Friday, December 19, 2008

Prosecute Bush

There are but 32 days left in the total clusterf*ck that has been the presidency of George W. Bush. As happy as I am to see him go, I hope this is not the last we hear of him. I fully expect to see him brought to trial for war crimes. Andrew Sullivan has boldly been beating this drum for some time now, while the mainstream media have cowardly been focused on how foul-mouthed the Governor of Illinois is to distract us all, but when you read the actual findings of the bipartisan group of Senators who examined the Bush Administration's active lead in torturing innocent people, you cannot sit by and let that smirking incompetent slink away. The report indicts Rumsfeld and other top officials by name, but Bush too must be held accountable. He cannot be allowed to have overseen this and not be tried. Why?

I'll give you three reason
  1. Mohammed al-Qahtani, had been threatened with military dogs, deprived of sleep for weeks, stripped naked and made to wear a leash and perform dog tricks. This year, a military tribunal at Guantánamo dismissed the charges against Mr. Qahtani.
  2. Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen wrongly abducted by the US, tortured, and then set free, having been cleared of any charges : "I was dragged across the floor and my blindfold was removed. I saw seven or eight men dressed in black and wearing black ski masks. One of the men placed me in a diaper and a track suit. I was put in a belt with chains that attached to my wrists and ankles, earmuffs were placed over my ears, eye pads over my eyes, and then I was blindfolded and hooded. After being marched to a plane, I was thrown to the floor face down and my legs and arms were spread-eagled and secured to the sides of the plane. I felt two injections, and I was rendered nearly unconscious. At some point, I felt the plane land and take off again. When it landed again, I was unchained and taken off the plane. It felt very warm outside, and so I knew I had not been returned to Germany. I learned later that I was in Afghanistan."
  3. Maher Arar, Candian wireless technology consultant, wrongly abducted by the US, tortured and the set free, having been cleared of any charges:

    Early the next morning Arar is taken upstairs for intense interrogation. He is beaten on his palms, wrists, lower back and hips with a shredded black electrical cable which is about two inches in diameter. He is threatened with the metal chair, electric shocks, and with the tire, into which prisoners are stuffed, immobilized and beaten.

    The next day Arar is interrogated and beaten on and off for eighteen hours. Arar begs them to stop. He is asked if he received military training in Afghanistan, and he falsely confesses and says yes. This is the first time Arar is ever questioned about Afghanistan. They ask at which camp, and provide him with a list, and he picks one of the camps listed.

    Arar urinated on himself twice during the interrogation.

    Throughout this period of intense interrogation Arar was not taken back to his cell, but to a waiting room where he could hear other prisoners being tortured and screaming. One time, he heard them repeatedly slam a man’s head on a desk really hard.
It's hard enough for me to stomach the idea of Americans doing this to people we have some right to believe meant us harm (we're supposed to symbolize something better than that), but when you know that the mindless incompetence that defined the Bush administration led to untold number of innocent people being abducted, without any access to lawyers or their families, and then sent to be tortured (an interrogation technique that has proven to be inferior if not downright counterproductive), any American who believes that we stand for a belief system incompatible with such horrors must demand Bush be held accountable.

The New York Times holds out little hope that President Obama will do the right thing here:

A prosecutor should be appointed to consider criminal charges against top officials at the Pentagon and others involved in planning the abuse.

Given his other problems — and how far he has moved from the powerful stands he took on these issues early in the campaign — we do not hold out real hope that Barack Obama, as president, will take such a politically fraught step.

At the least, Mr. Obama should, as the organization Human Rights First suggested, order his attorney general to review more than two dozen prisoner-abuse cases that reportedly were referred to the Justice Department by the Pentagon and the C.I.A. — and declined by Mr. Bush’s lawyers.
Personally, I don't care about Mr. Obama's political capital. I understand there are many problems that impact the lives of millions of Americans he needs bipartisan support to address, but the needs of the many do not trump the right to justice of the few. So long as he's clear that it's justice he's after, I believe Obama would have enough support to bring this to trial. Yes it would be ugly. There are horrendously cowardly torture apologists with megaphones who will defend this abomination (many of them willing to send a "few bad apples" to the gallows when their fearless leader convinced them that's where the buck had stopped, but now that they know better, their balllessness has been revealed).

