Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Beyond the Pale...or not.

This is, at first glance, a shocking thing. Here we have a sitting vice president pushing for torture to become a legally allowed instrument of war, essentially, for the United States, bastion of freedom from oppression and purveyor of democracy. Uh huh. Yeah, then when I think about it, it isn't really a surprise. It isn't really Beyond the Pale. It's yet another sign that this administration is something from beneath the Pit. Cheney, whom I never thought cared a wit about the American People, doesn't even try to hide it anymore. He is fully exposed as something cold, brutal, and calculatingly vicious; a walking betrayal of things we were taught in school our nation stood for. Where does the President stand, that guy that just plain folks might like to have a beer with more than they would John Kerry? Where is his comment on this? Their ain't one, padnuh! Well, shoot! I guess we shouldn't be too shocked by that, but still, what the hell happened here? How did we get from being a nation much of the Free World gravitated toward because we didn't throw people in gulags for things they read or said, to being a nation that not only condones torture, but whose executive branch seeks to legalize it? Not saying the CIA hasn't engaged in all kinds of dirty things under several administrations, but now this White House wants it made official that its OK to torture prisoners. Does anyone need to know anymore about the outlook of these people that have slithered into office? Is there any reason to wonder why so many people distrust and dislike these swine? This country is being taken away from its roots in ways that should alarm everyone who thinks that the foundation built over the last 200 + years is worth anything at all. John McCain has his drawbacks, but at least he's drawn a line in the sand. Thank God someone did. Let's hope the Senate stands firm against the threatened veto, and enough representatives see the value in what he's trying to do.

This from the Washington Post (in full so you don't have to wrassle with their registration page):

"Vice President for Torture
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; Page A18
VICE PRESIDENT Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. "Cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners is banned by an international treaty negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the United States. The State Department annually issues a report criticizing other governments for violating it. Now Mr. Cheney is asking Congress to approve legal language that would allow the CIA to commit such abuses against foreign prisoners it is holding abroad. In other words, this vice president has become an open advocate of torture.
His position is not just some abstract defense of presidential power. The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have "disappeared," like the victims of some dictatorships. The Justice Department and the White House are known to have approved harsh interrogation techniques for some of these people, including "waterboarding," or simulated drowning; mock execution; and the deliberate withholding of pain medication. CIA personnel have been implicated in the deaths during interrogation of at least four Afghan and Iraqi detainees. Official investigations have indicated that some aberrant practices by Army personnel in Iraq originated with the CIA. Yet no CIA personnel have been held accountable for this record, and there has never been a public report on the agency's performance.
It's not surprising that Mr. Cheney would be at the forefront of an attempt to ratify and legalize this shameful record. The vice president has been a prime mover behind the Bush administration's decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military. These decisions at the top have led to hundreds of documented cases of abuse, torture and homicide in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington, was reportedly one of the principal authors of a legal memo justifying the torture of suspects. This summer Mr. Cheney told several Republican senators that President Bush would veto the annual defense spending bill if it contained language prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any U.S. personnel.
The senators ignored Mr. Cheney's threats, and the amendment, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), passed this month by a vote of 90 to 9. So now Mr. Cheney is trying to persuade members of a House-Senate conference committee to adopt language that would not just nullify the McCain amendment but would formally adopt cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a legal instrument of U.S. policy. The Senate's earlier vote suggests that it will not allow such a betrayal of American values. As for Mr. Cheney: He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture."

12 Comments:

Blogger Chip Morgan said...

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5:14 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Cheney is an evil smirking gnome. I think Archer has him spot on. Though I agreed with our need to insinuate ourselves into the Middle Eastern sooner rather than later, the team currently in command is appearing to have lost what few moorings it started out with. People joke about the incompetence of the other party, but it's not funny. We may be sliding into a crucial period of history with a system in which no one of any moral and intellectual substance can get anywhere near the White House.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Archer is pretty funny. Actually, pretty spot on except that the implication is that it's OK to do the torture, just don't let anyone know. I can't get with that at all. It's just plain wrong and un-American in the extreme.

The Democrats have largely failed as well, in that they've wasted one opportunity after another to stand up and say "I was wrong to vote as I did, and here's my solution."

Interesting, Kerry did it the other day, except for the apology part, I believe. He offered a constructive, well-reasoned plan for getting of Iraq without total abandonment. Wesley Clark has also offered, numerous times, constructive ideas about this. The trouble is that their own party won't get behind them because half of those numbnuts want out immediately, and the other half are just plain cowed by being in the minority. Kerry's damaged his own credibility and the country at least subliminably swallowed the Swift Boat nonsense. Clark didn't play well at the beginning, so more time needs to pass before anyone listens. Maybe Feingold has some good ideas. Certainly, there's no Republican out there who's done anything other than trumpet the tired "Stay the course..." message.

Yeah, we got trouble in River City.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Yeah, they all suck. We can agree on that, at least. I do give Bush credit for the fact that there have been no further organized attacks on our soil though. So far anyway. I had zero confidence that Kerry would have prevented any and am not sorry I voted for Bush, though of course I wish there had been a better choice than either one.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Just out of curiosity, Paula, why did you have no confidence that Kerry would've prevented attacks?
What did you feel about Kerry, that you gleaned from watching him, that led you to feel that way.

Also, with what's coming to light, why are you still not sorry you voted for Bush? Don't get me wrong here. I'm not trying to whack you over the noggin. I'm just truly curious. I have my own opinions about it that we can discuss, but I'm more interested in what you say.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Re Kerry: he had no plan. Nothing he said inspired my confidence--and I *wanted* to vote Dem. I did not want an anti-choice, pro-creationism guy, but preventing terror attacks was more important.

Re not being sorry: IMO if Kerry had been elected, we would have had more attacks here. As upfucked as the Iraq thing is, it's better than another 9/11.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I sort of think there was a fear factor, and that a lot of people voted reflexively, so to speak, at the last minute, thinking that Bush was the man to kick ass. I think current events made a lot of voters go with the guy who looked and acted most like a leader, and I mean on that reptilian level, sort of. I sort of think that kind of thought process is still activiated, and I think the administration knows that fear and uncertainty keeps it that way.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:08 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

Harry, as Walt Kelly said: "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us". Great post.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Chip Morgan said...

Great Blog!
Chip
http://www.focusedinterview.com

11:14 AM  
Blogger Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com

7:39 PM  
Blogger Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com

11:03 AM  

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