Facebook Slider


Optional Member Code
Get News Alerts!
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 06:56

BuzzFlash Mailbag for September 19, 2006

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print
  • Email


Subject: GOP Senator "Defending" the Geneva Conventions

Lindsey Graham is much in the news these days as a defender of the Geneva Conventions:

After the Supreme Court struck down the administration’s earlier plan for military tribunals in June, [Senators Graham, McCain, and Warner] joined with top military lawyers to form the chief bulwark against what they said were efforts to undermine military law and the 60-year-old protections of the Geneva Conventions.

“The Geneva Convention means more to me than the average person,” [Mr.Graham] said. He said “some people” considered the conventions “a waste of time, but I know they have been helpful.”

How 3 G.O.P. Veterans Stalled Bush Detainee Bill  (9/17/06, NY Ttimes)

He told Chris Wallace exactly how important the Geneva Conventions are to him just this past July after the Hamdan decision:

The Geneva Convention aspects of this decision are breathtaking. The question for this country is should Al Qaeda members who do not sign up to the Geneva Convention, who show disdain for it, who butcher our troops, be given the protections of a treaty they're not part of.

My opinion — no. They should be humanely treated, but the Geneva Convention cannot be used in the war on terrorists to give the terrorists an opportunity to basically come at us hard without any restrictions on how we interrogate and prosecute. [snip]

Congress holds the keys to the courtroom for military commissions. Congress can approve interrogation techniques that would not allow Geneva Convention Article III to compromise our security. But it would be up to Congress to do that.

To make sure that the Geneva Convention is reined in domestically, it would require collaboration between the Congress and the president. I am willing to do that.

Transcript: Sens. Graham, Reed on 'FOX News Sunday' (7/2/06, FoxNews)

Not just willing, eager. Graham has worked tirelessly to deprive detainees of rights, even that most profound and fundamental protector of individual liberty, the right to file a Habeus Corpus petition. Graham has made it crystal clear that he does not want the Article 3 prohibition against “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment” to limit our interrogation options and so “compromise our security.” He dissembles very pleasingly and convincingly. But he is no friend, and certainly no defender, of the Geneva Conventions.

Albert Clark

[BuzzFlash Note: The Times' writers seem to believe Graham changed his stance, surprising the administration: "... administration officials ... said they had focused mostly on gaining Mr. Graham’s support and mistakenly believed they had it, based on statements he made about the Geneva Conventions in Senate hearings."]

Subject: Bush's War To Incite Terror

His purpose is to propagate fear and panic which short-circuit reason which turns us into sheep so that he can herd us over the cliff. How to avoid the abyss? Impeach him, that's how.

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: Awaiting the Hour

The Patriot Act, all the changes it swept over us. “With no real debate, it was passed into law on 25 October 2001, a mere 45 days after 911,” the legend goes. The size of a phone book, who got to read it before it was introduced, voted on? Who in Congress could have, when most -- certainly Democrats, the minority party, which means out-of-the-loop as things go in recent years (see http://jungcircle.com/muse/dem.html) -- were given so little time? Who would dare debate it, public opinion being framed as it was at every possible moment?

How innocent we were, sheep, glomming it all down.

Moreover, who wrote the thing -- and most important of all -- when? A tome of such sweeping depth, importance, power and, as we’ve experienced, sinister possibilities, could not have been drafted in such a sort period; not without an ideology that considered its potential with great care.

And so I wonder -- How is this not -- truly -- plotting to subvert the Constitution? The Act wasn’t created in response to 911, to crisis. It couldn’t have been. Regardless of any possible suggestion that there was any connection or culpability for the tragic events of 911 -- and a third of Americans are now thinking there was -- was someone not “awaiting the hour” (as if to strike) to set this act into law, into all its subsequent motions, by merely having this work in process? At the ready?

