I feel it best to bring this discussion me and RobbL are having about Gitmo into the main thread all the better to have more monkeys weigh in. Robb says:
" ... [the federal government has] decided not to extend fairly basic human rights (like habeas corpus, contact with lawyers, contact with families, etc.) to those accused but not convicted of - hell, not even CHARGED with - these crimes."
No access to lawyers? Then explain this story, in truthout.org of all places, that details how Gitmo detainees have had contact via mail with their crusading attorneys. An excerpt:
Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Associated Press the military has been giving broad lawyer access to many detainees - even though they are accused of having al-Qaeda or Taliban links and the United States is still at war.
You can argue many things, but saying those terrorist detainees don't have access to lawyers is not very strong. Not only is every case reviewed by a military commission, but at least three cases, Hamdi being the most prominent, have reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's an op-ed from The Wall Street Journal that goes into even more detail about the level of involvement America's legal community has had at Gitmo. Burlingame calls them "the Gitmo bar."
"Besides, they get pretty good treatment down at Gitmo at least those who don't throw poo, urinate on and attack the guards."
And then RobbL said:
How do you know this? Because the US Government tells you so? And they've never lied to the public before, right? And what constitutes "good treatment" for someone who hasn't been charged with a crime?
To believe this, we'd have to believe that there is a wide-ranging conspiracy stretching from the Pentagon all the way down to Gitmo guards, past and present, who are so disciplined as to never leak a peep that counters the extensive stories of prisoner attacks on guards, like this one from the Associated Press, via MSNBC.
The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons, Pentagon reports say.
Incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by cocktails of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.
Theyve been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small bean holes used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate.
The detainee reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team members helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes, states a May 27, 2005, report on an effort to remove a recalcitrant prisoner from his cell.
The IRF team member received scratches to his face and eye socket area, the report said.
And RobbL also wrote this:
I would rather they be charged with a war crime, designated prisoners of war and treated as such, or released. And whatever is done, it should be done stateside with both legislative and public oversight.
There is legislative oversight and don't let the likes of Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller tell you any differently. Congress knows very well what is going on down there, through classified briefings on the Hill and personal visits. And the amount of journalism chronicling the goings on down there is massive.
It is no gulag. And those who cooperate get very nice treatment, considering their status as violent, sworn enemies of the United States. Don't take my word for it, take it from that right-wing, pro-war bastion....Mother Jones.
Improved cooperation enables prisoners to move from maximum to medium security and on to a sort of honor society known as Camp 4. Good behavior alone can keep a prisoner out of maximum security, but moving to Camp 4 requires cooperating with interrogators. In Camp 4, prisoners eat together and are free to congregate and play soccer. A Mother Jones reporter was allowed to see these men but not talk to them. They wore white clothing instead of orange jumpsuits and, almost to a man, had cultivated the full beards common in their homelands.
That's enough for now. Back to you, Robb.
I've long been among the quite-possibly foolish who believe that an Arab/Muslim society would freely choose peace and democracy. And I've tried to hold that faith despite my careful readings of VDH and Steyn. My misgivings, though, keep strengthening with the chaos in "Palestine" and Iraq as the picked scabs. Jonah Goldberg puts it well at the end of his latest column:
For many disciples of the "international peace process," it's a matter of faith that the Palestinians just have to want peace, because how else can you have a peace process? For many supporters of the Bush Doctrine, Iraqis have to want democracy, because if they don't, what's the point of having a freedom agenda? But what if these are just beloved Western fictions? We see a well-lighted path to the good life: democracy, tolerance, rule of law, markets. But what if the Arab world just isn't interested in our path? As a believer in the freedom agenda, that's what scares me most.
If freedom and democracy is merely a Western fiction with the Israeli/Arab citizen, freedom-enjoying-doctorate-degree-earning exception notwithstanding we are in for a long war. Or a more intense one along the lines of Ann Coulter: Invade their countries and convert them ... if not to Christianity, to Western values.
