Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last Call

Looks like Nancy Pelosi's best ally to get a full investigation underway? Guess. Who else would stick their foot in it when the Republicans are feeling cocky? RNC head Michael Steele, that's who.
During a Sunday broadcast, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, in the midst of attacking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for accusing the Central Intelligence Agency of lying, offered his support for an investigation of the Bush administration’s torture program.

Speaking on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, Steele asserted that Pelosi had “stepped in it big time” when she said the CIA had misled Congress in its briefings on torture techniques approved by the Bush administration.

“I think you have heard a lot of Republicans call for that,” he said. “If this is a door that the Democrats and their leaderships, they have the House and Senate and the presidency, and if they want to expose all this, then let’s put it all on the table and take a closer look at it.”

Somewhere, Dick Cheney just shot his TV/monitor, because that's the LAST THING Republicans really want.

On the other hand, wouldn't a weekly political match-up show between Michael Steele and Joe Biden be the greatest thing ever? At any given moment, at least half of Washington would be screaming "NO YOU IDIOT!" at their TVs.

Kind of like how at least half of America does that now screaming at Washington.

Mitch Dances The Dance Of Brotherly Love

Steve Benen points out that my senior Senator Mitch McConnell likes to do the Mamushka.
Remember when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believed filibustering a president's judicial nominee was just about the worst thing a senator could do? When McConnell was prepared to change the rules, execute the "nuclear option," and declare judicial filibusters unconstitutional?

Well, never mind that now.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that he would not rule out employing a filibuster to block Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee despite having vehemently opposed the use of the parliamentary procedure over judicial appointments four years ago.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Kentucky Republican said that, per the rules of the Senate, "all things are possible" when it came to the vote on Obama's choice for the Court. When reminded that he threatened to resort to the "nuclear option" when Democrats were threatening to filibuster George W. Bush's Court appointments, McConnell largely embraced his 180 degree turn in position.

"The Senate rejected my advice," he reminded host Chris Wallace. "And the Senate is a place that frequently operates on precedent. So I think the Senate deliberately decided not to take a position one way or the other."

It was just four years ago this week that McConnell had a very different perspective.

And of course, nobody around here will call him on it. Certainly no one in Washington will.

But that's Mitch for you. We had our chance to get rid of him last year. As thy sow, so shall thy reap.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

As the President wades through the abortion debate at Notre Dame this afternoon, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters dissects this Josh Gerstein piece at Politico and comes up with this question:
So, is this an honest assessment by Gerstein of growing discontent amongst liberals towards the new President, or a warning to Obama to name a liberal replacement to Souter or risk losing the support of his base?
The answer simply enough is "Both."

When Obama plays the Odubya card, he simply reminds the netroots that in politics, you're either a useful idiot, or just an idiot. As I've said before, Obama's "three steps forward, three steps back" political philosophy means in the end, nothing actually changes.

Hold That Tiger

Some good news in the world today, the bloody quarter-century conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the rebel Tamil Tigers has for now come to an end as the Tigers have surrendered.
The Tamil Tigers conceded defeat in Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war on Sunday, after launching waves of suicide attacks to repel a final assault by troops determined to annihilate them.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the day before, even as combat raged in the island's northeast and the military said it was freeing the last of thousands of trapped civilians.

By midday Sunday, the military said troops had freed all the civilians being held by the LTTE inside an area that was less than a single square km (0.5 sq mile). A total of 72,000 had fled since Thursday, it said.

LTTE founder-leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran's fate remained a mystery, although military sources said a body believed to be his was recovered and its identity was being confirmed.

The LTTE, founded on a culture of suicide before surrender, had shown no sign of giving up. Suicide fighters blew themselves up on the frontline on Sunday morning, and more than 70 were killed trying to flee overnight, the military said.

But by afternoon the military said fighting had slowed, and the pro-rebel web site released a statement from the LTTE's head of international relations saying: "This battle has reached its bitter end."

"We remain with one last choice -- to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns," Selvarajah Pathmanathan's statement said.

Now, as any American can tell you, comes the hard part of living in the peacetime. Obama and the US have a major opportunity to help Sri Lanka recover from this and to assure that war does not break out again in the country, but first there must be a reckoning of twenty five years of war crimes comitted by both sides.

