Jon Stewart on those who would defend the indefensible.
Below the fold in case it autoplays.
Robert Klose explodes torturous reasoning at the Bangor Daily News. A snippet:
My God. Slavery worked — for the slaveholders.
Eugene Robinson unloads both barrels on those who would defend evil:
The “debate” over torture is almost as grotesque as torture itself. There can be no legitimate debate about the intentional infliction of pain upon captive and defenseless human beings. The torturers and their enablers may deny it, but they know – and knew from the beginning – that what they did was obscenely wrong.
We relied on legal advice, the torturers say. We were just following orders. We believed the ends justified the means.
It is nauseating to hear such pathetic excuses from those who, in the name of the United States, sanctioned or committed acts that long have been recognized as war crimes.
Chauncey Devega takes on the Torture Report and puts its findings* in historical perspective. His post is a difficult read–difficult because it challenges white America’s view of its own history and faith in its own moral purity (often referred to as “American Exceptionalism”), but please do read it.
*You cannot call them “revelations.” Anyone who pays attention knew what was coming.
I haven’t read the Torture Report and don’t intend to. Legitimate news sources are telling me it’s about what I expected: vileness wrapped in evil wrapped in sadism served with a side of self-righteousness, the reign of President George the Worst in microcosm.
Shaun Mullen is disappointed at President Obama’s failure to grapple with President George the Worst’s legacy of torture. A nugget:
Seven and a half years after Obama promised a new beginning, including banning torture in one of his first acts, any expectation . . . that he would at least advocate a thorough examination of the torture regime’s worst excesses has been dashed. Obama’s endorsement, by his silence, of the CIA’s continued obstruction of the Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of its damning report on torture without redactions that would render it meaningless, is nothing less that a legitimization of that agency’s vile practices. His defense of CIA Director John Brennan, who has led the campaign to stymie release of the report while at least tacitly approving the rogue agency’s own spying on the Senate committee, makes farcical the president’s statements that he believes in the U.S. hewing to international law, including the Geneva Conventions.
I tend to agree with Shaun on this. I do not agree when persons complain that President Obama failed to close Guantanamo; Congress prevented that. In this case, though, he had freedom to choose, and he chose wrong.
Via Raw Story.
Watch it. If you don’t have time to watch it now, bookmark and watch it later, but watch it.
Shaun Mullen laments American cowardice in the face of the Bush torture regime. A nugget:
If nothing else, I have learned two things in the years since my first post: The yawning gulf between people who condone torture and those who are repelled by it has not changed, and that accountability not only remains elusive but will remain so.
And so we arrive at another defining moment in the long road since an incurious news media finally began acknowledging something that a number of bloggers, myself included, and civil libertarians had known for years: Despite repeated denials by George W. Bush and his coterie of henchmen, notably Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, they approved of Nazi-like torture techniques under the cover of grotesque legal opinions that violate the Constitution and Geneva Conventions.
One question that nags me, one that I suspect cannot be answered, is this: To what extent was the policy of torturing captives–and it was policy, not the deeds of the infamous “few bad apples”–motivated by simple sexual sadism, both immediate on the part of the torturers and vicarious on the part of those who authorized the policy?
Bill Press believes that America has abdicated its right to fulminate about “human rights.”
For decades, American politicians have denounced human rights violations in Cuba. With good cause, they’ve accused the Castro brothers of rounding up political prisoners, torturing them, and detaining them for years with no charges filed and no access to a criminal trial.
But, as true as they may be, American politicians can no longer make those charges. Because the worst human rights violator in Cuba today is not the Castro regime, it’s us. It’s the U.S. government at our prison at the United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay; first, under George W. Bush, and now, under Barack Obama.
Read the rest.
Remember that, when President Obama tried to close Gitmo, that old white men in Congress kept him from doing so.
As an old white man. I’m quite fed up with old white men.
Conservative chicken littles conspire for continuing concentration camp cruelty.
Robyn Blumner looks back:
What to do about the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a tragic puzzle with no clear solution. Like the war of adventurism in Iraq and a domestic economy in free fall, President George W. Bush left behind this towering mess for Obama to clean up.
Raw politics have stymied Obama’s efforts to close Bush’s Bastille. Congress has imposed completely unjustified restrictions on the movement of Guantanamo detainees to the United States for trial or even for repatriation or settlement in other nations. A Fox News echo chamber equates Guantanamo’s closure and detainee prosecutions in U.S. civil courts with being soft on terrorists, an absurd but effective allegation.
Why would a nation whose moral authority as a world leader derives from its commitment to the rule of law and due process establish a parallel legal system for foreigners only, designed to bend whatever rules are necessary to obtain a conviction? Here’s why: Vice President Dick Cheney, his legal attack dog David Addington and apparatchik John Yoo saw military commissions as the culmination of the president’s king-like authority. The Bush administration wanted “a permanent legal structure under the president’s sole command,” Bravin writes, with the power of life and death.
What folks are loathe to mention–especially members of the professional punditocracy–is that the Bush Administration was not only corrupt and incompetent, it was also cruel and sadistic, filled with not nice people.
Read the rest.
The swamp gas continues to stink.
It is distasteful that America’s Torquemadas have not been called to account–distasteful, but understandable, for, were they to be called to account, the persons who set them their tasks, the Pope and Vatican Council to their Torquemada–George Bush, Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Paul Wolfewitz, and their dupes, symps, and fellow travelers–would also have to be called to account.
Frankly, not a chance.
But this–well, words fail me.
Peter Van Buren reports at Asia Times:
The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors facing prosecution is former CIA agent John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one may go to jail.
And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.
Many observers believe however that the real “offense” in the eyes of the Obama administration was quite different. In 2007, Kiriakou became a whistleblower. He went on record as the first (albeit by then, former) CIA official to confirm the use of waterboarding of al-Qaeda prisoners as an interrogation technique, and then to condemn it as torture.