I know how unpleasant all this is for most of us. I too wish it would all just go away, and I know that letting Bush slink off to his ranch is seemingly the fastest way to do that, but for just a moment imagine he does. Imagine he's safe and sound in Texas, sleeping well in his wealth and security, and the whole thing blows over. It's easy to do actually, and I find comfort in it until I attempt to put myself in the shoes of those who have been tortured or their loved ones. Try it.

Imagine someone lying in bed next to the man they love. A man who's been a good family man, good father, good citizen, and good spouse. Imagine that man wakes in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, silently but violently mouthing the same screams they had tortured out of him in Jordan or Afganistan. Imagine the terror in his face when the light is turned on, how he weeps as he's rocked back to sleep. Put yourself in the position of that person holding him. As you do, you outline the scars of where he was beaten with your fingers. You imagine the agony in his mind every night as it tries to sift through the dark months of being locked in filth, the beatings, the blood, the lonliness. Imagine how it feels when it dawns on you that this man you love will have these same nightmares the rest of his life.

As gratuitous as that may seem, all I have to do is imagine this happening to someone I love and the question of whether you let Bush slink off becomes crystal clear.

Bush must be held accountable.

Labels:

56 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Imagine someone lying in bed next to the man they love. A man who's been a good family man, good father, good citizen, and good spouse. Imagine that man wakes in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, silently but violently mouthing the same screams they had tortured out of him in Jordan or Afganistan. Imagine the terror in his face when the light is turned on, how he weeps as he's rocked back to sleep. Put yourself in the position of that person holding him. As you do, you outline the scars of where he was beaten with your fingers. You imagine the agony in his mind every night as it tries to sift through the dark months of being locked in filth, the beatings, the blood, the lonliness. Imagine how it feels when it dawns on you that this man you love will have these same nightmares the rest of his life."

Say that to the wives of the men who have been beheaded. Illinois is important to look at. Obama said he has had no contact with the good Gov but it turns out he is on tapes. It does not matter if the tapes have anything bad on them or not because it is still proof that Obama is just as able to lie to the American people as Bush. Welcome to politics. War is hell. Brutality wins wars and is the reason we are able to enjoy our freedoms. It has always been that way. It is human design.

12/19/2008 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Hack.

12/19/2008 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want me to.

12/19/2008 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just testing you Edward. You have strong opinions but you don't seem to allow different views in comments. Your blog your rules but why stir the pot if you can't handle the splash.

12/19/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do know that the military has always used brutal tactics for gaining information. The only difference today is that the media gets hold of everything. It is not just our side that does it. So if Bush is put on trial the UN should put every leader of Islamic countries on trial for their crimes. They all use brutal tactics with prisoners in that part of the war. What about China and Russia. Hell, we should put every world leader on trial for war crimes or crimes against humanity. Why single out Bush.

12/19/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

We have become a society of wimpy babies, unlike our founders. Ewww we don't have the time or energy to have trials.. it will be too polarizing.

My mantra for the past few years has been, impeachment! now it will be Trail! The evidence for war crimes is there, the weasels are mocking us. In order to go forward including our relations in the world, we must deal with this sordid past.

12/19/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you so eager to see Bush put to death. This is what I don't understand about liberals today. You try to stop the death penalty against murderers and rapists but want to put Bush to death. Just explain that to me.

12/19/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We have become a society of wimpy babies, unlike our founders."

Do you know what our fighters did to captured British troops during the revolution. I will agree that we are a society of wimpy babies but not for the same reasons. We have a society of people who want to live large but not raise fists when needed. Name me one civilization that has been successful without war. I will love the day that a Democrat President sends us to war with little information just so I can see the same people wanting Bush's head now supporting war. That is what this is about it is a battle line between left and right.

12/19/2008 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Are we to use another's immorality to justify our own?

As a nation will we desire false expediency over moral action?

Do we allow the rich and powerful to purchase a lesser justice?

Why does the crack dealer serve more time for less crime?

Do we really think an oval office blowjob is more evil than waterboarding?

As a nation are we accountable, are our rulers accountable?

Let's give them all a day in court, what do you say?

12/19/2008 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You do know that the military has always used brutal tactics for gaining information.... Why single out Bush.

His administration systematically codified it, lied about doing so, and most outrageously went on TV and pointed fingers at the enlisted servicemen and women just following orders. This despite lawyers from each and every branch of the military warning that what they were doing was illegal, not to mention immoral. It was hubris on an epic scale, it's proven to be counterproductive, and it's as anti-American as anything. It's the fact that he's so entirely shameless he's trying to get away with it in broad daylight that demands he be held accountable.

