Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Cheney-Bush administration torture and "special rendition" programs

From "Der erster Gewinner war Bush" von Günter Lehofer Kleine Zeitung (Graz/Austria) 03.09.06:

Den Kampf gegen den Terror müssen aber auch the Europäer weiterführen - bei aller Skepsis gegenüber Bush Form des Anti-Terror-Kampfes. Die Europäer brauchen eine "Bush-freie" Anti-Terror-Arbeti mit Polizei, Geheimdienst, wachsamen Bürgern und starken Nerven; Konzepte, die nicht von den Weltmacht-Motiven der USA Durchtränkt sind. ...

Der Terror kann nur siegen, wenn wir die Nerven wegwerfen und ihm ähnlich werden. Sonst ist er selbst in seiner grausamsten Form zu schwach, um uns and unsere Art in Freiheit und Demokratie zu leben auch nur zu gefährden.
But Bush's use of the fear after 9/11 to drive through illegal programs has been a severe loss for American democracy. The admission last fall by Dear Leader Bush about the secret CIA prisons is being spun by loyal Bush supporters as an attempt to reclaim the "moral high ground", as though that were possible with Dick Cheney and George Bush in control of the Executive branch. Republican flack David Brooks gave his version of this line on the PBS Newshour of 09/08/06:

JIM LEHRER: David, the president's secret prisons, 14 terrorists transfer, alleged terrorist transfers, announced, how big a deal was that?

DAVID BROOKS: I think it's a pretty big deal. I think it reflects a couple things.

The first thing, obviously, is, there are some decisions that have forced their - their hand to be a little more open, but, secondly - and almost more importantly - change in the internal power structure of the administration.

There have always been two these tensions in fighting terror, one, to kill the bad guys, two, to have some moral authority to win over people and to - to be a good citizen of the world. And the former camp was winning for about three or four years. And, for a number of reasons, the latter camp is now winning.
The "liberal" viewpoint was taken that evening by Iraq War enthusiast Tom Oliphant, with his pencil neck and bow tie on display as usual:

JIM LEHRER: Do you see it the same way?


One reason that I don't think it has proved to be a big deal is that the political content of this move was drained almost immediately. Factually, there is no rush here. I mean, the procedures for trials could be agreed upon tomorrow, and it would still be a long time before there would be any trials.

And, secondly, to the extent there's been a difference of opinion here, as David noted, it's been inside the administration. And it's also been between the president and Republicans in the Senate, and between the politicians in the administration and the uniformed military legal system in the Pentagon.

So, I think, when all this was - happened on Wednesday, there was an expectation of politics that the reality underneath it kind of eliminated.
No wonder this political debate is so impoverished when even the supposedly professional and responsible PBS Newshour presents as the "liberal" viewpoint some mopey, muddled rambling like Oliphant's:

El País editorializes as follows in
Más luz sobre Bush 10.09.06, and manages to say the obvious that apparently sailed right though the "liberal" Tom Oliphant's head:

Bush no sólo no muestra propósito de enmienda respecto a sus excesos tras el 11-S, sino que intenta presentarlos como un ejemplo de eficacia en la obtención de información y en la prevención del terrorismo, cuyo fantasma ha vuelto a agitar ante sus conciudadanos al hablar de un país permanentemente en guerra.

El paso siguiente tras reconocer la existencia de cárceles secretas es que se llegue a desvelar dónde se encuentran, lo que podría colocar en difícil situación a países aliados de EE UU, algunos con credenciales democráticas. A la luz de esta revelación, tanto el Parlamento Europeo como el Consejo de Europa deberían reabrir sus investigaciones sobre los vuelos secretos de la CIA y las cárceles donde supuestamente se ha torturado a algunos de estos detenidos, mientras prosigue en varios países, incluida España, la investigación judicial a este respecto. A diferencia de lo que parece pensar la Casa Blanca, se trata de combatir las prácticas aberrantes con la ley, no de modificar la ley para que las prácticas aberrantes se conviertan en normales.
This San Francisco Chronicle editorial also nails Dear Leader Bush for living in An alternative universe 09/08/06:

Talk about doublespeak. President Bush insisted this week that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values." In the same speech on Wednesday, he announced he would be asking Congress to effectively grant immunity to U.S. interrogators whose tactics may have violated what Bush derided as the Geneva Conventions' "vague and undefined" prohibitions on prisoner abuse, such as "humiliating and degrading treatment."

The president insisted that the CIA's "alternative set of procedures" for interrogating terrorism suspects stopped short of torture, though he refused to describe the tactics in question. ...

Also, on Thursday, the Pentagon's top uniformed lawyers warned that curtailing the suspects' access to evidence against them could violate the Geneva Conventions.

"I'm not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him," said Brig. Gen. James Walker, U.S. Marine Corps staff judge advocate.

Congress must not be cowed into rubber-stamping the administration's requests. There is no contradiction between being tough on terrorism and being respectful of civilized standards for the detention and prosecution of suspects. Remember, this is supposed to be a war not only to preserve our lives, but to defend our values.
The problem, of course, is that for Christian Right Republicans and hardline nationalists like Dick Cheney and Rummy, torture is a positive value.

, , , ,

No comments: