« US Homophobes Helping Our Enemies | Main | Legal Bleg »

January 20, 2005

Comments

here comes Renhquist.

looks tough enough

Had to chuckle at Wonkette's comment about Laura:

Laura Bush looks hotter than daughters. Though, uhm? WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY? Hello?

the speech is falling flat a bit it seems...am I missing something?

You're a stronger man than I...my impressions? 1461 down, 1461 to go. We're more than halfway through it.

Wow, you guys are actually watching? That's impressive. I knew that the best way to show my respect would be to not watch and thereby refrain from cursing. Seriously.

my impressions? this country is a retarded, drowning nation, and it is getting the "leader" it desreves.

I liked it when the band struck up "Hail No to the Chief"

the ownership society...here it comes...

I already have a migraine and I'm not even watching -- please, Mommy, make it stop *whimper*

People watch inaugurations? Just because something is televised doesn't mean you have to watch. ;)

he just said we can't be bigots and free at the same time...

er, waiter, reality check please.

OK, fairly he's picking up steam...the bit about unity was pretty good.

nah...he's lost it again.

Al Franken is attempting to snark it up --- maybe if this excedrin works I'll listen

Listened to it via NPR streaming audio: Overall impression: bleh.

Pretty uninspired speech. Had some flashes of hope but nothing really came of it.

People watch inaugurations? Just because something is televised doesn't mean you have to watch. ;)

I was actually hoping he'd be inspiring.

"I was actually hoping he'd be inspiring."

Now that is hope in the face of experience.

Yeah...but with nothing else to lose, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of why others believe in the man...I'm still mystified I'm afraid.

I was hoping to catch a glimpse of why others believe in the man

you and me both.

i get huge doses of both vicarious embarassment for him and actual embarassment for our country, when i watch him.

I liked this: "On the eve of President Bush's inauguration, a poll shows the nation is split over whether he has united or divided the nation." cite With headlines like that, who needs The Onion?

tell me he isn't looking smug today .. at least?

His speechwriters were pretty good at working in veiled abortion references, though. That business of Americans' needing to realize that "even the unwanted have worth" or whatever the exact phrasing was, coming fast on all of the abolitionist language, was very clever. Sounds like a call to charity and compassion, pacifies the pro-life extremists. A lot of careful King James Translation language slipped in, too.

Those of us who are kind of ok with him aren't attracted to his charisma.

Time for a mild digression about Clinton (but not Clinton bashing). Whatever else you want to say about the man, he had charisma. I was watching a speech of his, and I found myself getting swept away for about 20 minutes. Then I turned the TV off and suddenly realized that I didn't agree with any of the things he said. It was actually quite a shock for me to realize how powerful the charisma was. And I understand he has even more powerful charisma in person.

Followed Edwards link to AA. Their http://www.airamericaradio.com/>Poll results are interesting.

Way to go!! President Bush, we're with you all the way.

I posted that link *sulk*

Listening to Al Franken -- where's the snark? He's too serious today. Ah, I feel your pain, Al.

Way to go!!

Well, at least the masochists are happy.

I only caught bits and pieces of the speech between meetings this morning and had to http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=679&e=16&u=/usatoday/20050120/cm_usatoday/iseeabrightdaycomingforamerica>read most of it online. All in all, a pretty good speech particularly the focus on expanding freedom at home and abroad. We’ll probably talk more about it at the convention of Minnesota Bloggers this weekend.

Heh. James Fallows calls it an "eloquent" FU to people who didn't vote for him.

Is this by the new speechwriter or the old?

I know this is intended as an Inauguration Open Thread... but I thought this might deserve some attention somewhere.

(Then again, maybe it is appropriate in an Inaguration thread...)

As much as I disklike Hillary Clinton both the Clinton's are just so much more skilled politically and smarter in general than their fellow Democrat's.


Hillary Clinton:

In a speech at a fund-raising dinner for a Boston-based organization that promotes faith-based solutions to social problems, Clinton said there has been a "false division" between faith-based approaches to social problems and respect for the separation of church of state.

"There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles," said Clinton, a New York Democrat who often is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Addressing a crowd of more than 500, including many religious leaders, at Boston's Fairmont Copley Plaza, Clinton invoked God more than half a dozen times, at one point declaring, "I've always been a praying person."

