Torture Got Results

Sure did:

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubeida at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

“There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.

“Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies.”

Senior administration officials, however, “blew that off and kept insisting that we’d overlooked something, that the interrogators weren’t pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information,” he said.

That worked out well.

65 replies
  1. 1
    Lee from NC says:

    Seriously, the more I hear about this the sicker I get. It makes me want to vomit. Or cry. The Bush/Cheney years have got to be some of the sickest most heinous times this country has ever seen.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    But if you keep asking the same two guys, day in and day out, using harsher and harsher interrogation techniques, they’ll eventually find out something new and tell it to you… right?

  3. 3
    Dave says:

    Ahhhh….there’s nothing quite like fear to turn “tough” men into gibbering idiots.

    Cheney should be rotting in a fucking cell for what he did.

  4. 4
    Fencedude says:

    Whats that line about repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    impeach them both.

    come on Pelosi, do your job.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    Is it a good or bad thing about my level of cynicism about BushCheneyite evil that it really had never occurred to me, out of all the things I could imagine them doing, that they were torturing people specifically to come up with false justifications for invading the country they had always wanted to invade?

    As a fringe nut crazy leftist, I’m so ashamed of myself.

  7. 7
    NutellaonToast says:

    I really hope these insane people were an anomaly. I’m beginning to think otherwise, though.

  8. 8

    come on Pelosi, do your job.

    Heh, and the definition of insanity is…

  9. 9
    PK says:

    So the bottom line is that Rumsfeld and Cheney tortured Al-Queda suspects in order to get them to say there was a link between Saddam and Al-Queda. Then they manufactured the yellowcake uranium, and aluminium tubes nonsense and hey presto! we got ourselves a war.
    I don’t know what it will take for democrats to take action on these criminals. I cannot believe that after being handed a massive victory democrats still act like they lost.
    If the republicans were in charge and a democratic president had done this, they would be discussing if it should be the death penalty or life in prison.

  10. 10
    BenA says:

    My hope is that this stuff gets so bad that a large majority of the public recoils and demands some prosecution… otherwise if it’s just driven by the Nader loving “I’d rather be right than win an election” faction of the left then it’ll be nothing but a dead weight around Obama’s neck.

    I’m sickened and depressed by the whole thing. My first reaction is to just ignore it all.. but it’s so awful and disgusting that you just can’t.

  11. 11
    jrg says:

    I guess this explains the whole “Obama is a fascist” bullshit. If the GOP can render the term “fascist” completely meaningless by the time we have a truth commission, there will no longer be a word that describes torturing detainees in an effort to gain political support for a fraudulent war.

  12. 12
    JL says:

    Cheney’s and the rest of the whackos outrage at the release of the legal memos justifying torture seemed false to me. The information released was not new. It would not help the enemy. It seems more likely that the intent was to discredit this report which indicates the administration was trying to find information of Saddam’s involvement in 9/11. They were trying to cover their asses.
    When Abu Gharaib came to light they tried to blame a few bad apples. Those few bad apples are now in jail and should remain so. The military code states that you do not follow orders to torture. They should be joined by Rumsfeld and the rest of the military brass that knowingly ordered the torture.
    Cheney needs his own special treatment. The first thought that comes to mind is to hang him by his tea bags but I’m not sure that’s harsh enough.
    Saying that the relevations sicken me is not enough. The Bush administration policies have sickened me for the last eight years.
    Newt and the rest of the whackos can celebrate freedom day but first I hope they explain what that means.

  13. 13
    BenA says:

    Just to clearify… I don’t think we can ignore this stuff… but I don’t think Obama’s the guy to go after all this. Which a lot of people don’t seem to get. Pelosi should. Reid is useless. Is he the worst majority leader in the history of the Senate?

  14. 14
    Bootlegger says:

    To be fair, the new issue of Harper’s has an interview with an ex-member of the Mexican drug cartel’s death squads and he says torture worked all the time. He was able to get families to pay ransom and also used the information to hit other cartel’s warehouses. He even describes how he did preliminary research so he could tell when they broke and were finally telling the truth.
    Hey, if it works for the Mexican drug gangs……

  15. 15
    NonyNony says:

    @El Cid:

    Is it a good or bad thing about my level of cynicism about BushCheneyite evil that it really had never occurred to me, out of all the things I could imagine them doing, that they were torturing people specifically to come up with false justifications for invading the country they had always wanted to invade?

