Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No turning back

Road rage leads woman to
accidentally set her car on fire
and burn to death.

The more we learn about the Bush/Cheney torture program the more everything seems to make sense. For example, I was wondering why they began developing their “enhanced interrogation techniques” so early in the game, even before they had anyone to torture. It turns out that the aim of the torturing had little to do with learning what prisoners might or might not know, but, rather, with how to get them to confess to a relationship between al Qaida and Saddam Hussein. In fact, it seems they were rather desperate to get such evidence as they needed it to justify their illegal “war” on Iraq, and the more they failed to find such evidence (they had been told by the CIA there was no such evidence) the more frustrated they became and the more they ordered torture.

We now know beyond any reasonable doubt that the orders to torture came from the White House, primarily through Donald Rumsfeld, who personally signed off on the specific methods to be used. I always wondered how it was that a few enlisted personnel could have figured out precisely those techniques that were believed to be the most efficatious against Iraqis, and also how it was those same techniques became so ubiquitous, both in the CIA and the Army. It was obviously because the orders came from the same source. Rumsfeld and others tried to pass the torture off as just a “few bad apples.” It was a few bad apples…at the top.

We also now know there was resistance on the part of some to employing these illegal methods. The FBI, for example, very early in the game, objected to what was being done and were told, in effect, to “butt out,” which they did. We know that one of the legal advisors to Condi Rice wrote a memo suggesting that the legal basis they were using was unsound and was ignored. There was also at least one case where one of the enlisted personnel refused to participate and was transferred at his request. Rumsfeld (and Bush/Cheney and others) had to know they were doing something illegal, but went ahead and did it anyway. At one of their White House meetings discussing these methods Ashcroft reportedly said, “history will not look kindly on this.” When one of the torturers reported that he didn’t believe they could get any further information and wanted to stop the torture he was ordered to continue. As one of the prisoners was waterboarded apparently six times a day for a month, one wonders why this should have been required. I cannot explain it except perhaps as just plain sadism.

There is no doubt now that the lawyers who drew up the legal rationale for torture did so on orders from the White House, and in fact were helped by Condi Rice and Dick the Slimy in what to say. They knew what they wanted to do and what information they needed and the whole scheme was developed with that in mind. This was a conspiracy at the highest level of government to break the law by using faulty legal documents pretending to legalize what they were doing. As far as I know this was completely without precedent, creative perhaps, but illegal as hell. These monsters should never be allowed to escape punishment for the terrible murders and misery they caused for so many.

It appears now that perhaps they will face justice after all. This scenario has played out just as I believe it should have, seemingly choreographed by a master craftsman. First there was the (I think) feigned disinterest in pursuing any form of action, on the grounds of so many other important things to do and the necessity to just look forward. Then Obama said the actual perpetrators of the physical torture should not be prosecuted (thus placating the CIA) even though “acting on orders” has not been an acceptable defense. Then it was suggested that Obama didn’t even want to prosecute the authors and planners of the program. But then, as if they had conveniently forgotten the obvious, it is not up to the President to make such decisions, but, rather, the Attorney General. Then the question was/is will the Attorney General actual do anything. And of course he will because he will have no other choice but to follow the law. If he appoints a truly impartial independent investigator(s), and if they follow the law because they must, Obama and his administration cannot be blamed for partisanship, revenge, retribution, or whatever. This was/is a beautiful scheme that, although politically unwise, had to be done. At this point it is unlikely that this process, having progressed this far, could now be stopped. There will be no turning back. Do I believe Obama had this all figured out in advance? I think so. I think so because I cannot believe that Obama could conscientiously do otherwise. You would have to believe that if Obama truly was opposed to this he would have had to be both immoral and willing to ignore basic principles of law and the Constitution for purely political reasons, and he also would not have released the incriminating memos. Obama is a politician (a consummate one it appears), for sure, but he is also a loyal American and a Constitutional lawyer. What we have (I think) is a conspiracy to bring about justice trumping a conspiracy to violate it. What is the world coming to these days, what with evil being (hopefully) punished and good triumphant? Personally, I will not be happy until I see some of these miserable sadists behind bars. No one could deserve it more.

No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.
Theodore Roosevelt

Rabbits are distinguished from hares by being altricial (having young that are blind and hairless).

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