She said there must be room for religious people to "live out their faith in the public square."

Can't stand her, but you gotta give credit where credit is due.


Linked at drudge

Edward,

You might want to check out the article by Lanny Davis today about his first hand experience with Bush.

You can find it at realclearpolitics

I didn't watch; I decided to do something more fun, and went to the dentist. (Really.)

smlook,

I'm convinced that should I meet Bush, the person, on vacation somewhere, say snorkeling in the beautifully whale-free Carribean, I'd enjoy his company and find him charming. He wins that one. He's a likeable person. But he's not a likeable president for me. Why? I don't trust him.

Look at what Davis, who says he likes him, says is his key "charm offensive" weapon..."not only did people routinely underestimate him — but...he encouraged them to do so."

This is manipulative charm, not "real interest in other people" type of charm. It's sneaky and I can't get past that.

Oh my god. Don't look at today's Suburban Guerrilla if you're susceptible to feeling depressed/suicidal.
Need more excedrin.

votermom,

here's the other images from that story.

it leaves you numb...wanting to smack our own soldiers upside their heads for this kind of stuff...knowing that in their shoes, I would be lucky to do anywhere near as well...who do you blame when 5 children watch their parents shot dead by American troops?

This is why you only fight a war when you absolutely have no choice. Tattoo it across the foreheads of every fool who runs for office.

I thought it was a very good speech -- short and to the point. But on the subject of Al Franken . . .

Here in this leftmost of liberal bastions we get AA on the AM dial so I tuned in yesterday and this morning to see what all the hullabaloo was about. Franken sounded inebriated, and was braying like a donkey at his own lame jokes (examples: calling some right wing pundit a "hoor", then explaining that's how "whore" is pronounced in the Midwest; telling his audience that "tolerance" is a right-wing code word for *n*l sex). His sycophatic female sidekick was worse, if that's possible.

A modest proposal for those who want lefty talk radio to be taken seriously: listen a while to Limbaugh, Medved or any of a handful of established right-wing talk show hosts. Ignore the content and focus on the professionalism, organization and production standards. Then try to copy that on AA. I remember when Franken was mildly funny, but right now AA resembles a couple of stoned sophomores broadcasting on a flea-power AM transmitter out of a college dorm at Podunk U. Nothing wrong with that if you're stoned yourself, but most of us are not.

I thought it was a very good speech -- short and to the point.

What point?

Edward:

Bush is a man playing dress-up. He dresses up as a conservative, he dresses up as a compassionate man, he dresses up as a rough-'n'-rumble no-nonsense cowboy, he dresses up as a moral man, he dresses up as a strong leader. A lot of Americans want a leader with those qualities so badly they're willing to believe in anything that looks like them, even if they run no deeper than his clothes.

I don't like opacity and image and a cult of iconography taking this deep a root in our culture, let alone our political life, but I understand it. Every successful politician has to put on a show. What gets me is that George Bush's show swallows his policies. He's acting out his silly poses on an international scale. The appeal of invading Iraq - the GUT appeal of it - was not to defend America, but to punch back at something, to show the world we meant business, that we could still dish it out after 9/11. A better leader - an actual leader - wouldn't have fallen for that. For Bush, I don't think there was a moment's hesitation. When the appearance of a thing becomes the reality, what is there to doubt?

What point?

Well, he said "freedom" a whole lot. Granted, I've no idea what George Bush means when he says "freedom"; if Iraq has it, it's not any kind of freedom I'm familiar with. But after four years in which "freedom" has been applied with equal casualness to the PATRIOT Act, to the torture and death of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and to fried potato slices, I'm pretty sure any meaning that word once had is long gone.

What point
-war on terror
-the economy
-Medicare reform
-standards in public schools*
-social security reform
-tax reform
-tort reform
-God bless America
*high point for me

I probably left something out, but it sure beat Clinton's bloviating. And what exactly do you expect in an inaugural from a president you don't like? Inaugural speeches are always somewhat Pollyanish.

Oddly, the lines that I found the most troublesome where the ones Sullivan liked the best:

Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.