    Well, since it turned out they were apparently doing exactly that, I guess I’d call it a “bad thing”. I’ve always been fairly cynical about the US government (even back in my conservative days), but I never thought I’d see the day where assuming that the US wasn’t acting like Soviet Russia or the Spanish Inquisition was the bad assumption to make. But here we are.

    I honestly don’t know what to make of this stuff right now. Did the folks in charge know that they were going to get false confessions and just wanted to have something on the record? Were the utterly clueless as to the historic purpose of torture (i.e. false confessions and brainwashing, not actionable information)? Or were they just evil sadists who got off on torturing people? I don’t know – I wish that I thought that someday we might get answers, but I doubt it.

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @Dave:

    Cheney should be rotting in a fucking cell for what he did receiving the exact same treatment that wasn’t torture when we did it to the other guys.

    Fixed.

  17. 17
    dslak says:

    @jrg: ‘Fascist’ may end up being replaced by ‘Bushian’ or ‘Bushist.’

  18. 18
    Woody says:

    Torture is mostly useful for extracting confessions.

    One would then want to ask: If torture were being practiced, to what were the torturers trying to get confessions?

    Oh, you mean the al Quaeda/Iraq connection, the “last” reason for the invasion and occupation of Iraq?

    183 waterboardings, and one guy still claimed there was no link?

    Or did he break, and tell the torturers what they wanted to hear?

  19. 19
    dslak says:

    @Bootlegger: Of course, the gangs could have just relied on traditional interrogation techniques and achieved the same results with preliminary information. For those people, torture is its own reward.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    @NonyNony: You know, I’ve just been thinking about this the past few minutes, and I think I can explain how my existing cynicism failed to allow me to consider this possibility:

    I’ve seen so many U.S. wars, coups, and subversions that were launched without justification that I guess I just assumed the U.S. foreign policy establishment could get any war they wanted by traditional ginning-up methods.

    I guess this indicates that Cheney was afraid that without this so-called Iraq-Al Qa’ida link, real or manufactured, he couldn’t get his war.

    I disagree — I think they could have gotten their war without this tortured evidence.

    I mean, they didn’t rely on these tortured confessions for the public propaganda campaign for the war, which mostly had to do with Czech agents and WMD and the bullshit Iraq-Niger-yellowcake story and ‘we done had to have one war with Saddam we gon’ settle this once and for all’ and ‘we gotta strike somebody over there and show our big ‘nads’.

    So, unless they thought this was necessary to sell this to our own Congress, or the couple of regional ‘allies’, I don’t get it.

    I mean, why not just make it up?

  21. 21
    DanF says:

    The Soviets would torture to get confessions. They had no real interest in the information derived from torture and knew that it would be of dubious value. It was all about the confession. So essentially the Bush administration is like the Soviets in this regard, only stupider in that they may have actually thought there was useful information to be gained.

    Maybe Bush really did look into Putin’s soul and decided that he liked what he saw.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    I truly didn’t think it was possible that Cheney and Rumsfeld could look worse. I was wrong. Grossly so.

    Will the constant procession of evidence that the gruesome twosome were worse than the last revelation showed them to be ever stop?

    While I know there were likely to be a lot of revelations creeping out from under the baseboard like roaches once the Bush administration was out, I am truly tired of this. While the (Bush administration) “party” is over now we have nothing but copious amount of garbage left to clean up.

  23. 23

    Are you saying CNSnews.com is being used by the CIA? What? How could that possibly be?

    The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

    It’s on the internet! How could it be wrong?

  24. 24
    joes527 says:

    @cleek:

    come on Pelosi, do your job.

    Pelosi? Pelosi???!!!???

    You might as well be asking for a pony … or a unicorn.

    The reason that the Democrats have been so timid to date is that many of them are as guilty as the Republicans.

    As long as the Democratic leadership views the interests of the party as more important than the interests of the nation the Democrats will remain the lesser of two evils (if even that)

  25. 25
    benjoya says:

    but waterboarding KSM gave us the information so we could go back in time to break up the library tower plot!

  26. 26
    Xanthippas says:

    So, our elected and appointed officials employed torture illegally, to justify a war of aggression that had no basis in legitimate national security concerns.

    In what way is this not a war crime?

  27. 27
    Punchy says:

    My first reaction is to just ignore it all.. but it’s so awful and disgusting that you just can’t.

    What he said. I keep trying to ignore all these revelations, telling myself I already knew/suspected this years ago, but the shit is just so heinous, and the affected ones sometimes just ordinary guys (like that guy from Germany, or the Canadian) that it disgusts me to a level that I cannot ignore.

