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January 28, 2004

Okay, let's do some math.

Here's a nice little picture and caption I got from the Democratic Underground via the Bejus Pundit who braves the depths.

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500 pairs of Army boots stand empty in Federal Plaza to symbolize war dead---Bush lied, our Soldiers die!

Okay. Bush lied. Hmmm. I can't accept that premise. Based on the stuff coming out this last week from David Kay and the Hutton report in England, I can accept that the President took poor intelligence and read into it what he wanted to read into it - but didn't knowingly lie. Bad intelligence shared by Britain, France, Germany, and others. The administration may have chosen to interpret the poor intelligence to fit their prejudices, but examples of that are legion, starting with the Clinton Administration and moving back. The test of the President is: Will he do something about it? The test of Congress is: Will they let him - or will they hobble his efforts as previous Congresses hobbled the intelligence community?

One thing is certain. The intel community cannot be relied upon to fix themselves. And when will someone get the bureaucratic equivalent of a summary execution by either being fired or resigning over these failures to adapt? Anyone? Anyone?

The other current that underlies the DU'ers and the picture above is mirrored in this little gem:

Rights Group Disputes Iraq War Claim

By Michael McDonough, Associated Press

LONDON, Jan. 26 -- The war in Iraq should not be justified as a defense of human rights even though it brought down a brutal government, Human Rights Watch said Monday, dismissing one of the Bush administration's main arguments for the invasion.

While ousted president Saddam Hussein had an atrocious human rights record and life has improved for Iraqis since his removal, his worst actions occurred long before the war, the advocacy group said in its annual report. It said there was no ongoing or imminent mass killing in Iraq when the conflict began.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair cited the threat from Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction as their primary reason for attacking Iraq. But both leaders have also highlighted the brutality of the Hussein era when justifying military intervention.

Human Rights Watch rejected such claims.

"The Bush administration cannot justify the war in Iraq as a humanitarian intervention, and neither can Tony Blair," said Kenneth Roth, the group's executive director.

Atrocities such as the mass killing of Kurds would have justified humanitarian intervention, Roth said.

"But such interventions should be reserved for stopping an imminent or ongoing slaughter," he said. "They shouldn't be used belatedly to address atrocities that were ignored in the past."

By this logic, if the germans had dismantled the extermination camps before we and the Russians overran them... they should have gotten a pass. And we probably would have been criticized for invading. Hmmmm.

The group's 407-page World Report 2004 also said the U.S. government was applying "war rules" to the struggle against global terrorism and denying suspects their rights. It suggested that "police rules" of law enforcement should be applied in such cases instead.

"In times of war you can detain someone summarily until the end of the war and you can shoot to kill. And those are two powers that the Bush administration wants to have globally," Roth said. "I think that's very dangerous."

Human Rights Watch criticized the United States for detaining 660 "enemy combatants" without charges at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Most of the detainees were captured in Afghanistan.

Well, number one, the police approach hadn't been terribly effective in the 10 years previous. The body count just kept climbing and the attacks more spectacular. Strikes me the war approach works.

Number Two - progress! Human Rights Watch just admitted that what we are doing in Guantanamo is legal. To wit, Human Rights Watch agrees:

"In times of war you can detain someone summarily until the end of the war and you can shoot to kill. And those are two powers that the Bush administration wants to have globally," Roth said. "I think that's very dangerous."

Human Rights Watch says we can do what we are doing at Camp X-Ray. Thanks, guys. WE say it's a war. You may quibble with that, but that is how we are portraying our actions and you just agreed we can do what we are doing. It would be nice if the President would ask Congress for a Declaration of War, just to tidy that little bit up - but there is plenty of precedent that the current resolutions authorizing the President to use force fulfill that legal nicety.

So, shut up on that issue please. You just took away that prop.

Back to the boots... against your 500 pairs of boots I put:

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Hmmm. Looks a little familiar, doesn't it? And who do we see helping with this? GIs. Blow me, DU. Can anyone find an example of any horrible thing that Human Rights Watch has prevented? Or, failing that, helped clean up? Anything other than be a scold?

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