Shorter Question Everything
When the Petraeus sex scandal blew up, it’d be easy to think that could be the worst thing to happen to his career, but what if it was the easiest way to go? An affair with Paula Broadwell has got to be better for your place in history than being involved in a ‘dirty war’ in Iraq, and being tied to torture. The thing I’m wondering is – did Petraeus make a choice about what would bring him down? Did he know the ties to torture were coming and opted for this? Did someone opt for him? After all, he’s out now and it may be easier to put all of the blame on him, rather than take a harder look at the Pentagon.
• Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres. General David Petraeus and ‘dirty wars’ veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse. The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.
• A new 15-month investigation published Tuesday by the Guardian and BBC Arabic links Gen. David Petraeus to sectarian police commando units in Iraq that operated secret detention and torture centers to get information from insurgents. “These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the U.S. occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war,” the report noted.
• After nearly 13 hours on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ended his filibuster blocking Senate confirmation of John Brennan, President Obama’s pick for director of the CIA. “No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found guilty of a crime by a court,” Paul said. “How can you kill someone without going to a judge, or a jury?”
• Skipping Boehner and McConnell, Obama invites Republicans to dinner. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of the White House on national security issues, said he was encouraged by Obama’s efforts. “This is how you solve hard problems,” the South Carolina Republican said. It was during a phone call with Graham this week that the president raised the prospect of a group dinner with Republican lawmakers, an Obama aide said. Graham agreed to put together a guest list. Along with Graham and Coburn, the lawmakers at Wednesday’s dinner were Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, Ron Johnson, Saxby Chambliss, John Hoeven, Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Mike Johanns. The two-hour dinner took place on neutral territory – the Jefferson Hotel, a few blocks from the White House. A White House official said Obama had a good exchange of ideas with the lawmakers, but offered no specifics on what was discussed. The president picked up the tab for dinner, the White House said.
Right wing media
• There are at least two remarkable things about Bill O’Reilly’s on-air conniption last night. One, while he was screaming about “lies,” he was in fact lying. Two, as Jon Chait noted, it “captures the essence of [Fox News] so perfectly that you need never watch anything on it again. It’s all here. At the center, you have an old conservative white guy who is enraged about a fact that exists only in his addled brain. At his side, there’s a blonde sidekick who nods along with him but doesn’t get in the way. And ready to absorb his anger is the network’s Emmanuel Goldstein figure, feebly attempting a rebuttal that quickly devolves into a sniveling plea for civility.”
• When Tucker Carlson Thought A Senator Soliciting Prostitutes Was “None Of Our Business”: Tucker Carlson has defended The Daily Caller’s reporting on Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) patronizing prostitutes in the Dominican Republic as “traditional, straightforward journalism” as that story has come under fire. But when Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was accused of patronizing prostitutes in 2007, Carlson defended Vitter and lambasted the media for digging into what he described as private matters that were no business of theirs.
• The word he’s looking for is “shiftless”. Damned racist idiot. Roger Ailes on Obama: “He’s Lazy…Never Worked A Day In His Life” So Fox News’ chief said the President is a lazy black man who lives off public money and loves to play basketball. Nothing at all racist about that characterization. For the record, Obama taught law at a private university and worked at a law firm, so Ailes is not only peddling racist garbage, he’s peddling lies.
• Coast Guard took 23 minutes to reach sinking boat: It took 23 minutes for the Richmond-based rescue hovercraft to reach two men aboard a sinking vessel near Point Grey, off the west side of Vancouver, a Coast Guard spokesperson said. The men are now safe and the vessel, an 18-metre fishing boat, is underwater in the Strait of Georgia, about five kilometres from the nearest shore.
• The Conservative government should exclude the F-35 from its search for replacements for Canada’s CF-18 jets after a leaked Pentagon report found more flaws with the stealth fighter, opposition critics say.
• Metro Vancouver municipalities are looking at ways to restrict medical marijuana grow operations ahead of changes to federal legislation that will allow for large-scale commercial production. Starting next year, Health Canada will phase out small-scale grow operations for personal use in favour of centralized commercial producers — leaving individual municipalities to determine where those facilities should be located and address safety, security and community concerns.
• In the wake of Carly Rae Jepsen’s cancellation of her Boy Scouts of America performance due to the group’s exclusion of gays, Scouts Canada is reaffirming its stance on inclusiveness — and says Jepsen is welcome at their jamboree.