Changing Of The Guard At The Pentagon
November 08, 2006
I just heard over CNN International that Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down as secretary of defense. I don't know whether this gesture from parliamentary government has ever happened in America before. But it is very likely that some Republicans are now thinking: Why didn't he resign earlier? Maybe two or three months earlier? He was certainly the fall-guy for the Iraq war, and it is a role he chose for himself by being so contemptuous of his critics and so callous about the queries they raised. This step also points to a panic in Republican ranks.
July 24, 2006
Jason Zengerle on Newt's flirtations with running for president in 2008.
May 01, 2006
Of course George W. Bush should fire Donald Rumsfeld--it's no longer an interesting debate. Even the Iraq war's most fervent supporters--people like John McCain--have denounced Rumsfeld's refusal to send enough troops to secure Baghdad in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's fall. Rumsfeld's support is now concentrated among people less invested in the survival of Iraq than in the survival of Bush. And, even on the right, their numbers are dwindling fast. The real question is whether, at this point, Rumsfeld's resignation would even make a difference.
The Abolition Of Torture
December 19, 2005
Why is torture wrong? It may seem like an obvious question, or even one beneath discussion. But it is now inescapably before us, with the introduction of the McCain Amendment banning all "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment" of detainees by American soldiers and CIA operatives anywhere in the world. The amendment lies in legislative limbo.
August 22, 2005
Guantnamo Bay, Cuba The detainee, by all appearances, is resigned to his fate. Throughout his hearing, he remains stoic, not once even shifting in his chair, let alone jostling the restraints that bind his wrists and ankles. His tan jumpsuit indicates his compliance with the camp guards. (The infamous orange jumpsuits are reserved for "problem" detainees.) When the panel of American military officers asks if he wants to submit additional statements on his behalf, he declines.
April 11, 2005
In April, when the Senate begins considering John D. Negroponte's nomination as the nation's first intelligence czar, much of the hearings are likely to focus on his role in Central America's "dirty wars" of the 1980s. Questions abound over just how much Negroponte, who was ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, knew at the time about death squads and other abuses in the region, and Democratic Senate staffers have promised to grill Negroponte about this history. The answers they uncover promise to have more than historical relevance.
December 20, 2004
INHERIT THE WIND Billy Tauzin of Louisiana was one of the most venal politicians ever to sully Capitol Hill. As Michelle Cottle chronicled in these pages ("Cajun Dressing," October 6, 2003), the Republican representative used his perch on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to shill for almost every big business in America--until a business broke enough laws to spark public outrage, at which point Tauzin would hold showboat hearings and recast himself as a consumer champion.
December 20, 2004
The International Committee of the Red Cross (icrc), the humanitarian organization that monitors compliance with the Geneva Conventions, is an unlikely bogeyman. Yet conservatives have spent the past week lambasting the icrc for having the temerity to do its job.
December 09, 2004
It took only a few sentences on Wednesday for Donald Rumsfeld to demonstrate why he is both morally and strategically unfit to serve as secretary of defense. In a townhall-style meeting at a staging area in Kuwait, Rumsfeld was asked by Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard why soldiers were forced "to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic [i.e., bulletproof] glass to uparmor our vehicles?" There was a short pause, and then many of the 2,300 troops in attendance erupted in cheers and applause.
Divide and Rule
July 26, 2004
At the end of June, the Supreme Court issued three decisions repudiating the Bush administration's demand that the courts stay out of the war on terrorism. The decisions were simultaneously lauded as an example of judicial restraint and excoriated as the activism of an imperial judiciary. Cass R.