May 12, 2004

And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra

* Excellent Democracy Now interview of Sy Hersh. On Rumsfeld:

"Now, even though I have known him for 30 years and I have to tell you Donald Rumsfeld is a very bright engaging, interesting man. You can disagree with him all you want, but he's always bright. He's the kind of guy that's always nice to the underlings. He's always nice to the people that take care of his coats and serve him meals. He's a very pleasant, amiable, sort of a funny, nice guy. I know I was a reporter during Watergate when I was at the New York Times and I knew him afterwards. And he is funny. The man I see now, I don't understand.

"The problem with the kind of show you had last week is you really need to have an underlying basis of information before you ask questions to the Secretary of Defense. I'm talking about in Plato’s cave, in the perfect world, so somebody like me won't get much of a chance because it's how you determine something that I may know something and I may know not as much as you, but I may know more than you think I do about this issue. And so it's always safe for the Senator or Congressman. They rarely -- it's just a useless process. Somebody makes headlines and he did say things. But the message that we have gotten out was pretty much his message, which of course is interesting to me, because we really did a good job on this. Everything is under control. There's only six or seven people. I think he actually believes it.

"As I say, this is a guy, telling the band to ply on the Titanic. I'm sure he thinks they can salvage Iraq. I'm sure the president thinks everything is okay. You cannot get the bad news in to them. And the real reality of what this meant, what the photographs mean, you know, it does say an awful lot about Donald Rumsfeld that he wasn't -- he didn't bother to look at these photographs until just recently."

* A Washington Post editorial this morning begins THE Bush administration still seeks to mislead Congress and the public about the policies that contributed to the criminal abuse of prisoners in Iraq. and concludes:

"These contradictions go to the heart of this scandal and its impact. The sickening abuse of Iraqi prisoners will do incalculable damage to American foreign policy no matter how the administration responds. But if President Bush and his senior officials would acknowledge their complicity in playing fast and loose with international law and would pledge to change course, they might begin to find a way out of the mess. Instead, they hope to escape from this scandal without altering or even admitting the improper and illegal policies that lie at its core. It is a vain hope, and Congress should insist on a different response."

* Some words from Kurt Vonnegut. [via chromewaves]

excerpt:

"Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

"But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."

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