Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stinking Lying Shameless Torturer

Yesterday, during the chaos that was Super Tuesday, the Bush administration openly admitted that it authorized the use of the technique known as waterboarding on three detainees (terrorist suspects). This is in stark contrast to Bush's now-obvious lie in November 2005 that "We do not torture." The administration's pathetic and illogical attempt to reconcile these opposing statements lies in their claim that "waterboarding" is not torture (despite the fact that Attorney General Michael Mukasey admitted he would consider the technique "torture" if it was done to him).

Let me make this perfectly clear: George W. Bush is a war criminal. He should be tried as such. He has soiled the reputation of this country so far beyond anything I could have ever imagined a President would do, let alone try and suggest he was right to do so. If there is one absolute in what it means to be human, it must be that torturing people is wrong. As the International Committee of the Red Cross put it: "The ICRC rejects the use of torture and other forms of ill treatment under any circumstances. It believes the respect for human life and dignity precludes any justification for ill treatment." [emphasis mine]

The administration has carefully surrounded itself with pawns ready to thwart any legal proceedings against it, including the new Attorney General. Regardless of what legal hurdles they manage to throw in the way of the next administration, it is a moral imperative that Americans ensure Bush is called to answer for this crime against humanity.

I have absolutely no patience for the condescending drivel that "these were really bad men," so spare me if you're so inclined to offer it. Torture defines the person conducting it, not the person being tortured, so this is no excuse. Neither is the fairy tale that without torturing them we were putting lives at risk. The true experts on interrogation argue again and again that information obtained via torture is not superior to that obtained via non-torture means, revealing that the only point of torture is torture itself. The evidence that Bush knew he was wrong to torture these suspects lies plainly in the fact that he lied about it to our faces.

Americans clearly can't wait to put the dark nightmare that has been the Bush years behind it. The record-shattering turnouts at the polls yesterday confirm this. But it would be a mistake to let Bush slink off without answering for this crime. It's not about revenge, it's about restoring our reputation. Until we right this wrong, no American is safe. Any enemy country can argue that its national security concerns justify the torture of our citizens, and the world, faced with Bush's example, will be forced to agree. In one fell swoop, Bush has restored barbarism as an international standard. Bin Laden must be laughing himself silly.

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39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keenly articulated post Ed.

Eric

2/06/2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I would say turn him over to the court that deals with war criminals, and let the international community deal with him:

A Nuremberg chief prosecutor says there is a case for trying Bush for the "supreme crime against humanity, an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."(read more)

2/06/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Although I agree with the sentiment, Jospeh, I believe trying him for the war itself is bound to return a verdict of innocent, as he had Congress authorizing it to back him up.

On the torture issue, he's out there on his own, and that's why they're worried.

2/06/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

forgot to add this

2/06/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

And your tax dollars will help build a nice "Bush Library." So much for the democracy... the slide into decadence continues.

2/06/2008 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Interesting point Ed, if the U.S. were brought before a war crime tribunal and found guilty, would congress also be accountable?

2/06/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

And your tax dollars will help build a nice "Bush Library."

It will only have children's books.

I say turn him over to the Dixie Chicks.

2/06/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

No one's tried Henry Kissinger yet and no one's going to try Bush.

2/06/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

No one's tried Henry Kissinger yet and no one's going to try Bush.

I agree, regrettably. I think the best we can hope for is to be rid of him and his gang.

2/06/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I agree, regrettably. I think the best we can hope for is to be rid of him and his gang.

I doubt we'll feel that way the first time reports come out of Iran or Syria or wherever that captured US soldiers or journalists are being tortured and their governments are citing Bush's example as their justification.

2/06/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous ondine-nyc said...

Great piece Edward!

2/06/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/06/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/06/2008 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

It's not about revenge, it's about restoring our reputation

I think this is your best point, but I doubt there is much that can be done, or that there will be a willingness to do what needs to be done to show the world America isn't the evil empire we are acting like, first thing we need to do is stopping thinking like one, the reason I say turn Bush over to a war crimes tribunal, even if it is for torture, is because it would show the world we are willing to accept responsibility for our actions. Hypocrisy is expecting others to live up to standards that you yourself do not live up to, and America has acted hypocritically time after time, and Americans don't seem to care, and in the long run I don't think Americans care what the rest of the world think of us, at least not enough to do what needs to be done to restore our reputation.

