I just love the way the rabid right-wingers trot out the same tired old stories, using semantics and, sometimes, outright lies to make a point. For example, Charles Krauthammer today complains about the calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation by comparing the Abu Ghraib situation with the Branch Davidians in Waco:
Democrats calling for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation invoke the principle of ministerial responsibility: a Cabinet secretary must take ultimate responsibility for what happens on his watch. Interesting idea. Where was it in 1993 when the attorney general of the United States ordered the attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, which ended in the deaths of 76 people?
Janet Reno went to Capitol Hill and said, “It was my decision, and I take responsibility.” This was met with approving swoons and applause. Was she made to resign? No. And remember: This was over an action that did not just happen on her watch but that she ordered — an action that resulted in the deaths of, among others, more than 20 children.
The Republicans have used this tragedy for political purposes for 11 years now (and they’re the ones complaining that the war is being used for political purposes… ha!). The misleading way they present this is tantamount to an outright lie itself.
The way Krauthammer has written this piece — “attack,” “ended in the deaths,” “resulted in the deaths,” makes it sound as if the FBI went in and killed people.
In fact, the FBI put tear gas into the building. The wackos inside killed themselves and their children. The Branch Davidians committed murder and suicide that day, not the FBI.
The outcome at Waco was not good, I concede. But the FBI did nothing illegal, by American or international law. What happened under Rumsfeld is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. I’m not sure that he should resign, but that’s not the point of my tale. I’m just pissed off that the right wingers can’t ever come up with an argument for their side without trying to find some tenuous, barely relevant example from the Clinton era. Remember the Clinton era? When we had no losing wars, no economy in the toilet? When the only scandals we could find were whether or not a pudgy intern gave the president a little spit and polish? Those were the days…