Not much I can say about this except that as you watch you might want to remember that these are the people making our Middle East policy.
Glenn Greenwald confirms what I wrote five years ago: that the militarization of our politics was a Bush/neocon goal and that it has succeeded. Joe Biden, a supposed Democrat, is referring to Obama as our next Commander-in-Chief.
Biden’s formulation here is a particularly creepy rendition, since he’s taunting opponents of Obama that, come Tuesday, they will be forced to refer to him as “our commander in chief Barack Obama” (Sarah Palin, in the very first speech she delivered after being unveiled as the Vice Presidential candidate, said of John McCain: “that’s the kind of man I want as our commander in chief,” and she’s been delivering that same line in her stump speech ever since).
This is much more than a semantic irritant. It’s a perversion of the Constitution, under which American civilians simply do not have a “commander in chief”; only those in the military — when it’s called into service — have one (Art. II, Sec. 2).
Worse, “commander in chief” is a military term, which reflects the core military dynamic: superiors issue orders which subordinates obey. That isn’t supposed to be the relationship between the U.S. President and civilian American citizens, but because the mindless phrase “our commander in chief” has become interchangeable with “the President,” that is exactly the attribute — supreme, unquestionable authority in all arenas — which has increasingly come to define the power of the President.
At the nominating convention of the party in power, a party whose leader had 8 years – two full terms – in office that they presumably would be celebrating if they thought they had a reason, they’ve shuttled the Emperor off to one side. He wasn’t even allowed to attend in person – the ultimate insult – instead, making an appearance via satellite on closed circuit tv. Adding insult to injury, they then gave the major speaking slot to John McCain’s real running mate (and potentially co-president a la Bush/Cheney), Joe Lieberman. Lieberman. An ex-Democrat so far to the right that even Harry Reid has given him up for lost.
President Bush, relegated to a minor role at the Republican National Convention, praised John McCain Tuesday night as “ready to lead this nation,” a courageous candidate who supported the war in Iraq despite risks to his campaign for the White House.
I’m sorry, what??!! McC is courageous because he followed the pack? Did what he was told? Licked the Emperor’s boots? This is what passes for courage in the Republican party?
You gotta love the way these people are always the gutsy victims of some vicious, over-powering enemy even when they massively out-number that enemy and have every conceivable advantage. It’s sort of like hearing the Roman Senate bragging about how their heavily-armored and highly trained Legions stopped a revolt of slaves armed with rocks and sticks, only the way they tell it the Romans had the rocks and the slaves had 50mm Howitzers and the Empire was in grave danger from those 47 slaves and their sharpened thornbushes – or balsawood planes, if you’d rather.
But while George was lost in his usual fantasy of imagining himself and his GOP cohort as some combination of Winston Churchill & and the ’39 RAF and Leonidas & his 300 at Thermopylae, back in the real world (comparatively) Fred Thompson was going after the people who’ve been going after Li’l Sadie P.
I didn’t watch the GOP debate last night because there’s no point to it. They’ve established a pattern and it’s always the same: 2 or 3 of them get into a vicious fight over who’s most like a dictator, who’d violate the Constitution the most often, who’d break more laws, who’d give the oligarchs the most tax breaks, who’d torture more innocent people, who’d invade the most Muslim countries, and/or who’d make sure a maximum number of the poor would starve, freeze to death, and end up homeless, roaming the streets.
And just to be sure we’re clear, those aren’t attacks against their opponents. They’re boasting.
England is a land with a long sad history of brutal, stupid, and outright crazy kings, so it’s not perhaps unusual that a Brit should see more clearly than we do how monarchical George Bush has made America. Last week in the Nation, Simon Prentis laid it on the line.
To those of us here in Britain, there is an Orwellian edge to the news that George Bush is invoking executive privilege to protect his policies from Congressional investigation. Just like that scene in Animal Farm, when the newly liberated animals start to believe that some are more equal than others, it sounds like the President of the United States has reverted to the divine right of kings.
Actually, it’s more like the divine right of emperors but why quibble. The supposed divinity of emperors rests on the supposed divinity of kings, one simply an extension of the other. Prentis’ basic point is dead on: while the corporatocracy and its conservative handmaidens want to return America to the Glory Days of the Robber Barons after the Civil War, Bush and his right-wing enablers have pushed the clock even further back – to before the Revolution, before Washington and Jefferson and Adams, when America was ruled by a monarch who threw people in jail whenever he felt like it for any reason or no reason at all, when the Colonies were vassals of an unstable, very sick king (porphyry, they say, which afflicts its sufferers with fits that resemble insanity not a little) and who had no political representation and were subject to arbitrary punishments and ludicrous laws.
For some reason, we still, 230 years later, have Tories – monarchists – in our midst, and two of them are running the country. Prentis asks, “Wasn’t that something you guys fought so hard to escape from?” and the ironic echo of the question bounces between the walls of conscience like the condemnation of a friend betrayed. Yes, we did. And now we have finally turned against our beginnings, our founders, and our tradition by allowing a self-appointed, self-anointed king to build himself a throne in our very capital.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
I like Glenn Greenwald and consider his Salon blog a Must-Read most days but his insistent refusal to accept the deliberate nature of right-wing pundit fantasizing has become annoying and his benefit-of-the-doubt criticisms of the MSM and Democratic inactivity may be downright dangerous. Fortunately, his readers aren’t as backward as he is.
Powerful Democratic Sen Carl Levin, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has become the first openly imperial Democrat by assuming that he has the right to tell Iraq what to do with its government.
Declaring the government of Iraq “non-functional,” the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq’s parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.
“I hope the parliament will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and more unifying prime minister and government,” Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said after a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan.
Levin’s statement, the most forceful call for leadership change in Iraq from a U.S. elected official, comes as about two dozen lawmakers are traveling to Iraq during Congress’s August break to glean firsthand assessments before receiving a progress report next month from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander there, and Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador.
Levin’s comments show just how deeply the Democratic leadership has internalized the foreign policy establishment’s unquestioning acceptance of the fundamental neoconservative belief that the US is and ought to be an imperial power, complete with satraps and client states. It seems not to have occurred to him that Iraq’s internal politics are none of his business.