Wow. I can't believe I still remember my password. But it came back as if by muscle memory. This place sure looks different from how it did back when I was a regular--if generally ignored--participant. I am really happy to see that it thrives even without me. (Because it's all about me). A few thoughts below the fold. I don't expect you to click the link. I'm mostly playing around. Some might classify what I'm doing as "wasting your time." And I'd not dispute that.
Given the track record of Bush + The Rubber-Stamp Congress on these sorts of reports, I think it's worthwhile to examine this one closely. I take a tiny stab at such examination below and offer the diary as a place for others to share their thoughts.
In a press conference last month, Bush refused to give a reporter a straight answer about whether there will, "come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq." Bush said, "That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq." When pressed on this point, Bush could only say that plans for withdrawal by the end of his term would amount to a "timetable."
GREISING [Chicago Tribune columnist]: I don't think that's a terrible thing. But I think when you like thinking about what is happening at 2:00 a.m. in the Situation Room, and somebody has to make a decision as to whether to give a call to Ehud Barak or not, whether talk to Yasser Arafat or not...Ignore O'Reilly's ambiguous syntax because what he's doing is clear: he's apologizing for a candidate who plans to sleep through important decisions. Bush ran on this image. Goofing off or sleeping while his war crumbles to pieces, or the Gulf Coast drowns, or Cheney shoots a man in the face, or...
O'REILLY: Well, they will wake up Governor Bush and he'll tell them what they decided. I mean, that's what they'll do. They'll say: Hey, Governor, you're making a call. And here's the briefing sheet.
So I dug around in the old archives and pulled up a transcript (Nexis) of the "Capital Gang" from July 31, 1993--back when Vince Foster's suicide was a hot topic. You know, as a sort of prelude to the discussion we can expect this Sunday. Follow me through the jump, dear reader, for a trip down memory lane....
Q Last year the President lauded the Patriot Act for giving him tools to track terrorists that he never had before, including roving wiretaps and other such tools. If the President has what he needed in the Patriot Act, why the need for this NSA program that he authorized?
McCLELLAN: Well, the NSA authorization that has been talked about over the past couple of days is vital to our efforts to prevent attacks. The President believes we need to use all lawful tools within our powers to prevent attacks from happening.
It's "vital to our efforts to prevent attacks." He's serious. That's why the secret NSA program instead of what's specified in the Patriot Act. Try again, Scotty. Why break the law to do something you surely knew would piss a lot of people off when there are so many other "efforts" you could have undertaken to "prevent attacks?" Pick apart the rest of Scotty's dipshit answer in the extended text and comments... plus a pointless bonus poll.
Mr. DeLay, designated an "enemy combatant" in the War on Criminality, has been in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location since February, when a federal appeals court stripped him of his rights as a U.S. citizen. After today's refusal by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal, the February ruling will now stand. Mr. DeLay's status remains unknown.
"We're obviously disappointed," said one of the attorneys who filed the appeal on Mr. DeLay's behalf. "We don't know where Tom is, if he's being treated humanely, whether he has access to medical care--anything. And now, I guess, we never will know."
I am no expert in what constitutes a good response to a hurricane (though I think I know a bad response when I see it). And I'm also no expert in not getting bamboozled by deceptive official testimony to Congress. Those disclaimers aside, I have to say that it sounds like Tolbert and FEMA did a pretty good job with Isabel.
Good morning, Chairman LaTourette and Members of the Subcommittee. I am Eric Tolbert, Director of the Response Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On behalf of Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael Brown, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on the operations of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA in response to Hurricane Isabel.
More below the fold.
BROWN: [...] I said in introducing you that everything seems political to people these days. I know this will be perceived as a political question; it's not meant that way. To what extent does the fact that there are 135,000 troops in Iraq and troops in Afghanistan--to what extent, if any, impact the ability of the military, the Pentagon, to respond to this crisis?Ha-ha-ha. Real Victim One: President Bush. Apparently he had a brilliant plan all ready to go--and it would have worked, too, if it hadn't have been for those meddling critics.
McINTYRE: [...] And as to your question about political--I talked to a lot of people at the Pentagon today who are very frustrated about the fact that the perception is being created that the military didn't move fast enough. And they did see it somewhat as political. They thought that part of the motivation was for critics of the administration to make the President look bad.
I know you can't take the politics out of politics. I'm from Texas; I'm a realist. But I'm convinced our government can show more courage in confronting hard problems, more goodwill toward the other side and more integrity in the exercise of power. This isn't always easy, but it's always important.
It's what the people expect of their leaders, and it's what leaders must require of themselves. My administration will provide responsible leadership.
And finally, a leader must uphold the honor and the dignity of the office to which he had been elected. (APPLAUSE) In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right. (APPLAUSE) Not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves. (APPLAUSE) In my administration, we'll make it clear there is the controlling legal authority of conscience. (APPLAUSE) We will make people proud again, so that Americans who love their country can once again respect their government.
Just a little stroll down memory lane in the extended copy.
"While there is no one absolute armor, technology, tactic, technique or procedure that can counter these growing threats 100 percent of the time, we too are adapting and are providing our warfighters more and more effective solutions as the threat changes and we understand what works and what doesn't," Nyland [assistant commandant of the Marine Corps] said.
For instance, Marines now know that up-armoring vehicles is a good way to save the lives of those who encounter an IED.
Grave violations of human rights
The United States has committed "grave violations of human rights" against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament said in a report on Friday.
--Reuters (March 25, 2005)
Plenty more below the fold. Oh--and I'll delete this (angrily) if the diary police deem it too devoid of my own commentary to merit a diary.
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