Thursday, May 21, 2009

TORTURE MEMO. The Obama speech expectedly offered to split the baby, with a reaffirmation of closing Gitmo and abjuring torture on one hand, and an acceptance of what amount to indefinite detentions on the other. The objections of Glenn Greenwald and Digby are well-taken. Like I said, I'm not fool enough to expect any American president in our national-security age to do the wholly right thing. The speech's primary usefulness was political, that is, deflecting the nutty pseudo-concerns of his opponents over the closing of Guantanamo and his Administration's generally not-as-bad detainee policies. He's very good at that, and it's too bad that he didn't try to do the same with the policies he has not, to his discredit, reversed.

Cheney's speech also was as expected, mainly beating his chest over the Bush security record and snarling at his opposition. I can hardly be shocked at his rhetorical excesses -- e.g., attributing to Obama a "we brought it on ourselves" attitude toward 9/11 -- because I never expected him to play good citizen once somebody else was in power; he has never acknowledged any authority other than his own, and thus talks, now that he is out of office, as if he were running a government in exile.

I did expect the usual suspects to react in the usual way, and they don't disappoint. Here's a lovely passage from Reliapundit:
Lincoln and Sherman and grant defeated the South and slavery by GOING ALL OUT. Ditto FDR and Truman in WW2. As Truman said -- If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen. And THE BUCK STOPS HERE.
Also, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. He says Obama isn't "man enough" to approve torture. For Reliapundit the War on Whatchamacallit is like all other wars, but with no satisfying public explosions, so he must imagine brave deeds performed in hidden dungeons to achieve the proper ecstasies.

This misbegotten butchitude spills over to Tom Maguire, who talks about "The Small Boys, Joe and Ezra Klein," who "will swoon, elevate, transport, or whatever they always do after an Obama speech," though "Sully and Greenwald," being a different species of homosexual, "will fume." Cheney, on the other hand, "pounds the table," which is real manliness, done by two-fisted executives in old movies and toddlers displeased with their supper.

Don Surber is provoked to "giggle" when the President mentions the Constitution and what it requires: "what did any of this have to do with national security?" This encapsulates their general attitude. They're holding imaginary thumbscrews and cats-o-nine-tails and wearing red, white and blue hoods, and their vicarious thrills have been frustrated by some wimp who talks about the Constitution. No wonder they're hailing Cheney as the second coming of Rush Limbaugh. After months of stumbling in the wilderness, he's finally given them a cause they can not only believe in, but also feel in their loins.

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