Saturday, March 25, 2006

Question Time

I don't claim to have anything in common with Tony Blair, but he and the MPs at Westminster get together weekly for Question Time. It's Question Time today, on this side of the pond, in my universe. To wit:

President Bush claims there is no civil war in Iraq. Former PM Allawi maintains the country is already plunged into civil conflict. Is there any way to settle this question? How many sectarian deaths must occur each week for there to be a civil war? The New York Times reports that deaths number in the hundreds each week, some of the bodies badly disfigured or mutilated.

What is the United States to do about the Afghan citizen in danger of corporal punishment for the crime of changing his religion? The President claims that freedom of religion is a universal value that must be upheld. But Afghanistan, as presently constituted, has an independent judiciary, separation of powers, a legislature, all the things the President touts in his quest to plant democracy everywhere. And conservative elements in the independent judiciary have declared conversion from Islam to Christianity a crime punishable by death. Should the USG apply heavy pressure to obtain a result pleasing to the American electorate, or should it respect what seems to many to be a repugnant and morally indefensible law? Did our blood and treasure spent there buy the right to intervene?

Is it time to take the old Spiro Agnew/Mickey Mouse watch out of mothballs? Vice-President Agnew was a champion adversary of the media, leaving us such gems as "nattering nabobs of negativism," or the people who opposed the Vietnam war. It looks as if President Bush and Vice President Cheney are taking that page from the Nixon-Agnew playbook: how to blame critics of a war and the media for bringing the bad news.

Why doesn't anybody take the President aside and teach him to pronounce "nuclear?" It's like nails on a chalkboard, hearing him mangle that time after time. Is this part of affecting a folksy, RedState demeanor? Do you have to mispronounce things and commit malapropisms to be an authentic American?

What is the strategy behind Senator Feingold's censure motion, if it has absolutely no chance in a heavily Republican Senate? Is this the opening salvo in a Feingold campaign, or are there other motivations at work?

Have at it, Wise People of the Blogosphere!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good questions all. I would add, how many civil liberties will the American people allow B & cronies to take away from us before standing up for ourselves? Or shall we remain cowering in the corner afraid that when we stand up for ourselves someone will call us unpatriotic?

10:32 PM  
Anonymous buckarooskidoo said...

Add it to the list. As part of the 2006 and 2008 election cycle, I'd like to hear the candidates lead us in a serious debate about risk in an age of terror. In other words, ask the American electorate about how best to calibrate the balance between security and liberty--how we can take reasonable precautions without surrendering our collective soul. I don't care to have the executive branch present me with a series of faits accomplis on this, and then tell me that i either embrace them or endorse the terrorists.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Dicky Neely said...

I think it was William Safire that penned the memorable phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism" when he was a speech writer fro Agnew. Could have been Pat Buchanan. I think they worked for both Nixon and Agnew, my mind is a little unclear.
I am not sure Agnew could write! He was a doozy!

12:03 PM  

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