Intelligence Was Fine Before Torture Policy

In the New York Times must-read on the the harebrained Bush Administration efforts to assemble a torture program, you see some form of the rationalization that “it’s easy to look back now,” or the “ticking time bomb defense” used to defend torture policy. For example:

If they shunned interrogation methods some thought might work, and an undetected bomb or bioweapon cost thousands of lives, where would the moral compass point today? It is a question that still haunts some officials. Others say that if they had known the full history of the interrogation methods or been able to anticipate how the issue would explode, they would have advised against using them.

I’m not going to wade into the murky moral waters of events that never happened, but I will take the opportunity to point out that well before institutionalized torture became a feature of U.S. national security policy, the intelligence community was capable of putting together an August 2001 report presciently titled, “Bin Laden determined to Strike in US,” which was summarily ignored by George Bush.

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Bush and the Pirates

I don’t have time to do a major post on this, but I thought I’d point out that in all of this pirate talk there hasn’t been much discussion of the role the Bush Administration played in destabilizing Somalia to the point where the “government” basically controls a tent and a vending machine. Obviously, this is problematic because combatting piracy on the sea is a mostly palliative — and it would seem, too costly — solution. The answer will be a legitimate Somalian government that doesn’t provide safe harbor for pirates, and frankly, I’m not quite sure how that get’s done.

Unprovable and Possibly Incidental Facts Make Bush a Good President

Matt Yglesias points to an article on RealClearPolitics by Ed Gillespie which purports to debunk a few “myths” from Bush’s presidency like the obvious “myth” that the  “President’s ‘go it alone’ foreign policy ruined America’s standing in the world.” Anyway, this claim in particular rankles Matt.

And one last fact: Our homeland has not suffered another terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. That, too, is part of the real Bush record.

Matt argues this claim is absurd because it doesn’t account for the fact that September 11th occurred on Bush’s watch (remember the famously ignored “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US memo?). Indeed, this claim is like saying Bill Buckner was a clutch defender except for that one time Mookie Wilson hit a weak grounder through his legs and the Red Sox went on to lose the World Series. But it’s not the only reason it’s ridiculous.

It’s also ridiculous because there is no way to prove that the safety of American soil is a direct result of anything Bush accomplished or implemented. It’s quite possible that America would have witnessed the same number of terrorist attacks since 9/11 if a house cat were President.

Why Shoes?

Unlike in America, where shoe bombardment is a more garden variety form of rudeness (and perhaps a compliment if the select ammunition are Nikes), in Iraq, attack by footwear projectile — as opposed to other airborne demonstrations of distaste — is particularly offensive, “mean[ing] the [target] is as low as the dirt underneath the sole of a shoe.”

I post this to clear up any confusion; as a youngster, we learned that some cultures viewed meal time flatulence as an um, full-sphinctered endorsement of the meal, so it it seemed possible that in Iraq, the smack of rubber on chest might be more akin to a slap on the back, but alas, it seems that bombing towns is not a universally popular action.

Dodge Ball!

Say what you will about W, the man has the reflexes of a cat.

Man of the People

Amid the general lame duckery and public invisibility, it’s sometimes easy to forget that George Bush really doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of a dogmatic loyalty to industry. Note, this is all from the same article…

WASHINGTON — The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.[…]

[…]One rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. Another would reduce the role of federal wildlife scientists in deciding whether dams, highways and other projects pose a threat to endangered species.[…]

[…]One rule would allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.[…]

And this is to say nothing of the Bush Administration’s urging mayors oppose the EPA’s draft proposal for regulating carbon emissions.

I Won’t Mess With Texas If You Will

Right now, it’s hard to imagine hating anyone more than Tony Romo or Jerry Jones. But then I remember that in a few months, George Bush will return to Texas and the Cowboys will probably fall apart by the proximate property of complete and total ineptitude.