Bureaucracy Comes For Us All, Gitmo Or No

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This image was lost some time after publication.

Moe is stuck in bureaucratic hell this morning, so who in the world am I going to call at 9:30 to help me write Crappy Hour? That's right, it's the Megan and Spencer Windy Attackerman show this morning, as we bring you more delicious detainee rights goodness, with a side of hate for Doug Feith, John Yoo, Robert Mugabe and mornings in general.


MEGAN: So, once again, you're officially the world's most reliably friend and Crappy Hour replacement and I owe you drinks and probably Moe does too.
SPENCER: what happened to Jezebel's own Nancy Spungeon this morning
MEGAN: She is stuck in a never ending bureaucratic nightmare that involves queues and, apparently, no email access.
SPENCER: well there is hope
because what that describes has taken place at guantanamo bay for the past 7 years
and yesterday it came to an end
MEGAN: Well, sort of. I don't see them shutting it down today.
SPENCER: somewhat.
right you are!

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey says the Supreme Court's decision on Guantanamo detainees won't affect military trials against enemy combatants.

Mukasey, speaking Friday at a Group of Eight meeting of justice and home affairs ministers, said he was disappointed with the decision.


but there's absolutely no legal rationale for the camp anymore
MEGAN: God, it's so disappointing when you have to stop raping the Constitution.
SPENCER: one of my favorite pieces of Bush-era memorabilia
MEGAN: Mukasey's got a case of Constitutional abuse blue balls.
SPENCER: are two memos, both by John Yoo, about GTMO from early 2002
in the first, Yoo says that we need to stash detainees at GTMO in order to circumvent the Federal Torture Statute, which governs actions by Americans abroad — the rationale being that GTMO is American soil
MEGAN: John Yoo, who can safely proselytize his own special brand of "constitutional analysis" from his chair at UC Berkeley's law school.
SPENCER: as anyone who's ever been there — and i'm still hungover, that place is one huge party — can attest
but in the next memo, he says that the virtue of GTMO is that detainees won't have any rights in federal court, because GTMO is outside American soil
put that in the time capsule
savor it first, with its flinty-yet-rich aroma
MEGAN: Mmm, yummy, it's like sheep crap in the midst of a hot summer.
SPENCER: hey, look, i wrote about getting yoo kicked off the Berkeley faculty
there's an effort afoot by former Clinton official & Berkeley prof Brad DeLong
in the comments of this piece "ufred" asked if DeLong was really "as zealous as the fool he condemns"
"ufred" is MY DAD
my dad is one of my comment trolls
MEGAN: Speaking of shit, we should probably briefly discuss Mark Penn's insane rantings about the campaign.
SPENCER: oohhhh yeah i LOVED that piece

So who didn’t listen to you?
Well, look, it’s not that people didn’t listen. It’s that people had a different idea of how you win against him. I had the idea that the best way to win against him would have been to go against him like any normal candidate as early as possible, because, as I often say, once the cat’s out of the bag, you really can’t put the cat back. It becomes a ten-times-harder task. And so we fundamentally disagreed on whether to take him on, on Iraq, you know.…
When you say “we”—
[laughs] Well, me. And President Clinton sided with me throughout this. The rest of the campaign… Look, their views were honorable views. It’s what they felt. I just think—

So it was you and the president against the rest of the campaign?
Me and the president thought, Take him on, take him on early. You know, bring out the fact that he gave these interviews saying that his views now were about the same as Bush and that his votes were the same as Hillary’s. And you know, therefore, take away a lot of the myth that’s brought up about his Iraq position. If you were to go through all of the strategy memos and all the preparations, it was always about, “What’s the difference between us and Obama? How can we illustrate that? How can we make that clearer?”

So, guess who Mark Penn is really actually loyal to? Hint: it's not Hillary. Seems like that might've been part of the problem.
SPENCER: well, let's take this up for a second
let's say penn's argument carries the day and HRC went into Obama's Iraq record
how is that a net plus for her? all it does is remind voters that she backed the war
MEGAN: No, he's got an answer for that, too!
SPENCER: even if she was able to highlight some earlier, less-strident opposition on his part?

Why do you think the rest of the team was afraid to go after him?
I think they thought that her position on Iraq wasn’t strong enough to sustain a debate on Iraq.

Or popular enough.
Right. But her position, remember—we went through the early discussion of “Was it a mistake? Should she apologize?” Of course, the rest of the team wanted her to apologize. [laughs] And you know, she weathered that extremely well. She didn’t apologize, because she had given a speech outlining her position. On that day. And that speech held up. It actually explained why she voted for Iraq and why it was a sincere vote at the time.


here's where Hillary really was victimized by the one-two punch of Mark Penn and sexism
MEGAN: I love how he's right and everyone else is obviously wrong. I hate this guy.
SPENCER: the interview makes clear that penn really does believe that HRC needed to vote for the war

People who try to dissect your role say, “Everybody wanted to humanize her, and Mark Penn wanted to prove that she was capable of being commander in chief.” Do you regret that?
No. No. The basis of people being able to support her is the belief that she could be president of the United States.


