Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Bush, not soldiers, responsible for detainee torture

12 December 2008

Bush, not soldiers, responsible for detainee torture

captain-obvious.jpg
The Senate Armed Services Committee sends out Captain Obvious to announce the verdict

From the New York Times:

The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Thursday.

The Senate Armed Services Committee report concludes that harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA and the U.S. military were directly adapted from the training techniques used to prepare special forces personnel to resist interrogation by enemies that torture and abuse prisoners. The techniques included forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, and until 2003, waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning.

The report is the result of a nearly two-year investigation that directly links President Bush's policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legal memos on torture, and interrogation rule changes with the abuse photographed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq four years ago. Much of the report remains classified. Unclassified portions of the report were released by the committee Thursday.

Administration officials publicly blamed the abuses on low-level soldiers-- the work ''of a few bad apples.'' Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., called that ''both unconscionable and false.''

The report comes as the Bush administration continues to delay and in some cases bar members of Congress from gaining access to key legal documents and memos about the detainee program, including an August 2002 memo that evaluated whether specific interrogation techniques proposed to be used by the CIA would constitute torture.
For at least five years, it's been clear to everyone with half a brain that torture has been the official policy of the Bush administration. They as much as announced it when they established a prison at Guantanamo and declared that they were not required to follow either American law or the Geneva Conventions when dealing with prisoners there. They openly declared their intention to send prisoners to nations like Syria for the purpose of having them tortured, and the barred the Red Cross from inspecting prison facilities and from interviewing prisoners. Abuses at Abu Ghraib occurred after General Geoffrey D. Miller was transferred from Guantanamo to Iraq to "Gitmoize" the prison.

We knew that Bush was authorizing torture before we re-elected him in 2004. Many of his supporters chose to pretend that they didn't know, but many others backed Bush because of his torture policy. And even though reporters like James Risen and Seymour Hersh documented the atrocities and policies that authorized them, the Justice Depaatment and Republican congress refused to investigate.

In other words, just as Bush can't lay the blame for the torture on "a few bad apples" in the military, Americans can't lay the blame on "a few bad apples" within the Bush administration. Americans supported Bush despite his torture policy. In fact, his unpopularity has very little to do with the fact that he authorized torture. His slide in popularity is attributable to his incompetence in dealing with the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hurricane Katrina. If Bush were halfway competent, Americans would be quite willing to overlook his brutality, just as the Russians and Chinese overlook the brutality of Putin and Hu.

The end of the Bush regime does not signal an end to America's torture policy, but only a suspension. We won't see an end to this ghastly practice until more Americans come to see that torture is never justified, and that it's something that no decent person engages in, authorizes, or condones.

(cross posted at appletree)

12 Comments:

Blogger newManifesto said...

we need your help

On Saturday, December 6, a Greek policeman killed in cold blood a 15 years old boy.

Since then Athens, the whole of Greece, is burning

People are demonstrating against police brutality and against a system that saves the banks and the same time condemn us in unemployment and poverty

we can use your help

10:13 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gordo:
Get used to it. It's the 21st century "American Way".

Manifesto:
Get used to it. Anarchy will NOT be allowed to rule in your country or anyone elses.

Brit: Where do you dig these deadbeats up?

2:38 pm  
Blogger newManifesto said...

anarchy? what are you talking about?

a 15 years old boy was killed

protesting against that is not anarchy

it is our duty

3:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two cops have been arrested regarding the lad's death. It's everyone's duty to allow "due process" to take place. Failure to do so is anarchy.

Do you really want continuing lawlessness? "Revolution"? Even more bloodshed? 'Cos that's all you'll get if the continual, violent street fighting carries on. You can count on it.

Two wrongs never made a right. Much less, thousands of wrongs.

4:03 pm  
Anonymous bootlean said...

Manifesto, I sympathise with you completely. But I also have concerns about where escalating violent protest will lead. The Generals again?

I certainly hope not. Maybe if those organising the protests policed those among them better. You know, better organised with stewards and such.

