Sunday, November 27, 2005

NYT: "In Terror Cases, Administration Sets Own Rules" (Adam Liptak)

"We take each individual, each case, case by case," Mr. Gonzales said.
The upshot of that approach, underscored by the decision in Mr. Padilla's case, is that no one outside the administration knows just how the determination is made whether to handle a terror suspect as an enemy combatant or as a common criminal, to hold him indefinitely without charges in a military facility or to charge him in court.
Indeed, citing the need to combat terrorism, the administration has argued, with varying degrees of success, that judges should have essentially no role in reviewing its decisions. The change in Mr. Padilla's status, just days before the government's legal papers were due in his appeal to the Supreme Court, suggested to many legal observers that the administration wanted to keep the court out of the case.
"The position of the executive branch," said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University who has consulted with lawyers for several detainees, "is that it can be judge, jury and executioner."

The above is from Adam Liptak's "In Terror Cases, Administration Sets Own Rules" in this morning's New York Times. The article notes that "the government obtained convictions in federal court" in three cases. Obtained. Not won. Three people pled guilty.

Carl notes David D. Kirkpatrick's "From Alito's Past, a Window on Conservatives at Princeton" which details the background on Concerned Alumini of Princeton, a group Samuel A. Alito, Jr. belonged to:

The group had been founded in 1972, the year that Judge Alito graduated, by alumni upset that Princeton had recently begun admitting women. It published a magazine, Prospect, which persistently accused the administration of taking a permissive approach to student life, of promoting birth control and paying for abortions, and of diluting the explicitly Christian character of the school.
As Princeton admitted a growing number of minority students, Concerned Alumni charged repeatedly that the administration was lowering admission standards, undermining the university's distinctive traditions and admitting too few children of alumni. "Currently alumni children comprise 14 percent of each entering class, compared with an 11 percent quota for blacks and Hispanics," the group wrote in a 1985 fund-raising letter sent to all Princeton graduates.
By the mid-1980's, however, Princeton students and recent alumni were increasingly finding such statements anachronistic or worse.
"Is the issue the percentage of alumni children admitted or the percentage of minorities?" Jonathan Morgan, a conservative undergraduate working with the group, asked its board members that fall in an internal memorandum. "I don't see the relevance in comparing the two, except in a racist context (i.e. why do we let in so many minorities and not alumni children?)," he continued.
By 1987, the group had sputtered out.
Mr. Morgan's memorandum and other records of Concerned Alumni are contained at the Library of Congress in the papers of William A. Rusher, a leader of the group and a former publisher of National Review.

Jonah notes that James Glanz goes "all fluttery and poetic" in "Saving Face and How to Say Farewell." We'll focus on the news from the article/analysis (or "news"):

Maybe not surprisingly, Vietnam is the focus of some of the most interesting revisionism, including some of it immediately relevant to Iraq, where the intensive effort to train Iraqi security forces to defend their own country closely mirrors the "Vietnamization" program in South Vietnam. If Congress had not voted to kill the financing for South Vietnam and its armed forces in 1975, argues Melvin R. Laird in a heavily read article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, Saigon might never have fallen.
"Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975," wrote Mr. Laird, who was President Nixon's defense secretary from 1969 to 1973, when the United States pulled its hundreds of thousands of troops out of Vietnam. [He's been watching his Will & Grace! Wonder what other "funnies" he works in.]
In an interview, Mr. Laird conceded that the American departure from Vietnam was not a pretty sight. "Hell, the pictures of them getting in those helicopters were not good pictures," he said, [blah, blah, blah]

The evacuation by helicopter? Yes, who could forget Nixon leaving the White House lawn by helicopter as America was finally done with a crooked and lying president. (Like roaches, they have a tendency to breed anew every few generations.) I'm not really sure why we're supposed to be listening to someone from the Nixon administration about a war to begin with. The bombing of the dikes? Where do you start? Where do you end? How do you come back, all these years later, to seeing voices from the Nixon administration as "respected"?

If Congress hadn't voted to stop the aid, Laird whines. If Nixon had broken the laws and exposed himself to corruption . . . We can play "what if" all day.

The revisionary history was allowed to creep in as everyone played "nice." "Oh sure, I disagree with that, but I'm not going to speak up" seemed to be the code of the post-Vietnam conflict days. So we get nonsense of how it could have been "won."

We still haven't truthfully addressed, as a nation, how it was that we ended up there. If there are echoes to Vietnam in our current occupation of Iraq (occupation of selected areas and less and less apparently), possibly that's one. We can talk about how to "win." The Times can run analysis and think pieces and articles on that. But as to how we got over there, the paper's got nothing to say. (The Los Angeles Times, not the New York Times, broke the big stories this week.)

The war was built on lies. People can trot out all the revisionists they want to make false claims that a "win" was possible in Vietnam. (The Times, New York, did note this week that Kissinger and Nixon weren't for nuclear options so that leaves the revisionist with one less tool to place in the hands of their heroes.)

Nixon's defense secretary would be a joke were it not for the fact that so many lives were lost. Now he's pimping the same (failed) strategy (apparently the "secret peace plan" Nixon was fond of touting) and trying to apply it to Iraq.

Considering that many on the right have spent the last two years running from any analogies to Vietnam, it's rather shocking that they now make comparisons and want to use the comparison to argue a "win."

That kind of thinking will only result in more loss of lives. The desperation gasps of the disgraced would be humorous, again, if weren't for the deaths. (Or those wounded, from all sides.) Factoring that in, the attempted comeback of the disgraced is about as pathetic as Ike Turner's attempt to comeback in the late eighties. Some embarrass themselves so much they step away from the national stage and do not return. Others have no shame. Which explained Laird's popping back up.

For further laughs, Juan Forero (aided by Larry Rohter) has a piece in the Times today.
The laughs start with the headline "Venezuela's Leader Covets a Nuclear Energy Program." The laughs just keep coming. "Covets." I wonder if a headline writer at the Times will ever use "Covet" in a headline on Bully Boy? "Bully Boy Covets War"?

It's doubtful. But the Times (as "an institution") doesn't like Hugo Chavez. So everyone knows journalistic "objectivity" goes out the window. As Francisco noted in his e-mail this morning, "If Judy Miller sold us on the war in Iraq, the littlest Judy Miller is doing his best to sell us on war with Venezuela." (Juan Forero was dubbed, by Francisco, in our year-in-review last year "the littlest Judy Miller.")

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