President George Bush, betrayed by the neoconservatives whom he elevated to power and by his Attorney General, Torture Gonzales who gave him wrong legal advice, is locked in a desperate struggle with the Republican Congress to save himself from war crimes charges at the expense of America's reputation and our soldier's fate.The above is from Paul Craig Roberts' War Criminal at Bay. Roberts has more:
President Bush has given no thought to the impact on America’s reputation of his strident campaign to write torture into US law. He has given no thought to what saving himself means for captured US troops if the US government guts Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.Paul Krugman also addresses the issue of a President and an administration attempting to protect themselves rather than the security and values of the United States in King of Pain.
How could he care? This is the same president who prevented the world from intervening to stop Israel’s slaughter of Lebanese civilians. This is the same president who describes tens of thousands of slaughtered Iraqi and Afghan civilians as "collateral damage." What sort of war is it when civilian casualties far out number casualties among combatants?
A lot has been written and said about President Bush’s demand that Congress “clarify” the part of the Geneva Conventions that, in effect, outlaws the use of torture under any circumstances.So why does Bush want to torture?
We know that the world would see this action as a U.S. repudiation of the rules that bind civilized nations. We also know that an extraordinary lineup of former military and intelligence leaders, including Colin Powell, have spoken out against the Bush plan, warning that it would further damage America’s faltering moral standing, and end up endangering U.S. troops.
But I haven’t seen much discussion of the underlying question: why is Mr. Bush so determined to engage in torture?
Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. According to an ABC News report from last fall, procedures used by C.I.A. interrogators have included forcing prisoners to “stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours”; the “cold cell,” in which prisoners are forced “to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees,” while being doused with cold water; and, of course, water boarding, in which “the prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet,” then “cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him,” inducing “a terrifying fear of drowning.”
And bear in mind that the “few bad apples” excuse doesn’t apply; these were officially approved tactics — and Mr. Bush wants at least some of these tactics to remain in use.
To show that it can.As we have often stated here torture does not produce good intelligence. It is a good method to get those being interrogated to tell you want they think you want to hear. Is it in wonder that Dick Cheney likes torture. I'm sure that there have been times when he would have liked to torture analysts at the CIA and State Department.
The central drive of the Bush administration — more fundamental than any particular policy — has been the effort to eliminate all limits on the president’s power. Torture, I believe, appeals to the president and the vice president precisely because it’s a violation of both law and tradition. By making an illegal and immoral practice a key element of U.S. policy, they’re asserting their right to do whatever they claim is necessary.
Now for the big question, will the administration get what they want? Yes they will. The protests of McCain et. al. and Dubya's temper tantrum have all been part of a carefully choreographed political play. McCain, Warner and Graham get to look independent and Bush still ends up getting what he wants. That's compromise Bush style.
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