Were that other countries were held to that standard.

And You Shall Know My Name Is The Rumsfeld

Robert Draper is probably best known for the book Dead Certain, an authorized bio of Dubya's '99 campaign and first term. Draper's book left many unanswered questions about the most important 18 months of the Bush's first term, the period from September 11, 2001 to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Today on GQ's web site, Draper gets around to finally dropping that bombshell on the run-up to our war in Iraq.
on the morning of Thursday, April 10, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon prepared a top-secret briefing for George W. Bush. This document, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, was a daily digest of critical military intelligence so classified that it circulated among only a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president; Rumsfeld himself often delivered it, by hand, to the White House. The briefing’s cover sheet generally featured triumphant, color images from the previous days’ war efforts: On this particular morning, it showed the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down in Firdos Square, a grateful Iraqi child kissing an American soldier, and jubilant crowds thronging the streets of newly liberated Baghdad. And above these images, and just below the headline secretary of defense, was a quote that may have raised some eyebrows. It came from the Bible, from the book of Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.” This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31, a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” On April 7, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose, under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable. Several others in the Pentagon disagreed. At least one Muslim analyst in the building had been greatly offended; others privately worried that if these covers were leaked during a war conducted in an Islamic nation, the fallout—as one Pentagon staffer would later say—“would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.”

But the Pentagon’s top officials were apparently unconcerned about the effect such a disclosure might have on the conduct of the war or on Bush’s public standing. When colleagues complained to Shaffer that including a religious message with an intelligence briefing seemed inappropriate, Shaffer politely informed them that the practice would continue, because “my seniors”—JCS chairman Richard Myers, Rumsfeld, and the commander in chief himself—appreciated the cover pages.

But one government official was disturbed enough by these biblically seasoned sheets to hold on to copies, which I obtained recently while debriefing the past eight years with those who lived them inside the West Wing and the Pentagon. Over the past several months, the battle to define the Bush years has begun taking shape: As President Obama has rolled back his predecessor’s foreign and economic policies, Dick Cheney, Ari Fleischer, and former speechwriters Michael Gerson and Marc Thiessen have all taken to the airwaves or op-ed pages to cast the Bush years in a softer light. My conversations with more than a dozen Bush loyalists, including several former cabinet-level officials and senior military commanders, have revealed another element of this legacy-building moment: intense feelings of ill will toward Donald Rumsfeld. Though few of these individuals would speak for the record (knowing that their former boss, George W. Bush, would not approve of it), they believe that Rumsfeld’s actions epitomized the very traits—arrogance, stubbornness, obliviousness, ineptitude—that critics say drove the Bush presidency off the rails.

It gets worse from there, the article painting a picture of a President convinced by everyone around him (and flat-out manipulated by Rumsfeld and Cheney) that he was literally doing God's work by going into Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and trying to liberate the country from the man who tried to kill Poppy Bush.

We most certainly need a full accounting of all the actions of these people. It's not going to magically go away. We're still in Iraq, and we're still in Afghanistan because we got into Iraq instead of finishing the job. These people are inhuman monsters, committing atrocities that must see the light of day if America is ever to be able to move on.

But that doesn't matter of course because Nancy Pelosi doesn't like the CIA.

Frank Rich has much more on this in his NY Times column today. Bush was cynically manipulated by Rummy and Cheney, period...but Dubya must he held accountable for his decisions.

You should be sickened. I know I am. I know that America's soul will never be at peace until this is fixed. Look at these cover sheets and tell me God wanted us to go into Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands for the egos of people in Washington. Go ahead.

Last Call

The question of what Bush, Cheney, Condi, Colin, Rummy, Ashcroft, and Gonzo knew about us torturing people is completely irrelevant to the Village, the Republican Party and apparently President Obama.

All that matters is that Nancy Pelosi has to burn for it because the Village decrees that saying the CIA mislead you is completely and totally worse than authorizing waterboarding dozens and dozens of times.

ITEISATDF: In The End, It Somehow Always The Democrat's Fault (tm). After all, in the battle between Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh on one side and Nancy Pelosi on the other, it's Pelosi who has the credibility problem according to our Liberal Media.
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