Sunday, August 05, 2007

Moral hazard

REUTERS/Larry Downing; caption

For all the ease with which the word Orwellian has been tossed around in the last few years, it still has value when applied to George Bush's statement today welcoming passage of the Protect America Act -- the Act which in effect gives him to power to drop eaves without a warrant on any Internet conversation involving Americans (given the vagueness of its criteria for determining what is foreign intelligence):

When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive reforms requested by Director McConnell, including the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Which comes pretty close to an admission that the US has tortured people, although George makes it sound like it's just an insurance issue. Speaking of liability, it's not clear what the coverage is for Afghan presidents or first ladies who might fall out of Golf Cart One (yes, it's really called that) when its deranged driver takes a bend too quickly. Luckily such a disaster was averted despite the sharp turn shown above.

UPDATE: Some think that the "liability" referred to above is of phone companies who may have assisted in illegal eavesdropping activities, and not a broader retroactive legalisation of torture. With this crowd, you never know.

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