"the unwanted" bit got a huge cheer from the crowd, which puzzled me until I realize he means the "unborn" and this is anti-R-v-W code. How sad is it that the party in power, the party with the WH, Senate, and House needs to talk in code? Really, don't they feel just a little silly and impotent doing that?

we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry

Hmmm...the baggage of bigotry...you mean like the bigotry that leads to 20 Arab lanuage translators being thrown out of the military because they're gay? That kind of bigotry? It looks as if we carry both of them quite easily at the moment.

-standards in public schools*

I'd like Bush to start worrying about standards in his own administration.

tomsyl,

you wrote "short and to the point"; I assumed that meant there was a point. Not a laundry list.

What's the overarching message you heard? I listened and couldn't decide if there was one.

"who do you blame when 5 children watch their parents shot dead by American troops?"

How about the people who shot them? Or maybe the people who ordered the first group to shoot? Or the ones who ordered all of the above to invade a country on the basis of flimsy excuses? Or maybe the people who voted to reinstate those who ordered the invasion? Or all of the above.

Or maybe the dictator that wouldn't comply with international law. Maybe the western powers that were breaking international law. Or maybe the terrorsits that are trying to sow havoc througout the country. Or maybe the insurgents that are putting their own population in the crossfire. Or maybe the Americans that appear to care more about the dictators, terrorists and insurgents than their fellow American soldiers.

Just a thought...

I want to ask something, quite directly, to people who voted for Bush on this thread.

These are beautiful words:

We have seen our vulnerability and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder, violence will gather and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

As I said, beautiful words.

Do you believe he means them? I'm asking this quite seriously.

I don't. I believe he thinks he means them, but if he actually believed them, believed them enough to try to live by them...he would not be able to act as he has.

I'm not going to beat you over the head of the details of the Arar case & our extraordinary rendition policy again. You know where to find them. But I'd like to note two recent developments:

1) Bush was recently asked directly about extraordinary rendition, in a Knight Ridder interview, for the first time in his presidency:

Asked if he'd ever authorized the transfer or "rendition" of prisoners to countries that practice torture, Bush said he wouldn't answer: "This administration will not talk about intelligence-gathering matters."

Two observations: First, that's not a denial. It's not even a non-denial denial. Second, if that statement is true, it would mean, logically, that all of his assurances about how torture do not apply to "intelligence-gathering matters". This would render those reassurances utterly worthless.

2) Alberto Gonzales, who Bush has just nominated to be his Attorney General, and who is overwhelmingly likely to be confirmed by the Senate, has recently made it clear that he views what happened to Maher Arar as perfectly legal--that as long as Syria or Egypt or Uzbekistan or God knows who promises us they won't torture a prisoner, we can take their word for it, and send prisoners to them for interrogation. (This was in a written response to a question from Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. You can read the details in two comments I made to this thread, at 2:14 p.m. and 2:36 p.m. on January 20.)

I assume you see the conflict between these facts and policies, and Bush's words today. So how do you reconcile the two? I really, truly, can't understand it.

Do you think he doesn't know about the rendition policy? Do you think he is aware of the general policy, but not the details of what has happened to individual prisoners? Do you think he really believes Syria's and Egypt's assurances not to torture, even after all the evidence that those assurances are worth nothing? Do you think the words in the speech are just typical politicians' boilerplate, or Pollyanish inaugural rhetoric, and not something he's really thought about? Do you think he means it for most people but not for accused terrorists--and he assumes, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that all the suspects who have been "rendered" have been guilty? Or is he simply deceiving us?

I know these aren't nice questions, that this is your day to celebrate. But they are honest questions. I'm really not trying to score points, or trying to get you to recant your vote or whatever--I know people vote on more than one issue, and anyway it's a little late in the day for that. But this promise to send "freedom on the march" is so central to Bush's moral rhetoric and counterterrorism strategy, and so contradicted by farming out our interrogations to middle eastern dictatorships, that I can't get my mind around it. I'm really curious as to how someone who supports him does it.

Edward, I'm repeating myself, but what do you expect from a short inaugural speech other than a "laundry list" of past and future issues?

IL, you can attempt a flippant topic change, but as a parent with a kid making his way through public school, testing, standards and accountability are very serious issues to me, ones that have been vastly improved over the previous laissez faire, teachers' union-bound administration.

K,

"he would not be able to act as he has."

