Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ding-Dong! and All That

You're a vicious bastard, Rotelli.
I'm glad you're dead.
-- The Joker, Tim Burton’s “Batman”

Pro-abortionists will try to further silence the pro-life movement with hysterical charges of hypocrisy and moral responsibility for George Tiller’s murder. Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter are being blamed. One Kansas City pro-abortion columnist is already writing that “the same bullet that killed George Tiller also shattered the moral underpinnings of the movement that inspired its firing.” (“Hendricks: Tiller's killers were many”). The killer's accomplices include "every one who has ever called Tiller's late term abortion clinic a murder mill."

Not quite. The movement that inspired firing that bullet wasn't led by Coulter or O'Reilly or John Paul II: it was Tiller's assembly-line infanticide. And I hope the prominent pro-lifers who are going to be grilled about this on the talk shows this week don’t come out all apologies and tears for Tiller.

There may be an inclination in these spokespersons, as they watch the media sharpening long knives for their necks, to panic and try to placate the pro-abortion media with hasty protests that we regret the loss of Tiller’s life as much as that of any innocent unborn--as if that's even true, or as if the media will care, anyway.

I've even heard pro-lifers saying they thought Tiller, though misguided, believed he was helping women. Oh, brother.

I think that approach would be the worst thing. It would also be an example of moral nonsense. We don't regret Tiller's death that much. Why would we? There’s a very big distinction between regretting that a murder happened, and regretting that the victim is dead. Especially a victim who needed killing as bad as George Tiller did.

How many child molesters get sent to prison, to a fate of being brutalized and even murdered by their fellow inmates, who share a special hatred for child molesters, and we shrug our shoulders and cluck our tongues, because, on some level, it is only fitting. It is only justice.

It’s a widely recognized divine principle that those who live by violence face a powerful tendency to die through violence themselves. That isn’t a prescription for murder. It's not an excuse for vigilantism. It's simply a statement of a long-recognized law of existence, like gravity. When a person of faith learns that one such violence-maker has met a violent end, there’s no commandment that requires him to mourn the loss of the shedder of blood.

Tiller murdered (there is no other proper word for what he did) as many as 60,000 unborn children. All indications were that he intended to keep adding, industriously, to that total, even as the last of all conceiveable obstacles against him were being cleared away. It is morally ludicrous to style his death as either a tragedy, or an injustice. Tragedy requires the death of a virtuous hero. Injustice requires a wrongful depriving of another's rights. Tiller was born with a right to live, but forfeited that right by squandering his life by living to kill.

No pro-lifer needs to regret Tiller’s death. George Tiller chose--chose--to live his life as one of the few abortionists in the country debased enough to practice this kind of infanticide. He chose to live his life so that every day he worked at his profession he was the instrument of tragic death and bloodguilt for someone else. It's moral nonsense to call his death tragic when the tragedy was in the way he chose to live. There are lives lived so savagely, with so much willfull harm that their endings are a cause for rejoicing -- or at least relief -- among people of good will. Hitler, Stalin, Arafat, Uday and Qsay, al-Zarqawi, every one of these guys had to die so that the deaths of others could finally be halted. (It didn't last long after Arafat's death: but I still remember that springtime feeling when that fiend finally left Earth).

The fact that Tiller today will be unavailable, (because dead), at his Wichita death house to perform partial-birth abortions will have the direct and immediate benefit of saving the lives of at least some of the infants slated to die at his hands. I am at a loss to understand how that qualifies as a human tragedy.

It means that for a lot of a mothers eight or nine months pregnant with a sudden whim that their lives might be better without that kid, those kids' chances of being alive and kicking in 3 months just improved dramatically.

Does that mean the ends justify the means? No. Does that mean murder is the answer to abortion? Of course not. Abortion is murder. That's the point.

I never called for Tiller's murder, nor advocated for it. All I'm saying is that now that someone's murdered him, I'm glad he's dead. Think of it as looking on the bright side. And I'm not going to stop calling myself pro-life because I feel that way.

Suppose a house fell on him? How many of the pro-life advocates lamenting his death today as a tragedy would feel justified in saying there was justice in his demise, and the world was a better place without him? Is it hard on his wife, children, grandchildren? Yes, and that's regrettable, but not a cosmic tragedy. Most condemned criminals leave loved ones behind. Do you really think his wife didn't know where her lifestyle was coming from? Do you really think Reformation Lutheran Church didn't know how Tiller earned the offerings he contributed?

