Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

That’s how many times the illegal, unethical, immoral and unjustified “harsh interrogation method” known as waterboarding was used “sparingly” by agents of the CIA under the authorization of the Bush administration.

That’s how many times it was used on two men, both al-Qaeda operatives, AFTER they’d already given up any useful information they had.

This was not interrogation.  It was revenge.  It was punishment.  It was torture.

And it was wrong.  The men who wrote the memos authorizing it should be condemned, prosecuted and put in prison for a very long time.  The men who did the torture must be brought to justice.  And the so-called “leaders” who still, against all available evidence, insist it was necessary we do this to protect our national security should be held accountable to their crimes.

And maybe they should be waterboarded, but that’s not for me to say.  I doubt Cheney or Bush would survive even the first five waterboardings, much less 266.  Perhaps 266 years in prison for each of them, one year for each time this act of vicious revenge was committed, would suffice.

266.  Six times a day for a month for Khalid Shayk Mohammed.

266.  That’s what Bush & Cheney thought was “justified.”

266.  The new Number of the Beast.  Further proof, if we needed it, that neither of them have any morals whatsoever.  This was not about protecting America.  This was nothing more than abuse.  This was torture.

266.

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This video is a must-see for anyone who wishes to understand the truth behind our present economic disaster and why Republicans should never, EVER again be trusted to control the country’s wealth.  They ran us into the ground many times before, and they’ll do it again.

So you see, the disaster visited upon us by Bush & Co isn’t an aberration.  It’s a logical result of a failed ideology.

Who knew the candidate who campaigned on a promise of change would turn out to be such a spineless wimp?

I speak of the week’s news that President Obama has decided not to hold the Bush Administration and its coven of lawyers – Yoo, Bybee, Addington, Bradbury, Rizzo, Gonzales – will not, in fact, be held accountable for the crimes against humanity they committed during the so-called “war on terror”.

In a statement on Thursday, the President made this incomprehensible statement regarding accountability:

“This is a time for reflection, not retribution… nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

This is not about retribution.  It’s about justice.  When we fail to hold those in positions of leadership accountable for their actions, we lose our moral legitemacy in the world.  If we fail to prosecute Bush et al. for actions that Obama’s own justice department has acknowledged are, in fact, criminal in nature, then we are no better than the worst of our enemies.

In order to “more forward”, we must revisit the sins of the past and excise them.  Now that we know more of the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, Gonzales and their cronies, we must act swiftly and deliberately to hold them accountable.

Anything less is unacceptable.  This is not about retribution.  It’s about justice.  They committed crimes; they MUST be held accountable.

Should we have “looked forward” after World War II and NOT held the Nazis accountable for their actions?

Should the Cambodians “look forward” and ignore the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge?

Should suffering Zimbabweans, if they ever pull out of the tyranny of Mugabe and ZANU-PF, “look forward” and not demand justice?

Should the long-suffering people of North Korea “look forward” and not demand justice if they ever emerge from their decades-long nightmare?

The souls of the dead cry out for justice, Mr. President.  The tortured demand it in their screams.  If you do not cleanse the stain of the Bush Administration from our national soul, then you are as guilty as they are.  And worse, you will enable future tyrants and dictators here and abroad to “get away with it”.

Justice, Mr. President.  That’s all we ask.  Justice.  It must be done, no matter how painful, difficult or embarrassing.

A report from the International Committee for the Red Cross on CIA detentions and torture, recently released to the public, has shed the white light of truth on the previous administration’s darkest secrets.

It reads like something from the Nuremberg Trials or the Vietnam era.  It describes the ordeals of fourteen “high value detainees” who were subjected to some of the worst treatment the CIA “interrogators” gave to their prisoners.  In one example, detainee Abu Zubaydah described a fairly standard transfer flight:

“The detainee would be made to wear a diaper and dressed in a tracksuit.  Earphones would be placed over his ears, through which music would sometimes be played.  He would be blindfolded with at least a cloth tied around the head and black goggles. … He does not know how long the transfer took but, prior to the transfer, he reported being told by his detaining authorities that he would be going on a journey that would last twenty-four to thirty hours.

