Friday, April 24, 2009

On the "torture flap" and all the waffling in DC: Bust Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, Rice, Miers, and the OLC attorneys


WWW--This is getting good. To say that I'm enjoying the shit storm created over the release of these torture memos, the narratives coming from former participants, and the formation of a coherent time line, would be an understatement. This could have a good effect on reining-in our intelligence community, and more. Reactionaries of every stripe are going to complain that this is "going to hamper the CIA, et. al.," which misses the point: actions defined as internationally illegal and barbaric behavior by them isn't necessarily going to make us any safer, quite the opposite.

But the the public has to be engaged in this, and so far, they are in a major way that's not showing any signs of cresting.

We could be seeing the radical reformulation of our foreign policy dialog inside and outside of the State Department and the executive branch. Why? Because the Bush II administration was so incompetent, so blustery in their criminality, that they didn't think that they had to cover their tracks much--not that they cared to most of the time, they thought the fix was on permanently. Who and what made them think that? Who gave them that blank check? Few buy the justifications these days. However, there still seems to be an increasingly isolated segment of the public that thinks George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and the rest of the Bush II administration were somehow protecting us through methods that were proven useless in obtaining information centuries ago.

Torture doesn't work.

My advice to concerned members of the public who find the use of torture by our government unacceptable: sign any petition (once!), call your elected representatives, and make one hell of a lot of noise about your concern over this until we see some real action, some real justice. Until then, all bets are off, so keep hammering!

Why is the Obama administration waffling back-and-forth on this? Some of the torture memos came out because they knew a whistle-blower was going to leak them to the press and watchdog groups. Nonetheless, it was a brave move to release them in unredacted form, and I applaud it. But the Obama administration doesn't yet know what to do about it, and the reasons are simple and complicated: yes, they have qualms about how the Bush II administration implemented torture against individuals captured in the field (oftentimes just taken off of the streets of another nation), but I think they want to keep this gun in their pockets for a rainy day.

Does it matter? It might not. This whole scandal is broader than just one incident: it's an internationally sprawling and seemingly endless string of incidents that constituted official policy under Bush II, a secret one. Interestingly, the former president isn't taking any potshots at President Obama on torture...only the factions of Karl Rove and Richard Cheney are. This speaks volumes as to who was the genesis of the policy, it could be isolated primarily to the last vice president.

However, none of this matters. George W. Bush was our standing president, regardless of whether he abdicated his responsibilities to Vice President Cheney. For this reason, there must be accountability because we are a nation of laws and precedents. If the Bush II precedents stand on torture and numerous other matters, we're no longer a democracy. Motivation enough for you now?

One thing's certain: There's a war for the minds of Americans on this issue being fought by Rovian operatives within the mainstream media, and they and the Obama administration are losing control of the debate to the public. This can only be a good thing. The groundswell is here, now.