Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, Government, History, Homeland Security, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:21 am

When the “Torture Memos” were released a couple of months ago, President Obama took what I thought was the correct course; acknowledge the episode in our history, condemn it, pledge that it won’t happen again, and move on into the future:

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence.

I still believe this is exactly the correct course of action, albeit with one caveat; investigate this “painful chapter in our history” so we can discover how this happened.

It is obvious to any rational, thinking, fair minded individual that the Bush Administration did not undertake this torture regime lightly, nor did they carry it out for self-aggrandizing purposes, nor did they believe they were in the wrong. Their motives were to protect the country - as it turns out, at too high a cost. They were not looking for political advantage. They were looking for information.

There is a dispute over whether they got anything of value from their illegal actions, but using hindsight to judge the torture regime purely on efficacious grounds is nonsense. In their view, they had to try. That was the whole point of what even they acknowledged several times was shaky legal activity.

I don’t happen to think it was that close of a call legally but others have made some cogent arguments that the Bush administration did indeed walk a fine legal line. I reject those arguments as sophistry because they are given “after the fact” as justification for actions already taken. There were enough lawyers in the Bush Justice Department who knew better and protested prior to the illegal torture that there should be little doubt that the fig leaf of legality supplied by Yoo and others was inadequate to the situation.

Surely, there must be some kind of investigation into how the Bushies arrived at the decision that what they were doing wasn’t torture despite ample evidence that it was. Their overriding argument appears to be that “it really didn’t hurt that much” because they took precautions (such as limiting the time a prisoner would be forced to undergo waterboarding) and that the pain they inflicted left few marks and healed in a matter of days.

Once the psychological barrier against torture was broken, it appears that things got out of control from there. So yes, let’s investigate. But prosecute?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is leaning toward appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate whether CIA personnel tortured terrorism suspects after Sept. 11, 2001, setting the stage for a conflict with administration officials who would prefer the issues remain in the past, according to three sources familiar with his thinking.

Naming a prosecutor to probe alleged abuses during the darkest period in the Bush era would run counter to President Obama’s oft-repeated desire to be “looking forward and not backwards.” Top political aides have expressed concern that such an investigation might spawn partisan debates that could overtake Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda.

The White House successfully resisted efforts by congressional Democrats to establish a “truth and reconciliation” panel. But fresh disclosures have continued to emerge about detainee mistreatment, including a secret CIA watchdog report, recently reviewed by Holder, highlighting several episodes that could be likened to torture.

Holder’s decision could come within weeks, around the same time the Justice Department releases an ethics report about Bush lawyers who drafted memos supporting harsh interrogation practices, the sources said. The legal documents spell out in sometimes painstaking detail how interrogators were allowed to subject detainees to simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, wall slamming and confinement in small, dark spaces.

Prosecutions would no doubt please some on the left who want a pound of flesh from Bush administration officials. But is the administration really that keen on reigning in Holder and preventing him from looking at this “dark chapter in our history?”

Methinks the Obama administration doth protest too much. A distraction like this is just what the doctor ordered to take people’s minds off the fact that the stim bill isn’t working, that there is a growing call from Obama’s left flank for a second stimulus measure, that his cap and trade bill is in big trouble in the senate, and that it is far from certain that his his health care plan will come out the way he wants - with a public option that will be paid for without taxing the middle class.

Rallying his base to the cause of prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture will also take their minds off how he has betrayed them on a host of issues from gay rights to his agreement to indefinite detentions of terrorists.

So might this unleashing of Holder on Bush era torture crimes be nothing more than a distraction from the woeful economy that is resisting the president’s importunings to improve? Obama wouldn’t be the first president to use the tactic and he wouldn’t be the last if that is his game.

A good old fashioned investigation with strategic leaks and the spectacle of Bushies marching into the Justice Department to testify would serve as excellent bait for the media who no doubt would go overboard in their coverage of the hated Bush administration’s torture policies.

Bread and circuses worked for the Roman pro-consuls who used the spectacles to distract a populace constantly on the verge of starvation.

Why not Obama?


