Open Thread: Think Tankism, Comprehensive Energy Policy and Cuba

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When I left Japan on Tuesday, I had breakfast in the Orchid Room at the Okura Hotel, still the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge equivalent for power breakfasts in Japan.
I saw Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill dining with quite a group of Americans and Japanese — no doubt laying the groundwork for further coordination with Japan on our collective response to North Korea’s nuclear tests and for Condi Rice’s arrival.
She arrived a day later than I thought she had originally planned, and I joked with George Soros that it might be that it was because he didn’t check out of the hotel until Tuesday. Soros then went off to Seoul.
In any case, Chris Hill knows what he is doing. At the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan speech I gave, I encouraged reporters to query Hill on why it has been so hard to get a Bush administration consensus behind his views of what needs to be done. It probably won’t make him happy to point out that there are serious divisions inside the Bush administration about how to proceed with North Korea — and that Chris Hill heads the more enlightened faction — but these are just the facts.
More on that later.
Consider this an open thread. I have some deadlines today on some material I need to write on Cuba, a comprehensive national energy strategy, and on Think Tankism and policy entrepreneurship abroad.
All quality commentary on these three subjects or other matters most welcome.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “Open Thread: Think Tankism, Comprehensive Energy Policy and Cuba

  1. Jim DiPeso says:

    Steve:
    We need an energy strategy that: 1) Reduces carbon emissions, 2) Reduces oil dependence, and 3) Wrings energy waste out of the economy. Item 3 is the foundation that makes Items 1 and 2 more achievable.
    Start with imputing a cost to carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system linked to the EU emissions market. Schwarzenegger and Pataki are already talking about hooking up the Northeast’s power plant emissions allowances market with the cap-and-trade system that California has begun developing. Time for the feds to get into the game.
    Strengthen and improve CAFE standards, by raising fuel economy standards, treating “light trucks” the same as passenger cars, and designing an allowances trading system for automakers that beat the standards. Keep updating appliance efficiency standards as technological improvements warrant.
    Enact Senator Lugar’s proposal to require all cars to have built-in flex-fuel capability. Follow Minnesota’s example in adopting policies to expand availability of biofuels to motorists nationally.
    Boost R&D for energy technologies along the lines of 2004 recommendations from the National Commission on Energy Policy. Don’t pick winners because we’ll need to mix and match many technologies to get carbon emissions down, along the lines of Princeton’s carbon “wedges” strategy – smarter buildings, plug-in hybrid cars, carbon-sequestered coal, passively safe nukes, wind, solar, cellulosic ethanol.

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  2. TokyoTom says:

    Steve, you tease with your comment about “a comprehensive national strategy”.
    All we really need is a climate change policy that will recognize that future climate change will impose costs that merit actions starting now, and that will create market incentives to move to a carbon-slim economy (through behavior changes and investments in cleaner technologies, sequestration, etc.) We do not need a load of additional pork in “alternative technologies” or government micromanagement, though I favor giving away GHG emission permits, simply as a way to ease the logjam deliberately produced by fossil fuel producers and heavy GHG emitters. We could probably also use a facilities siting compensation law that would provide some compensation for those who suffer the grestest costs of facility siting decisions and thus nip in the bud much of the NIMBY opposition.
    Of course we need to bring Brazil and China into a meaningful climate change regime; our open markets can serve as both a carrot and a stick. Of course, given to the degree of climate change that is built into existing GHG levels and will accompany future emissions, we also need to get cracking on helping the developing world to prepare for climate changes, as well as to prepare for changes already underway at home.

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  3. serial catowner says:

    Well, so much for the “quality comments” idea…

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  4. JohnStuart says:

    tzs: “all real political ineractions in Japan occur in obscure restaurants with private rooms and lots of good sake and whiskey”
    Not at 8 in the morning, Mr tzs.
    The Okura still ranks in the upper tier both for evening wedding receptions amonst the old-guard elite for and power-breakfasts in the Tokyo foreign affairs community.
    JohnStuart

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  5. Frank says:

    Bravo weldon berger!!! You too Steve, for attracting thoughtful and articulate writers that makes your blog a worthwile read.

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  6. tzs says:

    Breakfast at the Okura? Eh. Mainly used for pecking-order games among the diplomatic hoi polloi expats.
    All real political interactions in Japan occur in obscure restaurants with private rooms and lots of good sake and whisky. Been there, done that myself…..

