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Tilting at Windmills

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June 17, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE REAL TAGUBA REPORT....Back in January 2004, when the military first learned about the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, it assigned Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba to investigate. He did, filing draft reports along the way and extensively briefing senior military leaders. But in May, when Donald Rumsfeld testified before Congress after Taguba's report was leaked, he told them he hadn't known anything was going on until a few hours before. Taguba, now safely retired, tells Seymour Hersh how he felt at the time:

Taguba, watching the hearings, was appalled. He believed that Rumsfeld's testimony was simply not true. "The photographs were available to him — if he wanted to see them," Taguba said. Rumsfeld's lack of knowledge was hard to credit. Taguba later wondered if perhaps [Stephen] Cambone had the photographs and kept them from Rumsfeld because he was reluctant to give his notoriously difficult boss bad news. But Taguba also recalled thinking, "Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There's no way he's suffering from C.R.S. — Can't Remember Shit. He's trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves." It distressed Taguba that Rumsfeld was accompanied in his Senate and House appearances by senior military officers who concurred with his denials.

"The whole idea that Rumsfeld projects — 'We're here to protect the nation from terrorism' — is an oxymoron," Taguba said. "He and his aides have abused their offices and have no idea of the values and high standards that are expected of them. And they've dragged a lot of officers with them."

....Taguba came to believe that Lieutenant General Sanchez, the Army commander in Iraq, and some of the generals assigned to the military headquarters in Baghdad had extensive knowledge of the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib even before Joseph Darby came forward with the CD. Taguba was aware that in the fall of 2003 — when much of the abuse took place — Sanchez routinely visited the prison, and witnessed at least one interrogation. According to Taguba, "Sanchez knew exactly what was going on."

I've only read half of Hersh's story so far. I'm not really up for the rest of it just yet. But if you are, click the link.

Kevin Drum 3:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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Comments

"Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There's no way he's suffering from C.R.S. — Can't Remember Shit. He's trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves."

Is it like the same thing Hillary, the Dem front runner for the oval office experiences from time to time?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on June 17, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

If an independent commission looks at this during the next administration, and has evidence that Rumsfeld or his senior Generals knew he lied about this, I am confident the overwhelming majority of conservatives would support stripping them of their rank and pensions.

Posted by: minion on June 17, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Seems the General is pointing the direction to War Crime Trials in the future.

Posted by: Duda on June 17, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am confident the overwhelming majority of conservatives would support stripping them of their rank and pensions.

Me too. I am overwhelmed by confidence in this, inspired by all those other principled stands we've seen conservatives take during the last 6 years.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on June 17, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

I read this article last night and if the Democrats don't act on this and (1) put Rumsfeld on trial for lying to Congress and (2) immediately cut off funding for the illegal occupation of Iraq, I have had it. I'll vote Green in 2008. These reprehensible filthy pieces of human sewage (the Bush Administration) belong in prison - NOW!

Torturing women and children when no one of them were terrorists or any resembling terrorists is beyond criminal. It is sick, sadistic degenerate behavior and these animals need to pay.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 17, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Kevin, I have read the whole Hersh article. Did so last night. I wish I could say that it kept me from sleeping, but nothing the Bush administration does can upset me further.
My anger/disgust/incredulity meter pegged at the red line years ago.

You will probably not be terribly surprised to learn that Hersh's article gets no better. It would probable be a good idea to read it with a drink in hand - or at least one in waiting.

Should you be feeling particularly strong and not in the least depressed, may I suggest that you secure all sharp objects, fortify yourself with a drink (unbreakable tumblers) in each hand and read, or reread,
Steve Clemons on Cheney.

Follow this with a short meditation on Bush's "strengths" as a leader and his abilities to resolve difficult problems.
[Do NOT even consider the fecklessness of the current Democratic "leadership."]

Then read
Blumenthal saying out loud what everyone else is thinking.

Don't meditate after reading Blumenthal. Don't even think. It will be too much.

Down both drinks, grab Marion's hand and go out for a walk.
There will still be 18 months of the Bush presidency to survive when you get back.
Sigh.

Posted by: clio on June 17, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

There are quite a number of interesting revelations and vignettes:

1) It seemed as if the General's and the Rumsfeld's henchmen basically maintained there deniablility by not reading the report despite having it.

2) Of course they shot the messenger. He didn't exactly retire though. He got orders to retire before January 2007.

3) When Dana Priest and WAPO blew the lids off the Eastern Bloc prisons, the Pentagon merely moved the action to Mauritania, where it was easier to disguise the flights as well.

4) All of the special operations joint task force stuff was run through the Pentagon. The corruption and guilt seems to run deep into the senior ranks of the Military. Perhaps this has something to do with Gates picking folks with Naval backgrounds for top jobs. There didn't seem to be too many of them involved in the worst of the atrocities.

5) There's a fair amount of insight into the congressional hearings, including Obey getting in Rumsfeld's face and Warner being threatened to "back off".

6) Lots of names are named, and lots of the info has named attributions. Armitage has a lot to say as do others.

