2005/06/29


 

Saddam/Osama: Case Closed


Rep. Robin Hayes (R - NC) has seen evidence, "time and time again," refuting the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the fabled Saddam/Osama link. He told CNN so:

"Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said.

Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."

Hayes, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, said legislators have access to evidence others do not.

So I guess there's no choice but to take his word for it. He has access to evidence that Saddam was "very much involved in 9/11." It's not just his opinion; he has seen evidence. Case closed.

(link via Balloon Juice)



2005/06/28


 

Allah, God


When you see an article with Daniel Pipes' byline on FrontPage Magazine, and it's entitled "Is Allah God?", what do you think the answer will be? Surprisingly, Pipes admits the truth:

Just as Dieu and Gott are the French and German words for God, so is Allah the Arabic equivalent. In part, this identity of meaning can be seen from cognates: In Hebrew, the word for God is Eloh-im, a cognate of Allah. In Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, God is Allaha. In the Maltese language, which is unique because it is Arabic-based but spoken by a predominantly Catholic people, God is Alla.

Further, most Jews and Christians who speak Arabic routinely use the word Allah to refer to God. (Copts, the Christians of Egypt, do not.) The Old and New Testaments in Arabic use this word. In the Arabic-language Bible, for instance, Jesus is referred to as the son of Allah. Even translations carried out by Christian missionaries, such as the famous one done in 1865 by Cornelius Van Dyke, refer to Allah, as do missionary discussions.

There's nothing controversial about this. Look in your copy of Hans Wehr and here's what you'll see:

الله allah Allah, God (as the One and Only)

والله wa-llahi by God!

بالله bi-llahi and بالله عليك for God's sake, I implore you, I beg you

(and so forth)

The three-letter root is اله, the radicals being hamza, laam, and haa'; verbal forms (actual, not theoretical) include Measure II 'allaha (to deify [someone]) and Measure V ta'allaha (to become a deity).

(By the way: Karl Rove's execrable imputations notwithstanding, I came by my knowledge of Arabic grammar not through my own efforts to "offer therapy and understanding" to the Arabic-speaking world, but courtesy of the Defense Language Institute, back in the days when George H.W. Bush was President. I learned Arabic just in time for Saddam to invade Kuwait in the summer of 1990. How many veterans, like me, did Rove insult with his nasty comments about "the motives of liberals"? Some of them aren't real happy about it.)



2005/06/27


 

Oneness with the Crowd


I still remembered how excited I had been in the days immediately following the declaration of war. The excitement had made me exuberant, intrepid; it filled me, in short, with great joy. I had spent all day walking through the streets, mingling, as at Eastertime, with the idle crowd and echoing its many and loud anti-German sentiments. But I did not vilify the Germans because I hated them; I vilified them because the harder I pounded away with my abuse and invective, the more deeply I experienced the exceedingly pleasant feeling of oneness with the crowd around me. If at the time someone had shown me a lever and told me that I could blow up all Germany by giving it a flick, that I could cripple the population and annihilate every living German with a flick of the wrist, I would have done so gladly, without a second thought, and then gone off to make my bows -- so positive was I that if something of the sort could be achieved and was achieved, the crowd would burst into a paroxysm of rejoicing.

--M. Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine


 

Bumper-sticker Semiotics


Last summer, while driving in a city in the Northeast, I saw a bumper sticker similar to the "Liberal Hunting Permit" referenced in the previous post here. It was a "Terrorist Hunting Permit," affixed to the rear bumper of a pickup truck. I think the sentiment behind the "Terrorist Hunting Permit" is one we can all relate to (Karl Rove's recent imputations notwithstanding), but this sticker filled me with a profound sense of uneasiness all the same. I was also embarrassed.

Why was that? Why should I feel uneasy and embarrassed at the sight of such a tough, manly, these-colors-don't-run sentiment?

