Shocked and Persuaded

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Separating Fact From Fiction

Bloodlust & The CIA

During the recent uproar over whether President Obama would pursue legal action against the Bush administration’s actions in and around Guantanamo, Baghram, and the Pentagon it seems like once again we are getting off topic and many are trying to obfuscate the issue. According to a quote from former Bush White House lawyer B.A. Anderson Obama’s “extreme supporters” smell blood and will do anything for a taste of it and this includes the CIA. I for one have no desire to go after the CIA regarding this matter, although their conduct (Yes you Mr. Gates and Negroponte!) in central and south America is worth opening the curtain, and I definitely don’t want anyone to be unjustly hung out to dry. What I do want, what I would hope this president would want, and what this country would want if presented with all of the facts is to prosecute those that congregated in the White House’s Office of Legal Council (OLC) for eight years and I am speaking specifically of David Addington, John Yoo, Monica Goodling, and Alberto Gonzalez…Oh yeah throw Douglas Fife in there for good measure why don’t you! These are the criminals whose greatest concern at this point shouldn’t be Eric Holder but rather a trip to The Hague. While I don’t espouse the belief that the uniformed men and women at these prisons are devoid of responsibility, quite the opposite they will have to live with what they have done for the rest of their lives, I believe that they aren’t the solitary bad apples Rumsfield and his crew painted them to be. This was recently confirmed by a report from Senators Levin and McCain of Michigan and Arizona, respectively. They were doing what was asked of them and aren’t military types inculcated from very early on with the notion that what comes from up high is not to be questioned? David Addington is a man whose contempt for oversight and the rule of law transcends that of many third world dictators and his partner in crime Mr. Yoo has a command of double-speak that if it weren’t used for nefarious purposes would be humorous. The latter actually had the gall to ask congressman Keith Ellis of Minnesota how he defined the word implement when being questioned about these very issues last fall. Meanwhile Mr. Addington spent his time before the same panel making the case for why Dick Cheney’s office is not part of the executive branch but rather an appendix of congress and thus completely removed from any laws applying to said branch, namely those having to do with paper and electronic communications. How do we so flippantly use the 1994 law that allows for prosecution of torture by American citizens in other countries against former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor’s son but not our own government officials? I’ll tell you how a Democratically controlled house and senate that like Mr. Obama want to look forward, build bridges, and establish alliances geared at solving this countries problems. Hey who can argue with that? I know I can’t. However, you do this when it comes to healthcare, social security, banking reform, and campaign finance not torture or illegal wiretapping, both of which threaten the sanctity of the social pact we supposedly have with our elected officials. I don’t like that being associated with warhawks and ideologues like the men and woman mentioned earlier. Do we then say when these techniques are used against our military “Hey that ain’t fair!” How could we in good conscience? Alliances and consensus is great, but if the Democrats don’t stand up to these atrocities committed by the Bush administration there will be many left to wonder what is the difference between them and their colleagues across the aisle?
At this moment it seems appropriate to steal a phrase made famous during “The Surge” by General Patreus and Ambassador Crocker regarding conditions in Iraq. When asked by the senate and house both men said the situation was/is “Fragile and reversible”, which I would contend speaks of the American public’s sentiments regarding their government. Yes Mr. Obama your speeches were captivating, your rhetoric sprinkled with populism, and your intellect something we probably haven’t seen in the White House in oh I don’t know maybe forever. Yet, please don’t mistake bliss for naivete and please don’t mistake our obsession with the economic downturn with a singular obsession as many of us are keeping an eye on the guys leaving town cause they can’t be trusted and their actions probably created more animosity and potential terrorists then they prevented. Look everyone in the intelligence community either on or off the record pretty much agrees that Rumsfeld giving the go-ahead at Abu Ghraib was the proverbial “toothpaste out of the tube”, with such tacit or overt approval the last thing these contentious prison environments needed. We can move forward in due time sir, but for now you need to let us know and let the entire world know that moving on includes addressing the evils perpetrated not by the CIA, although they are by no means saints, but by the OLC, which includes ending this senseless use of redactions, and an explicit definition for “Unlawful alien enemy combatants”, because I know a lot of folks who depending on the time of day or day of week would fit that description. No one wants to see anyone put in the electric chair or escorted to the gallows, but rather these individuals must be made to face the consequences for inhumane, deceitful, short-term, and cowardly acts that only alienate us from friend and foe alike.

Category: Geopolitics

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