Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Garino Olaso Zabala

Fact 1: Augustinian Father Gabino Olaso Zabala was among 98 Augustinian priests and seminarians executed by Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

Fact 2: Some 43 years earlier, in 1896, Father Zabala participated in the torture of a Filipino priest named Father Mariano Dacanay. According to Dacanay, Zabala (and a handful of other Augustinians!) encouraged guards who were administering the torture. At one point Olaso himself kicked Dacanay in the head, hard enough to leave the suffering priest semi-conscious.

Fact 3: Filipinos see the 1896 rebellion against Spain in the context of a war of liberation from colonial powers. The Augustinians involved in Dacanay’s torture were working in the interests of the Spanish imperial forces sponsoring their work of spreading Roman Catholicism to the heathens of Asia.

Fact 4: Father Zabala was among 498 Spanish religious beatified in St. Peter’s Square in Rome last Sunday, October 28. Pope Benedict XVI, noted for staying aloof from such ceremonies, appeared on the balcony, to the delight of the Spanish catholics who had come to Rome for the occasion.

Why does a priest with a record of torture get to be beatified? Remember, the victim was another priest, and the church has never denied Dacanay’s testimony nor taken steps to remove him from his priestly office. It accepts the story as true, in other words, and seeks to move on. The beatification is appropriate, according to spokesmen for the church, because Zabala died a martyr to the faith.

Remember Hamlet? How he didn’t want to kill his uncle when he had a chance, because the uncle was praying and thus his soul would fly straight to heaven? You gotta love these catholics and their ways of thinking like God thinks. The idea that you can torture your enemies, but not only escape hell and bypass purgatory, but sit in the first balcony of Heaven, just because you had the fortune to be offed by one of the church’s enemies – well ain’t that a gas!

Not all Spaniards are in sympathy with their countrymen in St. Peter’s Square. Some are pissed as hell that the church is choosing to beatify only the victims of the Republican forces, and not the victims of the Franco regime, with whom they were in cahoots. Opus Dei, the most rightwing of sympathizers of fascist regimes within the church, and others such as the “integrista” forces in all the Latin countries, are having a heyday. More of “us” going up a notch in heaven.

How you frame this story depends on where you sit. If you look at the martyrdom, there is no doubt somebody offed these priests who had it in for the church. The priests and nuns did die for the faith, if you limit the discussion to a “did they or didn’t they” question.

But to tell this story and leave out the fact that the rage against the church, and their henchmen (or dupes – not all were of malicious intent) comes from very real experience with an oppressor power, is to insult the intelligence of progressive forces all over the Third World and beyond.

The parallels are there to the Bush invasion of Iraq and the astonishment on the part of the American invaders that there are people in the Arab world that hate us.

Bad guys do bad things. Go get bad guys.

Teacher, what makes bad guys bad guys?

Shut up and put your hand down. Your questions are not on the curriculum for today.

(And they are on the curriculum for what day?)

It’s no secret I am watching this event in Spain through the eyes of someone gathering information in Argentina on the participation of the same church in the period from 1976 to 1983 known here as the “dictadura” – the fascist dictatorship that became world famous for kidnapping young rebels and “disappearing” them. Just how many exactly is uncertain; the mothers of these kids, who made history by their weekly march in front of the presidential palace to call attention to their plight, set the number at 30,000. The debate today, now that Argentina’s bad guy priest, Cristian von Wernich, has been sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the torture, kidnapping and killing of dozens of young people, is whether von Wernich was an outlier or the voice of the church itself.

Pagina 12, the leftist daily of Buenos Aires, insists he was and is the essence of the church in those times. The church, as always, is seeking to deny by silence, insisting that this is a time for reconciliation, not incrimination. (Imagine how bad that suggestion stinks if you are looking for justice.)

The facts remain that von Wernich was whisked off to Chile, given a false name, and those looking for him, when they called his parish in Buenos Aires province, were told that the church had no information as to his whereabouts. To this day, even in prison, von Wernich has not had his priestly collar taken from him. The prison doesn’t allow him to say mass, but the church has not removed his authority to do so, as they have with priests of the liberation theology group and others who advocate a woman’s right to an abortion.

Von Wernich’s whole case involved two arguments: he was working for the church and against communism, and no court on earth can judge him, because the only justice that counts is divine justice. You had to be there to appreciate the power of his conviction, as he pointed to the cross on the wall in the courtroom, called the witnesses against him liars, and listened to the sentence without emotion.