Was it because I wanted to "offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," while the driver in front of me was "preparing for war" and "brandishing steel"? Or could it have been because I was riding in a car with three coworkers/friends from the Indian subcontinent? What do you think, readers?

Is there any middle ground between truculent chauvinism and "treason"?


 

Hunting permit


Have a look at the "Liberal Hunting Permit." It's so funny I forgot to laugh!



2005/06/21


 

Power Line: "Americans Heart Gitmo"


The Blog of the Year has given this meme its imprimatur. The one who used to call himself "Hindrocket" says, apropos of a USA Today poll:

It seems like there is a common denominator in the Dems' tactics of late: they're going really hard after the most liberal 37% of the population. I'd guess that the people who think Priscilla Owen is a dangerous extremist are pretty much exactly the same ones who lie awake at night worrying that a terrorist's air conditioning might not be properly adjusted.

The relevant data: 52% approve, 37% disapprove, and 11% have no opinion on the question "In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?"

So there you have it from the Blog of the Year: concern about prisoner abuse at Gitmo is something only for "the most liberal" Americans, who are so liberal that they worry about "a terrorist's air conditioning." (Remember, every single person being held at Gitmo is a dangerous terrorist, and every one of those dangerous terrorists has lots and lots of valuable information, and torture is the best way to get them to give us that information. Real Americans take this as axiomatic, and as an article of faith as well.)

You'd have to be sick in the head to write something like that "most liberal 37%" garbage, whether you actually even believed it or not.


 

Spiritual and moral bankruptcy


That seems to be this evening's theme, doesn't it? Via Dadahead, I see that the execrable Michelle Malkin has seen fit to make fun of a dead man. I suggest you have a look at the comments thread on Dadahead's post, too, for some more wingnut fun:

Does anyone know where this pathetic loser is buried? I'd like to piss on his grave.

Yes, those are the thoughtful words of a Real American, who loves his country deeply, angered by some political comments in an obituary.


 

Durbin's Apology


Sen. Durbin has been made to apologize, tearfully, for his comments:

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

The man has done nothing he needs to apologize for, aside from giving the wingnuts a chance to wax hysterical and turn the disturbing facts about Gitmo into a bullshit, Bizarro-World referendum on Nazi Germany, Stalin's Gulag, rice pilaf, and how beating people up and chaining them to the floor for 48 hours until they shit all over themselves isn't "torture." A new line has been drawn: Real Americans Heart Gitmo.

Why don't we just come out and admit it: Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and the rest of the detention facilities are payback for 9/11. We're pissed off, and we're gonna crack some skulls. If you're not comfortable with that, then shut up and keep out of the way, or maybe you should think about moving to France.


 

Our Fallen Culture


This I-Heart-Gitmo business is absolutely disgusting, and what's more, it's (do we need to point this out?) deeply un-American.

Look at Rush's new toy: "Club G'itmo" (sic). Isn't it cute, readers? The detention facility at Gitmo is just like a Club Med or something! And it's got the al-Jazeera logo, too! Ha ha ha!

Why not surf over to the ACLU's collection of torture-related documents, obtained under the FOIA, and see what Rush thinks is so funny. It's a real scream, all right.

Look at the work of a popular right-wing blogger, who posts movingly about her Christian faith when she's not passing on links to jeering celebrations of torture.

This is sickness. I can't think of any other word to describe it. Somebody would have to be absolutely morally and spiritually bankrupt to come up with a "joke" like "Club Gitmo," or to approvingly, chucklingly link to it, complete with smiley emoticons and expressions of approbation.

Look at today's Daily Howler if you want to be reassured that there are still Americans who have common sense and a moral compass:

Although you've surely read it elsewhere, here's the report Dick Durbin discussed. Does this sound anything like the America described in your children's civics texts? Does this sound anything like the America adult citizens would present to the world?