There may be something of a sh*tstorm brewing, but the CRS (can't remember sh*t) MO has worked thus far to pretty much successfully stymied any effective oversight.

Posted by: RickG on June 17, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

There is a big difference between "knew about it an did nothing," and "intended it to happen."

Is there finally proof of the second, or are we still pretending the first is what happened?

Posted by: JohnN on June 17, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

As our nation declines, the electorate does not know what is wrong and the leadership does not know what is right.

Posted by: getitright on June 17, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hersch's article will have limited impact, if any. Congresscritters who listened to Rumsfeld's testimony knew he was lying; his lips were moving.

The Dems are too afraid of being painted as weenies in the GWOT to make anything of it. Besides, a large bulk of the American public thinks that torture is cool.

Posted by: JM on June 17, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing, aren't they? Obviously, the Iranian government, all the way to the top (both tops: political and religious), knew the Quds Force was aiding the Iraqi insurgency but only the local US commanders knew what was happening at Abu Graib.

Bad enough he got elected (sort of) the first time but twice? Decades, it will take decades for the US to recover from this bunch.

Posted by: TJM on June 17, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Par for the course for easily the most mendacious administration in history. As the biggest liar ever to occupy (and I do mean occupy) the White House, Bush's number will be retired in 2008.

Either Bush's record will hold for 100 years or the United States is fucked.

Posted by: Disturbance on June 17, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

No Iraqi occupation leadership members have been held responsible for war crimes. Probably none will be.

Posted by: Brojo on June 17, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Taguba, now safely retired...

I've said this before, and so have others. Did any of these patriotic officers ever think that perhaps at some point it would be time to put country ahead of career?

Posted by: thersites on June 17, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Did any of these patriotic officers ever think that perhaps at some point it would be time to put country ahead of career?

If you are referring to Tony Taguba, what do you think he could've done differently? Bear in mind that going outside the military chain of command could have much more serious consequences for an officer than simply losing one's career, depending upon the nature of the information that is divulged to the public.

And the good guys—like Taguba—are gone.

Yet more fall-out from the WPE. The destruction of our officer corps will resonate for decades.

Posted by: josef on June 17, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Bacevich really laces into the JCS in a piece published today in the Boston Globe, where he in fact damns much of the senior brass for standing mutely aside (and let's not invoke "civilian primacy" as an excuse) while Rummie, Wolfie, Cambone, Feith, the entire Cheney crowd, have completely eviscerated the professionalism of the armed services.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/06/17/joint_failure/

Posted by: barrisj on June 17, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites:

No, they didn't. And neither does anyone in the GOP or Democratic parties.

Next question?

Posted by: brat on June 17, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ther, Taguba did lose his career as he was forced to resign.

Posted by: Me2d on June 17, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There's no way he's suffering from C.R.S. — Can't Remember Shit. He's trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves."

Is it like the same thing Hillary, the Dem front runner for the oval office experiences from time to time?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on June 17, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Did Hilary start a war and fuck it up, too?

Posted by: jussumbody on June 17, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

minion: "If an independent commission looks at this during the next administration, and has evidence that Rumsfeld or his senior Generals knew he lied about this, I am confident the overwhelming majority of conservatives would support stripping them of their rank and pensions."

No, you won't.

An independent commission can only restate the obvious and delay the inevitable, which appears to be your primary motive for suggesting that absurdity.

frankly, the evidence has already been repeatedly and publicly presented in ample abundance before you, should you but open your eyes.

But you won't.

Oh, sure, you'll insist otherwise, to any who will still listen to you. You publicly reiterate your respect for the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law.

But when you're finally finally called to account for for this sorry state of affairs you've created, you'll instead first find either an excuse or a scapegoat, or and then impugn the patriotism of your inquisitors. That's something that you and your kind most always seem wont to do.

Because when you get right down to it, you are not a true conservative at all, but rather a radical neo-con. And as we've all now learned in spades, thanks to the clusterfuck of a war in Iraq, being a neo-con means never having to say you're sorry, because it's always someone else's fault.

You're pathetic.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 17, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

I have had it. I'll vote Green in 2008.

That'll show 'em.

The most optimistic thing I can think of coming out of all this is the destruction of the Republican brand. If this is a thorough enough discrediting, we could be decades away from the next GOP presidency.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 17, 2007 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Am glad to see the publications by the trusted Sy Hersh.
He was on my teevee this morning, and I was appreciative. (Considerable sustained applause)
It warms me that he has the time for investigative journalism since I can just check in time and again with comments on this administration's atrocities.
War-wounded and horrified, I am reminded that this is an installed coup, courtesy of Jeb Bush's Florida elections offices, with continued deceptions.
As David Bowie wrote, "I'm afraid of the government.

And this administration is pouring our treasury into its campaign donors' companies.
A government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich.
Deliberate deceptions and atrocities. We must continue to speak aloud.
Remember Abu Grahib and the attempted cover-up.
GOT DEMOCRACY?

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 17, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I have had it. I'll vote Green in 2008.

Why not just go all the way and vote Republican? Same effect in the end, really.