see there he's indisputably correct
HRC or any woman will always, unfortunately, have a harder time of this than any man
and that's one of the reasons, in 2002, Mark Penn was telling her — not that he acknowledges this in the interview — to vote for the war
the implicit premise being that if she opposed the war, she'd never be able to pass the CINC test
and the honest answer to that? we'll never know
MEGAN: Wow, I never thought about it like that.
SPENCER: but it's clear over the last couple days of retrospectives
that while sexism was indisputably a massive obstacle for HRC's campaign — "iron my shirt," etc etc, you guys on jezebel know this much better than i possibly can — if HRC hadn't voted for the war there would have been absolutely no rationale for Barack Obama's campaign
none at all
he probably wouldn't have either wanted to run, or would only have run to raise his profile for a future presidential bid, or in any event wouldn't have gotten much traction with Dem voters
MEGAN: But, I think you're totally right, he says the whole time that it was about proving her capable, as though people really thought she wasn't. Like, the premise is the idea that people would question a woman as CINC, and I don't think that was ever really part of the debate, not when it came to her. I didn't like her, but I never questioned that she was capable of doing the job, I just figured she wouldn't do it the way I wanted it done.
SPENCER: and the sad truth is that men, and even some women, see this differently than you
MEGAN: I agree that it was definitely an early, obvious difference on which Obama was able to hang his hat and garner a lot of support.
SPENCER: even if they don't want a war they still want to believe that she would launch one if necessary even if the one she voted for was unnecessary
MEGAN: But couldn't she have countered that argument with Bosnia and Kosovo? Afghanistan, even?
SPENCER: and if she recanted her support for the war, you would have seen McCain or whomever saying that you can't trust these flighty menopausal women with matters of life and death because who knows when they'll change their minds
ask Howard Dean.
and, as much as he's a pussy, he's not even a woman!
MEGAN: Howard Dean has been the ball-less wonder of this primary season.
SPENCER: the public, i'm sorry to say, doesn't give a shit about Afghanistan, which is both more important to us than Iraq and descending to nearly the same level of hell
MEGAN: I just get the sense that Mark Penn didn't get Hillary, he got Bill and rather than providing her with objective advise based on her needs as a candidate, he chatted with Bill (not an unbiased guy) and did his polls and fought with people he didn't like and fucked it up and is now blaming everyone else and I hope no one ever pays him again for a campaign but there's no justice in the world so he'll continue being rich as sin the end.
SPENCER: the next time we have a woman candidate for president, she'll either have to not been a part of the iraq debate; vote against it from the start; or support a current/popular/justified/successful war
MEGAN: And, yes, Afghanistan is fucked.
Anyway, so on to other fucked things. UMass have Mugabe an honorary degree once but finally yanked it this week.
Oh, and Britain's "reviewing" his knighthood.
SPENCER: my friend Samantha "Monster!" Power once wrote a great Atlantic piece about why you might be able to credibly consider Mugabe a genocidaire
he's a knight???
MEGAN: An honorary one, apparently, yes.
didn't he just re-imprison Morgan Tsvangirai?
MEGAN: I know, I mean, do you get to call the Brits all the crap he's called them in the last few years as he's tried to desperately hold onto power by starving and killing his own people
SPENCER: did the brits ever even revoke his commonwealth travel privileges? i don't remember
MEGAN: He re-arrested him yesterday but they're charging another, less internationally-known party official with genocide.
SPENCER: now here's a task for the next president
MEGAN: Yeah, they revoked his privileges the last "election"
SPENCER: as part of the U.S.'s reintroduction to a durable international order
shepherd our entry into the International Criminal Court
MEGAN: Tendai Biti, if he's found guilty which he will be if they want him to be, will probably face execution.
Isn't the Pentagon totally opposed to that, though?
SPENCER: and seek to bring war-crimes charges against Mugabe
oh yes
MEGAN: I thought I remembered that from grad school. Good to know nothing's changed.
SPENCER: but it's a groundless fear cynically stoked by the right
no one is bringing any charges against any american service(wo)man
or general
the court would be 99.999999999% more likely to focus on criminal heads of state
oh speaking of, another one for our Bush-era time capsule
way way back in 2003
MEGAN: Well, it's not that I thought it wasn't a groundless fear. But, yes, Mugabe should face something but he probably won't. Besides, he's still got Mbeki's support I think.
SPENCER: one of the favorite activities of the Pentagon's Doug Feith
MEGAN: Besides masturbating to gay beastiality porn?
SPENCER: was to force countries to renounce their Article 98 rights to refer foreign countries to the ICC if they wanted in on lucrative Iraq contracting
because Feith knew we were torturing motherfuckers in Iraq
which is a war crime
indictable by the ICC
so, spiting the Iraqi people and foreign allies, that's exactly what he did
in the interests of Bush/Rumsfeld/Feith's declared right to torture Iraqis
MEGAN: So, but would they be indicting soldiers or the ones who ordered them to do it? Like, say, Feith.
SPENCER: the honest thing to say is that the ICC's so new it hasn't been tested
but the Nuremburg-era principle of command responsibility PRESUMABLY holds
and you only saw top regime officials prosecuted, right, my german-scholar friend?
MEGAN: Indeed, but there was also a de-Nazification program, sort of copied in Iraq less successfully, as I recall
SPENCER: oh much less successfully!
MEGAN: So, like, the idea was to blame command, let everyone else off the hook to restart the society and kind of pretend like it was all Hitler's fault and no one else's. Ahem. People who voted for Bush in 2004.
SPENCER: to which Doug Feith, like Mark Penn, blames... everyone else
that is a compromise i will take for now
MEGAN: God, it's like a fucking sport in Washington, the CYA-lympics.

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@amoureuse will take the jerk over jesus: They're just showing those Korean prison dancers how it should REALLY be done, right?