Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"George Bush, Meet Reality"

President's speech on Iraq strategy conjures a dreamworld
"America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief," says Bush, the man who squirmed his way out of Vietnam duty.

All of this seems removed from reality, in which the U.S. can’t guarantee security and its allies in the Iraqi military are commonly viewed as U.S. puppets sent out to conduct torture. The Iraqis want the U.S. out.

Most of all, Bush himself and his strategy statement omit oil, a major reason--if not the only reason--for invading Iraq to begin with. And here the U.S. is on the verge of executing a total takeover of the once nationalized industry, turning it instead into a privatized business to be run by the big international companies--descendants of the original oil companies that colonized Iraq to begin with.
Let me repeat that one sentence: Iraqis want the U.S. out.

See also: This

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush Was Opposed to Withdrawal Before He Was For It

Even though Bush said that we cannot win the war on terror, he also says that we will not leave Iraq until we have achieved "total victory".

So, let's get this straigt. Bush says we will not stop fighting the war until we have won it. He also says it cannot be won. Okay, we can accept that from the flip-flopper-in-chief 1, 2, 3. Anybody who still thinks this war will actually end is delusional.

But now, as if lying isn't enough, he has decided to steal ideas from the democrats! Ha! His party must be so proud of that.

When we who oppose the war call for troop withdrawal, we are called traitors and worse by the right-wing bloodbathers. But, oh, it's a wonderful idea when it comes from the mouth of the neocon spokesidiot. But, what else could one expect from a bunch of avaricious thugs whose idea of world peace is to kill everyone and take their stuff. What a bunch of fucking hypocrites.

Still Wondering...

I recommend the op-ed peice by David Wallechinsky What Is the Real Reason George Bush Invaded Iraq? Well worth the read.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Here It Comes

Okay, with Thanksgiving over, the retailers are not going to let us forget that the next holiday approaches like a meteor in a scifi channel disaster flick. And riding that meteor are the Christopaths crying out in aguish that the evil liberals are forcing Americans to take Christ out of Christmas. Well, boo-effin'-hoo and cry me a river, because fundamentalist wackos don't own the winter holidays, dig it?

Let's start with the "seasons greetings" vs "merry christmas" cage match. "Seasons greetings" is better for business: it's just a cost-efficient way of saying, "merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, happy whatever else we forgot." Besides, since the right overwhelmingly places greater value on corporate revenue than on christian values, it stands to reason that they would support that phrase, doesn't it?

Besides all that, the main thing is that Christmas is PAGAN PAGAN PAGAN! That's right, members of the flock:
Thousands of years before Christianity even appeared, cultures all around the world were celebrating a similar holiday, with many of the traditions that we now associate with Christmas.

What these cultures celebrated was the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year. This usually occurs on December 21. For various reasons, ancient cultures celebrated this holiday at different times in December or early January.

Why did these many cultures celebrate the Winter Solstice? Because from here on the days will get longer and warmer. It is a holiday of optimism, that the sun will win in its battle over darkness. It is also a holiday of rebirth and fertility, for the lengthening sun will eventually allow farmers to plant their crops. Light is an intrinsic part of most of these celebrations, whether it be sunlight, candles, bonfires, Yuletide logs or today's Christmas lights. Not for nothing do most cultures start their New Year about this time.

The first evidence that we have of a Solstice celebration is Mesopotamia from 4,000 years ago. Solstice celebrations have been found in every part of the ancient world, from China to Native America.

The Solstice celebration that Christianity drew on was the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During these celebrations, people suspended all work and indulged in great feasts and drinking. They decorated their homes with greenery of all sorts (for greenery was the product of sunlight, of course). This ranged from wreaths made of laurel to trees adorned with candles. Gifts were sometimes exchanged, especially with small children. But the most interesting aspect of the holiday was the reversal of social order. Wars were suspended, quarrels forgotten, debts forgiven. Slaves exchanged places with their masters, and children became head of their families. In fact, the Romans went so far as to crown a mock king "the Lord of Misrule." The holiday, needless to say, was extremely popular with the people.

In 274 A.D., the Roman Empire was still "pagan" (that is, not yet Christianized). In that year, the Emperor Aurelian proclaimed that December 25 would be the birthday of the "Invincible Sun."