I've commented before on the Libby kerfuffle. And resisted the temptation to do so again even after the injustice upon him continues. But after perusing the latest R. Emmet Terrell column, I'll just note this almost-perfect summary (and justification for a prompt Bush pardon):
The case was a political scandal that left everyone appearing scandalous -- the White House, Wilson and his anti-war partisans and the press, particularly The New York Times. The Times called for the prosecutors to investigate the source of assumed White House leaks to the press. As a consequence, one journalist was jailed and others were threatened. The Times, in its partisan zeal against the Bush White House, actually managed to reduce freedom of the press and open a new avenue for government coercion of journalists. From the plagiarisms of Jayson Blair to this latest reckless partisanship, the Times continues to be its own worst enemy.
The moral gyrations of The New York Times during this affair would be humorous, if not for the damage they've done for the government's respect for the First Amendment.
Victor Davis Hanson is always brilliant in his analysis of the Middle East. So it's hard to say that that this is somehow exceptional. But it is still worth reading the whole thing. A few excerpts of an important topic we've ignored lately around here:
And after the multifarious failures of Yasser Arafat, the Assads in Syria, Muammar Gaddafi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam Hussein and other corrupt autocrats, many have, predictably, retreated to fundamentalist extremism. Almost daily, some fundamentalist claims that the killing of Westerners is justified - because of a cartoon, a Papal paragraph or, most recently, British knighthood awarded to novelist Salman Rushdie. The terrorism of Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban is as much about nihilist rage as it is about blackmailing Western governments to grant concessions. ...
The poor terrorists of Arafat's old party, Fatah, seem to shriek that they have been out-terrorized by Hamas, and desperately con more Western aid to make up for what has been squandered or stolen.
Muslims flock to Europe to enjoy a level of freedom and opportunity long denied at home. But no sooner have many arrived than they castigate their adopted continent as decadent. The ungracious prefer intolerant sharia - denying to their own the very freedom of choice that was given to them by others.
It is hard to deny that VDH treats the Muslim Street and their agitators and indulgers like children. It is equally hard to deny that he is wrong to do so.
His conclusion: Due to both misjudgments by the United States and regrettable developments in Muslim attitudes, "The poisons are spreading so rapidly that without immediate remedial action, no antidote may ever be found." And Dr. Ahmed has always been an optimist.
Seriously. Read the whole thing.
Predicting that Michael Moore's latest documentary would be about as accurate as a North Korean news service dispatch is as easy as ... well, predicting that it would be the toast of Cannes. Yet it's still cool to read even moderate, temperate, normally sympathetic columnists like The Sacramento Bee's Daniel Weintraub take it down.
But it's even more fun to read an autopsy of Moore's crockumentary from The New York Post. Expanding on his one-star review in the paper, Kyle Smith says:
Even Moore does not believe what he says, and his films dont bring about change-union membership did not skyrocket nor corporate downsizing trickle off after "Roger and Me," there was no movement towards banning guns after "Bowling for Columbine," and John Kerry did not have to fill out any change of address forms in 2004. Moore's documentaries are mere political slapstick that could have been made by a third Farrelly brother or an eighth Stooge. I will pay him the honor of treating him with his own meds. How else can I deal with a film that calls Hillary Clinton "sexy"?
Not bad. But we'll have to wait for Mark Steyn to get to "Sicko" to enjoy a really top-shelf evisceration.
Moore is the master of the half-truth or as he might put it himself, the "fictitious"
war fact. For instance, Roger & Me made it seem like he couldn't get in to see GM CEO Roger Smith. No less an authority than Team Ralph Nader popped that balloon (Moore quizzed him for 90 minutes ... yet the movie shows him interviewing an empty chair). And there's ... well, that's enough. Pick nearly any scene in any movie and you'll see a lie.
This excerpt from Smith's "Sicko" take-down is a great example of how "Inconvenient Truth" seems to always wreck his movies:
In a poll, 85 percent of the French recently said their country is heading in the wrong direction. Right direction? Nine percent. In France in 2003, 15,000 mostly elderly hospital patients died in an August heat wave--because hospitals lack air conditioning and doctors were on vacation. The French parliament blamed the health care system. Thats five times 9/11s toll, all of it preventable, all of it unlamented by Moore.
Yes. But the French government will send bureaucrats over to do the laundry of women who just gave birth. Priorities are everything in a socialist medical system.
Salman Rushdie offends Islam with his pen, yet he survives (so far) an 18-year old fatwa guaranteeing paradise to whomever metes out Allah's punishment. For his bravery, he is knighted on his 60th birthday by Queen Elizabeth II (a much more worthy honorific than the silly knighthoods bestowed upon the likes of Elton John). And the response of the religion of peace is ... sadly typical.