Posted by: Stefan on June 17, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

AND that isn't all:

NPR says this:

Dems are trying to get a new energy bill together:

Price Gouging: The bill makes oil industry "price gouging" a federal crime during times when the president has declared a temporary "national energy emergency" — much like the emergencies that states declared after Hurricane Katrina. The Federal Trade Commission would also be given greater authority to investigate possible manipulation of the oil market – including refinery shutdowns. Oil companies and the Bush administration strongly oppose this provision, which has prompted a veto threat from President Bush.

There is mostly likly evidence somewhere that Bush and Cheney knew full well about that electrical grid shut downs in Californa during those rolling brown outs.

I mean folks, why the HELL would Bush threaten to veto what should already be US law? Unless, of course Bush conspired to help oil companies gouge the American people? Oil companys talk about the need for refiners by they been closing refines and limited production in order to drive prices up - just like OPEC does and what OPEC does is against World Trade policy - in fact it supposed to be illegal.

That is what price gouging is and there are laws against doing that on the books already.

Bush openly practices illegal, criminal behavior and yet Nancy Pelosi would tell us we can't impeach Bush or Cheney?

Posted by: Me_again on June 17, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Listen to Stefan: he is wise--a vote for the Green Party pulls votes from the dems.
Then we will be left with the a fraudulent, criminal group of republicans ruining things further....

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 17, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Listen to Stefan: ---a vote for the Green Party pulls votes from the dems.
Then we will be left with the Stepford group of republicans ruining things further....
Just look at that bunch of candidates.
Our country is in trouble.

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 17, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites: Did any of these patriotic officers ever think that perhaps at some point it would be time to put country ahead of career?

Thersites, what a dumbass you are. Don't write comments if you didn't read the fucking article. Had you done so, you would have learned that, for his efforts to reveal the truth, General Taguba got transfered to a dead-end job, was humiliated further by Rumsfeld and his aides, then fired.

He indeed had the courage to put country ahead of career and paid the price for it.

Generals Shinseki and Taguba are cut from the same cloth. If we only had more like them.

Posted by: DevilDog on June 17, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Are there really 18 months yet of this mis-administration?
They want to start more wars
and head further down the path of destruction.
At two billion dollars per week.
Robbing our social security funds. "Starving the Beast" through perpetual war.
Dreadful Neo-cons.


May all of good conscience speak out against it.

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 17, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tagubu briefs Rumsfeld one day, then the nest day Rumsfeld point blank lies to Congress. Our government will not work that way. Won’t work.

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bush, and Cheney have shown us all how our government works when no accountability is applied. It does not work. We are going down the tubes with these people.

Tagubu, as a professional, is naturally appalled. He says that “even today” he favors holding those military and civilian leaders who were responsible for Abu Ghraib accountable.

Well, I second the favor. These guys feel no obligation to abide by the law.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 17, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin sez: "Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There's no way he's suffering from C.R.S. — Can't Remember Shit. He's trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves."

Freedom Fighter asks (disingenuously) "Is it like the same thing Hillary, the Dem front runner for the oval office experiences from time to time?"


Jussumbody replies, "Did Hilary start a war and fuck it up, too?"

First I must state that I'm no big fan of Hillary. I will not vote for her in the primary. If she ends up being foisted on us Dems, and that's how I regard it, foisted; I will reluctantly vote for her. She's WAY too much of a triangulator to suit me.

That said: Freedom Fighter, please tell us what has Hillary done which remotely measures up to Abu Ghraib, invading Iraq with trumped-up intelligence, killing 1000s of innocent Iraqis, trashing our worldwide reputation, etc.?

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on June 17, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

i you read hirsch's article carefully

you will get a sense of just how skilled donald rumsfeld, who has worked in washington for three decades, is in the art of not getting caught when he is doing, or has done, something he knows he will be crticized for.

that is also the hallmark of rumsfeld's buddy and protege, dick cheney.

rumsfeld pretended not to know about abu ghrab,
but i'm confident that he knew in great detail.

not only that, but it was not by coincidence that a member of condeleeza rice's national security council staff showed up at abu ghraib in november, inquiring as to what was going on.

nor was it any coincidence that general miller showed up there earlier in the year.

there is no doubt in my mind that rice and bush were knowledgeable about the application of torture in abu ghraib.

now for a second matter revealed in hirsch's story.

that second matter is how the military leaders, generals and admirals who lead the american military effort in iraq,

bowed and kissed rumsfeld's ring.

this is PRECISLEY the same scenario that transpired vis-a-vis the president and the secdef and the top military leadership

during the vietnam war,

with general westmoreland acting then as field commanders in iraq have done in the last few years.

later, of course, after the vietnam disaster,

we have been told endlessly that the "real" problem in vietnam was the "interference" of american politicians in the war plans.

that is just bullshit.

the real problem in vietnam was that the folly of civilian leadership

was enabled and covered up

by generals and admirals who would rather advance their careers than act in the interests of the nation they have sworn to defend.

the same has happened and is happening in iraq, not surprisingly.

after all, the military,

like the new york times, or enron,

is a bureaucracy where the least intellectually and morally capable have enhanced odds to succeed.


in any evernt,

the efforts of general taguba and general shienseki are notable and proud exceptions to the ass kissing careerism of pace, petraeus, miller, sanchez, et al

upon whom we have relied (unwisely int turns out)to advise well and lead well.

