Protection, Projection, Rejection

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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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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Chief  •  Feb 15, 2008 @10:37 am

    In my mind it does not make a bit of difference whether we torture/kill 10 or 200. When we do that we are no better than the Germans that sent 6 million to their death at Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and other death camps or the Japanese rape of Nanking.

    Scale has nothing to do with it. If the citizens allow it, they are sliding down (Germany/Japan reached the bottom) a slippery slope.

  2. fallenmonk  •  Feb 15, 2008 @10:44 am

    It’s times like these when you start to have some hope that the Dems are actually going to start standing up to the Shrubbery. I hope this is not just a teaser and we are beginning to see the change in course we so badly need.
    Not to mention how much fun it is to watch the wingnuts foam at the mouth.

  3. Swami  •  Feb 15, 2008 @12:18 pm

    Is there such a thing as a decent SS man, or a decent Klansman?
    What about a decent American?..Yes there is. My solution is to separate myself spiritually from what America has become, and view myself as an American in purely geographical terms.. this way I can still claim to be a decent American.

    Bush is such a bottom feeder in the realm of spiritual value. He can’t even begin to understand the damage he’s done to America. It’s stupidity at its apex..kill the chicken to get the egg.

    The boy who cries wolf is now saying that a terrorist attack is on the horizon that will make 9/11 pale by comparison if we don’t agree to give absolution to the telecom companies who violated the law by being complicit in Bush’s trampling of the constitution.

  4. moonbat  •  Feb 15, 2008 @12:43 pm

    When wingnuts wet their pants and foam their mouths over how Democrats are leaving America unprotected, the best response is to simply laugh at their foolishness. When the normative response to these idiots becomes ridicule instead of cowering in fear, you’ll know the Democratic Party has (finally) arrived.

  5. Michael  •  Feb 15, 2008 @12:55 pm

    There used to be an eighth amendment to the US constitution.

  6. joanr16  •  Feb 15, 2008 @1:11 pm

    Hmm… let’s see… checking the news for the latest suicide terror attack on American soil.

    Ah, here we go. Yet another grad student, off his meds and armed to the teeth, commits mass murder on a university campus.

    Straining for gnats while ignoring the camels (or however that goes); that’s the nation we’ve become. We can have all the freakin’ guns we want, since the gun will bygod solve all our problems. But freedom from government spying? No way.

  7. kuvasz  •  Feb 15, 2008 @1:27 pm

    whenever was US foreign policy not “the ends justify our means?”

    it is not true that this started with george bush, it has always been the command of the day. all one needs to do is look at our direct past to see it in full fledge.

    the question i ask is why now is this being discussed with such breathless import? the US murdered thousands in central america in the ’80s, mined the harbors in Nicaraqua, lost the case in the world court, but i never saw anyone protesting much about it. so while it is good that finally some folk have gotten off their asses and begun to criticize such actions, they are decades late to the show, and their past silence did nothing more than enable the current crowd in washington to sneak closer to the edge.

    old dan froomkin is merely a propagandist who weaves a past out of self-delusional threads.

    instead of pointing his finger at those big bad guys now he ought to take the time to consider how our national silence about this in the past acted as the midwife for what we find repulsive today.

  8. felicity  •  Feb 15, 2008 @1:38 pm

    Why, oh why do we have a Military Code of Justice which includes detailed rules of interrogation – no torture in other words – which no torture-happy rightie is questioning and another ‘code’ – torture to your heart’s content – which righties constantly defend as necessary? Do they realize that if some evil-doer happens to end up in the custody of the military not only will we get no info from him today, he’ll live to blow us up tomorrow? Why aren’t they shaking in their sadistic boots over that possibility?

    All non-sadistic congressmen are asking is that the spooks etal be made to follow the military’s interrogation rules.

  9. MNPundit  •  Feb 15, 2008 @2:52 pm

    I can easily be convinced Bush would allow a terrorist attack he could prevent simply to score political points.

    Will he? I’m worried.

  10. Bulworth  •  Feb 15, 2008 @3:05 pm

    Hindrocket must have missed McConnel’s NPR interview where he basically gave away the game, upchucking the fact that the most recent FISA dispute is all about amnesty for the telecoms. Strange forthrightness from this administration. But they’re Very Serious.

  11. Swami  •  Feb 15, 2008 @4:26 pm

    the question i ask is why now is this being discussed with such breathless import?

    The availability of the internet, maybe? I’m sure had the internet been around in the 1850’s we’d be actively blasting the Dred Scott decision.

  12. tech98  •  Feb 15, 2008 @5:47 pm

    Send a package of Depends and a baby pacifier to Representative Ted Poe, Republican of Texas. You’d have to be a small child or a Texas Republican to fall for such crap.

  13. Doug Hughes  •  Feb 15, 2008 @6:56 pm

    Bulworth – good point which the Democrats should be hitting HARD in all interviews. FISA is all about protecting telecoms who broke the law. One question that should be asked – how many pieces of silver did they accept to sell out their customers? Second question – WHICH customers did they sell out? Because I am not at all convinced that the spying was limited to international calls.

    Kuvasz – I understand the question ‘where were you when..’ I have wondered where the students were for nearly the last 3 elections – that are now mobilizing in this election. Where was the free press (being led by the nose, like idiots) BUT – I salute the press to the new revalation – I laud the bloggrs new and old and the voters – I love young voters who are becoming active and informed. A lot of evil might have been prevented if they signed on a decade ago, but they are here now, and I won’t say anything that can’t be interpreted : WELCOME!

  14. joanr16  •  Feb 15, 2008 @7:45 pm

    Jeez, better late than never, I say.

  15. Sachem  •  Feb 16, 2008 @12:03 am


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