It seems that George Bush and his cronies have been able to stay in power, at least partially, thanks to some invisible level of doubt. Perhaps he didn’t really violate the terms of our Constitution. Or perhaps he has some (sane) reason for waging war on nations based on manufactured evidence. Even Bush himself seems to think that history will remember him as a hero (an idea that’s as ludicrous as his foreign policy failures).
In recent days, however, clear testimony and evidence has [re]surfaced about King George and the use of torture. From EmptyWheel’s post, Remember the Torture Tapes? :
In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.
The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of “combined” interrogation techniques — using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time — on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.
The advisers were members of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Daily Kos also reports in Signed By Bush, ALLOWING TORTURE, Memo Shows Bush NOT ‘Insulated’. One of the most relevant quotes, in my opinion, is from George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley. From the post:
On Countdown last night, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley emphasized that there was a torture program and that it was authorized “AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL”.
Turley said, about the “NSC Principals Committee” that discussed torture at a grotesquely specific level of detail, “this is like a meeting of the badda bing club”.
Turley stated, bluntly,”This was a torture program… and it goes right to the President’s desk.”
But Turley went even further than that:
“Olberman: You said it goes to president Bush’s desk here… Is it the smoking gun that president Bush authorized torture by the United States of America ?”
Turley: “We really don’t have much of a question about the president’s role here. He’s never denied that he was fully informed of these measures. He in fact, early on in his presidency, he seemed to brag that they were using harsh and tough methods. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that he was aware of this. The only doubt is simply whether anybody cares enough to do something about it.”
The last statement is the most relevant. We all know how wrong all of this is, but a nation that impeached a President for lying about his personal life seems unwilling to test whether our current leader is a war criminal that is responsible for crimes against humanity. In keeping with recent American patterns of fear and a rejection of logic and evidence, it seems unlikely that anything will come of this. Perhaps other nations would have to call for Bush to stand trial for his crimes before anything is done. Even then, it seems that we have let him get away with it. And, of course, we have paved the way for future Presidents (or dictators) to destroy the United States.
Update (04/24/2008): It looks like at least one member of the press isn’t afraid to ask direct questions about Bush’s war crimes. ThinkProgress reports in ‘Thomas Breaks Press’s 14 Day Silence On Bush’s Torture Approval.