You have strong opinions but you don't seem to allow different views in comments.

Nonsense. I published your comment. I simply responded honestly to what I thought of your comment. There is not a single idea in there that doesn't boil down to apologizing for torture. It's gutless.

Why are you so eager to see Bush put to death.

Whoa...hang on there Hoss. I said he should be held accountable. Conflating that with the death penalty (what are you smoking?) is a diversion tactic.

The evidence for war crimes is there, the weasels are mocking us.

Absolutely. And my question is what does that make the people gobbling it up and agreeing with them?

12/19/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clinton took action without following the correct paths and ended up killing no militant targets just civilians. So are those few lives worthless. I read that if anyone lied about info it was Rice and another person. Bush may have thought he was doing right based on what he knew at the time. On the other side we have Obama who said point blank that he had no contact with Blago and it turns out there are recordings of him talking to Blago that distract from Obama's lie. If he lied about that he has probably lied about something else and will continue to lie.

12/19/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That is what this is about it is a battle line between left and right.

Add some vodka to that Kool-Aid: You're gonna need it.

When it was asserted the abuse in Abu Grhaib was limited to a "few bad apples" Right-wing pundit, Glenn Reynolds wrote:

"Of course, it's not the same as Saddam's torture -- which was a matter of top-down policy, not the result of assholes who deserve jail or execution, and will probably get one or both. As with other reported misbehavior, it should be dealt with very, very harshly. But those who would -- as Senator Kerry did after Vietnam -- make such behavior emblematic of our effort, instead of recognizing it as an abandonment of our principles -- are mere opportunists."

When it turns out that in fact it was just like Saddam Hussein, a matter of top-down policy, all of a sudden Reynolds apparently feels differently.

Likewise with right-wing pundit Jonah Goldberg, who (again, when it was asserted that Bush disapproved of this behavior) wrote:

"Well, there is one way. This needs to be investigated and prosecuted. If there's more to the story -- whatever that could conceivably be -- let's find out. But if the story is as it appears, there has to be accountability, punishment and disclosure. Indeed, even if this turned out to be a prank, too much damage has already been done and someone needs to be punished."

So it's only a right vs. left thing when it deals with the enlisted servicemen, apparently. When rich people are actually to blame, then ... well... that's war, that's reality...that's how these things have to be.

Cowards! the lot of you.

12/19/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The military has always done this stuff though. It has always been that way. Why do people think that this is the first time. It is not the first and it will not be the last. That is just how war is. You can't have a moral war. He should have been impeached. We had a Democrat controlled congress so I don't know why he was not. They are all dirty. Maybe they should let each voter decide on military action. We vote for who will be President so why not vote for actions that reflect on who we are in the world. You don't know what a President will do once in office. Our elected officials have failed us on war. In this political climate Obama could say invade Canada and half the country would approve.

12/19/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cowards allow women to live in societies where they are not allowed to go where they want, learn what they want, and sleep where and with whom they want. But you will chalk that up to cultural differences while demanding rights for everyone back home.

12/19/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Clinton took action without following the correct paths and ended up killing no militant targets just civilians.

"Clinton this. Blago that. Obama That."

For the love of God, would you freaking look at yourself???? We're talking about TORTURE! And you're so desperate to change the topic you're drudging the bottom of any barrel you can reach into.

Bush authorized the torture of innocent people! Again, and again, and again! Look at that, long and hard. Look into your soul, long and hard. Is that OK with you?

12/19/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You are a hack, pure and simple. Either stay on topic or blog elsewhere. You have no idea what I do to change the oppression of women in other cultures...you're just regurgitating any mindless drivel you can to change the subject.

The subject of this thread is that the right called for "harsh" punishment of those responsible for the torture at Abu Grhaib back in 2004. I'm agreeing with them.

12/19/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And 35% of the prisoners released ended up on the battlefield again only to be held again or killed. Look it up.

12/19/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'd ask folks offering statistics or assertions to do the rest of us the favor of looking it up and providing a link yourself or refrain from offering it.

I'm not sure what that 35% "back on the battlefield" stat is supposed to prove. It could easily go either way: that these were bad people we were right to interrogate or that how inhumanely we treated people hardened them against us.

Either way, it demonstrates our methods were seriously flawed.

12/19/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Corrupt conservatives championing the radical right, here we go again.

Remember "greed is good"? Look where that got us.

Now you want to argue "WAR is good"?