In 336 A.D., Emperor Constantine Christianized this holiday, proclaiming it to be the birthday of Jesus. The date is almost certainly wrong; the Bible doesn't say when Jesus was born. However, it was most likely in spring, the only time that ancient shepherds ever watched over their flocks by night.

It is interesting to note that as Christmas spread throughout Europe, it absorbed the Winter Solstice customs of other countries. For example, when Christianity spread to Scandinavia, it found Scandinavians celebrating the Winter Solstice with Yule logs, mistletoe, holly, legends about elves, and Yule goats who carried presents from the gods.
Now, I know a lot of Christians are discouraged by this sort of narrative because their religion teaches them that they thought of everything first. Well, hey - if they feel slandered by this sort of thing, they can always call the ACLU.


A Good One for the Blogrolls

Stumbled across one I really like, here: Why we hate Bush. Worth a visit 8^).
Bush stands against everything that America stands for. He has violated every principle on which the United States was founded. He should be immediately impeached and charged with treason.
Nicely put.

In Concert

This stuff is just getting ridiculous, now: Cheney to Headline DeLay Fundraiser. I don't even have to make up funny material for this one.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lying For Empire

Mike of the North posts a link to a great source recent history describing American global conquest, caled Lying For Empire. It shows how completely full of crap the war apologists and rationalizers are, not to mention the architects of chaos themselves. It's a bitch to realize you've been duped, but those who think we're out there defending democracy are being played for saps in the worst way.

From Rachel Maddow's Site

"Republicans keep telling us that Congress had the same prewar intelligence as the White House, but that's demonstrably false. In fact, the White House is still withholding prewar intelligence!"
Her site has the source links.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Blue Heaven...

Ha! Remember the "red maps" of the US that have been so prevalently displayed on rightist websites since the Bush/Cheney 2004 "landslide" of a less-than-2%-margin of victory?

Well, since then, it looks like we've got the blues... as in, blue = disapproval with Bush administration policies:

Incidentally, heaven is usually protrayed as blue, and hell as red. Go figure.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Dick Cheney: "Those who advocate a sudden withdrawal from Iraq should answer a few simple questions," including whether the United States be "better off or worse off" with terror leaders such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden, or Ayman al-Zawahiri in control.

Oh please, give me a break. Dick Cheney has absolutely zero credibility talking about Osama bin Laden or anyone else. Dick Cheney is part of the same gang of liars who stated that they don't even care about bin Laden. He means nothing to them, except for this: they never wanted him to be caught because, among other things, he is a valuable part of their team: every time they're in trouble, they need only speak his name, and voila! They can scare everyone into writing them another blank check.

Dickface Cheney has cried wolf too many times. He pisses on the graves of American soldiers by evoking names like "Osama bin Laden", while at the same time employing bin Laden as a marketing tool. This guy is sickeningly shameful, and an embarrassment to the country. Soldiers, their families, and patriots of all kinds should want to kick Dick Cheney's deferment-protected ass from here to Iraq.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Liars, Liars, Liars (updated)

Bush is a Liar.
Cheney is a Liar.
Rumsfeld is a Liar.
And that's just some of the gang. The fact that their supporters can lend any credibility whatsoever to this government of crooks is just plain sad. For awhile it was shocking. Then it become incredible, and then developed into the ridiculous. Now it is just plain sad. Blind loyalty to liars and thieves, and for what? Because those lies are ehat they want to hear? How pathetic.

Livin' the Lie?

An interesting article wherein the author describes how the Bush gang swore Saddam was behind 9/11 in lawsuit.

That's What I Call a Good Judge of Character

I always love the way this Doug Thompson articulates his dead-on accurate character studies of the Asshole in Chief. He says, "Burn in hell, Mr. President". Of course, those of us who do not believe in hell are stuck with the liklihood that Bush will never have to pay for his sins. Too bad. At least we can be satisfied with the knowledge that if there was a hell, Bush would end up there, suffering all the tortures he so gleefully inflicts on others.

Holy Hypocrisy

Rachel Maddow is one of the most incredibly brilliant political analysts in the known universe. I check her site every day. Here is one of my favorites:
You know that Bush doesn't go to church, right? A faithful guy, by all accounts, but he doesn't actually go to church.

