Thursday, September 07, 2006

NYT Nails White House “Challenge”

Of course the New York Times calls it “A Challenge From Bush to Congress” and we all know that the Prez can’t issue a simple declarative sentence on his own, let alone make a challenge to Congress without a cheat sheet. Still, it’s heartening that the NYT so clearly saw through and detailed the Bush administration’s latest strategy for scaring Americans and getting voters on its side. White House ploy: 1. By transferring 14 notorious Qaeda suspects to Guantánamo Bay and by demanding that war-crime trials take place at Guantánamo, the White House is making book that the critical election on November 7th guarantees that neither the Dems nor the Repubs will dare dispute the WH’s right to detain, interrogate and try the suspects in whatever way it sees fit. 2. With this challenge, the WH is issuing a rebuff to the Supreme Court that had the nerve to rule that the Bush administration procedures for interrogation and trials violated both the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. 3. The Bush administration is trying to divert attention from the mess in Iraq by reviving the dispute over what powers the president should be able to use to defend the country. 4. In the week before the Guantánamo announcement yesterday, Rumsfeld said Iraq war critics were cowards like Neville Chamberlain who tried to appease Hitler in 1928. Then Bush called terrorists “Islamo-fascists.” This week Bush said the world was ignoring terrorists the way the world ignored the rise of Lenin and Hitler. And finally, the Prez, who himself has been ignoring the fact that Osama bin Laden still remains at large, quoted at length Osama’s visions of a “caliphate” that encircles the world. 5. The Bush administration is saying it is America’s last line of defense. By moving the 14 prisoners to Guantánamo, the White House has now admitted it has had secret prisons all along. But its point in making this admission is to claim that if the White House is not given whatever powers it demands, the terrorists will be in American streets before we can blink. Will this gambit work? Maybe not. The NYT said, “It may also force members of Mr. Bush’s party — many of whom have been creating as much strategic distance from the president as possible — to nationalize the midterm elections, making them a referendum on Mr. Bush and his tactics. “Democrats have been trying to do that for months, betting that the chaos in Iraq is their ticket to regaining a majority in the House, and perhaps the longer shot of the Senate. Now Mr. Bush is betting that once again Americans will look at the faces of the terrorists the C.I.A. has captured, and give the president one last shot at fighting the war on his terms.” No doubt Karl Rove thinks it's a sure thing not a gamble. But I’m betting that unless the White House lets the Queer Eye guys do a makeover on the one face we’ve seen, the response is going to be, “THAT’s a TERRORIST?”

1 comment:

AM said...

Why aren't these prisoners being tried on American soil? Why Cuba?

I never quite understood how the US got away with maintaining a naval base there under its "perpetual lease arrangement" during the Castro years. And, now it's operating as a federal prison camp for political prisoners whose incarceration seems a lot like those of former military dictatorships in Latin America.

Something has always been wrong with this picture.

Timing the events around our political elections makes the Bushites more unsavory than ever.