Posted by: orionATL on June 17, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

There will still be 18 months of the Bush presidency to survive when you get back.
Sigh.

Posted by: clio on June 17, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe the status quo can hold for 18 months.

Posted by: Martin Gale on June 17, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

No, I don't think I will read this article. Just more Micheal More bs.

Hmm. Where was all this anti Americanism in the press during WWII? Oh, that's right, there wasn't any. Which is why we won.

I tremble for my country.

Posted by: egbert on June 17, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

I tremble there are too many like you, Egbertie--turning a blind eye to it all.
Never wanting to shatter your own seemingly long-standing assumptions about your 'heroes.'
I would have thought you'd have figured out by now that this war-mongering bunch pulled the proverbial wool over yer eyes.

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 17, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Time for the Democrats to make an attempt to lead an effort to get a non-binding and non-critical resolution giving the sense of the Congress that if directly asked they will very respectfully plead with GWB to try and not appoint Donald Rumsfeld for any position in the government in the future and if the President does decide to do so the Democrats will caucus to decide if they will clap when Rumsfeld reads the oath of office.

Of course, the Republican senators will not let such an unpatriotic America-undermining troops-unsupporting resolution come to the floor as ours is not the Burundian form of government.

And the moderate liberal bloggers will then conclude that the Democrats have finally got some sense to not reinforce the stereotype of the Democratic Party as being weak on national security.

Posted by: gregor on June 17, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Read "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror" by Alfred McCoy. He covers alot of who knew what and who ordered what etc. The book shows that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" are the same psychological torture methods the CIA has been researching and refining since day one of the cold war. A systematic use of psychological methods to destroy a prisoners mind and make them talk. This has massive repercussions as it corrupts those doing the interrogating as well. Alot of those who tortured for the french in algeria became sadistic criminals, assasins, and murderers, including the men who ran the french connection, like Christian David and Lucien Sarti. Torture is a pandoras box.

Posted by: cwhamsun on June 17, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Are there statutes of limitation on war crimes?

Posted by: slanted tom on June 17, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Last night I had a long talk with a gentleman who has connections of some sort to British intelligence services. Here were some interesting tidbits of information I gleaned. Fact or fiction? In the twenty years I've known him, he's never been proven wrong; on a few occasions where I was able to confirm his news (via msm reporting), it turned out to be correct:

- Port security is better than you may think it is. A large portion of the US sub fleet works full time doing 'underpasses' of international shipping headed for the US; they deploy gamma-ray detectors that can sense the presence of radioactive materials in the cargo holds. Several P-3 Orions are also dedicated to this mission. This does nothing to protect against biological or chemical agents, but could stop terrorists from smuggling in a proper nuclear bomb or even a 'dirty bomb'.

- Most of the interstates are equipped with radiation detectors as well, near large cities; the devices are sensitive enough that they can tell when a cancer patient passes by who has had radioactive 'seeds' implanted in his tumor.

- Iran has a submarine fleet consisting of 4 top-of-the-line German-made diesel subs. They are so quiet that in the past they have sailed into American coastal waters, evading detection; one was spotted in Long Island Sound a few years ago. The US has outsourced monitoring of these submarines to Israel, which also has a fleet of 4 subs of similar make and model that spend all their time playing cat and mouse with the Iranians.

- Does Israel really possess nuclear weapons? Everyone assumes so, but they've never tested, and it could be a grand bluff (he wasn't sure of this, but seemed to think it was a real possibility).

- There are currently 50,000 Chinese troops in, of all places, India, near the border with Pakistan. What are they doing there? They are not in an offensive pose against Pakistan; in fact, China recently entered int a mutual-security agreement with Pakistan. His guess is that the troops are meant to be a threat against Iran, in the event the Iranian regime ever thinks about turning off the oil tap.

- Mexico recently made an armed incursion into the US. A few Hummers armed with machine guns and manned by renegade elements of the Mexican army escorted a bunch of drug runners across the border. They were eliminated by an A-10 Warthog.

And so it goes.

Posted by: lampwick on June 17, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Fact or fiction?

Fiction

Posted by: antiphone on June 17, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

There will still be 18 months of the Bush presidency to survive when you get back.
Sigh.
Posted by: clio on June 17, 2007 at 4:28 PM |PERMALINK

And two more hurricane seasons to go through.


Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 17, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

There will still be 18 months of the Bush presidency to survive when you get back.

19 if you count the time between the election and the inauguration. IMHO the most dangerous time will be between November and January. Assuming a Democratic win, a set of ruthless and utterly unprincipled crooks will be pissed off by the loss as well as looking to avoid prosecution. They'll be capable of almost anything, including starting a war either out of spite, or as a pretext for overturning the election. Cornered animals.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 17, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's an interesting saga, this story of the Michael Mori's, the Eric Shinseki's, the Antonio Taguba's trying to push the military cart back on path. They are all honorable men.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 17, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Energy Emergency?