I wonder if that will affect how he receives the news that 96 bishops from the church he supposedly would go to (if he were a going-to-church kind of guy), the United Methodist Church, have signed a statement of conscience repenting their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq?
Her and Molly Ivins, man... they're the greatest!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dick Gets Hard on Critics

Dick Cheney's attempt to deflect attention away from the documented proof that he and his associates lied profusely in order to sell their invasion of Iraq, is almost comical. Unfortunately, it is real life, and a lot of innocent blood has been shed because of those lies. Now, Cheney pulls out the stops and lets loose another of his flatulent outbursts of neocon htypocrisy, claiming that anyone who cites examples of the Bush administration's lies is "rewriting history".

Newsflash to Cheney: No one is "rewriting history". Revealing the lies of the Bush administration is not a re-write, it is a review - after all, we've been documenting these things for a long time. Perhaps they were re-writing history when they lied about this and lied about that. Here's a pdf link documenting 51 times Cheney lied about Iraq.

Which begs the question... or, is it twenty questions?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hear That Rustling Sound?

Could it be the sound of the fabric of Bush's lies unraveling?

Indeed, it could. By the way, here is the article referenced in the letter to the editor above. The proponents of war keep saying there were no lies. Bush, of course, says the same thing. But the lies are so great in number and importance that they will not be ignored. This is one of the best lists of neocon lies to date - this article is a keeper!

Added bonus: Here is a nice clip of the liar in chief doing what he does best. Lying. As usual.

Can't Get Much Lower Than This

We told them so, for years. Why wouldn't they listen when it mattered? Were they blind, or just stupid!?

Monday, November 14, 2005


A leading Republican senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran said Sunday the Iraq war has destabilized the Mideast and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict a generation ago.

Rebuttalpalooza; or, I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

When those of us who oppose the war against Iraq point out that the Bush administration fabricated intelligence and lied about weapons of mass destruction, some, especially proponents of the war, like to offer the rebuttal that many left-wing politicos took the same position as the Bush regime. Here is an example of the quotes they use.

Where does that leave us? Well, for one thing, it's not as if we on the left are going to say, "Damn! I never though of that! The republicans must have been right all along! I mean, if Hillary and Teddy were saying the same thing..!" I say, If right-wing analyists could be mistaken, then so could those on the left. All it proves is that the "bad intelligence" was spread around, shall we say, liberally. We also know that PNAC had these plans cooking a long time ago, so false or misleading intelligence may have been released over a long period of time.

In fact, the timing of the quotes is very telling. Note the dates. Most of the quotes are from late 2002, with one in Jan of 2003. Now, check this timeline of the Iraq war. Notice that the quotes to which right-wingers refer were made before Blix's report was issued. The quotes were based on - what? Doctored data from PNAC neocons, like the Downing Street documents?

It should also be noted that we who oppose the war are not naive - too idealistic, maybe, but not naive. We do not think that Saddam Hussein didn't want to amass a horde of weapons of all kinds; after all, we were his supplier and he was our point man in the Iran-Iraq war. We turned a blind eye to some atrocities. We helped make the monster, and it stands to reason that he kept some of the stuff we supplied him with. But, a dozen years and a crapload of bombing sorties later, his inventory was, evidently, depleted.

Another thing these pro-war bloggers always add when citing these quotes is the statement, "Maybe these people should be held accountable" [add snarky/sarcastic vocal inflection]. Well, certainly, they should; however, how many of the people cited in the list of quotes used those lies/errors as justification for invasion and conquest of Iraq? I mean, really pushed for it, the way the Bush regime did? How many were aware of the lies and false data contained in their remarks, the way the Bush regime was? You see, it's the lying and manipulation that need to be held to account. Not just the rhetoric, but the inappropriate action - using disinformation to deceive people into supporting their aggresive conquest for oil.

My point is: the notion that the [wholly misguided] march to war against Iraq was a bipartisan effort does not lessen the importance of opposing an unjust war. It does not weaken our position, nor does it weaken our resolve. All it does is illustrate the complexity and enormity of the geopolitical machinery that was put in place to invade and conquer the middle east. In the end, no WMD's were found, contrary to a lot of lies from the president and his associates that they existed and had been found.

And don't get me started on all that b.s. about the connection between Iraq and 9/11 (but oh, how Bush and Cheney cling to it because it fires up their base to no end).