The issue is he would not be able to act as you think he has.

It seems there was nothing he could ever really do (other than being Gore or Kerry) to make you happy.

tomsyl,

I guess I was hoping there was a single message, like "hope" or "sacrifice" or whatever. I had heard it would be hope and although I heard glimmers of that, it wasn't as inspiring as I had hoped.

Or maybe the Americans that appear to care more about the dictators, terrorists and insurgents than their fellow American soldiers.

smlook,

how on earth did you get that from any of the comments on this thread? How is feeling empathy for 5 children who watched their parents get killed in anyway related to caring about dictators or terrorists or insurgents? You're way off base it seems to me.

Smlook -- I don't think anybody on either side is disputing the factual basis of Katherine's discussion of the Maher Arar case and the related cases. Hell, I don't think the _Administration_ is disputing that extraordinary rendition is occurring and has occurred any number of times under this Administration. So. Extraordinary rendition (sometimes of innocent people) is a fact. The Bush Administration's view that it is legal and an acceptable intelligence-gathering tool is a fact. So which part of it is in Katherine's head? (Oh, and 15 yards for mindreading).

Thanks smlook. I figured most reactions would be along those lines. I'm afraid I can't address your concerns about my factual conclusions unless you're more specific than that, though.

What I'm most interested in reactions from people who've read a fair number of my posts on rendition, believe I've fairly outlined the facts, and agree with at least some of the conclusions--and support the President & are happy he's being inaugurated today. (You are out there, right?)

smlook, well put.

Katherine,

I think that The President believes in the theme and would place Arar and other torturees in the "break some eggs to make an omlette" category. Tragic for Arar, but, in his mind, a necessary requirement.

Katherine asks (posed to Bush supporters)

Asked if he'd ever authorized the transfer or "rendition" of prisoners to countries that practice torture, Bush said he wouldn't answer: "This administration will not talk about intelligence-gathering matters."

Two observations: First, that's not a denial. It's not even a non-denial denial. Second, if that statement is true, it would mean, logically, that all of his assurances about how torture do not apply to "intelligence-gathering matters". This would render those reassurances utterly worthless.

Or it could mean “we won’t talk about intelligence-gathering matters and if it makes our enemies uneasy because we won’t publicly state otherwise, so be it.”

Seriously Katherine, your fifteen minutes on Mahar Arar is up.

Thorley: Or it could mean “we won’t talk about intelligence-gathering matters and if it makes our enemies uneasy because we won’t publicly state otherwise, so be it.”

Except that he wasn't asked about "intelligence-gathering matters" - he was asked about endorsing the torture of suspects. If Bush thinks that torturing suspects is acceptable because he thinks it's part of "intelligence-gathering matters", then all his assertions that he is against torture were lies.

Seriously Katherine, your fifteen minutes on Mahar Arar is up.

Seriously, Thorley, you may prefer not to think (for more than 15 minutes) about an innocent man whom the Bush administration sent to be tortured in Syria - but that's your problem.

tomsyl wrote:

What point -war on terror
-the economy
-Medicare reform
-standards in public schools*
-social security reform
-tax reform
-tort reform
-God bless America
*high point for me
I was actually cringing a little with regards to Medicare reform although being in the health care field; I’ve had numerous conversations with people who are convinced that this has put us on the road towards privatization (which would suit me fine). I’m more optimistic about Social Security reform and health care reform. The economy and government schools aren’t really something that the federal government can or should have much control over. However since Republicans (at least for now) seem to have bought into the idea that the federal government should be involved in education, I’m more apt to support reforms that push for accountability and standards than those that just throw more money at the system.

I think that The President believe in the theme and would place Arar and other torturees in the "break some eggs to make an omlette" category. Tragic for Arar, but, in his mind, a necessary requirement.

We end up releasing most of the people we torture. Most of the people we're detaining in Iraq are captured in mass sweeps. These aren't terrorists we're torturing. They're people who have the bad fortune of resembling terrorists.

We're not breaking eggs here. We're thrashing around a set of broken crockery while the kitchen's on fire.

And Thorley, the sentiment behind your "fifteen minutes" line is repugnant.

Seriously Katherine, your fifteen minutes on Mahar Arar is up.

Your one minute of attempting to abuse the posters who actually make this site worth reading is up. Seriously.