You're right about it being the people's duty to protest and insist on accountability, but more thought needs to go into these things. Knee-jerk reactions rarely have the desired effect.

Anonymous, your first comment's tone was enough to put me off anything else you might have to say.

10:13 pm  
Anonymous bootlean said...

Gordo, a lot of us were already convinced [long ago] Bush and his cronies were the main culprits. It's always good to have our beliefs shared by as many others as possible though.

10:16 pm  
Blogger Nevin said...

The events taking place in Greece is unfortunate and sad but has nothing to do with the post above.... I hope for a quick resolve for the people of Greece without much unnecessary pain.

Getting back to the issue at hand, Bush and Co. will unfortunately get away with their horrific crimes. US, both financially and militarily is still the strongest country in the world, even thought things are not looking great for the Empire currently. Who knows, maybe all the expensive, unjust and unnecessary wars around the world, wall street gluttony, decline in oil resources, failure of various cooperations are a sign of their "decline"....

However, I do not believe, one of these days, any country/power in the world have the guts to send Bush and Co into prison. Obama will not do anything about it. After all, he is part of the system as well... So the Rich and the Powerful gets away with yet another crime... While all we do is watch with anger!

What is upsetting the most for me is, because these guys will get away with their crimes, who is to stop the next administration or the next one with more blood shed?
I so hope to be proven wrong! I apologize for sound ing so pessimistic but I am a realist...

3:47 am  
Anonymous R J Adams said...

For some Americans, 9/11 was less of a catastrophe than an insult. The very idea that someone would dare to create such havoc at the heart of the world's greatest superpower and center of righteousness, was too much for many to comprehend.
The reaction of these Americans allowed the invasion of Iraq, the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and other establishments, the horror of Guantanamo, and the rendition and torture of prisoners, to happen.
Today, many of these Americans still applaud George W Bush and his administration for their violent response to the attacks of 9/11. They make up approximately one quarter of the US population.
Arrogance is a terrible affliction. It demands grotesque retribution. Until that one quarter of the American populace learns and accepts that they are not in charge of the world; that they have no God-given right to lord it over the rest of the planet, and their place is among and equal to, but not better than, anyone else, the evil practices imposed by the Bush regime will always threaten to rise up and again engulf the civilized world.

As a footnote: while I have some sympathy with the people of Greece, it was reported that the policeman shot this boy as he was attempting to hurl a petrol bomb at the officers concerned.
Those who embrace violence must not complain when violence embraces them. Why was this fifteen year old not home with his parents, and in bed, rather than out on the streets attempting to murder policemen?

4:22 am  
Blogger Nevin said...

well said R J Adams...

10:41 pm  
Anonymous gordo said...

Honestly, RJ, I think that more than 1/4 of Americans applaud Bush's violent response to 9/11. Most still agree that invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do (and I have to agree with them), and I think that close to half still like the idea of torturing anybody in the Middle East who ever burned an American flag.

I think that there were a lot of Americans who felt personally affronted by the 9/11 attacks, but I also think there were a whole lot who were just looking for an excuse to kill a lot of A-rabs (a group that includes Persians and Central Asians in the American consciousness).

10:49 am  
Blogger newManifesto said...

"As a footnote: while I have some sympathy with the people of Greece, it was reported that the policeman shot this boy as he was attempting to hurl a petrol bomb at the officers concerned."

this is not correct

his only crime was that he was having a drink with 2 friends

if you follow the news you must know that

to the rest :

i thank you for your sympathy and i understand you concerns about the escalation of the violence but it is established that most of the people responsible for the vandalisms are working for the police

the rest of the people protesting are young students and non violent older people

yes the students throw stones and oranges to the police forces

yes, mistakes have been made

but if you live in Greece and you know that due process never happens then you feel enraged for the murder of a boy that nobody is gonna pay anyway

10:31 am  
Blogger newManifesto said...

gonna pay for

...

10:33 am  

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