The Torture Regime

The real legacy of the Bush administration:

It’s really hard for me to believe that someone who used to be a federal judge can blow that sophistry in a congressional hearing with a straight face. If you don’t know what they know, then you can’t know in advance if what they know might save lives, right?

I honestly don’t know why everybody’s so hung up on waterboarding specifically at this point. If this is their legal understanding, then they can use the rack, they can break arms and legs and they can pull teeth out with a pair of pliers. There is no logical difference between any of that and waterboarding if the only moral and legal guideline is that “it might be used to save lives.”

Just something to chew on for the next 40 years as we pay down the debt run up during this compassionate conservative’s stellar two terms.

29 replies
  1. 1
    LiberalTarian says:

    Yeah, I love to hate me some GW Bush. Heh. And we’ve only just started, really. The real hatred will be kicking in next summer in the new super recession.

    They will teach college classes on him one day. “GW Bush: turning prosperity into shit in 8 short years.”

    Not very catchy. Someone else will have to write the lyrics.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    Have faith. Look at Reagen circa 1987. Not exactly the most popular man in Washington at the time. Progressives didn’t like him. Conservatives weren’t thrilled with him (omg, you raised our taxes, whaaaa~!). The public was just about ready to elect Michael Dukakis until the man actually ran for President.

    Now he’s a canonized Saint in the Church of the Holy and Apostolic War On Liberal Fascism. By this timetable, George Bush will be the second coming of Jesus some time next decade. It won’t hurt if the guy gets a bad case of Alzheimer’s since that’ll teach the bugger to stfu while Republicans are praising him. But fear not, the Legend of the Decidenator has not yet been written, but it will be carved in the Rock of Ages for all future generations to venerate ad nauseum until Kingdom Come (which will be in 2012 when Petreaus runs).

  3. 3
    ThymeZone says:

    Well, how many people did Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger kill?

    If Nixon weren’t dead, he’d still be on tv. Kissinger was growling his sociopathic brainfarts into the cameras only recently.

    Bush will be a fixture on FoxNews, and he’ll have quite a following.

    … the Nixon death toll wasn’t limited to Vietnam. He ordered the bombing and invasion of Cambodia, and also a secret war in Laos. Cambodian civilian deaths from the B-52 bombing probably total 100,000 to 150,000, and Cambodian wartime deaths from all causes in the Nixon years (1970-75—pre-genocide) probably total 300,000 to 500,000, according to Ben Kiernan of the Yale Cambodian Genocide Program. If we take the lower figure, that brings Nixon’s total to 800,000, which makes him worse than Bush. And that does not include Laos, where the U.S. fought a secret war for many years.

    Nixon would object that he didn’t start the war in Vietnam, and he’d be right about that. But he ran for president in 1968 promising that he had a secret plan to end the war. The Paris Peace Talks had already started when he took office. And yet the war continued for four more years, during which half a million Vietnamese died—along with 21,000 Americans.
    Nixon might also object that the Vietnamese dead include victims of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. He’d be right about that too. But without the Americans, there never would have been a Vietnam War. There never would have been a South Vietnam.

    This comparison of war casualties in Vietnam and Iraq has one flaw: The war in Iraq is not over. Bush says he has no intention of ending it promptly. He wants U.S. forces to remain until “the terrorists” are “defeated.”

    It took eight years to kill a million Vietnamese, while it’s taken only three years for 650,000 people to be killed in Iraq. And the rate there has been accelerating: In 2004 the total was only 100,000. At that rate—assuming a total now of somewhat more than 650,000— the death toll for Iraqis could top the death toll for Vietnamese by the end of next year. The Iraqi death toll could top the figure for all of Southeast Asia by the time Bush leaves office in January 2009.

    Did you hear the whoops last night when Romney talked about Bush and the great things he’s done for us? Whoops of approval, I mean.

    You folks are selling Bush short. He will end up like Truman, admired for his guts in the face of opposition.

