Lost in the Fun House?

“Fun House” was the original title for this blog. Glad I backed off: what I had in mind was a wry testament to the John Barth novel. Turns out, however, that all sorts of people have been using the idea for decades. Still, it works for this post, far as I’m concerned.

This first stop in the fun house — let’s call it the Tunnel of Fools — has not been much noted in the MSM so far. After all, those guys (m/f, eoe) have been so deeply invested in the Busherie (cf. Cheney, et al) that they may by now be constitutionally incapable of separating.

The editors at — of all improbable places — Gentlemen’s Quarterly — have published an absolutely delightful hatchet job on Don Rumsfeld, a hacking so wide-spread that several other of the usual suspects get sliced and diced as well. You really ought to read the whole thing, but here’s a tidbit to whet the appetite.

Many of these complaints are long-standing. Over the past three years, several of Bush’s former advisers have described their boss’s worst mistake as keeping Rumsfeld around as long as he did. “Don did not like to play well with other people,” one cabinet official told me—stating a grievance that nearly everyone in the White House seemed to share, except for Bush himself. “There was exasperation,” recalls a senior aide. “‘How much more are we going to have to endure? Why are we keeping this guy?’” Rumsfeld has also received ongoing criticism that his Bush-mandated efforts to modernize America’s Cold War–era military contributed to the early stumbles in Iraq. But in speaking with the former Bush officials, it becomes evident that Rumsfeld impaired administration performance on a host of matters extending well beyond Iraq to impact America’s relations with other nations, the safety of our troops, and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Even if you don’t read the article, take a few minutes to enjoy the slide show which goes with it: the covers of various Rumsfeldian “Intelligence Updates” with Biblical passages to accompany pictures from the invasion of Iraq.

For a Hall of Mirrors, pop on over to the Torture Annex. After all, if you are not confused about the back-and-forth between Congress and the CIA — about who knew what and when about torture — if you are not confused about it, then you just haven’t been paying attention. It’s a mare’s nest of half-truths, selective omissions, jesuitical evasions, and bullshit.

So okay. Ready to fry your brain and destroy any lingering confidence in government? Read last Friday’s post on the Pelosi/Panetta dust-up, by emptywheeler at firedoglake. You need to read the whole thing.

Panetta is not saying … that the briefers briefed Congress that these techniques had been used. I know this sounds weasely, but until someone says, in plain language, that the CIA told Congress those techniques had already been used on Abu Zubaydah, we should assume that’s not what the notes reflect, because if they did, you can be sure both the briefing list and the public statements would say so. But no one is saying that.

Interesting that three of the very best bloggers — emptywheel, digby, and hilzoy — are women.

After the Torture Annex, spend a few moments in the Middle East Salon. (Several slimy underground channels connect the two.) Prime material at MES comes most often from Juan Cole, who offered this gloomy evaluation of the current Obama-Netanyahu confrontation. I mean, conversation.

….Obama wants to negotiate with Iran regarding its civilian nuclear enrichment research program, but stressed that his patience is not infinite. Netanyahu, of course, wants military action against Iran on a short timetable.

Netanyahu’s hysteria about Iran is a piece of misdirection intended to sidestep the issue of Israel’s own nuclear arsenal. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, and allows regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, even if the latter is not completely satisfied with Iran’s transparency. Israel just thumbed its nose at the NPT. Israel would only have the moral high ground in demanding that Iran cease enrichment research if it gave up its own some 150 warheads.

There is, to be sure, more. Much more. On the (to me) most basic and critical issue, Cole offers this further dismal observation.

Netanyahu said he did not want to rule the Palestinians. That is an evasion. If he won’t give them a state, then they remain citizens of no state and inevitably Israel “rules” them in the sense of making the important decisions about how they live their lives. The Likud Party doesn’t want the Palestinians, just their land and resources. That demand is actually what makes the Palestinian issue different and more horrific than other ethnic-national problems in the world.

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