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Tuesday Morning Blues

January 17, 2006

More cheerful news.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. And this man isn’t helping affairs.

This, from a man who called rendition a "no brainer". (HT: Pajamas/Registan)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. FecesFlinger (Timmy C) permalink
    January 17, 2006 3:25 pm

    Hey Count:

    How does Gore’s speech hurt things relating to Iran?

    Also, to be clear, you implied Gore was being hypocritical about approving “extrordinary rendition” as a “no bainer” and implied that his current criticism of this practice was counter to his previous statements.

    I’m not sure that holds water: The Richard Clarke quote was about snatching terrorsist suspects from other countries and bringing the TO the US.

    It was not referring to the practice of taking “enemy combatants” and EXPORTING THEM them FROM the US soil to countries that practice torture.

    On the same wikipedia article you linked to it quoted former CIA agent Bob Baer, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.

    That seems VERY different that what Clarke recommended and Gore supported of a “snatching” of terrorists abroad.

  2. Count Grecula permalink
    January 17, 2006 4:17 pm

    Tim-
    Great questions. Obviously, I did not intend these links to be a detailed argument – and it may not be. Fair enough. Let me fill in some blanks:

    There’s about to be some very serious stuff going down with Iran in the coming year. We don’t need another bullshit impeachment trial why we are at war in two countries and trying to fend of war with a third. Gore does nothing but confirm that in the age of global terrorism, he is concerned more about the partisan politics than winning the war. George Bush and Conservative Christians seem to me more a worry to him than Islamist terrorists.

    Many of the policies he critizises the President for, including rendition to foreign countries, were started under his administration. Now that we are at war, some of those policies have been implemented more often, or more vigously. This point seems to be lost on Gore and much of the Democratic leadership.

    Nothing George Bush has done “threatens the foundation of Democracy”. A defeated presidential canditate who has for 5 years advocated the idea that this administration is illegitimate, does threaten Democracy. A leader like Iran’s President aremed with nukes threatens Democracy, and a whole lot more.

    You are right that my hastily chosen quote is not exactly spot on. I’ll try to be more careful. I do think it shows that stuff like internantional law really needs to be subject to the needs of the United States at times. I know that sounds extreme, but that is the reality of leading the United States. Gore knows this and ought to STFU.

    Further more, Gore, among others, took yesterday as an occasion to again smear the President, in the most insane way: by comparing the wiretapping of MLK with the current NSA scandal.

    I understand the absolutist logic that wiretapping is wrong in all circumstances. I disagree. I also am completely floored that this comparison essentialy equates the threat of MLK and associates with suspected terrorists.

    When Vice President Cheney famously noted that if the Democrats win, we will be hit again, this is the kind of nonsense he was talking about. Thank God the grown-ups are in charge. For now.

  3. FecesFlinger (Timmy C) permalink
    January 18, 2006 5:49 pm

    Count:

    Before thinking more about your other points:

    Are your sources better than mine on this?:

    You wrote:

    “Many of the policies he critizises the President for, including rendition to foreign countries, were started under his administration.”

    My understanding is that under Clinton/Berger/Clarke the policy was NOTHING like the policy is today under Bush’s efforts. Night and day.

    Back then…

    Very focused, only on Al Queda
    Suspects HAD to have a warrant for their arrest or be charged with terroism in abstensia.
    US citizens would be under due process
    If the suspect was wanted in the US, he would stand trial here, if he was wanted in other countries, he would be rendered to them for trial.
    Was NOT used as INTEROGATION, but as PROCCECUTION. It got terrorists off the street and into the jusitice systems of the US or of other countires. Primarily Egypt.

    Now…

    Seemingly widespread. Hundreds rendered?
    No warrants appear necessary anymore
    Subjects Rendered to a wide range of countires including Syria and Usbekisan, who are much crazier than Egypt is even on a bad, bad day.
    We now hold prisoners — including US citizens — as “enemy combatants” indefinitely and with no trial, no lawyer often on foriegn soil and secret prisons.
    Rendition became a form of INTERROGATION not just PROSECUTION… It appears we send folks there now IN ORDER to be tourtured for information, not just to be prosecuted.

