Tuesday, July 26, 2005

“The New York Times” reported July 24 that (v)ice (p)resident Dick Cheney was fighting a provision in the Pentagon “authorization bill” that would “regulate the detention, treatment, and trials of detainees held by the American military.”

The legislation is being introduced, lo and behold, by three (r)epublicans: John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia, and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

For those of you unschooled in the history of our various elected legislators, McCain is a guy who whores himself to the highest capitol bidder and gets blessed with the sobriquet of “moderate” in the national media by way of reward.

Warner is one of actress Elizabeth Taylor’s seven or eight prior wives, and Graham is the only pus-pile to move up in (as opposed to get thrown out of) Washington following his role as a “House Manager” during the (r)epublican-sponsored sideshow known as the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Be that as it may, these guys are to be commended for trying to restore a bit of sanity to foreign policy and a touch of varnish to our tarnished international reputation.

The troika think the Pentagon “has failed to hold senior officials and military officers responsible for the abuses that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad, and at other detention centers in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” according to the article written by Eric Schmitt.

Abu Ghraib, by the way, is still playing out in the courts. Apparently those charming pictures of naked guys on leashes connected to butt-smoking (cigarettes that is) Army gals, and dogs barking in the faces of bound men, aren’t the half of it.

Nope, there’s much more and a federal court has ordered the Pentagon to release the relevant images/videos. That hallowed institution, in response, is refusing to oblige.

Read this piece from “Editor and Publisher” for further details on your free and open government:

According to “The Times” article, this legislation “would include provisions to bar the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross; prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees; and use only interrogation techniques authorized in a new Army field manual.”

Cheney is holding the senators’ feet to the fire because he thinks the provision would “interfere with the (p)resident’s authority and his ability to protect Americans against terrorist attacks.”

The administration, and those whose bidding it does, couldn’t wait to suspend democratic procedures in the wake of 9/11. They never liked them much anyway and once the horror other countries had suffered was visited upon the United States it was really time to “take the gloves off.”

Therein lay their conceit, which is that democratic protections are something those in power grant when they’re feeling generous and revoke when things get a little dicey. The further implication is that these procedures only serve, in the end, to protect delinquents.

And the logical extension of this reasoning is what you had in London the other day when an innocent man was shot dead for the dual crimes of looking Muslim and wearing an oversized coat in hot weather.

The offending officers could have surrounded and neutralized him before taking him back to the station where they would have learned they owed him an apology and cab fare home.

Or they might have at least waited until he "reached for his wallet" and then shot him dead the way they do here in L.A.

But this is THE WAR ON TERROR and there are no rules, especially among the “Soldier of Fortune” set whose culture exhorts that they “shoot ‘em all and let God sort it out.”

Well, let’s point out first that, despite what Cheney says, the (p)resident possesses no such authority to torture people, hide them from the Red Cross, or mete out cruel and inhuman punishment.

And let’s also note that terrorist attacks are occurring around the world at the clip of about one a day, if you count those in Iraq, so that Bush's “protection” looks about as effective as those canvas Humvees he sent the boys overseas to die in.

And the scribe doesn’t think it would make him a flaming international revolutionist to suggest the very fact Cheney doesn’t want to prevent such abuses is fairly solid proof that they are occurring.

Boy, two men can see completely different things when they look at the American flag.

Cheney gets patriotic about “authority” and torture. the scribe (who will lower himself for the benefit of comparison just this once) gets excited about living in a land that forbids them as abhorrent.

Vote for the scribe!

Wait! He’s not running for anything except milk at the corner store. So call McCain at (202) 224-2235, or Warner (202)224-2023 or Graham (202)224-5972 and ask them to hold firm and kiss Cheney off.

And tell them the highway scribe sent you.

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