All authoritarian regimes from Franco to Hitler to the Argentine junta have justified their methods as realistic and necessary to stop the advance of communism. All insisted that they were fighting chaos, as well, since resistence to established authority virtually always leads to chaos. Kissinger and the CIA overthrew Allende and replaced him with Pinochet, and other dictators ruled in Paraguay and Uruguay at the same time. The time was right for making the case against chaos and communism, and the church argues today it was on the right side.

I would argue it was not. Pinochet’s name is now shit, and one of his victims now is president in Chile. The current regime in Argentina, too, for all its limitations, is cleaning house of the dictatorship. As this gets done, it is time to look at the costs to the church itself of complicity with the dictatorships of Spain, Germany, Italy and Latin America, and ultimately with European imperialism altogether. Making saints of victims of regimes of the left but not of the right is not accomplishing that. The church has the option of continuing to defend support of the fascist line under the guise of fighting evil or cut out the cancer that provides priests like Zabala with the justification to kick heads and enables priests like von Wernich to suggest dropping people from airplanes is somehow a “more Christian” form of torture and get sent with a new name to a vacation paradise in Chile for his efforts.

This Sunday’s celebration in St. Peter’s Square made a lot of Spaniards happy. A great day to be catholic. A celebration of the fact there are those willing to die for the privilege.

But is that the only story you want to be telling? Why? Because the other one isn’t as much fun to tell?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Children Lost; Children Found

Just watched the first in a series of Argentine television dramas of some of the children of “desaparecidos” (“the disappeared”) whose origins were brought to light thanks to the dogged efforts of their grandmothers. A five-handkerchief experience.

You’ve got to admire people finding the courage to dredge up the past and look it squarely in the eye. It isn’t easy to do. You’ve got enemies in powerful places – in this country, in the church and in a number of (other) conservative circles – and you’ve got your own natural desire not to dwell on things that can pull you into depression. History of the state terror is still fresh on the minds of anyone over forty in Argentina.

On March 24, 1976, there was a military coup in Argentina that lasted until the fall of the junta led government, on October 30, 1983, brought about by their abysmal failure in the Falklands War.

Liberation was in the air in the 60s and 70s, and restlessness in virtually all of the cone of South America led to rightwing crackdowns – Pinochet in Chile, the junta in Argentina, other dictatorships in Uruguay and Paraguay as well. (See Operation Condor, on Wikipedia, for more.) My interest here is with Argentina, but much of what went on here went on elsewhere, as well, particularly in Chile.

The crackdown got considerable support from those, including the American government in the person of Henry Kissinger, who saw danger in chaos. Where one man sees chaos, another man sees first steps to ridding the world of oppression, and the debate will not soon end on just how great the threat of communism was in places like Argentina. In any case, the Church and the junta joined forces and brought about a reign of terror in which up to 30,000 lost their lives. Some say things just got out of hand and others say it was in the nature of the beast to begin with. And I need to acknowledge, in passing, that the term “the Church” inevitably carries a lie by omission. There are two Latin American catholic churches, one represented by Liberation theology – a priesthood and lay populace on the vanguard of the struggle for liberty and dignity, and one represented by the establishment, the “integristas.” The term translates as fundamentalist, but carries much more of a connection of papal authoritarianism than of doctrine, as fundamentalist normally suggests in the protestant American context.

In any case, when the junta staged a coup, they called their program the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional – the National Reorganization Process. The episode is referred to, sometimes as El Proceso, sometimes as La Dictadura, (the dictatorship), sometimes as La Guerra Sucia (the Dirty War). For more, see (in Spanish) or (in English) .

If you read the English version of the Wikipedia entries, note the reference to Kissinger. It goes a long way to explaining anti-American feelings on the part of people coming out of this dark history.

I won’t discuss the facts of the dictadura; it is dealt with at great length in any number of places. I only want to note in passing that to read the papers on a daily basis – even the conservative ones – and to watch what comes across the TV screen – is to see a country slowly coming to terms with the horror of the period. If I were an Argentine, I’d be proud of what is happening. I am developing a profound respect and affection for the place from these events.