FBI REPORT (7/29/04): On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

Durbin asked an obvious question: If you'd read that report, would you ever have thought that it was describing American conduct? Or would you have thought what Durbin said--that it must describe an evil regime, the type we have long denounced? The answer to that is perfectly obvious--and so is the state of our fallen culture, the culture being trampled under by the Russerts, the McCains and the Wallaces.

I'm going to repeat myself: this I-Heart-Gitmo movement is deeply un-American, and an indication of absolute moral and spiritual bankruptcy for those who are joining in. I-Heart-Gitmo is the 180-degree polar opposite of American values.

Update: I'm sorry, I forgot. The Gitmo Cookbook proves that we're actually treating Gitmo detainees too well. What's a little torture if you've got tasty food to look forward to? Three squares a day, doctor's visits, mail; a quiet read of your very own Koran, and a prayer mat on which to kneel? The place is a fucking country club!

Update 2: In an extremely sensible and rational post by John Cole (of Balloon Juice) at Redstate.org, I found that there are literally I-Heart-Gitmo T-shirts for sale. I added a hyperlink above as well, in the main text of the post.



2005/06/19


 

Hyperbole to Pay Your Bills!


The Washington City Paper has an interesting feature on Matthew Lesko, the zany guy whose suits are emblazoned with question marks, who sells books promising "Free Government Money to Change Your Life." He's drawn negative attention from consumer-rights groups, who say he has a problem with deceptive advertising:

The report alleged that Lesko's exaggerated ads help to fuel a market for grant swindles, in which the unscrupulous, working through spam and telemarketing, promise gobs of government money in exchange for credit-card numbers.

In his report, Jon Sorenson, spokesperson for the board, compared Lesko's hyperbolic lures with the finer print. Reality, in many cases, was a disappointment: The program behind "big discounts on boats, limos, and airplanes," for example, is really just government auctions of property seized from drug dealers. Similarly, "free car repairs" are actually automobile recalls. And the "10% off your restaurant bill" that Lesko touts is nothing more than an early-bird special.

Lesko feels his hyperbole is justified, or at least excusable:

Lesko acknowledges that his schtick obscures the enormous difficulties in securing government grants, but he sees no need to apologize for it. "A degree of lying--you know, white lies--seems to be inherent in all languages and all forms of communication," he wrote in the introduction to his book Free Money to Pay Your Bills. "It's really not lying; it's more a matter of not presenting the downside of a situation."

The article also gives us a glimpse into Lesko's closet (he's got twelve of those question-mark suits) and tells the story of how he became a hypermanic pitchman for government grant money.


 

The Sounds of Cars


Too bad about Bill Frist, isn't it? He used to be such a dedicated man of principle. Hell, even the fact that he was still picking up chicks a couple weeks before his wedding day just goes to show what kind of stern moral fiber and inner courage the young Frist was made up of, according to David Brooks' column today.

You need to read "Frist's Latest Transplant," the 30 May installment of the Daily Howler, for Bob Somerby's take on Bill Frist (in which more of Brooks-on-Frist figures, by the way):

[Washington Post:] Frist, who is among the wealthiest of the Senate millionaires because of his family's stake in the hospital chain HCA, recounted his NASCAR roots. "I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee," he said. "Nashville Speedway was about, probably, four miles from my house. My first recollections of stock car racing were being in my house on Bowling Avenue, and on warm summer nights, when I was 7, 8 years old, listening to the sounds of cars."

[Somerby]... Is anyone in the U.S. Senate a bigger confection than Frist? According to earlier profiles, Frist's friends and colleagues were quite surprised when he began coming out as a fervent conservative; they had never seen any sign that he held such heart-felt views. Indeed, profiles have said that, when Frist decided to run for the Senate, he commissioned polls to see if he'd have a better chance as a Republican or as a Democrat. But now, the saintly surgeon is a fervent conservative, and, of course, he grew up on NASCAR. The chauffeur would drive him down to the street so he could "listen to the sounds of cars." And by the way, did he mention that he was only four miles (68 nine-irons) from the speedway when this nonsense occurred?