    Fuck these monsters and their bullshit. Gimmie a special prosecutor, stat.

  28. 28
    benjoya says:

    pelosi or reid don’t need to get into it. holder should appoint a special prosecutor.

  29. 29
    Ed in NJ says:

    Just looking at the news coverage makes me sick. Basically, the mainstream media is setting up a false choice. Torture because we got useful information, or don’t torture and put ourselves at risk. Nowhere have I seen anyone suggest that not only is torture morally wrong and diminishes our standing in the world, but that the same useful information could have been acquired in other ways.

  30. 30

    @El Cid: I think that you are right that they could have gotten their war without this. What you are missing, though, is that these clowns almost certainly thought that they were torturing people to get true confessions. They really believed that there was such a connection. Everything about their world view would have led them to this conclusion.

    This is an example of why torturing people for information is such a bad idea on practical as well as moral grounds: it’s extremely subject to confirmation bias. You torture someone until they tell you the truth. How do you know when they’re telling the truth? It’s when they tell you what you already think is true.

  31. 31
    thomas says:

    I’m beginning th think that I will have to start believing in heaven and hell again so I can be assured these monsters will pay in eternity, because god knows the D’s aren’t going to make them pay here.

  32. 32
    Jay C says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    Of course not: and, IMO, the saddest and sickest thing about the whole Bush-era torture flap is that not only will no one, probably, ever get prosecuted for it, but that the “defense” (a word I use cautiously, since there is rarely any good defense for this sort of sick abuse) will likely resonate more with the (American) public than the moral objections to it. Probably simplifiable along the lines of:

    1. It isn’t really “torture”.
    2. It’s only used on “terrorists”, who deserve it because
    3. They are evil subhumans beyond the pale of moral consideration.
    4. It saved/saves/can save/might save (American) lives.

    It’s an unfortunate fact of human society that “rulers”, in general, can justify and/or get away with virtually any sort of policy or action as long as it can be framed as an existential, life-or-death issue. Even more unfortunate, national embarrassment can be, and probably will be, pitched as “existential” by those responsible for embarrassing actions.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    boomshanka says:

    I’m confused… Did waterboarding KSM not work the first 182 times but work on the 183rd? Or did it work the first time and the other 182 times were just for kicks?

  35. 35
    Ash Can says:

    I said it in the other thread and I’ll say it here again: we’d better have plenty of booze/good music/chocolate/drugs/whatever on hand to help us through the upcoming months, because by the time (what I suspect is) Obama’s kabuki builds public outrage to the point where it will truly support prosecution of these criminals and the severity of the sentences that will result, the rest of us are going to be huddled in basement corners whimpering.

  36. 36
    BenA says:

    @Ash Can:
    I know, I’m with you… but I think he can’t go after it to hard and to soon or directly or it’ll kill him.

    The whole thing makes me so sick and sad…

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I don’t think so. I don’t think Cheney believed that Iraq had anything to do with Al Qa’ida, and in fact, that would require me to view Cheney’s world view as more moral and U.S.-security related than it was.

    Cheney wanted to invade & takeover Iraq. He didn’t believe any nonsense about Saddam-Al Qa’ida links. He didn’t care, either, intellectually. He was a crazy man who has wanted to invade Iraq for several decades. It wasn’t because of terrorism then or now.

  38. 38
    PeakVT says:

    “Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies.”

    This bit is important for two reasons. First, It shows as clearly as anything that Cheney and Rummy (who knows what info Bush got) WANTED to have this war, regardless of the need. Second, I don’t remember this bit of elementary logic circulating in the general public, outside of the DFH set. Whether that means the press was complicit, incompetent, or that I have a bad memory, I am unsure.

  39. 39

    Dick Cheney is on a campaign that basically amounts to asserting that torture is what kept America safe the last 7 years.

    I think that the blogosphere is missing the obvious here. Cheney has an approval rating just below that of melanoma. The man is as about as influential in this country as Fidel Castro.

    The president has put an end to the hideous interrogation methods. His apparent adversary is … Dick Cheney.

    How is this not the best possible script that could be written for this drama today?

  40. 40
    Ash Can says:

    @BenA:

    I think he can’t go after it to hard and to soon or directly or it’ll kill him.

    Oh, I agree, not to mention quite possibly scuttling the convictions. I don’t mean to say that this kabuki is unnecessary to yield the best results in the long run, or even that it’s a bad thing to do. It’s awful, though, that it should be necessary.