  1. Obama is certainly subtle enough and ruthless enough to proceed. My own suspicion is that this is more in the nature of a brushback pitch: a warning to the GOP that pain can be inflicted.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 7/12/2009 @ 9:48 am

  2. Torture, what torture? US Constitutional rights to illegal combatant, foreign nationals?

    A much better decision than Gitmo would have been to quickly execute jihadis.

    Is the “distraction” a Barry al Hussein strategem? You bet it is. When national unemployment hits 11 or 12%, our Alien in Chief just might be run out of office.

    His grow government, scorn the private sector will result in a worsening economy, which we are already seeing. Barry can’t change course, for his life-long mission is to “even out, spread wealth around”, etc. which necessitates tying up private enterprise and imposing more and more government control, which benefits Barry’s main constituency, the less productive, less educated, less successful.

    Kiss the stock market goodbye anytime soon.

    Say “Hello China. Goodbye USA.”

    Comment by rssg — 7/12/2009 @ 10:24 am

  3. Look, I’m sorry to babble on and on and I don’t wish to engage in hyperbolic name calling but……..

    I know Rick is a “thinking man’s moderate” and I’m not here to quarrel; it’s your site after all.

    Is Barry a liberal? Yes but let’s be honest, he’s more than a mere liberal. He’s a far left liberal, which borders socialist. Among the worse actions that Barry has performed in his first six months is bullying Chrysler shareholders out of their rightful, lawful stock in the company in order to expediate a probably unconstitutional selling of the company to Fiat and the UAW. Contract law was thrown to the wind.

    Should we start calling him Barack Hugo Obama? This economy won’t recover anytime soon. In order to grow an economy, you have to first create a climate that is conducive to economic activity - something that is foreign to Barry. Obama is a classic, textbook “central planner”. A Know It All, with a cabinet of Know It All’s, who 99%, have zero business experience, zero military experience, even like Barry, zero experience simply working in the private sector, in a “normal” job. All of Barry’s jobs were taxpayer funded, government jobs. Government jobs do not create wealth, they only shift money around.

    We are being led by Fabian Socialists, who along with the media and the Commentariat Class - elites everyone of them, have nothing but contempt for ordinary Americans. Few of these people have ever really worked in their lives and it shows. Most of the Beltway “men” are quite feminized and soft.

    We are screwed……..

    Comment by rssg — 7/12/2009 @ 10:45 am

  4. rssg:

    This China ascendant thing is getting ridiculous.

    1) China has an economy somewhat smaller than Japan, somewhat larger than Germany. The UK and France together have an economy bigger than China. The EU taken together is vastly bigger than China with about a third of the population.

    2) China has internal tensions sufficient that they had to bail out on the G-8 — a terrible loss of face — so that Hu could rush home. You’ll notice that doesn’t happen in the US or Japan or Europe.

    3) If we’re in hock to China, don’t forget they are in hock to us. We are their Citibank: too big to fail. They’ve invested in us and if the dollar goes down, they go down with it.

    4) As a military power China has nothing but problems. Our “neighborhood” is Mexico and Canada. Theirs is Russia, India, the various ‘Stans, Vietnam and North Korea. They hold a terrible hand: unpredicatable borders in every direction, access to the oceans that is restricted by US-allied choke points, a two-generations-ago military technology, and an officer and NCO pool with virtually no combat experience.

    Now, it may be that China is a competitor for superpower status somewhere down the road. But not today, not next year, not next decade.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 7/12/2009 @ 11:00 am

  5. Obama is certainly subtle enough and ruthless enough to proceed. My own suspicion is that this is more in the nature of a brushback pitch: a warning to the GOP that pain can be inflicted.

    Michael, you forgot to add that he is DUMB and DESPERATE ENOUGH to do something like that.

    Brushback pitch ??

    Better read this first

    Did you know that the Clinton White house was doing renditions with the Egyptian Mukbaraat in the 90’s ? And do you know who the WH Chief of Staff was at that time ? Yep, its the same CIA chief as now - Leon Panetta.

    These terrorists were sent to Egypt for the sole purpose of torturing the crap out of them - not to make nice with their lawyers.

    If Obama wants to play a game of chicken here, he better be sure what he is doing. He resisted prosecuting Bush officials for two basic reasons

    A. He himself wanted the powers that the previous Administration had, if in case there is another terrorist attack on this country.

    B. If he starts digging dirt about what the Bush Administration did,he knew that he would find some Democrat party skeletons in it as well. Does he want to go there ?