“The detainee … would usually be transported in a reclined sitting position with his hands shackled in front. …The detainee was not allowed to go to the toilet and if necessary was obliged to urinate and defecate into the diaper.” (ICRC Report, page 7)

Lovely.  I’ve always said that the acid test for whether a given action is torture or not is if we’d put someone on trial for doing it to our people.  This stuff sounds like the worst of the stories from forced-labor camps in Soviet Russia.  And as usual, it’s not the worst.  No, what’s worse is the way the CIA, under the direction of the Bush administration, corrupted the function of doctors in support of its heinous crimes.

“During the course of their detention, detainees described three principal roles for health personnel whom they encountered.  Firstly, there was a direct role in monitoring the ongoing ill-treatment which, in some circumstances, involved the health personnel directly participating while certain methods were used.  Secondly, there was a role in performing a medical check just prior to, and just after, each transfer.  Finally, there was the provision of healthcare, to treat both the direct consequences of ill-treatment detailed in previous sections, and to treat any natural ailments that arose during the prolonged periods of detention.

“… In some cases it was alleged that, based on their assessments, health personnel gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust or to stop particular methods.” (ICRC report, pp. 21-22)

In one case a detainee was told by a doctor, “I look after your body only because we need you for information.”

And you thought Cheney and Bush couldn’t sink any lower.  This almost precisely mirrors the way medical personnel were used by the North Vietnamese on our soldiers.

Don’t give me any shit about “they were trying to kill us” or “those people are the worst of the worst”.  Nothing justifies this – NOTHING.  It offends me as a veteran, and it should offend the honor and morality of every American citizen.  Bush and Cheney led us down the path of immorality, and they need to pay for it.

We should bring them up on charges of war crimes and torture, before someone else does, just to show the world that WE DON’T TOLERATE THIS.

Read the full report here.

Word on the street is that former President Bush is currently writing a book about “…the environment in which [he] was making decisions.”

Does a cocaine-and-booze-induced haze count as an “environment”?

And wouldn’t it be just ironic if the publisher went bankrupt before he could finish it?

In a sweeping and refreshing change to his predecessor’s position on implementing legislation, President Obama today issued a memorandum for staffers directing them to review all of the so-called “signing statements” written by George W. Bush.  The former president was notorious for using the signing statements as a way of circumventing or undermining the laws as written, often in violation of the Constitutional power of the Executive Branch.

Here’s the full text:

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release March 9, 2009 March 9, 2009

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT:

Presidential Signing Statements

For nearly two centuries, Presidents have issued statements addressing constitutional or other legal questions upon signing bills into law (signing statements). Particularly since omnibus bills have become prevalent, signing statements have often been used to ensure that concerns about the constitutionality of discrete statutory provisions do not require a veto of the entire bill.

In recent years, there has been considerable public discussion and criticism of the use of signing statements to raise constitutional objections to statutory provisions. There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused. Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the President will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements. At the same time, such signing statements serve a legitimate function in our system, at least when based on well-founded constitutional objections. In appropriately limited circumstances, they represent an exercise of the President’s constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and they promote a healthy dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress.  With these considerations in mind and based upon advice of the Department of Justice, I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities. In issuing signing statements, I shall adhere to the following principles:

1. The executive branch will take appropriate and timely steps, whenever practicable, to inform the Congress of its constitutional concerns about pending legislation. Such communication should facilitate the efforts of the executive branch and the Congress to work together to address these concerns during the legislative process, thus minimizing the number of occasions on which I am presented with an enrolled bill that may require a signing statement.

2. Because legislation enacted by the Congress comes with a presumption of constitutionality, I will strive to avoid the conclusion that any part of an enrolled bill is unconstitutional. In exercising my responsibility to determine whether a provision of an enrolled bill is unconstitutional, I will act with caution and restraint, based only on interpretations of the Constitution that are more well-founded.

3. To promote transparency and accountability, I will ensure that signing statements identify my constitutional concerns about a statutory provision with sufficient specificity to make clear the nature and basis of the constitutional objection.

4. I will announce in signing statements that I will construe a statutory provision in a manner that avoids a constitutional problem only if that construction is a legitimate one.  To ensure that all signing statements previously issued are followed only when consistent with these principles, executive branch departments and agencies are directed to seek the advice of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, any provision of a statute.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA
# # #

Another smack down to the Bush League.  Are we finally seeing a rollback to the traditional role of the President?  Could this be the end of the so-called “Unitary Executive” promulgated by the Bush-Cheney regime?  By God, I hope so.  It’s about time.

That explains a lot

Posted: February 18, 2009 in Bush, bushisms
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“I’m also not very analytical.  You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.”  – June 4, 2003