The President hasn't used his veto in five years (that's the fiscally conservative guy who cares so much about reining in federal spending. Routinely the Congress has come in with spending bills WAY over budget, and he hasn't done a thing about it). Well, the first one could be just around the corner. Because raising the national debt to record levels is one thing, but when you try to take torture away
from this guy, he leaps to action:
Responding to the Abu Ghurayb scandal and other allegations that U.S. soldiers had abused prisoners, the Senate on Wednesday night rebuked the Bush administration by setting military interrogation standards that ban torture.
The Republican-majority Senate followed the lead of maverick Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voting 90-9 to add the anti-torture language to a $440 billion military spending bill that President Bush has threatened to veto if the anti-torture language is included. All but nine of the Senate's 55 Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in supporting the measure.
Last week the White House sent the Senate a "statement of administration policy'' that declared strong opposition to the anti-torture language on the grounds that it would tie the president's hands in the war on terrorism. The statement said that if the anti-torture terms remained in the bill's final version, "the president's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.''
There can be no other more obvious statement that Abu Ghraib was not the work of "a few bad apples" than the fact that the White House is so desperately attempting to save the policy that would allow it to happen. Some people, insanely, still believe that the United States has a policy against torture. Wonder if they've checked in with this guy
An Army captain and two sergeants from the 82nd Airborne Division who were responsible for supervising prisoners in Iraq have come forward with allegations that members of the unit routinely beat, tortured and abused detainees in 2003 and early 2004.
The Pentagon announced Friday that it opened a criminal investigation of the accusations this week, after learning of the charges recently from the Senate Armed Services Committee and Human Rights Watch.
Capt. Ian Fishback, a West Point graduate, contacted the Senate panel with the charges within the last 10 days, saying he was frustrated that his superior officers had failed to respond, said committee aides.
Fishback and the two sergeants, whose names have not been disclosed, also made allegations of abuse to Human Rights Watch. The captain is the first officer to go public with allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted in April 2004.
In recent letters to several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Fishback said he witnessed detainees being stripped, deprived of sleep, exposed to the elements and "forced into uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods of time for the express purpose of coercing them into revealing information other than name, rank and service number."
New York-based Human Rights Watch said Friday that one of the sergeants told the group, "We would give them blows to the head, chest, legs and stomach, pull them down, kick dirt on them. This happened every day." The sergeant reportedly described the mistreatment at a base near Fallouja as "just like" Abu Ghraib, saying, "We did that for amusement."
According to Human Rights Watch, the sergeants said they saw soldiers break prisoners' legs. The group said the sergeants had related that they watched and participated in some of the violence.
That's what fucking heroism is all about. Seeing your fellow soldiers doing something wrong, refusing to go along with it, going to your superiors, getting stonewalled, but feeling that morality dictates that you must sacrifice your position in the Army (that which you've worked your entire life doing) to speak out. That's what heroes do. In opposition, this government seeks to keep the policy alive. They're essentially coming out FOR beating prisoners, FOR stripping them naked, FOR depriving them of food and sleep, FOR hooking electrodes to them, FOR punching and kicking them UNTIL THEY DIE.
And 9 Senators went along with them (Here's
a list). But 90 said no. The worst scoundrel in all of this is (as usual) Sen. Frist, who argued on the floor against the bill, but ended up voting for it when he saw it would pass.
And surely DeLay's goons will try to protect their Dear Leader. From the Mercury News article:
A move is expected to be made to drop the provision during House-Senate negotiations to reconcile differences on the spending bill, but McCain said the margin of victory helped its chances.
But only the marginalized few disagree on this. We're better than torture. We shouldn't be held to the same standard as suicide bombers and callous murderers. We deserve to be held to our own standard. And we deserve to know what horrors this Administration has done in our name. For the second time, a federal judge has ordered the release of additional photos
documenting abuse at Abu Ghraib. These are the ones they wouldn't let out the first time. Who knows what they might include? Administration apologists say this will only inflame tensions in the Middle East. They can be inflamed MORE? The Middle East already knows this stuff. They've interviewed the detainees who've been released. They've heard it all. That's one of the reasons why our standing in the world is so decrepit.
That brilliant logic, in fact, is what Bill O'Reilly used
in a debate with Wesley Clark about the issue. In fact, he had to confuse the WWII-era 82nd Airborne with Nazis to make his point:
Clark: And let me explain something. You go all the way up the chain of command --
O'Reilly: General! You need to look at the Malmedy massacre in World War Two, and the 82nd Airborne who did it!
Not true. The Nazi soldiers massacred the US troops, not the other way around. When you don't have any moral high ground to stand on, I guess you just have to make shit up. It's interesting that what O'Reilly decided to make up in this case bears resemblance to the same lie
made 50 years earlier:
(Joseph) McCarthy's first three years in the Senate were unremarkable. While he was considered friendly and likeable, he was not taken seriously. McCarthy was criticized for his defense of a group of Nazis that had been sentenced to death for their role in the Malmédy massacre of American prisoners of war in 1944. Their death sentences were commuted to life in part because of McCarthy's charges that they had been denied due process. Many charged the Senator had been duped or enticed by neo-Nazis.
I always thought Bill and Joe Mac had a special kinship. Surprised Clooney didn't hire him for the movie.
A New McCarthyism is just what we have on this issue. When repsonsible citizens ask that we not participate in torturing other human beings, they are shouted down with cries of "You want the terrorists to win!" The problem is that, after years and years of this, the Administration is running out of shouters.