‘Embedding’ CIA Agents Within Local Police Depts

H.R. 3439, making its way through Congress, would authorize the federal government to "embed" CIA agents within local police departments to blur the distinction between local cops and feds.

The Campaign to Demilitarize the Police is organizing to stop the bill, and has been targeting the bill’s author, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), with protest actions.

Tory MP: Hutton Report a Mutton’s Retort

Yeah, that Boris Johnson of Lord Black’s stable purees the Hutton report:

Let us remember how this affair began. On Tuesday September 24, 2002, Tony Blair stood in the House and waved a document of which he had high hopes. “The threat of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction is not American or British propaganda,” he said. “The history and present threat are real.”

Coo-er, we all thought and, as we riffled through the pages, we found the most chilling detail of all. “The document discloses that Saddam’s military planning allows for some of the weapons of mass destruction to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them,” wrote Blair in the foreword.

Wow, we thought: 45 minutes from attack! Cripes, said a banner headline in the Evening Standard: “45 minutes from attack”. In so far as these claims made sense, they were piffle. …

Public and Parliament were presented with justifications for war that (a) did not reflect the opinions of those who knew most about Iraqi weapons; and (b) had been in key ways embellished by Alastair Campbell. Neither of these staggering facts would have come to light, had it not been for Andrew Gilligan. …

You do not have to oppose the war – and I supported the removal of Saddam – to see that is news worth reporting. What makes the Government’s conduct contemptible is not just that it denied the story, but found the source of the story and put him before the public, in the hope that he would help it quash it. Unable to deny the story, but ashamed to confess that he had been the source, Kelly killed himself.

Whatever Hutton says, Mr Blair has behaved with great slipperiness, not so much for his role in identifying Dr Kelly, but in then denying his role. WMD has been Blair’s ERM. He asked everyone to believe in what turned out to be a fraud. He has lost the trust of the people, and of his backbenchers. As for Andrew Gilligan, he had an important, accurate and exclusive story, and should be reinstated forthwith to his job on Today.

(Thanks to Richard Wall for the link. Oh, and speaking of misinformation, I’ve decided to wait ’til Monday to run my next essay.)

The Stated Reason, the Moral Reason, the Real Reason, and the Right Reason

Jacob Sullum on the White House’s “noble” facades:

Last June New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman counted four reasons for the war: the stated reason (Saddam had WMDs and might give them to terrorists for an attack on the U.S.); the moral reason (saving Iraqis and their neighbors from a brutal, murderous tyranny); the real reason (after 9/11, the U.S. had to smack a Muslim country around to show it meant business); and the right reason (defusing the anger that leads to terrorism by transforming Iraq into a model of liberal democracy).

It seems to me the stated reason for war should be the same as the real reason, so the American people can judge for themselves whether it’s right and moral. Distracted by images of nuke-wielding Islamic fanatics, they never really had that opportunity.

Read the whole thing.

I’ve long admired Sullum’s reporting on legal issues, and though my take on Israel is rather different from his (but also see this and this), he has been a consistent critic of Bush’s Iraq policy. Find his archives here.

Democratization Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Andrew Higgins of The War Street Journal seems to think he’s stumbled across an original insight. In today’s opening installment of a series called “Power & Peril: America’s Supremacy and Its Limits,” Higgins profiles Morocco (sorry, not available for free). The Moroccans, of course, have democratized themselves, so the resentment of outsiders that we see in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t an issue there. Moroccan democracy must be running fairly smoothly then, no? Give us the historical perspective, Mr. Higgins:

Democracy has had a good run in the past decade and a half. … Yet democracy has sometimes empowered the intolerant.

I recall the refrain from junior high: No sh*t, Sherlock.

The perils are especially keen in Muslim lands, where fervent Islamists are often the only organized alternative to entrenched and frequently corrupt elites. In Iraq, the U.S. wrestles with the influence of clerics from the Shiite Muslim majority, including some radicals who want a rigid theocracy. Others don’t push for this but insist on direct elections likely to be dominated by sectarian passions. And here in Morocco, after the suicide attacks, King Mohammed VI, in a somber television address, pinpointed the cause in those “who take advantage of democracy … to sow seeds of ostracism, fanaticism and discord.”

And here you have the crux of this very long (and, I must admit, informative) article ostensibly on Morocco: This is why we’re not holding elections in Iraq. Which raises a universe of questions, including: How come no one thought about democracy in Iraq while planning to bring Iraq democracy? When will Iraq be ready for elections—two years, six years, twenty? What will have changed in the meantime? Will the Shiites scrap a millennium+ of doctrine and chill considerably? Will the Sunnis reach demographic parity? Will every schoolchild read Alexis de Tocqueville and understand him better than Americans do? Or will Iraqi democracy simply amount to voting for Paul Bremer’s gofer?

I love to say “I told you so.” (Sorry– a lot of the links are broken, but that’s a peril of writing as I do.)

Mars Tax

The “Defense” Dept. actually endangers the United States — for example, its empire of bases brought a foreign power struggle to New York and DC a couple of years ago. (So now we have a Homeland Defense department. What were the other guys supposed to be defending?)

NASA, of course, is part of the whole dangerous militaryindustrial welfare program. Predictably, NASA is actually inhibiting the development of space travel by strangling competition — as a new book, Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age, argues. (Buy the book!)

Forget about Bush’s martial Martian boondoggle; what the off-world needs now is legal lunar homesteading.