Or, Is Bush Advocating Torture Because He Is Personally Terrified for his own Safety?
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.