Cristian von Wernich, the priest just sentenced to life for his complicity in the terror, held out to his final day in court that he was simply working to impose divine truth on Argentina, suggesting that could only be done by the church and not by the human truth of the courts. That he continues to show absolutely no sign of contrition demonstrates the strength of the conviction people in his position have, inside the church and out, that fighting communism made it necessary for them to do some of the things they did.

The parallels with Americans justifying torture and invasion are there to be made, if you choose to, although Americans get to excuse themselves because the misery we create still falls outside the U.S. and not on American lives, except more indirectly. The justifications are the same. In a black and white world, there is nothing to prevent you from using techniques most people once associated with Nazis and the gulags of the Soviet Union. Realpolitik and utilitarian ethical thinking will never go out of style. The Argentines are being reminded in this retrospective on such justifications what can come of them. When, if ever, the majority on the American right gets to look at this picture is an open question.

The kind of television I saw last night brings home the reason this notion of “necessary evil” is so corrupt. The program was about children who were left behind when their parents were whisked away without a trace – and probably ended up being dropped into the La Plata River so they would not be able to identify their torturers – and adopted by strangers. These kids were taken in by good people; often it was members of the military themselves who took kids in, and one can only imagine the horrors of discovery that your “parents” were murderers of parents you did not know existed. You can see the stuff of TV drama potential on this, the thirtieth anniversary of the Madres and the Abuelas (grandmothers). The children involved now have children of their own pushing for more information on their family history.

The episode is a gash across the Argentine consciousness. It would be easy to run with the times and lash out unthinkingly. I am still looking for clearer proof of von Wernich’s complicity than has come from witnesses against him. I think we all could do more to consider how guilt is assessed in a world gone mad. Political correctness is an ever-present risk and there is a challenge to getting the history right.

Last night, however, I decided was a time to sit and listen to the grandmothers tell the happy story of having found some of their lost children, and watch the children deal with the circumstances of their adoption.

Makes you want to weep. Or strike out. And get a stiff drink. Not necessarily in any order.

Good, I think, that people are talking.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The presidential election is coming up in a few days in Argentina. Cristina Kirchner is likely to win. She is Nestor Kirchner’s wife, and you can see how easy it is to draw analogies. She has been called a cross between Hillary Clinton and Evita. Granted my knowledge of both Evita and Cristina is limited, but this seems to me like a comparison of trivial surface features and nothing more. The bookstores are full of books on Cristina, and one female journalist has referred to her as “Queen Cristina,” the new Evita – so the comparison has to be dealt with. This is what happens when people buy books by people like Barbara Walters and believe they are getting some insight into things.

Nestor Kirchner, from what I can tell, is riding the crest of the wave of economic success since the disastrous collapse of the Argentine economy in 2001. Argentina is a bustling place and Buenos Aires is a sparkling jewel and the economy is growing at an astonishing rate of 8%. Kirchner has managed to keep the peso tied to the dollar, and the consequences of that are a stable economy, my sources tell me, and for that he deserves credit. But most of the people I talk to also tell me Kirchner is an opportunist who has done nothing to change the weaknesses in the political infrastructure. There are no political platforms and Kirchner is following in the path established by Perón. He runs the country on image, and there is no foundation, no ideological basis for enhancing democracy and the rule of law. He keeps the peso low, and that helps exports. Argentina has great beef, great wine, the exporters are happy as clams, and the country taxes those exports and uses the money to build supporters the old fashioned way: Kirchner buys them.

Cristina Kirchner will keep the ball rolling, and there is reason to believe the party will go on through the night and into the morning. Fine. What’s wrong with that?

Well, there are signs that all is not well. Kirchner managed to manipulate the figures to suggest he was controlling inflation – always one of Argentina’s concerns – when in reality he was not, and this hardly inspires confidence. He has buddy-buddied up with Hugo Chávez, and that ain’t pretty. Even less pretty is his support in Washington a few weeks ago for Bush's suggestion of a possible invasion of Iran. All of this suggests opportunism, as opposed to political conviction and a commitment to democracy.

But wait, I say. There is another side. Kirchner has the left solidly behind him. Página 12, the leading leftie newspaper, is a solid supporter. Página 12's founder and leading journalist, Horacio Verbitzky, is an leading voice for the Madres, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, those heroic women who refused to stay quiet during the dictatorship, but marched in front of the presidential palace, the “Pink House,” every week without fail demanding to know what happened to their "disappeared" children, for all the years of the terror. Verbitzky and his newspaper probably did the most to keep the story alive of the capture and trial of Cristian von Wernich, the priest accused of complicity in the kidnapping and torture and killing of leftist opposition to the dictatorship.

