The Torture Tapes

December 8, 2007

The big news is that the CIA has destroyed tapes that may show intelligence gatherers engaged in unlawful interrogation techniques (i.e., torture). To make matters worse, CIA Director Michael Hayden lied and said that the destruction of the tapes was reported to the appropriate congressional committees. Both the chairman and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee have said that the committee was never informed.

What’s to say? The Bush administration has lied and covered something up. Is this really still news at eleven? Y’know, I think I’ll just give the last word to Republican Ed Morrissey (Captain’s Quarters), who writes:

Those who are inclined to shrug this off should rethink their positions. The action of the CIA not only shows disrespect to Congress, the only real check on potential abuse, it may have provided the basis for overturning an important conviction in the war on terror. In a nation based on the rule of law, we cannot allow government officials in positions of power to make up their own rules as they go along. We certainly cannot abide them disseminating false information as Hayden apparently has.

Exactly. Hopefully more Republicans will arrive at this point of view, and hopefully there can be some sort of bipartisan congressional effort to finally check the unprecedented seizure of power by the executive branch. It’s well past time.


President for a Year

November 28, 2007

If you were president for a year, what would you do? Apparently believing that he is faced with the same question, President Bush plans to negotiate a treaty with Iraq that would lead to the withdrawal of approximately 2/3 of U.S. forces by the end of 2008 (H/T: Captain’s Quarters). He also expects the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a peace treaty by the end of 2008. One does wonder why Bush has decided to wait until the last year of his presidency to actually govern.

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Losing Afghanistan

November 26, 2007

As the right continues to insist that we are winning in Iraq despite little supporting evidence, we are quietly losing the war against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Matthew Yglesias and Think Progress both provide commentary on a National Security Council report which admits that we are not meeting our strategic goals in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban is getting stronger even as the Karzai government is weakening.

Why are we losing? There are several reasons. Chief among them is our distraction in Iraq, a distraction that should never have occurred. It’s hard to win one war when the entire nation from the government to the average joe is focused on another. Another reason we’re losing is because – I know this may come as a surprise – the Bush administration is inept. The administration either can’t or won’t deal with the underlying problems in Afghanistan, most of which lead back to Pakistan and President Musharraf’s failed policies.

Until we wrap up in Iraq and redouble our efforts in Afghanistan, and until national attention turns back to winning the real war on terror, we can expect that more of Afghanistan will end up back under the control of the Taliban. This is the real national security issue of our day and it’s one that politicians on both the left and the right need to start focusing on.

Blame America First?

November 26, 2007

Ann Althouse links to a New York Post article in which it is sensationally asserted that “‘Blame U.S. for 9/11’ Idiots” are actually in the majority. Their evidence? A Scripps Howard/Ohio University (OU? Oh Yeah!) poll which shows that 62% believe it’s either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the federal government turned a blind eye to warnings about the kind of attacks that occurred on September 11.

Where do you even start with this? Okay, well, since I have to start somewhere: I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the New York Post equates blaming the Bush administration with blaming the United States in general. When exactly did that happen? Yes, obviously, the Bush administration represents the United States, but that doesn’t mean that it embodies the entire nation. To me, blaming America means blaming our culture or our people for 9/11, which is exactly what ultraconservatives like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell did immediately following the attacks.

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