Jesurgislac wrote:

Except that he wasn't asked about "intelligence-gathering matters" - he was asked about endorsing the torture of suspects.

Really now, please provide a transcript of the actual question and the answer.

If Bush thinks that torturing suspects is acceptable because he thinks it's part of "intelligence-gathering matters", then all his assertions that he is against torture were lies.

Except of course no one has provided any evidence to support this contention. Which is not surprising.

Seriously, Thorley, you may prefer not to think (for more than 15 minutes) about an innocent man whom the Bush administration sent to be tortured in Syria - but that's your problem.

Place the word “allegedly” before “innocent,” “sent,” and “tortured” and you might have a true statement.

Wow. Thorley, that was impressively low.

There was an overarching point to the speech. It was freedom.

And in the context of the revelations about abuses in our "intelligence-gathering" methods, some politely phrased questions about what freedom means for a Bush administration are relevant.

We're not breaking eggs here. We're thrashing around a set of broken crockery while the kitchen's on fire.

I was asked to Karnak The President. That your opinion of the progress in Iraq differs from my mind read of his opinion is unsurprising.

Place the word “allegedly”before “innocent,” “sent,” and “tortured” and you might have a true statement.

Not before "innocent". Not in this country.

Thorley,

Aren't you at least slightly worried that some of these stories might be true?

Thorley, if you think torture's fine, you should say so, and defend it. Von, among others, has given ample opportunity for just this sort of discussion.

If you think the Bush administration does NOT have a policy of torture or outsourcing torture, you're free to make that argument, rather than just sniffing at others who have actually bothered to pay attention to this.

If you think the Bush administration DOES have a policy of torture or outsourcing torture, but that it has been EXCLUSIVELY used on those "deserving" of torture (i.e. terrorists), you can make that argument as well, presenting evidence.

All I hear you doing is making snorting noises from afar.

Thorley: Really now, please provide a transcript of the actual question and the answer.

Katherine quoted the question and the answer in her comment on January 20, 2005 04:18 PM. She also provided a link to the interview. What more do you want?

Except of course no one has provided any evidence to support this contention. Which is not surprising.

The evidence of Bush's own words, in the interview that Katherine linked to.

Place the word “allegedly” before “innocent,” “sent,” and “tortured” and you might have a true statement.

Nope. You need to read Katherine's intelligent, detailed, and thorough posts on Maher Arar. (Or, if you don't trust her research skills, repeat her research for yourself.) Until you've done that, you're speaking in ignorance. Maher Arar is innocent: he was sent to Syria by the Bush administration: and he was tortured there.

The personal slam at Katherine, that is.

As for the substance of your comments: Katherine already posted the quoted response up-thread, along with Knight-Ridder's description of the question asked. Were you looking for more? And are you asserting that the truth of the Maher Arar case is still in doubt? If you are, I'd be very interested to hear the support for such a claim...

On preview: What Jesurgislac said.

Jesurgislac wrote:

Katherine quoted the question and the answer in her comment on January 20, 2005 04:18 PM. She also provided a link to the interview. What more do you want?

Actually she did neither. If you actually read the link she provided it doesn’t provide the actual question and answer merely what can at most be considered a paraphrase. Without knowing the context (hence my request for an actual transcript) your speculation that Bush was really hinting that he thinks “torturing suspects is acceptable” is simply wishful and rather repugnant thinking on your part.

ILF wrote:

We end up releasing most of the people we torture

Really now, evidence please. Numbers and/or percentages with sources please.

And Thorley, the sentiment behind your "fifteen minutes" line is repugnant.

No, what’s “repugnant” has been the opportunism of those who keep dragging these allegations up regardless of the topic at hand. I get that this was Katherine’s fifteen minutes of fame in the blogosphere and she’s going to milk it for all its worth but there is nothing new or particularly germane here.

But hey since Edward did say this was an “open thread” it should not surprise anyone that in Obsidian Wings tradition, we revisit this yet again.


Thorley Winston: "Seriously Katherine, your fifteen minutes on Mahar Arar is up."

