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Torture Is Patriotic!

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006 5:21 PM

"And something touched me deep inside / The day the music � died."

� Don McLean, "American Pie"

The Senate has approved the Military Commissions Act.

The bill suspends habeas corpus for detainees, defines torture in a questionable manner, and grants the president the authority to interpret the Geneva Conventions � which detainees can no longer invoke as a source of rights � and modify them through executive orders.

The bill also allows evidence to be taken without a search warrant. It bars evidence obtained through cruel and inhumane treatment � but only after December 30, 2005.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill later this week.

Whatever this country has become five years after 9/11, I'm not sure it is anything our founding fathers ever envisioned. It is ironic that the website for the United States Senate proudly declares our celebration of the U.S. Constitution.

And I shudder when I reflect upon the fact that Mr. Bush and his ilk are not yet done.

Above and beyond protestations coming out of the White House that the partially-declassified NIE does not, in fact, show that our presence in Iraq has promulgated an increase in terrorism on a global level, comes the report that the newly-constructed Iraq Police Academy is so defect-laden that it may have to be demolished and rebuilt.

Among the complaints are floors that heaved and cracked, and human waste dripping from the ceilings in the student barracks due to defective or substandard plumbing.

The Academy contract was held by Parsons Corporation, which was also tasked with building health clinics, prisons, and hospitals � projects that either suffered from problems or which were never completed. The contract was terminated at the end of May due to 'cost overruns, schedule slippage, and substandard quality,' but the official record shows that the contract was halted for the government's convenience.

But, of course, it's all Nouri al-Maliki's fault.

Over the past couple of weeks, articles have floated out of Washington, D.C., questioning al-Mailki's political will and strength. That the sectarian strife is entirely his problem, and if he were to just put the thumbscrews to the right people, why, Iraq would be a model for the new democractic Middle East.

Does any of this 'political will' crap sound familiar? Like the oft-repeated insistence that we must not allow terrorists to 'break our will' or 'shake our resolve'?

I'm thinking that Bush's vaunted trip to Baghdad to look al-Maliki in the eye and get a feel for the man was a trip to decide whether the White House was going to support al-Maliki � or hang him out to dry.

And a boot to the head for the school board in Frisco, Texas, who fired teacher Sydney McGee after she took her fifth-grade class to the Dallas Museum of Art �

� and a student saw a nude scuplture.

A parent (it is unclear as to whether or not it was actually the parent of the student who encountered the unclothed human form as expressed in art) complained. McGee claims the principal admonished her, and, in fact, had been the one to suggest the field trip.

The district is claiming that no reprimand was given, and that McGee's contract was not renewed on the basis of other issues.

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