The River

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Torture President

I thought the below, taken from the comments to an piece, a nice summation of the links between George W. Bush and torture.

If you can't find a "link" between the Bush Administration and the Abu Graib atrocities you aren't looking very hard.

One way to "link" Bush to the "abuses" is to listen to what Bush says, like when Bush bragged in a speech that the U.S. had deliberately placed terrorist suspects in the hands of foreign governments with an affinity for torture and that those suspects have been "taken care of." In other words, Bush expressly brags about placing terrorist suspects with foreign governments knowing full well that the suspects will be tortured and murdered.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities is to look at the texts of the internal memos that the DOJ solicited in 2002 and compare the suggestions in that text with what actually happened at Abu Graib. For example, take a look at the DOJ memo written by Jay Bybee which suggests that high value detainees need not receive the protections of the Geneva Convention if the military denies the detainee's existence at a detention facility. Now look at what actually happened at Abu Graib: high value targets were personally ordered by Rumsfield not to have any records of their existence at the detention facilities and to deny Red Cross workers access to these detainees. In other words, the government actually did exactly what the DOJ torture memos suggested.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities is to take a look at the suggestions for torturing suspects that were personally approved by Rumsfeld. In fact, Rumsfeld personally modified the protocol to allow detainees to be kept in "stress positions" for 8 to 10 hours. That same protocol allows the detainees to be kept hooded, naked, scared by dogs, kept in stress positions, etc. If you take a look at the photos that were released, you will see that the detainees were subjected to all of these interrogation methods.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities is to look at the corroborating circumstantial evidence: 1. Summer 2003: The administration believes that the insurgency in Iraq is led by a few Saddam loyalists. The administration believes that the way to penetrate the insurgency is to step up intelligence gathering at detention facilities. 2. Summer 2003: A prominent general who developed the interrogation protocol at Guantanamo Bay is sent to Iraq to train intelligence officers in integrating torture into interrogations. 3. Fall 2003: Rumsfield personally approves an interrogation protocol that allows torture of detainees. 4. Fall 2003: Red Cross begins to notice that torture at detention facilities is systemic and out of control.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities is to look at the statements of the soldiers currently charged with abuse: in summary, many of the soldiers talk about an unofficial policy of obtaining information from detainees by sexually humiliating them, taking pictures, then showing the pictures to other detainees during interrogation to make them talk. The soldiers talk about how the woman soldiers were specifially placed in the photos in order to heighten the sexual humiliation.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities, is to look at all of the admissions by administration officials that the soldiers guarding the detainees had no training, or even knowledge of, the requirements of the Geneva Convention. The failure to properly train and supervise your agents renders you liable for foreseeable consequences of their actions. The administration should have known that without oversight and proper training the soldiers would have free reign to commit atrocities.

Another way to "link" Bush to the atrocities is to look at the scope of the prison abuse problem which has now been documented in Afganistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

Another say to "link" Bush to the atrocities is for the administration to do the right thing and release the remaining photos and videotapes depicting the extent of the atrocities. The photos themselves will add important information about the extent to which the chain of command should be held responsible for these obvious war crimes.

In short, there are many "links" between the Bush administration and the Abu Graib atrocities. These "links" add up to much more than just a "suggestion" that the Bush administration is personally to blame for the atrocities.

david anthony • 7/16/04; 12:48:23 AM

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