Besides the fact that, as others have noted, the sentiment behind this is reugnant, this is not your call to make. And if you must make statements that are both vile and out of line, you could at least manage subject-predicate agreement.

votermom: Oh my god. Don't look at today's Suburban Guerrilla

Inaugural Haiku

Bush speaks. Oh my god.
Five freshly minted orphans.
Iraqi Freedom?

Thorley -

1. Presumption of innocence; perhaps you've heard of it. Especially since 1a. No charges were ever filed against him.

2. He was taken into custody by the US and was subsequently transported to Syria via Jordan, nothing "alleged" about it.

So, the only point that could deserve to be termed alleged is the claim of torture. Given Syria's track record, the allegation seems plausible.

Thorley, I'll repeat my question:
Aren't you at least slightly worried that these "allegations" might be true?

And then some follow-up questions.
If you aren't, why not?
If you are, what would ease your mind?
If your mind has been eased, what did it?
If you mind hasn't been eased, how might that make you feel about Bush's speech?

Edward,

Dianne says:

"How about the people who shot them?"

Blame us first

"Or maybe the people who ordered the first group to shoot?"

Blame us first

"Or the ones who ordered all of the above to invade a country on the basis of flimsy excuses?"

Blame us first

"Or maybe the people who voted to reinstate those who ordered the invasion?"

Blame me

And even you:

"wanting to smack our own soldiers upside their heads for this kind of stuff...knowing that in their shoes, I would be lucky to do anywhere near as well...who do you blame when 5 children watch their parents shot dead by American troops?"

Why don't we put the blame where it is really do:

"US soldiers in Iraq approach a car after opening fire when it failed to stop at a checkpoint. Despite warning shots it continued to drive towards their dusk patrol in Tal Afar on 18 January."

C'mon fake surrenders, suicide bombers and the Dad didn't stop. But, no we blame ourselves. It's rather perverse if you ask me.
Are you sure you don't get it now?

Thorley, the "15 minutes" comment was rude. You may disagree with Katherine but that put-down was uncalled for. An apology is in order.

I agree with the person who said you should take von up on the debate offer. It sounds like you have strong opinions, don't believe others are as well-informed on the subject as you, and consider the President to be in the right. I'd be interested to see a detailed interchange like the one von has proposed.

That your opinion of the progress in Iraq differs from my mind read of his opinion is unsurprising.

I would love to hear your opinion on the progress in Iraq, specifically what the state of Iraq will be when the US leaves. Do you think it'll be stable? Do you think it'll be a democracy in any sense that Americans would recognize a democracy? What's going to happen to the terrorists and insurgents there? Will they disappear, will we kill them all, will they pack up and go home? Will the final state of Iraq be conducive to the defeat or the spread of Islamic fundamentalism? On what evidence do you support these opinions?

I don't know your opinion on this. I don't even know what your opinion on the invasion was. But I've asked Sebastian and other pro-war posters on this site to give me an idea why they still support the decision to invade even after seeing Iraq go to hell for the last two years, and I've gotten no response. This isn't snark, this is genuine curiosity and a frustrated desire to understand. What good do you (speaking to the hawks now) think is coming from Iraq? How will this end?

Blame us first

There's a lot of talk about the "Blame America First" crowd from the "Hold America Blameless" crowd.

It appears some among us have put themselves in the unenviable position of trying to defend the torture of innocents and trying to explain and excuse the slaughter of a mother and father in front of their five screaming children.

My sympathies to them and to their ilk.

Thorley: If you actually read the link she provided it doesn’t provide the actual question and answer merely what can at most be considered a paraphrase. Without knowing the context (hence my request for an actual transcript) your speculation that Bush was really hinting that he thinks “torturing suspects is acceptable” is simply wishful and rather repugnant thinking on your part.

Okay. How then do you interpret Bush's response to the question: Asked if he'd ever authorized the transfer or "rendition" of prisoners to countries that practice torture (that is, asked if he'd ever endorsed torturing suspects)

Bush said he wouldn't answer: because "This administration will not talk about intelligence-gathering matters."

Bush was asked if he'd ever endorsed the torture of suspects.

Bush responded that this was an intelligence-gathering matter and he wouldn't talk about it.

In short, Bush sees torturing suspects as "an intelligence-gathering matter".

That's my common-sense direct interpretation of what Bush is reported as having actually said. Your interpretation obviously differs: what is it?

