Ever since I heard that Bush was authorizing what every honest person has to acknowledge is torture, I have been profoundly puzzled as well horrified. It seems so contrary to everything for which Christianity, American itself and even the Republican Party, once stood. As self described spokesman for such interests, not to mention being the former CEO of a sports franchise, one would presume that obedience to the law, moral values, common decency and honor - let alone, fair play - would have not allowed him to even consider such reprehensible tactics. Where in the Bible, for instance, is torture even mentioned except when conducted by the “bad guys” as Bush likes to characterize them? (Well, I suppose Job’s trials could be mentioned, but that was God himself doing the torturing and presumably a special case.) Torturers, in history (and the literature, films, and TV programs depicting it) are always the Nazis, blood thirsty evil doers, nut cases, dictators, opponents of the faithful and general villains (except on the Fox Broadcasting’s “24” where torture is always rationalized). Rightly so.
Instead, Bush has not only secretly authorized torture and covered it up, he refused to punish those who went even further than authorized. None of the commanders and top brass who allowed the MPs at Abu Ghraib to run wild suffered any consequences. Same for the CIA types actually doing the nastiest stuff. Only a few lowest level prison guards who were stupid enough to be photographed doing comparatively minor outrages got their hands slapped. It appears, by the way, they were punished more for getting caught by taking photos than what they actually did. You can bet that if the photos had not leaked, those enlisted guards would still be standing on naked bodies of defenseless prisoners and probably have promotions. And, just look at the resulting damage. How many of the thousand of dead and tens of thousands of wounded and maimed soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan were attacked because of what was permitted in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? We may never know, but certainly many of the newly minted insurgents were a direct result.
Worse, now that Bush has been caught still requiring torture of captives, he is campaigning publicly for legal permission to continue. He is campaigning for nothing less than elimination of much of our Bill of Rights for everyone along with much of the international law protecting our own military in future wars.
Some of that advocacy of torture is of course to deliberately terrorize voters for crass partisan political reasons. But still, he did not need torture of detainees or anyone, especially before they are tried and convicted, to make that case for scaring our citizenry. And, surely Bush cannot be so naive as to fail to understand how it will jeopardize our own troops, not to mention our national prestige, credibility and other diplomatic “coin” so desperately needed for so many other efforts. Surely someone among his advisors must have pointed out the historical and empirical unreliability of any information obtained by torture. Did he just ignore it? If so, why for goodness sakes?
Then, a possible explanation finally occurred to me. The fourth plane on 9/11 was alleged to be heading for the White House. It would be interesting to know if the White House laundry had a “special problem” that day cleaning our Commander-in-Chief’s underwear. But, we don’t need to check the laundry basket. Just look at Bush’s track record. He didn’t play rough sports. He ended up a “cheerleader” instead. He is always afraid of the press, even today, even though they can only throw questions at him. His so-called “town meetings” are stacked full with only admirers and sycophants.
He chickened out of Vietnam and even stopped flying planes for most of his enlistment despite the desperate need for pilots at the time. The staged flight to the carrier for the self-proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” speech was staged with an experienced pilot doing it all. Can you seriously believe otherwise? Certainly no bullet ever whizzed anywhere near his head, ever, even though millions of his fellow countrymen risked that.
We have a mental image of him as “hero” because of his stunts like wearing military costumes. We also tend to confuse him with his father in that regard who was a genuine hero type in WWII. We assume Bush Sr.’s privileged and pampered son would be the same way. We also have the well distributed photos of Bush the Second photogenically standing on rubble at ground zero after 9/11. We forget however that, unlike the New York Mayor and Governor, Bush Jr. didn’t dare to show up for literally days after the event. He was cowering somewhere in an undisclosed location like Cheney.
I realize it is the job of Secret Service to hide the Pres, but not when we desperately need him to be visible. Any other President, who was not a coward, would have been there on day one. Remember, he had grounded all planes except his own and the military jets for days so there could be no reoccurrence.
Conclusion: Bush Jr. orders tortures because he is a coward. It likely explains as well the long “deer in headlights” reaction which was evident when he was filmed reading in a grade school to children after the news of the 9/11 attacks. My guess is he was frantically wondering if it would be okay to crawl under the teacher’s desks.
Granted, George the Closet Chickenhearted may also be a bully, fanatic and incompetent which may also drive part of his astonishing Torturers ‘R Us marketing of America. At the same time, personal cowardice and fear of death could explain a lot. It is a possible, maybe even probable, explanation for his insistence on torture despite its heinous nature and unavoidable costs and drawbacks. He is so afraid of risking his own life that he is willing to do anything, absolutely anything, if it generates even the slightest chance it will keep his skin safe. That particular end apparently justifies any means in his own mind.
