Monday, June 21, 2004

A Wealth of Readings

I've almost given up hoping for it, but it's starting to appear that the US media is finally shaking off the 9/11-stupor and remembering that they have a responsibility to do more than cheerlead for the administration.

First, the Post takes on Rumfeld's ridiculous charge that the newspapers 'implied' that TortureGate was more than 'a few rogues' in the reserves.

... As supporters of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have been particularly concerned about the ways that the scandal -- and the administration's continuing failure to come to terms with it -- could undermine the chances for success. We also have warned about the uses that might be made of it by captors of Americans. What strikes us as extraordinary is that Mr. Rumsfeld would suggest that this damage would be caused by newspaper editorials rather than by his own actions and decisions and those of other senior administration officials.

What might lead us to describe Mr. Rumsfeld or some other "senior civilian or military official" as "ordering or authorizing or permitting" torture or violation of international treaties and U.S. law? We could start with Mr. Rumsfeld's own admission during the same news conference that he had personally approved the detention of several prisoners in Iraq without registering them with the International Committee of the Red Cross. This creation of "ghost prisoners" was described by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who investigated abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, as "deceptive, contrary to Army doctrine and in violation of international law." Failure to promptly register detainees with the Red Cross is an unambiguous breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention; Mr. Rumsfeld said that he approved such action on several occasions, at the request of another senior official, CIA Director George J. Tenet.

Then the Post thoughtfully provides this interactive graphic, which details how Bush campaign donors have and are influencing his administration's policy.

The Philly Inquirer gives the administration a well-deserved set-down:

A poll of Americans taken in March of this year found that 57 percent of those polled believed that Iraq under Saddam Hussein substantially supported al-Qaeda or was directly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Where did they get that misguided idea? Why, it was from their president, their vice president, their defense secretary, their national security adviser and other key players in the war on terror, of course.


What matters is that Americans grasp a central point: The multipronged rationale behind this rushed invasion has been revealed as a house of cards.

(Deposing Hussein always was a legitimate strategic goal, given his history as an aggressor and butcher - but not in this reckless way, with these wrongful justifications.)

Consider the house of cards, and two other glaring facts.

First, preparation for the invasion's aftermath was tragically inept. That easily predictable failure has cost many Iraqis, Americans and others their lives.

Second, the prison abuses, which stem from poor planning for occupation and a bid to place U.S. behavior above international law, have lost America the moral high ground it rightfully occupied on Sept. 12, 2001.

Now, ask yourself, along with those 27 American diplomats and warriors: Have the last two years made America more secure, more respected?

The answer is obvious and appalling. The answer is no.

Thanks to Atrios for the link.

Finally, the NYT has a massive article on the Guantanamo detainees. Bottom line - the vast majority of these detainees, characterized by Cheney as ''the worst of a very bad lot,'', are basically a bunch of low-level foot soldiers or even innocent bystanders who happened to get in the way of a sweep. No wonder they don't want any photographers in Gitmo...

Update: something I forgot to highlight in my previous post about Griffin - From the same story linked below: "Griffith, 55, is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and was the lead counsel for the Senate during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton." So of course he's above the law.


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