The justification for the extremes of the Patriot Act were framed as if we were in time of war. Yet Congress declared no war. To this day, Congress has declared no war. (And the invasion it did agree to fund had no connection to the events of 911.) Powers were granted, true; in effect Congress rolled over, abdicating its responsibilities under the Constitution. We must hold Republicans responsible: they set the agenda and so the course. And they must be voted out.

Deborah Conner
Virginia, uncomfortably close to Falwell

Subject: A Bit of Mutiny for “Captain Bligh”

I know the popular Republican opinion is that Democrats are wimps and “soft on terrorism” and, if you believe the ABC “docudrama,”“responsible” for the 9/l11 attack on the World Trade Center so it’s nice to see the “crew” of “Captain Bligh” finally show a little backbone at being taken into the middle of a maelstrom and having the anchor dropped.

That’s right, folks, four prominent Republicans; former Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell, Senator John McCain, Senator John Warner, and Senator Lindsey Graham; have been singled out as being ringleaders in the plot against the Captain...er, Commander-in-Chief Bush. It appears these unquestioning members of the Republican Ship of State have had enough bilge water and decided that the latest venture into the uncharted waters of redefining the Geneva Convention’s Article III was more than they had signed on for.

But we all know the Commander and he ain’t takin’ this without a fight. And that was exactly what he gave Friday (9/15/06) in what was described as a testy news conference. Unfortunately, the Republican crew members weren't aboard for him to lash so he took it out on the reporters assembled to ask him questions about how he was running this ship of state we’re all on board.

The most troublesome thing about these question and answer sessions with reporters is that Bush, and his third mate Tony Snow, never really ANSWER any questions. They equivocate, accuse or bluntly state that a) they don’t know and/or b) there is some investigation/secret/classified information involved that they can’t tell you. And I’m not sure that even Bush’s favorite method of getting “information” by torture would get Mr. Snow to give it up.

One persistent reporter, David Gregory, earned a finger jabbing, red faced tirade when he insisted on pursuing his question about the consequences of the proposed changes in Article III making our soldiers LESS safe from torture. Now Mr. Bush, like Captain Bligh, will not tolerate even a hint of disobedience to his orders from the Legislature, his party, the People, or the Constitution he is supposed to protect and serve.

On his best, most jovial days, it is hard to follow the Commander’s ideas. On a day like Friday, when someone is not only disagreeing with him but ASKING him for explanations of those ideas, he totally loses control and shows a rage and combativeness that hints of violence against those that disagree with him - much like that Captain of the Bounty.

In the midst of his rage, he rambles about young intelligence officers needing “clarification” of Article III because “you can not ask a young intelligence officer to violate the law.” I thought that was pretty clear, if you’re a civilized democracy, you don’t torture your enemies or your friends even if you would like to.

But the mind boggling reply to Reporter Gregory’s analogy of our Commander-in-Chief justifying torture to “get information” might in turn give other countries the option to reinterpret Article III, the obtuse Mr. Bush just didn’t get it. It sounded like he was saying that he hoped “other countries” would use HIS “clarification” of Article III and that they could use its interpretation to “clarify” and justify the way they torture our soldiers! A real Captain Bligh moment there.

But I guess the statement I found most reassuring from this Captain of our Ship of State was the one where he emphatically said, “If Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules...the program is not going forward.” He repeated this a couple of times without indicating which “program” he was talking about. I chose to assume that he meant he would stop torturing prisoners of war without that “clarification”...but upon reflection, perhaps he means that he will continue to do what he has been doing in secret....

Let’s hope the Republican Mutiny continues.

Carol Hagner
Richland, MO

Subject: Berming Baghdad

Recent articles about building a trench or a wall around Baghdad prompts me to ask this question:

If we are making progress in Iraq, the insurgency is in its last throes - why are we building berms around Baghdad? Will we being seeing road signs next?

Here's a little ditty 'bout a wall around a city to keep the terrorists out is what it's all about BERMA-Shave

Dory Hippauf
Lehman, PA

Subject: Bush's America Supports Torture

The America I believe in:

Supports the rule of law. Shows compassion when needed. Stands by the Constitution. Would only use force against another country when necessary. Is a country that other countries look up to, not look down on. Has a leader that tells its people, I will always put my country before my party. No matter what, we will always have the moral high ground. We will never stoop to the enemy's level. We aren't Democrats and Republicans, we are and always will be Americans first. God Bless America and the rest of the world!

