Remember, I danced around my house in my undies (boxer-briefs, if you must know) when I saw Iraqis danding in the streets of "liberated" Baghdad a couple of years ago. Sucker for democracy, indeed. So you will excuse me if I don't swallow the freedom on the march thing whole hog (and, no, I will not be watching tonight -- I always find the State of the Union address to be too much of a royal affair).
So, here are some perspectives and issues you probably haven't seen on the teevee.
Juan Cole, in The Iraq Election: First Impressions, reminds us that Bush opposed this whole election thing initially until Sistani forced his hand.
Jeff Jacoby finally looks at himself in the mirror: Saying nothing is torture in itself. An excerpt:
As regular readers know, I write as a war hawk. I strongly support the mission in Iraq. I voted for President Bush. I believe the struggle against Islamist totalitarianism is the most urgent conflict of our time.Nick Turse continues his series Bringing It All Back Home: The Emergence of the Homeland Security State at Tomdispatch.
But none of that justifies the administration's apparent willingness to countenance -- under at least some circumstances -- the indecent abuse of prisoners in military custody. Something is very wrong when the Justice Department advises the president's legal adviser that a wartime president is not bound by the international Convention Against Torture or the US laws incorporating it. Or when that legal adviser tells the Senate, as Alberto Gonzales did last week, that ''there is no legal prohibition under the Convention Against Torture on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas."
If this were happening on a Democratic president's watch, the criticism from Republicans and conservatives would be deafening. Why the near-silence now? Who has better reason to be outraged by this scandal than those of us who support the war? More than anyone, it is the war hawks who should be infuriated by it. It shouldn't have taken me this long to say so.
Jack Shafer has an amazing column at Slate, Together, Again: Judith Miller and Ahmad Chalabi -- killing democracy in two countries in one fell swoop!
In What I Heard about Iraq -- e.g. "I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war'" -- Eliot Weinberger lists page after page of truth and lies that will make you weep.
And, finally, what would my neighbor Yogi have to say about this?
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
....A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.
The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.