War, Lies (Photos) and Videotapes


by Deb Della Piana
Few things have irritated me as much as Condoleeza Rice’s latest testament to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. According to Rice, Bush’s Middle East policies will
stand the test of time. She also asserts that she doesn’t care about being popular because she’s there to make the hard decisions. It’s good that she doesn’t care about being popular, because I can think of few people more arrogant, ignorant and generally - uncompassionate - than she is. In fact, only two immediately come to mind, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. And, believe me; the worms are turning on their way out the door.
Lies and deception are nothing new for members of the Bush administration. In fact, lying has been the norm for the past eight years. If bald-faced lying is what it took for our imperial president to get his way, then fine. For God and country and all that drivel. If the lie isn’t convincing enough, then Bush and his minions will pretty much rewrite history for you in order to make the lie stick. Part two of this equation is the arrogant part. A perfect example of this pattern is taking place on vice president Dick Cheney’s farewell tour, where he’s having no problem admitting to being a key architect of the Bush torture policy. Cheney’s command performance is indicative of the rewriting of history. According to Mr. Cheney, waterboarding isn’t torture. We know that’s a lie, of course, because waterboarding was declared torture (and a war crime) during World War II. Oddly enough, the United States tried, convicted and punished Japanese officers, like Yukio Asano, for waterboarding. He was convicted for waterboarding a US civilian and was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor for his crime.


Of course, the talking heads are saying that fact alone is enough to convict Dick Cheney of war crimes. No kidding! That’s not new news. In fact, vice president Cheney isn’t the only official who is up for conviction. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, ever the dutiful servant, admitted in the presence of her attorney that she conducted high-level discussions about torture (a.k.a. “enhanced interrogation techniques”) in the White House starting in 2002 when she was National Security Adviser. In fact, she was the only member of this lawless administration to cooperate with Senator Carl Levin’s (D-Mich) Congressional inquiry. This admission came during the frenzy of the 2008 election and got lost in the shuffle, but Levin said of Rice’s admission that it is “new, credible evidence that they took place in the White House.” Big woo. There’s something even better than that. How about the admission made by our imperial president to ABC News in April of 2008 that he knew about the torture discussions. Said Bush, “I’m aware our national security team met on the issue. And I approved.” Did you hear that? So, then, where is the outrage? And why hasn’t a full-blown investigation under the command of a special prosecutor taken place?
These are big admissions, and they are not new admissions. The reprehensible Dick Cheney is slithering around the media outlets arrogantly cementing his place in Bush administration torture history. Why not? Others in the administration have made the admissions before him and not one blessed thing has happened as a result. The Bush administration is in direct violation of national and international laws, as well as the Geneva Conventions, and nobody bats an eye. It’s a national disgrace, from the media on down to each and every one of us. We have shown the rest of the world just how much we are willing to compromise ourselves as Americans. It is no wonder we have lost so much respect around the globe. As a nation, we’ve lost the appetite for accountability and that is most distressing on this final day of 2008. To know that some still believe that Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretion is a more impeachable offense than lying to Congress and the American people about the need for an illegal and immoral war in which hundreds of thousands have died for absolutely no good reason is downright depressing.
There is something wrong with our system of checks and balances when admissions like these are made and it results in absolutely nothing. That this administration was allowed a free pass by our do-nothing Congress in spite of all the laws it has broken is embarrassing. That the American people didn’t take enough pride in themselves and their country to stand up and demand that George Bush be held accountable is horrible. The fact that the torture story was not fully played out in the press is shameful for that is the role of the media in the democratic process. It is there to demand answers and to keep the pressure on until the answers are given.
It is hard for me to understand how the American people do not become outraged when looking at Abu Ghraib images. The photos of the American military personnel giving the “thumbs up” while posing with a dead detainee in a body bag - a detainee who died as a direct result of our government-sanctioned torture - is disgraceful. There has been little outrage, but I’ve heard some of the most callous comments by Americans, and those comments are what inspired me to write this article today. Comments like, “They’re just a bunch of Arabs.” or just “a bunch of towel-heads” are not uncommon, I’m finding. Another good one is, “Hey, it’s war.” Well, no, it isn’t war, although that is bad enough. In fact, its torture and murder…and a war crime.

In just about twenty days, there will be a new occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Barack Obama would serve this country well if he appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush war crimes. Yet, when six questions were submitted to the Obama transition team (with the Bush war crimes question being number 6 on the list), answers were provided for only the first five. Failure to address the issue is cowardly indeed. If president-elect Obama doesn’t have the political will to broach this topic, then it is up to the American people to demand accountability. There is no way that George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice, every one a war criminal, should be allowed to just move back in to private life without being held accountable for their despicable actions.


Main Torture War, Lies (Photos) and Videotapes


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.