Republican Torture Laws Will Live in History
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If we learned anything from the Nuremberg trials it is that citizens are responsible for what their government does in their name. The right wing of Congress, which has shed any last vestige of being anything remotely conservative in substance or American in spirit, has, like a deranged peacock, proudly shown the world that it can and did "happen here." The passing of the pro-torture bill is a full handover of everything democratic into the arms of fascism.
Before Bush has even signed his pro-torture, anti-humanity bill into law, his legal framer and torture apologist Alberto Gonzales is already cautioning the judiciary:
"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who is defending President Bush's anti-terrorism tactics in multiple court battles, said Friday that federal judges should not substitute their personal views for the president's judgments in wartime."
Instead of continuing with this farce called checks and balances, why not simply declare the "It has happened here" amendment for the Congress to rubber stamp and the president to tack on to the Constitution as a preemptive measure against dictatorial power?
Something along the lines of:
Congress shall, immediately upon our inauguration, initiate amendments to the Constitution providing (a), that the President shall have the authority to institute and execute all necessary measures for the conduct of the government during this critical epoch; (b), that Congress shall serve only in an advisory capacity, calling to the attention of the President and his aides and Cabinet any needed legislation, but not acting upon same until authorized by the President so to act; and (c), that the Supreme Court shall immediately have removed from its jurisdiction the power to negate, by ruling them to be unconstitutional or by any other judicial action, any or all acts of the President, his duly appointed aides, or Congress.
Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves at the thought of how Bush -- the deranged man-child; Cheney -- the most criminally corrupt government official to have ever been put into office; and Rummy -- a war criminal even before the war in Iraq have together burned the Constitution while the nation watched "Survivor."
Quite simply put, if there were a moment's doubt that this nation was heading for a fascist takeover, then watching the United States Congress make legal that which in WWII the United States heroically fought to make immoral should be the final proof.
The expediency with which the fascists have taken apart democracy in America can only be ascribed to years of practice; from Nixon to Iran Contra, these madmen should have been imprisoned, not pardoned. But as they attacked and abused the nation anew and pushed the envelope further, they were always pardoned. Now what is there to stop this madness, after no one is left standing in the way of the criminal gang running the country like the Mafia?
So, while rushing to give unprecedented power to a man who has already abused the limited power that he had, the latest indignity is an international incident; and its victims are not only Iraqis, but every citizen of every nation being held or who will be held in detainment facilities across the globe, tortured, raped, and even murdered at the pleasure of a criminally insane executive and his henchmen, whom he bought or threatened into selling their souls.
The Last Nail by the Numbers:
Speaking in abstractions and using politically loaded terms like "terrorist" does this country little service and shields the truth from the hard facts of actual bodies.
I reported last November that since the start of U.S. aggressions in Afghanistan and Iraq, roughly 70 thousand men, women, and children had been detained and in many cases tortured. Of the 35,000 detained in Iraq, only 638, or roughly 2 percent, were ever tried for any crime . The rest were either quietly let go or died in custody.
A document leaked to me a year ago from sources with a conscience at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) indicated that this total of 35,000 does not even represent the full count of people detained, nor does it address every single U.S. facility around the world or the additional extraordinary renditions we have engaged in.
Does anyone actually think that any Republican who voted for the pro-torture, pro-rape, pro-mutilation bill has actually looked at the numbers, or better still, talked to the living victims? Somehow I think that the closest these dilettantes got to the horror of it all was the lemon chicken lunch they sat down to while visiting the "public" area of Gitmo.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said recently, "Well, Alan, I think it really does reflect that we are in an age and an era post-9/11, where we're talking about a new sort of opponent, a new sort of the war criminal, somebody who right now we call then enemy combatants, but the sort of people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who's down in Guantanamo Bay now, who allegedly and likely did mastermind the plot that killed 3,000 Americans."
According to Mr. Frist's second brilliant public diagnosis (the first being, of course. Terri Schiavo), the people detained, or " the opponents," are either guilty of plotting to kill Americans or have already done so in the past. Senator Frist can tell this just from judging them by their appearance.
Mr. Frist, are you really going to tell the American people that 638 convictions were worth the detainment, torture, rape, and in some cases murder of roughly 35,000 people in Iraq alone? Remember, these numbers are a year old and only a fraction of the total.
And if our intention is to save 3,000 American lives, something this administration has already failed to do, from another possible 9/11, then why did we send to their deaths an additional 3,000 American soldiers in order to secure only 638 convictions -- even assuming that number is a credible representation and that they were convicted on evidence, not confessions via torture?
What does this accomplish and how can it possibly be justified?
And if we are, in general, aiming at saving lives, then why did we kill roughly 100,000 Iraqis and thousands upon thousands of Afghanis in order to secure 638 possibly dubious convictions?
Again, why are Mr. Frist's "opponents" innocent people he has never met, never talked to, never heard of? What does this accomplish?
Sorry Mr. Frist, but unless you can account for each and every soul, and conduct legal and credible trials, you cannot presume to put to death or assign to relentless torture so many innocent lives, at least not morally or under what will no longer be domestic law.
Changing this law excuses Mr. Frist and his gang from nothing, other than domestic charges of criminal conduct. It does not excuse him or his president from international law, because we are and were signatories to Geneva and other treaties when Bush violated those laws.
Nor will history excuse Mr. Frist, Mr. Bush and especially Mr. Cheney for anything, not one drop of blood, not one lie, not one crime.
Can you say without any doubt that there are no innocents being tortured?
Are the Republicans in Congress who voted for this savagery willing to say that 638 convictions were worth this many casualties? If they are willing to make into law the mass slaughter, the mass detainment, the total antithesis of everything America fought for during WWII, then they had better be able to say, on the record, that they are certain that not a single innocent life has been compromised and not a single innocent soul tortured. And they had better say on the record that 638 convictions were worth nearly 3,000 U.S. soldiers. But cowards simply cast a vote and walk away. They don't have to see their victims or witness the suffering they have caused. They can simply change the channel and watch another reality show.
Every member of Congress who voted to violate basic human decency and leave something as sacrosanct as the Geneva Conventions up to executive interpretation, even after the executive has already broken both domestic and international law, is first and foremost a criminal accomplice in every act of murder, rape and torture committed under the banner of the American flag.
Members of Congress who voted to support this act of violence -- premeditated, organized and systemic -- are accessories after the fact and enablers of crimes against humanity, period. The right wing has won no moral victory nor any legal battle. They have not won a show of strength on national security over the Democrats. Instead, the entire country has lost any moral standing in the world, and members of Congress who voted to legalize savagery have sold their souls and this nation's dignity for a political prize.
The world must know that the citizens of this nation do not support what their government is doing in its name, not for 638 convictions -- even if they are legitimate -- not for greed, not for power, not for any reason. Members of Congress who voted to become criminal accomplices of tyranny may find it clever that they can pass laws to absolve themselves and their leader of high crimes, but history will not. They will be judged by the world, and by the future, in the harshest possible light and as no different than the Nazis or any other brutal and murderous regime.
The mask of Christianity does not lessen such evil, because the Nazis, too, enjoyed their Christian pomp and circumstance.
I see no difference between this statement:
"We have a feeling that Germany has been transformed into a great house of God, including all classes, professions and creeds, where the FÃ¼hrer as our mediator stood before the throne of the Almighty." -- Joseph Goebbels
and the one below:
Why is this man [George W. Bush] in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."
-- Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin