Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Dolchstoßlegende and the GOP

Some food for thought:

The Dolchstoßlegende or Dolchstosslegende, (German "dagger-thrust legend", often translated in English as "stab-in-the-back legend") refers to a social mythos and persecution-propaganda and belief among bitter post-World War I German nationalists, that lay blame for the loss of the war upon non-Germans and non-nationalists.

Many Germans who supported, fought in, or had otherwise known people lost in the enormously costly war, believed the causes for the German/Austrian involvement in the war were justified. They had hoped it would bring a restoration of past glory and a unified German nation-state. Instead, the war caused the deaths of 1,770,000 German soldiers and 760,000 German civilians, devastated the economy, and brought losses in both territory and national sovereignty.

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders sought others to blame. The common scapegoats were Weimar Republic politicians, socialists, communists, and "international Jewry" — a term referring to Jews with a perceived excess of wealth and influence. These "November criminals", nationalists alleged, had "stabbed them in the back" on the "home front," by either criticizing the cause of German nationalism, or by simply not being zealous-enough supporters of it. In essence the accusation was that the accused committed treason against the benevolent and righteous common cause.

[...]

Nevertheless, this social mythos of domestic betrayal resonated among its audience, and its claims would codify the basis for public support for the emerging Nazi Party, under a severely racialist-based form of nationalism. The anti-Semitism latent in Germany society was intensified by the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a Communist government which ruled the city of Munich for two weeks before being crushed by the Freikorps militia. Most of the Bavarian Soviet Republic's leaders were Jewish, a fact exploited by anti-Semitic propagandists to tar all Jews with the brush of Communist treason.

[...]

Due to the highly potent imagery of a "stab in the back", and the common perception amongst political conservatives that politically hostile homefronts defeat otherwise winnable wars, the stab in the back legend is a common legend in a number of modern societies. In particular, the stab in the back legend is often used by conservatives to explain the defeat of the United States in the Vietnam war. In the context of the US involvement in the Vietnam War the stab in the back legend is part of the Vietnam Syndrome complex.

Not only did the Nazis utilize the "stab in the back" legend to its advantage during its rise to power and of course in maintaining its grip on power, but our own right-wingers have been relying on the same basic approach since the Vietnam war ended. I'm sure if I had a nickel for every GOP politician who has used that strategy since the early 1970s, I could retire in style. The "stab in the back" legend has been most recently utilized by our own hardline nationalists in order to silence dissent regarding the Iraq debacle. These folks are bound and determined to spread the myth that shining a light on Bu$hCo's lies to get our military sucked into what is now Mess o'Potamia as well as shining a light on the debacle that the war has truly become is somehow a "stab in the back" to those unfortunate souls who got shipped over there. The true stab in the back to these men and women was committed by the very White House and Congress critters who had that jones comin' down for a war in the first place.

Recent perpetrators of The Legend :

Rep Jean Schmidt (R-OH):
The fiery, emotional debate climaxed when Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

"He asked me to send Congress a message -- stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message -- that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said.

Democrats booed and shouted her down -- causing the House to come to a standstill.

Rep. Harold Ford (news, bio, voting record), D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass.

Over in blogtopia, a selection:

And folks, the Legend is on high display.

Allow me to give you a few delightful quotes from our friends over at RedState.org...


America was stabbed in the back by the POT* By: francisurquhart

Vietnam was lost as a result of a stab in the back. The war was won on the ground. Had the state of affairs as of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords been allowed to continue, there would still be a free South Vietnam today - and there would have been no Cambodian genocide.
South Vietnam was defeated because the Democrats stabbed our ally, and by extention all patriotic Americans, in the back, causing our defeat - which was their aim dating back to the moment when the McGovernite left took over the party.
*POT = Party of Treason

Or here's another wonderful post, from an (appropriately named) blogger named nazgul12:

Now, I will admit that this is basically a grandiose experiment. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. Should the Democrats regain power, they may betray our Iraqi allies as they once did our South Vietnamese allies. Most liberals like to forget that South Vietnam held on it's own for 3 years after American troops had pulled out. The country only fell when Democrats in Congress pulled all funding that was being used to support our allies. Something similar might happen in Iraq. It is conceivable that we would pull out of Iraq but give monetary support to the government. The Democrats, not willing to give Bush a good legacy, might do the same thing they did when they wanted to prevent Nixon from having any sort of positive legacy.