Well excuse me sir, you are stuck in an antediluvian world of ideas whose time has past. Concepts of war between nation states are in decline, the price is too high.

Demonizing the 'other' is a tactic used by the corrupt to evade and distract the opposition. I have to ask why is this?

Will we live by the rule of law or by the force of the club? This administration should be held accountable for their actions.

Further, I favor giving the "greed is good" crowd, Madoff and the others, a day in court with an opportunity for life imprisonment. They have done more harm, to more people in this nation, than any terrorist.

12/19/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheney mentioned it in an article that was on Yahoo.

12/19/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how do you secure freedom if you don't fight? Tell me that George. Is it by giving every hostile country what they want when they want it? Should we close our strip clubs and dare I say art galleries because they are offended by our heathen ways. When did the US become France?

12/19/2008 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I googled "Cheney, 35%, and battlefield" and came up with nothing, but I did find a piece outlining Cheney's top concern with releasing the detainees, and it's not that they'll go back to fighting us on the battlefield:

"By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed. Even releasing detainees whom they knew to be entirely innocent was dangerous, since once released they could talk. “People will ask where they’ve been and ‘What have you been doing with them?’” Cheney said in a White House meeting. “They’ll all get lawyers.”" (from the New York Times)

Anyone still want to defend these creeps?

12/19/2008 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

In times of financial hardship, the demagogues appeal to our prejudices, emotions, and fears to seize power by distraction. Defining and demonizing the enemy in order to incite the nation towards war.

We live in such a time, and as a nation we must resist this type demagoguery which would argue that war is good, that it is some path to glory. It is not, ask a general.

12/19/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation's wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The United Nations weapons inspectors have done a truly remarkable job, finding and destroying more of Iraq's arsenal than was destroyed during the entire gulf war. Now, Saddam Hussein wants to stop them from completing their mission. I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, "You cannot defy the will of the world," and when I say to him, "You have used weapons of mass destruction before; we are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again."

Bill Clinton.

12/19/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

So how do you secure freedom if you don't fight?

So you favor torture?

Where do we stop?

Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy?

You don't know who is the enemy, do you?

Your arguments play with toy soldiers.

I served six years in the Army Reserve during the Wietnam War, and I can assure you that war is the last solution we should ever consider.

12/19/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger eageageag said...

There is absolutely no proof that anything Bush and Cheney did during the past eight years has prevented another terrorist attack in the U.S.

12/19/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Sir, your crowd already tried to impeach Bill for a blowjob, now you want to cast some other blame on him in order to excuse the illegal and immoral actions of the inner circle of the Bush administration.

Shame on you.

12/19/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That Bill Clinton quote is the very last comment off topic that I will approve in this thread.

There is nothing in Bill Clinton's assertion that obligated us to torture innocent people. The conflation of the belief some people had that we had to invade Iraq (and when you push them on why the timing had to be when it was, they always admit because 9/11 made it feasible, not because anyone believed there was anything approaching an imminent threat) with the notion that Bush should not be tried for systematically authorizing torture is symptomatic of willful, desperate blindness. The intellectual equivalent of sticking one's fingers in one's ears and shouting "La, la, la, la, la, la."

12/19/2008 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

wow - the army of anonymous trolls crawl out. War Crimes are War Crimes. Let's prosecute. and if "everybody does it" were the case then why bend over backwards to find legal "ambiguity". John Yoo also needs a special place in in Hell.

12/19/2008 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Browning said...

Bravo Ed on the post and on the steady response to the Anonymous distractions (do they have a team of them in some hidden location pumping this stuff out?) Good comments by George also – thanks.

"Here richly, with ridiculous display, The Politician's corpse was laid away. While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged, I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged" HILAIRE BELLOC

A quote I found that various writers used to eulogize Pinochet and Arafat. I think it applies nicely to the Bush administration in general. I was frustrated that there weren't investigations and impeachment proceedings immediately upon the Democrats gaining the congress. It is grotesque that this hasn’t happened, but in my calmer moments I do understand their lack of political will and the sense that we would be lucky just to be rid of Bush at the end of his term and have a chance at a new direction. There has to be a reconciliation between the right and the left (at the government level anyway) for things to move forward, otherwise we wind up permanently polarized like Israel and Palestine, always taking revenge for the crimes of the other. I believe that Obama will eventually move us through to seeing justice in this, but it will be long and slow, with little happening in the first 6-12 months of his term.