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  7. p.lukasiak says:

    But…in truth if Steve and Wilkerson and Powell all chained themselves to the WH gate it would not make a bit of difference at this point…Because really, unless we the people pitch the mother of all fits nothing will actually change…
    you know what? I think that if steve and his Beltway Buddies chained himself to the White House fence, it would precipitate the “mother of all fits” by the rest of us.
    People are ready to pitch that fit — but are afraid to do so because Beltway types like Steve will pooh-pooh their civil disobedience, rather than take part in it. When “credible” people like Steve finally get the balls to act on their (supposed) convictions, rather than just expressing them at A-List cocktail parties and symposia, we’ll have a shot at turning this country around….
    Which is why I’m really interested to see what Clemons has to say about “think tankism”….

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  8. Carroll says:

    Weldon, dear heart…
    No one is madder than moi …
    But…in truth if Steve and Wilkerson and Powell all chained themselves to the WH gate it would not make a bit of difference at this point…maybe there was a time when big names could have made a difference, I don’t know…and as for the “press, the little National Enquirer cable news dollies would only use it to titilate their mentally handicapped audience.
    Besides “insiders’ aren’t going to “change” anything..at best they will come up with some one part CEA (cover everyone’s ass) and one part salavage operation…for which we peons will still get the bill.
    Because really, unless we the people pitch the mother of all fits nothing will actually change…
    I just keep up with all this policy talky stuff because I enjoy looking for needles in haystacks and because anger gives me the energy to keep pouring silver bullets, carving wooden stakes and collecting rope…while I am waiting for the revolution….

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  9. weldon berger says:

    Carroll: my anger arises from what I think is a thoroughly justified sense that the people Steve deals with **don’t** matter. His pounding on John Bolton no doubt contributed to the failure of Bolton’s nomination, but are you willing to bet that come January Bolton won’t still be at the UN? I’m not.
    In less than three weeks Bush will no longer face any constraints imposed on him by electoral considerations. He’s already demonstrated that he is not bound by Congress, and a Democratic majority in one or both chambers won’t alter that. Congress does not make foreign policy and short of shutting down the government there is absolutely nothing they can do to restrain Bush, and his recent apparent willingness to entertain alternative approaches to anything will vanish with the sun on November 7.
    People who matter: who are they? I suppose one could argue things would have been worse without the “moderating” influence of Colin Powell or Condi Rice, but really: how? Does Christopher Hill matter? Not so as you could tell, unless he’s somehow prevented North Korea from using nuclear weapons rather than simply obtaining them. And do you think Steve really believes that tough questions from reporters will prompt Hill to acknowledge that he’s leading the sane faction in the state department? Do you believe that?
    I don’t blame Steve for enjoying a position he’s arrived at through a lot of hard work. He’s a smart guy and he’d be stupid, not to mention inhuman, not to enjoy the travel and the proximity to people who in a sane world **would** matter, a lot. But they don’t, and Steve’s appearances on CNN or the various panels in which he participates don’t make a bit of difference in the conduct of foreign policy or national security policy under the Bush administration.
    If on the other hand he persuaded his heavy hitter friends to join him at the White House fence — and I am absolutely serious about that — the press might actually pay attention, unlike as they did with the millions of Americans who spoke out and marched against the prospective invasion of Iraq. As it is, what he and others recommend is reported as “Steve Clemons says” and “the White House rejects.” Case closed.
    I have absolutely no doubt that Steve is plugged in to the Iraq Study Group. I’d wager he has some hope that the recommendations the group produces will have some impact on Bush foreign policy. But they won’t, because the only serious propositions will involve getting down on bended knee and begging Syria and Iran and the Saudis and others for help. Even assuming those countries can help, the payments they’ll demand — easing up on Iran’s nuclear program, making a serious effort at resolving Israel-Palestine, etc. — will be too humiliating and too steep for Bush to bear.
    If I go to Washington and chain myself to a fence, I’m just one of a million no-credibility schmucks. If Steve and his Council on Foreign Relations buddies and Larry Wilkerson and the retired generals put their freedom at risk by doing the same, even the most jaded reporters might sit up and take notice.
    To quote Ben Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Steve and the rest of the almost-in and formerly-in crowd don’t have great power, but they might attain it if they exercise the responsibility.

