Monday, April 20, 2009

The Word On Monday - Torture

Many of you might have thought that the worst form of torture was listening to GW Bush construct a sentence or explain a political or cultural concept. I still think some of his speeches, taped in loops at the good parts, (are there any others) blasted into the terrorist prisoner's cells, and alternated with women opera singers' solos would have done the trick.

In full disclosure, it never once occurred to me that the CIA wouldn't do some form of torturing when they thought it necessary and vital. I still expect a so-called "wet" operative will and would do whatever it takes to get the job done. These guys kill people after all and that seems as bad as torture, don't you think?

So what I'm saying is that we've all known all along that we, in the form of our intelligence agency operatives and other surrogates' (such as foreign government operatives) will occasionally do some very nasty things to people in the attempt to gain information.

Think of all of this as the "Jack Bauer" syndrome. Just how much of that really ever comes into play is debatable. So the real issue here in my opinion is the actions of the previous White House to change or blur the laws (read Constitution) to legalize something we all know is happening, but clearly know it ain't right.

A group of lawyers have been put up as the goats in this. Imagine that, somebody thinks some lawyers did something wrong. Sarcastic cynicism aside, this group includes a fellow who is now a federal judge. Turns out he was the boss of the outfit charged with creating the bogus memos. Say hello to Federal Judge Bybee. I know one thing for sure, I don't ever want to go before this dude. See his office, under his leadership, with his authority and approval, told the CIA how many times a day a prisoner could be waterboarded, hit in the head, stripped naked, thrown against a wall and so forth ad nauseam.

Now I'm not saying the CIA didn't tell this guy what to write. One doubts that even lawyers have the necessary expertise to craft the memos without technical assistance. No, I believe he just wrote what he was told to write or more probably told his subordinates, say like a guy by the name of Woo (I'm not kidding you here, I've seen the man on TV defending his actions) to write what the CIA told them to. I have been around long enough to know that a lawyer will write just about anything you need them to for enough money. In this case I think it was capital of a more politcal sort that bought the opinions.

So now after approximately 7 years and about 7 months of torture we have decided not to do it anymore. At least we have publicly stated we won't do it anymore. (Wink, Wink, Wink) So it's all OK, right?

Well not exactly. Some purists party poopers want our government, the same one that allowed the torturing as a systematic operation, (instead of a person on the spot need to know thing) to prosecute itself, just because there are some new folks in the White House.

Not gonna happen. And here's why.

After 9/11 our country was wounded and confused. Why had these people attacked our financial center in New York? None of us thought about what the two towers represented to the Muslim world. Nor did we think about the Pentagon or the White House as symbols of American Imperialism. Our enemies did.

So we were willing to give the Bush administration carte blanche in fighting these people. Of course the Bushies had some other ideas about establishing a beachhead in the Middle East, about oil policy and instituting conservative geopolitics that let Bin Laden escape, but captured Saddam Hussein. So what, we were told, we'll fight them there instead of here. Really?

But I digress........

We're not going to prosecute the guys who enabled torture as a policy of our government, because the American people could care less what happens to or has happened to anyone involved in the terrorists attacks. This ignores the hundreds of innocents rounded up, interrogated, tortured and held for years without charges or evidence of misdeeds, but SO WHAT.

These fuckers had the audacity to attack our nation, to strike at the heart of our financial center, to hit the Pentagon and attempt to hit the White House. That's the subtext behind everything else that happened after. It's why we let BushCo loose on Iraq, why we re-elected him after he'd proven himself incompetent and why we stood by and watched the Federal Government abandon New Orleans after Katrina. We all bought into the fear mongering and outright bullshit spewed by our government.

Who really thinks that this government, regardless of it's leadership, will do anything substantial about torturing a few hundred terrorist suspects, when it's ignored the thousands killed needlessly in Iraq, the thousands upon thousands of still homeless on the gulf coast of our nation, and allowed the financial Oligarchy to cripple our economy while making itself richer and more powerful than ever.

I'd like to end this on an optimistic note. I'd also like to have a small villa on Lake Como and the time and money to use it. Nope, not gonna happen.


For two excellent movies that give different viewpoints on the Middle East and terrorism; I recommend "Traitor" starring Don Cheadle in a terrific performance and "Body of Lies" with Russel Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio.


Dr.John said...

I thought you did well.
I think that one reason why it won't happen is too many elected representatives of both parties knew what was going on and turned their heads. They could have stopped it. They would rather forget it ever happened.
But I still wish the trial would go on and tomorrow on my blog I'll tell you why.

Richard said...

Dr. John: I wish we would have a trial as well, but doubt the proper people would be prosecuted. Instead we'd get to see the goats while the true criminals escape.

I will drop by tomorrow and check it out.

OMYWORD! said...

"I'd like to end this on an optimistic note." heh. I laughed out loud when I read that.

This was great Rich. Couldn't have said it better meself, including the prerequisite f-bombs.

I agree with Dr. John. I think that if everything that happened here ever sees the light of day, there'll be some guilty Democrats in the crowd. The Dems knew torture was going on, and they did nothing about it.

Raven said...

Well said.... I agree with you 90%... only that there were many, many, many of us who wrote and wrote and signed petitions all during the Bush years and are continuing to do so now asking that this be prosecuted. I still hold out a very slim hope that we will do the right thing. I am disappointed in Obama. I understand his desire to not take yet another enormous burden onto his plate, but I think he is wrong in his decision. I think, based on his words yesterday, that he himself sees this... sort of.