He had very little mind, but what he had was suffering

Why we’re publishing the new Abu Ghraib photos, America — and the world — has the right to know what was done in our name.

The other compelling reason for publishing these pictures is that the system itself broke down over Abu Ghraib. Beyond the collapse of military discipline and adherence to the basic rules of civilized behavior, Abu Ghraib also symbolized the failure of a democratic society to investigate well-documented abuses by its soldiers. After an initial flurry of outrage, the Republican-controlled Congress lost interest in investigating whether senior military officers — and even Pentagon officials — created a climate in which torture (yes, torture) flourished. In similar fashion, the Army still seems intent on ending this shameful story by jailing the likes of Lynndie England and Charles Graner. At least after the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, Lt. Calley was convicted.

Cartoons and photographs of torture are being compared across the crooked divide of the Cult of Bush. A straw man has been erected by the right and according to this straw man since the bulk of the U.S. newspaper media have not published the cartoons, the torture photos should not be published either ( never mind that they’re all over the net ). I guess the Bush Cult’s infatuation with freedom of the press and freedom of expression didn’t last past the first dance. The center-left has no control over the content of newspapers, if we did the cartooons would have been published multiple times by now. The torture photos coming right on the heels of the cartoon controversy ( inflamed by Imans or not ) have obviously come at a bad time. Will they further inflame hate against the west and American forces in Iraq, they probably will. That’s only a portion of an answer to a very screwy question being asked by the Bush Cult concerning the straw man’s concern over the reaction to the cartoon controversy and how that relates to the public relations damage done by the torture photos and the possiblity of further endangering the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m concerned about the effects on the troops too, only how did the photographs come to exist at all ? Where did the torture scandal originate ? It orignated in a Whitehouse that condoned torture, it spread through a segment of the military where rules of conduct and the constraints of morality were knowingly and willfully disobeyed. “They” torture and behead so that gives Bush the right to drag American honor down into the gutter too is not an argument, its a morally lazy and repugnant excuse. ArmyTimes: A failure of leadership at the highest levels
During and after the torture it was not a fringe leftists or exploitative minded journalist who took the pictures of prisoners being abused or tortured, it was the people participating in the actions depicted. Some bloggers like Uboat Kaptain Ed and Internment Camp Malkin may, in the interests of intellectual honesty ask themselves a couple questions; did the Whitehouse have the best interests of the troops in mind when it sanctioned torture and did the troops that carried out the torture at Abu Ghraib have the field troops best interests at heart when they perpetuated the abuse and took photos of that abuse. Was the administration so intent on exercising some kind of masochistic muscle in order to supposedly instill fear that it lost sight of what the repercussions of such acts would be. The Torture Myth or torture is ineffective and wrong.

Most of Iraq is relatively stable. Most Iraqis, by far, reject violence and oppose dictatorship. In forums where Iraqis have met to discuss their political future, and in all the proceedings of the Iraqi Governing Council, Iraqis have expressed clear commitments. They want strong protections for individual rights; they want their independence; and they want their freedom.

America’s commitment to freedom in Iraq is consistent with our ideals, and required by our interests. – G. W. Bush, April 13, 2004

Via Body and Soul, Accountability

Jalal Talabani called for “very harsh punishments against the perpetrators” of the Abu Ghraib crimes. Iraq’s human rights minister, Zuhair al-Chalabi, has asked the United States to turn over all of the 14,000 Iraqi prisoners it holds to the government of Iraq. At the same time, Iraq’s human rights minister, Nermine Othman, announced that that same Iraqi government tortured 170 Iraqis in a secret prison in Baghdad last year, and that she expected people in the interior and justice ministries to be prosecuted — not “high level officials” she was quick to add, demonstrating how quickly Iraqis are picking up cues from our president on accountability.

We’ve seen this time and again where the administration’s high minded rhetoric doesn’t match the facts on the ground. Like many on the center-left of the political spectrum, once boots were on the ground in Iraq I hoped for the best and tried to extract some good out of it; Saddam Hussein was and is a muderous sociopath and if nothing else, while there are plenty more out there, at least one was locked up and out of power. Its truly amazing that Bush and his carnival of incompetents have screwed up Iraq and Afghanistan so badly. They have needlessly and repeatedly endangered our military and flushed away our tax dollars while grinding their heel into every ideal America is supposed to stand for. President Bush is sending the wrong signals on torture.

