July 23, 2005

Saturday Morning News

I just love reading the news on Saturday morning. It's long been a favorite tactic of the government (left or right) to release news that they really don't want to talk about on Friday afternoon: too late for the Friday evening newscasts to do a story on it (even though Friday's news shows are the worst rated of the week), and not much time for the Saturday papers to do any real research (and Saturday's newspapers are the lowest circulation). It's a way to bury news they don't like.

Today, we discover that the Justice Department is refusing to release further Abu Ghraib photos, even though they are under court order to do so. Not only are they not releasing the photos, but they won't even explain why they aren't releasing the photos (a sealed explanation will follow).

The Army has replaced Gen. Petraeus, the man responsible for training the Iraqi police and Army. This is a scheduled rotation (his year is up), but clearly not something desired right now. Given that fixing Iraq is a multi-yera process, how are we ever going to succeed if we keep replacing people after a year? It's got to take about a year to get the people in the new Iraqi government to trust you, for you to learn how best to get things done, to learn the most important tasks, etc. By the time you learn, you've been replaced, and a new person has to re-learn everything all over. Dumb policy.

In more Iraq-related news, the US Army is raising the maximum age for recruits from 35 to 42. This isn't the age for the Guard or Reserves, this is the age for actual active-duty soldiers. The reason for this, of course, is that the Army is having trouble recruiting enough people to serve, given the strains of having most of our combat forces serving in Iraq.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation reauthorizing the program that allows loans for college. Buried in the story we see that the Democrats opposed this, as it raises the interests rates for consolidation loans in order to raise money to plug the gaping hole that is the deficit. So the cost of going to college is unchanged (or better, as they also allows potential students to borrow more), but the cost of paying the loans back after college is higher. Nice. Remember, this is the education President.

That's all I could find. Saturday continues to be the "Bad News" day for government announcements. Play along next week!

Posted by baltar at July 23, 2005 08:41 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics


Yet another Abu Ghraib related matter to be angered by - double super-secret exertions of federal power. Now I'm not saying I'm really looking forward to more photos getting out there that showed just what was going on in "our" prison - beating detainees to death, raping children and all that (and of course, it is well worth remembering that most people in there weren't guilty of much of anything). But cover-ups like these are terribly inappropriate, even if the outcome of releasing the photos is likely to be harmful to US interest. If we are to have a responsive government, and for oversight to occur, we've got to know what the government does/condones. And if it is hideous, heinous and grotesque - well, in way, that's exactly when you need the most open system (even if an open system and oversight are anathema to the current administration).

Posted by: Armand at July 23, 2005 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

In may ways I think the most damage to our government that W's Administration is doing is in terms of concentrating power in the Executive and fighting any and all attempts to shine the light of public opinion on his administration. The amount of classified material is mountainous, the public positions about who gets to see what are absurd at points. It continues to make us look bad in the rest of the world, and damages our democracy here at home.

Posted by: baltar at July 23, 2005 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

An extensive discussion of the refusal to release the photos here.

Posted by: binky at July 25, 2005 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

And more here.

Posted by: binky at July 26, 2005 06:38 PM | PERMALINK

I totally missed this contradiction, but Whirled View didn't.

Posted by: binky at July 29, 2005 05:43 PM | PERMALINK
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