No one is going to make me feel responsible for Tiller’s murder just because I’m opposed to abortion. More to the moral-equivalence point, I'm not the one who wants murder legalized to justify my private relief that a person I didn’t want around is now dead.

What I did want was Tiller and his serial murders stopped. I first wanted him stopped by seeing Roe v Wade overturned, and sanity restored to American civil rights. That didn't happen. Then I hoped for a national ban on the infanticide that Tiller practiced. But that ban wasn’t enough in Kansas, where it was never enforced by an apparently lawless government. Then I wanted him stopped by the Kansas prosecutor who launched a criminal investigation against him. But that was thwarted by Democrat politicians in Kansas, most prominently Obama’s new HHS director, Kathleen Sebelius.

Recently Tiller was acquitted on 19 misdemeanor charges for illegally using another doctor, one on his payroll, to provide “independent” second opinions that his late-term abortions were necessary. The trial was notable for a lack of rigor by the pro-choice attorney general, and observers predicted it was headed for acquittal. Tiller was acquitted.

Yes, Tiller’s murderer was wrong. Vigilantism is wrong. Still, being pro-life, in my view, doesn't mean that every death is equally tragic, equally wrong, or even that every murder is equally tragic, or even tragic. Even our basic laws have always recognized murder happens in degrees, even that, once in a while, some homicide victims "needed killing." Being pro-life, to me, means that each person is conceived, created, with equal rights to live and be born. No one compromised Tiller's right to be born. He was born and grew up and became a doctor, and turned his God-given life to depriving others, 60,000 others, of the same right.

The fact that I haven’t an ounce of regret that Tiller is dead, whether by fire, famine, disease, or homicide -- and that consequently the babies scheduled this coming week to have their skulls pierced and their brains sucked out by Tiller in his charnel house now have a fighting chance to be born -- doesn’t make me an accomplice to his murder.

I wanted him stopped, and something, somewhere, stopped him. I’m supposed to be sorry about that? Was God behind it? I don't know. I have serious doubts about how upset He is. I don't recall reading where the Apostles cried too hard over Judas' suicide. Was Satan behind it? Not a fucking chance. Old Scratch is crying tonight, too. As Jesus said, can Satan stand against Satan? A house divided against itself cannot stand.

The devil has been robbed of one of his best soldiers.

The Left will pretend that lack of regret by pro-lifers equals moral participation in Tiller's murder. That’s nonsense. The Left will pretend that the deliberate murder of one bloody, murdering professional baby-killer is the moral equivalent (no, they'll say it's worse), of the legalized abortion regime that has taken the lives of 50 million innocent unborn. They will posture that Tiller's murder now balances the scales for all those dead unborn, and that the pro-lifers have to shut up about abortion now. That’s nonsense, too.

Tiller is as responsible for how he died as the person who killed him is. Could Tiller really have believed that he could spend every day jabbing his weapons into helpless human beings with the intention of ending their lives, life after life, day after day, for decades, for money, and then go to church, and not have some inkling that one day, by means of some instrumentality, some spiritual reflex, some invisible justice, some karmic fruition, some anguish at the heart of creation wasn’t going to strike back?

Life In Post-Racial America

Yesterday’s Detroit Free Press gave prominent space to this reader's letter to the editor about the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor:

American Hispanics as a people can finally put our invisible suitcase down for a time and feel that as Latino natives in this nation we finally belong for today ("Obama introduces Supreme Court pick," May 26). We Latinos have given our lives in every war for America, but America has never welcomed us as a people. We are treated like renters in this racist nation.

Finally, we would have a voice in the American white-and-black-only nation and justice system.

God Bless President Barack Obama for his courage in nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Eusebia Aquino-Hughes, Detroit

Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Someone's Launching Lord, Kumbayah'

Caroline Glick at The Jerusalem Post is awfully gloomy about our new President's approach to the Axis of Evil:


THE OBAMA administration's impotent response to Pyongyang's ICBM test last month and its similarly stuttering reaction to North Korea's nuclear test on Monday have shown Teheran that it no longer needs to even pretend to have an interest in negotiating aspects of its nuclear program with Washington or its European counterparts. Whereas appearing interested in reaching an accommodation with Washington made sense during the Bush presidency, when hawks and doves were competing for the president's ear, today, with the Obama administration populated solely by doves, Iran, like North Korea, believes it has nothing to gain by pretending to care about accommodating Washington.

