Monday, August 27, 2007

In the wake of Gonzo's final demise

So you've probably heard that Alberto Gonzales has resigned. This is good news for many reasons. Of course, the immediate question comes up: why haven't I gotten a cup of coffee yet this morning? There is no good answer to this question and I'll resolve the issue shortly (it will also probably involve an English muffin or perhaps a bagel).

OK, I have coffee. I skipped the bread products because I didn't have time to run over to the cafeteria. I am a working man, after all.

So now. The second question that comes up right after that is that of who will replace Gonzales. Michael Chertoff has had his name bandied about even while Gonzales was swearing up and down that he couldn't leave because he had to stay and protect the children. This rumor was probably instigated by the administration to build up some momentum for his hearings and confirmation. This is a real stand-up moment for the Dems. I was super disappointed and infuriated by the passage of the recent surveillance laws. I mean, I've defended some Dem moves in the past for technical and political reasons, but there was no defense for that one. Likewise, if the Senate caves and approves yet another apparatchik, that's another huge strike against the Dem leadership.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to get in someone who will operate independently, not in the thrall of the administration. If they don't take that opportunity and fold on some political grounds, I'll be prepared to admit defeat and that the Dem leadership sucks. The fact is that getting someone in there with some backbone and independence would provide much greater political opportunity down the line, with ease of prosecution of administration misdeeds, more aggressive monitoring of administration programs, etc.

Even more importantly than that, it should begin to restore some of the faith and credibility in the legal system that has been defenestrated by Gonzo and his Gepetto.

Friday, August 10, 2007

American Soldier Held In Lockdown

We love the troops... until they start saying things we don't like. Summary: the Army claims Beauchamp's article was false and he's admitted that to them. But the Army won't provide any proof that his article was false and the Army won't provide Beauchamp: he's been held incommunicado since the Army's "investigation" began.

What is really going on here? I mean, the article that Beauchamp wrote was mildly embarrassing to the Army, but not that bad. It certainly pales in comparison to the shame of Abu Ghraib and Haditha. So why risk so much more bad publicity by essentially imprisoning an active duty Iraq War veteran? This is what really puzzles me about this situation.

Best blog post ever

No, not from me. From this guy. I love meat. I love processing meat. This is one of my end goals.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Scott Thomas Beauchamp blowback

If you didn't hear about the whole Scott Thomas uproar last week, here's a good resource to catch up on the story. Suffice to say that right-wing bloggers and Web sites, including Michelle Malkin and the Free Republic, piled on the guy, accusing him of pretty much everything from treason to slander to fabrication.

Now TNR has released a further update on the matter after re-reporting many important aspects of the reportage. Suffice to say that there are no significant issues in the initial story. And a lot of progressive bloggers have noted this refutation of the conservative attacks against Beauchamp. But only one of those responses noted what I find to be the most disturbing part of this:
[L]ate last week, the Army began its own investigation, short-circuiting our efforts. Beauchamp had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters.
So... Beauchamp's been essentially disappeared by the military for talking about something that included no testimony of war crimes, contained no sensitive intelligence, gave away no operational secrets, or anything else. I know that's what we're dealing with nowadays and I also understand that the military is different from civilian life. But this still reeks of persecution and the right-wing slander machine tail wagging the military dog.