  4. 4

    Where do we go to get our reputation back? The US has made some egregious errors in its past, but that we could stoop to this sort of depravity in the 21st century is unacceptable. This is America, not Cuba, Egypt or some other dictatorship. Disgraceful, indeed.

  5. 5
    firebrand says:

    If there’s a hell, Bush and his administration are going to burn FOREVER in it. And the American public has really let me down, too. Seriously. That there isn’t a massive movement in this country to bring down this administration and put it on trial for war crimes and violating the Constitution just boggles my mind.

  6. 6
    Jake says:

    Information “that couldn’t be used to save lives,” he explained, would be of less value.

    Essentially the same logic used by the assholes who blow up family planning clinics and gun down doctors who provide abortions.

    Anyone who can’t or won’t see that this is the ultimate slippery slope shouldn’t be allowed out without a minder.

    Where do we go to get our reputation back?

    It’s not where we go, it’s where BushCo goes. If they go unpunished why the hell should anyone ever listen when we comment on another country’s human rights abuses? “These aren’t the children of dissidents, they’re midget terrorists!”

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    Didn’t Bush say over and over and over and over again, in speech after speech after speech, that the U.S. does not torture?

    Doesn’t that make one of these 2 an automatic liar?

  8. 8
    ed says:

    If Nixon weren’t dead, he’d still be on tv. Kissinger was growling his sociopathic brainfarts into the cameras only recently.

    Bush will be a fixture on FoxNews, and he’ll have quite a following.

    TZ:
    I disagree. Nixon was smart, politically savvy, very shrewd. Evil peckerhead, sure, but a smart evil peckerhead. Kissinger was consistently considered a Very Serious and Wise Thinker. Evil peckerhead and kind of full of crap if you actually read him or listen to him, but he was/is considered someone to listen to.

    GWBush is, quite demonstrably, a nincompoop. Nobody, but nobody takes him seriously. He is definitely on the short list of worst Presidents ever, but will absolutely be the worst ex-President ever. But now that I think about it, that still doesn’t mean he won’t be on Fox.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    Seriously. That there isn’t a massive movement in this country to bring down this administration and put it on trial for war crimes and violating the Constitution just boggles my mind.

    Eh. You wanna go back to the ’60s, where everyone rioted, got sprayed down with water hoses, got shouted at by our elders, watched Nixon/Kissinger basically skip free, watch the next President get crucified, and ride right into another twelve years of Reagen?

    I think there is a very strong movement to get Bush out of office. People just don’t know how to get it done. You can’t sue them. You can’t fight them. You can’t even protest against them. The only outlet left is to vote Democrat, and it massive numbers. The country is doing that, clinging to the hope that the gears of the system will churn out a good result, rather than taking a monkey wrench to the whole machine.

    I mean, what would happen if a bunch of people rioted in front of the White House? Seriously? Rioters would get targeted. A bunch of people would lose their jobs and get thrown in jail. Bush would sit by smugly while David Broder poo-poo’d the Children of America for being so unruly and Congress sat on its hands. Bleh.

    You’ve got your online movements, your blogs, your facebook pages… yeah, no one has torn down any street signs, flipped any cars, or lit anything on fire, but is that a bad thing? If we get the bums out in ’08, we’ll have our silent little revolution. If our political leaders then choose to continue sitting idly by… then we’ll have to figure out what to do from there.

    That said, from where I’m at, progress is progressing even if its not progressing at the speed everyone would prefer. Thus is the nature of Jeffersonian Democracy.

  10. 10
    myiq2xu says:

    GWBush is, quite demonstrably, a nincompoop. Nobody, but nobody takes him seriously. He is definitely on the short list of worst Presidents ever, but will absolutely be the worst ex-President ever. But now that I think about it, that still doesn’t mean he won’t be on Fox.

    George W. Bush – Like a rock, only dumber.

