Friday, July 25, 2008

Incompetent Fool

Incompetent Fool
Originally uploaded by bobster1985
The picture to the right is an extremely accurate one, consisting of all the soldiers killed until the NYT piece on March 20. The accompanying editorial is worth a read in its entirety: log onto the archives of the New York Times.

The New York Times

March 20, 2008
Mission Still Not Accomplished

It has been five years since the United States invaded Iraq and the world watched in horror as what seemed like a swift victory by modern soldiers and 21st-century weapons became a nightmare of spiraling violence, sectarian warfare, insurgency, roadside bombings and ghastly executions. Iraq’s economy was destroyed, and America’s reputation was shredded in the torture rooms of Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prisons.

These were hard and very costly lessons for a country that had emerged from the cold w ar as the world’s sole remaining superpower. Shockingly, President Bush seems to have learned none of them.

George W. Bush: A More Tortured Richard M. Nixon?

We Can Only Hope!

July 24, 1974 - Watergate scandal: the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

"I am not a crook " "I did not have sex with that woman." "We do not torture."

Three lies: one from Richard M. Nixon , another from Bill Clinton, and the third from George W. Bush. Spanning thirty-four years. Lies with one very significant difference: in the end, it was Nixon who acted with honor.

Bush will not.

The irony, of course, is that Bush's lie is the most serious of the three. Nixon's concerned the Watergate break-in, questionable campaign contributions and conspiracy to keep them from the public. Clinton's was about sex. Bush's was about American honor ...and war crimes.

From today's The Washington Independent:

One of the most important building blocks in the Bush administration’s apparatus of torture became public today. An Aug. 1, 2002 memorandum from the Justice Dept.’s Office of Legal Counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency instructed the agency’s interrogators on specific interrogation techniques for use on Al Qaeda detainees in its custody. Most of the 17-page memo is blacked out and unreadable. But at least one of those techniques is waterboarding, the process of pouring water into the mouth and nostrils of a detainee under restraint until drowning occurs.

That’s certainly how it was viewed in the Nuremberg era. As the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in 1944: “There have been, and are now, certain foreign nations with governments … which convict individuals with testimony obtained by police organizations possessed of an unrestrained power to seize persons suspected of crimes against the state, hold them in secret custody, and wring from them confessions by physical or mental torture. So long as the Constitution remains the basic law of our Republic, America will not have that kind of government."

But America DOES have that kind of government now, doesn't it? We're holding people "suspected of crimes against the state", "hold them in secret custody" and "wring confessions by physical or mental torture."

Someone has to be accountable for all of those things and more, like "WMD lies" and extreme secrecy in foreign and national affairs. But don't look to Bush, because the buck will never stop with him. No accountability, no resignation. In their place we will encounter the obstinacy usually attributed to a petulant little boy. A boy who has very little conscience and who laughs at those who do.

So here's a CNN piece on torture. Please view it. It's ten minutes long, but it will stay with you for a long time.