I hardly know where to begin . . .

How much intelligence does it take to comprehend that the author of a book titled Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty From Watergate to Iraq is probably not going to be an objective and unbiased source about anything?

Robert Parry, the author of the aforementioned book, is quoted as writing in consortiumnews.com [Hot Type by Michael Miner, October 18] that “If the Times is correct that ‘this law does not apply to American citizens,’ why does it contain language referring to ‘any person’ and then adding in an adjacent context a reference to people acting ‘in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States?'”

Did Mr. Miner fail to read the part of his own story where he quotes the law as reading: “Any person subject to this chapter who . . .” That is quite a bit different from “any person.”

I guess Mr. Miner also failed to read this part of his own article: “Near the beginning of the 38-page act is this language about jurisdiction: ‘A military commission under this chapter shall have jurisdiction to try any offense made punishable by this chapter or the law of war when committed by an alien unlawful enemy combatant before, on, or after September 11, 2001.'”

So, what we actually have here, paraphrasing quotes from Mr. Miner’s article, is this: The law applies to anyone listed in this law as subject to this law. The people listed in this law as subject to this law are “alien unlawful enemy combatants.”

So, Robert Parry is demonstrably full of shit, and Michael Miner is demonstrably guilty of sloppy journalism.

As I often point out to the other liberal loonies I all too frequently encounter, there is enough wrong with the current administration, enough that can be reasonably criticized, so why is it necessary to put forth lies and distortions?

When I read the Chicago Reader, I fully expect everything to be covered from a liberal point of view. And I don’t have a problem with that; it’s your football, you get to make the rules.

But I also expect any media outlet that wishes to be considered a reputable source to hew closely to the words of the immortal Joe Friday: “Just the facts, ma’am.”



Michael Miner replies:

Bill accuses me of sloppy journalism for including information that contradicts Parry and therefore allows Bill to dismiss Parry’s concerns and accuse me of “sloppy journalism.” Bill’s confident that the government and the courts will interpret the act the way he does and not the way Parry thinks it might. Where Bill sees clarity, Parry sees craftily inserted ambiguity. Parry’s concerns are shared by Project Censored, which chose the Military Commissions Act as Parry interpreted it as the past year’s number one example of underreported news.

Asked about President Bush’s duty to obey federal laws, Michael Mukasey replied at his confirmation hearing last week, “That would have to depend on whether what goes outside the statute nonetheless lies within the authority of the president to defend the country.” Here was the president’s nominee for attorney general unwilling to say categorically that the president must always observe the law. Bill, is it beyond the realm of possibility that a president willing to flout a law “to defend the country” would be willing to read a law selectively “to defend the country”?