I’ve been holding this one in for a while, because I keep waiting for someone else to write about it–mainstream media (Dan Froomkin of the Post, Dan Savage of the Boston Globe; somebody), bloggers (Glenn Greenwald or Andrew Sullivan both seemed like good candidates), but no one has. Neither have I heard Keith Olbermann address it, either.
Not this issue of torture and the U.S. policy towards it. We’ve all heard and read plenty about that. No; I’m talking about the absolutely Orwellian approach to defining and talking about torture that the Bush Administration has taken. And I don’t know about y’all, but it absolutely outrages me. (And while I don’t know about anyone else, it is clear as crystal to me that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a lot of other members of this Administration–Yoo, Gonzales, and others–are clearly guilty of war crimes.)
Let me ‘splain.
I’ve been wondering when the mainstream media (MSM) was going to call Bush and Cheney on their obvious B.S. when they stand up there and say, flat-out, “We do not torture.” Bush does it any time he is asked about it, and Cheney just did it a couple of week ago on Larry King. How on God’s green Earth can they do this when we know that the U.S. military at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo has been using waterboarding, hypothermia, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and other techniques that were used by (for example) Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, the Gestapo, and others?
It’s simple, folks: through the assistance of spineless lawyers like John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and Steven Hadley, the Administration has redefined torture to not include those actions. Torture, for these folks, only includes activities up to and including death and organ failure. Other than that, all bets are off (or as Cheney says, we went to “the dark side”). So when they say, “We don’t torture,” or “We abide by all legal obligations,” make sure to add in your mind, “and of course, we don’t consider waterboarding, stress positions, forced hypothermia, or sleep deprevation ‘torture’.”
How do we know this is true? Because any time one of these folks is asked about a specific (let’s not mince words here) torture like waterboarding, they always dodge the question. “We don’t reveal specific methods,” Cheney likes to say. This is a huge pile of hooey. They know that if they “reveal specific methods,” they will be admitting that they do torture, and won’t be able to lie in front of the American people any more. So they duck and weave and dodge, and don’t admit to the obvious, which is that they’ve redefined these horrible acts so that they don’t consider them legal torture, even though any civilized human being would.
I know that I am out there by the lights of some folks, but I truly believe that these folks are war criminals. They have approved–and continue to approve–the torture of human beings. They secretly violated the fourth Amendment to the Constitution (illegal search and seizure), and once caught, insisted that they have a right to violate it. They violated and continue to violate the FISA law. They are criminals, pure and simple, and they are getting away with it. They have broken their sacred oaths of office (“preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution,” remember?). And they are torturing our fellow human beings, who have been convicted of no crimes, and in most case not even accused of any crimes.
These are the people in charge of our country today. I can’t decide what boggles my mind more; that we live under the rule of such people, or that there are actually people out there (Steven Hayes of the Wall Street Journal, for example) who continue to defend their behavior. I am constantly torn between sadness and overwhelming rage.