No, I'm not cherrypicking these. This is literally what these people think. And it gets a lot worse if you venture into Little Green Footballs or Freeperland.

And from the usual wingnut punditry:

See a selection from this piece by none other than David Horowitz:
The leftward slide of the Democratic Party, which has made it an uncertain trumpet in matters of war and peace, may be said to have begun with the McGovern presidential campaign of 1972, whose slogan was "American come home" - as though America was the problem and not the aggression of the Communist bloc. The McGovern campaign drew in the rank and file of the anti-Vietnam Left, much like the anti-Cold War Henry Wallace Progressive Party campaign of 1948 and the Howard Dean anti-Iraq campaign of 2004. McGovern himself was a veteran of the Wallace campaign and, virtually all the leaders of the anti-Iraq movement, including most of the Democratic Party leaders who supported it, are veterans of the anti-Vietnam campaign.

Looking for something to read?

The Cycle of Doom: Selected Essays in Discourse & Society by Dubem Okafor (Brooklyn, NY: Shakespeare’s Sister & Lulu, 2005). Order through Lulu.

See the review by ePluribus Media for more details. Looks like an interesting book.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Boy, that's comforting...

From Cursor:
'OK, There Were Signs of Torture' among 169 "emaciated" prisoners at a Baghdad facility, says Iraq's interior minister, "but there were no killings and no beheadings."
Feel better?

"Throw 'em to the lions"

How a supposedly Christian nation apparently treats its political prisoners (ABC News via Common Dreams):
"They took us to a cage -- an animal cage that had lions in it within the Republican Palace," he said. "And they threatened us that if we did not confess, they would put us inside the cage with the lions in it. It scared me a lot when they got me close to the cage, and they threatened me. And they opened the door and they threatened that if I did not confess, that they were going to throw me inside the cage. And as the lion was coming closer, they would pull me back out and shut the door, and tell me, 'We will give you one more chance to confess.' And I would say, 'Confess to what?'"

Inside the Republican Palace -- the site of Saddam's former office -- Sabbar says troops taunted him with a mock execution.

"I found the other prisoners who had come before me there in the line beside me mocking, in a way as to make it a mock execution," he said. "They all stood up, those of us who could stand up. They directed their weapons towards us. And they shot, shot towards our heads and chests. And when the shots sounded, some of us lost consciousness. Some started to cry. Some lost control of their bladders. And they were laughing the whole time."

After a night in jail at the Republican Palace, Khalid says he was taken to the prison at the Baghdad airport where the torture continued.

"They put us in individual cells," he said. "And before entering those cells, they formed two teams of American soldiers -- one to the right, one to the left -- about 10 to 15 each American soldiers. And they were holding wooden sticks. It was like a hallway, like a passage. And they made us go that hallway while shouting at us as we were walking through and hitting us with the wooden sticks. They were beating us severely."

Khalid says U.S. soldiers deprived him of food, water, and sleep. He claims he began to suffer from stomach ulcers, but was denied medical care.

All the while, Khalid says, soldiers routinely asked for information about Saddam's whereabouts: "I said to him, 'How would I know where Saddam is?' And I thought that he was kidding me. And that's why I laughed. And he beat me again."

Best commentary bar none comes from This Modern World:
We crucify them. We drill holes in flesh. We throw them to the lions:

[...]

It’s common wisdom that this administration has, from the outset, and right up to the present, made a habit of accusing others of what it is guilty of. I’ve always thought of that as just an effective technique — put your opposition on the defense, so that, at best, no one notices what you’re doing, and, at worst, people excuse your crimes because the other side supposedly does it too.

But when self-described Christians are choosing to replicate the history of their faith in reverse, casting themselves in the villains’ place, while somehow still claiming the innocence of holy victims, it looks more like pathology than political spin. They remind me of Alex in A Clockwork Orange, aroused by Christian iconography, fantasizing himself as a Roman soldier. Then throw in something too twisted for Alex –fantasizing himself, simultaneously, as a martyr.

