Tag: Bush

Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules.

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I, you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.

But my words like silent raindrops fell,

And echoed

In the wells of silence

Here are the rules.

The other day George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.

If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can’t the rest of us?

This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.

A friend of mine a couple of days ago, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:

No argument from me.  Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon.  Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.

So let’s see… if Obama doesn’t want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he’ll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik’s question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.  

Bush’s Too Easy Torture Defense

Cheers to the US for convicting Charles Emmanuel for torture he committed in Liberia.  It’s a no-brainer that the US prosecuting Emmanuel while not seriously considering prosecuting US officials for torture under any law is hypocritical. However, some progressives cite the Emmanuel case as evidence of US hypocrisy and legal precedent to prosecute Bush. But, in the legal context of torture prosecutions, hypocrisy arises only if the law used to prosecute Emmanuel is applicable to Bush but the US decides against prosecution.

While Emmanuel used different means of torture than the US, torture is torture…unless the law is the one used to prosecute Emmanuel. Emmanuel was prosecuted under a US law that creates a bifurcated torture system that distinguishes between Bush’s permissible “torture lite” and criminal “severe torture.” In fact, Bush created his “torture lite” system based on the law used to prosecute Emmanuel and likely decided to prosecute precisely because it creates legal precedent that Bush can cite to either prevent a prosecution or provide a defense creating reasonable doubt in one juror’s mind to set him free. Thus, progressives spotlighting this Emmanuel case may increase the odds against prosecution of US officials.  


All roads lead to the Rome Statute.

From Wiki:

Following years of negotiations aimed at establishing a permanent international tribunal to punish individuals who commit genocide and other serious international crimes, the United Nations General Assembly convened a five-week diplomatic conference in Rome in June 1998 “to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court”.[7][8] On July 17, 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining.[5] The seven countries that voted against the treaty were Iraq, Israel, Libya, the People’s Republic of China, Qatar, the United States, and Yemen.[5]

Article 126 of the statute provided that it would enter into force shortly after the number of states that had ratified it reached sixty.[3] This happened on April 11, 2002, when ten countries ratified the statute at the same time at a special ceremony held at the United Nations headquarters in New York.[9] The treaty entered into force on July 1, 2002;[9] the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date.[10]

McClatchy has a great article that is pretty much a must-read summary of the consensus of where we are now on the subject of “War Crimes“.

Emboldened by a Democratic win of the White House, civil libertarians and human rights groups want the incoming Obama administration to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes. They don’t just want low-level CIA interrogators, either. They want President George W. Bush on down.

There’s a little problem here, though.

Without wider support, the campaign to haul top administration officials before an American court is likely to stall.

In the end, Bush administration critics might have more success by digging out the truth about what happened and who was responsible, rather than assigning criminal liability, and letting the court of public opinion issue the verdicts, many say.

I strongly recommend reading the entire McClatchy article. I posted recently on the subject of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I don’t like the Reconciliation part any more than anyone else does. Pat Leahy (D – VT) predicts that there will be no criminal punishments. He’s almost certainly right. Dick Cheney has just admitted his guilt to the entire world and nothing – absolutely nothing – is being done about it. And nothing will be done about it.

There is, however, one possibility: the United States of America joins the International Criminal Court.

Are we up to it? Are we willing to join the ICC and allow any potential war criminals in our population to be tried openly and fairly on the world stage? Bust ourselves and turn ourselves in and plead for mercy? I doubt it. But it would be nice.

Our biggest obstacle to making this happen is mentioned in the McClatchy article:

Also left unanswered is whether any top congressional Democrats consented directly or indirectly to the most controversial interrogation practices after the administration disclosed them in closed-door briefings.

I think one of them said something like “impeachment is off the table” after the 2006 elections. More and better. Right. Check the dates. Scrutinize the time-lines.

Our leaders don’t lead. They follow. Sometimes they need to get shoved out front. We may have a different one now. We’ll see. Joining the ICC would be an emphatic statement that the truth will be known.


Send Bush A “Farewell Kiss”

Today my sweetie and I are headed for the local post office to send a package containing a beat up old shoe from my closet to George W. Bush at the White House. In the package is a note saying:

This is a gift from the American people. This is the farewell kiss, George.

Then, this Friday, for the 16th monthly observance of the Iraq Moratorium, I plan to send along its mate, with a note reading:

This is for the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.

(Dody suggested this yesterday and it appears that a lot of people have come up with the same idea.) The Iraqi journalist whose words I paraphrase above, Muntader al-Zaidi, pitched a perfect game on Sunday. His two shoe barrage totally disrupted what the White House had choreographed as a farewell tour for Bush to claim success for the catastrophic wars that he lied the US into and will leave behind him when he checks out on January 20.

If you like this idea, please spread it far and wide! Let’s bury the White House in shoes, letting George know that we aren’t about to let him soft-shoe his way into history.

Crossposted at Daily Kos.

