I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt reveal the true impulses underlying yesterday's vote

(updated below)

At this point, the true depravity of Bush followers should surprise nobody. But still, there is something peculiarly revealing and revolting about this disgusting, giggly little chat between Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Their topic? The "very enjoyable day trip to Gitmo" which Steyn took, courtesy of the U.S. military. What is there to say about things like this:

HH: Well, the alleged enemy combatants lost their habeus [sic] corpus rights today, thanks to the steely indifference to liberty, as the Democrats would put it, of the Republican majority in the Senate. Do they appear put upon to you, Mark Steyn?

MS: No, they don't. It's interesting to me. They were being treated very lavishly . . .

And this:

HH: Mark Steyn, did you get a chance to talk to any of the interrogators at Gitmo?

MS: Yes, I did, actually. (laughing) I spoke briefly to a rather lovely female interrogator. As you know, Muslim young men often have complicated attitudes to women. And they...and she, in fact, found that although Saudi males were incredibly hostile to her the first couple of times she interrogates them, that they've been deprived of female company for so long, that actually, they warm up to her by about the third or fourth meeting.

So I found the interrogation, I think...I had the opportunity to kind of eavesdrop on a couple of interrogations, which are certainly surreal, if you're used to this sort of anti-American propaganda, where the guys are in dungeons and chains, chained to these little, wooden chairs under the bare light bulb, or some guys beating the information out of them. In fact, they're interrogated in a La-Z-Boy recliner, which is this oddly surreal point. It's a very unusual set up down there.

The whole thing is worth reading just to savor what so many Bush followers really are. At the end, Steyn cracks some really clever jokes about how fattened up the detainees are and how they'll have to lose weight when they want to go back to waging jihad (the "big, bloated, chubby Afghans").

These two coddled authoritarian cultists are giggling about people who have been put into cages for the last five years on an island, away from their lives and their families, with little hope of ever being released. Many of them have attempted suicide. Actual terrorists ought to be detained and sentenced to life in prison or, reasonable people can believe, executed, provided they are found guilty in a fair proceeding. But large numbers of these detainees have been imprisoned without ever being charged with, let alone convicted of anything. And it is beyond dispute -- even the Bush administration admits -- that many of those we have detained in Guantanamo have been guilty of absolutely nothing.

To sit around chortling about how great these detainees have it and how grateful they should be requires a sociopathic derangement that is nothing short of grotesque. And to believe that people on a one-day controlled visit get an accurate or complete picture of what goes on there requires a blind faith in the Government so absolute that it is explains most of what one needs to know about the authoritarian Bush movement. On the day our country legalized tortured techniques and vested the definitively un-American power of indefinite detention in the President, Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn take off their masks and reveal the hideous and frivolous face of the Bush follower.

UPDATE: In Comments, Kagro X asks a very good question.

UPDATE II: Apparently, Steyn went to Guantanamo as part of a coordinated Bush administration propaganda show, where -- right in the middle of the torture and detention debate -- they took some of the most mindlessly subservient "journalists," staged a one-day show for them, gave them a script, and then sent them on their merry way, after which the little Bush propagandists began dutifully disseminating what they were told.

National Review's Rich Lowry also went along on the field trip (h/t P. O'Neill) and look at what he has to say:

Interrogators rely on the soft sell. Detainees sit in a La-Z-Boy chair during interrogations, and beverages and movies are available to put them at ease. The most effective interrogator is said to be an older woman who adopts a nurturing attitude.

Lowry also repeated: "Detainees are offered 4,200 calories a day. U.S. combat troops get 3,800. The average detainee has gained 18 pounds." It's like a fun summer camp, only better.

There is not an iota of skepticism about what they were shown and told, no sense at all that their controlled and guided trip might be designed to depict an image or bolster a message. They blindly trust what the Bush administration and military tells them because they are propagandists, not "journalists" -- which is, of course, exactly what makes them such good Bush followers in the first place.

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