Sunday, July 16, 2006

And There Was Light...

Someone at the NY Times has finally turned on the lights. After five years of stenographically reproducing whatever the Emperor wanted printed, the "paper of record" has decided that what the Emperor wanted printed did not bear any relationship to truth or reality. In today's longish editorial, the Times finally sets forth what is actually going on in this country.

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.

...To a disturbing degree, the horror of 9/11 became an excuse to take up this cause behind the shield of Americans’ deep insecurity. The results have been devastating. Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled. The nation’s image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret. American agents “disappear” people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at Guantánamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.
[Emphasis added]

I do have one dispute with the editorial, and it is no mere quibble. I do in fact question " the determination of the White House to fight terrorism." One need only look at the bizarre formulae for allocating homeland defense funds in this country, or realize that the CIA group charged with finding and capturing the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attack has just been disbanded, or consider the debacle of the Iraq invasion and its aftermath to come to the only conclusion possible: the regime has never been bent on thwarting terrorism. Terrorism has been a convenient excuse for the ravaging of the US Constitution. None of this administration's policies and actions have been about fighting terrorism, only the usurpation of power.

That's how tyrants operate.

And those are grounds for impeachment.


Anonymous DanM said...

Hear, hear! Well said. And I, too, did a double-take at the "No one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism" line. I guess there are a few more scales left to fall from the NY Times' eyes.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Nora said...

I think the "no one doubts" line is a throwaway, designed to appease the critics, the people who think it's all about Bush-bashing, or the people who (and I assume there are some) think that the President is a decent human being and shouldn't be unduly insulted.

If he was committed to fighting terrorism, 9/11 wouldn't have happened. Period. None of this bullshit would have occurred. Someone serious about fighting terrorism would have used the post 9/11 world sympathy to hunt down the perpetrators and to work with other countries to destroy the conditions that give rise to terrorism.

While I don't think it's a perfect document, I do think that the recommendations made in the 9/11 Commission Report would be a good place to start if one were serious about fighting terrorism. And exactly how many of those recommendations has the Bush Administration adopted? I think the one about concentrating intelligence in one agency is about it.

6:41 PM  

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