There's no other way to describe what the President is proposing with respect to the abominable plans he has to ratify his heretofore unlawful military commission scheme, and to "clarify" American law vis a vis the Geneva Conventions.
With less than two weeks to go, we have a Congress that hasn't passed so much as a single budget appropriation bill, and yet, has time to spend over this wedge issue. Naturally, most Americans will not be told, for example, that prior to the Abu Ghraib photos being published in April, 2004, all American troops captured in Iraq were returned alive; since that time, many have been executed, often by beheading. We're just told of the barbarities of them, the demonous "other", without any context of, say, our own arguable complicity (i.e. barbarity and disrespect.)
Moral authority is ultimately an infinitely more powerful weapon than cruise missiles, long range bombers and air craft carriers, especially when the cooperation of the local populace is a necessary part of the mission. Of course, moral authority is far less expensive than the weapons, but then, moral authority doesn't give revolving door jobs to bureaucrats, or kickbacks to government officials. And hence, our leadership has squandered it, thinking it of no value.
Now, the President is asking Congress to join him and up their stake from having done little or nothing to check his moral reprobation to affirmatively ratifying, and hence joining it. Some Republican members of Congress, particularly in the Senate, uncomfortable with what they know will be the inevitably adverse consequences to our own personnel (as if torture itself weren't a moral abomination that was never-- as in NEVER, EVER-- justified for any reason, and btw, is a lousy means of acquiring useful intelligence) have indicated that they would oppose the President on this. We'll see if they continue to hang tough, and/or if Harry Reid and the Democrats can mount a successful defense or counter-offensive.
Not how you bet, of course. But it would be nice. It's pathetic (or worse) that there is actually a debate over this nation's attempt to legitimate its own use of torture. But then, 9/11 and the 5 years since have changed everything. And seldom for the better.
I can understand Dubya needing terms like "degrading" and "humiliating" defined for him, being more than one syllable and all, but you would think his advisors could have given him the heads up that these things are verboten...
Posted by Mixter at September 16, 2006 12:48 AM