Sunday, September 24, 2006

"To show that [he] can."

Paul Krugman on the torture issue:

So why is the Bush administration so determined to torture people?

To show that it can.

The central drive of the Bush administration — more fundamental than any particular policy — has been the effort to eliminate all limits on the president's power. Torture, I believe, appeals to the president and the vice president precisely because it's a violation of both law and tradition. By making an illegal and immoral practice a key element of U.S. policy, they're asserting their right to do whatever they claim is necessary.


The fact is that for all his talk of being a "war president," Mr. Bush has been conspicuously unwilling to ask Americans to make sacrifices on behalf of the cause — even when, in the days after 9/11, the nation longed to be called to a higher purpose. His admirers looked at him and thought they saw Winston Churchill. But instead of offering us blood, toil, tears and sweat, he told us to go shopping and promised tax cuts.

Only now, five years after 9/11, has Mr. Bush finally found some things he wants us to sacrifice. And those things turn out to be our principles and our self-respect.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More proof that "justification" for the Iraq war is a lie

Recently Brigadier General Mark Scheid, chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11, and one of the people with primary responsibility for war planning was interviewed. Scheid said that Sec Def Donald Rumsfeld threatened to fire any planner who even mentioned a plan for occupying Iraq after the overthow of Saddam.

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."

As Kevin Drum says, "The guy who was actually in charge of logistics has now directly confirmed that Rumsfeld not only didn't intend to rebuild Iraq in any serious way, but threatened to fire anyone who wasted time on the idea. Needless to say, he wouldn't have done this unless it reflected the wishes of the president."

And from Drum:

"And this also means that all of Bush's talk about democracy was nothing but hot air. If you're serious about planting democracy after a war, you don't plan to simply topple a government and then leave.

"So: the lack of postwar planning wasn't merely the result of incompetence. It was deliberate policy. There was never any intention of rebuilding Iraq and there was never any intention of wasting time on democracy promotion. That was merely a post hoc explanation after we failed to find the promised WMD. Either that or BG Scheid is lying."

There you have it. No intent to bring Democracy to Iraq.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What is "Islamo-fascism"?

I don't often agree with Pat Buchanan. I don't often agree with Greorge Will, either. But these two pundits at least have a conservative integrity sorely lacking in the likes of Bush cultists like Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, and O'Reilly.

Pat Buchanan wrote an op-ed piece called "Bush should drop 'Islamo-fascism'. This is a very pertinent column and speaks to why it is a nonsense term trotted out to rile the base. You should read the whole thing here and here are a few choice snippets [all emphasis added]:

There is no consensus as to what "fascism" means...

As a concept, writes Arnold Beichman of the Hoover Institution, "faschism" ... has no intellectual basis at all...

Their goal is to have Bush stuff al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran into the same "Islamo-fascist" kill box...

But Hussein was about as devout a practitioner of Isam as his hero, Joseph Stalin, was of the Russian Orthodox faith...

And whatever "Islamo-fascism" means, Syria surely is not it. It is a secular dictatorship Bush I bribed into becoming an ally in the Gulf War. The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Syria...

America faces a variety of adversaries, enemies and evils. But the Bombs-Away Caucus [Buchanan has a way with words!], as Iraq and Lebanon reveal, does not always have the right formula. Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all present separate challenges calling forth different responses...

And once a guerrilla-terrorist movement takes over a state, it acquires state assets and interests that are then vulnerable to U.S. military and economic power.

Why did the ayatollah let the American hostages go as Reagan raised his right hand to take the oath of office? Why did Syria not rush to the rescue of Hezbollah? What [sic] did Ahmadinejad not rocket Tel Aviv in solidarity with his embattled allies in Lebanon? Res ipse loquitor. The thing speaks for itself. They don't want war with Israel, and they don't want war with the United States...

If Bush does not want a war of civilizations, he will drop these propaganda terms that are designed to inflame passions rather than inform the public of the nature of the war we are in, and the war we are not in.