Thursday, December 22, 2005


When I read articles like this one in Slate titled "Clinton's Guantanamo: How the Democratic president set the stage for a land without law," it makes me want to tear my hair out.

This article, like the out-of-context Drudge post a few days ago, all basically try to use Clinton's behavior to justify Bush's actions. Or as a smug reminder that as bad as Bush and the Republicans are, Clinton and Democrats were/are no angels either.

But this kind of stuff is a classic red herring. Why? Because Clinton is no longer President. And how does the less-than-angelic status of the Democratic party figure into this equation? No one is suggesting that Democrats are morally superior to Republicans. How does what Clinton did have anything to do with what Bush is doing? Clinton is a private citizen now, and has no more power to authorize secret wiretaps or anything even remotely similar than the man in the friggin' moon.

Bush, on the other hand, is the most dangerous man in the world.

I will say that this Slate story is useful in one regard, though. It demonstrates how the actions of one president set precedents for ones that follow. If nothing else, that's why Bush needs to be impeached, removed and thrown in jail, so that future presidents get the message that these kinds of shenanigans ain't gonna fly.

Not only that, the Slate article is disingenuous. The link from the homepage and the title of the story itself lead one to believe that that ol' bastard Clinton had the bright idea to start a detention camp in Cuba. Then come to find out, the article points out that George H.W. Bush was actually the one that started the first Guantanamo detention camp!

See what I'm saying? See how even a left-leaning rag like Slate still plays the game in Bush's favor? If they were being even-handed, the homepage link and the headline might instead read "Like father, like son--BushI started the first detention camp at Guantanamo." Or, "Bush I and Clinton also maintained detention facilities at Guantanamo."

But no, the headline on the story says Clinton (and only Clinton, in the minds of those who might not take the time or trouble to read the actual story) "set the stage for a land without law." The hyperbole in that short phrase is quite unnecessary and inappropriate.

But whatever. Again, Clinton ain't the president no more, y'all. He's not the problem now, Bush is. So why keep going back to Clinton?

P.S. Besides Clinton not being president anymore, these rehashings of what Clinton did also make for faulty comparisons with Bush because Clinton did not invade and occupy countries that didn't attack us, he created a budget surplus rather than creating record deficits, and so on.

That is the context that Bush's actions need to be seen in--the context of all the other crap he's screwed up. Bush and Clinton are apples and oranges. I mean, are we going to be subjected to arguments implying that because Harry Truman, a Democrat, nuked another country that Bush
ought to do the same? That Truman "set the stage for nuking our enemies?" Because again, the circumstances are entirely different--such illogic isn't even really an argument. And publications with the reach of Slate don't need to be wasting space on such fallcious drivel.

P.P.S. I should also point out that the content of the article seems accurate, and it's interesting and nonsnarky. But the point I'm trying to make is that Slate is trying to sell the article as something it's not.

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