Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, February 15th, 2008.


Protection, Projection, Rejection

Bush Administration, Congress, Terrorism, The Constitution

Yesterday the House broke for a week’s recess without renewing the terrorist surveillance authority — the so-called “Protect America Act” — in spite of President Bush’s warnings that failure to renew the act would leave America vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Glenn Greenwald says,

What can one even say about this quote, included in Carl Hulse’s NYT article on the Democrats’ refusal yesterday to pass the Senate’s FISA bill before expiration of the Protect America Act:

    “I think there is probably joy throughout the terrorist cells throughout the world that the United States Congress did not do its duty today,” said Representative Ted Poe, Republican of Texas.

This is the kind of pure, unadulterated idiocy — childish, cartoonish and creepy — that Democrats for years have been allowing to bully them into submission, govern our country, and dismantle our Constitution. Outside of Andy McCarthy, Mark Steyn and their roving band of paranoid right-wing bloggers who can’t sleep at night because they think (and hope) that there are dark, primitive “jihadi” super-villains hiding under their beds — along with the Very Serious pundit class which proves their Seriousness by placing blind faith in the fear-mongering pronouncements and demands of our military and intelligence officials for more unchecked power — nobody cares about adolescent Terrorist game-playing like this any longer. In the real world, it doesn’t work, and it hasn’t worked for some time.

Hindrocket the Power Tool dutifully trots out the standard spin:

Not Serious

About national security, that is. Over the last 36 hours, Congressional Democrats have again demonstrated a casual, even frivolous attitude toward their Constitutional duty to assist in keeping Americans safe from attack.

As Jesus’ General says, expiration of the PAA puts our National Security services in a terrible bind. “It forces our them to partially comply with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.” I feel vulnerable already.

Also this week the Senate passed a bill that would ban torture. Dan Froomkin wrote yesterday:

Who are we as a nation? Are we who we used to be? Did one terrorist attack really change all that? Can it be changed back?

Those, at heart, are the questions raised by the Senate’s passage yesterday of a bill that would ban harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA — a bill already passed by the House, and a bill President Bush has vowed to veto.

The debate is not just about waterboarding. It’s about whether other tactics — such as prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, mock executions, the use of attack dogs, the withholding of food, water and medical care and the application of electric shocks — should be part of our official interrogation toolkit.

Whether you call them torture or not, they are undeniably cruel. They are undeniable assaults on human dignity.

They are all prohibited by the Army Field Manual, which covers all military interrogations. They are all off limits to the FBI. Now Congress wants the CIA to adhere to the same restrictions.

But Bush says no.

The propagation of our values has long been a hallmark of American foreign policy. Chief among those values has been respect for human dignity. But the message we’ve been sending lately is altogether different. How can we tell other countries to respect human dignity when we have made it optional for our own government? When our official policy is that the ends justify the means?

Um, when the Wingnuts took over? Just a guess.

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