September 10, 2006

Bush Pushes the Limits

In 2002, we learned from Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, that you don't launch new campaigns during the dog days of August. Well, here we are in the first days of September 2006, and the Bush administration has revealed an audacious campaign, one that has been months and even years in the making.

First, to commemorate and despoil the anniversary of 9/11, ABC plans to present a "docudrama" that can't be reviewed by Democrats or the Clinton administration before the actual airing, but has been broadly viewed by the vast right wing noise machine. This is an astonishingly blatant example of a coordinated swiftboat attack on Democrats and the Clinton administration. America was attacked and who was at fault? Well, in the right-wing paranoid world, it was Clinton and the failed Democratic policies that caused 9/11. In the wacko world of the right-wing, Clinton and the "nervous nellie" Democrats did not take out bin Laden because they were too weak to do the job, whereas George is the paragon of leadership and strength because he shows he's ready to use disproportionate force and is not afraid to play hardball. After all, he knows torture works and uses it to protect the American people (NOT!).

The next major leg of this September campaign is to push Bush's leadership on fighting terrorism and even more boldly show all of us wimps that he and only he will define what is legal behavior when handling terrorists. This was the reason that he brought the high-value prisoners from their secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo and said that now they would be put on trial. But a trial where he will define the rules by getting his pet Congress to authorize his military tribunals. Yet this last ploy is so extreme, even those who have done his bidding before are indicating that they will not go along with his plan. And the military lawyers continue lead the way in making it clear that the choice Bush is trying to force the country to take isn't one of whether we are safer or not, but whether our country engages in civilized vs brutal behavior.

In Congress, Republican leaders said the House would vote on the president’s proposal the week after next, and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Representative Duncan Hunter of California, argued in favor of the administration’s approach in a hearing on Thursday morning with military lawyers.

But the military lawyers argued back. And the Senate Republicans said there were still several areas of contention between them and the administration, chiefly, a proposal to deny the accused the right to see classified evidence shown to the jury.

Brig, Gen. James C. Walker, the top uniformed lawyer for the Marines, said that no civilized country should deny a defendant the right to see the evidence against him and that the United States “should not be the first.”

...President Bush announced his proposal for bringing terror suspects to trial on Wednesday as part of a round of speeches on national security aimed at drawing a sharp distinction between the two parties: Democrats as weak on terror, Republicans strong. The administration created its system of tribunals shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but the Supreme Court struck down those tribunals in June, saying they violated the Constitution and international law.

Senior administration officials said the decision to acknowledge the C.I.A. program, to move the 14 “high value’’ detainees to Guantánamo and to set up a new system for putting them on trial emerged from a committee President Bush established in January, six months before a Supreme Court decision forced his hand on some of those issues.

Included in Bush's legislation are new definitions for the meaning of torture. Yet, Bush should not be allowed to define what is or is not torture because he has already shown he and his administration are incapable of understanding the simple truth that torture is immoral. In Bush's world, the "tough" interrogation methods that he hopes to get enacted in law would codify the right to torture in our laws. Once again, Bush's gambit might be too much because his bold-faced lies about how Americans don't torture - they just use tough interrogation methods - have outraged conservatives like Andrew Sullivan and Chuck Hagel.

Remember: torture is not only not effective, it stains the soul of the torturer more than the person who is tortured.

Posted by Mary at September 10, 2006 01:40 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |