Saturday, 6 September 2008

A mystery

I understand why politicians are timid about criticizing Bush’s policy on torturing defenseless detainees and throwing disappeared people into dungeons for years on end—obviously it opens them up to the ‘soft-on-terrorists’ charge and the tired arguments about the ticking-bomb scenario. That explains—though it doesn’t morally excuse—the squishy Democratic ‘opposition’ to these repugnant practices.

But I am completely puzzled by the non-response to things like Bush’s embrace of Libya’s Muammar Khaddafy. What possible reason is there for holding back from making political hay out of Condi Rice’s visit to celebrate the guy whose employees allegedly blew down a civilian airliner?

There’s reason to doubt the official line on the Lockerbie jetliner bombing, but imagine how it would work if we were in an Obama administration, and the Republicans were itching to get back into power. The opposition bench would be standing in line for hours to denounce the coddling of a Muslim leader accused of the murder of American citizens. The Rove operatives would have a field day.

Why are the Democrats are stuck in the role of loyal opposition while the Republicans get to exploit foreign affairs for quick gains at home even if requires cheap demagogy and screws things up in the long term? Why isn’t there any criticism of the huge debacle in Georgia that steadier hands could have avoided? Even Joe Biden, who certainly could something to say on the issue, only criticizes the Russians while keeping mum on the Bush team’s massive incompetence. I find it completely puzzling.

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