This point was brought home clearly by both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's immediate verbal response to the North Korean nuclear test on Monday and by Iran's provocative launch of warships in the Gulf of Aden the same day. As Ahmadinejad said, as far the Iranian regime is concerned, "Iran's nuclear issue is over."

There is no reason to talk anymore. Just as Obama made clear that he intends to do nothing in response to North Korea's nuclear test, so Iran believes that the president will do nothing to impede its nuclear program.

Of course it is not simply the administration's policy toward North Korea that is signaling to Iran that it has no reason to be concerned that the US will challenge its nuclear aspirations. The US's general Middle East policy, which conditions US action against Iran's nuclear weapons program on the prior implementation of an impossible-to-achieve Israel-Palestinian peace agreement makes it obvious to Teheran that the US will take no action whatsoever to prevent it from following in North Korea's footsteps and becoming a nuclear power.


Glick explains that Obama is putting maximum pressure on Israel on ceasing all construction on settlements inside Judea and Samaria, while at the same time describing a timeline towards Iran and its nuclear program so slow and ineffectual that by the time Obama even considers a demand for international sanctions, beyond one year from now at least, “Iran will already be in possession of a nuclear arsenal.”

Then last Friday, writes Glick:


Yediot Aharonot reported that at a recent lecture in Washington, US Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who is responsible for training Palestinian military forces in Jordan, indicated that if Israel does not surrender Judea and Samaria within two years, the Palestinian forces he and his fellow American officers are now training at a cost of more than $300 million could begin killing Israelis.

Assuming the veracity of Yediot's report, even more unsettling than Dayton's certainty that within a short period of time these US-trained forces could commence murdering Israelis, is his seeming equanimity in the face of the known consequences of his actions. The prospect of US-trained Palestinian military forces slaughtering Jews does not cause Dayton to have a second thought about the wisdom of the US's commitment to building and training a Palestinian army.

Four days after Dayton's remarks were published, senior US and Israeli officials met in London to discuss Obama's demands that Israel stop building in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

What was most notable about the meeting was its timing. By holding the meeting the day after North Korea tested its bomb and after Iran's announcement that it rejects the US's offer to negotiate about its nuclear program, the administration demonstrated that regardless of what Iran does, Washington's commitment to putting the screws on Israel is not subject to change.

All of this of course is music to the mullahs' ears. Between America's impotence against their North Korean allies and its unshakable commitment to keeping Israel on the hot seat, the Iranians know that they have no reason to worry about Uncle Sam.
I know not everyone cares that much about the fate of Israel. But if this isn't a window into President Obama's aproach to national security, I don't know what it is. Iran has designated Israel only the "little Satan." It is America that is the "Great Satan."

Read the rest of "Column One: Israel and the Axis of Evil" here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Law and Order OCO ("Overseas Contingency Operations")

Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor, knows what he's talking about when it comes to prosecuting terrorists. He's the guy who put the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh), in jail.

McCarthy thinks that the Obama administration's decision to have the Department of Justice and FBI edge "the CIA out of the business of fighting international terrorism" means that "[s]lowly but surely, it’s September 10 again, a retreat into Clinton-era counterterrorism, when radical Islam prosecuted a war while we tried to prosecute radical Islam in court, playing cops-and-robbers while jihadists played for keeps." ("Wrong Then, Wrong Now").

As prosecutor McCarthy played a critical role in the government's handling of the 1993 attack as a law-enforcement matter. It was hardly enough when Radical Islam planned to follow up that attack with still more.

[B]y 1994, plans were under way to murder the pope, murder the president, and blow up U.S. jumbo jets in flight over the Pacific. By 1996, Osama bin Laden was publicly calling for the global slaughter of Americans while Hezbollah and Iran were killing 19 members of the U.S. Air Force at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

The government’s response? Its obsession at the time was the fear that federal judges might think the FBI was abusing its national-security wiretapping power — using it as a pretext for conducting ordinary criminal investigations. So in 1995, the Justice Department raised a regulatory “wall.” The effect was to bar intelligence agents and criminal investigators from “connecting the dots.” More significant, the wall fostered an ethos of risk-aversion. The message to career-minded agents was: “Take heed: The mere hypothetical (and highly unlikely) possibility of civil-liberties violations is of greater concern to us than the potential of jihadist mass-murder attacks.”