Naked Emperors and Shoeless Heroes

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In the story of The Emperor with No Clothes, it was a child, in the end, who was the only one who spoke up. The Emperor in all his “glory” paraded down the street wearing nothing but the self-delusion of his grandeur, and still not one soul had the courage to call the man for what he was – less than an empty suit.

And as the citizenry watched in horrified silence as their emperor strutted his detachment from reality down the street, it was a child who, in her young innocence of political correctness and the social pecking order had the common sense to ask, “Why isn’t the Emperor wearing any clothes?”

At which time all hell broke loose.

Truth and Shaming Commission

When looking around for something on Truth Commissions I found that for the most part they were called Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Like I said in the essay I posted on that, I was still gagging on the “R” word. I still gag on it today.

You’ll find Josh Marshall of TPM fame listed at the bottom of the Wiki entry on TRCs as having proposed one for BushCo. He also has an interesting TPMtv interview with Burt Neuborne of the Brennan Center for Justice, NYU. Burt calls for a “shaming” commission. Basically he says let’s out the torturers and those who ordered the torturing so that the whole world will know them for who and what they are. This is the part of a Truth Commission that is the heart of what I would like to see.

You can see Burt make his case at the 4:30 mark in this TPM clip: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c…

It sounds good to me. Personally, I’m not far enough along to go for the Reconciliation part even though I know that Mandela did it and Ghandi would do it. I do believe firmly in the Truth part. I’d like to see at least the top three tiers exposed to the public in all their lies and crimes against humanity. They need to stand naked before the Truth for all the world to see.

I resign myself to the reality that they’ll never see jail time even though they deserve it more than 95% of those incarcerated now. A good world-wide shunning and shaming will be sufficient. We can’t let the history of what happened these last eight years be lost, hidden or manipulated. The cost of letting this slide even a little will mean that our descendants will see this and worse happen in their lives. It has to stop somewhere. The conditions are right to do it now.

The Republicans will be a problem. The complicit Establishment Democrats will be an even worse problem. We need to not just keep their feet to the fire, we need to turn it up until they can’t ignore it anymore. We’ve got the Executive branch back. It’s time to steamroll the Legislative denizens.

Truth Now!

Bush Fatigue

The latest in a long string of screw ups, the economic decline towards Hooverism, is not being blamed on George W. Bush for some reason.

Harlold Meyerson at the Post says: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Herbert Hoover, we should recall, had a program for dealing with the Depression. It consisted of lending to banks but opposing fiscal stimulus or direct aid to individuals. Which is why Hank Paulson’s frenzied endeavors to prop up the banking sector and Bush’s dogged resistance to assisting anybody else amount to pure neo-Hooverism.

As the 1930s began, Hoover believed that the coordinated actions of the private sector could save the beleaguered economy. It soon became apparent that the only action that private-sector businesses could agree upon was closing down factories and offices and throwing people out of work. Under immense pressure to do something, in late 1931 Hoover asked Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to provide funds to banks it deemed creditworthy.

Does this sound familiar? A “commander”, inept or otherwise, forcefully closing his eyes so he won’t see the locomotive juggernaut of failed economic policies and how they affect us little people not included in his “base”.

As breadlines lengthened, he [Hoover] vetoed a bill appropriating funds for public works on the grounds that it was inflationary and contained pork-barrel spending. Bankers would be saved; everyone else was effectively damned.

History repeating itself? Isn’t this administration focusing its efforts on the lending institutions and ignoring the homeowners unable to pay off their mortgages? Do they still think it’s going ‘trickle down’ after 28 years of proof that the only thing that trickles down is warm and wet and unwelcome.

More Than 1 in 3 The Stunning Reality of The Iraq War

This is a compilation of information contained in my previous Iraq diaries, updated whenever possible.

The most difficult number to validate is the real population of Iraq on March 19, 2003. Population figures have been an educated guess, in part determined by the amount of food purchased and historic birth rates, trying to take into account the 500,000 or more who died each year because of the embargo. From the various sources, the UN and international aid agencies the population is estimated between 22 and 25 million. The number most frequently quoted is 24 million on the eve of the war, this is the figure I will use.

The information contained here is gathered from UNICEF, the United Nations, WHO, various medical journals, relief organizations, governments of Syria and Jordan and eye witness reports. Whenever possible they have been verified with muiltiple sources.

Follow me below the fold for a clearer look at how we have literally destroyed the cradle of civilization.

The REAL Bush Doctrine

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Most folks when asked to define the Bush Doctrine, other than stealing elections, would point to a document called the National Security Strategy of the United States published in September 2002, which states among other things:

To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense.

Preemptive war. The idea if the United States perceives a threat outside of our borders, even a 1% chance of danger against American interests, then the U.S. has the right to “defend” itself preemptively.

But I would argue historians will define the Bush Doctrine as something else. Something much more dangerous, reckless and un-American. The Unitary Executive.

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