2005/06/18


 

American values


As is so often the case, Dadahead has hit the nail on the head:

"Confusing the torture debate" is, of course, the whole point. We need to focus on the real allegations of abuse, not stupid shit about Christina Aguilera, and we need to stop allowing the discussion about these abuses to get turned into a debate on whether or not Gitmo is worse than Auschwitz.

Because that's exactly what's happening: this is turning into a debate over the Soviet Gulag and the Nazi concentration camps, and ridiculous hair-splitting over minutiae such as tasty nutritious meals, loud music, and how long you can make somebody stand in one spot or keep him chained to the floor before you've officially tortured him.

What kind of country have we turned into? "9/11 changed everything," we've been told, over and over again. Did 9/11 turn us into a nation of torture enthusiasts, or did it make us at least willing to look the other way while it happens (as long as we're assured it's being done "to keep us safe")? It seems to have brought out a decided sick streak in some of us: look at the reprehensible "Day By Day" cocktail-party cartoon, which has been admiringly linked to by Power Line and other torture deniers/apologists (see Lawyers, Guns, and Money for more on this one). Look at Orcinus's post on the talk-radio reaction to Sen. Durbin's remarks.

Readers, Americans don't torture people. That's not the America of freedom and justice, core values for which we are ostensibly fighting. Ignoring, denying, or applauding torture: those aren't the American values we need to defend. What the fuck has happened to us that that even needs to be said?



2005/06/15


 

Cookbook Restores America's Self-Esteem


Some clowns have published The Gitmo Cookbook, which claims to have "the actual recipes and menus for the food served to the Gitmo detainees." This, of course, is proof positive that any concern about torture or other mistreatment of prisoners is prima facie ridiculous, and who knows, maybe even treasonous: after all, we're serving those prisoners healthy meals.



2005/06/14


 

Brainless Tools of Zealotry


Today, OpenSolaris.org went "live." You can now browse and/or download the source code for OpenSolaris. Predictably, a jaw-droppingly stupid flame war immediately erupted at OSNews.com. I imagine things were even worse at Slashdot, but I refuse even to go look (Slashdot is worthless, completely useless; it's the tech world's answer to Free Republic).

Here are some highlights of the erudite and witty conversation at OSNews:

The only problem Sun has is that they refuse to abandon Solaris and start pushing Linux unlike IBM and HP. Because of that people here, on /., and other such sites will continue to attack anything they do that is not Linux.

Readers, I want you to savor that first sentence. What's "the only problem Sun has"? Why, it's the fact that they churlishly "refuse to abandon Solaris." That's like saying the only problem the Democratic Party has is that they refuse to stop nominating their own party members as candidates for public office. But it gets better: Sun won't "start pushing Linux"? Then what's that fucking penguin doing on their website? Are two different Linux distros not enough for you? (And mad propz, by the way, for not spelling out "Slashdot." That's pretty cool stuff there, dude.)

Some people seem to need their hands held:

Ok so we see an open source Solaris with the source code. Now WHAT DO I DO, sit down and compile to get a working OS. I don't think this news warrants any attention. Recently in one of the blogs I saw grub being used. I am pretty sure Sun has a version of Open solaris minus proprietary code. So are there any plans to release a complete Opensolaris binary.

Do you want one of the developers to come to your bedroom in the basement of your parents' house, straighten your sagging anime posters, dust off the TV, make your bed, give you a nutritious dinner with a big glass of milk, and then sit down and install the goddamn thing for you? And read you a bedtime story afterwards? Or maybe, and I know this is a radical idea, you could start by looking at the fucking release notes, you assclown.

Here's another:

I want to download a CD with open solaris on it and install it from a CD, like I do with all my Linux distros. I guess its too much to ask of Sun, with their limited resources and all. Good thing I wasn't expecting a live-CD. at ~40MB of source, OpenSolaris can't be much more than the kernel. At this rate I doubt Linux has /anything/ to fear from OpenSolaris.

