When last we left our hero George, the towers had fallen and he was fleeing in panic on Air Force One. Meanwhile Cheney was in the bunker (his natural habitat) directing the defense of the country from 19 guys with box cutters.
According to reports, the Bushies were already trying to spin this into an attack on Iraq. Within a short time, Ashcroft and others were gathering all of the years of republican Think Tank proposals on how to make America into a Police State to Protect ze Homeland. We know and live under the fruits of their totalitarian labor as The Patriot Act, passed on October 26, 2001. Less than two months after 9/11. Which apparently, no one who voted it into law actually even read, the national panic was so high.
In our panic, we rounded up any stray Arab looking folks, imprisoned them without charges and according to some reports beat them up ….or even tortured them…while they were in custody. The stage was set, the panic had kicked in, and in what was absolutely hysterically seen as an existential threat to ze Homeland…the Rule of Law was thrown out with the bathwater. The came the anthrax attacks…After 9/11, White House Told FBI To Blame Anthrax Attacks On Al Qaeda. Game on.
On 9/17, 2001, Bush says he wants Bin Laden “dead or alive.” Years later he stated he should not have used such harsh words.
On October 7, 2001, less than a month after 9/11, the United States invades Afghanistan. And starts taking prisoners…er, starts “detaining illegal enemy combatants.” With the rush to war, there is no clear plan on what to do with them.
Panic strikes again.
(CBS/AP) A former State Department lawyer tells The Associated Press that the Bush administration panicked after 9/11 and tortured prisoners.
Former President George W. Bush denied anyone was tortured. But Vijay Padmanabhan is at least the second insider to publicly describe as torture the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the U.S.
Padmanabhan was the department’s chief counsel on Guantanamo litigation. He says it was “foolish” for the Bush administration to declare that detainees were beyond the reach of U.S. and international laws and the Geneva Conventions.
He told the AP Friday that “Guantanamo was one of the worst overreactions of the Bush administration.”
Let’s go to the timeline: (courtesy of emptywheel)
January 20, 2002: Bybee to Abu Gonzales memo specifying that common article 3 of the Geneva Convention does not apply to “an armed conflict between a nation-state and a transnational terrorist organization.”
Late 2001 to early 2002: Ibn Sheikh al-Libi captured. After being tortured, al-Libi made up stories about Al Qaeda ties to Iraq.
January 2002: Supplemental Public Affairs Guidance on Detainees affirms Geneva Convention wrt media photographs.
March 28, 2002: Abu Zubaydah taken into custody.
March 31, 2002: Abu Zubaydah flown to Thailand.
May 2, 2002: The US “un-signs” the International Criminal Court treaty.
May 8, 2002: Jose Padilla taken into custody based on material warrant signed by Michael Mukasey and based on testimony from Abu Zubaydah.
June 25, 2002: Moussaoui arraigned.
(Editor’s note: July 23, 2002, the Downing Street Memo, evidence that the decision had already been made to invade Iraq, is written.
August 1, 2002: “Bybee Memo” (written by John Yoo) describes torture as that which is equivalent to :the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”
August 2002: CIA begins to use torture on Abu Zubaydah (including waterboarding).
August 12, 2002: CIA cable reporting water-boarding of Abu Zubaydah.
September 11, 2002: Ramzi bin al-Shibh captured, purportedly as a result of intelligence gained through torturing Abu Zubaydah.
November 10, 2002 (approximately): Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri captured.
November, 2002: Afghan detained in Kabul freezes to death in CIA custody.
America was terrorized, terrified, and confused in the year after 9/11. In the days following 9/11 the entire world reached out a hand to America. Americas responded with bloodlust, revenge and panic.
Because the leaders of America were consumed by bloodlust, revenge and panic.
We began rounding people up and then began paying bounties on other human beings in order to round up more people. We suspended the Geneva Conventions and Habeas Corpus. We made America into something with a striking resemblance to a police state with the Patriot Act. We began an organized program illegal detention and torture. In the case of Jose Padilla, even on American Citizens. All based on legal opinions written to ‘fix the facts around the intent.’ Based on what amount to legal lies.
And on March 20, 2003 we invaded a sovereign nation based on lies. Lies and evidence manufactured by the same panicked leaders.
In the face of an actual crisis, George Bush and Dick Cheney panicked.
They overreacted, used the the same lying tactics they had used to “win” the election in the Supreme Court to shred the Constitution, begin torturing and lead us into two wars. In their panic, they committed us to a course of action that we are still mired in to this day, seven and a half years later. These panicked decisions have cost trillions of dollars, the lives of nearly 5000 American soldiers and up to a million Iraqis and Afghanis. All while the presidents cronies and friends in the MIC, Halliburton and Blackwater etc. have made billions and billions of dollars. And continue to do so.
But we have still not come to terms, not even begun to meaningfully address these panicked acts that have cost our country and the world so much. The politicians in Congress that enabled all of this are mostly still in power. Excuses are still being made, asses are still being covered.
No one has been held accountable for any of it.
Our media, “The Fourth Estate,” has moved on. Our President is urging us to “move forward.”
We are pretending, instead that none of it really happened, or that these were merely “policy differences.”
We are in effect, exhibiting sympathy for the devils who, when entrusted with the safety and well being of our nation, turned us as a nation into monsters.
With each passing day, the Memory Hole grows larger and we are sucked further into the abyss.
When will America come out of denial and deal with what has been done in our names? Or is this who we are now?