So, a lot of democrat politicians were wrong about the war. Many of them changed their tune when it became apparent that they had been played for saps. If they realize they were wrong and make an effort to correct the error, then that's about the best we can hope for. The ones who ignore reality and continue to insist the emperor does have clothes are a problem.

But, hey, right-wing commenters and bloggers, know this: the quotes by democrats in favor of the war are not the intellectual secret weapon you would like them to be. You'll have to do a lot better to justify this.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In Your Name...

In your name, the CIA tortures prisoners to death. That is what America stands for now in the eyes of the world, thanks to the Bush administration and those who support them both through votes and contributions. The blood is on their hands.

Bonus Update

Beware the Tricksters

This story about a secret memo is getting some attention, but beware, I say: A new “terrorist” attack, orchestrated by the partners-of-Bin-Laden-neocon-republicans, is exactly what I would expect the neocons to do, based up on their record. Having said that, it’s still sketchy as to whether that memo is real. It’s just like them, and it follows their pattern, but I am uncomfortable with the “secret memo” thing. The author of that article needs to produce legitimate documented proof; then it could be used to seriously kick the ass of the necon regime. If the memo turns out to be baseless, it becomes serious damage. Remember, this is exactly what happened with the CBS News “fake memo”. It smells of a Karl Rove trick - issue an anti-republican “secret memo”, then expose it as a fake, then howl about the left and accuse them of producing the memo themselves - the damage done by the accusations of forgery far outstrip whatever sort of diabolical activities the “right” gets up to during the resulting melee, creating a distraction and allowing them to do all sort of evil shit while everyone is busy blaming the messenger. Meanwhile, the real source of the memo is never revealed, is it? Does any know or care who actually created the false documents that CBS/Dan Rather used as a source, and that "conservatives" howl about, every single time we reveal a republican lie?

It appears Buzzflash agrees! Beware, my friends... the republican party is going to resort to their tried-and-true method fear-mongering to rally support for their failed government. I'll bet you they are planning another terrorist attack.

Another source.

Grandpa Goes to War

Leftist Grandpa posts a news item that veterans should consider. When the going gets tough, the chickhawks get somebody else to get going!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pot Calls Kettle Black (includes update)

Bush accuses critics of the war against Iraq of trying to "rewrite history". This, from the lying-est president ever. Is anyone still buying this load of crap? Apparently, not as many as before! Ha! Even a quarter of the republicans polled say Cheney is dishonest! Where the fucking hell were they when we were telling them this over and over again since the year two-fucking-thousand!!?
UPDATE: A good article here, too (a quick read) about the hypocrite-in-chief.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veterans Day: Bush Says, F**k You, Vets!

Bush's War on Veterans
Earlier this year, Republican leaders in Congress blocked $2 billion in emergency funding for veterans' health care from the $82 billion supplemental funding bill. They felt that the money would be better spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we're producing more and more injured soldiers for whom we cannot afford adequate medical care.

Then the Bush administration requested a mere 2.7 percent increase in Veterans Affairs (VA) spending, even though the VA's Under Secretary testified last year that the VA health care system needs a 13 to 14 percent increase annually to maintain their current level of services.

Thousands of veterans of the first Gulf War are suffering the effects of exposure to depleted uranium (DU), or have died from that exposure, yet the U.S. government denies the effects and continues to ship DU munitions for use in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some wounded U.S. soldiers have returned home from the current war in Iraq only to learn that they are being referred to credit agencies for "failure to pay" for lost equipment, and for charges for military housing.

And about one-fourth of all homeless Americans are veterans. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Two percent of them are female. Most of these cases are attributed to lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

This is how our government treats those who have so bravely fought for their country.

Veterans Lash Out at Loss of Voice on Capitol Hill
Chairman Buyer recently announced that veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.

"The tradition of legislative presentations by veterans service organizations dates back to at least the 1950s. And the timing of this announcement -- just before Veterans Day -- could not have been worse," said DAV National Commander Paul W. Jackson.

War on Veterans
On Veterans Day, as our nation remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the President and Members of Congress will call on America to support our troops and talk about how much we owe our men and women in uniform. But instead of honoring its commitment to those whose service and sacrifice have kept us free and safe, our government has launched a devastating assault on benefits for America's veterans.

Federal funding for veterans programs over the years has not even kept pace with inflation, let alone the increased demands on the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care and other earned benefits. The administration claims to have provided record increases for veterans, yet thousands of them have been denied access to VA health care. Because of budget shortfalls, VA facilities in every region of the country have exhausted reserve funds to meet critical needs. Many have stopped hiring doctors and nurses, while still others have cut back or even eliminated medical services. It is a clear indication that the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country are not a national priority.

But inadequate funding for medical care isn't the only thing veterans are concerned about...

Bush Honors Veterans By Slashing Veterans Affairs Budget by $1 Billion
In return for Veterans' lost lives, the sacrifices, the suffering, the dislocation, the burdens, the family disruptions and related family crises the President proposes a $1 billion cut in a $28.7 billion VA budget.

2006 Won’t Be First Year Bush Cuts Support for Veterans

Too many examples to list.

The point is, the Bush administration couldn't care less about soldiers or veterans. Happy fucking veterans day.

By the way, don't forget to reserve as much derision as possible for the chickenhawks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Is this sort of thing what the "right" wants to represent America? It's diabolical!

Logic Puzzles

Bush Declares: "We Do Not Torture"
"We do not torture," Bush declared in response to reports of secret CIA prisons overseas. "We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture," Bush said.
In other words, if they make sure it's legal, then it's not torture. The old tree-falls-in-the-forest defense.

Cheney Seeks CIA Exemption to Torture Ban
Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session. Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.
The party of moral superiority never ceases to amaze me. Indeed, this sort of thing is what gives my blog its name.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Another "Hmm..."

Tom Gilroy: "White House in chaos" & other utter horseshit.
Nothing could be more damaging for the bridge club of armchair politicians known as the Democratic Leadership than the recent spate of sound bytes like "Bush's worst week in Office," "A White House Demoralized," and "Bushies on the Brink of Collapse".

The problem with these snappy doomsday pronouncements--collective wishes really--is that they bear no relationship to reality. You really have to wonder what kind of bloated house-bound moron could think slumping polls and plummeting approval ratings would worry a gang of fanatics who stole two elections in a row, invaded a country they knew couldn't defend itself, and gave a male hustler White House security clearance.
In other words: approval ratings don't mean shit to the neocons. They steal elections!

Monday, November 7, 2005

Its Good To Know Someone Is Keeping Track Of...

...The Bush/GOP Outrages Archives


Lying's just the tip of the iceberg
Since it is apparently not a crime to deceive the American people into supporting a foolish and unjust war, one must be content with the indictment of I. Lewis Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictment is an example of a mountain laboring two years to bring forth a molehill. Libby will have the best trial lawyers money can buy and stands a good chance of acquittal. If he is convicted, the president will surely grant him a pardon before he leaves office.

The Bush administration, led by the vice president, systematically deceived the American people about the war and continues to do so. There were never any nuclear weapons, never any raw uranium, never any Iraqi involvement in the World Trade Center attack. The Iraq war was never part of a "war on terrorism."

The vice president is also supporting legislation that would provide the basis for the CIA to do what it is already doing -- torture people who are held outside this country. Granted Cheney's serious fear that jihadism has created another cold war situation, such legislation would still reduce the United States to a country that willingly supports savagery -- an ineffective strategy at that. The war is Cheney's war, and the 2,000 American dead and the 32,000 Iraqi dead are Cheney's victims. The torture is Cheney's torture.

With this background, the indictment of Libby looks kind of silly.
Remember Iran-Contra - the little guys take the fall and receive pardons, the bigger crooks receive their pardons early and go on to become kings.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Rightard 101

From a usenet newsgroup posting:
"Well Scooter Libby is having to go to court to defend his right to be Conservative, just as Delay is doing the same in defense of his right to exercise the duties of his office as Majority whip of the House."
Ha ha. Are those guys funny, or what? Oops, I forgot - they control all three branches of government of the most powerful nation on earth!

Saturday, November 5, 2005

100% Impeachable

From Leftist Grandpa:
Dick Cheney, in the same poll, has a 19 percent approval rating.

19 percent.

That's two points less popular than cheating on your spouse and seven points behind corporal punishment in schools (scroll down).

