a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Worth reading

Posted by Thomas Nephew on May 19th, 2007

  • Paperwight (“Paperwight’s Fair Shot”), Who Will Rid Me of This Meddlesome Priest?

    The Bush Administration handpicked know-nothing Party apparatchiks to fill every possible political appointment they could find, and turned them loose on the executive branch with ‘guidance’ from Karl Rove. I expect that guidance generally took the form of “expressions of concern” regarding certain “districts” or “issues”. Policy and personnel decisions were made in the fuzzy apparatchik cloud and then the shaft bolt lashed out of the cloud and struck someone in the civil service. No chain of command, no accountability, no procedure. Everyone just sort of knew what had to be done — they were all picked because they knew in advance what “had to be done” to serve the Party.

  • Marc Lynch, interviewed by Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine —

    At the same time, neither Al Qaeda as an organization nor bin Laden as an individual is commanding a great deal of respect or support. When you get these attacks in Algeria and Morocco, it repels people rather than attracting them. But the paradox is that even as Al Qaeda repels people with its actions, its core ideas are becoming more widely accepted, and that’s really troubling, and a real indictment of American public diplomacy. That’s also why the situation in Iraq is so devastating at the wider regional and global level. Killing people in Morocco and Algeria triggers a negative reaction, but fighting Americans in Iraq resonates with a much wider part of the Arab population.

  • Jonathan Schwarz (“Tiny Revolution”) in Mother Jones: “No Congress, No Peace” —

    What, then, would a serious congressional strategy to block a war with Iran look like? Constitutional scholars and congressional staff agree there’s no one magic answer. The alarming truth is that 220 years after the adoption of the Constitution, there are few settled answers about what legal powers the executive branch possesses to start a war. But there are several steps Congress could take to make a war with Iran politically very difficult for the White House.

  • Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Monthly, Torture, Moral Vanity, and Freedom

    Even a prisoner in a small cell can stand and walk a little, can breathe on his own, has the capacity to tend to his own bodily functions, and to think or pray. Torture is designed to rob him of all these last shreds of liberty. It takes control of his body and soul and by the use of physical or psychological coercion, rids him of any real freedom at all. It puts him into the abyss of tyranny on a personal scale. And any man or woman who is given the license to torture and any man or woman who grants the right to torture is definitionally a tyrant over another person. There is no state more abject than the man broken on the waterboarding rack, or frozen to near death, or forced to stand for days on end, or hooded and strapped to shackles in a ceiling, or having his legs pulpified by repeated beating, or forced to eat pork and drink alcohol against religious strictures. Everything I have just described has been done by US forces under the command and direction of George W. Bush. They are all acts of absolute tyanny, conducted by people who at that moment are absolute tyrants.

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