It's the free market baby!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070617/ap_on_bi_ge/ethanol_refineries_10

Posted by: bungholio on June 18, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm. Where was all this anti Americanism in the press during WWII? Oh, that's right, there wasn't any. Which is why we won.

I tremble for my country.

I think that's the Republican party you're trembling for - you guys confuse that with America all the time.

There was little anti-WAR (not anti-Americanism) in WWII becase that was a just war. Just as you see little anti-WAR (not anti-Americanism) concerning the Afgan efforts.

You get it now? Stupid, immoral war = opposition. Just war = almost no opposition.

Let me know if you're still confused.

Posted by: JohnN on June 18, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

If you assholes (that means you Kevin, your editors and your owners) at the monthly had bothered to follow up on the bottomless pit of this scandal in 2004, rather than courageously putting your heads in the sand and trying to muzzle th blog discussion, the administration would have been out on it's ass that summer.

Are you guys the only guilty ones in the press? No. But you certainly had the opprotunity to move up in the world by actually doing the right thing, and you all wet your pants instead.

"I'm not really up for the rest of it just yet."

I'll bet you aren't, you overpaid cowards.

Posted by: patience on June 18, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

patience, I hadn't realized the power of Washington Monthly blog until I read your post. Now that you mention it, the whole world would be a diffferent place, if only Kevin had addressed certain issues (or not) in this blog. The hand that rocks the Political Animal rocks the . . . Well, you get the idea.

Oh, the shame!

Posted by: DevilDog on June 18, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

DevilDog, it is, hopefully, the weight of informed opinion from the populace that can indeed change the direction of a country. Maybe not immediately. If it can't, we're doomed.

I've only be reading here a little over a year but I'll agree with patience to this degree. KD thinks he can pick and choose which parts of this country's broadly disastrous foreign policy he dare comment on. He loses all weight and does not stimulate intelligent discussion about, or effectively expose, the damage that this administration is not only visiting on the world around us but on the US itself.

And in that I perceive a degree of convenient avoidance at best, moral cowardice at worst.

KD has the ability to write intelligent articles and raise important and interesting questions. His selectiveness makes me wonder what else he's ignoring so I, for one, spend less time here.

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Now when will a tribunal for the restoration of obeying the law be empanelled to save the Republic?

Posted by: parrot on June 18, 2007 at 4:40 AM | PERMALINK

notthere, perhaps I was a bit too glib in my response. There are issues I wish Kevin would cover, or cover in more detail. But I like a lot of what's here and I can always go elsewhere to get the stuff I can't find here.

I still think PA provides the best variety of topics I'm interested in (politics, policy, literature, movies, sports, etc.). There are plenty of blogs and websites that provide ample information and points of view on each of these in more depth. I just don't think changing one blog, even one with a lot of good commnents, will have that big an impact, if any.

Posted by: DevilDog on June 18, 2007 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

egbert: "I tremble for my country."

Please have the decency to close the bathroom door when you do.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 18, 2007 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

I tremble for my country.

I always dreamed of playing football for mine, but there you go.

Posted by: Warbo on June 18, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

KD has the ability to write intelligent articles and raise important and interesting questions. His selectiveness makes me wonder what else he's ignoring

Glennuendo (n.)
- The act of drawing a darkly ominous inference from an opponent's failure to discuss a political issue. From Reynolds, Glenn. (Vaara)

Posted by: jimBOB on June 18, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

egbert, your shallow, blind loyalty to greed doesn't make you more American...it makes you evil.

Posted by: elmo on June 18, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Why not just go all the way and vote Democratic? Same effect in the end, really.

There, fixed that for you.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 18, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Just to add to my previous comment. Exactly what has voting for the Democratic Party done?

Have the troops started coming home?

Are there any members of the Bush administration facing impeachment, removal, and criminal trial?

Are we any closer to a health care solution, fair trade, the bleeding of American jobs offshore, corporate piracy?

And don't give me that "it's only been x months" bullshit. They've had plenty of opportunities to do what needs to be done but continue to back down, and as a consequence, back up the Bush administration!

So how is voting Democratic not exactly the same as voting Republican? Because we're getting a Republican platform both ways.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 18, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

It clearly sounds to me like he made up a whole host of lies in order to impress John Kerry. I suspect he was hedging his bets and wanted to make his third star based on supporting a contention by the Kerry campaign that there was something untoward going on in Iraq. Guess what, general? You have your reward for betraying your country.

Meanwhile, the American people still haven't figured it out--the Iraqis don't hate us because we bomb their cities from on high, incinerate their people with advanced weaponry and kick in their doors in the middle of the night based on lies their neighbors told some little snitch: they hate us because we're free.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

devildog: I plead guilty to not having read the article when I posted my comment. But I was reacting not to Taguba specifically, but to the number of careerists who could have backed him and Shinseki up, but didn't.

Posted by: thersites on June 18, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

So how is voting Democratic not exactly the same as voting Republican? Because we're getting a Republican platform both ways.