    After watching Obama talk and talk about the “fierce moral urgency” of restoring America’s “moral standing” and “leadership” in the world AND his ACTUAL ACTIONS, you should know better about him.

    Here’s Obama’s latest 180 - Indefinite Detention !

    Here is Rachel Maddow saying “Shame on you Mr.President”

    And we are going into the “torture policies” of the Bush Administration ?? Really??

    When you have lost Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, you dont have much hope - with what face do you now say that you want to investigate “torture policies” ?? To restore America’s “moral standing” ??

    Pain can be inflicted, Michael - the worst of which is of the self inflicted kind.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 7/12/2009 @ 1:02 pm

  6. If I told you Holder’s decision has to do with more than a hundred detainees tortured to death — that innocent men were literally tortured to death — would it alter your thinking?

    It doesn’t matter whether the Bushites’ motive was national security; the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

    Comment by Matt Osborne — 7/12/2009 @ 1:24 pm

  7. Excellent post, Rick - you are right on the money about this being used as a distraction from what every reasonable recognizes is a flailing economy.

    Whatever “benefits” that Keynesian stimulus can bring to the economic picture in this country,it will take some time to play out - which is exactly why there were conservatives who advocated a temporary suspending of the payroll tax - an immediate boost to the average worker’s earnings and ability to pay the bills/spend/save etc

    But when the stimulus was passed in such a rush as though the world was going to come crashing down if it was not done within a space of days, it only led to heightened and unnecessary expectations.

    Let’s face it - these people KNEW that they were favoring their patrons in the Democrat party and still sold the stimulus as a job “creation/saving” program. What else could they do?

    But reality hits you in the face and it is rather painful - but Obama now tries to divert attention away from this mess by focusing on the one man without whom he would have had zero chance of becoming President. George W Bush.

    Bush is clearly the gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats. The question now is, for how long ? You cannot stretch this for the next 12 months, can you ? Because thats how long it is going to take for ANY SMALL recovery, let alone meaningful one.

    Bush, better get lawyered up - otherwise, you are going down like a sucker !

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 7/12/2009 @ 1:31 pm

  8. Torture, what torture? There was no torture. Torture is something that physically or mentally gives permanent harm. Give rights to terrorists on the battle field. What baloney. Water boarding is not harmful in any permanent way. Blowing up and or crashing planes is. I was in Viet Nam. If our soldiers are required to give Miranda rights then there will be no POW’s. If I were there and in command there would be an understanding that we take no prisoners. I would never allow my troops to be endangered by lawyers. What the heck if an American is captured alive he is in for hell before he dies. I give what my men take.You armchair lawyers have no idea what it’s like.

    Comment by Jim Johnson — 7/12/2009 @ 1:32 pm

  9. 50/50 it’s a ruse. Keep the heat on the Bush Administration, raw meat to the faithful,a theme in various guises that serves as a responsibility transfer mechanism,an exercise important to Obama in the discharge of his own manifest hostility, and a PR sop to the media in their loyal attempts to cover for both the barrage of horrible policy choices, and displays of some remarkable incompetence.

    But 50/50 also means that Holder, who by the way works for Obama, may be serious. If this boob, Obama, not Holder, is serious it could bring down his administration. That is, the boob might wind up emasculating himself to the point where his approval ratings go down to coal mine levels.

    Comment by johnt — 7/12/2009 @ 1:36 pm

  10. I agree in general with your post but, there are three statements you make that are not correct:

    1. It was not torture.

    2. “Their motives were to protect the country - as it turns out, at too high a cost.”

    What cost would that be? I have yet to see any cost proven by anyone, it is all supposition.

    3. “There is a dispute over whether they got anything of value from their illegal actions”

    I have seen zero court rulings saying it was illegal and for every legal expert that says it was illegal there are just as many to say it was not, the same goes for the “anything useful” canard.

    It seems to me which side you are on in this depends on your politics as much as the law so no I disagree it should not be investigated if for no other reason is it would become a circus.

    Comment by Oldcrow — 7/12/2009 @ 1:41 pm

  11. Er, just in case you guys weren’t watching TV waterboarding is TORTURE, at least according to the US ARMY!

    Not only did the US prosecute Japanese soldiers for it after WW2 we even prosecuted a few American soldiers for it as well.