Sick. Just sick, these Clockwork Christians.

[...]

Frankly, I think the Pentagon has more reason to lie than they do. In fact, I tend to place a lot of faith in the word of someone who makes a statement like this:

"They just wanted to humiliate us in any shape or form they could," Sabber said. "I wish I knew why. I was sure, however, that their actions were not the same as the values and morals of the American people."

Early in Christian history, there were many who faced the same ordeal as Mr. Sabber, and, following the example of their Savior, responded with similar generosity of spirit. Forgive them, Father….

I’m sitting here in awe of Muslims, cast by "Christians" into the role of martyrs, responding in a way that reflects what, to me, is the essence of Christianity. And the essence of Islam, too, I’m sure. And every other faith. And every non-religious ethical tradition worthy of the name. It’s a reminder of how little the boundaries between religions, and between religious and secular, really matter in comparison to the difference between those who believe in the power of love to overcome evil, and those who not only meet evil with evil, but come to see it as their noblest aspiration.

Hat tip to Booman Tribune diarist Eternal Hope.

A true patriot act

Russ Feingold is apparently preparing to fillibuster the renewal of the dreadfully misnamed "Patriot" Act:
"This is worth the fight," Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.

"I've cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving," Mr. Feingold said, adding that he was making plans to read aloud from the Bill of Rights as part of a filibuster if necessary.

It's a safe bet that many of our Senators need to be reminded of that little matter of our Constitutional rights. Kudos to Feingold for his willingness to do so.

Don't know what to make of this...

So, I'd suggest take the following with a grain of salt:
"New aspect of Valerie Plame/Brewster Jennings exposure revealed. According to U.S. intelligence sources, the White House exposure of Valerie Plame and her Brewster Jennings & Associates was intended to retaliate against the CIA's work in limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. WMR has reported in the past on this aspect of the scandal. In addition to identifying the involvement of individuals in the White House who were close to key players in nuclear proliferation, the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002. The Brewster Jennings network in Turkey was able to intercept this shipment which was intended to be hidden in Iraq and later used as evidence that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. intelligence sources revealed that this was a major reason the Bush White House targeted Plame and her network."
From the Wayne Madsen Report via The Left Coaster. Hat tip to Left I. I don't know enough about Madsen to figure if the cat's for real or just another crackpot. The above may merely fall into urban legend territory. Or it could be for real deal. What does seem real is that the current White House plays by such a different enough set of rules (namely ignoring the usual rules and making up their own as they go along) compared to previous administrations as to make such scenarios like the above appear plausible - something I would not have said before Bu$hCo oozed into the White House. Let's just say if similar stories had appeared regarding Clinton, Bush I, or Raygun I would have dismissed them without giving it a second thought.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Today's History Factoid

On November 17th, 1983:
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation was founded in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico ... The Army is a revolutionary group, claiming to be the philosophical heir to the movement started by Emiliano Zapata in the early 20th century against government-sponsored agribusiness. The Zapatistas represent indigenous people and are committed to opposing economic policies that hurt the working poor, especially farmers.

Learn more about the Zapatistas here. Hat tip to Olive Branch Optimism.

"Shake 'n Bake"

It isn't just a seasoning for chicken any more. From the BBC:

The Pentagon's admission - despite earlier denials - that US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in Falluja last year is more than a public relations issue - it has opened up a debate about the use of this weapon in modern warfare.

The admission contradicted a statement this week from the new and clearly under-briefed US ambassador in London Robert Holmes Tuttle that US forces "do not use napalm or white phosphorus as weapons".

The official line to that point had been that WP, or Willie Pete to use its old name from Vietnam, was used only to illuminate the battlefield and to provide smoke for camouflage.

'Shake 'n Bake'

This line however crumbled when bloggers (whose influence must not be under-estimated these days) ferreted out an article published by the US Army's Field Artillery Magazine in its issue of March/April this year.

The article, written by a captain, a first lieutenant and a sergeant, was a review of the attack on Falluja in November 2004 and in particular of the use of indirect fire, mainly mortars.

