Monday, December 04, 2006


New York Times today:

One spring day during his three and a half years as an enemy combatant, Jose Padilla experienced a break from the monotony of his solitary confinement in a bare cell in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, S.C.

That day, Mr. Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert whom the Bush administration had accused of plotting a dirty bomb attack and had detained without charges, got to go to the dentist.

... one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla's legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.

Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla's cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes....

This despite the fact that he's reported to be passive and nonviolent in prison. He's not Hannibal Lecter. There's no security reason for this.

But let's face it -- Padilla (and others who are surely being treated this way) aren't the real targets of this. Not in the deepest reaches of the psyches of those behind it.

Boston Globe, November 26:

Cheney ... has repeatedly said his agenda includes restoring the presidency to its fullest powers by rolling back "unwise" limits imposed by Congress after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal....

Cheney's ideal of presidential power is the level of power the office briefly achieved in the late 1960s, the era of what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called the "imperial presidency." ...

In May 1975, [Seymour] Hersh wrote an article discussing how US submarines eavesdropped on the Soviet Union's undersea cables. Fearing that the article had damaged national security, Cheney pushed the idea of indicting the reporter using the 1917 Espionage Act.

Making an example out of Hersh, Cheney wrote, would "create an environment" that might intimidate both the press and Congress....

Carol Devine-Molin, reviewing John Podhoretz's book Bush Country:

Podhoretz also cites one of the defining moments in Dubya's young life, when, at the age of 18 at Yale, the university's "rock-star-famous chaplain" William Sloane Coffin denigrated his father who just lost a Senate election. Coffin stated, "Oh yes, I know your father. Frankly, he was beaten by a better man." Apparently, the young George W. Bush said nothing, but Barbara Bush stated years later: "You talk about a shattering blow. Not only to George, but shattering to us." Podhoretz believes that this incident helped situate "George W. Bush at odds with the Eastern Establishment" ...

For Cheney, it's everyone who won't kneel before the imperial executive branch who's in those goggles and headphones.

For Bush, it's William Sloane Coffin and all the Eastern peaceniks who mocked him up north who are being silenced -- and perhaps Bush's own father, whom he once drunkenly threatened to fight "mano a mano" as well as Dad's friends.

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