And what good is risk-aversion if you can’t export it? In 1995, President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 39, making the FBI, with its matrix of law-enforcement procedures, the government’s lead counterterrorism agency — even overseas, which had been the preserve of the CIA and the military, agencies operating under the quaint notion that where you have enemies and exigencies, rather than criminals and crime-scenes, you need a different, less onerous set of rules.
The difference between recognizing this struggle as a war, or thinking of it as a crime problem, isn't just in the choice of words we use. As McCarthy said, while we're playing cops-and-robbers the jihadists are at war, playing for keeps.

Obama Stands Athwart History Yelling Start!

Last week during his speech from the National Archives President Obama said his single most important responsibility was keeping the American people safe. That was politics and I don’t believe he sees his main mission is keeping Americans safe at all. National security isn’t where his heart is. And the evidence is strong it’s not where his supernaturally gifted brain is, either.

Where his heart is, what Barack Obama ran on, and what he promised he was going to do at his inauguration, was to remake America. This is what makes him so dangerous.

You don’t remake the object of your love. You may tinker with it, you may repair it, improve it, give it some medicine to restore its health, you may build an addition on it or give it a spanking or go on a second honeymoon with it. But you don’t remake something you love, because then it wouldn’t be that thing you love any more. (I know there are women who search out the perfect man and then try to remake him. That isn't love. It's per se pathology). You only remake things you think were made wrong to start with.

Obama sees his single most important job as president to take America Back to the Drawing Board, with himself as Draftsman in Chief. That's why he spent the first month of his administration globe-trotting around and publicly tossing America the First Rough Draft--1776 to October 2008 -- into the wastebasket.

Rush Limbaugh understands this about Obama, and explains it better than anyone out there. I guess that’s why it’s so important for the left to discredit Rush.

This transcript is from Rush's show on Thursday:


RUSH ARCHIVE: We have here an angry man with a chip on his shoulder, not some cool, calm, collected guy, but a cold, calculating, angry man who did hear what Jeremiah Wright said for 20 years while sitting in the pews of that church in Chicago. He did hear what Bill Ayers said about America. America's unjust, it was constituted as unjust, and that unjustness permeates to this day. So now it's time to change all that and we're going to change all that by desecrating the Constitution. Hence, Sonia Sotomayor.

RUSH: Now, I think in this bite you're gonna hear Obama let his guard down at this LA fundraiser. He's with buddies, he's off prompter, and you listen. It's just a short bite, it's 12 seconds.

OBAMA: This woman is brilliant. She is qualified. I want her confirmed. I want her walking up those marble steps and starting to provide some justice.

RUSH: I want her to start providing some justice. I want her walking up those marble steps and I want her to start providing some justice. Meaning, it ain't justice coming out of there now. I want her walking up those steps, and I want her to start providing some justice. Street talk. This is the talk of somebody angry. I want her march up those steps and start providing some justice. Justice as she defines it, based on what she said. She's better at justice 'cause she's Latina, better at justice than the white guy. Now, folks, in a sane world, she would not have risen to the nomination level because of that one statement. Now, obviously the left, they believe her. The left believes what she is saying. They don't care about that. They're worried that she doesn't have an abortion record. They're worried about getting sandbagged on that.

But just as Obama is going to return the nation's wealth to its, quote, unquote, rightful owners, we're going to have justice, we're going to have Sonia Sotomayor walking up those steps, she's gonna provide justice finally. We're going to not only return the nation's wealth to its rightful owners, we're going to get even with the people who stole it in the first place, and that's the justice we're going to have. That's why she was chosen. Sonia Sotomayor was chosen for the express purpose of reflecting his racial attitudes. Let's be honest. He coulda chosen a different Hispanic; he coulda chosen a different female. He chose Sonia Sotomayor because she is the mirror image of his racial attitudes. I want her walking up those steps and providing some justice! Could have been Al Sharpton saying that.

And it couldn't have been Colin Powell saying that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is the War Over?

It’s official now. There’s no longer a war against terrorists. No, we didn’t win it, we’re just changing tactics. Instead of making war on them, we’re going to throw the book at them. Probably “The Audacity of Hope.”

According to an article in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, the FBI and Justice Department will be taking a bigger role in global terror investigations, replacing, as reporter Josh Meyers puts it, “a system based primarily on clandestine detentions and interrogations “ with “one emphasizing transparent investigations and prosecutions of terrorism suspects.”


The approach effectively reverses a mainstay of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, in which global counter-terrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem, not a law enforcement one. That policy led to the establishment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; harsh interrogations; and detentions without trials.