It makes quite clear that WP was used as a weapon not just as illumination or camouflage.

"WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes where we could not get effects on them with HE [High Explosive]. We fired "shake and bake" missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out," the article said.

In another passage the authors noted that they could have used other smoke munitions and "saved our WP for lethal missions".

George Monbiot:

White phosphorus is fat-soluble and burns spontaneously on contact with the air. According to globalsecurity.org: "The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen... If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone." As it oxidizes, it produces smoke composed of phosphorus pentoxide. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke "releases heat on contact with moisture and will burn mucous surfaces... Contact... can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage."

Until last week, the US state department maintained that US forces used white phosphorus shells "very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes". They were fired "to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters". Confronted with the new evidence, on Thursday it changed its position. "We have learned that some of the information we were provided ... is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, ie obscuring troop movements and, according to... Field Artillery magazine, 'as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes...' The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds." The US government, in other words, appears to admit that white phosphorus was used in Fallujah as a chemical weapon.

The invaders have been forced into a similar climb-down over the use of napalm in Iraq. In December 2004, the Labour MP Alice Mahon asked the British armed forces minister Adam Ingram "whether napalm or a similar substance has been used by the coalition in Iraq (a) during and (b) since the war". "No napalm," the minister replied, "has been used by coalition forces in Iraq either during the war-fighting phase or since."

This seemed odd to those who had been paying attention. There were widespread reports that in March 2003 US marines had dropped incendiary bombs around the bridges over the Tigris and the Saddam Canal on the way to Baghdad. The commander of Marine Air Group 11 admitted that "We napalmed both those approaches". Embedded journalists reported that napalm was dropped at Safwan Hill on the border with Kuwait. In August 2003 the Pentagon confirmed that the marines had dropped "mark 77 firebombs". Though the substance these contained was not napalm, its function, the Pentagon's information sheet said, was "remarkably similar". While napalm is made from petrol and polystyrene, the gel in the mark 77 is made from kerosene and polystyrene. I doubt it makes much difference to the people it lands on.

Monbiot sums up with some food for thought:

Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him.


Hat tip to Subjective Scribe for the BBC article.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Required reading from Stephen Zunes

Talk about a well-thought-out, well-researched article that is damning in its intensity and implications. Prof. Zunes has got the goods in his latest, Libby Indictment May Open Door to Broader Iraq War Deceptions. Don't let the understated title fool you - this is the written equivalent of Muhammad Ali's "Thrilla in Manila" fight. Zunes delivers all the right punches; we're treated to a detailed account of the tremendous amount of skepticism that existed regarding Iraq's supposed WMD threat along with an account of the widespread availability of the information provided by these skeptics in respected journals and mainstream media outlets as well as from the very intelligence agencies whose job it is to suss out threats to our national well-being. By the time Zunes is done, it's readily apparent that as of late 2002, when Congress was giving Junior Caligula the green light to pursue his war, anyone with a pulse should have had access to not only the skeptics' arguments but also the information needed to back up those (as it turns out, correct) arguments.

Zunes also lands the punches we'd expect him to deliver regarding the role of the current White House regime in spreading disinformation regarding the Iraq "threat" and their efforts to destroy anyone who dared to voice skepticism (the outing of Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband Joe Wilson's public statements countering White House claims is of course one of the more apparent and egregious examples). He doesn't stop there. True, the White House, and the GOP's neoconmen and fellow travelers are rightfully lambasted for their lying their way into America's current Mess o'potamia. However, it is also true that too many members of what passes for the Democrat party were willing accomplices. Good ol' Bubba Clinton was doing his own share of fear-mongering as early as 1997 as a pretext for the 1998 bombing raids against Iraq. Plenty of Dems including Kerry, Edwards, Daschle, Reid, and Biden had their hands dirty as well, as Zunes correctly points out. Their own complicity in the web of deception is one huge reason why their party cannot capitalize on Bu$hCo's catastrophe. His parting shot:
There is growing awareness that the American people were lied to by their government and needlessly drawn into war. How does this deception impact what the United States should do regarding Iraq today?

