Israeli scoreboard: 1463 Palestinians dead, 63 Israeli soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians dead.
“This government does not torture people,” the president said.
“We stick to U.S. law and international obligations,” the president said, without taking questions afterward.
That was President George W. Bush in 2007.
President Obama yesterday......"We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks."
For over seven years, all the Very Serious People pretended as if there were some honest disagreement between partisans over whether torture was actually, you know, torture. It was all an entertaining Kabuki presentation....but it was as disingenuous as the day is long.
The Bush-Cheney neo-cons not only ordered torture to be carried out, but also retroactively "legalized" their illegalities by having stooges like John Yoo write "legal" defense memoes explaining how acts of torture conducted by CIA agents and private contractors on detainees.....was really not torture at all, but "enhanced interrogation" techniques.
It was torture......and it was always torture.
Now, the only reason Obama said what he said yesterday was because a summary report from the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating torture will....eventually....be released to the (gasp) public. Yesterday, President Obama, the Democratic president who insisted from the beginning of his tenure that he preferred "looking forward not backward", only acknowledged that, yes, we tortured some folks, because the public will soon find that out anyway.
But the following explanation from the president is where I break rank with Obama.....
"I understand why it happened. I think it's important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And, you know, it's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that's what that report reflects."
Here, Obama is justifying Bush-Cheney's decision to order torture. Obama said he "understands why it happened." Obama even uses Dick Cheney's own defense...."people did not know whether more attacks were imminent"....to defend the Bush-Cheney war criminals.
So, since "people did not know whether more attacks were imminent"......a claim I would argue is entirely disingenuous, Obama "understands" why torture was ordered. And why would that be the case? Does Obama actually think that torturing, you know, "folks", produces accurate and reliable information? How else could someone "understand" the use of torture?
Let me be clear. I have followed every available detail of this alleged dispute for the last 10 years. Dick Cheney pushed torture immediately after 9-11...and I mean immediately after.....with one purpose in mind. Cheney was trying to beat false confessions out of detainees....false confessions which might implicate Saddam Hussein in the 9-11 crime. The Bushies.....from before George took the oath....were hellbent on going into Iraq. But they needed a justification. Cheney hoped torturing Muslim detainees in late 2001 and 2002 would produce the justification he desired.
In was another ugly example of the war criminal Bushies attempting to "fix the intelligence to fit the (pre-determined) policy."
And tell me.....why did the Bushies, whom Obama still partially defends, think "more attacks were imminent"? Did the history of al-Qaeda activity warrant such thinking? Not at all. Al-Qaeda radicals had always gone for the "one big symbolic violent action." The Bushies, I believe fraudulently, pretended that a non-state band of jihadist crazies were much more powerful than they were. Talk of subsequent "waves" of terrorist attacks was just bullshite....but that was the weak-tea rationale the Bushies would use to justify their evil.
What neo-cons dread, however, is not Americans finding out that the Bushies ordered torture. We already kind of knew that, right? What neo-con war criminals are really opposed to is what the Senate Intelligence report will say about torture producing actionable, helpful information in preventing other terrorist violence.
It has been reported from inside sources that the Senate report will show that nothing of actionable value.....no terrorist plots.....none....were prevented by the use of torture. Nada.....nothing. When the Senate report is released.....that is where the argument will be had. Neo-cons like Cheney, along with the anti-American CIA, will swear torture kept us safe......the Senate report will say the opposite.
Corporate-whore media will turn the dispute into a he-said..he-said discussion that's impossible to settle. And the Senate report will be dismissed as a partisan attack by Democrats. And so it will go.
In the end, torture will remain an "option" for future war criminal wannabes....exactly what Dick Cheney has been looking for all along.
In all of this wickedness, the Bushies are ultimately responsible. But Obama is an accomplice after the fact. Obama's failure to hold lawless war criminals responsible for their evil deeds makes him an accomplice after the fact. His "understanding" of why those war criminals did what they did lends credibility to the war criminals own defense of their indefensible actions. Obama's continued support for the lying henchman who runs the CIA, John Brennan, is right out of the Bushie playbook.
"Looking forward" sounds so optimistic and reassuring, doesn't it? Kind of like "this government doesn't torture."
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