The "global justice" initiative starts out with the premise that virtually all suspects will end up in a U.S. or foreign court of law. (“New FBI system brings terror operations out of the dark
”),
Or, stated another way, the new program starts out with the premise that virtually all jihadists fighters will be granted the protections and advantages of criminal defendants.

Meyers quotes Richard Clarke putting it this way: “’We have to return to the practice that we had before of arresting terrorists and putting them on trial, said Clarke, who added that the country's ability to do that ‘has atrophied.’”

Yes, our terrorist-killing muscles got stronger and stronger these past few years at the expense our terrorist-prosecuting muscles . What a shame! Instead of killing all those al Qaeda fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should have brought them here and charged them as criminals, and now maybe they’d be in the fifth year of their criminal appeals, or even out on bond!

If treating al Qaeda and their kind as enemy combatants resulted in the atrophy of America’s terror-prosecution skills, then what should we expect to atrophy now?

I got a particular kick out of this:


The initiative would mean even broader incorporation of the FBI and Justice Department into global counter-terrorism operations. Many national security officials said it is a vindication of the FBI, which before Sept. 11 had played a leading role in international terrorism investigations.

FBI agents for years had used non-coercive interrogations to thwart attacks, win convictions of Al Qaeda operatives and gain an encyclopedic knowledge of how the terrorist network operates. But they withdrew from questioning important suspects after the bureau opposed the tactics being used by the CIA and military -- often by inexperienced civilian contractors.


Obama changes strategies and somehow that vindicates the FBI? I’m sure the FBI was doing a fantastic job of thwarting attacks and leading in international terrorism investigations right up until they failed to discover or thwart the 9/11 attacks.

Even Josh Meyer noted how:


The FBI itself has been criticized, as has the CIA, for failing to connect the dots before the Sept. 11 attacks. In hindsight, the evidence pointed to a clear and intensive Al Qaeda effort to launch attacks on U.S. soil.

I don’t pretend to have a hot line into the FBI. But I do know that until only a few months ago the FBI’s “terror encyclopedia” had a blank page in the CAI-CAN volume where a lengthy article on “CAIR” was supposed to be.

And I’m beginning to notice that when unidentified government sources complain in the press about other agencies, especially when I see phrases like “inexperienced civilian contractors,” it’s got more to do with institutional jealousy (and arrogance), than it does with making sure the mission gets carried out.

Simply changing our footing from war-fighting to crime-fighting won’t cure America’s delusion that we can wish our way back to 9/10 the easy way. It'll make it worse.

For years the left has been putting the word “war” in sneer quotes, and complaining that enemy combatants should be handled as criminal defendants with full due-process rights. Under this new regime they’ll next be putting the word “crime” in sneer quotes, and complaining that criminal prosecutions of “political prisoners” and “freedom fighters” is a blight on our values and the reason the whole world hates us. Hollywood starlets will go on The View demanding the release of KSM, and Springsteen will write a dreary song about waterboarding with a phrase that repetitively rhymes “down” with “drown.”

If you think I’m exaggerating about those sneers, witness how already one AP reporter did both in the same paragraph today when reporting on the sentencing of the Holy Land Foundation defendants in Dallas.

The sentencing re-energized Holy Land's supporters, who believe the prosecution was a politically motivated product of former President George W. Bush's "war on terror" and a prime example of post-Sept. 11 anti-Islam fervor.

Across the street from the courthouse, a handful of people held a banner that read "Feeding Children Is Not A Crime."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where Supermax Meets Supermosque

One thing about last week’s thwarted terror attacks in New York state is what is says about America's prisons being the Billy Graham Crusades of Muslim outreach.

Steven Emerson writes:

Amid all the shocking details in the disrupted plot to bomb Bronx synagogues and fire missiles at American military aircraft, one component of the case should come as no surprise - three of the alleged culprits converted to radical Islam in prison.

Radical Islamists have targeted prison populations for recruitment for years. That's where Jose Padilla, suspected of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb and convicted of conspiracy to murder people overseas and of providing material support to terrorists, converted and was radicalized.

That's where a California man, Kevin James, created his own cell, called the Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS), and recruited other inmates to plot attacks against military and Jewish targets in and around Los Angeles.

In New York, the man who was the head Muslim chaplain for state prisons considered the 9/11 hijackers to be martyrs. Warith Deen Umar spent 20 years working with New York prisons, overseeing the hiring of Muslim chaplains and leading prayer services.

As for it being unlikely that a terrorist could escape from a supermax prison when no one else has been able to do so, there are still plenty of ways to do damage from inside.

