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Priorities

Some classic Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey from Cabaret — Money…

Politics is the art of making the impossible possible, of bringing to life theories and finding a pragmatic way to implement them to sustain a particular view of the world.  In short, it is about priorities.  What are the priorities of the Bush Administration?

From AP (via Star-Telegram — with a H/T to wesgpc):

“This year’s U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings – the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press….  (emphasis mine)

Whack. A. Mole.  Digby has much more about the “great game” being played out to keep the status quo keeping on.

— There is a fantastic article laying out a number of the current military/command dilemmas within the officer corps from Fred Kaplan (who usually writes for Slate, but is writing here in the NYTimes Magazine.)  To wit:

The gap is widening further, Snider told me, because of this war’s operating tempo, the “unrelenting pace” at which soldiers are rotated into Iraq for longer tours — and a greater number of tours — than they signed up for. Many soldiers, even those who support the war, are wearying of the endless cycle. The cycle is a result of two decisions. The first occurred at the start of the war, when the senior officers assented to the decision by Donald Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense, to send in far fewer troops than they had recommended. The second took place two years later, well into the insurgency phase of the war, when top officers declared they didn’t need more troops, though most of them knew that in fact they did. “Many junior officers,” Snider said, “see this op tempo as stemming from the failure of senior officers to speak out.”

The article is about the internal dynamics of military leadership and the concurrent responsibilities of following civilian command and a responsibility to those who are being commanded to speak the truth from the ground. But it raises a lot more questions than it answers, the biggest one of which is this: what does a military commander do when the civilian command is not only incompetent but also wholly unwilling to listen to criticism and hard truths?

— Digby pieces together some substantial Bush Administration kabuki, and asks how Phil Zelikow can be a paid Bush Administration consultant at the same time as he is leading a charge to topple the Maliki government in Iraq — and claim that the Bushies have “clean hands.”  Seems a bit filthy, if you ask me…

— Why aren’t more people stepping up to report Bush Administration and war profiteering contractor wrongdoing?  Maybe this has something to do with it

“Reconstruction is so rife with corruption. Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will lose everything,” Weaver said.

They have been fired or demoted, shunned by colleagues, and denied government support in whistleblower lawsuits filed against contracting firms.

“The only way we can find out what is going on is for someone to come forward and let us know,” said Beth Daley of the Project on Government Oversight, an independent, nonprofit group that investigates corruption. “But when they do, the weight of the government comes down on them. The message is, ‘Don’t blow the whistle or we’ll make your life hell.'”

And in case you are asking yourself, “why aren’t these war profiteers being prosecuted?”, read this from LHP…and contemplate how misplaced priorities at the Gonzales-led DOJ trickle down on all of us.   

Anonymous Liberal posting at Crooks and Liars walks through the filing in the habeas case that I mentioned on FridayFrom AL

So if we assume that the Suspension Clause does apply to detainees at Guantanamo, the question then becomes: has Congress either validly suspended habeas or provided an “adequate and effective” substitute for it? Under the terms of the Suspension Clause, Congress is only allowed to suspend habeas corpus in cases of “rebellion and invasion” – which is pretty clearly not the case here. So the ultimate issue is whether the Combatant Status Review Tribunals established by the President and ratified by Congress are an adequate and effective substitute for habeas under the holding of Swain v. Pressley, 430 U.S. 372, 382 (1977) (”[T]he substitution of a collateral remedy which is neither inadequate nor ineffective to test the legality of a person’s detention does not constitute a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.”).

I would argue that, no, it has not been constitutionally suspended. And I do wonder if that isn’t the very reason that the Court reversed itself and decided to hear the case after the hasty MCA revisions tried to cut them out of the Constitutional oversight loop. (Wonder how Huckleberry Graham’s August break is going? Ahem…)

And it goes on and on.   Sorry to be so cynical on a Sunday, gang, but it is one of those days where the “elite opinionators” are on my last nerve because they are talking past the things that matter.  The priority of the Bush Administration is to keep propping up the Bush Administration, and damn the consequences to the rest us.  The fact that this isn’t topic A on every damn show is annoying.  The fact that the Bushies continue to get away with this makes it all the worse.

(For a little levity, in a sharply cynical way, here is an excellent Monty Python sketch [YouTube] from yesteryear.  Still applicable in the cold light of current circumstances, yes?)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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