Monday, February 07, 2005

Always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom

Rumsfeld revealed this week that he twice offered to resign over Abu Ghraib. But just as Rummy was more concerned about the leak of images of Abu Ghraib torture than with the actual torture, his faux-resignations offer the image of taking responsibility without actually taking responsibility. By offering to resign rather than simply resigning, he was signaling that he believed he had done nothing wrong, but if Bush thought otherwise, he could act. This wasn’t accountability, but passive-aggressiveness, the equivalent of asking “do these pants make my butt look big?”. Rather than treat torture as a moral issue, his actions indicate once again that he saw it purely in pragmatic terms--whether his political effectiveness had been damaged--the very same amoral stance that led his subordinates to consider torture a legitimate tool.

And as long as I’m talking about Rumsfeld’s amorality, I haven’t yet mentioned his push this week for research into “bunker-buster” nuclear weapons, but I don’t think the discerning readers of this blog need explained to them why developing usable nukes is insane.

The US has forced the UN drugs agency to stop giving clean needles to heroine addicts to prevent AIDS transmission.

A week ago I mentioned (and posted) the British Labour party poster accused of being anti-semitic. That one, and another which supposedly made Michael Howard look too much like Fagin, have been removed from the Labour website. So the latest thing is the new Labour slogan, “Britain Forward Not Back,” intended to show that Labour is too dynamic to use verbs or correct grammar. But the slogan turns out to bear a certain similarity to a Halloween episode of the Simpsons which showed Bill Clinton declaring, “We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.”

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