Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mock Executions, Power Drills to the Head and "We'll Kill Your Mama?" Why Obama Must Fully Prosecute Bush's War Criminals

So now we know the CIA went even further than previously thought in interrogating and torturing terror suspects. This includes guns and power-drills pointed at heads; death threats against family members; and mock executions. Democrats are outraged, while hypocritical Republicans are claiming witch hunt.

This coming from a party that impeached a U.S president, Bill Clinton, on charges stemming from an adulterous affair. The same party that's now crying foul over a special war crimes investigation. It's good that right-wingers have their priorities straight, huh?

As expected, the vicious GOP attack machine kicked into high gear Tuesday, tearing a familiar page from its lies and deception playbook. Right-wing radio's spinheads are literally whipping themselves into a mouth-frothing frenzy, claiming "the Obama administration is creating this CIA scandal to divert attention away from its problems" and how "all the left cares about is protecting the feelings of murderous terrorists" or that "liberals want to destroy our Democracy." This is the sort of reprehensible and irresponsible rhetoric we heard repeatedly during the Bush years. It's what Republicans do best, and Obama and the Democrats better get on the offensive or they'll end up having to relentlessly defend themselves from this hateful drivel, which would be a major distraction and undermine their entire agenda.

Obama and the Democrats will never succeed in the propaganda war if they simply meet lies with intelligent, rational response. They need to grab the controls and re-frame the debate rather than constantly play defense. And maybe they should even start spreading some lies of their own. Put Republicans on the defensive for a change. Its time to fight fire with fire. Why be swift-boated again? Have Democrats forgotten how the Rovians succeeding in making the war hero John Kerry look weak on national security while turning draft-dodging Bush and Cheney into John Wayne? Is there any doubt they'll exploit the CIA scandal, painting Democrats as unpatriotic in the process? Or that they'll take the recovering economy, and twist reality so that voters think that things are headed in the wrong direction? Just look how they've hijacked the health-care debate, spreading despicable lies about "death panels" and "pulling the plug on Grandma." History can so repeat itself.

Now let's address the issue of whether the CIA went beyond the call of duty in its interrogation techniques. Hindsight is indeed a luxury, and to be sure, the threats posed by non-uniformed, suicidal, murderous terrorist butchers are by far more frightening and harder to combat than our traditional enemies of the past. But that's again in the context of history. If we go back 65-70 years, when America battled the Nazis, Mussolini and the Japanese, or during the ensuing decades when the paranoid Communist Russian fear raged out of control, the Unites States military and intelligence apparatus managed to protect the nation while still abiding by international law.

Throughout modern U.S. history, each presidential administration viewed its then-enemy as the most dangerous and deadly. But what kind of nation will we become if we suddenly decide that the current enemy is the most deadly, and therefore we no longer must obey international law, the Geneva Conventions, FISA laws, the Constitution or our own rule of law? Where do we draw the line? Once the bar is reset for "acceptable" interrogation and torture, the playbook will be forever changed, and American soldiers' lives will be at stake. What happens to these brave servicemen and women when they are captured if we've committed illegal acts of torture all under the name of national security? What's to stop other armies from doing the same? And if so, what are we left with? When laws are no longer respected you have anarchy. Which is why President Obama must punish these Bush-era criminals under the fullest extent of the law. This isn't a presidential blowjob we're talking about here.....

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Athena Smith said...

Not abidding by international law has been equated by the ignorant ultra-nationalists (here and elsewhere too) as a sign of strength, independence, balls, you name it. Among all violations one could choose, torture is the lowest of the low, the most vile, the unbearably repugnant. To all those who believe that just because you are "big" you can violate international treaties then the only thing I can say is that there is a fine line between being a bully and a leader.

And please, do not preach the necessity of torture if you are a church-goer because then you really disgust me.

But if international treaties do not concern you, then what about efficacy? Does it work? Most people think not.

An interesting article about the "myth" of torture by Anne Applebaum is here

Also by Robert Fisk Torture does not work, as history shows

Realist said...

This is just the latest example that Obama is all talk and no walk. He will do nothing once a few low-level Blackwater operatives are tried, except maybe to commute their sentences if they are convicted.

I don't know if Obama is an active participant in this corporatist Kabuki or if there is something used to blackmail him, but there is little hope that he will do anything meaningful to improve life in America by reversing the many predations on the freedoms and liberties of this nation. He is acting just like Bush would have without the many moronic malaprops and misquotes. He just hasn't uttered the ultimate insult to the nation's ultimate law ("The Constitution's just a piece of paper!") - yet - but his actions scream that he is headed down that one-way path.