"Proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free," sang Toby Keith, as America pumped it's fist, beat it's chest and rose up in righteous anger immediately after 9-11.
During the presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, I was not proud to be an American. I was ashamed of America.
For years I've tried to bring the ugly darkness of the Bush administration to the light of reason with my blogging, just as many, many others did during America's blackest hours.
Conservative Americans, not all but many, kept telling me that "terrorists" weren't entitled to basic human rights because they were....well....Islamofascists, or something. If military-complex leaders thought captured "radicals" should be subjected to inhumane, barbaric, "harsh" interrogations..... even acts previously considered to be torture.....then so be it, said the conservative Bush and Cheney supporters.
Those who read this blog have even seen recent comments in support of torturing Gitmo detainees. Justifying it. Promoting American exceptionalism in some cock-up "war on terror", while at the same time justifying the use of cruel and very unusual methods of terrorizing detainees.....methods written by Bush lawyers, lawyers who could have just as well have been writing opinions for Hitler or Stalin, methods agreed to by Bush himself.
Though President Obama, yesterday, granted immunity to all CIA personnel who conducted torture, an inexcusable action in itself....to Obama's credit, he released the "legal" memoes on which George and Dick based their crimes against humanity. Those memoes can be found here.
"In this phase, you would like to employ ten techniques that you believe will dislocate his (the detainee) expectations regarding the treatment he believes he will receive and encourage him to disclose the crucial information mentioned above. These techniques are (1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap(insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard."
"The interrogator pulls the individual forward and then quickly and firmly pushes the individual into the wall. During this motion, the head and neck are supported with a rolled hood or towel that provides a c-collar effect to help prevent whiplash. To further reduce the probability of injury, the individual is allowed to rebound from the flexible wall."
Later, our exceptional American CIA officers made plastic collars for use in the practice.
Insects placed in a confinement box....
"You would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would, however, place a harmless insect in the box."
What I am startled by, while reading the memoes, is the business-like quality of the disgusting legalese. Bybee and Bradbury (the authors), were duplicating, and seeking to legalize, past Japanese and German torture methods....methods ruled to be war crimes at the time....as calmly as if they were preparing a Sunday School lesson.
It must be very easy for human beings to simply do what they're told to do without considering what it is that they are doing. One would think that these guys would have paused a bit over the torture words they were writing.....and ask themselves, 'what in the hell am I doing here, this ain't right'......but they didn't. They did what they were told.
And who told them? That's right.....George and Dick. These Office of Legal Counsel lackeys didn't simply come up with a plan to torture detainees on their lonesome. Someone told them to prepare methods of information extraction. And the buck stops with the Terror Twins.
It goes without saying that the Bush administration leaders should spend time in federal prison for what they ordered to be done in the name of all Americans. To his shame, President Obama doesn't want to prosecute, now out in the open, war crimes.
And that doesn't make me proud either.
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