Thursday, September 07, 2006

[Election 2006, Foreign Policy]

Stockholming Voters.

Three fascinating developments had me pondering Bush's angle for the upcoming election. (Fascinating, horrifying, one of these.) First, the developments:
  • "President Bush said Wednesday that 14 high-profile terror suspects held secretly until now by the Central Intelligence Agency — including the man accused of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks — had been transferred to the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to face military tribunals if Congress approves." [Times]
  • "Pentagon officials yesterday repudiated the harsh interrogation tactics adopted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, specifically forbidding U.S. troops from using forced nudity, hooding, military dogs and waterboarding to elicit information from detainees captured in ongoing wars." [Post]
  • "President Bush urged Congress today to pass legislation that would give his administration the surveillance tools he said it needed to fight terrorism in a speech just days before the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." [Times]
So, within a week we have the administration ratcheting up its rhetoric to compare Dems to Nazi appeasers, the confirmation of foreign "black sites," and a new kinder, gentler (and Geneva Convention-observing) interrogation protocol, with bonus powers to sneak peaks at US citizens. Allow me to read the tea leaves.

On the down (poll numbers) side, Bush is incompetent and thuggish, and this embarrasses voters. On the upside, he's thuggish and macho, and this soothes voters in the face of cavilling Dems, whom they fearfully believe drink beers with al Qaida after hours. So Bush and Rove have put together the perfect combination of compassionate tyranny--play on the fear of voters while giving them a little something in return.

It actually reminds me of something. Oh yeah, that's right, the Stockholm Syndrome--the favored tactic of abusers to keep people in line.

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