted demotion as part of an Article 15 action, in lieu of courtmartial. But, again, what was the charge?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems shouldn't say a goddamned word.

Just run the actual footage of "Mission Accomplished" and "greeted as liberators" and "pay for itself with oil revenues" and "Osama: dead or alive" and "aluminum tubes for nukes" and "portable biological laboratories" and "sixteen words" and "last throes of the insurgency" and every other outrageous piece of bullshit these fuckers have put out. Close-ups of Bush Cheney Rice Rumsfeld - with "Lyin Eyes" underneath.

Posted by: olds88 on September 7, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe wrote:

"The entire point is precisely that no one ever authorized the guards at Abu Ghraib to do anything -- or prohibited them from doing anything. They had no clear instructions, because the Army Field Manual's prohibitions on torture and degrading treatment had been suspended, but nobody knew what had been put in their place. And it is THAT lack of clarity -- the suspension of the rule of law -- that is the criminal responsibility of senior officers, straight up to Rumsfeld and Cheney, who authorized these practices."
_________________

Oh, I can understand that happening well enough. In fact, it corresponds with the punishment of a number of officers for various failures of leadership and command in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib debacle.

However, criminal responsibility is fairly straightforward in such things. The requirement to provide explicit instructions is the responsibility of the immediate officers, regardless of what confusion reigned on high. Likewise, the lack of clear instructions is no defense for failing to do one's duty or ensuring that those under your immediate supervision do not break the law.

And I still don't understand how Vice President Cheney enters into this - the chain of command does not run through his office.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

And I still don't understand how Vice President Cheney enters into this - the chain of command does not run through his office.

Now you're beginning to understand the problem.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

thomas1 wrote:

"You have no idea who JK is, and you think you have anything relevant to say on this topic? In fact, I no longer believe that you saw any of the pics.

Hint: JK = Janis Karpinski, former commander at Abu Ghraib and former Brig Gen, demoted to Colonel."
________________

Ah! (smacking forehead), of course. Then I suppose that this was an interview of some kind? That explains the demotion thing, as well. Technically, it wasn't a demotion. What happened is that she reverted to her permanent rank of colonel.

She certainly has not testified to any of this under oath, has she?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, I'm not quite sure what we're arguing about here. You'd have to actually be an investigator to be familiar enough with the facts in detail to argue for specific criminal charges against specific people. But moral responsibility is another matter entirely. Large numbers of people with experience in warfare, law, and corrections, both conservative and liberal, and including almost everyone in the legal apparatus of the Armed Forces, began saying very quickly after the Yoo memos were issued that these were disastrous opinions which would very likely lead to serious abuses. Such warnings were deliberately cast aside by Rumsfeld and Cheney and their close hand-picked subordinates; they were the key players in instituting the policies that led to these abuses. It is crystal clear that the abuses in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bhagram and elsewhere were the direct result of pro-torture policies instituted at the highest levels of government, chiefly by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their policymaking cliques.

Can a criminal case be made? Perhaps not. But Adolf Hitler never explicitly ordered Himmler and Eichman in writing to carry out the Final Solution; and the only evidence we have that he even authorized it orally is one short passage from the minutes of the Wannsee Conference. We have more evidence linking Rumsfeld to Abu Ghraib than we have linking Hitler to Auschwitz.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

None of the convicted abusers were able to name even one officer or senior NCO who condoned or authorized their actions.
Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

In General Janice Karpinsky's testamony, there were people from Military Intelligence, as well as civillian contractors, who took command of these operations as intelligence-gathering operations, when Abu Ghraib was converted from a detention facility to an interrogation facility.

The "bad apples" on the night shift were specifically trained in running a prison, not an interrogation center. It was the unidentified civillian contractos and military intelligence personnel who were responsible.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 7, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard that the WH is reconstituting the CIA's al Qaeda unit after having disbanded it last year or so.

Could it be that GWB is finally getting serious abut fighting the terrorists after having famously stated that he doesn't care about OBL?

