Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality"--T.S. Eliot

Or, News of the Day:

From Juan Cole (via Holden at First Draft):
Reuters reports, "Iraqi doctors say they are concerned over an increase in Tuberculosis (TB) cases in the southeastern city of Amarah, fueled by a shortage of medicine and poor living conditions." Iraqi governments during the past 50 years had gotten the problem under control in that region.

My count of dead and wounded for Monday is many times higher than that in the mainstream media, whether the Washington Post or even the wire services. The numbers are arrived at by collating incidents reported in AFP and by Knight Ridder, and adding in incidents and casualties reported in the Baghdad daily, al-Zaman. Bad as things are in Iraq, I still don't think the full tragedy is getting out to the American public.
And from the NYT Letters:

To the Editor:

You urge Congress to "undo the damage and restore the separation of church and state as a showcase principle" at the Air Force Academy.

Sadly, when I offered an amendment in the House Armed Services Committee to do just that, it was criticized by some of my colleagues as "political correctness." One suggested that the wall separating religion and state is "mythical." Later, when I offered a similar amendment to the Rules Committee, it was defeated by a party-line vote.

These actions suggest that the fault lies not in the Air Force Academy itself; the fault lies in the halls of Congress. That is why I have proposed a bipartisan presidential commission to explore fully how an appropriate balance may be reached between the personal expression of faith and the constitutional separation of religion and state throughout our military.

(Rep.) Steve Israel
Huntington, N.Y., June 11, 2005

And proof, if you needed it, that denial is a powerful force:

Start with American Exceptionalism (it's worked for 200 years):

Vice President Dick Cheney strongly defended the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Monday, saying that it was essential to the administration's efforts to combat terrorism and that detainees there had been treated better by the United States than they could expect to be treated "by virtually any other government on the face of the earth."
Add fear-mongering and the opportunity to mention many have been released due to a Supreme Court ruling (but not in accordance with it, so don't mention the ruling itself):

To bolster his remarks, made in a speech at the National Press Club, Mr. Cheney added to the administration's previous warnings about the dangers of moving too quickly to free the more than 500 prisoners held at Guantánamo. He provided new details about what he said had been at least 10 released detainees who later turned up on battlefields to try to kill American troops.

Mr. Cheney mentioned the name of Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar, a released Guantánamo prisoner who returned to Afghanistan and became a Taliban commander and was killed last year by Afghan forces. He also cited Mullah Shehzada, who he said returned from the prison to organize a jail break in Afghanistan, and who was killed last year by American forces.
Conveniently ignore the elephant in the room, and blame complaints on "partisan politics":

Most of the detainees at Guantánamo were captured during the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, and many of them have been held there for three years without being charged with any crime. The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning a hearing on Wednesday on the issue.

Mr. Cheney dismissed those who say the prison should be shut down. "My own personal view of it is that those who are most urgently advocating that we shut down Guantánamo probably don't agree with our policies anyway," Mr. Cheney said. He said that detainees at the prison were "properly housed and properly fed," and that their medical and religious needs were being met.

Mr. Cheney did not address a Pentagon inquiry this month that found that some American guards and interrogators had mistreated the Koran, in some cases intentionally.
And remember that humankind cannot bear very much reality:

The vice president's words were echoed in a news conference on Capitol Hill later in the day by Representative Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who is one of the Pentagon's most committed allies.

Mohamed al-Kahtani, believed to have been the planned 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 terror plot, is held at Guantánamo, and Mr. Hunter said that Mr. Kahtani was eating well and had been given the materials he needed to practice Islam.

"The guy who wanted to drive that plane into the building at the World Trade Center is going to dine tomorrow on lemon fish with two types of vegetables, two types of fruit, and then he will be afforded his taxpayer-funded Koran, taxpayer-funded prayer beads and oil so he can pray, presumably to kill more Americans," Mr. Hunter said.

He added that it was a "myth" that detainees were tortured at Guantánamo.

A growing body of evidence has shown that a significant number of prisoners were subject to interrogations in which they were shackled to the floor for many hours, stripped or forced to urinate and defecate on themselves.
Which may explain why 6 in 10 Americans want some or all American troops to come home soon.

Above all, in defense of the Administration, don't mention freedom. Because clearly, freedom for "them" means chaos for us. Only we are permitted to know the joys of freedom, because only we can be trusted to be responsible with it.

Whatever "freedom" is.

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