Jonathan Landay of KR Washington

Jonathan Landay of KR Washington Bureau reminds us of the irreversible damage to America’s image and sense of self that this administration has inflicted:

Harsh techniques used by military interrogators on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, produced no better information than traditional law enforcement methods, FBI agents told their superiors in newly declassified portions of e-mails released Monday.

FBI agents assigned to the detention center raised their concerns over the military’s interrogation methods with senior commanders and civilian Pentagon officials, but were rebuffed, said one of the excerpts.

In one of the e-mails, an unidentified FBI agent said “conversations got somewhat heated” when he told senior military commanders and Pentagon officials that the information produced by the military’s interrogations “was nothing more than what the FBI got using simple investigative techniques.”

“DOD (Department of Defense) finally admitted the information was the same info the Bureau obtained,” the agent wrote. “It still did not prevent them from continuing the `DOD methods.'”

Via Matt Yglesias. This isn’t about whether you support the war on terror or not. This isn’t about whether you support prisoner detention or not. This isn’t even about whether you support torture in ticking time bomb scenarios. This is about whether you think that human dignity is worth anything at all. The President has indicated that he has no qualms with the infliction of horrific pain in these scenarios. That alone is scary enough, but the fact that this is happening in America is much worse. This is a country founded on the principles of liberty and freedom, even for the most despicable of society. Bush has no problem with flouting that legacy, and engaging in behaviors expected in third-world dictatorships, not the greatest nation in the history of the world. That disregard for the greatness of America truly sickens and frightens me.

If you need a definition

If you need a definition of what “Republican” means these days, Matt Yglesias has it, courtesy of Unfogged:

Congress recently passed some new provisions that reduce the tax rate applicable to income generated from, to paint with a broad brush, making stuff in the U.S. This stuff includes motion pictures produced by a U.S. taxpayer in the U.S.

EXCEPT, that the reduced rate does not apply when the film contains “actually sexually explicit conduct.” No doubt capital is fleeing the porn industry even as I write this.

Says it all, don’t it?

Mark Leon Goldberg reports that

Mark Leon Goldberg reports that the Sudan Government is now targeting U.S. diplomats:

Less than a week after the government of Sudan restricted the movement of American diplomats, an American USAID worker was shot in the face when her vehicle convoy was ambushed by unknown assailants in south Darfur. According to a spokeswoman for USAID with whom I chatted this afternoon, the aid worker’s wounds are not life-threatening. For what it’s worth, a spokesman for Khartoum wished her a speedy recovery and blamed her wound on a stray bullet.

And I’m the Easter Bunny.

In all likelihood, Khartoum ordered the hit. Last wednesday, the United Nations announced that it were [sic] pulling all international staff out of west Darfur after a Janjaweed commander said that he’d target foreigners and UN humanitarian convoys there. Via Eric Reeves, I see that the attack on the USAID employee comes one day after the Sudanese governor of South Darfur tried to whip up local sentiment against aid agencies by accusing them of widespread graft. This follows a pattern; in October, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir called aid organizations operating in Darfur “the real enemies.”

Read the whole post – he elaborates that assassination is a real and emerging strategy of the Sudanese. So, can we intervene now? I mean, is it really so extreme and utopian to think that a genocidal government that is taking out hits of U.S. officials should be held responsible? I’m not calling for an invasion of any sort. Just a bombing of high-value Sudanese military and political targets, combined with ground war, and the establishment of a U.N. protectorate, in Darfur. It worked in Serbia and Kosovo; the former is now gradually moving toward democracy, and the latter has been pacified. That was a major operation, but it didn’t even take four months. And, by the way, Thursday is the 6th anniversary of the campaign. Let’s commemorate it, shall we?

Bishops, redeem thyselves!

U.S. Catholic bishops on Monday launched a campaign against the death penalty and presented new data suggesting support for capital punishment among American Catholics had fallen sharply in recent years to below 50 percent.

Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick told a news conference the campaign would bring renewed urgency and energy to efforts to end capital punishment.

“The use of the death penalty ought to be abandoned because we have other alternative ways to protect society,” he said.

I have long held the belief that the Catholic church is the least hypocritical and most sensible of the moralist organizations in America. It has a sensible objection to stem cell research, judging as it also opposes in vitro fetilization. And whereas one has to chuckle at pro-death-penalty Republicans who dub themselves “pro-life”, the Catholic church doesn’t have that contradiction. Do they have looney positions occasionally? Of course; their position on birth control, particularly condoms, is mind boggling. But for the most part, they are coherent.

That all changed last summer. Once John Kerry was nominated, a full-blown campaign was started against him and his allegedly “pro-abortion” views. No one cared that Kerry personally deplored abortion but merely thought it should remain legal. No one cared that he was the most anti-death-penalty candidate in 16 years. He had violated a conservative Catholic position, and that mattered more than anything, even other, liberal, Catholic beliefs. Many on the left, myself included, were disgusted by this flagrant double standard.

So, it’s nice to see the Church reform its ways. In a way, it’s just being itself again.

I’ve long had grievances with Blogger, and have considered switching software platforms on more than one occasion. However, my aggravation reached a breaking point when the server hosting Minipundit crashed tonight. So, here you are, at the new Minipundit. The old address will refer here, but you may want to switch all the same. Enjoy.