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Um, the CIA's Al Qaeda unit was disbanded about 2 weeks ago, not last year.

This smacks of a response to bad publicity.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Um, the CIA's Al Qaeda unit was disbanded about 2 weeks ago, not last year.

The unit was disbanded last year. It was only announced sometime this summer.

This smacks of a response to bad publicity.

It smacks of the WH dotting all their "t"s and crossing their "i"s as part of their "we're finally going to go after the terrorists" pre-election PR move.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Fair enough.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Are you questioning me? I'll fuck you like you've never been fucked before! I'm a conservative tough-guy cowboy! Arrrr!

Joke for 5 year olds:
Q: Why are pirates so mean?
A: They just Arrrrr!

Posted by: craigie on September 7, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, I sense a trap. The Dems better start putting out the following meme to innoculate against it:

"We're glad to see the President finally taking the terrorist threat seriously. If he applies himself he might actually be able to capture OBL by the end of Oct."

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Just run the actual footage of "Mission Accomplished" and "greeted as liberators" and "pay for itself with oil revenues" and "Osama: dead or alive" and "aluminum tubes for nukes" and "portable biological laboratories" and "sixteen words" and "last throes of the insurgency" and every other outrageous piece of bullshit these fuckers have put out. Close-ups of Bush Cheney Rice Rumsfeld - with "Lyin Eyes" underneath.

Not to interrupt the Niagara flow of BDS, but Bush isn't actually running for anything this fall.

Posted by: rnc on September 7, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bush isn't actually running for anything this fall.

Of course he is. He's running to keep from being impeached and tried.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

BDS: Bush Defender Syndrome. See Jay, Thomas1, Trashhauler, GOP, me...

Posted by: rnc on September 7, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK
So MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NYT and LAT to name a few are all conservative? Jay at 7:15 PM
Yes, they are all Bush enablers and right wing spokespersons. MSNBC has Matthews, Carlson, Scarborough, and Buchanan, a solid rightist line up. NYT and WashPost have a long record of supporting Bush. CBS, NBC, ABC, AP and CNN also have a good record of appeasing the right wing. The only liberal media seems to be Air American and The Nation, but rightist also have the entire talk radio gabbers, the Sabbath Gasbags, and almost all of the local newspaper market. "Liberal Media" is just a Republican wet dream that exists only in your imagination.
The Abu Ghraib story was a pseudo-event Jay at 7:56 PM
I can see you, Rush and Jeff Gannon volunteering your skanky butts for the Abu Ghraib treatment to prove what a pseudo story it is.

Concerning Rumsfeld:
None of the accounts of the Defense secretary's speech bothered to point out something from the public record that Umansky includes in his piece: The general "who had overseen the report on FBI allegations of abuse at Guantanamo later testified that Rumsfeld had been 'personally involved' and was given 'weekly updates' on the interrogation of one detainee, who was kept near freezing and led around naked on a leash. Interrogation logs later showed that the detainee's heart rate became so slow during his 'cold' treatment that he nearly dies. Another prisoner in CIA custody in Afghanistan died of hypothermia."

Posted by: Mike on September 7, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

If I recall correctly, what I objected to was the suggestion that anybody in the chain of command *wanted* the abuses at Abu Ghraib to happen. There certainly isn't any evidence of that. However, I recall when the photos were first made public and we started looking at them at work. The overriding feelings among the officers present were shame and disgust. That men and women under US command would do such things, apparently as much out of boredom as anything else - how awful. One army colonel said it for all of us, "Where the hell were their officers?, Christ, this is all we need."

Such a disastrous shame! Abu Ghraib is still in operation, but it's a very tight ship, from all reports.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 7, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well, "Democrats are 'more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people.'"

So are Republicans. Duh.

Posted by: Shelby on September 8, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberal Media" is just a Republican wet dream that exists only in your imagination." - Mike


Mike, you're so far left I can barely see you.

