Thursday, June 17, 2004

For the worst possible reason--just because I could

Secretary of War Crimes Rumsfeld ordered that a detainee be hidden, at the request of the CIA because it was really important to question him about attacks in Iraq that might be linked to Al Qaida, not be registered or issued an i.d. number. This is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. And then, of course, they forgot all about him for 7 months. So he was never even questioned. Rummy today seemed rather vague as to the reasons for making someone a “ghost detainee.” Presumably he signed off on making a human being disappear without giving it 2 seconds thought or asking a reason. Rumsfeld has probably never lost a second of sleep over any decision he’s ever made. (Later:) he did suggest that one reason was to ensure that interrogation wasn’t interrupted. By what, telemarketers?

The extent of the outrage, or lack of it, can be seen in the results of attempts to make sure abuses not be repeated. The Senate voted down a provision to ban private contractors interrogating prisoners 54-43, on basically a party-line vote.

And since then, one contractor with the CIA has been indicted for assault, which seems an odd charge since he beat a prisoner to death over a two-day period.

Conservative groups have created an Ethics in Nominations Project, to press for the confirmation of right-wing judges. The head of this group is the highly ethical Manuel Miranda, who you will remember as the Frist aide who had to resign because he’d broken into the computer files of Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee. Can’t make this crap up.

Ben Affleck refused to accept his Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Year in “Gigli,” so it was auctioned off on EBay for $1,375. Someone has too much money.

Slate (and everyone else) notes that while Bush yesterday claimed, “This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda.”, he actually did so in the letter to Congress asking it to authorize going to war with Iraq.
Also in Slate, a good analysis of the way Bush structures such statements to mislead without quite lying: putting sentences next to each other that are meant to look like part of the same thought but aren’t, phrases with multiple possible meanings, etc. This is the work of someone who has thought very carefully about how to mislead. A must-read.

You know, you expect more entertainment from a story with the headline “Eco-Terrorist Elves Are Blamed for Arson Attack.”

Clinton says he had the affair with Lewinsky “for the worst possible reason - just because I could”. In case you were wondering about the moral hierarchy of reasons for getting a blow job. He also says (this is in his interview with 60 Minutes Sunday) that the impeachment process, which he doesn’t, ahem, see “as a stain,” was “an abuse of power.” In case you haven’t gotten the equivalence Clinton is trying to create here, let me rephrase it: the Republicans impeached Clinton for the worst possible reason--just because they could.

The Daily Kos reminds us: Bush was supposed to be making a series of weekly speeches on Iraq. After the first one, where he mispronounced Abu Ghraib, there weren’t any more.

Iraq’s new defense minister says of insurgents, “We will cut off their hands and behead them.” Or maybe it was those darned telemarketers. Or eco-terrorist elves. Or Ben Affleck.

AN HOUR LATER, YOU’RE HUNGRY AGAIN: “Authorities in China shut down 215 restaurants in Guizhou province because they were mixing drug-producing poppies into meals.”

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