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  10. sdemetri says:

    BBC reporting human remains found at the WTC site. Nothing in the NYTimes about it. Interesting.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6070206.stm

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  11. Carroll says:

    BTW..on Cuba
    When you do your paper please include all the ‘exile’ crapola influence like CANF and pandering to the exile money/vote in Fla by “certain” politicans and Cuban born officals in several goverment agencies.
    You know that 90% of our policy toward other countries is influenced not by American interest, but by exile-hyphen-americans, corps & pandering politicans.
    Be sure to include the latest use of taxpayer money by Nelson (Fla) to ensure his reelection by promising 90 million to “cuban insurgents” to overthrow Fidel…which means the taxpayers are about to create 90 new cuban terrier millionaires…talk about a transfer of wealth…MafiaUSA

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  12. Carroll says:

    On Clemonism…
    I am usually the cynic here but give Steve a break. There are precious few, maybe not any other, blogs that offer some food for thought and inside glimpes into policy chatter among people that might matter in a “mostly” non partisan way.
    On think tankism…
    Enough talk, let’s revolt.
    Open thought:
    With approval of congress now down to 16% where is a third party when you really need one?

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  13. Steve Clemons says:

    jf — happy to be in any folder of yours.
    best, steve clemons

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  14. jf says:

    I absolutely agree with your rebuke of Pete’s comments– that there are millions of other blogs to second guess. You’re a busy guy and you’ve got time for what you’ve got time for.
    You’re losing your place in my “must visit” folder, but I can’t imagine removing you from my “favorites.”

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  15. erichwwk says:

    Yesterday’s Billmon post would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic:
    http://billmon.org/archives/002840.html
    And for those either unconvinced or want definitive proof that Roberto Gonzales has essentially plagiarized the Nazi Third Reich in the military commissions act, (as well as most of the other “legal” shenanigans, I direct you to Scott Horton’s article “When Lawyers Are War Criminals” dedicated to the memory of Helmuth James von Moltke.
    http://tinyurl.com/y6z3bp
    I direct you to the margin notes of Field Marshall Keitel, on an actual copy of a memo Moltke wrote, that was later used to convict Keitel at the Nuremberg trials.
    “And in the margins, in the unmistakable pencil scrawl of Field Marshall Keitel, were found the thoughts that these rules were “quaint” and “obsolete,” they reflected the “outmoded notions of chivalric warfare.” This was cited as an aggravating factor justifying a sentence of the death against Keitel.”
    anyone who missed last weeks Chris hedges column, it is archived at:
    http://tinyurl.com/uwtgl
    And finally, the very first resolution of the United Nations, in its original format, is archived at the UN at:
    http://tinyurl.com/yx4tp5
    Of course, most pundits continue to hobnob, and pontificate about fluff; thankfully a few here recognize what it means to suspend habeas corpus for American citizens. Of course trials will be denied only to those whom the president decides are guilty.
    Here in New Mexico, protest signs against nuclear weapons are forbidden, even on the campus of the University of New Mexico, and anyone protesting that, is brutalized by the police and kept in lockup overnight, with high bail.
    Even Bioneers, subsidized by the Los Alamos National Laboratories Foundation does not permit discussion of nuclear weapons productions, while espousinjg fluff and nonsense about justice and sustainability.
    I guess one has to experience genocide first hand
    before removing ones head from where the light never shines?
    German students in Thuringia are required to visit Buchenwald, in the hopes of understanding concentration camps well enough to speak up against them in the future. Steve knows (or should know) that high tech concentration camps are being mass produced at Los Alamos, but yet he remains silent.
    It is small consolation that American school children will likely one day be required to visit Los Alamos, and that they will forever ask their parents, “When the US suspended habeas corpus what did YOU do, and when they continued to manufacture weapons of mass genocide, what did YOU do?
    Live with that if you can.

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  16. Steve Clemons says:

    Pete Foges — you have written a well-crafted swat at my blog. My blog is my own. I have many readers who like to know where I am going and what I am doing. I’ll keep doing this the way I see fit. Glad to have you around — but by all means if it isn’t your thing, there are about 40 million other blogs you can spend your time with.
    best, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  17. John says:

    Steve–
    While you were in Japan, did you get any sense of heightened anxiety about the county’s increasing dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian energy sources, particularly in view of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the emerging strategic alliance between China and Russia? Without Indonesian oil, their supply lines go past hostile territory. And if we attack Iran, Japan’s economy could be the one most directed impacted. Is this contributing to increasing nationalism?