Posted by: Jay on September 8, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Democrat's point is that we refuse to let the terrorists knock us down from the high moral plane of the American system of laws and fairness.

When Republicans want to jettison part of what makes us all proud to be Ameicans, maybe they're doing the terrorists' work.

Posted by: Bob on September 8, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

When Republicans want to jettison part of what makes us all proud to be Ameicans, maybe they're doing the terrorists' work.

There's no "maybe" about it. The only question is whether they are OBL's useful idiots or fellow travellers.

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler---- Abu Ghraib is empty and has been handed back over to the Iraqis in that condition. It may be run as a very tight ship but alas it is also run as a hollow one.

Posted by: robbymack on September 8, 2006 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

Correction: Abu Ghraib has been shut down for months. It's currently empty and the Iraqis are in full control of the facility.

I think they're going to turn it into a warehouse of some sort.

Prisoners were moved to the new prison they just built (initial codename: Camp Redemption).

Camp Redemption. Heh, I like that :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the info about Abu Ghraib being shut down. I somehow missed that news.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, I think "Where the hell were their officers?" is a very good description of the sentiment felt by those who are angry that the repercussions of Abu Ghraib didn't go higher up the totem pole. Wherever US troops have committed abuses, from Vietnam to Iraq, a lack of clear leadership and accountability from officers and policymakers seems to play a large role. But the only people who ever get seriously punished for such abuses are GIs. I think it would have a very salutary effect if civilian leaders and senior officers at the Pentagon were signalled that the result of their muddleheaded and mushymouthed new regulations on something as devastating as torture of captives might be that they could face charges -- gross negligence, dereliction of duty, whatever. Just something to let them know that there will be no impunity for boneheadedness.

Of course you don't want sanctions which make people afraid to take responsibility for any decision. But the right kinds of sanctions can do just the opposite: force people to take responsibility for the decisions that fall within their job descriptions. And it's evasion of responsibility for decisions that has been plaguing us in Iraq.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 8, 2006 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

"....we refuse to let the terrorists knock us down from the high moral plane of the American system of laws and fairness." - Bob


Is that the same "high moral plane" that allows a teenager to get an abortion without parental consent? Or a woman to obtain an abortion without the fathers knowledge? Or how about giving light sentences to pedophiles? Or allowing the government to take awy personal property in order to increase the local tax base?

Is that the same fairness you afford to Cheney and Rove over the Plame case? Or the same fairness afforded Tom Delay?


Just asking.

Posted by: Jay on September 8, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Any response should include the fact that Dems stand with the Pentagon on this issue.

"In America you have the right to decent treatment and a fair trial, no matter who you are. Democrats and the Pentagon agree on this issue. We'll be working closely with Republicans to craft a bill that shows the world we really mean it when we say this."

Posted by: b on September 8, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Joseph Wilson, an ex-ambassador and National Security Council official in the Clinton and Bush I administrations, sparked the "leak" controversy in the first place by writing in the New York Times that Bush had lied in his 2003 State of the Union address about Saddam Hussein's seeking uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons. The CIA had sent Wilson to Niger in 2002 to check out precisely that point, and he claimed to have debunked it. Later, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that nearly everything Wilson wrote or said about Bush, Cheney, Iraq, and his own trip to Africa was untrue. Wilson was a fraud. "It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously," the Washington Post editorialized sorrowfully last week."

Posted by: Jay on September 8, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

It's always interesting to me to see how quickly Americans abandon the moral high ground we are so quick to occupy.

"Do like they do" comes so naturally to us. And we want to know why the rest of the world is in no hurry to accept our leadership.

Posted by: zak822 on September 8, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sysprog is exactly right: Treat them like Nazis.

Jerry's point, that there may be some operational details that can't be revealed, is valid, but that objection can be easily overcome by letting the judge review the evidence first. There's no reason whatsoever that these suspects should be denied rights which were granted to the Nazis at Nuremburg.

Posted by: AndrewBW on September 8, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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