Today’s opining on the public discourse.
Some intriguing developments today, my darlings. Grab a drink and settle in.
Think Progress has an incredibly disturbing revelation about the lengths to which the Bush regime will go to get the wars they crave:
Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.
In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject
was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,’” according to one of Hersh’s sources.
During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected:
HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected.
Infuckingcredible. Two wars aren’t enough – they’re desperate enough for a third that they’ll resort to masquerades with live ammo to start yet another. It doesn’t matter that they had an iota of morality left and ultimately decided it would be too risky to kill a few Americans to lie us into another war. The fact that they floated this idea at all is outrageous. They’re beyond insane. Why the fuck are these psychopaths still in charge?
And, as Kevin Drum points out, this wasn’t the first time. Oh, hell no. There’s a place for people like this: it’s called prison.
Strangely enough, our judiciary is starting to think that, you know, maybe Bush & Co. aren’t exempt from American laws:
White House attorneys are quite capable of coming up with creative legal arguments. The problem, though, is that judges aren’t willing to reward their creativity.
President Bush’s top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday in an unprecedented dispute between the two political branches.
House Democrats called the ruling a ringing endorsement of the principle that nobody is above the law.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Bates said there’s no legal basis for Bush’s argument and that his former legal counsel, Harriet Miers, must appear before Congress. If she wants to refuse to testify, he said, she must do so in person. The committee also has sought to force testimony from White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten.
“Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena,” Bates wrote. He said that both Bolten and Miers must give Congress all non-privileged documents related to the firings.
Because I know this is the first question on the minds of many political observers, I should note that Bates was appointed to the federal bench by none other than George W. Bush. Indeed, Bates has, in general, been a Bush administration ally (he threw out Valerie Plame’s suit against Karl Rove, for example).
But not today. Bates wrote that “the Executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “very good news for anyone who believes in the Constitution of the United States and the separation of powers, and checks and balances.”
It’s a start. Subject a few of the underlings to a good legal spanking, and we could get a cascade effect. That is, if Bush hasn’t infiltrated absolutely every level of government with his own personal ball-lickers:
Thanks to a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, we got a better sense this week about the extraordinary — and illegal — efforts to politicize Bush’s Justice Department.
But let’s not forget, the problem of basing employment decisions on politics went well beyond the Justice Department. Charlie Savage picks up on an email that went largely overlooked.
On May 17, 2005, the White House’s political affairs office sent an e-mail message to agencies throughout the executive branch directing them to find jobs for 108 people on a list of “priority candidates” who had “loyally served the president.”
“We simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible,” the White House emphasized in a follow-up message, according to a little-noticed passage of a Justice Department report released Monday about politicization in the department’s hiring of civil-service prosecutors and immigration officials.
The report, the subject of a Senate oversight hearing Wednesday, provided a window into how the administration sought to install politically like-minded officials in positions of government responsibility, and how the efforts at times crossed customary or legal limits.
To be sure, Bush didn’t invent political patronage, and practically all modern presidents have made at least some efforts to, as Savage put it, “impose greater political control over the federal bureaucracy.”
But none have gone as far as this gang.
This administration has been all about excess: excessive force, excessive law-breaking, excessive belligerance, excessive politicization, excessive stupidity and evil. America has seen some piss-poor administrations, but I don’t think, when all is known, that any will quite measure up to the extravagance of this one.
That’s why it’s all the sweeter when they are, on rare occasion, forced to face up to reality:
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has approved a new National Defense Strategy arguing that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be allowed to distract from the “implications of fighting a long-term, episodic, multi-front, and multi-dimensional conflict” against terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda. Gates’ new strategy “encourages current and future U.S. leaders to work with other countries to eliminate the conditions that foster extremism.”
The strategy concludes, “the most important military component of the struggle against violent extremists is not the fighting we do ourselves, but how well we help prepare our partners to defend and govern themselves.”
The Bush administration’s recognition that “even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the ‘Long War’ against violent extremism” is surprising. In 2004, when Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) expressed the same view, Bush smeared Kerry in two ads, posing the question “How can Kerry protect us if he doesn’t even understand the threat?”
Who was it who didn’t understand the threat again, Georgie? Oh, right. That would be you.
It’s a damned good thing we have term limits. I just hope they’re enough. I haven’t got time for a revolution, but if necessary, I’ll pencil it in. This fuckery has got to stop.