Of the mostly foolish Anonymous comments on this post, I agree with one:"You can't have a moral war." EXACTLY - hence we should avoid them. They degrade the soul of the nation. They create environments where we increase division not solve it, where we dehumanize our enemy to the point that we become less human ourselves. And with a few rare exceptions, they ultimately do not improve the situation.

In every war we can find instances where we have lost our moral compass, whether it be American cavalry decorating their saddles with the genitalia of slaughtered Indian women and children, or the massacre of Vietnamese villagers. And yes, we can often find equally horrible acts committed by the other side. But we have proposed that as a nation we will dedicate ourselves to a higher standard. We may fail on occasion, but each time, in recognizing and atoning for those failures, we must proclaim the goal anew and set the example for others that in spite of the weight and brutality of human history we can choose a better path.

Charles Browning

12/19/2008 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed, I'm ignoring all that blogjacking by some anonymous ignoramus and getting to the point (and you might consider deleting those comments because it discourages people who actually want to participate in the discussion but don't want to wade through all that crap):

Right on! Testify Brother Winkleman! To quote Gil Scot-Heron back in the day about the Nixon pardon, "San Quentin, not San Clemente!"

Oriane

12/19/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

This type of right wing demagoguery is extraordinarily dangerous in hard times. It must be resisted at all costs.

There is no argument in favor of torture we should ever accept.

If we do, we lose what our founding fathers intended for this nation. There are no half way, little tortures, which will make us exempt, it is just not acceptable.

We must live by the rule of law, and our leaders must not be exempt. If they violate the law, then they must face the court. It is not ours, to judge them in advance, only to bring them to trial.

12/19/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

This thread is proof of why we need a trial. There are many Anons out there.

12/19/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Spaeth said...

This is maybe more of a practical thought about the legal system. Absolutely, those "senior officials" that are known to be directly linked to the top-down ordering of torture should be put on trail for war crimes, it sounds like there is evidence to convict and it should happen. By asking that Bush be held accountable as well, are you hoping that in the course of these trials strong evidence to link Bush directly would also be found? I hesitate to say inevitably, as that would imply that during the course of this inquiry it may have already been found and suppressed, and I do have a suspicious mind.

Can you be more specific about how Bush would be held accountable and what exactly for? This is not a challenge against the position, but an effort to be more specific from inside of it. I guess I want to hear something more than "because Bush is the President," even though I would happily go along with that. Such an argument puts the president on the order of Eichman, the Nazi bureaucrat who claimed to be merely acting according to his post without awareness(?!) of the torture machine. Is that about where we are here? And is it going to work the same way in the American legal system, which does not regard our government as run by Nazis? Help me out here, I want to know how it will work.

12/19/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

any American who believes that we stand for a belief system incompatible with such horrors must demand Bush be held accountable.

Well, as Anon has just proved (assuming Anon is an American), there are some who DON'T believe that we stand for such a belief system. Shocking, but true.

I fully and enthusiastically support everything you've said, Ed, except that I'm a little disturbed by your appeal to our emotions at the end, which implies that your motives for holding Bush accountable include revenge, for all the suffering he has certainly inflicted. As much as this is a natural and understandable human emotion, that way lies madness and endless destruction.

We must hold Bush (and Cheney--I'm convinced that Cheney is the brains and driving force behind this) accountable, yes; but we must do so in a way which makes it clear that we are doing so on the basis of principles which transcend 'an eye for an eye.'

I'm hoping that this is why Obama is being so reticent on the issue, although he made it clear in the Time magazine profile of him that closing Guantanamo and ending torture is a top priority of his administration. Partisan witch hunts are one of the many things which got us into this mess. If we're going to start clearing this country of the ethical morass we've been wallowing in, we've got to do it transparently, temperately, and with very clear documentation of the evidence and the principles involved.

12/19/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

This anonymous conservative would appear to be the personification of the Bush regime: right wing, arrogant and (in his anonymity) not taking responsibility for his actions.

12/19/2008 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

With all due respect, it doesn't matter whether we can "go along with it" or not.

What matters is that it appears the laws of this nation have been transgressed by the members of the current administration. If, sufficient evidence exists to charge and try these political figures, regardless of who they are, then the rule of law demands that the legal system proceeds. If not, then not.

As a nation, we must demand accountability from our elected leaders. They are supposed to work for us, the nation, and must be responsible to the same laws as we are. We cannot abrogate our responsibility and at least attempt to bring legal action where it is appropriate.