(True, I conclude that Bush approves of "intelligence-gathering matters", and that since he sees torturing suspects as an "intelligence-gathering matter" he does, therefore, approve of torture.... but that seems to me to follow logically from my common-sense direct interpretation of what Bush said. Not "wishful thinking" - I really wish I could believe that Bush & Co do not endorse torture. The world would be a better place if they did not.)

I think smlook makes a good point that, for the immediate situation that led to the tragedy in those pictures, the driver of that car bears the most responsibility, as do those who are perpetrating the kinds of attacks that make moving vehicles such a threat.

That said, the chaos in Iraq today exists because our leaders created the opportunity for it to exist. Even if one supports the idea of the war in the first place, the mistakes, hubris, poor communication, etc. of the administration contributed -- and yet the President has just announced that no one need be held accountable. Those most responsible have kept their jobs or have been given Presidential Medals of Freedom.

There is understandable frustration about that which figures into responses to a story and pictures like those a Suburban Guerilla.

"That said, the chaos in Iraq today exists because our leaders created the opportunity for it to exist."

Yes, many Dem's have undermined the war effort at every opportunity.

Changing the subject here.

One part of the speech that struck me as I listened was his call to "service," which I find in the transcript as:

All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself – and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.

Does this sound like a military recruitment pitch to anyone else? Yes, the next paragraph does address domestic problems, but not with as explicit a call for individual commitment.

How are the military's recruitment and retention rates?

Note to self: Don't bother. The courtesy will not be returned.

So if it weren't for those meddling kids ('scuse me, Democrats), the war would have gone great. Care to back that one up?

I get that this was Katherine’s fifteen minutes of fame in the blogosphere and she’s going to milk it for all its worth . . .

Heaven forfend that you entertain the idea, even for a second, that Katherine is actually motivated by a genuine concern for preventing the torture of innocent people, and for preventing our government from sullying our nation's character, reputation and soul by torturing innocent people. No, she must be driven by the need for attention and admiration from complete strangers on the Internerd. Forget the idea that she might be principled -- principles, after all, are only held by rock-ribbed Republicans like yourself.

Ever heard the phrase "the banality of evil?" It would make a nice caption for your photo.

I get that this was Katherine’s fifteen minutes of fame in the blogosphere and she’s going to milk it for all its worth but there is nothing new or particularly germane here.

Wow. I must say, I'm impressed. You think the only reason someone would care to write about government-sanctioned torture is to get other people's attention? Can you really not come up with any other explanations for why anybody should care?

I know this is a bit like trying to communicate with a Martian in mime, Thorley, but listen carefully: most Americans think that other human beings have inherent worth, and that this inherent worth is such that it shouldn't be dismissed lightly. Tampering with or ending the existence of another human being is a big deal, and torture most definitely falls under that heading. So we care if it turns out that our government is sanctioning torture, especially the torture of innocents. We care enough that it becomes a really important, really big deal.

You may not understand this. You may think that the only possible explanation for anyone to talk about torture in the midst of this sunny and delightful Republican administration is sheer glory-hogging. I invite you to read up on the concept of "unalienable human rights" some time. It may allow you to grasp that another perspective exists.

Opus,

I didn't mean to be rude. I should have been more polite. I'm just frustrated on the Blame Bush for everything crowd while all the obstructionists don't take any blame.

Opus,

I didn't mean to be rude. I should have been more polite. I'm just frustrated on the Blame Bush for everything crowd while all the obstructionists, dictators, terrorists and insurgents don't take any blame.

Smlook: I'm just frustrated on the Blame Bush for everything crowd while all the obstructionists don't take any blame.

Did you ever hear the phrase "the buck stops here"? Do you have a reason for believing that Bush shouldn't have to take full responsibility for the Iraq war? If so, what is it?

Jesurgislac wrote:

Okay. How then do you interpret Bush's response to the question: Asked if he'd ever authorized the transfer or "rendition" of prisoners to countries that practice torture (that is, asked if he'd ever endorsed torturing suspects)

Seriously, what part of “at most be considered a paraphrase” don’t you understand? Your first clue that the article wasn’t quoting an actual question should have been the absence of quotation marks. The fact that they apparently paraphrased a question indicates that at something was missing from what the story provided*.