Cowards tend to think that way when they have the upper hand for the moment - the “please hurt anyone else, but me” syndrome. After all, if you are more afraid for your own body than the needs of the nation, naturally torture of others will seem a viable option. How sad. How terrifying in its own right, but it does explain a lot.
Sure there is a danger that other terrorists may be successful in an attack, even a nuclear one, especially when Bush keeps recruiting new ones for Osama all the time. Data though suggests that the risk is no greater than that North Korea or Pakistan or even China might be the one. Of course, if he starts torturing citizens of those particular countries, he just might create a self fulfilling prophesy. Moreover, the odds are long on you being killed yourself unless you are a soldier in Iraq. Otherwise, you are more likely to hit by a meteor than a terrorist bomb according to experts. Such long odds however are unpersuasive to cowards. Isn’t it ironic that the very thing that Bush accuses those who want to end the war of; i.e. cowardice for allegedly “cutting and running,” is the very thing Bush is guilty of when promoting torture. I believe that is called “projection” in psychiatry.
No doubt Bush’s own fears were magnified by his tough talking, but draft dodging, secret bunker hiding, VP Cheney. Nevertheless, this sin belongs to the man supposedly in charge, the “Decider” as he calls himself. Maybe he should decide about repainting the White House yellow to match the hidden stripe on his back.
Some have been praising Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner for “standing up” to the President and defending the Geneva Conventions. Any praise was premature. From the reports available on Friday September 22, it looks like they too finally sold out human rights. They apparently want the right to be inhuman. In fact, it sounds like the entire Republican Party now has a pro-torture plank on its platform which is being built out of the scrap lumber it has made of the Constitution.
As far as the so-called “torture-lite” concessions supposedly wrung from the Prez by the so-called “liberal Republicans” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), it still depends entirely on what regulations he chooses to write, on his honesty in reporting and on his willingness to actually obey the law as written, none of which he has ever shown any inclination.
Moreover, has any of the national press stopped to consider that we are now speaking about “legalizing” things that before Bush's election would have been deemed truly unspeakable. Even before their brief “rebellion,” which appears to have only been for show, the three Senators were only opposing a relatively small part of Bush’s plan to dismantle human rights and civil liberties across the board by warrantless searches, automatic assumption of guiltiness of suspects, secret prisons, permanent imprisonment without trial, denial of counsel and prevention of judicial review.
For instance, captives are now supposed to finally be able to see the evidence that convicts them, at least a heavily redacted version blacking out anything deemed "classified." But, throughout our entire nation’s history prior to Bush, it was a right, not a privilege, to see it all. Besides, Bush has long demonstrated a preference to go so far as to “classify” almost everything to be “classified,” “top secret” or “confidential-restricted” information. He would probably like to declare public phone books and even street signs classified to “protect national security.” I am indulging in hyperbole, but barely.
In any event, in just five unjust years, we have morphed so far from the Land of Liberty we once were, that the place is almost unrecognizable. How ironic that all the Republican violations of liberty, democracy and freedom are being done in the name of those goals and allegedly being justified as necessary to save them. Shame on the Republicans for doing it. Shame on us for letting them.
How come only former Communist countries like Hungary seem to care enough about election honesty to riot in the streets when it is proven their leader deliberately lied to the voters?
Or, If It’s Too Late for Prophylactics, Then Let’s Use a Morning After Pill
We cannot travel back in time to when the Bush Jr.’s invasion of Iraq could have been averted, but we can choose not to make it worse then it already is. A few suggestions are as follows:
1. Remove the incompetents currently in charge.
a. Fire Rumsfeld and the “yes men” he and the White House ensconced in the upper echelons of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.
b. Impeach Bush and Cheney or turn them over to the International Court of Justice for a trial to see if war crimes have been committed.
c. Require oaths of truthfulness with penalties of perjury hereafter on whether the justifications given for the war to start were honest and apply the same test for all justifications for it continuing.
d. Call back into service the fired and retired generals who accurately predicted costs and results.
2. Change tactics until we can finally complete withdrawal from Iraq.
a. Insure our troops finally have sufficient armor, supplies and men to protect themselves.
b. Insist the Iraqis handle their own problems and wish them luck.
c. Stop using weapons that are likely to result in civilian casualties. Even a “smart bomb” has a wide blast radius.
d. If in doubt in any particular situation, follow US police procedure and allow combatants to escape rather than endanger civilians thereby converting their relatives into militants. It’s more risky for the troops, but safer in the long run by preventing more combatants from being created.
e. Strictly follow the Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution as they were before they were perverted by Bush and his attorney generals.
f. Eliminate all mercenaries who are not bound by such codes and laws.
g. Investigate all corporations for corruption and profiteering. Maybe hang a few as traitors, not merely criminals.
i. partitioning Iraq since its currently borders were arbitrarily from the beginning and imposed by the British after WWI, or
ii. allowing someone else to do the occupation duty if anyone is silly enough, or
iii. doing a “Nixon” by simply declaring victory and pulling out immediately.