I guess it's nice to see the Union Jack replace Old Glory, at least for one day, as the Muslim Street's hand-warmer. More troubling, however, is that our "ally" in the war on terror, Pakistan, is among the nutjobs encouraging and justifying the death of Rushdie.
"This is an occasion for the [world's] 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision," Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, [Pakistan's] religious affairs minister, said in parliament.
"The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the 'sir' title," Mr. ul-Haq said.
Mr. ul-Haq later backed off his remarks. Right. He doesn't believe that Muslims are justified to go on murderous rampages if they feel the slightest (even unintentional) offense. That would put him soooo out of step with the Muslim world.
More disheartening, though, is the reaction of Lord Ahmed, whom Tony Blair made a member of Britain's House of Lords.
Two weeks ago the Prime Minister was calling for building relations between the Muslim world and Britain, then suddenly this knighthood is given to a man who has not only been abusive to Muslims, but also to Christians - because he used abusive language towards Jesus Christ...This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world...Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of, because of what he did, I think is going a bit too far.
Thanks, Tony, for accelerating the Islamification of your country. Let's put money on when Britain will back down. I doubt Elizabeth will revoke the knighthood. But I'd put even money on either a high British official or Parliament issuing a condemnation/apology which will do nothing to clam things.
Daniel Pipes (Hat Tip: Powerline) pegged the question of submission or resistance 17 years ago when he wrote the following in his 1990 book The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah and the West:
The Satanic Verses affair exposed a reluctance among Western governments, writers and booksellers to fight very hard. It seems scarcely believable, but the West, which had so much greater resources than Iran, especially an Iran recovering from almost a decade of war, ran scared of Tehran. How was it that the American, British, French and German governments could be intimidated by a state possessing little more than clearly defined goals and strength of will?
The question today is the same as it was in 1988 and during last year's Danish cartoons flap. Does the West stand up for its values, or submit to the demands of Islamists?
But on a lighter note, as always, the absurdity of the Muslim Street's overreaction just parodies itself.
Hardliners in Iran revived calls for his murder yesterday. Mehdi Kuchakzadeh, a Tehran MP, declared: Rushdie died the moment the late Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] issued the fatwa.
Hmmm. Then Rushdie must think he's died and gone to heaven, to judge by his new bride a hot model, actress, author and chef who is about half his age.
A "martyr" for Allah should have it so good.
Happy Fathers' Day!
What have the procreating Monkey men received for this year's Fathers' Day?
I got a great homemade card, a pair of shorts, a travel kit of hygiene product containers for RAGBRAI next month, a tee shirt I'll be able to wear just about nowhere, and best of all... a bag of Chocolate Monkey trail mix!
What did you get?
Durham County (N.C.)
District Attorney persecutor Mike Nifong accepted his guilty verdict on misconduct chargers in the Duke lacrosse case by saying, "I should be disbarred."
Some tar and feathers might also be in order.
When Christopher Hitchens is bad like when he's running down Mother Theresa he's really bad. But when he's good, he's very, very good. And he's at his very best writing in Slate about, of all things, the celebrity justice connection between Paris Hilton and Scooter Libby.
After describing Hilton's claim to fame as "one of the least erotic such sequences I have ever seen" during which Hilton's "facial expression [fails to] match even the simulacrum of lovemaking," comes this:
Not content with seeing her undressed and variously penetrated, it seems to be assumed that we need to watch her being punished and humiliated as well. The supposedly "broad-minded" culture turns out to be as prurient and salacious as the elders in The Scarlet Letter. Hilton is legally an adult but the treatment she is receiving stinksindeed it reeksof whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse.
Ouch. Sympathy for Paris? I have it now, thanks to Hitch's gifts
Oh, and that connection to Libby in the brilliant screed? Here:
Perhaps to compensate for its ridiculous decision to put her on Page One on Friday, the New York Times report shifted from the sobbing, helpless child to the more portentous question of another "high-profile defendant." It cited an even more acid piece of creepy populism, in the form of an order from Judge "Reggie" Walton, who poured his witless sarcasm on those who had filed a brief in support of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Would such "luminaries," sneered Walton, be equally available for other litigants? It's not his job to arbitrate such a question, and he seems not to understand the law, but if his words mean anything, and from a federal judge at that, they appear to mean that to be a public figure is to risk double jeopardy in the courts.