    The Bush 43 admin made a policy of legally skirting the law; seeing what they could get away with. And if they could redefine waterboarding as not torture; then it was OK!

    Bush 43 made a mockery of the Justice dept; law; and established legal procedures.

    Comment by Commie Stooge — 7/12/2009 @ 1:50 pm

  12. I wish people would stop trotting out the Japanese soldier nonsense. 1. I would be a month’s pay that in the indictment of this Japanese soldier, water-boarding was the least of his crimes. 2. There is a difference between uniformed military and intelligence. 3. What about the matter of context? Again I would bet a month’s pay that in the case of this Japanese soldier it was some poor private who had been in a POW camp for months and could not possibly have any information. Unfortunately in the case of this universal Japanese soldier, it was most likely for sport.

    McCain says waterboarding is torture. Two other men who were in the same camp say it is not. So, there is disagreement

    Comment by Mark_0454 — 7/12/2009 @ 2:14 pm

  13. Hey Stooge, you read your Huffington Post blurbs too carelessly……….

    We prosecuted Japanese officers for war crimes who did perform water torture but the Huff forgot to tell you, those Japanese officers we tried and convicted for DOZENS of other, much more serious war crimes - the water torture being the least of their crimes.

    Geez, your knowledge of history is as slip-shot as al Hussein’s knowledge of history. Along with me, any WW2 history experts out there? al Husseins has mentioned WW2 three or four times and each, repeat EACH time he was way off base in his telling of the story. Bet ol’ Barry learned his WW2 history from Rev. Wright and Screwie Louie Farahkan.

    Comment by rssg — 7/12/2009 @ 2:15 pm

  14. Commie Stooge Said:
    1:50 pm

    Er, just in case you guys weren’t watching TV waterboarding is TORTURE, at least according to the US ARMY!

    Not only did the US prosecute Japanese soldiers for it after WW2 we even prosecuted a few American soldiers for it as well.

    Not a single one of these statements is true, you really should do some research and avoid selective comprehension.

    Comment by Oldcrow — 7/12/2009 @ 2:16 pm

  15. And by the way it was not water boarding it was called the “water cure” by the Japanese and it in no way resembles the methods used in enhanced interrogation.

    Comment by Oldcrow — 7/12/2009 @ 2:18 pm

  16. Japanese officers were prosecuted for greivous war crimes of blatantly murdering civilians in the thousands, as well as routinely, regularly torturing American, British, Australian, Filipino, Chinese POWs. Japan was not a signer of the Geneva Convention.

    al Hussein, Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy…. all lawyers.

    Bush, Reagan, McCain, Palin…..not lawyers.

    Hmmm, me thinks I prefer the second group.

    Remember folks…….Barry al Hussein said in Cairo: He takes it upon himself to be the defender of Islam against any “negative stereotyping” in the West and in our country. Is is the role of the US President to be the “defender” of a faith? Especially one that isn’t just a faith but a political ideology as well?

    Just something for you to ponder…….

    Comment by rssg — 7/12/2009 @ 2:25 pm

  17. excellent post and thoughts.

    but i believe a point is being missed here.

    what kind of people promise not to prosecute these individuals then for the sake of political expediency turn back on that promise???

    ole king hussein is putting the lives and futures of these great americans (whose efforts kept another attack from happening in our country) on the chopping block as an attempt at cya. nothing more.

    whether they’re actually prosecuted or not is now irrelevant. if making someone wear panties on their head is “torture”, what is the threat of prosecution by holder and the justice dept. for no other reason than to divert attention??

    Comment by finebammer — 7/12/2009 @ 2:26 pm

  18. [...] choice to use controversial methods to extricate information from terrorists but says this: Prosecutions would no doubt please some on the left who want a pound of flesh from Bush [...]

    Pingback by Focus People: It’s Health Care & Cap-n-Trade « Blog Entry « Dr. Melissa Clouthier — 7/12/2009 @ 2:31 pm

  19. Conducting a criminal investigation is high stakes poker that Obama will likely lose. If the investigation produces no indictments, the pro-Cheney crowd will say ‘I told you so!’ and the controversial techniques like waterboarding would be politically legitimized. On the other hand, if people are indicted or even convicted, there’s a strong chance the public would sympathize with the (overzealous) wrong doers whose motives were simply to protect the American people. Either way, Obama could be perceived as prosecuting those who disagree with him on policy — something that won’t sit well with most Americans.

