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January 15, 2005
I'm paraphrasing from memory, but after the initial pre-interview chitchat she says something to Bush like, "Okay, if you're ready, let's begin the torture." And everyone has a hearty chuckle.
Didn't anyone at ABC cringe when they watched that footage?
January 14, 2005
Gosh, which version do you believe?
In his closing argument, Capt. Chris Graveline, one of the prosecutors, recounted incident after incident of alleged abuse, buttressing many with photos and video taken inside the prison in November 2003, to make the case that Graner was a sadistic soldier who took pleasure in seeing detainees suffer...
Those ubiquitious ribbon magnets
I was just thinking the other day that somebody really needs to repurpose that symbol. And now I see that someone has.
I think my cartoon from last September still pretty much sums up what I think about that particular tempest in a teapot.
Oldies but goodies
From Daily Kos:
We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor CNN Late Edition 9/8/2002
Follow the link, there are many more.
January 13, 2005
Bush's bulge, cont'd.
If you follow the link below, you'll come to what appears--to a layperson--to be a fairly compelling argument that the clearly visible bulge under Bush's jacket in the first debate (and under his t-shirt in a 2002 photo taken at his ranch) is a "wearable defibrillator," a medical device for "persons at risk of cardiac arrest." (Which brings to mind one immediate thought: if Bush and Cheney both have heart conditions...President Hastert, anyone?)
On an intuitive level, it makes a lot of sense. A lot of people--myself included--first assumed the bulge was a transmitter of some sort. The problem with that theory is, well, that 2002 photo. Does Bush wear a transmitter everywhere he goes, even on the ranch? Does Karl Rove softly whisper in his ear 24/7? Anyway, presidents always cover up and deny health problems. And something's clearly wrong with the guy. There was some footage floating around the web for awhile from his Texas gubernatorial run, and the difference between then and now is shocking. In the early footage he's articulate, able to think on his feet--it's like watching a completely different person.
One of this site's more learned readers is not persuaded by the defibrillator theory:
I am a psychiatrist, but I do have some knowledge of cardiac problems. let me say that the houstonindymedia site is quite misguided. I have little doubt that bush had something under his jacket, but he jumps they make on the site are unrealistic.
January 12, 2005
Was it a defibrillator?
Via Atrios, I see the weapons hunters have folded up shop:
Four months after Charles A. Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, submitted an interim report to Congress that contradicted nearly every prewar assertion about Iraq made by top Bush administration officials, a senior intelligence official said the findings will stand as the ISG's final conclusions and will be published this spring.
I suppose those of us who were correct to doubt the administration's claims can now humbly await the profuse apologies and mea culpas of the thoroughly-discredited warmongers.
January 11, 2005
Gotta love this
Conservative radio talkers and other simplistic thinkers have been contrasting Michael Moore and Mel Gibson for the past year, as respresentative of the alleged divide between blue and red states.
When Mr. Gibson walked to the press room lectern, he and Mr. Moore seemed delighted to meet each other.
Actual recent email:
Greetings Owner of www.thismodernworld.com,
What do you think, regular visitors to [[NAME OR URL]]? Are you, like so many patrons of the National Geographic Store, strongly interested in [[THEME]]?
Because even leaving the hotel to pursue a story is so dangerous, Hughes says that now the safest way to get a good story is to be embedded with U.S. troops. "Generally, all it takes is one email to some lieutenant," he says. "A few days later, you're in a sardine can bumping along Highway 1."
Not sure what's inspired the recent spate of Paypal donations, but I do appreciate the vote of confidence. And as you can see, the blog is slowly getting back up to speed...
One thing to remember about the memo fiasco
This is how arguments are won in the internet age--focus on trivialities and ignore the larger picture. If there's a typo in your message board post, then you are clearly a worthless asshat who should be ignored by all reasonable people, blah blah blah. If you got suckered by somebody with forged memos--and god knows what agenda--then your entire career should be deep-sixed.
A few months back, the Times op-ed page asked various bloggers--mostly right wingers--what they thought the most important story of the election was. Some of the give-em-an-inch-and-they-think-they're-rulers crowd nominated themselves, and their obsession with these memos, as the most important story of the 2004 election cycle. And maybe they were right, in one sense: maybe they've helped usher us into a new era. Call it the Age of Obsessive Nitpicking. (Or, more accurately--for the obsessive nitpickers in the audience--the Age of Obsessive and Generally Misinformed Nitpicking.)
But that's not exactly something to celebrate.
...there's a good overview of the whole mess here.
January 10, 2005
Forcing naked Iraqi prisoners to pile themselves in human pyramids was not torture, because American cheerleaders do it every year, a court was told today.
This much, I believe:
Apart from arguing that the methods were not illegal, Granerís defence is that he was following orders from superiors. Mr Womack said: "He was doing his job. Following orders and being praised for it."
The predictions game
Prognostication is tough. Even when you get the generalities right, you're likely to be wrong on the specifics. Nonetheless, almost every writer Andrew Sullivan holds up to ridicule in this blast-from-the-past (link via Atrios) was far more prescient than Sullivan himself. Yes, he's exhibited some vague semblance of rationality on the war lately, but I'll take him seriously when he starts apologizing to the various recipients of his snarky little awards, and acknowledges that overall, they were right and he was very, very wrong.
...scroll up past the entry linked and there are more oldies-but-goodies, like this one:
V-H AWARD VIII: "Have you ever seen such amazing arrogance wedded to such awesome incompetence?" - Molly Ivins, March 16, 2003. No, Molly, I haven't. The liberal media have had a terrible, terrible war.
Someone with more time than me should really spend a couple of days going through Sullivan's archives and compiling these classics. He was generous enough to share his wisdom with us, it would be a shame to let it all fall into the memory hole.
Cue the apologists
According to Newsweek, the Pentagon is considering using what it calls "the Salvador option" in Iraq:
What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagonís latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"óand the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we canít just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last Novemberís operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgencyóas Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the timeóthan in spreading it out.
And there's the key: the Sunni population is paying no price, and we have to change that equation. In el Salvador, changing that equation meant throwing our support behind death squads guilty of torture, massacres and "disappearances"--arming them, training them, politely overlooking the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians. (Not to mention four American nuns and six Jesuit priests. There's a good rundown of those years here for anyone who needs a refresher course.)
"Salvador option." Jesus Christ, what's a satirist to do when reality itself plays out like a ham-fisted satire?
Update: a response to the predictable right-wing wankery.
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