Three years ago politicians in both parties successfully scared the American people into believing that the national security of the United States would somehow be threatened if we did not invade Iraq. These same politicians now expect us to believe that U.S. national security will be jeopardized unless we continue to prosecute the war.

Some thoughtful activists and intellectuals who opposed the invasion of Iraq have since concluded that because the elected Iraqi government is reasonably representative of the majority of the Iraqi people, because much of the insurgent movement is dominated by fascistic Islamists and Baathists, and because the Iraqi government is too weak to defend itself, U.S. armed forces should remain. These activists argue that even though the premise of the invasion was a lie and the occupation was tragically mishandled, the consequences of a precipitous U.S. military withdrawal would result in a far worse situation than exists now.

Such a case might be worth consideration if the Bush administration and congressional leaders had demonstrated that they had the integrity, knowledge, foresight, and competence to successfully lead a counterinsurgency war in a complex, fractured society on the far side of the planet. To support the continued prosecution of the Iraq War, however, would require trusting the same politicians who hoodwinked the country into that war in the first place. A growing number of Americans, therefore, have come to recognize that any administration dishonest enough to make the ludicrous pre-war claims of an Iraqi military threat and any Congress that—through whatever combination of dishonesty or stupidity—chose to reinforce these false assertions simply cannot be trusted to successfully control the insurgency, extricate the United States from further military involvement, and successfully facilitate Iraq's development as a peaceful, secure, democratic country.
My emphasis added. The above is a good part of why at least a few of us are in an anti-incumbent mood in the waning days of 2005, with 2006 looming on the horizon. With few exceptions, the bulk of our Congressional leaders in both houses have proven themselves unworthy to hold their offices. And although I'll accept the argument that Congressional Dems had less access to the relevant intelligence than the White House, at the end of the day many of these same individuals made the conscious choice to go along with Bu$hCo, condemning over 2,000 of our own men and women in uniform to death, thousands more to injuries of varying severity, and countless thousands of Iraqis to death and dismemberment. At the end of the day, they made that conscious decision knowing full well that there were plenty of reasonable skeptics who had gone on public record regarding the state of Iraq's military capabilities (or lack thereof) whose information should have given those same Congressional leaders pause. They by and large chose to ignore those skeptics, both experts and laypersons alike. They chose instead, to spread the so-called "noble lies" - some choosing to lie by comission, others by omission. No amount of nuance will make that reality disappear.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Wacky Weather

Iowans are recovering from yesterday's tornadoes.

Today forecasters predict that a Carribean tropical depression will become the 24th named storm of this hurricane season.

Quotable:

"Everywhere you go, you hear, 'What has happened to the United States of America? We thought you used to be the champion of human rights. We thought you used to protect the environment. We thought you used to believe in the separation of church and state,'" Carter said Friday at Unity Temple.

"I felt so disturbed and angry about this radical change in America," he said.

He placed responsibility for that moral crisis largely on the Bush administration, citing a pre-emptive war policy, inadequate attention to the environment, and the use of torture against some prisoners.


Hat tip to The Left Coaster.

And now for something completely different...

G'day, you're Bruce! You like to hang out with your friends Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, & Bruce drinking good Australian beer and philosophizing...
G'day, you're Bruce! You think like a philosopher,
especially after you've had a few cold
ones...Australia RULES!


What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Cathie from Canada.

Some thoughts on last week's detainee vote

To say that I was disappointed and outraged at last week's vote in the US Senate to trash habeas corpus rights for the detainees at Guantánamo Bay would be an understatement. Certainly I was not that surprised, given our recent social and political history, but disappointed and outraged nonetheless. Among the Senators who favored this outrage were five Democrats: Joe Lieberman (D-CT, no surprise, really), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Bill Nelson (D-NE), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Senator Olympia Snowe's (R-ME) spokesman offered a glimpse into the mentality behind those Senators who voted yes on the so-called Graham amendment:
"Do we need all those lawyers going down there to hear their complaints? It seems a little extreme to her. After all, we're talking about enemy combatants."
In other words, providing due process to individuals who are essentially POWs is "inconvenient" according to Snowe and her colleagues. It's so much easier to allow political imprisonment to be decided by executive fiat rather than worry their beautiful minds about such matters. These Senators truly deserve to be referred to as "Little Eichmanns."