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  18. p.lukasiak says:

    What Weldon said….
    (especially given your proposed disquisition on “Think Tankism”)….

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  19. jf says:

    I really enjoy your bull-doggedness with regards Bolton, and I’ve been reading your blog for months and months. As much as I appreciate a good travelogue, you’ve been all tease lately (save the irresistable Lieberslam). In every post for the last two weeks you’ve hinted at fascinating stories and people with insight into the foreign perspective but not once have you put any meat to it. Consider this a good natured kick in the pants. If you can maintain the local color in your posts, fantastic, but let’s have some policy analysis, please.

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  20. eCAHNomics says:

    If Chris Hill knows what he’s doing, that would make him the only one in the W Administration. And how can you tell he knows what he’s doing? Last I heard it had been 13 months since anything had been done. Does he know what he’s doing only because he’s not doing anything? W has NO policy on DPRK.

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  21. Stephen Bloomer says:

    Splendid, just bloody splendid, I say there old bean, we are royally taking it squarely up the bung hole and there is little prospect we can release ourselves from the clasp the demon has onus all. And furthermore this ghastly predicament is so grim that the gravity of our collective crimes shall haunt us until the final Gootterdamnerungian blow of Apoplexial Apocalypse descends further into Armageddonian troubles that humankind has never before had the horror to die through! As ‘enry ‘iggins famously said, “Damn, damn, damn, damn !”

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  22. Pissed Off American says:

    “You can start by reframing the debate from the current moronic apposites to one which begins with the proposition that we’re completely screwed, we’re going to suffer from this for decades and our goal is to find a way to minimize the damage, not just to us but to the Iraqis whose lives we have made almost unimaginably horrific.”
    Posted by weldon berger
    Oh shit. And I was in such a good mood, too.
    Damned realists.
    Can’t we just discuss Foley’s hard-on, over a cup of Java?
    Or better yet, lets get a raffle going about how many Americans Cheney is going to murder with the next staged act of the evil-doers.

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  23. weldon berger says:

    It’s a bit odd to see the “business as usual” attitude in action. The president just signed a law that guts chunks of the Constitution, the administration is happily establishing the basis for an overt police state, we have a US Senator wandering around comparing the War on Terra® to the War of the Rings, we have a Congress that behaves more like the old Soviet Duma than a US governing body, the charitable view of the administration’s diplomatic efforts on the Korean penninsula is that they’ve at least accelerated North Korea’s entry into the nuclear club — and isn’t that a nice euphemism — and are doing their level best to arrange the same for Iran, but think tanks go on thinking.
    I suppose there’s some merit in that; it would be nice to have some sort of rational foreign policy actors waiting in the wings for the eventual return of rational government, assuming that happens some day. In point of fact, though, those people already exist, They just don’t have jobs.
    You’re pecking around the fringes of a problem that dwarfs anything this country has faced since the Civil War, and like the Civil War, it is entirely internal. What Christopher Hill does is irrelevant. What you do is irrelevant. What Soros does is only slightly less so, at least in the political sphere. You can not mitigate the damage this administration is doing. Christopher Hill can’t either, assuming he wants to: the best thing he could do is the same thing Colin Powell, Larry Wilkerson, George Tenet and the sane members of the top ranks in our military didn’t do: resign and speak out about the insanity that characterizes virtually everything the administration does.
    If you want to do something useful, direct your efforts toward encouraging reasonable people to resign from the government and go public with their concerns. Gather some realists — real ones, not the pretend ones populating our discourse today — and gin up a plan for dealing with Iraq. You can start by reframing the debate from the current moronic apposites to one which begins with the proposition that we’re completely screwed, we’re going to suffer from this for decades and our goal is to find a way to minimize the damage, not just to us but to the Iraqis whose lives we have made almost unimaginably horrific.
    This isn’t a gadabout game. We’re directly responsible for the deaths of a half-million Iraqis, and counting. We’re directly responsible for easing a bizarre totalitarian state into acquiring nuclear weapons, an exercise in which Chris Hill, who “knows what he’s doing,” has willingly participated.
    If you really want to make an impact, you and all your high-powered friends should get together and chain yourselves to the White House fence with a list of grievances and solutions. Because, frankly, no one who matters will pay you or your publications or your ideas the slightest attention otherwise. This isn’t a time for shaping the fate of the world over cocktails.
    Best of luck to you.