Enjoy every word of a master by reading the whole thing.
Angelina Jolie is promoting a new movie about Daniel Pearl, the late Wall Street Journal Reporter who learned the fatal lesson of the seriousness of jihad especially against American Jews. Wednesday night's premiere of "A Mighty Heart," which sounds more like a Lifetime Movie Channel title than a major motion picture, was also a benefit for Reporters Without Borders. Well, let's let Fox News tell the story about the borders Jolie puts on the press:
But Jolie turns out to be a mighty hypocrite when it comes to her own freedom of the press. Her lawyer required all journalists to sign a contract before talking to her, and Jolie instructed publicists at first to ban FOX News from the red carpet of her premiere.
To the credit of most media outlets, they declined to sign Jolie's agreement which banned any journalist from asking anything but glowing, ass-smooching questions about the film.
If that wasn't enough, Jolie also requires that if any of these things happen, "the tape of the interview will not be released to Interviewer." Such a violation, the signatory thus agrees, would "cause Jolie irreparable harm" and make it possible for her to sue the interviewer and seek a restraining order.
I am told that USA Today and the Associated Press were among those that canceled interviews, and eventually Jolie scotched all print interviews when she heard the reaction.
"I wouldn't sign it," a reporter for a major outlet said. "Who does she think she is?"
Who does she think she is? Where has this person from a "major media outlet" been for the last 6 years? Jolie is the person who banned all media from the birth of her son in Namibia while giving the dictator, who declared himself "information minister" during Brangelina's visit, full control over the information. She praised said dictator, despite the fact that the Committee to Protect Journalists notes that the dictator has attacked journalists in his own country and has a "chokehold" on the media.
She is the person who has "know your rights" tattooed on her back (thanks, Drudge):
And she is a woman without the slightest sense of irony.
Pretty good except for the gay part.
And it was pretty much all "the gay part."
My friend and former colleague Audrey Hudson of The Washington Times reports that CAIR speaks for even fewer Muslims than we suspect and certainly not the "millions" it claims to.
According to tax documents obtained by The Times, the number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006, a loss of membership that caused the Muslim rights group's annual income from dues to drop from $732,765 in 2000, when yearly dues cost $25, to $58,750 last year, when the group charged $35.
Now let's see if the MSM starts giving the cold shoulder to these frauds.
Everybody knows that newspapers are in deep, deep trouble. But, hoo boy.
The NY Times has a fun article about wealthy investor Bill Hambrecht pursuing his dream of creating a new football league to compete with the NFL. He's already got one of the Google guys on board, as well as Mark Cuban, the rebellious owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
You read the first half of the story thinking -- this could never work. The USFL failed. The XFL failed. The Arena Football League is a joke. The NFL is just the most powerful, profitable and successful pro league in history. And it will crush all in its wake -- just like always.
But then you get to the second half and start to think.....hmmmmm, maybe this crazy idea could work. That's the power of the listening to a successful dreamer like Hambrecht. It will be interesting to continuing following this story.
The guys at PowerLine report that Fred Thompson is poised to give the go-ahead for fundraising for a presidential bid.
I'm more impressed with Fred than HLMonkey -- because he at least expresses himself plainly. And he would certainly add .... what's the word.....oh, yes....GRAVITAS to the debates. Whether he'd make a good president is a very open question, but he should make a good debater. And as a candidate he'd sit well to the right of Rudy, force Romney to be sharper intellectually, and probably accelerate the John McCain fade/flame-out.
Besides, I just like the name "Fred." Delightfully old-school.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.
"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."
That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.
Hmmmm. Individual economic liberty? Or government-defined "fairness" -- which somehow always involves taking from the hard-working and prosperous to give to the less-so? I'll put my money on the former.
Hillary sure makes opposition research for her opponents easy. Do campaigns even pay big money for such research anymore in the age of Google? I'd do it for the eventual GOP candidate and ask for only beer as payment. Hell, I could do it while being as drunk as Kiefer Sutherland -- though even when tanked, I tend to remember I'm already smoking a cig before lighting up another one.
This weekend you have lots of choices for Memorial Day tv viewing. My recommendation: My War Diary on The Military Channel. Despite one's position on the war, most folks ought to be engaged by the compelling video and story telling, interspersed with some amusing (and sometimes hilarious) antics of bored soldiers.