Página 12 is a dog with a bone. Philosopher Leon Rozitchner had an essay in the paper yesterday charging that human justice is still threatened by an Argentine Church position which uses the concept of divine justice to support military dictatorship. The debate has muscles and there is reason for optimism. When von Wernich was found guilty, the country was glued to the television – well OK, at least I watched the entire day – and when the sentence was read – life in prison for the crime of genocide – I felt like bawling my head off. And I wished I had found my way to La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires Province, where the trial was held, to join in the jubilation and enjoy the fireworks.

Kirchner is somebody for the country to rally round, in other words. When Alfonsín led the overthrow of the militarist dictatorship, he was still too weak to resist the imposition of two laws known as the Ley de Punto Final (Full Stop Law) and the Ley de Obediencia Debida (Due Obedience Law). These laws were essentially a pardon for some 1000 militarists against whom cases had been built for crimes against humanity. This surrender to pressure was voided by Congress in 2003 and that action was approved by the Supreme Court in 2005, both during Nestor Kirchner’s administration, and he thus feels justified in claiming full credit for it. The voiding of the two laws has already led to the conviction of Miguel Etchecolatz, the head of the Buenos Aires provincial police force during the terror, known here as the “Dirty War.”

It’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon. The mood is good, the trial of von Wernich was tremendously satisfying, and Argentina has moved in the past decade from being a fascist nation with a terrorist government to a leading Latin American voice in the struggle for human rights. A couple of days ago, Cristina Kirchner supporter Vilma Ibarra, Senator for the city of Buenos Aires, proposed in Congress a law which would move Argentina a step further toward full recognition of gay marriage rights, following the model of Spain.

I can’t be sure how much support this bill will have – the conservative paper La Nación came out with the usual catholic argument the next day in one of its editorials that this bill is an insult to the family, to Argentine tradition, etc. etc., but the fact remains it was proposed – and by a supporter of the leading candidate for president. The Kirchneristas have a case when they choose to represent themselves as human rights advocates.

One can only watch and see where this all goes. The election will not tell much, I suspect, other than it’s hard to unseat somebody who is in the right place at the right time – never mind whether he’s making the waves or merely riding them. But if dirty priests go to jail, and if the bishops who provided cover for them – von Wernich was given a false name and a parish in Chile with full support of the church – get their knuckles rapped at the very least, and if movies appear on television like the one coming tonight about the recovery of one of the kidnapped children, why not join the bandwagon?

Just keep your eyes open and know the bandwagon may run out of gas before long. Or collapse with the weight of too many opportunists who work without conviction.

But what else is there to do at this point?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Casamiento gay en Argentina

Elections are coming up in Argentina in less than weeks, and one senator supporting Cristina Kirchner’s run for president, Vilma Ibarra, is proposing today to change the Civil Code to enable gays and lesbians to marry. As I read the story in today’s paper, I was struck by two things. One is the thought that so often it is women who get right with the world first. The other is an awareness of the power of precedence. An argument Ibarra is making is that is was done successfully in Spain. Just as we look to England, if not as a model to follow, at least as an example of a country whose values we share, Argentina looks to Spain. It’s time, says Ibarra, to put right here what has been put right elsewhere.

The arguments are the same as in all the many countries where rights have been extended to same-sex couples. Marriage is a civil right, and when two people stand before the Civil Court and say “I do” there is no reason the church-state barrier should be broken, any more than it is with abortion or divorce. A straight couple’s rights are not infringed upon when gays are permitted to marry any more than a gay couple’s rights are infringed upon when straights marry.

Those who use the argument that same-sex marriage will lead to demands for the right to adopt need to examine their prejudices, Ibarra says. There is no reason whatsoever gays cannot raise children. They do all the time, with as much success as straights. It’s a non-issue.

What is different in Argentina is that the new law would challenge some of the hitherto unexamined limitations on women’s rights. For example, not only would there need to be language changes – “husband and wife” to “spouse,” for example – but the paragraph stating that a married woman “must not accept donations without the approval of her husband” would have to go. It is routinely disregarded anyway; now is the time to clean up the archaic text.