We saw this in the case of the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, whom Obama’s defenders like to point to as an example of a terrorist tucked harmlessly away in an American jail.

But Lynne Stewart, attorney for the Blind Sheikh, used her access to her incarcerated client to assist the Sheikh Omar in getting his murderous fatwas out to his terrorist supporters.

Andrew McCarthy, the federal prosecutor who put the Blind Sheikh in prison, describes it:

Stewart was convicted of providing material support to terrorists — specifically, of providing the Egyptian Islamic Group (Gamaat al Islamia, one of the world’s most barbaric terrorist organizations and an al Qaeda ally) with the guidance of its leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman . . . . And we are not talking here about just any kind of support. The message she conveyed was that Abdel Rahman no longer supported the Islamic Group’s ceasefire in Egypt. Translation: Let’s get back to slaughtering innocents, like we did in the 1997 Luxor massacre, in which the Islamic Group brutally killed nearly 60 tourists, inserting into some of the mutilated corpses pamphlets demanding the blind sheikh’s release.
Nor do terrorists like KSM compare, in kind, with even the worst of the violent convicts being held in supermax prisons. Personally dangerous as some of those inmates are, they don’t enjoy martyrdom status with armies of suicidal sympathizers around the world ready to annihilate themselves and other people to try and break them out.

Who knows what all the risks and additional problems will have to be faced by the President's decision to close Gitmo and bring these guys here? The only thing certain is that we wouldn’t have to face any of those problems if President Obama had left Gitmo alone. Of all the things he said in his speech last week at the National Archives, his charge that the Bush administraton “made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight,” was the most upside-down.

How can he accuse the Bush administration of lacking foresight, when even eight years ago Bush and his advisers showed their foresight of these very problems, and how to pre-empt them, by setting up the detention center at Guantanamo Bay? This President’s foresight hasn’t even extended to his own Senate shooting him down out of political fear.

'Liz Cheney, Showing the Way'

Rush Limbaugh had a very good segment, in transcript at his webpage, about how Liz Cheney, Dick's daughter, has been kicking butts and taking names all over the cable news shows on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Rush zeroes in on how she does it, which is basically to put facts up against cliches and ignorance. The entire segment is worth reading. Rush gave this example of Liz's encounter with Anderson Cooper in a discussion of waterboarding:

She often starts by refusing to debate their cliched, fallacious premises. Here's another example. One more before we go to the break. Anderson Cooper: "More than 100 people are known to have died in US custody, some that were ruled a homicide. If these were tightly controlled things, how come so many people are murdered in US custody?"
LIZ: Anderson, I think that your question is highly irresponsible.

COOPER: Why?

LIZ: Because you are contemplating things that aren't conflated. When somebody dies or is "murdered" in US custody then we are a great nation and we take the people who are responsible and we put them on trial as you've seen happen throughout the last eight years. That is not the enhanced interrogation program, and to somehow suggest that those two things are the same I think willfully conflates something and ends up in a situation where we aren't able to take a truthful look at the last eight years as we go forward, because we are muddying the waters about what really happened.

RUSH: Anderson Cooper's there saying, "What's my next question?" Yeah, he's trying to probably figure out what "conflate" means and so forth. But what she's talking about here, he asked this loaded question, a hundred people died in US custody. And what he's implying is it happened because we waterboarded them or we tortured them. She said, "No, no, no. Your question is fallacious. The premise is irresponsible -- and whenever these kinds of things happen we have prosecuted." All you've gotta... We even prosecute the innocent, thanks to Jack Murtha. The Marines in Haditha. Congratulations, Liz Cheney, showing the way.

I have a video from April of Liz taking on someone named Nora O'Donnell at MSNBC, on the subject of the interrogation memos, about which Ms. O'Donnell knew almost nothing. Notice how Liz just keeps taking O'Donnell's cliches away and re-sets the argument on a foundation of facts.

Watch the video and you can see Ms. Cheney was all primed and ready to respond when Ms. O’Donnell first whipped out the “torture” libel--which Ms. Cheney certainly knew was going to be the main weapon used.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Just Wait Until the Next One

Now there’s going to be plenty of talk about Sonia Sotomayor, so anything I can add can wait, or be skipped all together. But I will make just one single prediction.

Selecting her for the Supreme Court is President Obama’s way of ticking off two emblems of his American Victims constituency, (ethnics, women). The aim is populating the court not with top jurists, but representatives of American victim groups whose voices need to be embroidered into, or over, the Constitution.

