May 12, 2004
Racicot is really giving DeLay a run for his money:
“Why should we reward more of the same? Why should we reward miscalculations of what it would take to make the peace?” Kerry asked in an interview with Associated Press Radio. “I think that it’s been one miscalculation after another, frankly. And arrogance that has lost America respect and influence in the world.”
“Political attacks come at a price for the military,” Racicot told reporters in a conference call. “If there was ever a time to refrain from partisan politics, this is it. But all we see from the Kerry campaign and from John Kerry is political exploitation for political gain.”
Racicot responded: “To blame the abuse on Bush and the armed forces is to blame all of America for the disgusting actions of a few. It’s striking to see the ease with which John Kerry thrusts an important moment into the campaign’s daily spin cycle, compared to the president’s steady leadership and focus on doing what he believes is right.”
I have to say, in all honesty and with a heavy heart, that it seems these pictures just presented such an incontrovertible dose of truth that they shattered the dream world the Republicans have wanted us to live in for so long. For every argument, every scandal, all the GOP machine did was trot out a willing spokesman to muster all the conviction they could to throw behind any argument that came to mind. As long as they did so, no matter how ludicrous the actual argument, it was “he-said-she-said,” and the press was left to either cover the debate as a ping-pong match or face the unflinching wrath of the “Liberal Media” assault - which for the past two years has reformulated itself as the “Unpatriotic Media” assault.
The nest of this alternate universe has been Faux News, which has managed to gain and exploit the trust of millions of Americans. Yesterday, they clung to Inhofe’s nauseating comments like a piece of driftwood floating by as they drowned in a moral tarpit, and one cannot help but wonder, will these pictures finally destroy the entire illusion? As they flail, trying to downplay these heinous images that will simply not give way to their propaganda, and as they so obtusely try to shift the controversy on to the Democrats, how many viewers will start to wonder if they’ve been swindled this way on everything else for the past two years. And what of Rush Limbaugh’s 20 million, who listened to him twist in the wind after Media Matters exposed his “Fraternity Prank” analogy to the world? For arguably the first time, the GOP is truly split between those who have an ounce of integrity left and those who have forsaken the concept altogether; is Faux News really going to try and marginalize Lindsey Graham and John McCain, do they really think that will fly?
Are up and down returning to their rightful places?
Read more from Mark Dayton’s related testimony in the extended entry.
SEN. MARK DAYTON (D-MN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearings, and for your resolve to face these atrocities. You’re an honorable man, and would that everyone shared your resolve to find the truth rather than to deny it or deflect it. Unfortunately, we in this committee were overshadowed yesterday by President Bush’s words and actions traveling to the Pentagon with the vice president to tell the secretary of Defense, the country and the world, quote, “You’re doing a superb job.” The president looked at a dozen more pictures of abuse and reportedly shook his head in disgust, but the apologizes, regrets and mea culpas are now history. It’s back to business as usual. And if anybody missed those subtleties, the vice president was even more direct over the weekend when he said people ought to get off of his case and let him do his job, referring to the secretary of Defense. In other words, we should stop meddling and interfering and let them go back to running the war. This morning illustrates the difficulty in a hearing to get beyond the words to the realities. General Taguba’s report and directness here today are notable exceptions. But it shows why the pictures made such a difference; they showed us the truth. Most of the words today have managed to obscure that truth. We’re told there were papers and procedures, policies and protocols; there were directives given, conditions set, and everyone followed the Geneva Convention, international law, United States principles, except for a few people who did very bad things, unbeknownst to anyone else, all of whom were doing what they were doing to save American lives. So let’s dispense with this and get back to our good intentions, the great progress going unreported in 95 percent of Iraq; the upcoming handoff of democracy to whoever the recipients shall be. And that’s why those pictures are disruptive, because they defy that sanitizing. They can’t be obscured by non-descriptions like, quote, “the inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature,” close quote, which were words used to describe the forced masturbation of one detainee or the rape of another. That’s why Pentagon officials are reportedly preventing the additional pictures from being publicly released. The White House communications director said that the president wants the Pentagon to, quote, “use its best judgment about the release of the photos.” Close quote. Well, we’ve seen where that best judgment has gotten us so far, and I think it’s deplorable that—
SEN. WARNER: Senator—
SEN. DAYTON:—they intend again to try to suppress the truth and all the truth from the American people.
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