  11. 11
    Teak111 says:

    Speaking of feverish, incomplete thoughts, here’s one:

    American leadership has always tortured people, killed people in wars, done what had to be done, legal or not, to preserve the empire. Lets not be naive. Can you tell me no one was ever tortured/killed under Clinton or Bush 1? Not likely. What sets GW and Cheney apart, then, is their desire to normalize these acts, make them apart of everyday life, to make this behavior, in fact, legal. Other admins have done these things certainly, but kept them hidden from us. If Bush had stated flat out that the US does not torture, this would be a non-issue, even though we all know that if they had to, they would. The only interpretation I have of this dichotomy is an incredible nievete of the Bush admin.

  12. 12
    Emma Anne says:

    I think there is a very strong movement to get Bush out of office. People just don’t know how to get it done. You can’t sue them. You can’t fight them. You can’t even protest against them. The only outlet left is to vote Democrat, and it massive numbers. The country is doing that, clinging to the hope that the gears of the system will churn out a good result, rather than taking a monkey wrench to the whole machine.

    Well said. Plenty of us tried that “protesting” thingie before the Iraq war, and what it got was ignored.

  13. 13
    Sinister eyebrow says:

    So will Mukasey put his money where his mouth is and call for the posthumous pardon of all the Japanese officers convicted of war crimes for waterboarding prisoners? Will he go one step further and call for a halt to attempts to round up Khmer Rouge for war crimes for waterboarding their prisoners? You know, with the Khmer Rouge the imprisonment and torture of dissidents (and just about everyone else) met the definition of having saved at least some of the lives of Khmer Rouge officials and sympathizers who may have been killed or forced out of power by a citizenry that was not sufficiently terrorized.

    I think that this should be a requirement of anyone that wants to say waterboarding is not torture. If you want to make that claim, you have to sign a petition calling for the pardon of Japanese and Khmer Rouge convicted or facing prosecution for war crimes for the torture of prisoners.

  14. 14
    Wilfred says:

    “Why would I go to Rome, I never learnt how to lie”. Terence, I think, but whoever wrote it the same principle applies today.

    Mukasey is evasive sack of shit, brown person torturing scumbag. (takes deep breath and roars)

  15. 15
    Wilfred says:

    cut myself off in mid-classical referencing rage:

    WHAT THE FUCK ELSE COULD BE SINCE IT WAS BUSH THAT PICKED HIM?

  16. 16
    HyperIon says:

    I think that … anyone that wants to say waterboarding is not torture….

    should be waterboarded on TV so we can all get educated about this torture thingy.

    I thought I was as depressed as I could be about this but our new AG’s testimony today makes me want to puke.

  17. 17
    Jake says:

    The only interpretation I have of this dichotomy is an incredible nievete [sic] of the Bush admin.

    You misspelled evil.

    This isn’t a case of “Tee hee! We don’t know what we’re doing.” It is 110% “Haw, haw! Look what we can do!”

    It would be nice to think these schmucks are confused. It would be reassuring to find out their policies are made up on the fly. Granted, there’s a lot of that going on but what are the odds that their solutions would always be fucked up if they weren’t aiming in that general direction?

  18. 18
    LarryB says:

    As Senator Whitehouse noted, Mukasey is basically invoking the Nurenburg defence (orders are orders!). In an awful way, I see Mukasey’s point. The CIA was explicitly authorized to torture “Al Queda” detanees by their chain of command. No one is suggesting that they were operating as rogue agents. Given that, I understand his reluctance to embark on investigations that would either scapegoat the little guys “fighting” on the front lines or, if pursued, inevitably lead to the oval office and a nasty constitutional crisis. Left unsaid was the reality that crimes at this level only have political solutions. I would love to see the look on the Committee Democrats’ faces if he’d just come out and told them to put up or shut up. What a bunch of limp d**ks.

  19. 19

    Teak111 is right, and I would go a point further. The original experiments, for pyschological torture, were carried out by U.S. universities. In the ’80’s the U.S. military trained South Americans in the techniques, basically exporting torture.

