Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Ugly Secrets of War

Seymour Hersh has a new piece in the New Yorker, The Gray Zone. He is claiming that Rumsfeld is responsible for the formation of a top secret interrogation crew that were authorized to use extreme measures. His sources suggest this crew was working in Abu Ghraib. Daily Kos has an excellent commentary up on this. The final paragraph is worth repeating;

Permitting unrestrained acts of hubris is completely antithetical to one of the fundamental assumptions of our founding fathers--the fallibility of man. Madison and the federalists knew men weren't angels. The problem with this administration is that it acts in the name of President who believes his acts come from the divine intervention of God, and many of the policies of this administration are perpetrated by individuals--such as Cheney and Rumsfeld--who are so arrogant to act as if they themselves were gods.
Newsweek is reporting a similar story, with this rather striking addition;

What Bush seemed to have in mind was applying his broad doctrine of pre-emption to interrogations: to get information that could help stop terrorist acts before they could be carried out. This was justified by what is known in counterterror circles as the "ticking time bomb" theory—the idea that when faced with an imminent threat by a terrorist, almost any method is justified, even torture.

With the legal groundwork laid, Bush began to act. First, he signed a secret order granting new powers to the CIA. According to knowledgeable sources, the president's directive authorized the CIA to set up a series of secret detention facilities outside the United States, and to question those held in them with unprecedented harshness.
The Pentagon is claiming Hersh's accusations are outrageous. No surprise there. I can hardly wait to hear what the "fair and balanced" boys on Fox have to say.

We can now expect lots of screaming about unpatriotic liberals threatening the safety of our troops. After all, that is the GOP's plan of attack. Personally, I have zero tolerance for anyone in the oval office who signs off on war crimes. Time to begin impeachment procedures?

J.

UPDATE: US Forces Taught Torture Techniques;

...Critics of the Bush administration say the president and other officials sent a powerful message after the September 11 terror attacks that the previous standards of law no longer applied.

"The attitude that was communicated started from the highest levels and was sent on down the chain. It created an overall climate in which adversaries were dehumanised, the distinction between suspect and known perpetrator was effaced, and the overall message was that international law or domestic niceties get in the way of doing quote 'what we had to do', said Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks, formerly a senior adviser on human rights to the State Department. "When that is the message from the top it enables all sorts of bad behaviour."

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