Ah good ol’ Dick. I’d been thinking about writing this post for some time now, but after yesterday’s “dueling speeches” by the president and former VP I can no longer resist.
“Enhanced interrogation” is one of the most bullshit phrases I’ve ever heard. I mean, it’s so blatantly a new-speak euphemism it’s beyond me how some people can swallow it.
I find it very interesting that the one fall back position Bush republicans seem to have is “we kept the country safe! After 9/11 there were no successful attacks!!!” Yeah, well what about 9/11? Oh that doesn’t count? Let me guess, it was all somehow Clinton’s fault? What about all the time Bush spent playing golf and not reading the intelligence briefings before 9/11? The attacks did happen under republican watch.
Torture is illegal and wrong no matter what the Bush law team tries to come up with, no matter what they decided to name it. We executed Japanese war criminals after WWII for waterboarding. The really interesting thing that came out just recently is the story of how Alberto Gonzales was okaying torture months before the “torture memos” came out. He was doing this at a time when he was not attorney general, just Bush’s lawyer!
Check out this segment about it on the Rachel Maddow show.
Ali Soufan, the guy who first found uncovered the link between the 9/11 attacks and Al Qaeda was interrogating Zubaida and actually getting somewhere when he was pushed aside by a contractor, James Mitchell, working for the CIA. Mitchell, who had absolutely zero interrogation experience or training, developed a torture program that Gonzales signed off on.
Even if you accept the bullshit idea that just because a team of lawyers writes a magic piece of paper saying torture is ok, and that the US doesn’t need to abide by the Geneva conventions, the torture was going on before those lawyers wrote up that magical piece of paper.
I think a lot of republicans are very scared people. Dick Cheney, and the republican leaders know this and exploit it. I think he brought up 9/11 in his speech 24 times. He even opened by recounting the terror of that day. Am I scared? No. Yes there are people out there who want to kill us, but if we live in fear of them, they win. What Dick Cheney advocates is nothing short of destroying all the values we stand for in a misguided attempt to make us safer.
If we compromise on our values, then what do we have left? What have we then become? The terrorists will have succeeded in destroying America. Do I dispute that the people like Zubaida are bad people? No, but republicans like Cheney are so swept up in a blind, fear fueled rage that they think they are justified in stooping this low. They are so sure of their own righteousness that they can’t fathom anything they do as wrong. They see themselves as patriotic heroes, willing to do the dirty work to protect their country.
For this reason I don’t call them evil, but they are sorely mistaken. Their attempts at making us safer only give the terrorists a rallying point. It tarnishes our image in the world as “the good guys”. In a war of idea, this is crucial. The only way we can try to regain some of our lost image is to prosecute those responsible just like we prosecuted the Japanese war criminals.
Yeah, it may be hard to swallow, but if we don’t, then we have absolutely no right to claim that we are a nation of laws. By not prosecuting we will be saying that our laws don’t mean anything as long as you are sure enough of you’re own righteousness, and have a group of lawyers write up a magical piece of paper. What kind of foundation is that for justice?