    One thing I think most who support the Bush policy on torture don’t consider is that the people who are actually carrying this out either are or will eventually be living among us. Not only that, but it’s so incredibly craven to order someone to do that to another human — for whatever reason. There’s never a good enough reason.

  20. 20
    Eural Joiner says:

    And the greatest tragedy/joke about all this is the same people who (often proudly) support the torture of another human being call themselves “Christians” and claim to be defending “civilization” and “freedom”.

    The Germans all had great reasons to support Hitler 75 years ago as well – until 1945 when suddenly they were held accountable by the world. It’s called blowback and we’ve just bought ourselves a generation or two of serious shit down the road.

  21. 21
    Delia says:

    Teak111 is indeed right. Read Chalmers Johnson’s books. This stuff has come to fruition under Bush/Cheney, and they’ve ,um, “brought the war home”, as the quaint old saying has it. Now the violations of rights that the CIA has been carrying out around the world is being studiously applied to us. Though the wingers still think they’re going to be exempt, of course. The shock is that we could fall so far so fast, the blinders come off, and our regime’s brutality be revealed to all our best friends and relations as well as to the people we usually pick on.

  22. 22
    demimondian says:

    Zif’s right. We need to put pressure on our lawmakers, a gradually increasing level of it.

    I like the idea of reminding people of how tyrants expect to boil a frog: put it in a container of cold water, and gradually raise the heat. After a short while, the frog will jump out — long before it boils.

    We need to be that frog as far as the current administration goes — and we need to convince our representatives to be that frog with respect to us.

  23. 23

    George II too dumb or Faux? I’m sure that was a joke…

  24. 24
    Redhand says:

    I went over to TPM to see the summaries of Muk’s latest waterboarding spin. Can’t say that I’m surprised. We knew Muk was a whore on this issue (and therefore shouldn’t be AG) during the confirmation hearing, when he needed time to “study up” on the issue. Now that he’s in office we get this outrageous crap.

    I would have preferred no AG at all to this sophistry. This Administration really is run by criminals.

  25. 25
    searp says:

    Sad but true fact: many people could care less if we torture foreigners or other detainees, even Americans.

    Our problem is that the adults in the crowd are supposed to have a wiser view, but for the last 7 years the kids have been in charge.

  26. 26
    JF says:

    In 2007 the “quote of the year” was a plea by a helpless college kid going up against rent a cops with tasers. Tasering and waterboarding are now jokes in this country. We have accepted this sort of thing as the status quo. Nobody cares if we torture foreigners. Nobody cares if cops use tasers on innocent people without cause. Banality of evil, indeed.

  27. 27
    Jon H says:

    ” and they can pull teeth out with a pair of pliers.”

    I can see the argument: “Is it torture? I think not! It’s merely a routine dental procedure. People of good faith can disagree.”

  28. 28

    Speaking of arguments, I’ve never understood why the argument against torture because we don’t want our people to be treated that way hasn’t taken hold. It’s like that twisting of the golden rule: do unto others before they do unto you. Or perhaps do unto others and hope they never ever get the chance to do unto you.

    As for the spectacle of wingnut volunteers for waterboarding — I may have said this here at BJ before, so forgive me if I am repeating myself — but the only way that sort of ‘experient’ would work would be if the ‘volunteer’ didn’t know when it was going to happen, was kidnapped, drugged, isolated and then threatened with actually drowning at least once, maybe more times. The list of volunteers would shrink dramatically in that case. But it’s not gonna happen.

  29. 29
    buraemupe says:

    well, we’ve all seen the infamous photo of her from the good old days of her in Dark Angel, HOT!

    Anyway, new photo doing the rounds, so whats the word… am i the only desperate one still obsessing about this girl? :)

    [url=http://shorturlsarejustafad.com/images/Jessica]Picture[/url]

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