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What Would People Think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Human Rights Partially "Un-Screwed" and Other News

1. Well, the Graham Screw Human Rights Amendment has been partially withdrawn. The new Levin-Graham Amendment restores the detainees' right to challenge their "enemy combatant" status and any sentence by a military tribunal that was over 10 years (including death sentences). The ACLU points out that those with sentences under 10 years still go no appeal (or at least no mandatory review...I'm unclear on this point), no habeas rights to challenge torture, and no habeas claim if the government just decides to detain them forever without determining their status.

But it's still a hell of a lot better than the Graham Screw Human Rights Amendment. At least they can (usually) challenge why they are there.

2. All you people who were not in Unexpectedly Sober should go check out their website! Check out the songs I wrote (see my last post...new songs by me have been added)! I'd love feedback!

3. I have an op-ed in The Devil's Advocate, Duke Law's student newspaper. They haven't updated their webpage with today's issue, but for the sake of vanity, I'll include my article (part of a point-counterpoint with the Duke Law Republicans) below. You may comment on it if you'd like...but I'd really like your response to my songs. (And Mike's songs and Jeff's songs and Dan's songs. Unexpectedly Sober rocks so much.)

My article is below

“Lying Lips” and Their Victims

By Ben Stark, President, Duke Law Democrats

Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool -– how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

- Proverbs 17:7

If you only talk to some conservatives, you might actually be surprised to know that a top Bush Administration official has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. Sometimes it'’s nearly impossible to discern the truth amidst the fog of Republican spin and talking points. So let'’s clear the air and remember what the indictment of I. Lewis "“Scooter"” Libby is really all about.

This is about a ruler with lying lips. This is about an administration that lies and the people who suffer because of those lies.

Scooter Libby lied to the grand jury; as a result justice -– and national security -– suffered. He misdirected special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the latter'’s attempts to uncover who compromised national security by leaking the name and status of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. While conservatives claim the perjury charges prove there is no underlying crime, the truth is that the Bush Administration'’s obstruction and lies are preventing Fitzgerald from discovering the truth and charging the underlying crimes. Rove, Libby, and others cannot mislead the prosecutor and then point to the consequence of those lies for vindication.

And by the way, perjury is a felony. Republicans were perfectly willing to point this out when the alleged perjurer was a Democratic President. (Sen. Mike DeWine in 1999: "“Perjury perverts the judiciary, turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may prevail."”) Lesson learned: perjury is only bad when it involves sex, not national security.

(For those who think it'’s no big deal to expose a covert CIA operative, allow me to quote a source with some authority on the subject: "“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."” -– George H.W. Bush, former President and former C.I.A. director.)

Let us never forget that people have died because of our "“ruler'’s"” lying lips. To date, over 2,000 American soldiers and over 20,000 Iraqis have died in the Iraq war, a war we entered because Bush and his underlings lied to the American people.

Remember how this whole indictment mess began. In January 2003, while trying to persuade the American people to take out Saddam'’s (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction, Bush said: "“the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa."” Uh oh! Better beware those mushroom clouds! Let'’s invade and stop this nuclear program. Only problem: Saddam'’s nuclear program was long defunct and not moving toward recovery. As early as September 2002, State department officials informed the Administration that the uranium claim -– based on forged documents -– was "highly dubious."” Bush used it anyway. Joseph Wilson exposed these lies and it was in retaliation that Libby and company leaked his wife'’s covert status.

This is not an isolated incident. Americans will long remember the Administration'’s record of treating long-discredited intelligence claims as the gospel truth . . . and using them to send our troops to their death. Here'’s another example: in October 2002, Bush claimed "“Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."” Colin Powell made similar claims before the U.N. in February 2003. Their source? Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan. The problem? At the same time Bush was citing Libi as "“credible" evidence of an Iraq-Qaeda connection, the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded this "“credible"” source was "“intentionally misleading the debriefers." Libi had no way of knowing about such training camps. Either Bush and company were too incompetent to read their own intelligence reports, or they just didn'’t give a damn about the truth. They wanted their war.

It'’s about time these lies caught up to Bush, Libby, Rove and that whole cabal. But it'’s cold comfort to the parents, siblings, and spouses of their victims. Lying lips have consequences.


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