    The “Clinton did it,too” defense — or in this case the “Al Gore is a hypocrite on rendition” — defense doesn’t seem to hold up to me on this one.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but those two policies seem light years from each other to me.

    More on the other more central points you raised later…

    Timmy C

  4. FecesFlinger (Timmy C) permalink
    January 19, 2006 5:12 pm

    Count:

    Good to see you back, hope the trip was fun.

    I’d want to clarify one thing:

    You wrote:

    “I understand the absolutist logic that wiretapping is wrong in all circumstances. I disagree.”

    I’m with you on that, and I think Gore is too: the issue is not against wiretapping of US citizens suspected of Al Queda connectionse. We’re ALL FOR THAT.

    The issue is about UNWARRANTED wiretapping that has no checks and balances from the Judicial branch. Big, big, big dif.

    (Especially when the Judicial branch — FISA — offers instant wiretaps and retroactive warrants up to 72 hours later)

    Anything else I’d add to things about the Gore speech are better put with two quotes from other people:

    First, from political moderate David Broder:

    “But even after discounting for political motivations, it seems to me that Gore has done a service by laying out the case as clearly and copiously as he has done. His overall charge is that Bush has systematically broken the laws and bent the Constitution by his actions in the areas of national security and domestic anti-terrorism. He is not the first to make that complaint. My e-mail has included many messages from people who have leaped far ahead of the evidence and concluded that Bush should be impeached and removed from office for actions they deem illegal.

    Gore stops well short of that point and contents himself with citing the cases that cause many others concern

    Gore is certainly right about one thing. When he challenged the members of Congress to “start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you’re supposed to be,” he was issuing a call of conscience that goes well beyond any partisan criticism.”

    And second from pro-war author Chris Hitchens:

    We are, in essence, being asked to trust the state to know best.

    What reason do we have for such confidence? The agencies entrusted with our protection have repeatedly been shown, before and after the fall of 2001, to be conspicuous for their incompetence and venality.

    No serious reform of these institutions has been undertaken or even proposed: Mr George Tenet (whose underlings have generated leaks designed to sabotage the Administration’s own policy of regime-change in Iraq, and whose immense and unconstitutionally secret budget could not finance the infiltration of a group which John Walker Lindh could join with ease) was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    I believe the President when he says that this will be a very long war, and insofar as a mere civilian may say so, I consider myself enlisted in it.

    But this consideration in itself makes it imperative that we not take panic or emergency measures in the short term, and then permit them to become institutionalised. I need hardly add that wire-tapping is only one of the many areas in which this holds true.

    The better the ostensible justification for an infringement upon domestic liberty, the more suspicious one ought to be of it. We are hardly likely to be told that the government would feel less encumbered if it could dispense with the Bill of Rights. But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons.

    It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-hitchens/what-reason-do-we-have-to_b_13985.html

    FF

    (Timmy C)

  5. Duke Ray permalink
    January 20, 2006 2:57 pm

    Good discussion, folks. 2 comments:

    1) Agreement w/ the Count: As much as I like to refrain from ad-hominem attacks…. Al Gore is a nutjob who scares me.

    2) Agreement w/ Feces Flinger Timmy C:

    >

    This last point is the issue which most pointedly needs to be addressed by the Administration and Congress. While it seems there may be too much hand-wringing going on about these wiretaps when one examines WHO was actually wiretapped (an increased number of wiretaps in a time of an increased threat does not inherently trouble me), I join those who ask this simple question of the Bush administration:

    How in the world are 72 hour retroactive warrants NOT good enough tools in spying on potential terrorists?

    There may be a good answer, but it needs to be articulated clearly and convincingly — or else there needs to be reform either to the Admin’s practices or to the text of the Patriot Act.

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