Kimberly D.
New York

Subject: Dubya is angry with Colin Powell

GEORGE W. BUSH: It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behaviour of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists.

Really, and invading a country of made up reasons and killing how man innocent people, is alright? What an arrogant idiot.

KIM LANDERS: And he's defended his plan to try to redefine the Geneva Convention, which says there should be "no outrages upon the human dignity" of prisoners.

GEORGE W. BUSH: That's very vague. What does that mean? Outrages upon human dignity. That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation.

How bizarre, every president before him understood, only he doesn't. If you wouldn't like it done to you or your daughters then you shouldn't be doing it to anyone else because whatever you do gives a green light for whoever captures our kids to use the same methods.

For some reason Bush thinks he and he alone should be allowed to do whatever he feels like and the rest of the world should accept that.

Karen Webb
Moore, Oklahoma.

Subject: So Contradictory But No One Notices

Dear BuzzFlash:

We're seeing lots of GOP mailings and ads going out now touting the anti-abortion stance, meanwhile promoting the Second Amendment, an illegal war and dismantling every domestic assistance program they can get away with. And they call themselves pro-life!!! Evangelical and hardcore right-wing media hails the Republicans for their "moral" stance and "family values." Yet Rush Limbaugh has three failed marriages under his considerable belt and a narcotics habit, mega-churches are coming under scrutiny for being so blatantly money grubbing, and killing young men and women for profit and insatiable power is totally acceptable, not only to the party itself, but its multitude of mindless followers.

Now they say they will use up all their money to retain power. Folks, that cash cow ain't never gonna dry up. They simply cannot get enough money and power, no matter how much of either they accumulate, and they'll do whatever it takes, including killing your sons and daughters and taking away your First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights to do it.

I'm very afraid of the upcoming elections. A massive Democratic turnout will have to take place to stave off election theft. Even that may not be enough and I seriously doubt anyone in D.C. has the balls to contest election fraud.

Fayetteville, AR

Subject: ABC's "Path To 9/11"

I wrote a letter to the President of ABC and told him my views on that presentation. I said further that I would contact everyone I could to stop watching ABC or buying anything from Disney. Actually there were over 58 million who voted Democratic in 2004--just even half that number not watching ABC and ignoring Disney would put a dent in their bottom line. I also wonder how they can do that as supposedly their FCC license requires that they do not favor any party or group. I hope that many others join me.

They think that there's nothing we can do. Just remember the civil rights movement came to the fore of the national conscience with the bus boycott.

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: Republican Revolt

I am writing this letter to help George W. Bush out of his dilemma about Article III of the Geneva Convention. I'm a bit mystified that the first ever born-again, evangelical, Moral Majority Christian president is having so much trouble figuring out what "humane" treatment means, so I'm going to try to claify it for him.

Does it mean waterboarding detainees until some of them occasionally die under the pressure of this tactic?

Does it mean stripping detainees naked and ordering U. S. military personnel to perform obscene sex acts on them?

Does it mean releasing vicious dogs to tear at naked detainees?

We've all seen the pictures.

For people whose whole life supposedly revolves around evangelical Christian guidelines, it seems the meaning of the phrase "No inhumane treatment against detainees persons" would be quite simple to understand. Simply put, Mr. Bush, Article III of the Geneva Convention means NO TORTURE.

But maybe that's the problem for the Bush administration. They could extract information without breaking the law. They could go after terrorists' communications without violating FISA. So, they leave us wondering: do they just enjoy criminal activity, or is there something so sinister in their agenda that the American people would run screaming from Republicans for decades to come?

Every American should be asking themselves this question.

