Destroying tapes violated court order

The Bush administration was under court order not to discard evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.

Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.

While judges focused on the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tried to guarantee that any evidence of detainee abuse would be preserved, the CIA was performing its toughest questioning half a world away. And by the time President Bush publicly acknowledged the secret prison system, interrogation videotapes of two terrorism suspects had been destroyed.

Torture doesn’t work

News that the CIA destroyed tapes of interrogations during which al Qaeda operatives were tortured has elicited little public reaction.

How Democrats can win the war

“The Democrats have missed a bet,” said my friend, the Tall Man, as we slurped down some coffee during our weekly political discussion. “They are crazily pretending that the enormous success of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq doesn’t matter when they could be taking credit for it.”

“How so?” I asked.

Most see Iraq war as mistake, failure

Growing numbers of people think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq, but most remain convinced the invasion was a mistake and the war will be judged a failure, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed Monday.

With U.S. and Iraqi casualties dropping steadily in recent months amid other signs of progress, 50 percent said this year’s troop increase has not helped stabilize the country and 47 percent said it has. The outlook was noticeably more positive than in September, when 58 percent said the beefed-up forces had not calmed things and 36 percent said they had.

We shouldn’t export torture

Torture — or enhanced interrogation techniques, if you wish — is not part of the American ethos. It is, in fact, forbidden by law and treaty.

Haven’t we heard this one before?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown flew into Iraq and essentially told the British troops there, “Mission accomplished. Major combat operations are over.”

The strain of war

When a Navy admiral took over as the nation’s top uniformed leader this fall, he homed in on the military establishment’s fears for the future of the Army by touring several forts in the heartland and

Blackwater lies cost official his job

The State Department Inspector General who lied about his brother’s involvement with mercenary firm Blackwater Worldwide has resigned.

Howard Krongard first claimed his brother had nothing do with Blackwater, then admitted his brother had “attended a meeting” of the firm’s advisory board.

Further investigation, however, reveals Krongard’s brother was a highly-paid contractor with Blackwater, creating a clear conflict of interest for the man charged with overseeing the State Department’s contracts with the mercenary firm.

Krongard tried to stay on the job by recusing himself but sources say he is now under investigation by the Justice Department for violation of federal conflict of interest laws and other possible crimes.

CIA destroyed evidence of torture

First rule of a criminal conspiracy and coverup: Destroy the evidence.

Which is exactly what the Central Intelligence Agency did with videotapes showing torture of suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted Thursday the tapes were destroyed.

As evidence continues to mount that the Bush Administration not only sanctioned, but encouraged, torture of terrorism suspects in direct violation of the Geneva Convention accords, revelations that evidence of such torture were willfully destroyed will turn the issue into an election-season hot potato.

Yes, we’re still the land of opportunity

Oh dear, oh dear, pity poor Americans, because, you see, the system is rigged against the vast majority who were not born filthy rich. No less an authority than presidential candidate John Edwards says so, and he says so firmly.

Others chime in, telling us that the poor just keep getting poorer and that most of us are frozen in place in ever-worsening circumstances. Upward mobility is done for, they say. The middle class is disappearing. You don’t believe it? Have you listened to Lou Dobbs on TV lately?