Yesterday's interview with Matt Lauer has all of these quirks and shortcomings on display in spades...Lauer to his credit does something normally reserved only for foreign journalists, he did not back down from asking tough questions and engaging in follow ups to cliches and non-sequitors.
Matt Lauer: And yet you admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities. OK?
President Bush: So what? Why is that not within the law?
Matt Lauer: The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law.
President Bush: Well, we just disagree with him. Plus, my job is to protect you. And most American people, if I said [to them] that we had who we think is the mastermind of the 9/11, they would say, “Why don’t you see if you can’t get information without torturing him,” which is what we did.
Matt Lauer: I don’t want to let this “within the law issue” slip though. I mean, if, in fact, there was water boarding used with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and for the viewers, that’s basically when you strap someone to a board and you make them feel as if they’re going to drown by putting them underwater, if that was legal and within the law, why couldn’t you do it at Guantanamo? Why did you have to go to a secret location around the world?
President Bush: I’m not going to talk about techniques. And, I’m not going explain to the enemy what we’re doing. All I’m telling you is that you’ve asked me whether or not we’re doing things to protect the American people, and I want the American people to know we are doing so.
No authoritarian ever born could give a more demonstrably despotic answers than that. This is an American President saying this but the words are befitting those of a tin-horn third world dictator. Senor Pinochet salutes you Dubya.
It is just non-sensical bullshit outside of the fascistic bromides. And since Bush says he is relying on lawyers, let us look at "the" lawyer that provided the legal opinions allowing torture and the depth of his understanding of the Constitution:
UC Berkeley law Professor John Yoo, who as a Justice Department lawyer was one of the Bush administration's chief legal theorists, summarized its view in his forthcoming book, "War by Other Means":
"We are used to a peacetime system in which Congress enacts the laws, the president enforces them, and the courts interpret them. In wartime, the gravity shifts to the executive branch.''
I'm no Constitutional Scholar, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I'm still calling bullshit!
We do not have two Constitutions, one for peace and one for war, no matter how constructed and perpetual our government tries to make it. We have ONE document that is the structure of our system. To manufacture a never ending war, the "War on teh Terra" Bush has ratcheted up the national security state system that has been steadily creeping into our lives since the 'Cold War'.
I don't want to sound like Billmon here, but neither party has the guts to stand up and truly inform the public on the general "ineffectiveness" and weakness of terror groups. Anyone who actually said so would have the bodies of innocent civilians thrown at their feet and the "fear" words would come in a Katrina-level deluge. Osama and his pals got incredibly lucky on September 11th, so tragic is fate. Yes, they are highly dangerous and intelligence and police work is required. Sadly, any rationality to this clear fact cannot be engaged in now without scorn being brought down upon your head. Being afraid is the mode we are supposed to have, no matter how many times a 73 year old phrase about fear being the only thing to fear is tossed out. The moldering Republic is now being pissed upon in its "last throes". You think in its last days of unique dominance, we could at least respect the ol' girl.
What is not needed, are needless wars and the inflating of the threat into one that can topple our nation and our government. That is something we can ONLY do to ourselves. Osama "may" aspire to it, but only we, ourselves, have the means. If this situation isn't confronted, as much as Bush and the GOP need to be replaced, the Democrats that follow them will only be better by degree, the bromides will just take a slightly more moderate phrasing and a more tolerable mode. But the cancer will remain -- keeping you shitting your pants will be the Republican method of politics, keeping you angst ridden and afraid you'll shit your pants will be the Democratic mode.
But both would still be false.
The fact is, they cannot metaphorically kill us, nor wipe us out -- and intelligent and rational action can in-fact nearly wipe them out. And do it all, without our liberties being wholesale sacrificed in the bargain.