    Comment by Doug King — 7/12/2009 @ 2:58 pm

  20. Waterboarding is NOT torture. Manmade disaster operatives get better treatment than our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines receive. I’ve been through the Navy’s SERE school, and I don’t consider what they did to ush as torture.

    Listening to liberals blather, now that’s torture.

    Comment by O-Dub — 7/12/2009 @ 3:02 pm

  21. I was originally against torture prosecutions. I favored a truth commission.

    But the sheer idiocy spilled out onto the page in the above comments makes me think prosecution might be in order.

    After all, if it’s not torture there will be no convictions. So the torturers . . . excuse me, enhanced interrogators . . . would be cleared and vindicated.


    Either way, let’s get it all out there. All of it.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 7/12/2009 @ 3:05 pm

  22. Hear me out. I had a kid that got in trouble with a female teacher at school. He was caught due to text messaging, but the parents refused to prosecute because they feared what would come out if ALL the text messages were open to scrutiny.

    I have to believe since Pelosi is tap dancing around, that there is far more damaging material against sitting Democrats than Republicans. Most of the ones active are either no longer in power or have been relegated to minor roles. But on every Congressional security committee, there were high powered Democrats at every meeting. If their constituents discover that they knew what was going on and said nothing, then I don’t know if they will keep the tenuous support of those who voted just on that issue. Likewise, when the full extent of the alleged torture comes out and is compared to say, the YouTube beheading of an American citizen, there will be a price to pay. See, Americans have for too long seen this war as remote and not directly affecting their lives. Seeing towers fall again-something the media has refused to show since 9/11 under the guise of mock sensitivity-will educate an entire section of young voters who were never allowed to see that footage.

    So while they may be rattling swords to get the media distracted, I don’t think they really want ALL of the information laid out in the press. “Sound and fury signifying nothing” should be the motto of this administration and the Magician in Chief.

    Comment by Ellen K — 7/12/2009 @ 3:28 pm

  23. .. and the other forms of torture …

    And that’s why I’m so sceptical of these models, which have nothing to do with science or empiricism but are about torturing the data till it finally confesses.

    … and it makes you question …

    “I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture,” Obama said

    Comment by Neo — 7/12/2009 @ 3:45 pm

  24. 1.For the idiot who thinks what the US did did not cause permanent psycholgical damage at least two of our (Aus)citizens beg to differ.
    2. I agree with Reynolds, get it all out there, the sheer number of times specific people where water boarded, the period this was over, eg: there never was a ticking bomb scenario, which people weren’t, and while we’re at it lets find out who knew about the rendidtions.

    Comment by yoyo — 7/12/2009 @ 3:50 pm

  25. ‘Scuse spelling.

    Comment by yoyo — 7/12/2009 @ 3:51 pm

  26. .For the idiot who thinks what the US did did not cause permanent psycholgical damage at least two of our (Aus)citizens beg to differ.

    Hey Aussie, try investigating the racists in your own country before you start digging for dirt in America.

    All the families of Indian students who have had their children killed/injured by murderous attacks would appreciate if you found out why so many of you Aussies are racist as hell.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 7/12/2009 @ 4:01 pm

  27. @Nagarajuan Sivakumar:

    What in the hell does that have to do with what yoyo said?

    “X never happened!”
    “Here is evidence of X.”
    “. . . you’re a poopy-face!”

    You do understand that “so-and-so did worse” is an implicit admission that what is being discussed is in fact a bad thing, right? You don’t go to “Hitler did worse” to defend opening a homeless shelter.

    (in your response, please focus on the use of the name Hitler, make very clear that you didn’t use the name Hitler, and condescendly insult me for claiming you said something you didn’t. Make sure to completely and totally ignore the obvious metaphor, as that might force you to actually adress the issue. kthx)

    @ “Nobody was prosecuted for just waterboarding” crowd:

    Nobody was prosecuted in WW2 for gassing an individual Jew — so that’s okay?

