It took a while to crystallize the essential problem, but I think I'm zeroing in. Maybe that's why the airwaves now are filled with Birther conspiracy theories; why the hell not?, I guess you could say. Could we broaden this perspective and challenge the American citizenship of all 535 members of Congress? Would it make any real difference? Also, I'd like us to prove that Scalia and Alito are actually Italian citizens never naturalized as Americans. I'm positing that now as a "theory." That's my right, correct? Where are their "long-form" birth certificates? Okay, suppose they have those. How can I know, for certain, they aren't forged?
July 24, 2009
July 23, 2009
A consensus seems to be forming that what Eric Holder, the Attorney General, has in mind, as far as torture investigations are concerned, is to go after lower level CIA operatives and contractor interrogators who exceeded the Yoo-Bybee-et alia guidelines for permissible torture; that is, those who tortured too much, sometimes to the point of killing their victims. I guess this tendency has become ineradicable in our political culture: the instinct to elevate image over substance. So Holder will investigate whether waterboarders used too much water, hypothermia techs lowered the thermostat too low, wall slammers induced concussion and cerebral hemorrhage instead of just knocking someone silly, etc.
July 20, 2009
I sometimes read blogs myself, of course; while there isn't much investigative work behind most blogging, reading blogs at least gives you the benefit of someone else's take on the same issues you're reading about. The real investigation is still done by reporters, that endangered species. I was reminded of that recently while reading The Forever War by Dexter Filkins, a New York Times reporter, about the years he spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, usually in great danger. As I expected, someone actually there, talking to Iraqis, Afghans and Americans, comes away with a far more complicated view than the simplifications of liberal or conservative blogs. In Iraq, for example, it's simultaneously true that they really appreciate our efforts in ousting Saddam Hussein, who was an insanely cruel and evil dictator who turned his country into a "mental institution," as Filkins writes; and also true that they really resent our being there and want us gone as soon as possible. How could it be otherwise?