Terri Kionka

Subject: Bush's Palace in Baghdad

Why are we not seeing anything in the news media about the 104 acre city within a city on the Tigris River in Baghdad? This will be the U.S. Embassy that will employ 8 thousand people. It will feature a theater, bowling alley, shopping, anything one needs will be inside its walls, yet the news media is silent.

George Bush plans to control Iraq forever. He lied to take us to war and is still lying to keep us there. Bush/Cheney should be impeached and tried as war criminals. They are breaking Geneva 3, they are spying and eavesdropping on American citizens, which are against international law as well as against the Constitution of the United States.

They must be taken down and run out of power. We can start by electing Democrats in November 06 and hope that they will have guts enough to bring this country back from the disaster we are now in, thanks to the Republicans and Bush/Cheney.

Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad (USA Today)

Baghdad Embassy Bonanza

Clyde Paige
Paducah, Kentucky

Subject: Geneva Accords

Some attention should be paid to the Keith Olbermann program, 9/15/06. He talked to [legal pundit] Jonathan Turley who said the bushies are acting out of fear in their insistence on revising the Geneva accords. The truth about torture is about to be revealed by the International Red Cross who can now interview the prisoners recently brought from secret prisons to Guantanamo.

bush has violated the accords, and the US law that goes with it. He needs protection. There are 50 other citations against him.

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: A Must Read -- Bush on the Couch [previously, a BuzzFlash premium]

I recently read Bush on the Couch, written by psychiatrist Justin Frank, M.D., and it's a must read for all Americans, particularly Congress and journalists.

This is a compelling, frightening expose on what makes George W. Bush tick -- and this easy-to-read analysis will convince you that Bush should not be president.

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: The Politics of Standing up to Bush

People have been wondering why the Republicans poll numbers are going up lately. Is it that Bush has become more popular? Does the public like the idea of Americans setting up secret torture camps? I don't think so.

The reason Republicans are doing well lately is that they are finally standing up to Bush. Republicans finally get it that Bush has led America in the wrong direction and the people don't want to go the wrong way anymore.

When it comes to standing up to Bush, maybe the Democrats can learn something from the Republicans?

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
San Bruno, CA.

Subject: W is Not for Wobble, Indeed

Rich Lowry of the National Review has some interesting takes on George W. in his face-to-face interview with him.

"He has a restless energy when he sits in a chair..." "He exudes an easy self-confidence." (He) "... asks what the correct expression is..." (He) "...makes fun of himself." "Bush's confidence goes well beyond comfort in his own skin." "He exhibits a sincere, passionate, and uncompromising conviction in his principles." "He is arguably losing a war in Iraq that could destroy his hopes for the Middle East and sink his party's hope in the midterm elections." (Did Lowry wink when he wrote this line?) "But there's no wobble in Bush. If anything, the opposite."

And there it is, in a nutshell -- Bush's unshakeable, what-me-worry, head-in-the-sand, don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts, everything-is-black-and-white mindset and Lowry's unswerving admiration for it. It's as if Bush's boyish pluck and obstinacy was some kind of virtue, an icon of American patriotic fervor worthy of a kind of Republican mythology of manhood and doing the right thing.

Here is Bush in his own words:

"Let me just first tell you that I've never been more convinced that the decisions I made are the right decisions. I firmly believe -- I'm oftentimes asked about, well, you're stubborn and all this. If you believe in a strategy, in Washington, D.C. you've got to stick to that strategy, see. People want you to change. It's tactics that shift, but the strategic vision has not, and will not, shift."

Lowry emphasizes it by repeating and italicizing "never more convinced." Lowry then reports that Bush memorializes his obdurate thinking by claiming that it is "essential to meaningful governance." Lowry suggest that it is this kind of thinking that "drives Bush's critics batty." No kidding.

Lowry's National Review piece goes on to emphasize that when Bush talks about "principles" these days, he really is talking about THE WAR ON TERROR. Lowry has that right. That's about all Bush is thinking about these days -- THE WAR ON TERROR. 9/11 was Bush's saving grace, and he has exploited it to his every partisan advantage. It energized his presidency in ways he could only dream about before. Had it not happened, he likely would have been a one-term President, having accomplished nothing other than cutting taxes for his wealthy friends.