    We have a small but well-stocked bar in our basement here at home. I’ll be huddled behind it for the duration, cradling my bottle of Ketel One.

  41. 41
    mclaren says:

    Why would you expect anything else? These torture methods were adapted from the communist torture techniques used specifically to get political prisoners to make false confessions.

  42. 42
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Is it a good or bad thing about my level of cynicism about BushCheneyite evil that it really had never occurred to me, out of all the things I could imagine them doing, that they were torturing people specifically to come up with false justifications for invading the country they had always wanted to invade?

    This was my reaction as well! I can’t believe this possibility never occurred to me. I must be losing some of my radar in my dotage!

  43. 43
    El Cid says:

    I actually think a serious issue from the foreign policy establishment’s point of view is that this apparent eruption of legality may possibly threaten the long-held presumption that you can do anything you want in foreign policy so long as you jump through a few hoops to make it look legal.

    You want to carpet bomb people for a year or a decade? Sure, go ahead. Hire their own army to overthrow an elected government. Okay, but make sure it seemed like an imminent threat. You want to recruit an army of gangsters, drug runners, warlords, and Islamic militants in Afghanistan to fight Russia? Sure, have at it, what bad could happen from that. You want to hire a league of terrorists to attack civilians in Nicaragua, or an army led by evangelical generals in Guatemala who want to wipe out the hill-dwelling Mayan population? Who could possibly care?

    And so forth.

    I think the USFPE is frightened that this President has suggested that illegal and immoral foreign policy activities won’t necessarily be swept under the rug or ‘investigated’ with meaningless committees or kept classified for 40 years until it’s old news.

    Now, the way they talk about it has to do with phrases like “handicapping foreign policy” and “undermining the confidence of our field agents” and “making America more vulnerable to our enemies,” but mostly they see a world in which people in the 3rd world can now elect their own governments without us being able to overthrow them at will or bind them up in IMF loans forever. And it pisses them off.

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    They really believed that there was such a connection.

    I don’t believe that. I think that their rationalization was more complex than that. Their core idea was that invading Iraq was such a good idea that it had to be carried out by hook or by crook. If that meant outing a CIA agent to discredit her husband, so be it. If it meant torturing suspected terrorists to prove the link between Iraq and al Qaeda, well, those terrorists were bad people who didn’t deserve any better. The ends justified the means.

  45. 45
    BenA says:

    @Ash Can:
    I was going to end my post with: “Vodka should help.”

    I’m addicted to Stoli right now… mainly because I can’t believe how good it is for the price.

  46. 46
    Delia says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah. I think it went something along those lines. I knew someone well at the time of the invasion who was very pro-war. His thinking went something along the lines of: “They’ve got WMDs . . . and . . . al Qaeda . . . and . . . all Arabs are alike . . . and . . . we’ve got to kick their butts for 9/11 . . . and . . . did I mention WMDs?” After the first joyous Mission Accomplished days he was very relieved that everything had turned out so well except for me murmuring that it wasn’t actually over yet and we hadn’t actually found any WMDs, but he figured none of that actually mattered because, hey, we’d won and all. Then everything went to hell.

    I figure the torture program was designed to win back people like this guy I’m describing.

  47. 47
    R. Porrofatto says:

    I hope this puts the lie to the excuse that the Bush-Cheney torture regime was ever for the purpose of gaining information and actionable intelligence. Ordering the torture of prisoners to elicit specific statements which you know to be untrue also reveals that you are fully aware that prisoners tell their torturers exactly what they want to hear to stop whatever agony you’re inflicting upon them, and that the product of torture is therefore unreliable and meaningless. Moreover, it’s an admission that any policy such “evidence” via torture is meant to support must be equally bogus. (Not to mention that torturing to elicit false confessions has historically been the province of the worst tyrants and sadists. So that, too.)

  48. 48
    SGEW says:

    [This tl;dr comment has been building for a while. Sorry for the length.]

    The Bush/Cheney years have got to be some of the sickest most heinous times this country has ever seen.

    I’ve been going back and forth on this, actually. When people say “Bush was the worst president ever, ever,” I often respond by saying “Andrew ‘Trail of Tears’ Jackson.” Let’s have a li’l list, shall we?

    Genocide.
    Slavery.
    Colonization.
    Widespread torture of prisoners in the Philippines, in Vietnam, and (through the School of the Americas) in Latin America.

    Not to mention a long list of unjustifiable military invasions, the internment of Japanese-American citizens, the Alien and Sedition Act, McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and pretty much everything the CIA has ever touched. Ah, history! A litany of blood and bullshit. Shining city on a hill, indeed.