Ibarra is supported by some twenty organizations in the Federación Argentina de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales y Trans, which has been working on this campaign since February. The organization’s president, María Rachid, and her partner, Claudia Castro will be first in line at the Buenos Aires Civil Registry to have their relationship recognized as a marriage.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What's a little genocide among friends?

President Bush appeared on the South Lawn of the White House before the vote and implored the House not to take up the issue, only to have a majority of the committee disregard his warning at the end of the day, by a vote of 27 to 21.

“The issue” is whether to support a resolution condemning the Turkish genocide in Armenia during the First World War. Japanese rightists deny the Rape of Nanking, jingoist Americans hate it when we talk of slavery and the genocide of North American natives, there are holocaust deniers galore, and Argentina has taken more than twenty years to start putting right the wrongs of the 70s dictatorship. This is Turkey’s blind spot.

“Greater good” arguments are always powerful. Stalin killed a million Ukrainians for the allegedly greater good of farm collectivization and the priest, Christian von Wernich, found guilty yesterday for “crimes against humanity” in Argentina, stated that he was doing it all to defeat communism.

Bush’s argument has been used by Clinton and others. It’s not a republican stance, but a realist school stance. Realists make the claim daily that the good intentions of the left are naïve and seriously self-defeating. If we don’t fight the terrorists in [you name the place], we’ll have to fight them in our own back yard. Collateral damage? There is no free lunch.

Sure there is an argument to be made. Maybe saying shame shame to Turkey at this point is not good timing. They will get pissed and not rally behind us in Iraq. That’s Bush’s argument. He’s being a realist, you see.

But each time that line is taken and America comes down, as it does routinely with the Bush administration, on the side of the Jean Kirkpatricks and the Henry Kissingers, America slips a little deeper into the hypocritical mindset which prevails today, where we talk freedom but help take it away, talk self-determination, but work assiduously against it.

Pinochet, I once heard Kirkpatrick remark, was “muy amable.” Amiable perhaps, yes. But he also presided over a government in Chile which applied electricity to one’s gums and genitals. Kissinger suggested to the military junta in Argentina that they should hurry up and get this nasty business of torture over with because it could backfire. Well, too late Henry. History has caught up with you.

America, you are a dirty place these days. Habeas corpus gone. Geneva Convention gone. The Supreme Court which has just approved a law permitting the Americans to whisk bad guys off to countries where they face certain torture.

And now this dirty president of ours wants us to spit in the face of the victims of the Armenian genocide because he needs every bit of support from his rightist friends in his battle in Iraq.

But what's this? A little light shining through? Congress ignored his White House speech? They didn’t listen to him? They voted 27 to 21 in favor of the resolution?

The Foreign Relations Committee resolution is symbolic and non-binding.

But the American in me feels a little cleaner today than he did yesterday.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Christian von Wernich

Christian von Wernich is a big name here in Buenos Aires. People know him as the priest who participated in the torture and killing of a number of people during the Argentine military dictatorship of the 1970s.

The Roman Catholic Church runs the gamut politically between liberal progressive types, including the liberation theologists of Latin America and theologians like Hans Küng, to those on the extreme right, including the institutional Argentine church.

A military takeover on March 24, 1976 led to a reign of terror which ended only on December 10, 1983, with the debacle of the Malvinas/Falkland Islands war. Thanks to modern communications, the world remembers this time because of the images of the ‘mothers of the Plaza de Mayo’ who marched in front of the Pink House, Argentina’s White House, every Thursday at 3:30, demanding an accounting of their missing children. Officially that number is 9000, but human rights organizations, including the mothers – and now, grandmothers – put it at over 30,000. Suspected “enemies of the nation,” including teenage students, were kidnapped, held in clandestine locations where they were tortured, and ultimately thrown from planes and helicopters into the La Plata River, so there would be no record of what they experienced. The word in Spanish, “desaparecidos,” ultimately created a novelty in the English language, an intransitive past participle used as a noun – “The Disappeared.”

While this was going on, Pope John Paul II visited Argentina but refused to acknowledge all evidence of the tortures and executions, thus setting the tone which the Argentine church followed, enabling ultimately the line of defence taken by von Wernich that the real enemy of Christianity is communism, and, in the words of the realist school, any means of fighting communism was justified. Evidence is plain for anyone seeking it that people like Kissinger and Jean Kirkpatrick, to mention two fighters of communism at random, understood and supported the dictatorship nonetheless.