Over the last couple of decades there has been a rather distorted standard of justice applied to some of our political figures and to ethical policies. If one party deemed it appropriate to try to impeach a president for an offense with little real political affect on the nation, then it would appear that the same application of judicial inquiry should be applied to members of the current administration. An administration where the questionable activities did grave harm to this nation and violated our moral trust.

We cannot allow the transgressive events of this administration to set a precedent for the future. At the very least, they should be examined by the legal system in order to establish a clear and viable legal precedent for future leaders of this nation.

I think most of us once thought this was obvious, that this nation stood for the morally good and that torture was unacceptable. Bush has proved this was potentially a false belief. As a nation we must demand that the legal system defines a clear legal criteria for what is a morally acceptable action and what is not.

This should be a legal matter defined by the courts and not by the president.

Take them all to court and settle it there.

12/19/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Hi, Anon! I'm Ed's one reader who will publicly admit to his registration as a Republican. First of all, Merry Christmas! Secondly, you're a moron.

You clearly have a layer of hardened tar where your neocortex is supposed to be, so there's no point in debating you item by item. I just want to counter this:

That is what this is about it is a battle line between left and right.

Wrong, knucklehead. This is a battle over whether we are nation of laws, as our founders envisioned for us. This is a test to see whether we believe in the Constitution enough to abide by it in times of trial. It is a battle between principle and expediency, between justice and partisanship. And let me tell you something: anyone so afflicted with moral relativism that he equates the perpetration of lies with the perpetration of torture has no business thinking of himself as a conservative. You're merely a thrall to the know-nothing wing of your party.

We could have garnered more accurate intelligence from these prisoners in a minute fraction of the time by plying each of them with two whores and a bottle of whiskey. Instead the Bush regime squandered our moral, military, and fiscal capital on a project that has ultimately endangered our country in too many ways to name. I call that treason and I long for justice.

12/19/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was composing a comment similar to PL’s about how the desire for emotional revenge should not be part of the call to prosecute war crimes, but I got caught up in a long, personal (indeed, emotional), less than concise rambling, so didn’t post it. What I started to say is that one of Obama’s strong points is his unusual capacity to get beyond the emotional desire for revenge. I’ll just say that he’s a better (hu)man than I and stop there.

Oriane

12/19/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We could have garnered more accurate intelligence from these prisoners in a minute fraction of the time by plying each of them with two whores and a bottle of whiskey."

Don't forget to throw in some bacon! Now you're talking about a real party.

I love "First of all, Merry Christmas! Secondly, you're a moron."

anono

12/19/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspe said...

Anono:
+++++We have a society of people ++++who want to live large but not +++++raise fists when needed.



You're so nono, Anono. You're talking about rasing fists and bashing innocent people, abducted in their own apartment in theoretically civilized places like Germany. Do you understand the difference between raising fists and bullying??


Allright, let me show you an example of bullying:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElTE72iWb6M



Some would argue that iraqi police deserve this treatment for the way they treat gays in Iraq, but that is beside the point. Bullying is not how you teach people about democracy, human rights, tolerance, and how to act like a civil (ie, not bomb your neighbor just because you don't agree with them).




Edward:
+++Add some vodka to that Kool-Aid

Shouldn't it be the other way around?


I am personally against censorship unless Edward is personally attacked, or info about his private life or anyone else's are divulged.

Let your enemy speak out.


I agree with George that America goes nuts about stupid sex innuendos, but close their eyes when it's heavy criminal material. Somehow that sounds a little the way it goes in islamic republics. Gosh, what is so wrong with sex?

Then, I also agree with Catherine that I'm more concerned that the people directly involved with the planning of these seances get prosecuted than Mr. Puppet Bush, but I'm not following the case enough to understand clearly Bush's direct implications. The rumour is that the CIA does the heck they want, whatever the government. Maybe the justice should scrutinize the CIA a little more?



Cedric Caspe

12/19/2008 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

wow. just signed in. A hack by any other name is...

...

... a troll!

12/19/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Cedric et al,

Just to clarify, when I sign my name "anono", I am using that as my internet handle. I am not the anonymous commenter foaming at the mouth at the top of the comments.

anono's my name, trashing liberty is not my game

12/19/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a conservative. I'm liberal. I also understand war and what it takes to win. You can't win a war with flowers in your hand. I did not vote for Obama either. Why do you assume that I'm conservative just because I support US efforts in Iraq and did not vote for Obama?

