Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Friday, January 07, 2005
 
Sick Joke

It seems like some of the American soldiers charged with guarding Iraqi captives at Abu Ghraib regarded them as nothing more than material for sick jokes, and I'm starting to think our Attorney General confirmation is the same. Phillip Carter at Intel-Dump has all the goods: his Washington Monthly article spelling out the relationship between Gonzalez's memo and Abu Ghraib, and Carter's appearance on Talk of the Nation yesterday. From Eric Umansky at Slate's Today's Papers:
That memo also stated that the president has the power to toss aside anti-torture laws. Asked repeatedly whether he still thinks the president can order torture, Gonzales bobbed and weaved, insisting it's not an issue since the president would never do such a thing. Finally, he said, "I guess I would have to say that hypothetically that authority may exist." . . . A Post editorial says Gonzales left an "unmistakable" message: "As attorney general, he will seek no change in practices that have led to the torture and killing of scores of detainees and to the blackening of U.S. moral authority around the world." Not that any of this matters much: Gonzales' confirmation is what the LAT calls "a foregone conclusion;" the paper also suggests the hearings are now done.[Emphasis mine]
Last night on the Daily Show, after mocking the more amusing absurdities of senate confirmation proceedings, Jon Stewart suddenly belted out, "Is anyone going to grill this M-----f---er?" Some Democrats and even Republican Lindsay Graham made a show of it. Patrick Leahy cut to the heart of a problem shared by most of Bush's advisors:
My concern is that during several high-profile matters in your professional career you have appeared to serve as a facilitator, rather than an independent force in the policy-making process. The job of Attorney General is not about crafting rationalizations for ill-conceived ideas.

Senator Biden tried to make it clear that Gonzalez had to pay his dues and answer the committee's questions:
You're in no way -- as you implied to two of the questioners, you're in now way jeopardizing a future case. That's malarkey, pure malarkey.
So we're looking for candor, old buddy. We're looking for you when we ask you a question to give us an answer, which you haven't done yet.
I love you, but you're not very candid so far.
And so please do not use the strawman, "Well, as the future attorney general, I may not be able to comment on what that law means." You are obliged to comment.
Yet all this chitchat doesn't really matter. Gonzelez knows he ain't obliged to do anything. His number one listed qualification is loyalty to the president, and that trumps any sense of obligation to the Consitution. Rumsfeld is still around, and Gonzalez is only getting promoted. The few bad apples---mostly teenagers---are getting hung with the full weight of recent American autrocities. As Seymour Hersh wrung his hands on another Daily Show episode: we all just lay down and let these guys take over the country.

 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
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Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


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