bartleby the scrivener | So the DFH "Lie-berals" were right all along, were we? In fact, the Bush administration did use fear of terrorism to terrorize our gullible public into believing we needed Bush to keep us safe.
"Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security, asserts in a new book that he was pressured by top advisers to President George W. Bush to raise the national threat level just before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the vote." (NYT)
bartleby the scrivener, buck naked politics, bush administration, david frum, frances townsend, homeland security, journalism, marc ambinder, media, progressives, the press, tom ridge, wolf blitzer
The most interesting aspect of the piece, according to me, is the way it presents Bush and the Prince of Darkness, Dick Cheney. The truth is, of course, always more complex than you think it is -- but the insistence in this article (mostly in asides) on Bush's good intentions and his respect for truth, the law, and the judicial system is unsettling, given everything that happened on his watch. Is this what we have to look forward to: Cheney portrayed as the source of all darkness and Bush as something quite other?
by Teh Nutroots | Give the man this: he kept his mouth shut for five whole months. Between them, Bush and Cheney are setting a whole new precedent for past administrations to abuse new ones -- just as they set new precedents for current administrations to abuse their power and to create an atmosphere of fear and represession.
"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out
of the current economic times we're in," the former president said to
applause from members of a local business group. "You can spend your
money better than the government can spend your money."
In which SC's Lindsey Graham thinks every principle on which our nation was founded should give way before cowardice and fear for one's own skin. Meanwhile, our country's moral standing is shown to be damaged and our security not enhanced by the administration's use of torture....after the jump.
by Damozel | That Pelosi had some knowledge of the interrogation techniques from the get-go isn't exactly news. Back in 2007, WaPo published an article indicating that several top Dems were given this information at the outset and that only Jane Harman -- yes, Jane Harman -- protested. Most progressives I follow were outraged then and are prepared to be equally outraged now once we've got the facts. [See Did Congressional Democrats Condone the CIA's Secret Interrogation Program? (12-9-2007)].
Unlike certain members of the GOP, we don't have any desire to cover up or excuse the failings of erring Dems. We want to throw the rascals out and get better ones. And now WaPo asserts the following:
A CBS sports announcer/professional golfer appointed himself to speak for US soldiers. And according to him -- David Feherty -- US soldiers would all love to murder Reid and Pelosi (The Hill) And no, he wasn't speaking metaphorically. On the other hand, the troops luuuuuuurve President George W. Bush, whom Feherty was welcoming back to Texas.
From my own experience visiting the troops in
the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict
has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier
a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance
that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden
would be strangled to death," Feherty wrote in an a D Magazine piece....
by Damozel | Back in 2003, it seems, Bush made a seemingly benevolent and quite correct statement concerning the US attitude toward torture, which sent alarm bells ringing up and down the line in the CIA. (New York Times) ""The United States is “committed to the worldwide elimination of torture
and we are leading this fight by example,” Mr. Bush proclaimed, vowing to
prosecute torture and to prevent “other cruel and unusual punishment.”"
Naturally, he didn't mention that he'd authorized CIA interrogators to use "brutal tactics" on Al Qaeda detainees. (NYT) The proclamation was issued in support of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. And, the rest, as they say, is history:
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by Damozel | Bob Baer, Time's intelligence columnist, is a former Mideast CIA field officer who wrote this: "The CIA's Dumb Intelligence." Check out his enthralling interview with Bill Maher after the jump.
Jason Linkins: "With the recent news that detainees were being frenziedly pressed to offer up some connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, a unified field theorem of foreign policymaking becomes stunningly clear....Suskind noted that the "impetus was not to foil potential al Qaeda attacks. The impetus here was largely political and diplomatic."
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by Damozel | Cheney's been shit-stirring right in the forefront lately, trying to whip up some partisan rage against Obama. I would like to say to Cheney, in the immortal words of Jon Stewart, "You don't know Dick." But if I did, he wouldn't listen, understand, or care.
Congressman Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif., took up Dick Cheney's cause
today and pressed Secretary of State Clinton to urge the Obama
administration to declassify and release documents he believes
demonstrate the success of the enhanced interrogation techniques employed during the Bush administration.....
"Well, it won't surprise you, I don't consider him a particularly
reliable source of information," responded Secretary Clinton to a
smattering of laughter in the hearing room.
by Damozel | There are many points on which I disagree with Andrew Sullivan, but torture is not one of them. Once again, he nails it:
[A]fter the 2004 re-election, after the original period
of panic...[the Bush Administration made the decision to] set up a torture program, replete with every professional
and bureaucratic nicety. This is why the Bradbury memo of 2005 is so
much more chilling in its way. This was long after Abu Ghraib, long
after the initial panic, and a pre-meditated attempt to turn the US
into a secret torture state.
These legal memos construct a form of
torture, through various classic torture techniques, used separately
and in combination, that were to be used systematically, by a
professional torture team along the lines proposed by Charles
Krauthammer, and buttressed by a small army of lawyers, psychologists
and doctors - especially doctors - to turn the US into a torture state.
The legal limits were designed to maximize the torture while minimizing
excessive physical damage, to take prisoners to the edge while making
sure, by the use of medical professionals, that they did not die and
would not have permanent injuries.
by Damozel | Greenwald said, "Today is the most significant test yet determining the sincerity of
Barack Obama's commitment to restore the Constitution, transparency and
the rule of law...Today, Obama will either (a) disclose these documents to the public or
(b) continue to suppress them -- either by claiming the right to keep
them concealed entirely or, more likely, redacting the most significant
parts before releasing them.".
Apparently, the Constitution, [some degree of] transparency, and the rule of law won.
After a tense internal debate, the
Obama administration this afternoon will make public a number of
detailed memos describing the harsh interrogation techniques used by
the Central Intelligence Agency against al Qaeda suspects in secret
by Damozel | According to Politico, Grassley then of course had to explain that he isn't literally calling for mass suicides all round: he just wants to see a culture of "shame and responsibility." The loud bitter post-partisan laughter you hear from stage left is coming from me:
watching yet another Republican do what Republicans do when they see the consequences of their irresponsibility play out: get
extremely -- and uselessly -- "enraged." Yes, if the monster you helped to create rampages out of control and starts wreaking havoc on the countryside, just grab a pitchfork and run after him. Everyone will take you for just another outraged victim and not an accessory before the fact.
Meanwhile, one taxpayer-dollar-compensated senior exec at AIG is
worried about the "mob effect....putting people's lives in danger." (WaPo) Ah yes, it's the mob effect at fault. I see. Individual greed doesn't have a thing to do with it. It doesn't seem to cross their minds that they could, you know, just refuse or give back the money. Get this guy:
by Damozel | Well, Deb was wondering. She's been following the story since we started this blog of all the ways in which the Bush administration, including -- or especially -- Rove has given the bird to Congress (and by extension to the public it represents). Yesterday she wrote:
Last time the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him (July 2008), Mr. Rove conveniently found himself traveling out of the country. Not that he needed to be: the White House and some lawyers told Mr. Rove that he didn't have to comply with the subpoena.
The time before that (May 2008), after Mr. Rove refused to comply with a Committee subpoena, there was talk of arresting him. As far as I know, Mr. Rove has not seen the inside of a jail cell.
He got away with it when Bush was king. At HuffPost, M.S. Bellows points out how he managed it:
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