    So why do the Bush Administration’s crimes against humanity seem . . . different, somehow? “Worse”? Is it just because it’s in my generation (tho’ the SoA operated during my time as well)? Is it because the torture program was so damned clinical? (Much like the Holocaust seems “worse” than, say, the Armenian or Rwandan genocides; there’s something deeply inhuman about the cold reasoning and detached scientific coordination the Nazis used.) Or is it the paper trail that we now have? I think it’s more than this:

    1.) “Crimes Against Humanity” was not even a concept before WWII. The creation of the U.N., the Geneva Conventions, and the relevant human rights treaties changed the ground game: it is obvious that slavery and the original founding genocide in the New World were “crimes against humanity,” but ex-post facto and all that. We supposedly “know better” now: actual merits of this argument aside, I believe it is a serious factor.

    2.) Approval and even initiation at the highest level. Teddy Roosevelt, for all his egregious faults, went out of his way to try and stop the alleged torture in the Phillipines: how genuine this concern was is up for debate, but nobody (I think) seriously suggests that he ordered the troops to torture anyone. Even Nixon was troubled by reports of abuse in Vietnam: Nixon and Kissinger initiated programs that a reasonable person could believe might lead to torture, but we have no evidence that it was a top-down decision to actually torture anyone (and on the tapes Nixon was recorded being surprised and worried about “that whole atrocity thing.”) The School of the Americas is a trickier question, but again there was a line that even the CIA wouldn’t cross: they didn’t actively advocate torture (and provided fig leaf disapproval of same), but provided information and techniques to Latin American governments as to how to torture. This was, of course, horrendous (and I protested the SoA too, back in the day), but there is, I believe, a difference of intent and culpability between these historical examples and the Bush administration giving tacit approval for American forces to conduct an actual torture program. There is a difference between “don’t torture anyone, wink wink” and “here’s the manual on torturing people: go do it, a lot, with our full blessing; in fact, do it more and more and more.” A fine line, perhaps (and it is horrifying to me that that line was even approached by the USA during the second half of the 20th Century), but there is something truly evil about whole-heartedly jumping over that line without even acknowledging it.

    3.) We caught them in the act. There is clear culpability. There are no deniable cut-out points. The question of “what did they know and when did they know it” is not at issue. I no longer have a reasonable doubt. [1]

    4.) Finally, it wasn’t even reasonably justifiable. FDR had reason to believe that the Imperial Japanese Army might actually invade California with a million troops when he ordered the internment camps (recent scholarship reveals that Nippon had literally drafted these invasion plans). Lincoln had reason to believe that the Confederate army was only a week or so away from marching on Washington, burning it to the ground, and hanging him by the neck until he be dead, dead, dead when he suspended habeas corpus. The Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons and really did try to take over half the world and crush it under a brutal authoritarian regime. It is hard for me to utterly dismiss the fearful responsibility past Presidents operated under. Therefore, I almost (almost) understand the initial panic and fear from the Executive branch immediately after 9-11 (especially at the Pentagon – I mean, they too lost friends and colleagues on that day, and I share their pain). But years later? When the threat is only a vague, unsubstantiated criminal enterprise? I do not believe that Cheney actually personally believed the U.S.A. as a nation was under a serious existential threat from cave-dwelling members of a doomsday cult. But we kept on torturing, for nothing. For garbage. As a justification in and of itself. We sold our soul for dross, and it hurts. It hurts.

    [1] Though we must give them full recourse to the courts, of course, and ensure that the judicial system presumes them to be innocent until proven guilty. In other words: don’t put me on the jury, because I already know too much about the case.

  49. 49
    El Cid says:

    Is it just me, or does Cheney actually seem either scared or unhinged beyond normal these last few days?

  50. 50
    Jay C says:

    @El Cid:

    Dunno, it’s kind of hard to tell: when it comes to Former Vice President the Hon. Richard Bruce Cheney, terms like “scared” “unhinged” and “normal” tend to become somewhat elastic…

  51. 51
  52. 52
    SGEW says:

    It should have never come as any surprise to anyone that they would step that up when they had complete control over an individual and lean on him even harder – up to and including organ failure and death – to make him say what they wanted to hear.

    I am a fox. I am a fox. I am a fox.

  53. 53
    HyperIon says:

    Good leaders do not piss their pants when the country is attacked. They stay calm and try to estimate risks. They gather facts from as many sources as possible. They do NOT do things out of fear. They guys were terrified that something else would happen on their watch.

