Monday, September 25, 2006

English Cupboard Panel-ca 1810

Torture, Torture Burning Bright with GW Bush

To torture or not to torture – that is the question. There appears no credible argument that the Bush Administration has not employed torture on Jihad detainees. Otherwise, why all the sturm and drang over redefinition of article III of the the Geneva Convention. Why have Republican Senators Warner, McCain, Graham and others balked at the President's proposal? And even General Powell piously chimed in, because he is upset believing the Bush attack on the Geneva Convention signaled a moral decline in America and will impact how the US will be perceived internationally...

Thank you General Powell, but you should have thought about immorality when you supported Bush's doped intelligence before the UN on the run up to the Iraqi war. You spent days at CIA to reassure yourself that the information in your speech was supported by confirmed intelligence.

We still do not know whether Powell was dumb or opportunistic to accept the CIA's misleading conclusions. This is especially disconcerting when his own in-house State Department Intelligence organ, INR, had serious doubts over its validity. In either case, Powell should quietly fade away instead of hysterically seeking salvation by jumping on passing band wagons that he believes offer redemption.

The Senators' breach of Republican party discipline is different... All have military experience like Powell, unlike the majority of politicians who support Bush's proposal who do not. So let's give the Senators credit for doing the right thing. Whether the current Geneva Convention will prevent the slow painful butchering or flaying of an American POW by a blood thirsty, tribal Jihadist is a moot point; but at least such murderous acts will not be unintentionally codified by opportunistic US politicians screwing with a ratified international agreement.

There apparently has been a deal struck between the President and Senators which does not fiddle with the Geneva convention, but permits Bush to torture under a US detainee act. At least the Senators and Bush both seem content. Beats the hell out of me how its going to work. If I were a CIA interrogator I would hire a lawyer on retainer or change occupational specialties... How can you support the Geneva convention and US law if they conflict? Only in the Land of Oz is it possible. Let's hope the Senators' knees did not buckle after a very public outcry; and Bush for show, is sucking sweet lemons. Despite the fact the agreement is to be applied retroactively, if I were a CIA interrogator, I would carefully weigh my current service against bagging groceries in a supermarket or cleaning toilets in a federal prison.....

For those of you who witnessed the President’s latest Rose Garden press conference performance, when he argued for rewriting of Article III on the Geneva Convention, the President acted like a wound up fanatic. He seemed to be fighting existentialist enemies. His arms flayed; his red face painfully grimaced. He was angry or maybe frightened or even cornered. He repeated himself over and over... His staff should be concerned that if he does not de-tune himself emotionally by the next press conference, he may explode like Rumplestillskin when his name was discovered. Behavioral psychologists should have a ball with the tape from this press conference – it is probably already being dissected as a course study.

Apart from the non-substantive aspects of the press conference, Bush's motives for tampering with the Geneva convention might be examined. Ostensibly, he argued that more specificity was needed to outline the parameters of conduct for mainly CIA interrogators. However, the military intelligence operatives appear to be satisfied under current conditions. Bush threatened to end the current program of interrogation unless he had a rewrite of the Geneva Convention his way. Said he needed legal protection for civilian interrogators. To do what? Torture?

This whole issue was precipitated by the US Supreme Court decision that Bush required congressional intervention on guidelines on the treatment of detainees. Detainees recently were moved from CIA facilities or places where they may have been rendered and now placed under military control at Guantanamo. Issues on rules of evidence must also must be resolved before they can be tried – this court ruling came as a surprise and has had the Bush administration scrambling ever since... It could explain Attorney General Gonzales’ recent quick visit to Iraq...

According to legal experts, Bush desperately needs legal language to cover past activities that may have violated the law during interrogations. So this may explain Bush's up-tight press conference – he may be in legal jeopardy and that is enough to make any self righteous man sweat. As far as ending the CIA program of interrogation and rendering, these activities should be over for the moment as all the CIA detainees are now sitting in Cuba. There still remains another ticking time bomb; over 14,000 detainees held by the US military forces in Iraq detention camps, almost all held without charges. But the next immediate moment of more anxiety for Bush is when these most recent CIA detainees go to confession to the Red Cross representatives at Guantanamo.

Torture is an uncivilized practice, but it has been used historically and regularly by civilized countries, governments, police, military forces, criminals and religious orders. It has been used for punishment, revenge, instilling fear, pacification, extracting confessions and sadistic amusement. Experts disagree on how effectively it squeezes intelligence out of prisoners... Some say a tortured victim will tell you what he thinks you want to hear whether it is true or false just to relieve the pain. As far as Bush's program, the only way to determine its effectiveness is to compare the interrogation reports to actionable intelligence. Finding the Holy Grail would be easier than having access to these documents. Bush assures the American people that the process has been extremely productive, but who can believe Bush on anything? At the same time, Representative John Murtha, who has been briefed on the results of the CIA interrogations, indicated that the information produced was not that important.

GW Bush as a college student, was president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) social fraternity at Yale. At this time, there was a campus investigation of his House involving the hot iron branding of DKE pledges. As a defense, Bush was reported to have responded that branding was no worse than a cigarette burn – guess the traditional beating of pledges' asses with a wood paddle and making them swallow goldfish was too low a threshold for Bush's taste in hazing. Behold the evolution of a frat rat president to US President. Question: Will the new agreement with the Senate include inflicting cigarette burns, branding and water boarding? Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET


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