22 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Stick a thumb in a Republicon's eye. Give both middle fingers to the oil companies that prefer perpetual war in the Middle East and destructive drilling in our pristine wilderness areas to changing their business model. Sign MoveOn's petition supporting Al Gore's challenge to change over to 100% clean, renewable energy within 10 years.

I'm actually pretty excited by this. Energy policy usually leaves me with a gargantuan headache, but I'm using Al Gore's speech for Sunday Sensational Science, and instead of bludgeoned I feel energized.



Pun really not intended on that last bit. Blame the 2 hours of sleep I got last night. Anyway, upshot: Gore's challenge is an exciting one, it deserves support, so I encourage you to sign the petition.

And now, on with the day's stupidity.

Here's why I think Gore's right when he says "We can do it!" and the Cons are wrong when they say, "We can't and we don't wanna." It's because they're being forced to sing a Democrat's tune on their centerpiece: foreign policy. And why are they forced to sing like dear little birdies?

Because their entire foreign policy is going down like a bad erection:

Matt Yglesias had a very good item this morning, noting the “debacle” for the Republican approach to foreign policy.

[McCain had] spent, several weeks with the main theme of his campaign being, quite literally, to criticize Barack Obama for not having been physically present in Iraq recently. This (of course) got Obama to go to Iraq, thus setting up a dilemma. Either Obama would survey the “progress” in Iraq and change his position, thus making him a flip-flopper, or else he would refuse to change his position, thus making him obstinate and out of touch with reality.

But instead of either of those things happening, Obama went to Iraq and Iraqi leaders said he’d been right all along! That’s about as close to “game, set, match” as you get in terms of real world events influencing your political campaign. What’s more, given the domestic situation and John McCain’s inability to talk about domestic issues persuasively, he can’t afford to play for a draw on Iraq.

Quite right. David Kurtz added how surprised he is to see “just how
complete the Republican collapse on foreign policy has been in the short span of just a few weeks.” Kurtz noted that it’s “hard to think of any recent historical parallels.”

I’d just add that it goes beyond just Iraq. Over the last couple of months, the entire GOP foreign policy — the strategy, the worldview, the assumptions, the tactics — has crumbled to the point of destruction. The Bush administration bucked the McCain approach and adopted the Clinton policy to reach an accord with North Korea. McCain endorsed Obama’s policy on Afghanistan. Bush established the most direct diplomatic efforts with Iran since 1979. Just today, the administration sounded very Obama-esque in reaching out to Syria, which would have been unthinkable a year ago. Hell, the Bush administration is even distributing memoranda, telling officials to stop
using language such as “jihadists,” “mujahedeen,” and “Islamo-fascism.”

Savor this a moment. While Obama's whirlwind foreign tour goes spectacularly well - so well, in fact, that he's been mobbed by adoring GIs and State Department officials, earned the praise of Iraqi leaders who seem to have found someone who will finally listen to them, and driven around in style by the King of Jordan his own self, the Bush regime's foreign policy has returned epic fail after epic fail. Their policy didn't work. They had to take pages from the despised Dems. And I am going to have enormous fun rubbing that in over and over as the election draws nigh and the Bush erection goes bye.

This would be enough. It would, in fact, be more than enough. But their string of losses this week don't end there. Oh, hell, no.

Remember Hamdan? Osama bin Laden's former driver, the guy the administration was busy torturing and getting ready to parade in front of a kangaroo tribunal until the Supreme Court started making little noises like "Hrm, hrm, your little military tribunals are a sham, you've contravened the Geneva Conventions, and until you shape up you ain't trying nobody"? Yeah. Well. They've finally gotten round to creating a kangaroo court that'll pass as the real thing, and whaddya know, the military judge is actually issuing the Bush regime a sound spanking:

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba. July 21 -- Prosecutors in the trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver cannot use as evidence some statements the defendant gave interrogators because they were obtained under "highly coercive" conditions while he was a captive in Afghanistan, a military judge ruled Monday evening.


Allred's willingness to throw out evidence in a proceeding against an accused al-Qaeda member could bode badly for cases the government expects to bring against planners of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, some of whom were subjected to far more coercive conditions.

Oh, snap! You can't use evidence tainted by dirty methods, Bushie, nuh-uh! That's what they don't show you on all those 24 episodes. Poisoned fruit, baby, yeah!

And for all you law-and-order types in the audience, keep your outrage on simmer: this isn't a case of a cop forgetting to dot an i. This was our government using internationally condemned and extremely illegal methods to coerce piss-poor "intelligence" from a suspect. There's no way crap like that belongs in a court of law. Judge Allred got it exactly right.

So there goes Bush's grand "I'll torture 'em to keep America safe" schlock, sailing out the window right after his entire foreign policy. What else? Oooo, looks like his BFF Great Britain's decided they just can't be friends with a lying fuckwit:

In Britain, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has just issued its Human Rights Annual Report (.pdf). It concluded that America's word can no longer be trusted when it comes to claims about torture, rendition and human rights abuses. From The Guardian yesterday:

Britain can no longer believe what Americans tell us about torture, an MPs' report to be published today claims. . . .

In a damning criticism of US integrity, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said ministers should no longer take at face value statements from senior politicians, including George Bush, that America does not resort to torture in the light of the CIA admitting it used "waterboarding". The interrogation technique was unreservedly condemned by
Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said it amounted to torture.


Today's committee report said there were "serious implications" of the striking inconsistencies between British ministers continuing to believe the Bush administration when
it denies using torture. "The UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future," said the committee. "We also recommend that the government should immediately carry out an exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques on the
basis of such information as is publicly available or which can be supplied by the US."


If Britain -- one of America's closest allies during the Bush era -- is openly proclaiming that it cannot trust the word of our government, then who can? Moreover, Britain has hardly been a standard-bearer of human rights itself over the last seven years. Indeed, while our political class in the U.S. is busy covering-up and immunizing our Government's lawbreaking and human rights abuses, members of both the British Left and Right are joining together to demand investigations into what appears to be compelling evidence that their own intelligence officials abducted British citizens and turned them over to Pakistani security services in order to be interrogated and tortured...

I wonder how it feels to be despised and slapped down by so many courts, countries, and circumstances? Somewhere in that foggy little crust of goo we must, despite compelling evidence to the contrary, call Bush's brain, he's got to be feeling just a little let down by the fact that everything he's ever done has been a complete, epic fail.


Cujo359 said...

I'd already signed that petition to support Gore. I'm not fond of MoveOn, and didn't even vote for Gore. But this issue's important, and they're out there trying to make things better. They deserve the support here.

That HoC report on human rights ought to be a wakeup call. Just last week, a Canadian court ruled that it was OK to accept American deserters there, since there was evidence America has committed war crimes. We don't have better friends anywhere than these two countries.

Things really have gone to shit, haven't they?

Efrique said...

You've got me worried... how do I tell which of my erections are bad?

Efrique said...

On the trials, does this mean that David Hicks should appeal his conviction?

(He pleaded guilty to get a short sentence before he was released to serve time out in Australia, which finished some months back. In his circumstances - having spent something like 5 years in GTMO with the prospect of plenty more - I'd have done the same, guilty or not.)

Cujo359 said...

I'm not a lawyer, Efrique, nor am I all that familiar with the differences between American and Canadian law. I'd have to think that if he still has attorneys that they've looked at this case.