We're a two-party country. You can vote Democratic or you can vote Republican. No one else is going to get elected, no matter how much you close your eyes and wish real hard. But really, if you think there's no difference then go wild and vote Republican. In fact, why not start donating money to the GOP and go door to door canvassing for them?

Because we're getting a Republican platform both ways.

Oh, bullshit, and childish, deliberately naive bullshit at that. We heard this same nonsense back in 2000 with idiots mewling "there's no real difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Things will be exactly the same no matter which of them wins. Me, I'm keeping my moral purity unsullied by voting for Ralph Nader!" How'd that work out for everyone?

Posted by: Stefan on June 18, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"KD thinks he can pick and choose which parts of this country's broadly disastrous foreign policy he dare comment on."

He probably thinks that because it's true. He's weird that way. All bloggers pick and choose what topics they will cover and what they will not. You've already been given the reasons, repeatedly, as to why Kevin isn't covering the issues you want him to cover. That you don't like those answers is your problem, not Kevin's.

"And in that I perceive a degree of convenient avoidance at best, moral cowardice at worst."

As I said, that's your problem, not Kevin's.

"KD has the ability to write intelligent articles and raise important and interesting questions. His selectiveness makes me wonder what else he's ignoring so I, for one, spend less time here."

That's fine with Kevin and that's fine with everyone else, as well. That's the beauty of blogs -- if you don't find what you want at one blog, there are literally thousands of others to choose from.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

I've only be reading here a little over a year but I'll agree with patience to this degree. KD thinks he can pick and choose which parts of this country's broadly disastrous foreign policy he dare comment on.

Yes, and you know why? It's his fucking blog! If you think certain subjects aren't covered well enough, start your own blog and get the word out, or find some other blog that covers it, but don't expect that someone has any kind of obligation to you to dish up exactly what you want. This isn't a restaurant, and you don't get to ask the chef to make you a special order.

For another thing, he's not all-knowing and omniscient, and may in fact know less and have less to say about some subjects than about others.

Posted by: Stefan on June 18, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

We heard this same nonsense back in 2000 with idiots mewling "there's no real difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

My goodness, yes. I heard similar arguments. Well, if you people had voted for Al Gore and actually gotten him elected, gas would be 5 bucks a gallon, oxygen tanks would be fifty bucks and we'd have confiscatory taxation at 80 percent. What's more, Saddam Hussein would be free to wring his hands and plan his next attack on America with horrific weapons. That sinister laugh you hear emanating from hell? It's the devil, lamenting the fact that America rejected Gore, almost en masse. HIS works would be so much easier to unspool with complicity and diffidence in the White House.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

...it was the phrase "now safely retired" that set me off. Guilty of shooting from the hip.

Not the first time I've been called a dumbass.

Posted by: thersites on June 18, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, and you know why? It's his fucking blog!

Yes, well--it's actually my good friend Charlie Peters' blog and Kevin Dumbo™ is like the hippie tenant who has a lawyer who can read the lease agreement clearly and can't be evicted.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Where was all this anti Americanism in the press during WWII? Oh, that's right, there wasn't any. Which is why we won.

I tremble for my country.

The idea that all wars are like WW2 is ridiculous. The war in Iraq is far closer to the craven Mexican-American War than WW2, and a better fit would be the terrible war in the Philippines.

As for the assertion of "anti-Americanism" that's just there for your vanity.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on June 18, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

America rejected Gore, almost en masse

Welcome back, Norman! How was the vacation to your home planet?

Posted by: thersites on June 18, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Actually there was a fair bit of anti-American sentiment during World War II.

"Overpaid, oversexed, over here" in Britain. Brawls in Australia between GIs and Aussie soldiers and MPs.

Most of the sentiment was due to competition over women, at which the Americans had a number of advantages (see above). There was also considerable dislike of US racial policy, as expressed by segregation of black soldiers. Initially, there was also considerable condescension toward US fighting capabilties (see Montgomery, for example), and resentment toward the expressed attitudes by US soldiers that the war was now won because the US was in it.

Posted by: Tom S on June 18, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

America rejected Gore, almost en masse

That's a strange definition of a popular vote majority -- or even a shameful 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

Posted by: Gregory on June 18, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

There was also considerable dislike of US racial policy, as expressed by segregation of black soldiers.

Oh, balderdash. Are you speaking of the United Kingdom, that great bastion of religious and racial tolerance? (snark goes here, kids)

No blacks, No Irish, No dogs is a sign you might want to acquaint yourself with here.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Stephan, can you point to any difference that voting Democratic has accomplished?

I can't.

And btw, I voted for Gore and Kerry and for both Obama and Durbin.

So Stephan, troops out yet?


Health care reform package sitting on Bush's desk?

Gonzales facing any real prospect at losing his job?

What did I get for my vote?

Care to answer that or do you just have more invectives?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 18, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Where was all this anti Americanism in the press during WWII?

Egbert: You of course knowingly conflate anti-Americanism with questioning the dangerously incompetent policies of the current administration. This is about incompetence, nothing else. You are defending a bunch of self-serving fools who wouldn't hesitate for a split second to throw you to the wolves if it was convenient and served their interests.