No ISO images? Oh, the humanity! Why won't you give me what I want, for free, in the format I want it in? You gave me the code, and now you expect me to compile it, too?

Here's a conspiracy theorist, who also knows how to tell it like it is:

I think you'll find that Sun is Microsoft's lovertoy now, and all of this is just an effort to discredit, and slow down both true OSS and GPL software, including Linux. The proprietary boys have seen OSS and Linux in development and action and they don't like it, because quite frankly it's a better way to design software and it's a *true* community development process. And they fear that the general public will realise how much controlling the proprietary giants have been doing, and for a long time, and they're afraid that they'll lose it all because quite frankly consumers will tell the large corporate interests like Microsoft & Sun to bugger off and go the OSS/GPL route. That means losing face, losing business, and worst of all, losing money. Poor lil diddums they are! I have no pity for Sun, or it's products - they dug their own hole and they can now go and live in it as far as i'm concerned.

Is further proof required that Linux zealots are brainless tools?


 

Third party for progressives?


Yesterday, Dadahead had an interesting post entitled The Democratic Party. Dadahead says,

In my opinion, one of the most difficult issues for progressives/leftists is how to feel about the Democratic Party. Despite the patently absurd claims of Republicans who claim the party is dominated by its 'radical fringe', the truth is that it is a rather conservative [Dadahead's link] party, for the most part.

This led to the question: Is the Democratic Party unacceptably conservative? Should progressives stick to it, or look into a third-party option? Commenters had different ideas.

For myself, I simply don't see a third party as being a viable option. Third parties are quixotic. We Americans are wedded to a two-party system, whether we like it or not. The answer, I think, is to try and halt the party's rightward drift, and to champion progressive ideas and values from inside the party, something along the lines of what the Progressive Democrats of America are trying to do.



2005/06/12


 

Shut Gitmo on down?


Why does Sen. Mel Martinez (R. - Fla.) hate America?

"[The Gitmo prison has] become an icon for bad stories, and at some point you wonder the cost-benefit ratio," Martinez said Friday. "How much do you get out of having that facility there? Is it serving all the purposes you thought it would serve when initially you began it, or can this be done some other way a little better?"



2005/06/11


 

Those radical Dems


Today's Washington Post reports that Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) is forming a federal PAC, and has hired Al Gore's former deputy chief of staff, in preparation to seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The article notes that Warner "is little-known nationally, he is a centrist in a party where liberals dominate primaries, and much of the party establishment is lining up behind [Hillary] Clinton," and says that "Sens. Kerry (Mass.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), former senator John Edwards (N.C.) and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico" are also "often mentioned... as possible Democratic contenders."

Look at that list of contenders, and then tell me again how the Democratic Party is controlled by its radical fringes.



2005/06/06


 

A Summer of Faulkner


Oprah has lent her imprimatur to a three-volume boxed set of Faulkner novels (As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Light in August), and it's selling like hotcakes. Thanks to Oprah, the summer of 2005 is going to be A Summer of Faulkner.

I have to applaud her selection of novels, although I'm not the biggest fan of Light in August. She should have chosen Sanctuary instead. Still, if even one-tenth of the people who are rushing out to buy this boxed set actually read the three novels (or even one of the three novels), Oprah will have done this nation a huge service. There was no 20th-century American novelist who was even in Faulkner's league, yet most people think of his work as "difficult" and would never consider going near it until now.

It's real easy to sneer at Oprah's "Book Club," but look at this: she's gotten a nation of Dan Brown fans to take a look at Faulkner. Some of the boxed-set customers are going to use the books as upper-middlebrow furniture and never crack them open, sure, but some people are going to read them and become lifelong Faulkner fans, and they might go on from there to explore Steinbeck, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or even Nathanael West or John Dos Passos. (The American novel was at its apogee between the two world wars.) So Oprah gets props today from me.