Like I said, unless you can produce the actual question (in full no abbreviations) that shows the context of what President Bush was answering, this is simply wishful thinking on your part.

* Obvious examples might be asking him if “did anyone from his administration” (like someone in the DOJ’s office) ever authorize something and paraphrasing that as “did he.” Or asking the question in a specific context (e.g. “for the purpose of interrogation”) and removing that context when the story was written. It goes without saying of course that there is a world of difference between sending someone to a country that practices something and sending them there for the purpose of that practice to be carried out.

obstructionists?

name ONE thing the democratic party has done which has interfered in the way that the administration has chosen to prosecute the war!

Francis

"America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave." G.W.Bush 1/20/05

"I know this is a bit like trying to communicate with a Martian in mime, Thorley, but listen carefully: most Americans think that other human beings have inherent worth, and that this inherent worth is such that it shouldn't be dismissed lightly. Tampering with or ending the existence of another human being is a big deal, and torture most definitely falls under that heading. So we care if it turns out that our government is sanctioning torture, especially the torture of innocents. We care enough that it becomes a really important, really big deal." Iron Lungfish 1/20/05

Interesting, if only in a rhetorical sort of way.

Thorley, if we send someone to a particular country (Syria, say) for interrogation, knowing that the way that they often (generally?) interrogate prisoners is via torture, would you say that we are free of all culpability when said someone gets tortured? To put it another way: if we believe that they're not going to torture the person in Syria, why the hell are we sending them to Syria for interrogation?

I don't support Bush's apparent position on torture. Torture is
A) Not that effective;
B) Not necessary;
C) Morally Wrong;
D) Creates Bad Will Causing other problems;
E) Even if you could avoid A-D it is would be completely wrong to use on mere suspects.

I wish we could have a good debate about what is and is not a good and effective interrogation technique, but few people seem interested in that.

How do I live with myself having helped elect Bush? I think that Bush's current position in limited and a sign of insufficient understanding married to laudable zeal. As such I think it will be amenable to 'light of day' and to pressure over time.

I could be wrong.

I hope I'm not.

An admirable sentiment, Sebastian.

Hope is a wonderful thing.

Edward,

it leaves you numb...wanting to smack our own soldiers upside their heads for this kind of stuff...knowing that in their shoes, I would be lucky to do anywhere near as well...who do you blame when 5 children watch their parents shot dead by American troops?

Wowowowow! What's going on here, dude? Who would you blame? Well, who was driving? It's not like this was an honest mistake by our military and they fired at a wrong target. BBC's caption says US soldiers in Iraq approach a car after opening fire when it failed to stop at a checkpoint. Despite warning shots it continued to drive towards their dusk patrol in Tal Afar on 18 January.. Getty News photographer is not disputing that.

As you know,

Even those attending the inaugural parade will go through security checkpoints, according to a Secret Service press release.

What would've happened to that exact car if it tried run those checkpoints? Would you think Secret Service would shoot at the driver?

...and speaking of their ilk...

Guys, don't bother about Thorley, it's not worth it. This was an attempt to understand how people who start from at least some similar premises to me, evaluate some of the same facts the same way as me, and get to a different conclusion. It's those people I get in really long arguments with and who can really get under my skin. Thorley and I do not meet that description, we have next to nothing in common (well, I don't mean that literally, we're both American citizens, went to law school etc., but you know what I mean.) I'm pretty okay with having nothing in common with him and I bet he is too, so additional proof of it does not bother me so much.

Sebastian--fair enough, and thank you very much. I would've voted for FDR and been thankful for the opportunity, and he's committed one sin of omission and one of comission that are worse than any of Bush's that I'm aware of. Obviously I think Bush's plus side compares, er...unfavorably with FDR's but very few people are single issue voters.

What would've happened to that exact car if it tried run those checkpoints? Would you think Secret Service would shoot at the driver?

President Bush was in Tal Afar?

Thorley: Got it. Your view is that since it looks (from the interview) as if Bush is indeed endorsing torture, it's better to assume that he was misquoted. I think that's you engaging in wishful thinking, rather than me, since evidently you find the interview as given to mean exactly what I interpreted it to mean.

Katherine: Guys, don't bother about Thorley, it's not worth it.

Fair enough.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad