Today's Blogs

Voting Against Torture

Bloggers applaud the Senate’s overwhelming approval of an anti-torture measure, ponder the significance of allegations that a former Marine sneaked classified documents from the White House, and assess Al Gore’s speech to a media conference.

Voting against torture: Led by Republican Sen. John McCain, the Senate voted Wednesday to “establish uniform standards for the interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel, prohibiting ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading’ treatment while they are in U.S. custody.” The measure, at least in part a response to the claims by Army Capt. Ian Fishback of further abuse of Iraqi prisoners, passed 90-9. 

Conservative Andrew Sullivan, a critic of the administration’s torture stance since at least Abu Ghraib, cheers the measure: “I am completely convinced that the courage of Ian Fishback contributed to this—as did … the support of every patriot eager to restore honor and integrity to the armed services. I write this with tears in my eyes.” Dissenters are few. For civil-liberties enthusiast Paul Anderson at The Daily Compendium, the measure only reinforces the growing disconnect between the administration and the public. “It shows how far outside the mainstream the Bush Administration has been with regards to the detainee issue. And who developed the policy? Alberto Gonzalez and Harriet Miers as White House Counsels respectively.” At Right Thinking From the Left Coast, disillusioned Bush backer Lee celebrates the measure because, “Our troops deserve better than being set up as a patsy for generals and DoD civilian executives.” He also notes that its overwhelming approval is “an astonishing rebuke of Bush by a GOP-dominated Senate.” Left-leaning Ken at Heraldblog, a Milwaukee small-business owner, concurs that this is a rebuke of “Bush Rumsfeld, and the rest of the incompetent buffoons,” and is grateful that “90 other Senators affirmed the primacy of American values and ideas, especially in time of war.”

At Right-Wing of the Gods, a group blog for conservative pagans, U.S. soldier Dans claims “the biggest reason I oppose this is the arrogance it takes for a U.S. Senator thinks he should define military policy within it’s own ranks. Dans wonders if McCain’s meddling because, “he [is] trying to earn votes by giving the ACLU and their buddies political ammunition to undermine the military’s efforts.” Greyhawk at military blog The Mudville Gazette provides an explanatory post that details the bill’s language and notes, “Interesting that in responding to claims that the Army has failed to provide guidance to soldiers the Senate has endorsed the published Army guidance to soldiers as the definitive response.”

Click here for more commentary on McCain’s measure.

Spies in the House? The Justice Department is investigating whether former Marine Leandro Aragoncillo pilfered classified documents while working the security detail in the White House from 1999 to 2003. Officials suspect Aragoncillo passed the docs to politicians in his native Philippines. After leaving the White House, Agaoncillo then went on to work at the FBI as an analyst.

Commenter Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy comments, “Oh, brother. They’ll try to make it a Bush FUBAR.” Hoffmania’s liberal Vic Harrvile jumps on the administration: “It happened in Dick Cheney’s office. Between this and male escorts disguising as reporters, this is the most porous White House in history.” Republican Mike at Clear and Present sums it up  in two words: “Oh no.” Civil Commotion’s Bob Felton gives the administration a pass on Aragoncillo’s assignment to the VP’s office because it’s quite reasonable they “assumed he had been adequately vetted before assignment to Gore’s staff.” However he scratches is head at “the implication is that there’s no in situ auditing system to know who is accessing which files. Nor is there, evidently, any monitoring of e-mail traffic.”

For more blogger musings on the investigation click here.

Gore speaks: Former vice president Al Gore spoke Wednesday at a media conference in New York. Gore stated “that American democracy is in grave danger” and that “it is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse.”

At Joe’s Dartblog, the young conservative offers up this summary: “Al Gore gave a windy and inconsequential speech at a media conference. He doesn’t like the fact that media is becoming decentralized, is the gist.” After reading a transcript, Six Conservative Guys’ Jason’s reacted with pity and relief. “I didn’t realize just how sad he personally has become. President Gore? I mean is that scary or what?” The Daily Cause contributor Polish Knight proclaims: “He’s finally gone over the edge folks! Time for him to grow back the beard.” Independent-minded Aaron over at Lifelike Pundits titles his entry “Thank God He Lost,” and thinks Gore is “Fake, but Accurate.” Nat DeWitt posts his approval on the liberal salon TPM Café: “Just as Al Gore hearkens back to a time of less toxic public discourse, his speech is a reminder that American politicians were once articulate, and even occasionally eloquent.” And Birdherder fantasizes about a President Gore: “A speech he wrote himself and that was delivered competently. A thinker rather than the douchebag running the show now. He brings up many great points about how the US is fucked due to a profit driven media and an apathetic populace.”

Click here for a transcript of the speech. Read more about the speech here.