Posted by: Del Capslock on June 18, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

That's exactly right, Dr. Orifice--you have nothing to show for your vote. In fact, it would have been better had you not voted at all. For you see, now the state knows where you live and can force you to participate in a jury trial. How fun is that?

Meanwhile, I have a significant tax cut to show for my votes. Please excuse me while I go spend some more of my own money on things none of you can afford...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Not for the first time, Norm old boy, you're wrong. There was no segregation law in Britain, as there was in the US, and many Brits who encountered the pervasive racism of the US army were astonished.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/95/a7470795.shtml

"...I didn’t like the way they treated the dark-skinned Americans who were very polite lads. I’d been brought up in the East End of London where we had Chinese, Italians, Jews from all over the world, dark-skinned African men, so there was no colour bar. We never even knew about colour bar until the Americans came over. The majority of us British didn’t like it at all, so we were very, very pleased when the Americans saw sense and treated their dark-skinned gentlemen in their country as they should have done years before."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/21/a4158821.shtml

"There were black Americans and white. For us in Cornwall it was strange to see so many black people. Malpas Park was for the white GIs. In 1943, for the first time, we lads heard of the Colour Bar. The white Americans did not accept the blacks (the negros). We knew this by way of how things were run. The various camps were either for the African/American or for the Eurasians . . . the whites. Segregation was a new word for us. Off-duty they did not mix. When the Negroes were in town, the whites were kept in camp...

What none of us knew at that time was the attitude of the American authorities towards their Negro citizens.... The United States senators and senior officers at the US Army College in 1937 believed that... the blacks were not capable of combat service. The military did not want to ‘sully’ their forces with them.
... So in 1944 the troops were strictly segregated. Red Cross clubs and pubs were controlled by passes for one colour at night, alternate night passes. Officers were indignant at the association of British women with black soldiers."

Posted by: ajay on June 18, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever happened to those really shocking pictures of all that AG abuse and etc? Remember, the ones that Nancy Pelosi was so visibly stunned about? There was discussion of whether to release them, whether to artify them in B&W and posterization even, to reduce shock value, etc?

Posted by: Neil B. on June 18, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: You have no evidence for your claims, especially about gas costing more (are even you too dumb to realize, that conservation etc. reducing demand for oil would in due course reduce the price, not raise it?) As for America rejecting Gore, of course that is a lie in any case for many reasons already stated. If that self-righteous petty prick Ralph Nader hadn't run, Gore would indeed have been elected even with the amount of vote fraud perpetrated by the GOP and allies. We should never forgive him for that, considering what a disaster it has been for the whole world.

Posted by: Neil B. on June 18, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever happened to those really shocking pictures of all that AG abuse and etc?

Dr. Zimbardo was on C-SPAN late Saturday night showing them, while lecturing on his book The Lucifer Effect. He showed the really shocking ones. One does not often see C-SPAN warn its viewers of potential offensive content, but they did Saturday night.

Posted by: Brojo on June 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Where was all this anti Americanism in the press during WWII?

There was plenty of muckraking during WW II. The press exposed corrupt miltary contractors and other war profiteers. Since then, the corrupt military contractors and war profiteers have co-opted both the politicians and the press into their enterprise, which is why dumb fucks think criticizing corruption is anti-American.

Posted by: Brojo on June 18, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

The common theme in the AG abuse was humiliation. Humiliation was the primary goal, obtaining tactical information was secondary. I think the message is a tribal one: we (western Christians) are going to make you (muslims) submit - to our culture, our religion etc., or you will be destroyed. That is how the neo-conservative mind thinks. It's no accident that perceived humiliation is at the core of most of the evil and violence that occurs in the world.

Posted by: Del Capslock on June 18, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

"We're a two-party country. You can vote Democratic or you can vote Republican. No one else is going to get elected, no matter how much you close your eyes and wish real hard."
Posted by: Stefan on June 18, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Yep, and with the electoral college that is even more the case. Just look at the election of 1912:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1912

Wilson overwhelmingly won in the electoral college, but it was a 4-way race with quite a few votes for the other three candidates:

Wilson (Dem-42.5%), Roosevelt (Progressive-27.8%), Taft (Rep-23.5%), Debs (Socialist-6.1%)

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 18, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus and Mr. Rogers,
Votes that resulted in a new, albeit slim, Democratic majority, have already made a huge difference. First, the new makeup has slowed or halted much Republican mischief. Second, I'm elated by the fact that the machinations of the Bush administration are being exposed through the investigation into the firings of federal prosecutors and in the hearings by Reps Waxman and Conyers. Also, several bills I like were passed that either made it despite Republican opposition or forced GOP politicians to commit themselves to a position they will have to defend in future elections.

This election marks the first time in six years I've felt any hope that things will get better.

Posted by: DevilDog on June 18, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

DevilDog, that is true. We would likely still have Rumsfeld if it weren't for the Congressional win by the Dems.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 18, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Airstrike on al Qaeda kills 7 children in Afghan madrassa.

The Bush administration's baby killers continues on their unbridled course of destruction.