3. Adopt neutrality and fairness as Middle East foreign policy.
a. Insist Israel as well as Arabs obey UN resolutions.
b. Act through persuasion or containment. Use military might, especially its destructive capabilities, only as a last resort.
c. Even then, act only with UN or genuine multi national forces including Arab ones.
d. Stop referring to this in “us versus them” themes especially using such connotatively loaded language like calling it a “Crusade.”
e. Rachet down the hyperbole level as for example, stop referring to it as a “War for Civilization.”
4. Regain moral high ground by:
a. Publically abandoning the policy of pre-emptive attacks. Save force for vigorously repelling pre-emptive attacks as we did when we evicted Saddam for invading Quait
b. Do a “Mel Gibson” type apology with more sincerity.
c. See also suggestions 1 through 3 above.
5. Convert to alternate energy sources such as wind and solar so terror states with oil resources are no longer being funded by profits from our oil addiction.
6. Act like we are at genuinely at war.
a. Penalize use of oil.
b. Increase port, container and other transportation inspections
c. Beef up security generally here especially for risky infrastructure, dangerous industrial facilities, schools, large buildings and crowd attractions.
d. Increase the number of military and re-institute the draft.
e. Tax the rich who benefit from it to pay for it.
7. To insure such blunders don’t happen again,
a. Require our leaders to get at least a “C” in history.
b. For future uses of force (at least as to those wars which will be started by our pre-emptive attacks), require a formal declaration of war as required right now by the Constitution so the matter can be debated with honest debate, not the sham we had recently.
Bush keeps pontificating to voters that he is leading what amounts to a “War for Civilization” itself. Since he chose to characterize it that way, why then do we only have a few hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan and Iraq - his declared front lines?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why haven’t we re-instituted the draft? Why aren’t more of the sons and daughters of Republican legislators in uniform? Why aren’t the First Daughters being volunteered for military service? Why didn’t the military have better armor and supplies from the beginning? Why is he bankrupting our National Guard? Why is he spending $150,000 per year for each private company security guard/mercenary for profit when that same amount could pay for five or more loyal privates in the actual Army?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why did Bush have the military kick out so many arabic translators and trained troops for the sole reason they happened to be gay? Why is so much time spent on frivolous issues like that rather than this his “Crusade” of his as he called it?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why has he largely abandoned (except campaign rhetoric) the search for the guy who started it, Osama bin Laden? Why has he had those few generals and strategic planners who make accurate predictions fired? Why has he given the idiots who keep making mistakes Medals of Freedom? Why is the policy equivalent of attacking a machine gun nest head-on over and over trumpeted as “staying the course?” Why does he automatically dismiss all other possible approaches to the problem as “cut and run?” Why didn’t he seek better information before blundering forward in the first place wasting vitally needed troop and assets to fight such a War? Worse, why does he continue to repeat mistakes even why they are forced reluctantly to be admitted?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why are only “yes men” allowed in the Administration? Shouldn’t the Best be chosen regardless of political party affiliation if we are in such a war? Don’t we need everyone’s assistance if Civilization truly is at stake? Why is he polarizing the country rather than seeking unity? Why are consensus, conciliation, cooperation and compromise merely curse words for the present Administration?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why is Bush assisting some countries like India and apparently Pakistan obtain or improve nuclear capabilities knowing they might become enemies in the future as Rumsfeld’s bosom buddy from the ‘80s, Saddam, did for example? Why didn’t Bush attack first our strongest enemies, the ones that actually did have nuclear weapons like North Korea?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why did he decide to do it on our own? Why didn’t he genuinely try to gain allies and bolster alliances instead of ignoring them, insulting them, pissing them off or, for that matter, sexually harassing their Chancellor at G-8 Conferences? For God’s sake, why on earth is he doing things like torturing prisoners which is almost certain to strengthen recruiting of enemies? Why is he approving the killing of women and children with not-so-smart bombs when police swat-like techniques can work without the unnecessary “collateral damage?”