2/06/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I say turn Bush over to a war crimes tribunal

I would support that if I thought it wouldn't tear the US apart. The chronology I prefer is try him here first (weakening the righteous indignation of his die-hard supporters), and then let the Hague have him.

2/06/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

the chronology I prefer is try him here first

The only way that could happen is if the Democrats hold onto the Congress and win the White house, impeachment now would be a waste of time. So let's hope this time next year the newly appointed Democrat Attorney General begins an investigation.

2/06/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The only way that could happen is if the Democrats hold onto the Congress and win the White house

That would be the plan.

2/06/2008 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

The rest of the world will just see a trial as a show trial - as business as usual. History repeating itself.

Some people remember as far back as the support of Pol Pot and the bombing deaths of 100,000 Cambodians in a proxy war. Or the proxy war with China via North Korea. Or El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Kuwait, hell is there a conflict the US didn't instigate or mismanage in the name of freedom?

Blowback is inevitable when you fail to understand foreign cultures at a fundamental level, instead demonizing them and pretending their language is subhuman. When you leave a power vacuum and a devastated infrastructure you should expect (and plan for) virulent strains - and capitolizing on these strains can be a great way to focus on your family.

Look at Detroit, Baltimore, South Central L.A. - these foreign countries are a breeding grounds for home grown terrorism.

What did he know and when did he know it? Sound familiar?

We are all culpable. Sure, fire the boss when things go wrong but why did they go wrong in the first place? Who let it happen? I did. It's something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

2/06/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Who let it happen? I did. It's something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

The time for atonement is now.

2/06/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Impeach Bush.org

2/06/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

11/21/86
The shredding machine in White House aide Oliver North's office jams.

2/06/2008 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

The time for atonement is now.

damn, I haven't gotten my hair shirt back from the cleaner, and the handle of my flagellation whip is a bit frayed.

2/06/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

why did they go wrong in the first place?

for one I would say I didn't disagree with knocking Saddam out of office, but I would say the first thing that started turning me was Rums field thinking we could do this on the cheap and limiting the troop size, and started talking about an indefinite time schedule, especially when Colin Powell was saying we needed to go in full force, clean up and get out.

2/06/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I mean atone as in "make amends," Joseph...although if that involves physical pain for you, personally, by all means...indulge yourself.

In response to 9/11 the US roared and flailed about as bellicose sleeping giants are wont to do when rudely awoken by the sting by a wasp, but the damage done in our overreacting (and quite frankly cowardly) response is now ours to fix. Step one is to elect a president who "gets" it. Someone who doesn't want to occupy Iraq for the next 100 years or replay (and hopefully win) the Vietnam war on the blood and sacrifice of a volunteer army. Someone who understands that leading by example loses all meaning when the teacher carries a rifle, lets mercenary security details kill at will without recourse, and is obviously pre-occupied with how his oil got under his students' desert.

Terrorism is a real, ongoing threat, but the idea that the only way to protect ourselves is to attract our would-be killers to the backyard of totally innocent civilians, letting the collateral damage fall where it may, is so morally bankrupt as to be satanic in my book. If McCain can't see that, he's not the man to fix things.

2/06/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I liked the idea of the war - I was pretty into the esthetics of the war, I thought the theatrics were outstanding. Frankly (but not franklin) I was bored with my life and anything to dispel the personal malaise was welcome (I need a booster shot BTW). I think thats what was most interesting - the perception that the diffuse inchoate or protean rage or whatever would crystalize into popular sentiment agaisnt the government - that somehow the nation would come unglued if something wasn't done. That my and everyone's core sense of being an American was threatened. The vertigo was unbearable, you could see everyone gasping for liquor and yet I had no means to truly combat the invisible demons confronting me. It was as if the personal had become political, but every time I paired a personal number with a political letter it just got clearer and clearer that the enemy had placed its ships off of the grid. How dare they? So I felt real relief when I heard the marines were on their way. Real marines who would die face down in the sand if need be to keep my mind from detonating into a metal rain of despair.

2/06/2008 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

let me re-phrase that

damn, I haven't gotten my hair shirt back from the cleaner, and the handle of my flagellation whip is a bit frayed. :)

That my and everyone's core sense of being an American was threatened

for me it seemed like the first step to clean up a mess we made, remove a dictator we created, make amends to the people of the middle east for fifty years of meddling in their governments so we could stage monster truck rallies, nascar races, and strip mine our resources.
it quickly turned into an occupation and a bigger mess to clean.

replay (and hopefully win) the Vietnam war

I admit that if Mc Cain gets elected there's the possibility he will withdraw troops from Iraq and somehow on their way home, they stop off at Vietnam to finish some unfinished business. :)

2/06/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

'When I was a kid,' we went out and protested the war on the streets, on the campus's and took it to Washington DC.