12/20/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point is that our idea of freedom is backed by war. Every war we have been in has involved harsh tactics for gaining information. OSS agents in WWII would skin flesh off the fingers of Germans in order to make them talk. In Nam we would tie hostiles to a tree with barbed wire in order to get information. If it had not been for that brutality we would not have the rights we share. I don't like war anymore than the next person but if you find yourself in that situation you have to take your gloves off.
Show of hands of commetors who have served this country? Show of hands of people who have had to fire back when fired upon? None of you know what you are talking about because I can tell by the responses that none of you have seen war first hand. Reporters get in the way and get us killed just so they can make us look like shit back home. That crap has been going on since Nam. You won't get all the details until 20 or 30 years from now and when you do you will know exactly why we have done what we had to do to keep you free and to allow you to live the life you have back home. This had nothing to do with Saddam. There is a bigger picture. Iraq is just a stepping stone for protecting the world from Islamic nations that think things are the same as 1,000 years ago. You can't be civilized when there are threats like that around. Those people will behead you for being a strong woman, for being gay, for speaking out. That is what this is about. It is not about Bush or Saddam or oil or any of that. It is about fighting the last fight that will either break this planet or bring a new age of worldwide freedom. As long as militant Islam is around none of us are safe. Maybe if this circle jerk gallery guy had some collectors die on 9/11 he would understand.

12/20/2008 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Catherine Spaeth said...

Not too long ago I lived near a bar called "The Headless Woman," in front of which was a huge sign of a woman in an apron, her hands on her hips, and nothing above the neck. How long ago was Mathew Shepard? A thousand years did you say? Here, and in Iraq as well, apparently, we don't do it for a reason, we just do it for fun.

Take note of the fact that you are not the only veteran writing here, anonymous.

12/20/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Sir, you are commenting on a public message board. When you make assumptions about our service to our country and our personal losses during 911, you are out of line. You have no idea who you are talking to.

12/20/2008 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Ed, there is no way this clown is military. My brother-in-law is senior brass in the Air Force. This past spring I had a chance to chat with his guys up at McChord. Some of them have problems with the American media, but nobody thinks that reporters are getting troops killed or trying to make them look like shit except for Team Palin. Unless he can cough up a .mil e-mail address, cut his cord.

12/20/2008 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I come from a long line of military, many of whom saw combat and were wounded and none of them brag like this poseur or suggest what they saw gave them license to break the rules. Quite the contrary. They respect the law.

12/20/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous bm said...

Anonymous said...I'm just testing you Edward. You have strong opinions but you don't seem to allow different views in comments. Your blog your rules but why stir the pot if you can't handle the splash.

Edward replies: Nonsense. I published your comment. I simply responded honestly to what I thought of your comment. There is not a single idea in there that doesn't boil down to apologizing for torture. It's gutless.

There's some truth in Anon's above comment Ed.

This is obviously a very sticky subject, one full of opinions and beliefs...

12/21/2008 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

There's some truth in Anon's above comment Ed.

I'm sorry, but I don't see it.

I see, not a "different view" on the topic, but a distration tactic. The very second sentence of the comment changes the subject to a total non sequitur. That is not a different view being expressed, but a troll strategy to derail the thread. I corrected that attempt, that is all.

Anyone who wishes to offer a different view is more than welcome to. Anyone wishing to derail the thread will find it very difficult to do.

There is only one topic on which to offer a different opinion and stay "on topic": whether or not Bush should be prosecuted for systematically authorizing torture of innocent people. That cannot be done from an apologist stand point, but rather must be done from a logical address of the issue. Did Bush authorize torture? The bipartisan report suggests very strongly yes he did. If he did, was he breaking the law in doing so? Again, it seems very likely he did.

These are questions that should be sorted out in a court of law, in my opinion. Whether Blago and Obama held a midnight summit to conspire to sell his senate seat has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that. It's highly offensive to change this subject in my opinion. It's a very serious matter.

12/21/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger hypatia 370 said...

I agree our sanctioned torture practices should be investigated in order to reveal the truth and prosecute the offenders. How else do we legitimately restore our standards of conduct as citizens of the world? All else -- the sniping, name-calling and demagoguery -- is noise; not at all helpful.

On another note: please consider disallowing anonymous comments to your blog. They rarely add value and more often derail the dialog. We all deserve better.

12/21/2008 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspe said...