But it is THE WAR ON TERROR that has concretized his thinking about things in his your-with-us-or-with-the-terrorists' bunker mentality. It consumes him in ways most Americans can't imagine. And as Bush's legacy has fallen apart, it eats at him even more. He can do nothing else other than sink deeper and deeper into his one-track world where there are no grays, no complicated issues, no compromises, and no ifs, ands, or buts.

Rich Lowry merely helps reinforce Bush's simplicity and reaction with his puffery.

Stephen McArthur
Montpelier, Vermont USA

Subject: Mindboggling

What's up with america buzz ... .the senate is debating legalizing torture ... there shouldn't even be any consideration of altering the geneva convention ... the convention is there to protect the troops ... the politicians who start wars don't get captured and interrogated ... the troops do ... who is supporting the troops? democrats must slam this home ... don't co-mingle with the geneva convention ... support our troops.

Tom Coombs
Kaslo BC Canada

Subject: Dear Buzz............and Genie


Dear...I am quite sure that you could, and do, manage anything you want to put into words, I can tell, but I still thank you!! Not to get overly mawkish here, but, many times when the world is going off the deep end, and maybe the way I thought something would come out, of course, it does not. For instance, the three senators who are trying to buck Bush now on the terrorism issue ... I keep feeling like it is going, in the end, to go bad! In other words, the 3 will soften ... maybe even give in to the President (Yikes it hurts to have to call him that) and rewrite the amendment more like he wants it, which is to torture as much as he wants.

No one has ever stood up to this man ... and I watched every speech he made during the time of 91l 5-year anniversary ... as he repeated those tired old lies! Anyway ... I feel so very lucky to have a family like BuzzFlash ... and every one of you who write in.

I did not go to college ... but, so many of the writers on here are so intelligent. This website has been saving my sanity for about 6 years now ... and I really do not know what I would do without it. It has gotten to the point where there may be only two shows that I watch on television ... Keith Olbermann ... and sometimes, Lou Dobbs. He was once too right-wing for me, but seems to be the only one now who is concerned about illegal immigrants.

So, you get it where you can from television, but there is always and ever this site to come to, for the real news of what is going on in this world. And, for a person, like me, who comes from an almost completely republican family and neighbors, friends ... it is sad. My sister told me in an e-mail recently ( I have two sisters, both democrats) that she and her husband never discuss politics. And, I asked her how she does that ... if someone brings the subject up ... and it is very much to the right of what they believe ... and she says, they say as little as possible! It's wrong to have to do that!

However, I have lost friends ... and the friendship of two brothers over speaking my mind. I never remember this country being like that before ... and I think it is very sad. I know that many people who are 'talking heads' on television do not believe it ... and say what they want ... but then you get blasted for being friendly to the enemy ... and not respecting the troops.

Sometimes ... I think every hard right republican got together before this war started and came up with these talking points ..."Cut and Run" ... "aiding and abetting the enemy" ... "not caring about the troops" yada yada yada. etc.

Once, in Greene country, Mo ... which as I have told you before ... is Ashcroft/Blunt country and that is the senator and the Governor of Missouri, I had parked my car in front of the restaurant where my sister, her husband and mine were eating, and as we walked out, she looked at the car, like she had never seen it, and it is a 2001, and the bumper sticker, I have never bothered to take off, Kerry/Edwards ... .and she looked at me like I was so brave ... and said, "Is that your car?" I told her yes ... why ... and she said ... I was brave ... and I felt good about that ... even though she is just as strong a democrat as I. It still just blows me away ... the way they have intimidated us! She is much more conservative than I ... and I have many friends from there ... but, they are not even sure why, they are republicans ... it is the weirdest thing ever!

We count our blessings where we get them.

Thanks, Buzz ... and all who write for this website.

Shirley ... St. Louis