Friday, August 19, 2005

For Willie Brand, the war on terror ends today

Excuse the longish (by my standards) silence. I was feeling stale and uninspired and didn’t wish to blog just for the sake of blogging. At one point I got as far as “John Roberts turns out to have been quite the snide little shit, doesn’t he?” before giving it up as a bad job. Not that he isn’t a snide little shit, but the various quotes from his old memos speak for themselves.

Jonathan Steele’s op-ed on the “theatre of the cynical” playing out in Gaza notes the settlers’ inability to understand how they, and Israel, are seen, epitomized in their obnoxious chant “Jews do not expel Jews.” The settlers mean to imply that “Jews do not expel Jews; Nazis expel Jews,” but what most of us actually hear is, “Jews do not expel Jews, they expel Arabs.”

The king of Swaziland has ended one year early his 5-year ban on teenagers having sex, which was supposed to end AIDS in Swaziland, a year early. Girls will no longer be required to wear a tasseled scarf to indicate their virginity (I assume they wore other clothes as well).

We now know that Sir Ian Blair, the least competent commissioner of the Met since Sir Charles Warren (a little bone for all you Jack the Ripper fans to gnaw on, you know who you are), tried to prevent investigation of the Menezes shooting, that the Met tried to bribe the Menezes family with $1 million in “compensation” (yes, that’s US dollars, the currency of choice for cover-ups, not British pounds), that the pathologist was given the same false information the public was, and that Blair does not intend to resign.

The 9th Circuit rules that when Congress banned abortions being performed at military bases, along with other measures intended to prevent service members and their families exercising their right to abortion, it actually intended that the Navy’s insurance not pay for a woman with a fetus lacking most of its brain to terminate her pregnancy. The government, in a brief written by some future John Roberts, argued that this case represented a “slippery slope.”

Pfc. Willie Brand, convicted of a variety of crimes in relation to a prisoner he beat to death in Afghanistan in 2002 by hitting him in the knee thirty times (one of two prisoners he beat to death: he was acquitted for the other one), including assault, maiming, and making a false statement, but not murder, is sentenced to diddly squat, that is, a reduction in rank to private, no jail time. That’ll show him. Brand told the jury, “We were trained on these things and when we implement them we were condemned; if we asked questions we are condemned.” Yup, damned if you beat two prisoners to death, damned if you don’t. And here’s what his lawyer said, with no trace of irony: “For Willie Brand, the war on terror ends today.”

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