Posted by: anonymous on June 18, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan, can you point to any difference that voting Democratic has accomplished? I can't. And btw, I voted for Gore and Kerry and for both Obama and Durbin. So Stephan, troops out yet?Health care reform package sitting on Bush's desk?
Gonzales facing any real prospect at losing his job? What did I get for my vote? Care to answer that or do you just have more invectives?

I'd prefer hurling more invectives, but OK...

First, it's Stefan, not Stephan.

Second, you don't "get" anything for your vote. This is politics, not a supermarket, and by voting you generally are not engaged in a straight one-off trade. You vote for candidates who you generally think will represent you best, or, at the worst, you vote for the least objectionable guy. That's too bad, but that's life. Like I said, you only have two choices. That's it. You may not like them, but if you don't pick at least one then that merely has the effect of giving a de facto vote to the other side. Suck it up.

Second, your vote in the last election was for one single Representative and (perhaps) one single Senator. That's all you actually voted for. I don't know about you, but I know that my single Representive and my two home-state Senators don't have the power to do any of those things you listed above. Bush remains president, the Republicans have a blocking minority on many issues, such as a removal of Gonzalez, and even within our party we have to trade off between competing constituencies.

Life does not exist to give you everything you want right when you want it. You don't like the way things are going, fine, but the response to that is to work harder, not to whine that things aren't perfect and threaten to take your ball and go home until they are. I am so sick and tired of this entitled bullshit.

Posted by: Stefan on June 18, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Have less Afghan children been killed as a result of the Democractic victories of November 2006? Probably not, but some can take solace those children murdered yesterday were not killed while Rumsfeld was still Sec. of War.

Posted by: Brojo on June 18, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo:

In fact, the sainted Harry Truman first gained national prominence chairing a senate committee investigating corruption in the US war effort. Until then, he was the honest face of an extremely corrupt Missouri politcal machine.

Posted by: Tom S on June 18, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan, can you point to any difference that voting Democratic has accomplished? I can't.

OK, to play along with this game for one second one thing that voting Democratic has accomplished is that the Democrats now control the committees and have subpoena power, which is what has enabled the multiple hearings and/or investigations on the US Attorney scandal, the GSA scandal, the FBI national security letters scandal, the abuse of the Presidential Records Act, etc. If the Republicans were still in power Gonzalez, Monica Gooding, Bradley Schlozmann, Lurita Doan, Hans von Spakovsky, etc. and the rest of these unindicted co-conspirators would never have had their crimes exposed to the American people.

Posted by: Stefan on June 18, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

There are likely to have been quite a few people that are alive now that would have been dead with Rumsfeld left in charge of DoD. Who knows? We might be at war with Iran already. The important thing is that the course is changing.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 18, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

If the Republicans were still in power Gonzalez, Monica Gooding, Bradley Schlozmann, Lurita Doan, Hans von Spakovsky, etc. and the rest of these unindicted co-conspirators would never have had their crimes exposed to the American people.

NONE of these people are in prison. In fact, one might say that if the Democrats had not seized power, these good people would be able to do a BETTER job because they are obviously being harrassed and made a mockery of by crazed liberals who want to drive ALL good people out of government.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 18, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am willing to give the Democratic Congress more time end the occupation of Iraq, but I am not going to wait until the election of 2024 to find out when we are leaving.

Posted by: Brojo on June 18, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Nuremberg is a name to conjure with.

And what shall the name be for the next occasion of trials against inhumanity and torture? Philadelphia? Pittsburgh? The Hague?

We are stained until this comes to a head and is popped like the pus-packet it is.

Posted by: Scorpio on June 18, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe anyone would defend this stuff.

Seriously, can you not put yourself in the shoes of the Iraqis?

And if not, how do you feel about people returning to U.S. society after they've learned to be sadistic torturers?

Posted by: Librul on June 18, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

norman: In fact, one might say that if the Democrats had not seized power, these good people would be able to do a BETTER job because they are obviously being harrassed and made a mockery of by crazed liberals who want to drive ALL good people out of government.

instead...

they cut and ran?

5-resignations in the last 3-months..

and that's just in the top ranks of the DOJ...

heck of a job...

Posted by: mr. irony on June 18, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

and norm...

....and some of them asked for immunity...

why would they need that?

Posted by: mr. irony on June 18, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

NONE of these people are in prison.

Yet....

Posted by: Stephen on June 18, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimately, Calley served 3½ years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning, Georgia.

That is not too reassuring for those of us who desire justice for our current crop of institutional mass murderers.

Posted by: Brojo on June 18, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK
--the Iraqis ….hate us because we're free. Norman Rogers at 10:22 AM
They hate us because we're free from the threat of having our cities bombed, our children incinerated, our churches leveled, our doors kicked down in the middle of the night because some rightist snitch ratted us out, that's what you're sayin'? Posted by: Mike on June 19, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I personally served with Major General Taguba and know him as the most honorable and trustworthy leader i've had in a 23 year career. I am ashamed at how another great officer has had to pay the political price for being honest and unwaiveringly loyal to our nation and it's principles. He is a true patriot and great American; I wish him and his family the best.

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