While the NSA scandal is serious, it does provide for some comic relief, underlying whatever rationale the Bushies have for their reckless disregard of every American’s constitutional rights is the daily Whitehouse wish where they hope that no one is really paying attention, George Will to the Rescue

Anyway, the argument that the AUMF contained a completely unexpressed congressional intent to empower the president to disregard the FISA regime is risible coming from this administration. It famously opposes those who discover unstated meanings in the Constitution’s text and do not strictly construe the language of statutes.

The administration’s argument about the legality of the NSA program also has been discordant with its argument about the urgency of extending the USA Patriot Act. Many provisions of that act are superfluous if a president’s wartime powers are as far-reaching as today’s president says they are.

Dispite all the Dorothy in Oz heel tapping from the Whitehouse and the Cult of Bush blogs the NSA scandal is not going to disappear before the 2006 elections, much to Unka Karl’s consternation. Justice Dept. Role in Eavesdropping Decision Under Review

In a letter to Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Office of Professional Responsibility counsel H. Marshall Jarrett said that his office has “initiated an investigation” into the Justice Department’s role in the NSA surveillance program. The letter, dated Feb. 2 but not received by Hinchey until yesterday, indicates that the probe will include “whether such activities are permissible under existing law.”

As Glenn Greewald notes the issues involved have many “tentacles”. Federal court orders Justice Dept. to release NSA documents

As I have been indicating, this scandal has many tentacles. And each of them is growing inexorably. The White House is running around with a broom desperately trying to sweep each branch under the rug (odd behavior for a White House which claims to welcome this scandal because it politically benefits from it), but once the mechanisms of the Washington scandal machine are activated with full-force, it is very difficult to simply shut them off or the prevent the disclosure of information which someone is trying to conceal. Clearly, this scandal isn’t going to fade away with a little arm-twisting of some weak-willed Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rx for GOP doom, The Medicare drug program disaster could cost Republicans control of Congress.

For the sake of balance, but mostly because I think its funny, 84 year old Democrat is a dirty old perv.

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (AP) — William Donald Schaefer, a former governor who is now state comptroller, ogled a young woman at a Statehouse meeting. And he made no apologies about it.

“She’s a pretty little girl,” the 84-year-old Democrat told reporters. “The day I don’t look at pretty women is the day I die.”

Schaefer stared intently at the woman as she walked toward the governor’s office after she brought him a beverage Wednesday during a Board of Public Works meeting. Then he summoned her back, as people waiting to testify watched and waited.

The aide, looking puzzled, returned to the table, and Schaefer told her, “Walk again,” and watched her as she made the second trip to the exit.

He then went into the governor’s private office and returned to say the woman was embarrassed by the incident.

When reporters later asked him about the incident, he called their interest “dumb.” He said “this little girl” ought to be “happy that I observed her going out the door.”

In a bedroom on the fourth floor of the Hotel Guelph in Piccadilly, the Honorable Frederick Threepwood sat in bed, with his knees drawn up to his chin, and glared at the day with the glare of mental anguish. He had very little mind, but what he had was suffering.

He had just remembered. It is like that in this life. You wake up, feeling as fit as a fiddle; you look at the window and see the sun, and thank Heaven for a fine day; you begin to plan a perfectly corking luncheon party with some of the chappies you met last night at the National Sporting Club; and then–you remember.

“Oh, dash it!” said the Honorable Freddie. And after a moment’s pause: “And I was feeling so dashed happy!”

For the space of some minutes he remained plunged in sad meditation; then, picking up the telephone from the table at his side, he asked for a number.

“Hello!”

“Hello!” responded a rich voice at the other end of the wire.

“Oh, I say! Is that you, Dickie?”

“Who is that?”

“This is Freddie Threepwood. I say, Dickie, old top, I want to see you about something devilish important. Will you be in at twelve?”

“Certainly. What’s the trouble?”

“I can’t explain over the wire; but it’s deuced serious.”

from Something New by P. G. Wodehouse