Monday, December 15, 2008

...strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," the report finds. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."
~excerpt from the bipartisan Senate report released 12/11/2008 with no dissenting votes

I urge you to read it.

Recall that Spec. Lynndie England was portrayed as the face of the "few bad apples" who were torturing prisoners at Abu Graib. She was court-martialed, had a plea bargain rejected, and was convicted, sent to a military prison, and dishonorably discharged. As this bipartisan senate report shows, she was clearly following the orders of her Commander In Chief, George W. Bush, and the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. I am not defending England's actions. I am pointing out that the hammer of justice came down on the least participant of this travesty. The same hammer should descend on those at the top, and with equal vigor.

Included in the parade of sleaze are, in no particular order:
- George W. Bush
- Condoleeza Rice
- John Ashcroft
- Donald Rumsfeld
- Alberto Gonzoles
- Jay Bybee
- David Addington
- John Yoo
- Paul Wolfowitz
- Senior staff at GITMO

I wager we will soon see a Republican equivilant of, attempting to "put all that behind us" and focus on other real problems. Any takers?

UPDATE: Here's what C-in-C Bush had to say about England in May of 2004, "That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values."

And here is what he said in June of 2004, "Obviously, it was a shameful moment when we saw on our TV screens that soldiers took it upon themselves to humiliate Iraqi prisoners -- because it doesn't reflect the nature of the American people, or the nature of the men and women in our uniform. And what the world will see is that we will handle this matter in a very transparent way, that there will be rule of law -- which is an important part of any democracy. And there will be transparency, which is a second important part of a democracy. And people who have done wrong will be held to account for the world to see."

I say, I await the transparency, and the accountability of those who have done wrong. Let us start with the list above, shall we?

SECOND UPDATE: Conservative pundit Glenn Reynolds had this to say when the Abu Graib stories first started appearingin late April, 2004, "Of course, it's not the same as Saddam's torture -- which was a matter of top-down policy, not the result of assholes who deserve jail or execution, and will probably get one or both. As with other reported misbehavior, it should be dealt with very, very harshly. But those who would -- as Senator Kerry did after Vietnam -- make such behavior emblematic of our effort, instead of recognizing it as an abandonment of our principles -- are mere opportunists." [emphasis mine]

Funny, a spin through Glenn's site today doesn't even have a reference to the Senate report. *insert cricket sounds*

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