After watching the speech on the White House website, I understood why. It was flat and short. Bush said little of interest. He dwelled mostly on 9/11 and the so-called war on terror, once again (and for the last official time) characterizing the invasion of Iraq as part of his effort to take “the fight to the terrorists.” He suggested that although the Iraq war was the subject of “legitimate debate,” there “can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil.”
Was the nation’s safety ensured because Bush invaded Iraq and did not finish the fight in Afghanistan? No doubt, he and his ever-dwindling band of defenders will continue to insist that it is so–just as a rooster might insist there is a connection between his crowing and the rising of the sun. And Bush defended himself for having been “willing to make the tough decisions”–as if making hard choices is the same as making wise ones.
No doubt there will be more thorough analysis of Bush’s farewell over the next few days. One thing that has struck me in reading over the farewell interviews by Bush and Cheney over the last month has been the end of the speculation about who was the dunce and who was the mentor. It seems more a case of dumb and dumber. Bush and Cheney would switch roles on occasion just to liven up the routine, but neither our first MBA president nor his supposedly wise older mentor seem to have much on the ball. They, like all good smug propagandists keep the message very simple, usually untrue, and keep repeating it over and over. I’ll leave it to some sociology student with some free time to make a count of how many times between them, Bush and Dick have claimed to have saved us all from certain had we done without their stellar leadership – their lack of humility is responsibility for more then a few deaths, wounds, a failed economy and a laundry list of other disasters – reality will not deter them from stating otherwise. They’ll like a couple of charmless precocious children running around in capes using a nail spiked bat as a magic wand claiming the lights came on because of their magic skills. Bush and Cheney, as well as their dead end supporters are hoping for some magic. If they click their heels together and repeat the same bull over and over again, somehow their record will become a sweet little chapter in American history.
The ruling came in a case involving an unidentified company’s challenge to 2007 legislation that expanded the president’s legal power to conduct wiretapping without warrants for intelligence purposes.
But the ruling, handed down in August 2008 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and made public Thursday, did not directly address whether President Bush was within his constitutional powers in ordering domestic wiretapping without warrants, without first getting Congressional approval, after the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Even with some sloppy wordish in the rest of the article, one’s partisan tin foil has to be pretty thick to read this as vindication for Bush’s assertion that he and his pocketful of magic unitary powers can create legislation that supersedes the Constitution and laws written by Congress. A more complete analysis from The Anonymous Liberal, From the Department of Bad Legal Reporting
Let me repeat, nothing in this opinion is remotely relevant to or provides even the slightest bit of support for the Bush administration legal arguments used to justify the NSA program from 2001 to 2006, before the passage of the Protect America Act.
There are still other related issues left unresolved, such as Bush surveillance program pre PAA. Then there is some question as to whether Congress had the legal right to grant retroactive immunity to the telcoms.
The Turning Point – How the Susan Crawford interview changes everything we know about torture.
By Dahlia Lithwick and Phillipe Sands
And Crawford is hardly the first high-ranking military official to use the word. Alberto J. Mora, former general counsel of the U.S. Navy, wrote in a letter to the Navy’s inspector general: “The interrogation techniques approved by the Secretary [of Defense] should not have been authorized because some (but not all) of them, whether applied singly or in combination, could produce effects reaching the level of torture.” The 84-page log of al-Qahtani’s interrogation has long been a matter of public record, and there is now little dispute that the treatment it describes rose to the level of torture. As described in Torture Team, London-based clinical psychiatrist and trauma specialist Dr. Abigail Seltzer studied the log and concluded that al-Qahtani had been tortured.
Anyone hoping for some trials and prosecutions for violating the very same crimes that America prosecuted the Japanese for, well the all so much wiser voices inside the beltway are waging a campaign to smear those that want trials and sell the let’s move on attitude. Establishment Washington Unifies Against Prosecutions
The Washington Post’s David Ignatius today does what he does best: serve as the spokesman for the Washington establishment’s most conventional wisdom in a way that really illuminates what it is:
To underscore the message, Obama indicated that he would oppose retrospective investigations of wrongdoing by the CIA and other agencies, arguing: “When it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed [to] looking at what we got wrong in the past.” This is the kind of realism that will disappoint liberal score-settlers, but it makes clear that Obama has a grim appreciation of the dangers America still faces from al-Qaeda and its allies.
The word “liberal” has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last eight years. All that has been necessary to qualify is a belief in such radical, exotic and fringe-leftist concepts as search warrants before the Government can eavesdrop on our communications; due process before the state can encage people for life; adherence to decades-old Geneva Conventions restrictions which post-World-War-II America led the way in implementing; and the need for an actual, imminent threat from another country before we bomb, invade, occupy and destroy it.
In the south most sheriffs have to run for office. I can’t imagine anyone one of them having a chance in hell if they ran on a platform of let’s just forget about past crimes and look to the future.