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Wednesday, July 24, 2002




Jason Has Questions. We Have Answers.

Jason Rylander excerpts a James Carrol piece from the Boston Globe and call for a debate on our war aims with respect to Saddam Hussein. For a comprehensive look at this, Josh Marshall of Talking Points has an article in the Washington Monthly, as well as two supplementary posts from his blog. The posts make a nice summary, and here is the money quote:

"But along the way I came to an unexpected and for me troubling conclusion. I decided that the hawks were right. By that I mean that containment isn't working and that what the right-wingers like to call 'regime change' really should be our national policy. And, if necessary, we should do it by overwhelming military force."

Jason, I hope this helps answer these questions, and I completely agree that Congress and the President need to make this case strongly and clearly to the American people and the world. Tony Blair seems to be doing so already.



UPDATE: Two chaps from the Brookings Institution offer their thoughts on a war with Iraq in Thursday's Times. After a review of the risks and benefits, they offer their big finish:

"There is a case to be made that these costs are worth sustaining. But if so, we need Mr. Bush to make it. He has not yet done so."

Whoa, I don't want to be with these guys when they are ordering lunch. "There is a case to be made for the tuna salad. The lasagna, while perhaps tasty, exposes one to the risk of a stained neck-tie. On the other hand...".

C'mon, guys, fish, cut bait, what?


UPDATE 2: So many updates! The Brothers Judd wrestle with our friends from Brookings.





What is This, Ask Me Another?

Oh, fine. Jason Rylander also seems to be endorsing a query by TalkLeft with respect to a proposed UN International Convention Against Torture. Let me recap:

"Friends of Torture

The Bush administration is opposing an amendment to the International Convention Against Torture that would send out inspectors to ensure that countries are not torturing prisoners. This puts us in good company. The only other nations opposing the amendment are China, Iran, India and Cuba.

That's some company we've got there. I think TalkLeft has it right when they ask-- "Excuse us, but what exactly are we hiding down in Guantanamo Bay?"


Let me take a shot at this. First of all, the International Red Cross is monitoring the camp. Secondly, Al-quaeda, we presume, is trying to regroup. At this point, I suspect that they are having a difficult time figuring out who is dead, who is simply missing, in hiding, or out of contact, and who has been captured by the U.S. for interrogation. If Al-quaeda leaders could get a reliable roster of the detainees at Guantanomo, it might help them evaluate the types of information which the U.S. might be getting, based on the information available to the Al-quaeda detainees. Accurate guesses as to what we might have learned could help them revise or improve current plans.

So, will the UN inspectors keep quiet about who they meet? If I were commanding U.S. troops, I wouldn't risk one soldier's life on it. And if some of that information is available through other channels, well, the fewer the channels the fewer the leaks.

I think that is a strong enough case there, but I will add another point. Control of information is apparently vital in interogating prisoners. The UN inspector arrives: "Your brother is doing well. Your cousin sends his regards". Ooops. We didn't want the prisoner to know that. Again, why trust the UN and risk American lives?

Well, that's just my guess as to what we might be hiding down in Guantanamo. What was your guess, again?


UPDATE: The plan moves forward despite US objections. And why do we oppose it? According to the Times, it's not just Guantanamo, but an odd "states's rights" objection. The US can't negotiate a treaty that might allow the UN into state-run prisons? Seems very legalistic. However, this proposed protocol is a side agreement to the international convention against torture, and what do we learn about that?

"The [American] official also said there was no question of withdrawing support for the convention on torture itself, which he called "an important human rights instrument." The United States, which signed the convention during the Clinton administration, is the largest contributor to a United Nations fund to aid torture victims."

"Friends of Torture"? Please.




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