    . . . oh, and yes they have:

    “Cases of waterboarding have occurred on U.S. soil, as well. In 1983, Texas Sheriff James Parker was charged, along with three of his deputies, for handcuffing prisoners to chairs, placing towels over their faces, and pouring water on the cloth until they gave what the officers considered to be confessions. The sheriff and his deputies were all convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.”

    “It’s not torture because they’re not POWs”
    Your logic (haha) is a wreck. whether someone is a POW doesn’t determine whether they are tortured — their status as POWs determines whether the torture is a war crime. If I kidnap and torture you, you’re not a POW (since I’m not at war with you) — so you wern’t tortured?

    “I was waterboarded in SERE so its not torture”
    Wonder why you were waterboarded in SERE? Were the instructors bored that day? Or was it so you would know what it was like WHEN YOU WERE CAPTURED AND TORTURED?
    You went through it. He ran it — who should I think has a better concept of its purpose?

    Comment by busboy33 — 7/12/2009 @ 5:14 pm

  28. I would like to see an investigation or a truth commission, but I frankly doubt its efficacy. I think that an investigation would be a circus, but prosecutions would be a three ring circus.

    I think that Rick has summed up what happened pretty well, and we all have a good idea as to who ordered what and when. Let’s let history judge these actions.

    The next time that we as a nation face an attack and a war, there will no doubt be some more slippery characters willing to bend the intent of the law and the needs of national security to justify whatever the President wants. There’s little value in attempting to find culprits and get to the root cause of the problem. In this kind of situation President can do whatever he wants, after which his aides can all conveniently forget what exactly happened.

    I’d be a bit curious to see if Libby turned out to be the fall guy again.

    One can take some solace that the current woes of the Republican Party can be traced in some measure to the number of people who associate them with torture. That’s the type of consequence which may affect whether this happens again.

    Comment by Postagoras — 7/12/2009 @ 5:19 pm

  29. None of you folks, the host excepted, know what you’re talking about. Pipe down and show some self respect.

    Comment by Mason — 7/12/2009 @ 5:27 pm

  30. One can take some solace that the current woes of the Republican Party can be traced in some measure to the number of people who associate them with torture. That’s the type of consequence which may affect whether this happens again.

    Well for clearing up this misconception ALONE, this country needs a truth commission - where were all these moralists when Clinton was outsourcing torture to the Egyptians ? in the mid-90’s ?

    Both political parties have supported what is going on implicitly or explicitly - and both of them have tried to use it to their political advantage explicitly and implicitly.

    A good old fashioned circus is probably what is needed. Let’s start from the Clinton years and see how many Clinton officials took part in extraordinary renditions to Egypt and elsewhere.

    And while we are at, lets figure out what Sandy Berger was doing stuffing intelligence material into his socks and when caught, had to quit from the Kerry campaign in 2004.

    Lets then get to Bush and evil company who irreparably harmed America. And then lets come to Obama who in the fierce moral urgency of now has backed Bush policies to the hilt.

    There is no short supply of astounding naivete in this country.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 7/12/2009 @ 6:12 pm

  31. @Mason:

    You are indeed right. We don’t know what we are talking about. Maybe we should find out so we as American Citizens can become better informed. I wonder how we could find out about all this stuff . . . maybe some sort of committee that would determine what the truth is? They could call it a Truth Commission possibly.

    Nah. Better to blindly trust your government. That’s why you unreservedly trust and support Obama, right?

    Comment by busboy33 — 7/12/2009 @ 6:43 pm

  32. A really well reasoned article. I’m sorry to say that I disagree, but at least you were writing it sincerely and weren’t just flat out lying like a lot of right wing blogs do (I may have to come back and read more of your stuff :) I’m not in the tank for either one of these scumbag parties, but I will tell you that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney (with his neocon buddies, Perle, Wolfowitz) played lifelong loser Bush Jr. like a fiddle. It’s always been about the oil, boys and girls.
    And torture is illegal and we did it- there’s absolutely no way around that and to pretend otherwise is just juvenile. I saw torture first hand in Nam and nothing was accomplished whatsoever. You get confessions from scaring a man, not intelligence. You individuals that automatically rush to defend your party from some tribalistic reflex are just as bad as the “Obamabots”. Blind obedience and unquestioning loyalty is NOT what the Founding Fathers intended for the free citizen to be. Always question authority, be it “your” team or “theirs”. After all, they’re all just damned politicians.
    I didn’t fight for this country to come home and see how cowards have taken over the controls. We’re supposed to be better than the people we fight, but if we lower ourselves to barbarity, what’s the friggin’ point?

