Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Day In Shame

image credit: Chmouel Boudjnah

I really wonder sometimes if it isn't the Bush Administration's true policy to make me ashamed to live in this country. If it is, I'd say it's become the Democrats' goal as well.

First off, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one of many former "number three" Al Qaeda guys we've picked up or killed over the years, confessed to a bizarre assortment of crimes yesterday. Colorado Bob wrote:

Imus was right on target this morning, [on this][Ed.:March 15, 2007]. He claimed to be the father of Anna Nicole's baby too .... Was the real killer of Nicole Simpson, and Ron Goldman. etc. etc.

Comments to Taylor Marsh's "Extra! Extra! KSM Confesses"

One wonders why KSM didn't confess to being on the Grassy Knoll that day, or kidnapping the Lindberg baby. He's been in prison without trial and tortured for years. He'd confess to anything by now. Do the news organizations here pick up on that idea? Well, sort of:

Known as KSM, he also formally admitted responsibility for the 9/ll attacks, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia.

KSM, captured in 2003 in Pakistan, was subjected by the CIA to waterboarding and other "extreme interrogation" techniques, according to current and former CIA officials.

Legal experts say his case will test whether confessions made as the result of such techniques will be admissible under the rules of the special Combatant Tribunals established by the Bush administration.

Confessions of a Terrorist: I'm Guilty of 3,000+ Murders

[emphasis in bold is mine].

Nothing says "I live in a free country" quite like knowing that your government tortures people to gain confessions, then puts them on trial in a kangaroo court, now does it? Are the Democrats ready to repeal the Military Commissions Act, which made much of this legal? Not really. Sen. Chris Dodd introduced legislation last November to repeal it, but nothing's been done. Thirteen Democratic Senators and several Democratic Congressmen, most of whom are still in office, voted for the thing in the first place.

Meanwhile Torturer In Chief Alberto Gonzalez has been busy firing U.S. Attorneys who either failed to protect Republican politicians or refused to prosecute Democratic ones. Over at Evergreen Politics, shoephone asks Did Bush Tell Gonzales to Fire McKay?. John McKay was the U.S. Attorney in Seattle, who apparently was fired because he wasn't willing to find a crime where none existed in the last Washington governor's race.

They also sent a letter to former White House counsel Harriet Miers, subtly referencing the interview that she and her deputy, William Kelley, conducted with John McKay, where McKay was asked why he "mishandled" Washington's 2004 gubernatorial election.

House Judiciary Committee Wants Answers From the White House on the U.S. Attorney Firings

She also has an article up today about one of the proposed replacements for McKay, a political hack and former congressman Rick White. Anyone familiar with the case of Bud Cummins, who used to be the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas before he was fired in favor of one of Karl Rove's political cronies, this is a familiar story.

There's more, and by that I don't just mean six other U.S. Attorneys who were clearly fired without cause. From the NY Times this morning:

WASHINGTON, March 15 — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to authorize subpoenas to bring five top Justice Department officials before the panel as it investigates the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors in recent months.

Senate Panel May Question Justice Officials

Karl Rove may be on deck. At least there's some government abuse of power the Democrats are willing to fight against. My guess is that you can probably thank Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) for that. Even John Sununu appears to be getting into the act:

WASHINGTON— Sen. John E. Sununu of New Hampshire yesterday became the first Republican in Congress to call for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’ dismissal, hours after President Bush expressed confidence in his embattled Cabinet officer.

Sununu says fire Gonzales

One of the ironies of this scandal is that these are exactly the sort of people the Founders imagined might be running things when they created the protections in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that we now seem to be willing to throw away.

To counterbalance an actual acheivement by a colleague, Sen. Hillary Clinton announced today that she wouldn't be removing troops from Iraq if she were President. Well, she might remove a few...

Speaking of the Iraq War, it looks like everything will be alright after all. Iraq's going to turn their oil fields over to U.S. oil companies so that Bush doesn't fire Maliki. Just remember, boys and girls, it was never about the oil, and Iraqis are deciding their own destiny. Professor Smartass has more to say, much more. Congress apparently is set to approve this deal. If Dennis Kucinich is leading the fight against it, my guess is that the Democrats aren't too interested. I'm sure the Iraqis will be glad to make a few Americans even richer than they already are in exchange for us having made their country an even worse place to live than it already was.

As I've pointed out before, we're also on a collision course with Iran. To Patrick Lang, it's increasingly clear that Democrats aren't going to stop Bush from attacking Iran. While I don't agree with his notion that Democrats and Republicans are the same, there's not much to choose from between them on this issue.

So, all in all, another day when you have to wonder if there are any English-speaking countries with pleasant climates, sane leaders, and a committment to human rights. The one that used to be here is clearly gone.

CORRECTION: I'd earlier referred to the former U.S. Attorney for eastern Arkansas as "Robert" Cummins. None of the articles I've read today refer to him as anything other than "Bud". Apparently, that's his name.

UPDATE: Can it get worse? Sure, it can. Just ran across this article by Jeralyn at Talk Left. Apparently, we're kidnapping children now:

"His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

We have your sons: CIA

UPDATE2: I need to read years. The above happened in 2003. Disgusting, maybe, but not new or terribly relevant to KSM's confession.

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