All comments from Anon the veteran:

+++++None of you know what you are +++++talking about because I can +++++tell by the responses that +++++none of you have seen war first hand.


Well, I know what it is to have to suck a loaded gun by force. Crazy people are crazy people.
Torturing is unreliable madness. Your apology for trials and errors in this domain, and your approval that innocent people get tortured, is not convincing, and to me show that you have no idea what it means to be innocently tortured,
or unfairly treated in any kind of way, and therefore have no idea what you are talking about.

People like you kill a thousand brainwashed soldiers to ge to a couple very manipulative
Al-Qeada leaders. This is the proof that intelligence and strategy is not governing this
country. You only care about bullet counts, honor medals, and cock pumping.



++++Those people will behead you ++++for being a strong woman, for ++++being gay, for speaking out.


You're talking about a gang of integrists. Most people in those countries are scared and would take feedom if they could have it. Iran is above 60 per cent composed of youth. Iran became an islamic republic in 1979 because that was the only way out of dictature, but I think the youth will want things to be less drastic. You're talking as if Islam is the enemy. It's just an old religion. Islam existed for a long time in less
harsh situations when belly dancing and partying was fluent. What we see today is a very recent turn of events within the religion, and I think that was influenced by a strong disparity in international economy.




++++You won't get all the details +++until 20 or 30 years from now.


It is not OK to defend a country while holding a secret political agenda. This is not democracy. Who the heck do you take yourself for to pretend at such authority?

I think people have a good idea of what Al-Qeada want. They want power and money, and they use religious brainwashing as a mean to get an army that will get them
to these goals. Maybe some of their leaders are true religious, or maybe some are just looking to be in position of power and become new dictators for asian countries. Who knows ?? It is very hard to decipher when someone is religious or not. Wearing long beards and robes is not a sign to me that you are in terms with Allah itself. Killing yourself doesn't even mean
you're doing it for Allah. You might be doing it for a political cause, such as "I want this country to have more money". Allah is theoretically not interested
in specific people or countries, but it seems to me that some people are brainwashed in believing that it is.


The war of religion is a false war that shouldn't exist. It's ok if someone wants to dress with a robe and pray on their knees all their life. The only thing muslims need to understand is the right for every human to choose wrether they believe or not in the Qu'Ran. They are very good reasons to doubt the validity of religious books, because they were for the most
part assembled by men out of oral tradition. Respect the rights of people to doubt these sources.



Cheers,

Cedric Caspe

12/21/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

It's the 21st century, time for an end of ideas that war is a solution looking for a problem. War as we know it, is a conflict between nation states which has failed to be solved through diplomatic means. War in the 21st century, war between nation states, now carries unacceptable costs in life and property. All wars now carry global economic consequences which are unavoidable.

That said, there is still a place for the use of force to deter criminal activities. This is different from war between nation states because criminal groups lack sufficient central organization to allow for reasonable negotiations to take place. it is a police action.

In all cases, actions like torture are unacceptable. Torture is dehumanizing, both for the tortured and for the torturer. The torturer sinks into an abyss of depravity and gives up compassion for revenge or pleasure. It is ineffective and breeds the hatred inherited by future generations.

Unfortunately we live in a world where force is necessary to maintain peace. The use of force requires deliberate consideration, not appeals to the emotions. The use of force requires a morality to guide its direction. We need to constantly reevaluate our moral positions regarding its use or risk becoming what we wish to deter.

12/22/2008 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

The hypocrisy about force is the usa willing to make everything for other countries to not own weapons that they own themselves. This is a very bad route that will lead USA to humongous problems. I forgot which architect said "Security creates the threat", but there you have it. Disarmement will have to be a
global initiative.


Cedric Caspe

12/22/2008 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam was paying families of suicide bombers $25,000 for attacks again US interests. It is not Bush's fault or the fault of the United States that no other world power was brave enough to take that mad man on.

Sure things went bad with the prisoner issue. Bush admits that. But he also asked countries critical of how the US treated prisoners to help with holding detainees and they refused.

If Bush had not taken action. If we continued to get hit with terrorist attacks you would all be ranting about that. Just as you will support Obama if he goes to war!

I get tired of people saying that Bush did not prevent other terrorist attacks. He prevented at least seven by his policies with the help of countries that supported those policies. At least two minor cells have been caught in the US in process of attacks. Including a white extemist group with plans to kill Barack Obama.

So easy to preach sermons about politics to people you know will agree with you.

1/12/2009 08:10:00 PM  

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