Archive for September 5th, 2009

Don’t Laugh at Crazy Cheney — He Represents the Dangerous Thinking of Many Powerful Conservatives

By Marie Cocco, Washington Post Writers Group. Posted September 4, 2009.

It’s tempting to think of Dick Cheney as a cranky old men stirring up controversy to sell books. But Cheney must not be underestimated.

WASHINGTON — In politics as in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s most recent and thoroughly extraordinary public support of torture has produced, with almost mathematical precision, the following chain of events: People who think Cheney is scary in his defense of violating international treaties and U.S. laws, smashing the heads of suspected terrorists against walls, threatening them with rape and electric drills and subjecting them to waterboarding — an ordeal perfected in the torture chambers of the Spanish Inquisition — howled. They believe Cheney is completely gonzo.

As soon as this reaction to his imperious appearance on Fox News settled in, the equal and opposite reaction was heard: Cheney is completely right. And just trotting him out to promote his forthcoming memoir — “It is going to be a great book,” Cheney helpfully tells us — isn’t enough. Why not have him run for president?

This, too, inspires a reaction: Go ahead. Make my day. The rhetorical Cheney-for-president boomlet was touched off by The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, who mused that the 2012 campaign might well be waged on national security issues — assuming, as it is reasonable to assume — that something will put President Barack Obama on the defensive over foreign policy. And if that comes to pass, Taranto speculated, who better than Dick Cheney to represent the Republicans? Indeed, few can differentiate themselves from George W. Bush by making the former president appear to be a prudent moderate. Cheney is expert at it.

Though much attention is given to Cheney’s energetic support of torture, less has been drawn to his apparent willingness to start yet another Middle East war, this one with Iran. Asked by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace why the Bush administration didn’t “take out the Iranian nuclear program,” Cheney replied: “It wasn’t my decision to make. … I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues.” Cheney noted, pointedly, that the Bush administration decided to pursue diplomacy but the Iranian nuclear program continues apace. “We can speculate about, what might have happened if we’d followed a different course of action,” he said. “As I say, I was an advocate of a more robust policy than any of my colleagues. But I didn’t make the decision.” The decision, had Cheney made it, would likely have been to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. Such an attack would almost certainly have touched off a broader Middle East conflict, further inflamed regional passions against Israel (on whose behalf it would be assumed the U.S. acted), alienated allies around the world and destroyed any chance that Iraq would emerge from years of war and occupation as politically independent from the influence of the neighboring regime in Iran.


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George Thorogood & The Destroyers- Bad To The Bone

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Los Angeles Times:

Then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft violated the rights of U.S. citizens in the fevered wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by ordering arrests on material witness warrants when the government lacked probable cause, a federal appeals court said in a scathing opinion Friday.

In a ruling that said Ashcroft could be sued for prosecutorial abuses, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the former attorney general immunity from liability for how he used the material witness warrants in national security investigations.

Members of the panel, all appointees of Republican presidents, characterized Ashcroft’s detention policy as “repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history.”

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Washington Post:

A Muslim man who was detained for weeks as a material witness in a terrorism case can sue former attorney general John D. Ashcroft, a federal appeals court in California ruled Friday as it rejected a bid for absolute legal immunity by the onetime Cabinet official.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit gave a green light to the case filed by Abdullah al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen who was taken into custody at a ticket counter at Washington Dulles International Airport in 2003, while he was on his way to Saudi Arabia to study Islamic law and Arabic.

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