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September 25, 2003
Good to Bad to Worse

Okay, Bush did something right with that "Protect Act" if it allows us to arrest people who think they're safe when they take their pedophilia overseas. No question about it.

But. If our laws cover what we do in foreign countries, then isn't that like admitting that our Constitution is in force for our citizens, no matter where they are?

Like...things the government does in Guantanamo Bay, for instance?

Admittedly the "Protect Act" was specifically worded to include acts committed in foreign countries, but I think an argument can be made that we either have the power to enforce our laws against our citizens in foreign countries or we don't. If we do, then the Bill of Rights kicks in and the who-knows-how-many detainees in Guantanamo Bay are entitled to proper justice. And certainly we can't hold them until the "war on terror" ends, as one government official said we were going to do. This badly organized, barely effective "war" could go on for ten or twenty years.

I don't actually know, but I find Constitutional Law fascinating, so I like to speculate about these things.

I'm also interested in semantics, so I found this analysis of the phrase "tax relief" interesting. (It's also a plan for Progressives, but read it.)

Dick Meyer has a darned good analysis of political analysis. (Well, mostly he's talking to the "political elite" which is a bit arrogant since he's clearly referring to journalists and pundits and includes himself in the "elite", but his thoughts are interesting and very true.)

And, speaking of interesting, how about a bake sale protesting affirmative action? I mean, the Young Conservatives, to no one's surprise, were illustrating only half the story (it would have been more accurate if they'd offered the cut-price cookies to minorities as left-overs only after whites had had their pick of the goods first, for example) but is it free speech? I think it probably is, yeah.

Do you believe the government really shut down their spy lab? I'm not sure I believe it. Maybe I'm paranoid today, but I don't believe the Pentagon would give up that easily. They get billions upon billions of dollars every year. What could be easier than funneling a few millions toward this kind of project under the table? I mean, they're already admitting they're not actually stopping the entire program.

I think, by any measure, religious discrimination is religious discrimination. It's a scarf, okay? Can the world try and focus on real crimes, please?

I mean, the problem with stories like this is that you can't be sure they aren't true. We've tried to assassinate a number of world leaders in our past. We could be at it again, certainly.

If you want to know how much we care about winning the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, take a look at the case of the USofA soldiers who shot and killed 8 Iraqi policemen who were, themselves, in pursuit of criminals at the time. Here's the verdict.

As we all know, I'm all about international cooperation (up to a point) and I'm not the world's biggest fan of the U.N. (my support tends to be around fixing the blasted organization rather than throwing out the baby with...well, pick your favorite cliché), but I understand why they're giving us fits now. *

Wouldn't you? I mean, if a bully had kicked sand in your face a bunch of times and told the world they'd swim a mile out past the barrier reef alone because you were too big of a coward to do it with them, would you paddle out to their rescue when they started hollering for help?

Not without a bit of, "I told you so" I think.

I'm just saying. Diplomacy isn't just a way to avoid action by talking things to death and creating new, semantically meaningless ways to describe unpleasant things. It's the necessary grease on the wheels of every, single, successful human interaction and just because you have more nukes than anyone else doesn't mean you can disregard the diplomatic niceties. Much as the Bush Clique would like to believe otherwise, we are not on this planet alone, we cannot do everything ourselves, and no one else is required to cooperate with us if they don't want to.

(* By the way, the way you can tell the visit to the U.N., looking for favors, did not go well, is that suddenly, on this morning's news, we hear that the USofA is now considering sending an additional 10,000 troops to Iraq ourselves. Steven Zunes fisks the U.N. speech. It's a pastime I'm not a fan of, people tend to go off the deep end dissing the rhetoric instead of focusing on false facts, but I know a lot of you like to read these things and this is today's only effort to pander to whatever readers might stop by so enjoy it. Also, Zunes does refute false claims.)

Okay, yeah, I'm in a bad mood again today.

Also, the situation in Iraq is starting to piss me off in ever-newer ways.

I mean, one good reason not to buy in to the conspiracy-theorist model that says that a Right-wing cabal has been planning world domination for twenty years is just how badly they suck at the task. One would assume that even marginally intelligent people would be doing a better job in Afghanistan and Iraq right now, if they'd had twenty years to plan this kind of activity.

Also, I want USofA soldiers and Iraqi civilians to stop dying. That doesn't seem like too much to ask. (Some decent leadership for the soldiers wouldn't come amiss, while we're at it.)

I know, I really believe, that Iraqis could be 5000% better off without Hussein and his ilk. If the USofA can't do a decent job of rebuilding their economy (Our track record on the subject stinks and don't even start with me on post-WWII Germany, okay? It's still apples vs. oranges, no matter how often you bring it up. If you want to do a decent evaluation of our skills at nation-building in this type of situation, take a look at Central America. That's a fair comparison.) then we need to hand over real power to the people who can. No, not the U.N. How about a real Iraqi government, chosen by the people, supported by USofA troops if necessary for a short time? Why not give the real power to the people of Iraq and let the civilian population know that that same Iraqi government is the actual voice in governing the country?

Posted by AnneZook at 11:08 AM


Wow, that's a lot to digest all at once! Wonderful, as are most of your round-up posts. So only one comment, about the Protect Act thingie - is George going to throw the book at his "three or four women in Thailand"-enjoying brother now?

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at September 26, 2003 07:23 AM

Yeah, because that's going to happen.

Posted by: Anne at September 26, 2003 09:23 AM