Half of the citizens that voted in 2004, about a quarter of the eligible voters, voted for BUSH a SECOND TIME. Half the citizens didn't vote at all.

It is pathetic that this nation even finds itself discussing the use of torture.

2/06/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Every once in awhile, wonder if your life is worth the life of a real marine who would die face down in the sand for you.

2/06/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

At this point I doubt my life is worth a real Marine's momentary discomfort, let alone death.

2/06/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

DP: I agree, regrettably. I think the best we can hope for is to be rid of him and his gang.

EW: I doubt we'll feel that way the first time reports come out of Iran or Syria or wherever that captured US soldiers or journalists are being tortured and their governments are citing Bush's example as their justification.


Edward, I 100% agree w/ you that he should be tried for war crimes. I just don't thing he will. Do you really think there's any chance of him being tried for this?

2/06/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

and now this:

White House Insists on Confirmation of Torture Memo Author:

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com

2/06/2008 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Do you really think there's any chance of him being tried for this?

I do. I actually demand that he be tried for this and will let the next administration and Congress know it in no uncertain terms. I think we as Americans owe it to our posterity to disassociate our names from the stench of this man's crimes.

2/06/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

These are the differences between cynicism and hope.

Doubt and Demand

If anyone thinks Bush shouldn't stand trial, that's one thing

but if you think he should, but doubt it will happen, and just accept it, I say stop being cynical.

I demand he be tried

2/06/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I actually demand that he be tried for this and will let the next administration and Congress know it in no uncertain terms. I think we as Americans owe it to our posterity to disassociate our names from the stench of this man's crimes.

Ed, with all due respect, I disagree. Americans cannot disassociate themselves from their failure to respond to Bush’s crimes as they were happening. If Americans really want to disassociate themselves, they will publicly protest these crimes, so the administration, which acts in our behalf knows where we stand.

Second, I believe that it would be bad for the nation to bring the former president to trial for war crimes. There is no chance he would be convicted in a US court of law (he’s appointed the judges, remember?) It would be a symbolic act without teeth. Further, I believe that it would distract the citizenry and the legislators from what the new administration is trying to do.

What I think should occur is that the new president should make a public policy statement that the United States Government opposes the use of torture and it will not be used by any agency of this country. The new president should publicly, condemn, chastise, disagree with, and disavow the decisions made by the former administration as not being in keeping with US policy. The new president must reclaim the high moral ground for the US, and the citizens must support him.

2/06/2008 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

What I think should occur...
...and the citizens must support him.


In other words business as usual.

I believe that it would be bad for the nation to bring the former president to trial for war crimes.

on the contrary It would break those who hold these arrogant beliefs:

The extent to which American exceptionalism is embedded in the national psyche is awesome to behold.

While the United States is a country like any other, its citizens no more special than any others on the planet, Americans still react with surprise at the suggestion that their country could be held responsible for something as heinous as a war crime....
...Howard Zinn recently described this as our "inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior."

Most Americans firmly believe there is nothing the United States or its political leadership could possibly do that could equate to the crimes of Hitler's Third Reich. The Nazis are our "gold standard of evil," as author John Dolan once put it.


It's time we join the global community, we cannot stand outside it much longer, and continue to strong arm other democracies through political or economic means.
The Euro will be our downfall if we do.

2/06/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

We are all responsible by our silence.

Saying something now doesn't let us off the hook.

2/06/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

FWIW, the Euro is overvalued and causing economic problems in the EU. The dollar is bottoming with the end of the Bush administration.

2/06/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Betta said...

Hello from someone in the global community. Looking forward to the day you join us.

Speaking for myself, let me just say I am watching the events in America with great interest and dare I say, hope.

2/07/2008 02:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been conditioned to accept torture. The most blatant example is "24". We watch devastated people daily on tv news as entertainment. Fox's lies have seeped into our psyche. Our outrage has become an intellectual exercise because no one in government listens to hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets. Thus the appeal of an oratory of forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves for allowing this man to undermine our Constitution with our collective blessing. We want instant forgiveness.

2/07/2008 10:38:00 AM  

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