Sunday, July 22, 2007

Just because you're paranoid....

By Libby
Updated below

Oregon's Congressman Peter DeFazio is beginning to see the sense in "conspiracy theories" about maritial law. He wanted to review the Bush adminstration's plan for continuity of government in the event of a major terrorist attack in the US.
As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.

...Bush administration spokesman Trey Bohn declined to say why DeFazio was denied access: "We do not comment through the press on the process that this access entails. It is important to keep in mind that much of the information related to the continuity of government is highly sensitive."

So sensitive that a ranking member of the Congressional committee tasked with overseeing it is denied access? I'm not the only one wondering what the White House is trying to hide. Even the neo-cons are a little nervous.
Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee.

"I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House," Ornstein said.

I find it all too explicable. Send me a tin foil hat but taken together with all the other little steps taken in the direction of martial law, like the suspension of posse comitatus and the virtual dismantling of FEMA's effectiveness and it adds up to a plan to suspend the 08 elections to me. It would surely explain why Bush is so unconcerned about the political health of his party.

Update: Jason Steck thinks I'm just paranoid. If I read his criticism correctly, I'm a frustrated critic of Bush, prone to wild exaggerations and breathless speculations, a really dismal and unserious analyst whose posts resemble excrement and who seeks to hijack debate with paranoid delusions and insane speculations in order to curry some kind of cred with the Kossacks. Indeed, he's offended that I would sully the civil discourse with such crude, and ignorant musings.

Wow. He's sure reading a whole lot into one random observation but as corrosive as he finds my contribution to the debate, I'm willing to expand on the point, although I'm certain I'll still fall far below Jason's high standards for proper wonkery.

Jason seems to think that it's "wildly irresponsible and unwarranted," not to mention laughable to suggest, "without clear evidence," that our Reckless Leader would declare martial law. The very idea is laughable because it's so crazy and besides he would never get away with it. Well, since when has that stopped Bush? And who is going to stop him if he tried?

Congress? The way they stopped him from escalating the occupation? Public outrage? A loaded gun will trump that in a New York minute. I have to ask, what's more laughable - thinking the entire military branch would refuse to carry out the orders of their Commander-in Chief or believing that some, possibly significant, portion would?

It's convenient to dismiss a disturbing narrative by disparaging the validilty of the critic rather than the examing the motives and means that might make it a reality, but that doesn't make them disappear and both exist.

Is it crazy to think such a scenario is possible? Sure it is. But so it is crazy to depend on the sanity of this president in order to dismiss it as impossible. And it's not exactly an idea that's confined to the lunatic fringe. Many better credentialled and serious analysts than myself have alluded to the possibility. One also can't fail to remember that it was people like Jason who dismissed those of us who said the White House was lying about WMDs as paranoid lunatics, that allowed us to get into this mess in the first place. We were supposed to wait for "clear evidence" before positing that theory as well.

We all know how that worked out. And by the way, what's with the scare quotes around my name? It's becoming a trend among my critics.

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