Except with Judge Sotomayor, Obama's already running out of identity groups. That's why I'm convinced his next choice for Supreme Court is going to be a homosexual. A fully out, practicing homosexual, naturally, so we won't fail to get the full benefit of his (or her) rich experiences.

All the rhetoric now about Judge Sotomayor the Latina woman judicial pioneer can just as well be applied to a queer nominee: the compelling life story, the rich experience, (eeeeeww) how America's finally turning a page, how the nominee's "community" has a long history of discrimination -- even Chuck Schumer's shirty (brownshirty, that is) threats that anyone who criticizes the choice will do so at his own peril. All the stuff we've learned to love about being silenced by the gay rights movement.

With that in mind, I suppose President Obama could select a Muslim, too, for all the same reasons. Not that there's anything unConstitutional about selecting a Muslim, (what can I say, with all those Catholics on the bench?). Any more than there's anything wrong with selecting a Latina, or a woman. What I don't like is choices based on the Supreme Court as a representative political body making policy instead of a deliberative juridical body safeguarding the Constitution with good old abstract legal theories and a pithy footnote in a casebook or two.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheney Unbound

I’ve been happy to see Dick Cheney taking the lead in contradicting the presidential/media libels about torture and the enhanced interrogations of the al Qaeda terrorists. For years I wished the Bush administration would put Cheney out there as a spokesman to explain Iraq and what we were doing to stop domestic terrorism, but it never happened.

For all the partisan emotion he draws from the left, Cheney is an outstanding speaker. Better, forensically, than President Obama, who speaks in airy generalities and is allergic to facts. For example, Obama said about Gitmo, “We are cleaning up something that is quite simply - a mess - a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges.”

Which really is just so much bullshit. The mess was created when Obama paid off an I.O.U. to Daily Kos by ordering Gitmo closed within a year. Even Senator Jim Webb, who hates Bush’s guts, said Gitmo was an “appropriate facility” that should stay open to try these cases.

When Cheney speaks, in contrast, he puts out the facts, always quite specifically, then he links them together with airtight logic. That's why they want him to shut up.

Here’s a sample of what Cheney said during his AEI speech last week:

Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.

I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about “values.” Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.

Ever since President Obama released the interrogation memos, the media has gleefully been embroidering its tapestry of legends drawn from the “torture memos,”or more accurately, from the idea of the “torture memos,” which the media can be confident hardly any one will actually read. The legends tell of how the Bush administration commanded its minions in the Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Pentagon to abandon law and institutional morality in favor of a torture regime limited only by the imaginations of its cruellest practitioners.

One idiotic example of, literally, hundreds I have seen in the past few weeks, is Brian Dickerson in the Detroit Free Press this weekend, declaring that “It's true that Cheney. . . has been defending the unbridled use of torture since 2001.”

Think about that for a moment. What would torture look like, what has it looked like, where it’s been “unbridled”?

Apparently, for one of Dickerson’s rose-petal soft conscience, the unbridled use of torture runs the range between being yelled at by interrogators at the easier extreme to being waterboarded at the harsher extreme: waterboarded, by the way, after being medically cleared for fitness by a physician and then having it explained to you in advance that the interrogators have no intention of killing you. No wonder Zubaydah could take 83 doses.

You want unbridled torture? I ran across this passage from Solzhenitsyn describing only some of the techniques practiced by the Stalinists in Russia:
In the intellectuals in the plays of Chekhov who spent all their time guessing what would happen in twenty, thirty, or forty years had been told that in forty years interrogation by torture would be practiced in Russia; that prisoners would have their skulls squeezed with iron rings; that a human being would be lowered into an acid bath; that they would be trussed up naked to be bitten by ants and bedbugs; that a ramrod heated over a primus stove would be thrust up their anal canal (“the secret brand”); that a man’s genitals would be slowly crushed beneath the toe of a jackboot; and that, in the luckiest possible circumstances, prisoners would be tortured by being kept from sleeping for a week, by thirst, and by being beaten to a bloody pulp, not one of Chekhov’s plays would have gotten to its end because all the heroes would have gone off to the insane asylum.
In our American drama, it’s not the detainees but the media who’ve gone off to the insane asylum, whence they submit their turgid editorials about how America lost her values at Guantanomo but might regain them if we accept queer marriages.