If you don't get The Military Channel, you can get a taste for some of the segments on YouTube. Fans of SNL's Lazy Sunday will do well to remember the amateur comedic status and as-hip-hop-as-Martin-Milner nature of the makers of Lazy Ramadi.
Lastly, Sgt. Sendelbach's 30 minute film of his unit's deployment Once Upon a Time in Iraq is an intense documentary. Anti-war types may want to skip the first few minutes of video to get past 9/11 footage and Bush speech clips. But once the still photos begin, tune back in. The kid's got a good eye.
Take a look at the illustrated al-Qaeda torture manual. Even though it's only drawings, and of the skill level of your average 6th-grade art class or typical cartoonist in the Arab world, it is still disturbing. Not for the squeamish. It is certainly a level of torture a few notches above playing
Britney Spears Christina Aguilera at an uncomfortable volume or failing to wear white gloves while placing the Koran in a sterile mini-hammock at Club Gitmo.
Drudge linked to The Smoking Gun's publication of al-Qaeda's torture manual on Thursday. So far, according to Newsbusters, the only MSM outlet to even report on the existence of the manual is Fox News.
I seem to recall the papers and networks taking a bit of interest in the frat-house shenanigans at Abu Ghraib -- which was classified as torture and put several of our guys and gals in the brig. The poor souls who are under the thumbscrews and blowtorches of al-Qaeda would trade that in for an underwear hat any day.
Amnesty International? Not a word....except for calling (again) for the closing of Gitmo as the most important priority in the scare-quoted "war on terror."
It goes without saying that the American people, and the military, expect more from our troops than al-Qaeda's level of morals and humanity. But we are at war with these monsters. Shouldn't our media give the public a bit of a taste of what we're up against? Or is reporting this important story just another form of pro-Bush propaganda?
I expected today to be five hours of whining cats in a car from Phoenix to Long Beach. As it turned out, after a little initial puking and pooping--fortunately not on my car seat*--they settled down to be a couple of nice, quiet, terrified, drooling little rugs.
Oh, and it was six hours. Stupid traffic.
And they love the new house.
* On my wife's lap.
Mismanagement of an asset like James Lileks should be a firing offense for the decision makers at the StarTribune.
Why is Dow Jones worth billions? One major reason is that the Wall Street Journal is one of the few print publications to really understand the Internet. While the StarTribune dinosaur slowly lurches its way into the tar pits, I hope someone out there in the media world grabs Lileks and uses his gifts to their full potential.
Maybe Lileks' first "beat Internet" story should be a series on what it is like to interview for a better job in the new media world...
We're in the process of moving back to California, and our new house has a stray cat that's been hanging around. This is a problem because a) we have cats, who will be spending some time outside (when they make the move in a couple of weeks) and b) this stray cat is covered in scabs. While Scabbie is friendly, we're worried that what he has might be contagious. Oh, and he hasn't be neutered. So we decided that to put some food out to try to catch him, take him to a vet, have him checked out and fixed, and try to find an equivalent of the excellent no-kill shelter where we got our cats to take him to.
But a few minutes ago, we heard something outside, and saw a distinctive black-and-white creature eating all of the cat food. I tried to convince my wife that maybe Scabbie had just gone under a freshly painted white fence, but there was no mistaking this fellow. Sacrebleu!
A Bay Area freeway interchange melted? Yep. Astonishing to behold. What's really amazing, though, is nobody died.
Jack Valenti's dead.
Can't say I'll miss him.
That probably sounds mean. It's really just indifferent. Kind of like hearing the head of the BATF died. Or Larry Flynt. You know, I don't really know anything about their personal lives or families, but I have no respect for what any of them do professionally.
I always knew there was something funny -- and I don't mean "ha-ha" funny -- about that Mandel character.
Had to put my wife's dog down yesterday afternoon. That suuuuuuuuucked.
Happy Year of the Golden Pig!
The best college football game I ever watched was the 1995 Orange Bowl, where Coach Osborne kept switching quarterbacks, doing whatever it took to win.
I can't say that tonight's Fiesta Bowl was a better game overall, but it was certainly the best 4th quarter (plus OT) of college football I've ever seen. Boise State wanted to win, and with determination and a little trickery, they did.