If we want to be deemed civilized ourselves, why did he abandon the Geneva Convention? In fact, if Democracy is the Civilization foundation he claims to be protecting, why does he feel he must destroy it here? Why is he refusing to allow submission of any acts to war crimes tribunals for adjudication? And, why is he periodically advocating use of weapons of mass destruction ourselves?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why does he keep diverting taxes that could fund that war into the hands of the already super rich? Why are primarily his campaign contributors benefitting from his War? And, why aren’t the war profiteers in charge of Halliburton and other companies in trial or jail for the missing millions or the overcharges or corruption? Why is he deliberately allowing our security deficient nuclear and chemical plants to avoid spending money to prevent terrorist attacks? Why are cargo containers entering our harbors and airports still 90% uninspected 5 years after the dangers of not doing so became obvious?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why haven’t we started a “Manhattan Project” to eliminate the need for oil as fuel? With the doubled oil prices primarily enriching our declared enemies, isn’t it the equivalent of being a traitor to keep buying gas hogs? Why aren’t there massive taxes and other disincentives to reduce gas consumption? Come to think of it, why does the War for Civilization only seem to be fought in countries where there are oil supplies?
If this is a “War for Civilization,” why does Bush spend so much time on personal vacations? How did he manage to have time to allegedly read up to 50 books for pleasure last year as claimed?
And finally, why does this War for Civilization claim only seem to come up when it is election time? I imagine you already know the answers.
It’s been five years, but Osama is still at large. Reporters apparently can find and interview him. He practically has an industry in producing videos with himself as star. He is a tall man whose easily identifiable face and beard is plastered on wanted posters just about everywhere. So here we are with the only person alive who has actually admitted to planning and participating in 9/11 and yet Bush, with all his wiretaps of everyone on earth practically, his torturing of prisoners to supposedly gain information, his suspension of nearly every Constitutional right we once had, his spending of literally trillions of dollars and millions of man hours, cannot seem to locate a guy who has kidney failure of all things and is forced to drag around a dialysis machine of all things with him. Why?
Why did Bush turn down an offer by the Taliban just prior to our invasion who offered to deliver him to Bush if Bush would merely supply the same amount of proof that our own courts would require - probable cause. That was back before Osama started bragging about it, but the Taliban never got the chance to see any proof because Bush said hell no and demanded surrender of a sovereign county’s resident or else. Maybe the Taliban were just joking, but why didn’t Bush at least call their bluff before invading and getting a bunch of our troops killed in the process? Would it have hurt to try?
Why did Bush a couple of years ago dismantle the task force that was dedicated to capturing or killing Osama? Bush admits he did so and yet here he is making campaign speeches about how important it is to find him and how Democrats are supposedly soft on terror merely because they want to focus on Osama rather than wasting assets, diverting attention and making fresh enemies in Iraq.
I think you already know. Election time is approaching again and since it has been proven and finally admitted by Bush that Saddam was innocent, at least of 9/11, he is no longer available as a “boogeyman.” And, that is precisely why in Bush’s grand strategy to permanently dismantle our election system it is essentially that Osama remain loose to scare babies and the dim witted.
But, why has Osama so willing cooperated? Osama’s videos seem almost timed to insure that Bush and the Republicans get re-elected. Surely Bush is the Grand Satan, killer of friends and compatriots. Why then help Bush? Osama is many things, but dumb is not one of them.
The answer may be in part that Bush has proven himself over five years either unwilling or incompetent to do anything about Osama. An elected Democrat might be much better and stop wasting time elsewhere. In other words, there is little to fear so long as Bush is in power.
Second, Bush is the best terrorist recruiter Osama ever had. Recruits have grown a hundred fold, both because of success against Bush and Bush’s turning Osama into a media superstar. Bush’s policies continue to inflame passion and Bush promises never to change no matter how many times he is proven wrong.
Third, Bush took out probably the greatest competitor for attention and power in the Arab world by removing Saddam. Evidence is pretty clear that Saddam did not like Osama and would have crushed him as a rival given the chance. Saddam and Osama were from different and, at that time, antagonist branches of Islam. Thanks to Bush, Osama is now the top dog.
Fourth, Bush manages to unite former enemies and turn them against the US. Sunni, Shiite, even Lebanese Christians are now united in their animosity toward the US seeming to hate us more than each other. Least anyone has forgotten, Osama, a Saudi, was originally interested in deposing the royal family in charge of Saudi Arabia. He saw the US as an obstacle in that goal which is why most of the 9/11 hijackers were also Saudi citizens. We were really just a side show, but now we have fed even greater ambitions of Osama to re-unite the whole Arab world. As long as we have a President who stupidly refers to things “Crusades” in the Middle East, Osama will be happy.
Thanks to Bush and his heavy handed methods, he first says he is in favor of democracy and loudly demands it of all. He has come close to destabilizing Egypt, Turkey, certainly Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan as a result. Be careful. Bush is here to “help.” Then, he compounds the problems by proving his hypocrisy when he doesn’t happen to like the results as for example the Hamas and Hezbollah elected in fair elections.
Plus, he has managed to alienate practically all the allies the US once had.
Why wouldn’t Osama want Bush and those who think like him to be “elected” in perpetuity? Bush is the best thing that has happened to Osama.
Bush and bin Laden - neither can survive without the other.