Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ohhhh-oh, The Guns of Nixon

Bush Warns Dems To Take Offer On Firings
A defiant President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to have top aides testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.

Democrats' response to his proposal was swift and firm: They said they would start authorizing subpoenas as soon as Wednesday for the White House aides.

"Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability," said Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Bush said his White House counsel, Fred Fielding, told lawmakers they could interview presidential counselor Karl Rove, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and their deputies - but only on the president's terms: in private, "without the need for an oath" and without a transcript. [emphasis mine]
Does this sound familiar? Vaguely:
April 30: Nixon refuses to hand over the tapes, but provides more edited transcripts to the Judiciary Committee. He appears on national television to announce his decision to release the transcripts. There is public shock at the general tone of the conversations and the foul language used by Nixon and others. The expression "expletive deleted" enters the vocabulary.
A judiciary committee demands access to White House inside information. The Executive refuses, offering instead limited access.

We see two possibilities here:

(1) As with Watergate, the Executive is trying - poorly - to conceal something grievously incriminating. This could be a drastic change for momentum.

(2) As with Iraq, the Executive suspects that the Democrats don't have the stones to push this into a partisan battle, with real blood on the chamber floor. So far Leahy's the only country heard from. Time will tell.

We hope for outcome the first; we fear for outcome the second. Stay tuned.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Loves Big Brother

Forgive us for being slow.

But when the neoconamorata argued so fervently for extraordinary rendition, for lawyerless tribunals and for the Military Commissions Act, they used the "ticking time-bomb scenario" (an absolute fiction, by the way) to justify it. These terrorists hold vital information to the War of Terror, they said. Allowing them to go through the clunky rigmarole of due process will just let their plots unfold, they said.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, having been imprisoned by the U.S. for over three years (after having been snatched, tortured by the CIA, and then deposited quietly in Gitmo), just now confessed to:
1. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

2. The 9/11 attacks, "from A to Z."

3. The shoe bomber operation to down two American planes.

4. A 2002 shooting in Kuwait that killed an American marine.

5. The Bali nightclub bombing that killed more than 180 in 2002.
And twenty-five others, including assassination attempts on Pope John Paul II, President Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

So we now have a benchmark. It takes three and a half years of torture to make a terrorist mastermind confess the details to attacks that have already taken place or never happened. Even when allowed ruthless efficiency and zero oversight, the U.S. government still can't finish on time or under budget.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Looks Like Them Duke Boys Are Up To Their Old Tricks Again

Our man Ioz has been fighting the thankless fight, trumpeting for months now that the Democrats are not America's anti-war party. The actions of Democratic leadership before the Iraq civil war, during the Iraq civil war and now, in the failing days of the Iraq civil war, indicate nothing but a conflicted desire to distance themselves from the war's executors while embracing Middle Eastern war further.

How can we say this? Because the Democrats want to go to war with Iran:
Iran's intransigence demands a firm response from the international community, not just the United States. Make no mistake: keeping the lid on nuclear proliferation, stopping terrorist attacks on U.N. member states, responding to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic threats to destroy Israel -- these are matters of collective security.
What nuclear proliferation? What terrorist attacks? And what plausible apocalyptic threats?

[We'd like] effective diplomacy backed by the credible threat of force, which the United States must supply as a substitute for what will otherwise be a perpetually on-the-brink-of-war conflict between Israel and Iran, alongside the possibility of growing rivalry between Tehran and Sunni Arab states.

The "credible threat of force" is the growing carrier group stationed in the Persian Gulf. The "effective diplomacy" is ... um ... well, what do you say to a regional power that's trying to meddle in the affairs of the same state that you're trying to meddle in?

America comes off looking like the podunk sheriff in this one, sweat glistening through his stubbled chin as he bellies up to your car window. If you jaunt through town with too big of a gun or too fast of a car, he'll do his best to rein you in patronizingly. "Whoa there, son - shootin' the bad'uns is our job. You just go home and lay that silly little head down." But if you keep giving him lip, he'll draw down on you and ask questions later. I swear, judge, I thought that wallet was a gun. I thought that water-filtration plant was a heavy-water uranium reactor. Me and my deputies and my posse and a few of my drinking buddies and the SWAT team just opened fire to defend ourselves in the line of duty.

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