Friday, October 14, 2005

Was that a fairly typical way that he gets information about what’s happening in Iraq?

From today’s Gaggle:
Q Scott, just to follow on the event yesterday the President had with the troops. Was that a fairly typical way that he gets information about what’s happening in Iraq?


Q When the President meets with his commanders, is there a more vigorous give-and-take, or what we saw yesterday --

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course there is. I don’t even know why you’re making such a suggestion.

Q Just asking.

So I’ve pre-ordered Robert Fisk’s Great War for Civilization, which will be out next month. I’ll review it here, but it’s 1,136 pages long – evidently it’s a war of attrition – so you probably don’t want to hold your breath waiting.

A while back I thought that Rick Santorum’s It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good might be good blog fodder, but my local public library hasn’t purchased it, and I didn’t want to spend money on it. I thought about asking you, my readers, to buy it for me, then I would read it and quote all the (unintentionally) funny bits and mock them for you, only I really didn’t want anyone spending money on this book, so I thought about asking you, my readers, to shoplift a copy for me, preferably from a Wal-Mart, but ultimately thought better of it.

Russia has crushed the Chechens who invaded Nalchik, killing many of them and many civilians, we’ll never know how many. I don’t really have anything to say about that.

The Justice Dept is in court defending the refusal to let the lawyers and families of hunger-striking detainees in Guantanamo speak with them. “There are all kinds of security issues there,” said the government lawyer. He claimed that there were 24 hunger-strikers, of whom 7 were being forcibly fed, but we know the Pentagon’s figures are no more worthy of trust than the official Nalchik death count will be. There is an article in the current British Medical Journal (not free to the general public), by a doctor who works in a British prison, which notes that the American justification for force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners, that authorities have a right to prevent “suicide,” and that hunger striking constitutes a suicide attempt, “has been almost universally rejected. The aim of suicide is death. Hunger strikers do not want to die; they want to live. They want to live with a better quality of life”. If the prisoner is sane, he or she has the same right to refuse medical treatment as anyone else. The British Medical Journal has come a long way since 1909, when it was very much in favor of the forcible feeding of suffragette prisoners, but even then (editorials Oct. 9, 1909, Dec. 18, 1909; sorry, no links!) it was contemptuous of politicians who hid behind the doctors and disclaimed any responsibility, as the Pentagon does today.

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