Monday, April 14, 2008

President Bush confesses he's a war criminal, so let's change the subject to Barack Obama's elitism

Last Friday, George Bush admitted he knew about the meetings of top administration officials to orchestrate torture policy and techniques ("enhanced interrogation," these guys are nothing if not euphemistic). In other words, he confessed to war crimes in his own words to ABC News.
President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."
Apparently they didn't study the Nuremberg Trials at Yale, or he was absent, or he just doesn't care.

On the same day, the media reported on Barack Obama's words to a San Francisco fund-raiser a few days earlier.
. . . a weekend war of words between the two candidates over remarks Obama made April 6 to donors in San Francisco. His statement -- that some voters have ``gotten bitter and cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them'' -- became public on April 11, and Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain immediately used them to attack him.
The Bush story sank virtually without a trace, while the Obama story became a firestorm of self-righteous commentary in the media and on the campaign trail. Obama had committed the crime of paraphrasing the argument of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? in language that was far too impolitic for the campaign trail. You would think that John McCain and Hillary Clinton could have spared a few words about White House crimes that made everything for which Richard Nixon faced impeachment seem like child's play, but apparently they were too busy piling on.

The news blackout on Bush was not total, of course. Many spoke up in the blogosphere, including Digby, who was plain-spoken and eloquently indignant.
I think we know what was happening now, don't we? The "principals" were all sitting around the table devising torture techniques based on the previous episode of "24" (or their favorite S&M website), and when Powell meekly objected, they called him a faggot. In the White House. If Bush wasn't in the room, he was listening on speaker phone. This has codpiece written all over it.
Unfortunately, over the weekend attention was focused not on constitutional "high crimes and misdemeanors" -- but something far more important. The burning question was whether an affluent black man, a graduate of Harvard Law and the front-runner for his party's presidential nomination should be allowed to get away with an apparently condescending attitude toward small town America. Compared to the magnitude of that offense, who could possibly object to a little torture for the greater good?


Dr "Bot" Diablo said...

As I explained many weeks ago in these very pages, media coverage of US presidential campaigns is not about issues. Voters are already burdened by stress-inducing personal issues and can hardly be expected to toss sleeplessly at night while brooding about thorny national policy questions.

No, campaign journalism is about VERBAL GAFFES. Obama's careless phrasing was like a red light turning green to journalists. Aided by other candidates, they can trumpet it, create a "crisis," and then report on how Obama "handles" it. The manner in which Senator Obama deals with this will help us decide whether this is a man we want to watch on TV for the next four years.

At Disneyland, they have a robot Abraham Lincoln who walks to the podium and delivers his hit speech, "The Gettysburg Address." He does not take questions from the audience or make off-the-cuff remarks, so he does not commit verbal gaffes, although he may malfunction and need to be rebooted now and again.

I believe the time has come for presidential candidates to put robot doppelgangers out there to press the flesh and deliver prepared remarks. The droids would not make injudicious comments. There would be other advantages to this as well. Potential assassins would be a minor worry, since the most they could do would be to disable a machine. A robot would not need an expensive entourage; it wouldn't need a luxury hotel suite at every stop, or even a continental breakfast. Candor and spontaneity are serious liabilities on the campaign trail, so why not feature automatons incapable of either. (I did sometimes wonder if Kerry was not in fact a prototype.)

froggyprager said...

Nice post. Your contrast between the petty campaign horse race issues and the war crimes being committed by the Bush team is spot on. I still am in shock by Yoo's comments about our president's power to torture a child. I oubt that any dems will have the guts to make any of them accountable for what they did.