Thursday, September 28, 2006

Let’s bring justice before the eyes of the children and widows of Sept. 11

I’ve commented on Bush’s recent use of the term “extremists” to describe The Enemy, but I think I missed the point, which is actually the other half of the dyad, “moderate.” In a week when General Musharraf (did anyone else notice how Jon Stewart called him “president” when they were together, and “general” after he left?) and Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev are being welcomed to the White House, he needed a term for the Good Guys that didn’t involve, you know, democracy. Thus, moderates, or even “the moderate world.”

Sillier than the NYT article on Rumsfeld’s squash game? Lawrence Di Rita’s letter in rebuttal.

I think it was when Alberto Gonzales’ nomination vote was being described as a referendum on torture that I said I’d be really curious what the outcome of an actual Congressional vote on torture would be. 253-168: sorry I asked. It wasn’t even close. And the Democrats’ wussiness on the issue suggests that they either believe in torture, indefinite detention on presidential orders, etc or they think that the voters believe in those things. Greg Saunders asks, “Is it really worth all this effort to replace people who support torture with people who tolerate torture?” The British journalist Henry Nevinson said in 1921, à propos the actions of the Black and Tans in Ireland, “It is a terrible thing to feel ashamed of the country one loves. It is like coming home and finding one’s mother drunk upon the floor.”

Molly Ivins points out that the language requiring a defendant to be able to “examine and respond to” the evidence against him has been changed: he won’t be able to how what it is, but he can still respond to it. So that’s okay then.

On denying detainees the right of habeas corpus, James Sensenbrenner: “Let’s bring justice before the eyes of the children and widows of Sept. 11.” A few days I was complaining when Rumsfeld spoke as if the 9/11 victims were all Americans. It seems revealing, though I’m not sure of what, that Sensenbrenner talks as if only husbands and not wives were killed.

London Times: “Hungary’s beleaguered Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, apologised yesterday for his speech in which he admitted lying to the nation.”

“Tokyo Rose” has died, at 90.

The US military wants to hire a company to poll Iraqis “to assess the effectiveness of operations as they relate to gaining and maintaining popular support”. The interviewers would have to disguise who they were working for, in order not to be killed. You know, once you admit that that is the case, maybe you know all you really need to know about gaining and maintaining popular support, and can just skip the waste of taxpayer dollars, to say nothing of risking the lives of some poor schmucks with clip-boards?

That article also says that the Lincoln Group, last spotted paying to plant stories in the Iraqi press, has just been given another contract, for $12.4 million, to do... exactly the same thing.

US military types have been bad-mouthing Iraq’s prime minister and blowhard-in-chief Maliki for not having the will to take on Shiite militias (the WaPo and NYT don’t say it, but they’re frustrated because the Iraqis have recently cancelled several planned operations). The WaPo says, “The questions about Maliki are being posed only privately”. That is, if you consider page A19 of the Washington Post to be private.

Russia may reintroduce a tax on couples who don’t have children. Says the deputy head of the Duma’s health committee, “If people don’t want to think about their debt to the motherland, they must pay.” According to the Guardian, Putin “has announced a 10-year plan to tackle the crisis.” Possibly involving actual tackling.

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