Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bush's Speech: Congress, Tell Me How to Wage War, Thanks Supreme Court

Update: Jeff Goldstein's post about the speech and those who oppose it is delicious. Please go read it! Here's a teaser.

Yesterday, President Bush made essentially this same argument. He noted that “outrages upon personal dignity” was entirely too vague and easily exploitable, and could—in the Bizarro World of the anti-war left and civil liberties absolutists—culminate in a suit being filed by a terrorist against his captors (who, it should be noted, had every legal right to shoot him dead, but no legal right to, say, brush a pair of perky female nipples across his back, or open a bag of pork rinds in front of him).

Sullivan characterizes this as a gambit to “legalize torture” and despairs that those who secretly wish they could vote against such legalization won’t be able to now, because politically they would see doing so as a liability.

In other words, voting their consciences might lose them an election—and when the choice comes down to a vote between conscience and appearance, the people Sullivan wishes us all to vote for will of course choose appearance and sacrifice principle.

Talk about fathomless cynicism.

Listen: we know—and have known for years—where exactly the adminstration stands on fighting what it has told us will be a protracted war that needs to be waged on many fronts. SCOTUS has made it necessary for Congresspersons now to lay their cards on the table with respect to where each of them stands on how far we should be willing to go to gather the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks, and the President has forced the issue.

The speech was a pary in the slap-fight started by John McCain. You can thank Senator McCain and the Supreme Court, "The New Juristocracy" according to Andrew McCarthy, for the place the U.S. finds itself in-- attempting to capture terrorists, not harm them in any way even if it means America is attacked, try them in American courts with all the procedures and rights, and scumbag lawyers in on state secrets, and attempt to shield soldiers from being brought to court by the same "wronged" terrorists.

A blatant political piece of legislation by McCain--who in their right mind is against "torture"?--hamstrings the war effort. Terrorists, not bound by any law in their warring, get all the benefits of the Geneva Convention, Article 3 because the U.S. must abide by it thanks to McCain. I wonder: Will any soldiers or civilian workers captured and beheaded with a butter knife by terrorists wearing khakis and polos representing the State of Their Own Demented Religion (not uniformed soldiers in any sense of the word) file suit against them for violating Article 3? And where shall they file? Iraq? Afghanistan? Egypt? Saudia Arabia? Pakistan? Iran? Syria? Al-Qaedaistan?

This is the insanity that Congress and the Supreme Court have foisted on the President during this what--skirmish? conflict? ugly little period of history? inconvenient kerfluffle? What are we fighting here? Nothing?

According to Wonkette and the AP, the focus should be on the fact that "secret prisons" exist. You're kidding me, right? You are worried about secret prisons and Guantanamo Bay instead of the fact that our country has it's flank exposed due to legal wranglings and Congressmen intent on serving themselves?

Bush's frustration was apparent throughout the speech. Those in the press and in the courts have the luxuries of not being privy to what Bush knows is happening. Let me see if I can get this right? We bring these guys to court, reveal the evidence, and then the press and the Judiciary can judge for themselves whether soldiers, generals and the President are handling the war effort to their standards. That's the way to win, no doubt about it.

The problem is fundamental: who do we declare war against? The whole middle east save Israel? This is not a conventional war, with conventional battlefields. But it is a war. Even if it's pretty to think it's not.

David Frum says:
.. the most effective thing he's done this year. Rule number one of political communication:
Nothing speaks for itself. Leaving American policies undefended means leaving them to be misunderstood, mischaracterized, misrepresented.

The case the president made today was compelling. It is also horrifically late. And I'm sorry to say that leaving it till now - and finally calling for a congressional statute on the treatment of detainees 60 days before a congressional election - exposes the administration to charges of playing politics.

Well OK: who doesnt play politics? It's a relief at least to see the administration belatedly playing politics adroitly.

I agree: the right words, too late.

What a mess Ameria finds herself in: trying to impose civility on ourselves while fighting an enemy most decidedly uncivilized. We are, in this war, not unlike the Redcoats fighting the American during the Revolutionary War--trying to follow previously held notions of a gentleman's war against men who are not obliged or inclined to hold to those notions.

As history shows, that is a great way to lose a war.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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