Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Friday, June 25, 2004


Headline Watch

Among the difficulties of blogging, in our current news environment, is picking which of the innumerable outrages in any given day bears comment. Choosing is, of necessity, a somewhat random act -- which may introduce distortions of its own.

But hey, I’m just one guy.

That said, however, I wanted to take a slightly different approach this morning – partly to illustrate the problem, and partly to raise the question of why anyone who even opens a newspaper (much less reads some of its contents) can fail to conclude that our current leadership is a bunch of dangerous, lying incompetents.

The following heads (bold)are all from the print edition of today's NY Times. My questions and comments for the Bush administration follow(For some reason, my browser and the Times on-line are not getting along today, so no links to the individual stories):

Attacks in 5 Iraqi Cities Leave More than 100 Dead. And it was so important to create this mess that you had to lie to get us there?

Iraqis, Seeking Foes of Saudis, Contacted Bin Laden, File Says. This is the best you can do? The most damning document is one provided by Ahmed Chalabi, that claims that Iraqi Intelligence agents, back in the early nineties, before there really was such a thing as al Qaeda, contacted Bin Laden and agreed only to broadcast some anti-Saudi propaganda. That is the relationship you’ve been talking about?

Bush is Questioned as Part of Leak Inquiry. Exactly what part of “honor and integrity” requires that your responses regarding Plame affair be offered only with your personal attorney present, and not under oath?

Wolfowitz Offers Apology to Journalists Covering Iraq. (For his earlier claim that “a lot of the press are afraid to travel so much, so they sit in Baghdad an publish rumors.”) Does this mean Dick Cheney will also be apologizing soon, for telling Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor to “Go fuck yourself”? (The Times, unfortunately, couldn’t face up to printing the expletive that was the heart of the story here; instead see the WaPo version.)

House Committee Says C.I.A. is Courting Disaster by Mismanaging its Human Spying – in a report approved 360-61 by the Republican House. Oh yeah, this was part of anticipated bad news that made Tenet suddenly concerned for his family life….

Swiss Say Qaeda Suspects Used Country For a Base. Uh-oh. Does this mean we have to invade Switzerland?

Legal Scholars Criticize Memos on Torture… “and all but unanimously agreed that the quality of legal work in them is poor.” My favorite quote, from Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh: “If the president has commander-in-chief power to commit torture…he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, and to license summary execution.” Now there’s moral clarity for you.

Which may account for the headline just below it, on the same page:

U.S. Seeks a Deal, but Not a Formal Accord, to Shield Americans from Iraq’s Courts. It seems we need to do a little tapdance to allow the new puppet government to save face, while granting to our own thugs and garden variety assholes the immunity they assumed their uniforms gave them. Rule of law? Just asking…

Testimony Ties Key Officer to Cover-up of Iraqi Death. Commander testifies that Col. Pappas, head of Military Intelligence at Abu Ghraib, stood by and watched while a detainee died under interrogation. Good thing that immunity arrangement is working out…

Now: pick a story, pick any story, and rant.


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