Archive for May 12th, 2011
Sen. John McCain (Rep., AZ), a man WC formerly admired, has earned back a few lost points by coming out unequivocally on the question of the U.S. torture and its role in taking down bin Laden.
In fact, not only did the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information.
In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement. It’s important that he do so because we are again engaged in this important debate, with much at stake for America’s security and reputation. Each side should make its own case, but do so without making up its own facts.
Senator McCain’s life experience gives him special credibility for WC on this issue. Despite the lies and distortions of some Republicans, there is no evidence that America’s war crimes served any useful role in tracking down Osama bin Laden.
Sometimes WC stumbles across a website that is so amazing he is compelled to share it. The street artist BLU has one such site. Here’s one of his wall paintings from Lisbon, Portugal:
The straw could just as easily be drawn in Alaska. More of his wall paintings are here. As a sometime amateur web site designer, WC is in completely in awe of this website’s design and layout.
WC cautions readers that some of BLU’s Sketchbook pieces are powerful but deeply disturbing. You have been warned.
If you have the time and can live with a few omitted facts, read The Tragedy of Sarah Palin in the current issue of Atlantic Magazine. Joshua Green’s thesis is that the two major successes of Palin’s abbreviated term as Governor of Alaska involved tactics that are anathema to her today: raising taxes and cooperating with Democrats. It’s an interesting view of events from an outsider.
During her gubernatorial campaign, Alaska’s Shame ran against her own Republican Party, casting herself as the outsider who would come in and clean house. Understandably, during her brief tenure as governor, her own party wanted nothing to do with her, including most of the Republicans in the state Legislature. So to accomplish her goals of reforming the Alaska petroleum tax structure and pushing through a gas line, she had to ally herself and work closely with the Democrats.
Green’s point is that up to the start of the scandals – Troopergate, babygate and per diem for living in her own home – she was successful precisely for raising taxes on the oil industry in Alaska and cooperating with Democrats. Which makes her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention all the more amazing. What’s even more amazing is that she has stuck to that line of attack, the pit bull with lipstick schtick, ever since. All of her real success at leadership came from being and doing the antithesis of what she has since claimed to be.
Green does a fine job of documenting and describing to outsiders the lies and contradictions that make up The Quitter. Alaskans have known about them for much longer; since her claim to have not sought and to have rejected the funds for the “Bridge to Nowhere,” or, before that, being the outsider who came in to clean up the Republican mess, invited us to scrutinize her, and then charged the State per diem for living in her own home.
The essay isn’t perfect. As WC said at the top, there are omitted facts, and Green gives Alaska’s Shame too much credit in some cases. But the essay doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be persuasive. And it is.
The Palinistas, the Palin supporters who back Caribou Barbie no matter what, won’t be changed or affected by Green’s article. In fact, their outrage already poisons the comments to the article. But a few undecideds may re-think any lingering attraction to Alaska’s half-term governor after they finish reading Green’s essay.
Well done, Joshua Green.
Update: Thanks to alaskaranger for alerting WC to a typo in the penultimate paragraph.