Archive for March, 2007

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Where there’s smoke

March 21, 2007

US Attorney Carol Lam, who was prosecuting the Duke Cunningham case, officially notified the DoJ on May 10 2006 that she would be issuing a subpoena to “Dusty” Foggo, the hastily retired number two at the CIA, who had fingers in every military and intelligence pork pie in Washington. The very next day, now hastily retired Kyle Sampson wrote the notorious email declaring that “we have a real problem right now with Carol Lam”, and that Justice should be prepared to axe her the moment her current term ended.

This is what is known as a smoking gun.

On Monday, George W. had reached such a pitch of desperation over Purgegate that he made a speech in which he characterized Karl Rove, a sleaze specialist widely lionized by Republicans primarily for his ability to limbo lower than an earthworm’s belly at the drop of a push poll, as an “honorable public servant”. (Tragically, taping of Hannity’s show had to be delayed for half an hour while the host recovered from a laughing fit.)

This is what is known as a smirking gun.

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Blog comment of the day

March 21, 2007

(Excuse the dearth of posts. Verizon in its wisdom saw fit to leave the household bereft of phone service for several days, but now the lines are humming once again. We take comfort; if NSA had been listening in, they’d have insisted on getting our service restored faster. )

Comment by Republicant this morning on Digby:

The GOP gave us the first actor president. Now we have the first
cartoon president. I have heard rumors that there is a movement¬† to draft a stick figure for ’08.

Though such a draft movement may exist, I personally suspect that George Allen has been sufficiently humiliated for this cycle, and will decline.

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Creative recruitment

March 15, 2007

With these guys, it’s always “Support the troops” and “back the troops”. But it’s never back-support the troops.

A few rotations down the road, when sending injured soldiers back to battle won’t do the trick for them, will they be reduced to making midnight raids on Arlington Cemetery to get the numbers up?

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That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

March 12, 2007

“Who would Jesus torture?”

The answer has always been obvious. But over the last five years, it has grown more and more difficult to hold one’s head erect while admitting to being both an American and a Christian. Through those years, virtually all the self-proclaimed patriots and “Christian leaders” in the national public arena have insinuated that there is no more perfect exemplar of the imitatio Christi than the delightfully manly, almost George-Bushlike, Jack Bauer. A robust approval of torture, and a loyal defense of the torturers, have sometimes seemed at least as central to the catechism of The Faith, American style, as the Incarnation or the Resurrection.

Now, finally, the Christians without the megaphones in hand have spoken. The National Association of Evangelicals has forthrightly condemned the use of torture in the war against terror. Bolder than the United States congress, it has made it clear that it is unacceptable to weasel our way into the practice of torture by passing the buck with renditions; or by excusing some of its forms as merely “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment”, and therefore morally permissible. Unlike every sitting Republican senator, and a third of the Democrats, they have also reached deep into their souls, and found the gumption to take exception to indefinite detentions without charges or trials.

See the LA Times summary here, or the endorsed document itselfhere.

For too many years, the evangelical churches in America have been largely in a state of rank apostasy. Bush regularly placed his whole trust in Mammon and Moloch, and when he did, theologically conservative churches either fell to their knees at his side, or held their silence. It is an inexpressible relief to watch this frail green shoot of spiritual health poking up through the long-scorched earth.

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Cheney’s pre-4/19 mindset

March 6, 2007

I will be out of Internet range until Sunday. Boston seems to have interchanged January with March this year, and some downtime with pelicans, flamingos, Madame Bovary, and Lie algebras will be welcome.

Before soaring trustingly off (Jet Blue can’t be that bad, can it?), I do want to record links to a couple radio interviews with Seymour Hersh about his Redirection article. The first was with Christopher Leyden, and I link it here because I haven’t listened yet, and want to. The second was with Terry Gross, and well worth the listen.

What particularly struck me about the TG interview, definitely not present in the New Yorker article, was Sy’s assertion (paraphrasing here from memory) that, according to several people who knew Cheney well, the Veep is profoundly convinced that the moment Iran gets a few nuclear weapons, it is going to hand off a couple to Hamas, who already have cells in the USA, and they will explode them in major American cities.

That’s a crazily paranoid misreading of the Iranian government’s nature and intent; and Hamas has never historically shown any interest in attacking the US, only Israel. But it fits in with Cheney/Bush’s most central disconnect with the realities of terrorism: they are mired not only in a pre-9/11 mindset, but in a pre-4/19 mindset. For them, nothing whatsoever changed the day the towers went down, except for their sudden ability to use the terror card to get away with anything.

The lesson of September 11th is the same as the lesson of Oklahoma City on April 19: modern technology is an amplifier. It permits individuals to wreak the kind of havoc that once was the province of marauding bands of warriors; and hands to small groups the destructive powers once peculiar to nation states. And the amplifier displays ever greater gain. The day will come – within decades – when biotechnology will permit one bright high school kid to wipe out millions.

But the neocons see all events in the world as state-driven. Richard Clarke told us in Against All Enemies that he was confidently informed (IIRC by Wolfowitz) on September 12 that the previous day’s attack could not possibly have been carried out except under the aegis of a rogue government. The Administration was happy to let bin Laden slip away, because they believed it was only his connection to the “government” of Afghanistan that had made him dangerous. With the Taliban state dismantled, Al Qaeda, which the neocon cabal had never taken seriously, became the merest nuisance. Changing regimes was where the action was.

The new, unique threat comes from small, fanatical actors, who cannot be deterred because they care nothing for self preservation. In the history of the world, I know of no government that has not been deeply committed to its self preservation, and consequently subject to deterrence. With its near-suicidal refusal to grasp any of the realities America is actually facing, the Bush administration may come closest to matching that description.

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Poetry Archive 6

March 6, 2007

In which I continue to inflict my old poems on my readers.

Beaver Street Cemetery

the gay hound, red
as the crest of utter
autumn, thrusts
into the grassy swells.
he swims for dear death
over the green-backed
grave-backed hills.

his mistress threads
memorial paths
unhurried, in a coat
of borrowed red, like
candied apples. she
has visited
these plots on other
afternoons. her shoulders
sag

a litte round
like tops
of graves.

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Another shoe drops

March 5, 2007

The Iran War fife and drum corps has many merry marchers, and so many shoes to drop it rivals Imelda Marcos reincarnated as a millipede. Still, I’d hoped for a longer respite before the next item of confirmation that the new leaf of diplomacy the Administration turned over with Iran was, as I reported last week, only a feint.

Today, Glenn Greenwald notes the installation of Eliot Cohen, neocon war glutton extroardinaire, as State Department Counsel , replacing the loyal but relatively moderate Zelikow. One could read this, I suppose, as the Cheney contingent setting its saboteur in place to hold Condi in check, the way Abrams and Bolton were slipped in under Colin Powell to rein in his weak-sister tendencies. More likely, they suspect Condi of no such wimpiness; they just want someone they can depend on to shepherd through atrocities that even Condoleezza might balk at briefly, were she to learn of them. They could count on her in the long run, but they don’t want to wait for the Lady Macbeth interludes of “unsex me here”, and “screw your courage to the sticking point” when the bloodiest work is afoot.

Remodeling the CIA, Defense Intelligence, a new stovepiping shop in the Pentagon, the State Department. A lot of late night hammering and sawing. What are they building in there? I’ll tell you one thing, it’s not a playhouse for the children.