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Hmm. . .


The papers (like the NY Times) continue to be full of accounts of at least a couple years worth of legal memornada writing by the Bush administration trying to rationalize how torturing detainees wouldn't REALLY violate U.S. law or treaty obligations.


Then Bush starts parroting a response that everybody was ordered to keep their activities strictly within the law. Except, of course, they've spent the last two years writing memos to each other to convince themselves that their interrogation methods and program WAS within the law! So with all those memos for cover, they felt perfectly safe going ahead and torturing detainees!


Talk about whistling in the dark! This won't save the administration from possible prosecution at home or abroad. War crimes are war crimes, and U.S. presidents can't exempt themselves from following the law, even in wartime (the Supreme Court gave Harry Truman a bitter blow on this very topic when he tried to invoke WWII as an excuse for breaking a steel strike). Foreign reporters kept asking Bush the hard questions today at the G-8 meeting, and our simian president was sweating under the lights. He's not used to being asked hard questions! But there are going to be more and more of them coming. And at least one civil lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of detainees against the corporate civilian contractors who acted as interrogators. Very clever, because you can just bet the bank that their defense is going to be "we were just following orders, it was part of our contract" and they're going to be detailing exactly where they got their orders!!!


On the one hand, it makes me gleeful to think of this entire scummy crew standing trial and rotting in jail somewhere, but it also makes me heart-broken that this same scummy crew has brought the U.S. to such a low point in its history, and managed to drag so many low-level military personnel into the whole sordid story. Of course, I feel just as badly for the innocent detainees, themselves, who had to go through such indignities at U.S. hands. (Some, of course, aren't innocent, but there still isn't any justification for torturing them.) And I'm just sickened by the hatred and loathing of the U.S. that our idiocy has fostered in so much of the world. In spite of everything, including the phony excuses for invading Iraq, we actually had a chance to win friends and promote change in the Middle East, and we threw it all away because of a handful of scared, vindictive, unelected creeps who took over the U.S. government. . .


It'll probably take eons to change hearts and minds in the Middle East now, but possibly the sight of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and any number of others in court may help change at least a few minds!

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By golly, I would LOVE to see footage somewhere of foreign correspondents grilling Bush, and his reactions... unlikely to show up on tv here, but does anyone know any good web sources for this kind of material?


La Trix

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There were pieces of it on the Jim Lehrer News Hour on PBS tonight, so it may get repeated on BBC World (if it's on your cable or carried on your local PBS stations) and there may be coverage in the print media tomorrow. Dubya was very angry and very uncomfortable; he's not used to being without his protective cocoon of yea-sayers and a corps of tame White House reporters who just lob softballs. Also, I think the full transcript of Dubya's press conference (where all this happened) is in today's NY times.


I also caught a bit yesterday (on C-SPAN, maybe? or CNN?) in which Senator Joe Biden just withered John Ashcroft, who was refusing to provide a copy of one of DOJs memos justifying ignoring the law and treaty obligations on torture. Biden was just boiling over, and told Ashcroft, speaking very slowly, word by word, like he was addressing a particularly stupid child, that the reason the U.S. signed and ratified the Geneva Conventions was. . .to. . . protect. . .our. . .OWN. . .soldiers. . .from. . . torture. . .and. . .mistreatmenat. . .in. . .the. . .event. . .they. . .fall. . .into. . .enemy. . .hands. Obviously. . .if. . .we. . .abrogate. . .the. . .treaties. . .we. . .have. . .no. . .right. . .to. . .claim. . .their. . .protections. . .for. . .our. . .combatants. Ashcroft was just white with anger and embarassment, himself, but he had no good response and other senators started reminding him that he couldn't withhold the memo they were asking for, and bringing up the possibility of contempt of Congress. It's getting very hot and heavy!

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>By golly, I would LOVE to see footage somewhere of foreign

>correspondents grilling Bush, and his reactions... unlikely to

>show up on tv here, but does anyone know any good web sources

>for this kind of material?



For a transcript, see the White House website. (The best defense for a fool is to act like one openly and make it all public.)



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And if you're looking for a "grilling" by the Blair Broadcasting Company, consider this friendly exchange:


THE PRESIDENT: All right, I'm going to do a little something here. Clive, BBC. Where are you, Clive?


Q He's not here, but I'll -- (laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: You qualify. (Laughter.) It's about -- you've been to almost all my press conferences, and you've never asked a question.


Q Well, thank you very much, Mr. President.


THE PRESIDENT: Where is Clive?


Q Back here, sir. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: Back where? Clive, I'm sorry.


Q Sorry, Clive. (Laughter.)

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