In Latin America, with its history of political corruption, including military dictatorships supported by virtually all modern U.S. presidents with the exception of Jimmy Carter, it is not surprising that many young people should find marxism attractive. Nor is it surprising that at least some in the institutional church, like von Wernich, would believe killing and torturing these deluded youth, as they would see them, is a necessary evil. Von Wernich is quoted as actually saying at one point that sin can be overcome by pain.

The question here is how far up this all goes. John Paul II would not have approved of torture, one assumes, but his silence over the ruthlessness of the fight against communism (if indeed that is a fair description of what was going on) stands in contrast to his outspoken criticism of similar brutality behind the Iron Curtain. And his nuncio, Pio Larghi, was seen routinely in public with the leaders of the dictatorship.

For now, though, the court, which is finishing up his deliberations today in La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires Province, is quick to insist this is not a trial of the catholic church, but of one of its priests.

Maybe not. But this priest, once found out, was whisked off by the church to a provincial parish in Chile and given a new name.

Keep tuned for details. Channel 7 in Buenos Aires is carrying the trial live. Something tells me the Papal Nuncio, who lives across the street from me at the moment, will be watching.

Me too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rumsfeld's Day in Court

I have been reading around in the commentary on the news that Rumsfeld has been hired as “Distinguished Visiting Fellow” at the Hoover Institution. And about how the decision has provoked a protest involving some 3000 signatures, including 300 by Stanford faculty. And about how this, in turn, has led to the usual crapola charges of insincerity and hypocrisy on the left. The left only approves of free speech, says one of the commentators, when it is one of their own speaking. When it comes to conservatives, they aren`t having any.

Well, bullshit. This is not a free speech issue. Rumsfeld is free to pay for his next summer house delivering as many lectures around the country as he can get fools to pay for, telling those willing to pay how he made the world safe for democracy. Nobody is shutting him up. They’re saying that giving this sinister man the label “distinguished visiting fellow” dishonors the school. And it does.

The guy is right up there with Kissinger as war-criminal material. I know he has to be found guilty in a court of law for the label to be legitimately applied. OK, so let’s bring him to justice – and Kissinger too, while we're at it.

I know, I know. You don’t bring Americans to justice in international courts. We’re too powerful. We don’t have to go to court. We get Nobel Prizes for our international efforts – Kissinger did, remember – even though it’s no secret Kissinger gave the go-ahead to the Argentine dictatorship in the 70s. And to Pinochet. For starters.

If you listen to what people in Argentina and Chile have to say about Kissinger, people who know first hand what it is like to have a terrorist government supported by the U.S. steal your children, rape them, electrify their genitals, gums and eyelids and then drop them from airplanes into the sea, listen close, and you will look at things differently.

Whether enablers are in the same league as those actually applying the electricity is a tough ethical call. And Rumsfeld can still hide behind the excuse that he really believed, as did Cheney, the Iraqis would welcome us with flowers and not see us as invaders. But have you heard an "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it? I didn't intend for all you people to die waiting for electricity to come on in the hospital, for the police to protect you from rapists and thugs. I didn't mean for you to have to run to Syria and Jordan, really I didn't...."

Maybe he's not really war criminal material, as Kissinger is. I'll wait for argument. I know it will come.

But distinguished?

Hell, no.

Note the power of the United States to determine who labels and who gets labeled. Rumsfeld is not a terrorist, because the terror he brought to the lives of millions of Iraqis isn’t defined by us as terrorism. It’s defined as bringing democracy to the world. Torture of obsessively enraged Islamists isn't as bad as torture of communist kids. Removal of habeas corpus isn't as bad as a knock at the door at midnight.

Really? Who's calling the shots on this? Could we have some judicial clarification here?

Note, by the way, that it is not just angry leftist bloggers making the case for Rumsfeld’s appointment. John Bunzel, a Democrat, and former President of San Jose State makes the case today in the Sacramento Bee.

He argues that Condaleeza Rice is going to be similarly protested when she returns to teach at Stanford. Well, how about we cross that bridge when we come to it? It is possible she and Colin Powell and a whole host of other members of the Bush Administration can make the case they are not in the same camp as those who tricked the nation into war. We’ll have to see. Bunzel should not be lumping these people together. Everybody should get their day in court.

But isn't that the whole point? Let’s bring the man to court.

Not to Hoover Tower.