Monday, December 18, 2006

Our democratic ideals at work

Regrettably, blog posts will be brief and sporadic this week. Other pressing work duties require me to take this temporary measure.

So, two quick items today:

1. Here’s a fresh take on President Bush’s freedom agenda, courtesy of a Navy vet who went to Iraq two years ago as a security contractor. After blowing the whistle on yet another corruption case – his company was apparently selling weapons to Iraqi officials with ties to the death squads – Donald Vance wound up in a military brig for 97 days, without access to a defense attorney or to the evidence that the U.S. had compiled against him. (It turned out there was no such evidence.)

Here’s what Vance says today: “Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had. While we were detained, we wrote a letter to the camp commandant stating that the same democratic ideals we are trying to instill in the fledgling democratic country of Iraq, from simple due process to the Magna Carta, we are absolutely, positively refusing to follow ourselves.”

When a Navy vet/security contractor starts talking like a board member of the ACLU, you know that something must be amiss. Vance is also intending to sue Donald Rumsfeld, who would probably respond by saying that you go to war with the protections we provide you, not the ones you might want or wish to have at a later time.

2. The quote of the day, on the Sunday shows, was uttered by Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid. Referring to Iraq, and his possible support for a temporary "surge" of additional troops, Reid stated: “The American people will not allow this war to go on as it has.”

The American people won’t “allow” it? What a quaint sentiment. Since when do they have a say?

Even though the ’06 elections were a decisive rebuke of Bush’s war policies, even though most people support a drawdown of U.S. troops, and even though only 12 percent want to send more troops, Bush is nevertheless preparing to send more anyway, as part of his “way forward” to “victory.”

The American people sent Bush a clear message – Bush in the past has defined an election as “an accountability moment” – but thus far it hasn’t mattered a whit. What does this say about the “democratic ideals” that Donald Vance was talking about?