Thursday, April 10, 2008

"But honey, I was only protecting national security... honest!"

In my previous post, I noted how to some of the most ardent war supporters -- those ones so brave that when called to fight themselves, instead chose to defend Houston from the Vietcong -- military action was nothing more than a distant, romanticized fantasy -- a wet dream, if you will. Consider President Bush's recent comments to soldiers serving in Afghanistan that he was "a little envious" of their situation:
"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.
Clearly one who had witnessed the realities of war -- mothers wailing over the loss of a son or daughter, children traumatized by continual violence and sounds of bombs dropping -- would not be able to so easily view it as "romantic". But for U.S. political leaders, war is usually more than just another policy option, albeit a bit sexier and exciting. Unfortunately, these same leaders never seem able to get in on the action themselves. Odd, right?

However, as ABC News has revealed, the courageous defenders of freedom in the White House were not content in letting these exciting times pass them by. But since they couldn't secure the streets of Baghdad themselves (they always seem to have other commitments), they decided to bring a little bit of that good war-fighting-feeling back home -- by micromanaging torture:
Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic. [emphasis mine]

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies.
That's some pretty hot stuff there. Can you imagine the conversation as these very serious, Churchillian leaders of ours discussed in minute detail just how individual prisoners -- excuse me, terrorists -- would be "handled"?

"Dick, why don't we slap them three times on the side of the face first, stick needles under their fingernails, drown them until they almost die and -- oh god, yes! -- stack them naked when we're 'through', if ya know what I mean?"

Commenting on the story, author and professional chronicler of presidential crimes, James Bovard, notes the psycho-sexual issues at play in all of this and asks the most important question of them all:
Sitting around a table and deciding how many times each Muslim detainee can be whacked up side the head sounds like the ultimate NeoCon masturbatory fantasy.

Even prize-Constitution stomper John Ashcroft had qualms about the meetings, reportedly warning, “History will not judge this kindly.”

What does it take to get someone indicted for war crimes in this country any more?

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