    “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” - George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

    Art. 16. Military necessity does not admit of cruelty - that is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. … in general, military necessity does not include any act of hostility which makes the return to peace unnecessarily difficult. (Lincoln Administration’s General Order 100)

    Convention Against Torture — signed by Reagan in 1988, ratified in 1994 by Senate:
    Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (Article 4) . . . . The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
    No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . . . An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

    Geneva Conventions, Article 146:
    Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.

    Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, Article 8:
    The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.

    U.S. Constitution, Article VI:
    [A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.

    Well… there you have it, boys. I didn’t make a word of it up. You have two Republican Presidents and the Founding President of these United States all saying that torture isn’t worth a damned.
    And yes, G.W. Bush Jr. was the worst offender this country’s ever seen. If Democrats are complicit, by all means put them in a dock too, but these war crimes are in need of investigation and if proven guilty- convicted to the furthest extent of the law, up and including execution. That’s what the Rule of Law (courtesy of the Magna Carta) means. I enjoyed your article, nonetheless. Good show.

    Comment by Napewaste — 7/12/2009 @ 6:59 pm

  33. [...] Administration’s choice to use controversial methods to extricate information from terrorists but says this: Prosecutions would no doubt please some on the left who want a pound of flesh from Bush [...]

    Pingback by Dirty Democrats » Focus People: It’s Health Care & Cap-n-Trade — 7/12/2009 @ 7:05 pm

  34. busboy33 said:

    What in the hell does that have to do with what yoyo said?

    Heh. It’s amazing how often I’ve asked myself that same question.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 7/13/2009 @ 12:02 am

  35. All that matters now is the economy, which Obama began to own after his massive spending orgies. Needless to say, the waste and graft have produced nothing discernible and may make things worse in the out years. The congressional Dems, in effect, were thrown under the bus as they will feel the voters’ wrath first in 2010. But my guess is that unless things begin to turn around rather soon, Obama will not be re-elected despite his sacrifice of his fellow party members.

    Pelosi and company have not learned the first rule of holes. Not that it matters, really, because there is precious little bread to pass out at their circus. The fate of congressional Dems are joined at the hip with Obama on the economy, and no amount of distraction will change that nasty reality. People are event-driven now. Transparent distraction only will make things worse for the Dems unless there is some economic turn-around no one believes will happen.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 7/13/2009 @ 9:24 am

  36. @jackson:

    “All that matters now is the economy, which Obama began to own after his massive spending orgies.”

    So if he hadn’t spent the funds, you would blame Bush?

    “Transparent distraction only will make things worse for the Dems unless there is some economic turn-around no one believes will happen.”

    Why is this a transparent distraction? Why couldn’t it be possible that this new interest in prosecution stems from new evidence that crimes were indeed committed? Did you read the 5OIG report? The ony other possible explanation for what happened, other than intentional criminality, is Reckless/Negligence-level incompetency and stupidity.
    And now its looking like Cheney deliberately ordered the CIA not to brief Congress, which is (a) clearly a contravention of Constitutional power and (b) clearly illegal.

    I know Repubs have grown quite comfortable in their “I’m such a poor downtrodden victim” costumes lately, but is there really anybody here that thinks no crimes were committed? Honestly?

    Comment by busboy33 — 7/13/2009 @ 4:19 pm

  37. [...] great; things are working exactly as they should.” Aware that his ship is in trouble, he tries to distract the masses with the reliable old, “look at Bush!; see how bad Bush was!” [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress — A First Things Blog — 7/14/2009 @ 11:57 am

  38. I would have no problem with a full investigation that might lead to prosecution of Bush Administration officials, as long as national security secrets are not disclosed and we can ensure that President Bush and members of his administration get a fair trial. Frankly at this time I don’t think it is likely they can get a fair trial. Also, we would have to ensure that this is a serious investigation and not a witch hunt.

    Comment by B.Poster — 7/16/2009 @ 8:42 pm

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