Sunday, November 06, 2005

You'd think THIS deserves some attention

by Kyle Michaelis
I wasn't able to find any reference to Sen. Chuck Hagel's latest batch of criticism of the Bush Administration in the Omaha World-Herald. That's just pathetic. Are they protecting Nebraskans from Chuck Hagel's opinions or Chuck Hagel from Republicans' retaliation? Either way, that doesn't sound like responsible (or even ethical) journalism.

The AP, courtesy of the bolder Lincoln Journal-Star, reports:
U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday he was not aware of CIA-operated, secret prisons in eastern Europe used to interrogate top al-Qaida suspects, but he condemned the concept.

"Secret, black hole jails around the world run by the United States of America ... that is wrong," the Nebraska Republican said in a weekly telephone news conference with reporters. "It further erodes the world's confidence in America. We cannot continue to say one thing and do something else."

Such secret jails were first reported by The Washington Post in its Wednesday editions. On Thursday, the European Commission said it will investigate the report, and the International Committee of the Red Cross asked the United States to let a representative visit detainees if such facilities exists.

U.S. officials have refused to confirm or deny the report....

While saying Congress bears some responsibility for any such secret jails, Hagel also criticized the Bush administration in the scandal and for other embarrassments, such as the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Those incidents should lead President Bush to take "a good, clear look at what has happened to ... his administration."

"This is having an impact on his ability to govern, his credibility around the world, his credibility here. ... It's not surprising that the latest poll numbers have come out that show his job approval rating is the lowest of any incumbent president since Richard Nixon," Hagel said.

Bravo, Senator. A person can read any political motivations they want into such comments, but the fact that they are dead-on and need to be said doesn't change.

I was able to find reference on the World-Herald's website to Hagel's further comments today on ABC's "This Week", again courtesy of the AP:

A leading Republican senator said Sunday that the Bush administration is making "a terrible mistake" in opposing a congressional ban on torture and other inhuman treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, considered a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said many Republican senators support the ban proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

The ban was approved by a 90-9 vote last month in the Senate and added to a defense spending bill. The White House has threatened a veto, but the fate of the proposal depends on House-Senate negotiations that will reconcile different versions of the spending measure. The House's does not include the ban.

Vice President Dick Cheney has lobbied Republican senators to allow an exemption for those held by the CIA if preventing an attack is at stake.

"I think the administration is making a terrible mistake in opposing John McCain's amendment on detainees and torture," Hagel, R-Neb., said on "This Week" on ABC. "Why in the world they're doing that, I don't know."

Gone is any of the larger critisim of the Bush Administration, let alone recognition of its ever-increasing disfavor with the American people, so I assume the World-Herald will deem these comments safe enough to share with its readers.

How good of them to occasionally let us know what our own media-happy Senator is saying to the rest of the world.


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