    And now the possibility of another attack is repeatedly invoked by the torture apolgists. “Just wait until another attack occurs. You’ll be singing a different tune then.” Well, no, actually. If another attack occurs, we need to investigate how it happened and respond effectively.

    Pissing our pants is not effective. Fear is what got us where we are now.

  54. 54
    Cris says:

    @DanF: So essentially the Bush administration is like the Soviets

    Every time I heard (or hear) somebody compare Bush to Hitler, this is my response. Bush was much more like Brezhnev.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    How is this not the best possible script that could be written for this drama today?

    Because even with personal approval ratings in the shitter, people in positions of power still listen and obey Pol Pot Cheney.

  56. 56
    WereBear says:

    @DanF: So essentially the Bush administration is like the Soviets

    Yes, I think the Cold War messed up their heads so, they started thinking, “The damn Russkies have it so easy… why can’t we do that!”

    So then they looked into the abyss, and the abyss became them.

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    @SGEW:

    excellent post!

    I so agree with many of your points, especially about the vileness and hypocrisy that pervades American history. Great country, my ass.

    And I am totally on board with this somehow being……WORSE. Much as I like to think of myself as jaded, it has hit me particularly hard today with the disclosure about the torture being used to “prove” the bogus Al Quaeda-Iraq link. Not that the “fear of another attack” line is in any way an excuse……but this other thing is just pure 100-proof evil.

  58. 58
    Mike G says:

    Bush was much more like Brezhnev.

    I’ve been making that comparison for years. Not only in his smug sense of self-entitlement, enthusiasm for torture and authoritarianism and launching an ill-conceived invasion, but the deep vein of incompetence, politicisation, corruption, mediocrity and cronyism running through every aspect of his government administration. Bush and Breznev were disastrous even at the minor boring bits of government that no-one pays attention to.

    Also I compare Bush to Leopoldo Galtieri, the Argentinian junta thug who invaded the Falklands — a dim-witted, reckless tool, reportedly the only candidate stupid enough to ever have failed the officer’s course at the School of the Americas.

    Galtieri ended up serving five years in prison for mishandling the war, so just maybe we’ll have a happy ending to the Bush/Cheney reign of destruction.

  59. 59
    Pangloss says:

    Coming next: Cheney says that the threat of canibalism was effective against some of our most delicious enemies.

  60. 60
    gypsy howell says:

    I think Bush, Cheney, Rummy et al did it for the simple reason that it turned them on.

    I recall hearing that they liked to get full briefings and possibly watch tapes of the procedures in the White House.

    These are sick psychopaths. They didn’t need a reason other than it pleasured them. The rest was just window dressing.

  61. 61
    jim says:

    Oh, torture got results alright – excellent results, for the top brass of Al-Quaida. The US promptly lived up to A-Q’s worst agitprop stereotypes of “the depraved barbaric West” right on cue, just when Bin Laden’s movement was on its last legs after losing the Taliban as a friendly regime, & probably bought them years’ worth of legitimacy that they could never have earned themselves. As a terrorist recruiting tool it was surpassed only by the invasion of Iraq that it was being used to justify – a trivial little detail that Cheney always seems to forget when he does interviews.

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    Every time I heard (or hear) somebody compare Bush to Hitler, this is my response. Bush was much more like Brezhnev.

    I prefer an analogy to Francisco Franco. I think that that adequately captures the level of evil, which was surely less than the Soviets. The factions of the Bush era Republican Party also map well to those in Spain. The neo-cons are a lot like the Falangist blueshirts, save for actually beating people up in the streets. You had a faction of religious conservatives. You had the corporatist business interests. And you had the ultra-nationalistic realist militarists who weren’t as crazy about international ventures as the actual fascists, but were more about just spending a lot of money on military hardware and talking tough. The major differences is that the religious nuts were weaker under Bush, and the Falange/neo-cons somewhat stronger.

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    bob h says:

    That worked out well-for Blackwater and other Beltway Bandits with connections to the Republican Party, at least.

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    […] the Bush Administration believed that if they could extract some bogus confessions indicating collusion between an Afghanistan-centric Al-Qaeda and a nuclear-enabled Iraq, they could […]

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    This is an important PART of the story though al Libi told of Iraq links BEFORE being roughed up. Also, as I’ve written extensively at http://www.regimeofterror.com, he was by no means the only detainee admitting links to Iraq. Though the two sides certainly loathed each other there was exchanges of money, services and safehaven according to more than a few detainees and documents.

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