War: November 2003 Archives

Let's just call it the Bush junta. Arguing before an appeals court that the government should be able to hold José Padilla indefinitely in a military brig without acccess to a lawyer, Bush's lawyers said that the entire United States is a battlefield and thus operates under "military justice."

On Sept. 11, 2001, "al-Qaida made the battlefield the United States and the evidence indicates that they're trying to make it the battlefield again," said Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement. And if it's a "battlefield" arrest, Bush can detain anyone alleged to be in league with terrorists, including citizens, for as long as it takes to gather intelligence and deter future attacks. "This is the way it's been done for 200 years in military justice," Clement said.

Is this what a democracy looks like? I have to rely on Jon Stewart's Daily Show or an op-ed in the Washington Post to learn that the $87 billion Iraq package was approved by a voice vote with SIX SENATORS PRESENT.

The fact that this is barely in the news almost as awful as the cowards in both parties who won't own up to the Iraq mess. The vote was 5-1. The one against was Senator Robert Byrd. His speech is online.

David Brooks has got to go. In yesterday's New York Times, he wrote that Americans need to be prepared for the atrocities that are likely to happen in Iraq if we're going to really win.

It's not that we can't accept casualties. History shows that Americans are willing to make sacrifices. The real doubts come when we see ourselves inflicting them. What will happen to the national mood when the news programs start broadcasting images of the brutal measures our own troops will have to adopt? Inevitably, there will be atrocities that will cause many good-hearted people to defect from the cause. They will be tempted to have us retreat into the paradise of our own innocence.

Somehow, over the next six months, until the Iraqis are capable of their own defense, the Bush administration is going to have to remind us again and again that Iraq is the Battle of Midway in the war on terror, the crucial turning point where either we will crush the terrorists' spirit or they will crush ours.

The president will have to remind us that we live in a fallen world, that we have to take morally hazardous action if we are to defeat the killers who confront us. It is our responsibility to not walk away. It is our responsibility to recognize the dark realities of human nature, while still preserving our idealistic faith in a better Middle East.

So the Times is now printing columnists who say we're going to have to live with these "morally hazardous" actions. I think that's an outrage, and make a mockery of what Americans (and the Times) supposedly stand for. There is no history of terrorizing civilians as an effective long-term tactic, as even the Israeli military is now saying.

The letter to the editor page is here, for those who want to contact the Times.

For a much better write-up than mine on the topic, check out slacktivist.

That's my image that made it into a new book on the global demonstrations against war in Iraq called 2/15: The Day the World Said No to War. I went to a reception tonight at the Goethe Institute to celebrate the release of the book. The web site for the project is here.

New ones are on the web site. A sample:


This page is an archive of entries in the War category from November 2003.

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