Wednesday, August 29, 2007

re: Iran

It is possible that much of what is going on is bluster and is intended for its diplomatic and political effect rather than signalling an actual imminent attack. But its worth pointing out at this time that our Constitution was specifically written to make this kind of posturing and threatening impossible. Not only was the power to make war specifically entrusted to the lower house so that such decisions would be made by those closest to the people but military appropriations were specifically limited to two years so that the executive could not feel that he had an army at his disposal to do with as he saw fit.

The founders understood human nature and were afraid of what would happen if these guidelines were not adhered to. It appears they were dead-on.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I can't let this slide.....

Dissecting Greenwald

Even though I am supposedly a member of the Very Serious People (VSP) Foreign Policy Community (FPC) I feel obliged to say that I don't agree with any of these sentiments (well except for the part about America being "inherently good.")

In case you can't tell, I have a REAL problem who anyone says that the US is inherently good. We may indeed be a force for good. We may indeed be a model for the world. But these qualities aren't "inherent". We have to work for them. And that we have to work for them suggests that we can fail. America's goodness is not inherent. Anyone who suggests that it is, is being morally lazy at the very least.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A truly excellent example of truly lousy news coverage

LA Times

I just encountered this tonight but it does provide an excellent example of how news coverage can totally distort a situation by insisting on he-said/she-said construction.

a verdict that follows a long legal battle that pitted the Bush administration against civil liberties groups over how terrorism suspects are detained and should be prosecuted.


The conviction of Padilla, 36, and two codefendants was a boost for an administration that had received sharp criticism for holding Padilla as an "enemy combatant" for 3 1/2 years without due process until the courts insisted he be charged with a crime or set free.

The government's success in the Padilla case could now encourage officials to bring other enemy combatants into federal courtrooms.

"This clearly shows that in some cases, yes, the process can handle it," Morford said. "You have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. And these particular charges did work in a regular criminal trial."

Donna Newman of New York, Padilla's initial attorney who fought for months just to get a lawyer-client meeting with him, agreed, saying the administration was wrong not to "trust the courts" for so long.

"I don't necessarily agree with the verdict," she said. But in the future, "the government should be hard-pressed to say the [criminal justice] system doesn't work. It shows you can bring forth the evidence and try someone in court."

But Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said the jury's decision was not a blanket approval of how the administration had dealt with terrorism defendants.

"This verdict, if it stands, cannot be seen as an endorsement of a regime of unreviewable executive detention," he said. "President Bush should not take today's ruling as permission to continue to hold Americans outside the law at his whim."

If, as has been argued, the guilty verdict proves that the Criminal justice sytem CAN deal with terrorist cases then how is the conviction a boost for the administration which has insisted all along that it cannot? The answer is of course that it isn't and this particular reporter is full of malarky.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Don't forget...we were insane.

While I'm not going to sit here and exclaim that 9-11 changed everything, I will point out that it did make a lot of people who were reasonably secure suddenly feel helpless. There was a lot of importance to the idea that we DO SOMETHING even if what we did didn't bear any particular relationship to the causes of our discomfort. Whenever the subject comes up, I always like to remind people what happened to the Dixie Chicks. The reaction to Natalie Maines's comment can be described many ways but rational is not among them.

We were led into Iraq because at the time we were ready to be led anywhere and Bushco saw an opportunity in our confusion. To this day, they're still trying to exploit the confusion (see AQ vs AQI) but we're slowly waking up and people aren't buying it anymore.