Update: SlushPile.net agrees with me and also put up a link to Oprah's pretty-good "Summer of Faulkner" web pages.



2005/06/05


 

Books for sale


As I'm getting settled into my new apartment, I'm going through my large collection of books and pruning my library, so to speak. If you are interested, readers, check out what I'm parting with.

There's a permanent link to my Half.com "store" on the sidebar, filed under the Contact/About rubric.



2005/06/04


 

Kunst


John Heartfield, Hurrah, die Butter ist alle

John Heartfield, "Hurrah, die Butter ist alle!" (1935)

The quote from Goering reads: "Iron ore has always made an empire strong. Butter and lard have, at best, made a nation fat."


 

Team J.C.


From an editorial in today's Post:

THE REPORTS OF the religious climate at the Air Force Academy are unsettling: A chaplain instructs cadets to try to convert classmates by warning that they "will burn in the fires of hell" if they do not accept Christ. During basic training, freshman cadets who decline to attend after-dinner chapel are marched back to their dormitories in "heathen flights" organized by upperclassmen. A Jewish student is taunted as a Christ killer and told that the Holocaust was the just punishment for that offense. The academy's head football coach posts a banner in the locker room that proclaims, "I am a Christian first and last. . . . I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."

... it's imperative that the Air Force ensure that the academy welcomes and accommodates cadets of all faiths, or none at all. Cadet training is, by its nature, an experience in which young men and women are under enormous pressure to conform. It is especially important, in that atmosphere, that cadets not feel that professing a certain religion is part of the norm to which they must adhere. Cadets need to know that they can serve the Air Force, and their country, even if they haven't signed up for Team Jesus Christ.

Do we need to point out that the Post editorial board is right? What's being described at the USAF Academy is a culture of religious intolerance, and freedom of religion is one of the bedrock principles on which our nation was founded.

There was a cover story in the May 2005 Harper's entitled "Soldiers of Christ." It's online now, and you could do worse than read it, if you've got some time on your hands this weekend. Colorado Springs, CO, home of the USAF Academy, is "home to the greatest concentration of fundamentalist Christian activist groups in American history," this article says. It's some interesting reading. (Of course, I realize that treating fundamentalists with anything less than fulsome approbation is tantamount to "lynching" them; it's all part of the radical left-wing persecution of American people of faith.)


 

A Portable Hole


Matt Duss, at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, has written a good post about Amnesty International official Irene Khan's infelicitous (and now infamous) choice of words in her recent speech ("Guantanamo has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law," she said).

So my disgust last week at Irene Khan's reference to the U.S.'s Guantanamo detention camp as "the gulag of our times" was twofold. First, that she would so carelessly and obviously disrespect the memories of the millions of men, women, and children (yeah, they had children in the camps, too) who were executed or starved or froze to death in the Gulag. Second, that she had, as E.J. Dionne also points out, essentially handed Bush a portable hole to escape into every time inconvenient questions about the Amnesty report are asked, and there are very important questions to be asked and answered about the Ghost Prison Archipelago which the U.S. government has set up.

Meanwhile, Captain Ed, of Captain's Quarters, while pointing with approbation to a deeply foolish column from the execrable Michelle Malkin, suggests the Gitmo detainees have it pretty nice ("This is how the Americans have mistreated the poor dears at Guantanamo") and reminds us that "[t]he terrorists in Camp X-Ray fought on behalf of the same people who killed 3,000 unarmed and defenseless American citizens on 9/11." He doesn't come right out and say that every last detainee is a terrorist, but that's clearly his implication, just as it was implied yesterday in Kool-Aid Krauthammer's crappy column (see below). Captain Ed does, to give him credit, say he doesn't want them abused, which is more than we can give the deeply disturbed K-man, or the morally-bankrupt Malkin, credit for.