That's down in what can be politely called lunatic territory. As I've been pointing out for years, twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe any insane thing you can imagine.

Dick Cheney is now 18 points behind the number of people who believe alien beings have secretly contacted the U.S. government.

Bush, similarly, now trails the number of people who think astrology is scientific by five points.
That's who really voted for George Bush.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


By now, other blogs have been writing about the story: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons. A global network of secret prisons where we can torture prisoners with impugnity. Is that the America we want? Does that make us better than our enemies?

The following editorial addresses it well. I'll reprint it so you don't have to register with the NY Times.
The Prison Puzzle

It's maddening. Why does the Bush administration keep forcing policies on the United States military that endanger Americans wearing the nation's uniform - policies that the military does not want, that do not work and that violate standards upheld by the civilized world for decades?

When the Bush administration rewrote the rules for dealing with prisoners after 9/11, needlessly scrapping the Geneva Conventions and American law, it ignored the objections of lawyers for the armed services. Now, heedless of the lessons of Abu Ghraib, the civilians are once again running over the people in uniform. Tim Golden and Eric Schmitt reported yesterday in The Times that the administration is blocking the Pentagon from adopting the language of the Geneva Conventions to set rules for handling prisoners in the so-called war on terror.

Senior military lawyers want these standards, as do some Defense and State Department officials outside the inner circle. They say the abuse and torture of prisoners has reduced America's standing with its allies and taken away its moral high ground with the rest of the world. They also know that it endangers any American soldiers who are captured.

The rigid ideologues blocking this reform say the Geneva Conventions banning inhumane treatment are too vague. Which part of no murder, torture, mutilation, cruelty or humiliation do they not understand? The restrictions are a problem only if you want to do such abhorrent things and pretend they are legal. That is why the Bush administration tossed out the rules after 9/11.

It's a terrifying thing when the people who devote their lives to protecting our national security feel that the civilians who oversee their operations are out of control. Dana Priest reports in The Washington Post that even the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine operators are getting nervous about the network of secret prisons they have around the world - including, of all places, at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.

We're not naïve enough to believe that if the C.I.A. nabs a Qaeda operative who knows where a ticking bomb is hidden, that terrorist will emerge unbruised from his interrogation. Extraordinary circumstances are different from general policies that allow foot soldiers and even innocent bystanders to be swept up in messy, uncontrolled and probably fruitless detentions. Ms. Priest reports that of the more than 100 prisoners sent by the C.I.A. to its "black site" camps, only 30 are considered major terrorism suspects, and some have presumably been kept so long that their information is out of date. The rest have limited intelligence value, according to The Post, and many of them have been subjected to the odious United States practice of shipping prisoners to countries like Egypt, Jordan and Morocco and pretending that they won't be tortured.

Like so many of the most distressing stories these days - the outing of Valerie Wilson and questions about the intelligence on Iraq also come to mind - this one circles right back to Vice President Dick Cheney's office.

Mr. Cheney, a prime mover behind the attempts to legalize torture, is now leading a back-room fight to block a measure passed by the Senate, 90 to 9, that would impose international standards and American laws on the treatment of prisoners. Mr. Cheney wants a different version, one that would make the C.I.A.'s camps legal, although still hidden, and authorize the use of torture by intelligence agents. Mr. Bush is threatening to veto the entire military budget over this issue.

When his right-hand man, Lewis Libby, resigned after being indicted on charges relating to team Cheney's counterattack against Joseph Wilson, Mr. Cheney replaced him with David Addington, who helped draft the infamous legalized-torture memo of 2002. Mr. Addington is now blocking or weakening proposed changes to the prison policies. The Times said he had berated a Pentagon aide who had briefed him and Mr. Libby recently on the draft of the new military standards for handling prisoners. (The indictment of Mr. Libby said he had done the same thing to a C.I.A. briefer in 2003 when agency officials questioned the intelligence on Iraq.)

The Times reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, favor changing the detention policies. So we can only conclude that President Bush has decided to expend the minimal clout remaining to his beleaguered administration in a fight to put the full faith and credit of the United States behind the concept of torture. After all, the sign on Dick Cheney's door says he is the vice president.
The actions of the Bush government make us more like the worst, most oppresive nations in recent history. Yet they have convinced their supporters that they are morally superior. It is maddening.