It was a beauty, but was never used. Click here to find out why.
The Bush political operatives have become the people the Republicans once warned the country against—a club of insiders who seem to think that they’re better than other folks. They are so contemptuous of government and the public servants who populate it that they have been unable to govern effectively. They are a smug, inward-looking elite that thinks it knows who the good guys are by the political labels they wear.
A key aspect of the U.S. attorney purge that often seems to get overlooked--by those who argue that the firings were business as usual and no different from the removal of USAs at the beginning of a president's term--is the change to the Patriot Act that was quietly inserted by Sen. Arlen Specter at the behest of the Justice Department.
As close followers of the scandal know, the Patriot Act provision, in essence, transferred the power to appoint interim USAs from the federal district courts to the attorney general and allowed the attorney general to install interim USAs indefinitely, thereby bypassing the Senate confirmation process.
Only the naive or willfully blind would see the Patriot Act amendment as a distinct and separate action from the purge itself.This is such a stupid, unnecessary scandal. Not since some carny deliberately climbed into a cannon and shot himself at a brick wall has there been a better example of self-inflicted stupidity. Doesn't Gonzales need to spend more time with his family?-- JONAH GOLDBERG
Ségolène Royal will find it difficult to work with
Britain's Conservative Party as president of , her significant other told the Daily Telegraph. She also rejects Margaret Thatcher as "ruthless" and says that Tony Blair hasn't been sufficiently socialist for her tastes . . . [I]n this case, Royal hasn't even bothered to visit the ally at all, an unusual omission for a French presidential candidate -- especially one who has decided that she can ignore a good chunk of their electorate. That makes her right about one thing: she's no Margaret Thatcher. France
Wal-Mart is now denying reports that they are planning on setting up their own bank. Wal-Mart wanted to open bank branches in all their stores until they realized: "Wait a minute. We sell guns, too."
-- JAY LENO
Since the release of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s dramatic confessions, moral outrage at the extent of his crimes has been mixed with doubts. Can his claims be trusted? What if he confessed to more than he really did, either because of a vain desire to be remembered as the big terrorist mastermind, or because he was ready to confess anything in order to stop the water boarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques”?
If there was one surprising aspect to this situation it has less to do with the confessions themselves than with the fact that for the first time in a great many years, torture was normalized — presented as something acceptable. The ethical consequences of it should worry us all.
-- SLAVOJ ZIZEK
The president has been told countless times, by a secretary of state, by members of Congress, by heads of friendly governments — and by the American public — that the Guantánamo Bay detention camp has profoundly damaged this nation’s credibility as a champion of justice and human rights. But Mr. Bush ignored those voices — and now it seems he has done the same to his new defense secretary, Robert Gates, the man Mr. Bush brought in to clean up Donald Rumsfeld’s mess.Mr. Bush rejected that sound advice, heeding instead the chief enablers of his worst instincts, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Their opposition was no surprise. The Guantánamo operation was central to Mr. Cheney’s drive to expand the powers of the presidency at the expense of Congress and the courts, and Mr. Gonzales was one of the chief architects of the policies underpinning the detainee system. Mr. Bush and his inner circle are clearly afraid that if Guantánamo detainees are tried under the actual rule of law, many of the cases will collapse because they are based on illegal detention, torture and abuse — or that American officials could someday be held criminally liable for their mistreatment of detainees.-- THE NEW YORK TIMES
As currently interpreted the Geneva Conventions only apply to individuals bent on destroying
. Individuals who blow up elementary schools, kidnap children, attack churches and mosques, kill invalids in wheelchairs, plan attacks on skyscrapers in New York, behead journalists, detonate car bombs with children to camouflage their crime, or board jetliners with explosive shoes -- all while wearing mufti or even women's clothing -- these are all considered "freedom fighters" of the most principled kind. They and they alone enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention. As to Americans like Tucker and Menchaca or Israeli Gilad Shalit -- or these fifteen British sailors for that matter, it is a case of "what Geneva Convention?" America
To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier
U.S.struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with . Such war would then plunge Iran Americainto a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistanand perhaps also . Pakistan
Some lessons are forgotten despite our best efforts and intentions, especially if we allow cynicism to color our view of life and humanity.
-- JACK GRANTPhotograph by Andrea Mohin/The New York Times