That's when I have to keep reminding myself, these are the people who’ve had forty years to define when human life begins and still haven’t gotten started, or who bled barrels of ink about a “Duke rape case” where there was no rape, and about the lynching victims know as the “Jena Six” who not only weren’t lynched, but committed attempted murder against a kid they didn’t know because he was white.

I’m not one of those guys trying to suggest that the enhanced interrogation techniques aren’t horrible, even brutal. I don’t care for Hannity trying to minimize waterboarding by offering to submit to it for charity. There’s no question these techniques are tough examples of the use of force against known enemies. Still, considering that other examples of the use of force include being shot dead by a Marine rifle squad or getting a cruise missile down your chimney, I have to say KSM and his fellow waterboarding alumni got off pretty easy.

The only question is whether or not the enhanced techniques are unlawful torture. And as usual the media has left that question in the dust in their stampede for the higher ground from which they’ll sermonize the rest of us. And answering that question for a concerned CIA was the whole purpose behind drafting the interrogation memos. The hell of it is the only guys in the country who actually made the effort to answer the critical question whether or not these techniques were torture or not--I’m talking about the Office of Legal Counsel attorneys--now have the cloud of prosecution hanging over them.

Meanwhile, moral paraplegics like Dickerson and Maureen Dowd and hundreds of others get to throw around expressions like “torture” and “broke the law” as if they’ve actually defined those terms--which they haven’t, and dare not.

Which is why they want Dick Cheney to shut up.

Fortunately, he's got eight years of shutting up to make up for.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Keep Killing Our Children? Yes We Can!

But as the president began his commencement address, at least three protesters interrupted it.

One yelled, "Stop killing our children!"

The graduates responded by chanting, "Yes we can," the slogan that became synonymous with Obama's presidential campaign.~ Buffalo News, May 17

***

In order to secure the political advantage Obama had gained among Catholic voters last November, the president of the United States decided that he would define what it means to be a real Catholic in 21st-century America — not the bishop of Fort Wayne–South Bend, who in sorrow declined to attend Notre Dame’s commencement; not the 80-some bishops who publicly criticized Notre Dame’s decision to invite the president to receive an honorary degree; not the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which explicitly and unambiguously instructed Catholic institutions not to do what Notre Dame did. He, President Obama, would settle the decades-long intra-Catholic culture war in favor of one faction — the faction that had supported his candidacy and that had spent the first months of his administration defending his policies. ("Obama and the ‘Real’ Catholics").

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coming This Fall: 'Law & Order--Hate Crimes Unit'

These people even scare each other.

Nat Hentoff, who is a liberal but somehow remains unhypnotized on life issues and free speech, can’t believe that the press and the ACLU aren’t making a peep while Congress and the Obama administration are pushing through hate-crimes legislation that will “make it a federal crime to willfully cause bodily injury (or try to) because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability’”. ("Hentoff: 'Thought crimes' bill advances"):
The extra punishment applies only to these "protected classes." As Denver criminal defense lawyer Robert J Corry Jr. asked (Denver Post April 28): "Isn't every criminal act that harms another person a 'hate crime'? Then, regarding a Colorado "hate crime" law, one of 45 such state laws, Corry wrote: "When a Colorado gang engaged in an initiation ritual of specifically seeking out a "white woman" to rape, the Boulder prosecutor declined to pursue 'hate crime' charges." She was not enough of one of its protected classes.

Corey adds that the state "hate crime" law - like the newly expanded House of Representatives federal bill - "does not apply equally" (as the 14th Amendment requires), essentially instead "criminalizing only politically incorrect thoughts directed against politically incorrect victim categories."

Whether you're a Republican or Democrat, think hard about what Corry adds: "A government powerful enough to pick and choose which thoughts to prosecute is a government too powerful."


But aren’t Conyers, Leahy, and Feinstein already doing this by claiming Department of Justice lawyers have broken the law by forming opinions on the definition of torture that the Democrats don’t like?

By extending an extra layer of legal protections to the specified victim classes, it also leaves the rest of us with lesser protection. I’m old and a person of color (white), so you can beat the hell out of me without it being a hate crime.

I have to wonder why the usual protections for age have been left out of this turkey? Maybe someone figured out they can’t have some cranky geezer who’s being denied Obama’s rationed health care saying he’s a victim of a hate crime. And since willfully causing bodily injury to an unborn or recently-born child because he’s “unwanted”--and a huge inconvenience because of his age-- qualifies as a hate crime, what could that do to the Roe v Wade regime?

Russ Gibb at Random

It’s great to see Russ Gibb back again.