2005/06/03


 

ACLU Commies Ignore Geneva Conventions


And speaking of the ACLU, I see (via Digby) that the ACLU got a ruling under the Freedom of Information Act, as part of their ongoing lawsuit, such that the DOD has until 30 June to turn over more of the Abu Ghraib pictures and videos. The government attempted to hold onto the evidence, claiming that the prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions would be violated by releasing the pictures. Why does the ACLU want the Geneva Conventions to be flouted like that?


 

Krauthammer's Quaff


As was pointed out about a month ago at the Daily Howler, Charles Krauthammer has consumed every last drop of the Angry Talk-Show Right's Kool-Aid. "[H]e gulps full glasses of bright red Kool-Aid, typing up the full kooky-con liturgy and going several steps beyond that," wrote Bob Somerby.

But I shouldn't say "every last drop," for there is no last drop. That Kool-Aid seems to bubble up from the earth in inexhaustible quantities. Today, I see that Krauthammer has really got an insatiable thirst, for he has helped himself to yet another deep refreshing quaff from that deep Kool-Aid spring, the very Urquell of Kool-Aid. Like the fabled unslakable Hibernian thirst of Brendan Behan, Krauthammer's thirst could cast a shadow.

Today he has caused a reprehensible column to be printed. In the Washington Post, its title is "Gitmo Grovel: Enough Already." He purports to be answering critics who are calling for the detention center at Gitmo to be shut down and closed, but what he's really doing is apologizing for abuse.

The self-flagellation has gone far enough. We know that al Qaeda operatives are trained to charge torture when they are in detention, and specifically to charge abuse of the Koran to inflame fellow prisoners on the inside and potential sympathizers on the outside.

Therefore, all charges of torture and of Koran abuse are lies. But do you notice something, readers? What Krauthammer is doing here is encouraging you to believe that being held at Gitmo is prima facie evidence of being a member of al-Qaeda. See:

What kind of crazy tolerance is this? Is there any other country that would give a prisoner precisely the religious text that that prisoner and those affiliated with him invoke to justify the slaughter of innocents? If the prisoners had to have reading material, I would have given them the book "Portraits 9/11/01" -- vignettes of the lives of those massacred on Sept. 11.

See, every prisoner at Gitmo is a terrorist. That's how it is in Rushland and the Republic of Hannity, and on whatever planet Ann Coulter comes from. That's how things are in Krauthammer's world, too. Does he really believe this?

Having drunk deeply by the willow-shaded shores of the Kool-Aid Urquell, he even plays the Piss-Christ card:

When an American puts a crucifix in a jar of urine and places it in a museum, civil libertarians rise immediately to defend it as free speech. And when someone makes a painting of the Virgin Mary, smears it with elephant dung and adorns it with porn, not only is that free speech, it is art -- deserving of taxpayer funding and an ACLU brief supporting the Brooklyn Museum when the mayor freezes its taxpayer subsidy.

I wonder if Krauthammer's bought himself one of those nifty "A C L U / Enemy of the State" T-shirts they're selling at all the wingnut websites. You know, the one where the "C" in "ACLU" is a Soviet hammer-and-sickle. That's on account of, you know, the ACLU are a bunch of fucking commies.

Look, I don't doubt for a second that many of the Gitmo prisoners are indeed terrorists, or at least dangerous terrorist wannabes. But being a prisoner at Gitmo is not evidence of terrorist activities or affiliation in and of itself. Some of these people being abused at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere, are innocent people. That alone should give one pause, even if one is all in favor of torturing terrorists. But Krauthammer and others don't seem to believe it, not for a second. And so we're getting Limbaughian rhetoric out of respected columnist Krauthammer. That's what the Kool-Aid does to you.

Update: You can see the T-shirt I'm talking about here. They've also got one where they've replaced the "C" with an Islamic crescent moon, not to mention a "CNN - Commie News Network" shirt.



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