Monday, July 09, 2007

The Pilgrim returns

Well... we're home from our mini-vacation. I kept up only a little with the news of our world while on my sojourn. A couple of thougts:
  • Congress seems commited to its insane pursuit of the Justice Department firings non-scandal. All of the people who were fired as US Attorneys are 'at-will' employees. They can be let go any time for any reason. Does anyone really believe that politics does not enter into the hirings and other activities of the Justice Dept.? Anyone? I haven't fact-checked this, but I believe there was a time when Janet Reno- Attny. Gen. under Bill Clinton- fired all of the US Attorneys. This is not a scandal. It's not worthy of Congressional time under calmer circumstances. It is certainly not worthy of congressional attention when there is a disaster underway in Iraq.
  • The only 'story' in the whole US Attorney's mess is a part of a larger story- Bush's abuse of office. Warrantless wire-tapping, secret prisons, redefinition of torture, Cheney declaring himself no longer a part of the executive branch (a 4th branch of government?), and now his refusal to let people testify for Congressional oversight... Bush seems to feel free to operate in any manner he chooses. It is likely to get worse. He has nothing to lose. No legacy to protect. No popularity to protect. Why not assert every privilege he wishes?
  • The Scooter Libby commutation shows the complete lack of a moral compass by what appears to be ANYONE- Democrat or Republican- in DC. Bush promised that he would not operate in the sort of fashion that he believed Clinton did when it came to ethics and the law. Promise broken. The Republicans wanted Clinton out of office over his lying under oath, which they then portrayed as a major violation of law and the public trust. Now they think Libby is persecuted and should not have been tried at all. Their inconsistency is staggering in its hypocrisy. Which leaves the Democrats, who thought that Clinton should never have been pursued for lying under oath, claiming it was a partisan witch hunt. Now they want Libby to get something just short of the death penalty. Watch some of the individuals speaking- and saying exactly the opposite of what they were saying 6-7 years ago. Shameless.
  • Some key Republicans are getting ready to try and put Bush on a short leash regarding Iraq. When the "new" plan for Iraq- the Surge- was put in place, we were told the results would be judged by September. Now the generals say they cannot tell by September, necessarily. Some Republican Senators seem unwilling to give up on September as a time for accounting, and are demanding the President Bush has a Plan B. Now, this may amount to nothing- Bush doesn't seem to be easily persuaded by either pressure or the facts- but it is some movement. Given the failure of the Iraqi government to make progress, it's certainly time to look at a change.
  • Pakistan has been about as good an ally- which is not to say a truly good one- as the US has had in the Muslim world since 9/11. Will that hold? Follow the events in Islamabad very closely.
  • The terror attack in Great Britain. The good news: inept attempt. The bad news: the same. Why is this bad news? Because it means that there are radicalized individuals out there not associated with any particular terrorist group who are willing to attempt to do mass damage. Future 'lone wolves' (to borrow a phrase often used to describe white supremecists in the US who act on their own inspired by groups like the Klan) may do a better job of doing their homework and be more effective. These people will be hard to track as they may not show up on any typical counter-terrorist radar screen. The next set of angry individuals may do a better job, wherever they make their attempt.

Just some observations upon returning from vacation.

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