Friday, October 06, 2006

Cockeyed Optimism, Bush-Style

And while you're over there, Harper's Ken Silverstein has a tidbit at least tangentially related to Hastert and Boehner, and certainly related to the current political atmosphere of pragmatic cruelty: their recent quash of a toothless resolution protesting the Japanese enslavement and systemic rape/murder of tens of thousands of "Comfort Women" during WWII:
Several members of the International Relations Committee did push to soften the resolution (removing, among other things, language that explicitly defined the treatment of comfort women as a “crime against humanity”). The advocates reluctantly accepted those changes, and on September 13, the Committee passed the resolution by unanimous consent.

Supporters believed the measure was now unstoppable. They expected it would soon be put on the “suspension calendar,” which would allow the resolution to pass the full House with a simple voice vote. The only obstacle to passage at that point was potential opposition from House Speaker Dennis Hastert—also of Illinois, and a former colleague of Michel's—or House Majority Leader John Boehner, who controls the voting calendar.

On September 22, twenty-five congressional co-sponsors of the measure, including Mike Honda of California, the leading Japanese American in Congress, sent a letter to Hastert and Boehner asking them to bring the resolution to the floor before Congress adjourned for the November elections. But mysteriously, no word was heard from the G.O.P. leadership about when the resolution would be brought to a vote.

Exactly what happened next is not clear, but word on the Hill is that the Bush Administration, Michel, and other Japanese lobbyists went to work on Boehner—and on Hastert, who reportedly is hoping to be named ambassador to Japan after he retires and who made clear that he was unhappy with the resolution. By last Wednesday, Boehner's office had made clear that the comfort women resolution would not be brought to a vote before the end of the week—a key deadline since Congress would be adjourning until after the midterm elections.
BTW, the International Criminal Court's Rome Statute, Article 7, description of "crime against humanity" includes this definition: "Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;" But we don't recognize the ICC anyway, thanks to Bush. We don't recognize anything, anymore, except the power of the Little Martinet to define the rules of the game, and then toss the game board away when something else shiny catches his eye.

No comments: