Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Get Mad

Okay, we're going to bring down the mood a little.  There have been few news reports on the Senate Armed Services Committee report just issued regarding torture.  Before the details, let me make it clear that this report was jointly issued by Carl Levin and John McCain, and that there were zero dissents on the committee made up of 13 Democrats and 12 Republicans.  This is not some Democratic hatchet job.

Remember Abu Gharib? The pictures of the soldiers posing with naked and hooded prisoners who were in torture positions?  That occurred in late 2003 and early 2004, with top brass "officially" reviewing the evidence on May 12th of 2004 before proceeding to court martial several soldiers for their actions.

As noted at that time, the actions that the soldiers took violated the Geneva Conventions, of which the U.S. was an original signatory.  In addition, the War Crimes Act of 1996 made violations of the Geneva Convention a felony under U.S. law.

So read the following outtakes from the Levin/McCain report and ask yourself why Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, and Rumsfeld should not be prosecuted.

- "On February 7, 2002 President Bush signed a memorandum stating that the Third Geneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and concluding that Taliban detainees were not entitle to prisoner of war status or the legal protections afforded by the Third Geneva Convention."

- "In December 2001...the Dept of Defense General Counsel's Office had already solicited information on detainee 'exploitation' from the JPRA, an agency whose expertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques considered illegal under the Geneva Convention."

- "On August 1, 2002,....the Dept. of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel issued two legal opinions. The opinions were issued after consultation with senior Admin. attorneys, including then White-House counsel Alberto Gonzales... The memo's conclusions were that 'torture law doesn't apply if you act under the color of presidential authority.'

- "On August 1, 2002....the second memo..responded to a request from the CIA, addressing the legality of specific interrogation tactics. ...a publicly relaeased CIA document indicates that waterboarding was among those analyzed and approved."

- "On December 2, 2002, Secratary Rumsfeld signed Mr. Haynes recommendation [approving 15 different torture techniques], adding a handwritten note that referred to limits proposed in the memo on the use of stress positions: 'I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?'

- "On September 14, 2003 the Commander of CJTF-7, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez issued the first interrogation SOP that authorized interrogators in Iraq to use stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogs..."

The reports conclusions can be summarized as:
1. Before Abu Ghraib, The President made a written determination that the U.S. would not abide by the Geneva Conventions
2. Before Abu Ghraib, Members of the Cabinet and other senior officials were in meetings where specific torture techniques were discussed.
3. Rumsfelds authorization of torture led directly to abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay as well as contibuting to the use of the abusive techniques at Abu Ghraib.

Here's the quote to mull over - "The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own."

Congratulations, you live in a country where the most senior officials in the government authorized your country to violate the standards of civilization.  They stripped down human beings, urinated on them, let dogs urinate on them, hung them from their arms, forced them to go without sleep for days, made them stand for hours on end, put bags on their heads and beat them, and deliberately kicked detainees to break their arms.

Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, etc.. made a deliberate decision to torture human beings. For what? Ask any experienced law enforcement official, and they will tell you that no useful information is ever gathered from tortured individuals. They will say anything (i.e. they will make up stories) to make the pain stop.  The information, if any is actually obtained, is useless. 

These are small-minded, disgusting individuals who shredded their own morality in order to satisfy their desire to seem "tough" and to extract some kind of revenge of 9/11. 

I for one don't want revenge.  If there is anything I want, it would be to actually exert some effort to capture the man responsible for 9/11.  That has nothing to do with Iraq, and it is absolutely unnecessary to sacrifice fundamental human rights to achieve this.  After we finally get bin Laden, I want him to go on trial and spend the rest of his life in jail, next door to some crack-dealer from Compton.

If you think this torture was justified to "defend the homeland" or "to keep real Americans safe" or "to defend freedom" or "to get them before they get us" or "because they would torture us", then you have missed the entire point of Western Civilization and the United States of America.  I would suggest that you find a nice home in North Korea, or perhaps Saudi Arabia.

Bush and his cronies and puppet-masters degraded the honor of the U.S.A. with every one of these unspeakable acts. Good riddance to his entire administration.

Now, will we do the right thing and actually put them in jail?

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