Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A telling moment from the Not-Rumsfeld hearings

The most significant thing overall is that the bar is set so low in terms of expectations from Bush appointees -- even among fellow Republicans -- that a willingness to wave hello to reality from a safe distance warrants a ringing, unanimous endorsement. Thus will Secretary of Defense Not-Rumsfeld be welcomed enthusiastically by one and all, his own unsavory history notwithstanding.

Bob Geiger has some of the main highlights from yesterday's hearings. But I heard a few minutes on the radio in the car yesterday that resonated with me. (I can't find a reference to these specifics online, so this is from memory.)

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was going on about one of the things he thought was a real problem in Iraq: that "we" do not have enough prisons in Iraq, and that the Iraqis seem to keep releasing people we think ought to remain locked up. Hoe also pointed out that Alabama has nine prison beds for every one in Iraq.

I think these two statements tell us a great deal about the Republican mind. Sessions is still having trouble grasping why the shiny new democratic government we gifted to the Iraqi people cannot control the country at the very same time he fumes that they can't seem to keep locked up the people we tell them to. When Plato offered up Thrasymachus to tell us that justice is the will of the stronger, he could have been sketching Senator Sessions. The conceptual difficulty plaguing Sessions is a bit of confusion as to who really is the stronger in Iraq. (Hint: as Secretary Not-Rumsfeld seems to understand, it is Not-Us.)

If you insist on maintaining the illusion that Iraq is still a country, and that it has a government, sir, it is unseemly to expect that government to lock up people indefinitely just because another government wants them to. Though you seem perfectly happy to lets such things be done by our own lawless government, it is a bit unrealistic to expect other lawless governments to accede to our whims.

The other thing that struck me is the way Sessions pointed to the "prison bed gap" between Alabama and Iraq as a mark of pride. Now granted, I would feel a helluva lot more comfortable wandering Mobile than I would Fallujah. But (a) it seems near - universal that Republicans think that the way to make themselves safer is to build more prisons. And (b) Saddam Hussein ran a very tight police state for decades. His torture and intimidation apparat was reputedly vast. And yet Alabama is set up to hold almost an order of magnitude more prisoners?

(Of course, as Slate points out, Sessions also said:
"I talk to those who've lost their lives, and they have that sense of duty and mission."
So I guess his spiritual allegiance to the President is hard to deny.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You being a smart and sensitive fellow, no really, I have a very serious question for you. If you met the kind of thinking you just described, displayed openly by the woman at the convenience store, the security guard at the mall, the secretary at the office, etc., ten or 12 times a day (I mean open even hostile disregard for reality) how long would it be before you were looking to get an exit visa from the country? Wait, wait. That's not the question. The serious question is, with these people demonstrably in charge of the whole fucking government/business/education shooting match, both in front of the cameras and behind, why aren't you wearing a full set of body armor? Or, perhaps you are?

So, the corollary question is: who is going to save who from whom, and how? And how!! Where is the tremendous, unbelievable amount of wisdom needed for the serious course change that people are dying for (without even knowing it) going to come from? (Sorry about the convolution of the last sentence but it makes sense to me.) Not from above, and certainly not from below (see the comment string on any blog or any commentable news item for proof of "no intelligent life here Scotty"). What remains of the middle class has, as always before, sold everything for "security" and financial "stability" (Hah! Just wait until they try to retire.), so they aren't much use either.

And that brings me back to my original question. Is it a good idea to look for a discount when shopping for body armor? Got a friend who sells it wholesale? That is, when does it become as crazy to continue to live among the crazies if you have options? There. Now I've put it correctly. I can sort of understand people from Pakistan/China/Ghana wanting to get into the United States, but why the hell isn't there a huge exodus taking place away from it, or have the smart ones already left?


4:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

see web stats