Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Dowd’

A Truth Commission

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

While not rejecting the idea of prosecutions for clear cases in which the law was broken, there seems to be a growing consensus about the necessity of a truth commission. It has become more and more clear that the fault lies within our system as much as it does in particular individuals. Jeffrey Record reviewing Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side [pdf] for the Army War College journal, Parameters quotes Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis whose insight points towards both why we need a truth commissin of a type – and why prosecution is not the most effective option (h/t Tom Ricks):

[T]he greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

This goes to the argument that Bush administration apologists keep making – that these officials were acting in good faith, were panicked, and though they may have broken some rules, they did so to protect American lives. But this is precisely what Brandeis saw was the most serious danger to liberty. 

Tom Ricks gives his opinion of what we need – basing his argument on military strategy – rather than the protection of our way of life:

Just because you have an embarrassing problem, you shouldn’t try to hide it, because dealing with it may prepare you for an even bigger challenge down the road. So let’s get the torture and interrogation situation straightened out before the next big terrorist attack. My preference, as I’ve stated before, is for a truth and reconciliation commission that offers an amnesty period during which people would be invited to step forward. Anyone not ‘fessing up during that time would face the possibility of prosecution. Again, I think this effort should target those who departed from American history and made torture national policy.

Maureen Dowd has also come around – and she too is looking at the perverse effect on our system of checks and balances that not following up on this matter is having:

I used to agree with President Obama, that it was better to keep moving and focus on our myriad problems than wallow in the darkness of the past. But now I want a full accounting. I want to know every awful act committed in the name of self-defense and patriotism. Even if it only makes one ambitious congresswoman pay more attention in some future briefing about some future secret technique that is “uniquely” designed to protect us, it will be worth it.

Defending Caroline Kennedy

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Maureen Dowd defends Caroline Kennedy:

Congress, which abdicated its oversight role as the Bush crew wrecked the globe and the economy, desperately needs fresh faces and new perspectives, an infusion of class, intelligence and guts.

People complain that the 51-year-old Harvard and Columbia Law School grad and author is not a glib, professional pol who knows how to artfully market herself, and is someone who hasn’t spent her life glad-handing, backstabbing and logrolling. I say, thank God.

The press whines that she doesn’t have a pat answer about why she wants the job. I’ve interviewed a score of men running for president; not one had a good answer for why he wanted it…

I know Caroline Kennedy. She’s smart, cultivated, serious and unpretentious. The Senate, shamefully sparse on profiles in courage during Dick Cheney’s reign of terror, would be lucky to get her.

A sex symbol for every man who reads without moving his lips

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Maureen Dowd has a pleasant piece in January’s Vanity Fair profiling Tina Fey. Dowd tells the little-known story of how Tina Fey got the scar on the side of her face (she was randomly assaulted by a stranger with a knife who slashed her when she was 5) and the more well-known story of Fey’s transformation into “the sex symbol for every man who reads without moving his lips” in Michael Specter’s phrase.

Bartlet’s Advice

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

President Bartlet speaks to presidential candidate Obama:

Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.

The two most powerful narratives in American history

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Maureen Dowd:

Hillary knows that in politics, bimbos erupt. Tapes leak. Husbands disappoint. Friends commit suicide. Rivals get sick. Her Senate race against Rudy Giuliani suddenly turned in her favor when he got prostate cancer and dropped out.

The macabre story of 2008 is that the vice presidential picks are important. On the Republican side, it’s because of John McCain’s age and history of skin cancer, and that’s openly discussed.

But on the Democratic side, it is, as The Times’s Obama reporter Jeff Zeleny has written, a “hushed worry.” Barack Obama has fused two of the most powerful narratives in American history — those of Martin Luther King Jr. and Camelot — and that makes him both magical and vulnerable.

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