To give the reader some context, perhaps it's best to first remind ourselves that habeas corpus is a right that has its origins in the Magna Carta of the late Medieval period:

The modern institution of civil and human rights, and particularly the writ of habeas corpus, began in June of 1215 when King John was forced by the feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Although that document mostly protected "freemen" - what were then known as feudal lords or barons, and today known as CEOs and millionaires - rather than the average person, it initiated a series of events that echo to this day.

Two of the most critical parts of the Magna Carta were articles 38 and 39, which established the foundation for what is now known as "habeas corpus" laws (literally, "produce the body" from the Latin - meaning, broadly, "let this person go free"), as well as the Fourth through Eighth Amendments of our Constitution and hundreds of other federal and state due process provisions.

[...]

Then, in 1627, King Charles I overstepped, and the people snapped. Charles I threw into jail five knights in a tax disagreement, and the knights sued the King, asserting their habeas corpus right to be free or on bail unless convicted of a crime.

King Charles I, in response, invoked his right to simply imprison anybody he wanted (other than the rich), anytime he wanted, as he said, "per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis."

This is essentially the same argument that George W. Bush makes today for why he has the right to detain both citizens and non-citizens solely on his own say-so: because he's in charge. And it's an argument supported by Alberto Gonzales.

But just as George's decree is meeting resistance, Charles' decree wasn't well received. The result of his overt assault on the rights of citizens led to a sort of revolt in the British Parliament, producing the 1628 "Petition of Right" law, an early version of our Fourth through Eighth Amendments, which restated Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta and added that "writs of habeas corpus, [are] there to undergo and receive [only] as the court should order." It was later strengthened with the "Habeas Corpus Act of 1640" and a second "Habeas Corpus Act of 1679."

Thus, the right to suspend habeas corpus no longer was held by the King. It was exercised solely by the people's (elected and hereditary) representatives in the Parliament. Link.
What has happened is that since November of 2001, the current White House occupant with a wink and a nod from the Legislative Branch of our government, has begun the process of dismantling 800 years worth or legal reasoning - in essence beginning the process of reverting to a legal reasoning more akin to the Medieval era. As Ratner and Ray discuss in their book Guantánamo: What the World Should Know, this process began with the infamous Military Order No. 1 (Nov. 13, 2001). That is the order that set up the controversial military tribunals and created the designation of "enemy combatant" as a person who could be held indefinitely without recourse as long as the endless "war on terror" is ongoing. I'd strongly suggest reading Ratner & Ray's book to get a more thorough understanding. The bottom line is that we already had existing laws that could have handled perpetrators of terrorist attacks without reverting to Medieval reasoning to do so. US military and criminal law prior to November 2001 laid out the protocol for the detention of terrorism suspects, along with the rights of POWs or terrorist suspects are to be afforded. Where are our legislators? Nowhere to be found. Heck, they'll gladly confirm one of the architects of the "lawless" zone in Guantánamo Bay as AG (Abu Gonzales in February of this year); and of course there is the aforementioned approval of the Graham amendment. Essentially, anyone can be detained by executive fiat, denied access to legal representation, and the government can then do whatever it wants to these people.

I realize of course that some will object with the usual replies: "why, they're only foreigners"; "who cares, they're enemy combatants"; and so on ad nauseum. The thing of it is, that first and foremost we're supposed to be a nation of laws and as such a nation we are supposed to ensure that individuals who are detained are charged, provided legal counsel, and presumed innocent until the appropriate criminal or military court has proven them guilty. The current framework established by Bu$hCo has effectively trashed that protocol. It is also well-worth mentioning that those who might be tempted to minimize the impact of Military Order No. 1 should consider that the framework is now in place to expand the designation of "enemy combatant" to practically any of us in the US, and that all it would take is another 9-11 style crisis for that to happen. Be forewarned. As I've mentioned previously, the next administration will have to expend a fair amount of effort on undoing the damage done by this administration - and that's assuming that they have the will and the moral fiber necessary to do so.

In the meantime, we have a government of, by, and for the Little Eichmanns.