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  24. JohnStuart says:

    Breakfast in the Orchid Room at the Okura Hotel
    Steve, I agree that this is one of the best “see and be seen” morning venues in Tokyo:
    ** Heavy-hitters from the Gaimusho:
    ** power players from the big Japanese banks:
    ** Foreign diplomats of a certain rank.
    And a fair price tag to boot:
    ~$25 for continental breakfast or basic Japanese breakfast
    ~$35 for big Western breakfast.
    JohnStuart

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  25. Peter Foges says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner that I find you such a crasher. You bore for the world, my dear chap.
    Painfully well meaning and earnest in that special American way, you’re for ever in pursuit of great men and deep truths. You do realize don’t you, what a comic figure you cut? An insufferably self-regarding courtier, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.
    It’s all about you and yours, isn’t it? Your “this” and your “that” — your flight schedule, your speaking schedule, your pledges to keep the apercus of the great and the good secret from the hoi poloi — even your beloved Weimeramer.
    A little humble pie, old boy, and a little self-deflating laughter. It’d add a touch of class.
    Posting this would be a start.

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  26. ron says:

    Could the Cheney wing be sabotaging N. Korean negotiations in order to further push Japan to militarization? If they really do believe that N. Korea is completely untrustworthy, that N. Korea can not be held to any treaty, and that regime change is the only solution, then they wouldn’t mind the negotiations failing and things escalating if it will motivate Japan to become a military power in East Asia. They want Japan, along with India, acting as a check on Chinese power. N. Korea could be just the boogeyman to cinch it.

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  27. Pissed Off American says:

    Heres the deal.. Cheney will simply wipe his ass with this judge’s order, and CNN will ignore it to tell us about the big bad priest that caused Foley to be a gay man lusting after teenage boys.
    http://tinyurl.com/y99dez
    Judge orders Cheney visitor logs opened
    WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to release information about who visited Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and personal residence, an order that could spark a late election season debate over lobbyists’ White House access.
    continues at…. http://tinyurl.com/y99dez

    Reply

  28. Pissed Off American says:

    Words too important to ignore………
    Countdown Special Comment: Death of Habeas Corpus: “Your words are lies, Sir.”
    Olbermann: And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.
    We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived… as people in fear.
    And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
    Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy. For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
    And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.
    We have lived as if in a trance.
    We have lived… as people in fear.
    And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
    Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.
    For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
    A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
    We have been here before — and we have been here before led here — by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
    We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.
    American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.
    We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.
    American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.
    And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives — only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…
    While his man-in-charge…
    General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen — he is still a Japanese.”
    American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did — but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.
    Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
    And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.
    Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.
    Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…
    …one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.
    And Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.
    The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
    In times of fright, we have been, only human.
    We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us.
    We have listened to the little voice inside that has said “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.”
    We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.
    Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.
    Or substitute… the Japanese.
    Or the Germans.
    Or the Socialists.
    Or the Anarchists.
    Or the Immigrants.
    Or the British.
    Or the Aliens.
    The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
    And, always, always… wrong.
    “With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?”
    Wise words.
    And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.
    Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.
    You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.
    Sadly — of course — the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously… was you.
    We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.
    You, sir, have now befouled that spring.
    You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.
    You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.
    For the most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
    And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.
    We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.
    We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.
    We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “Unlawful Enemy Combatants” and ship them somewhere — anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” and ship you somewhere – anywhere.
    And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria… ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.
    And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant” — exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?
    This President now has his blank check.
    He lied to get it.
    He lied as he received it.
    Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?
    “These military commissions will provide a fair trial,” you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. “In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them.”
    ‘Presumed innocent,’ Mr. Bush?
    The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain “serious mental and physical trauma” in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.
    ‘Access to an attorney,’ Mr. Bush?
    Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.
    ‘Hearing all the evidence,’ Mr. Bush?
    The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.
    Your words are lies, Sir.
    They are lies, that imperil us all.
    “One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks,” …you told us yesterday… “said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America.”
    That terrorist, sir, could only hope.
    Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.
    Habeas Corpus? Gone.
    The Geneva Conventions? Optional.
    The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.
    These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be “the beginning of the end of America.”
    And did it even occur to you once sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 — that with only a little further shift in this world we now know — just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died —
    Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a “competent tribunal” of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” for… and convene a Military Commission to try… not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?
    For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
    And doubtless, sir, all of them — as always — wrong.
    Joe Scarborough is next.
    Good night, and good luck.

    Reply

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