- Posted April 23, 2009 by
Water(Boarding)Gate - The Bush Torture Crimes
Or perhaps this could be titled: Out with the Old,In with the Old?
I have to say that I totally disagree with Obama on his “general view” of not wanting to investigate and prosecute Bush administration officials… for allowing illegal torture practices, domestic spying, not to mention lying us into the most costly war in American History resulting in the death of over 5000 U.S. troops and estimates as high as 600,000 Iraqi’s.
It doesn’t take an insider to understand his political desire and preference to only “look forward”…but the ethical and moral responsibility of the U.S. to clean up the overhang of the past 8 years is a political truth that the world and all of the voter’s for “change” have a right to witness take place. This is a pivotal point in our history. If we let this slide now criminal acts such as these will likely will be repeated by future administrations. If we have a transparent process of investigation and prosecution we can excise the ills of the Bush administration. History will show the Bush administration as the most dangerous, reckless and damaging administration the U.S. has ever seen.
It does look like now, due to building pressure on this, that Obama is stating that he is open to some level of investigation and perhaps prosecution…but it seems veiled in what he is saying that the administration won’t go higher than the lawyers who crafted the executive signing statements on torture. Well perhaps we mistakenly attributed more of a backbone to this Presidential candidate than he will be able to deliver on as President. Clearly we see this for what it is; he is basically throwing us a bone…that falls well short….and only serves to expose him as one who won’t recalibrate his position. And largely isn’t that one of the characterlogical faults and inabilities of Bush that made him such a reprehensible choice as President? To quote the indefatigable Yogi Berra, “It seems like déjà vu all over again!” In President Obama’s defense he did say during the campaign that he preferred to look forward vs. prosecuting Bush administration officials. But the mark of every great leader is to tack in a different direction as new information is made available. President Obama’s position today seems at odds with that basic premise. The mark of our previous administration, and dare I say Obama’s position today, was to hold onto bad decisions with a white knuckled death grip irrespective of an onslaught of information that compels a thinking person to reevaluate. Bush was as true an ideologue as there is. Throughout his term he was moored to an anchor in the frozen harbor of static ideas getting 10 hours of good sleep each night. I don’t perceived Obama in this way but even a hint of it is jarring to the senses.
Going after the lawyers is like going after the low level soldiers – who were prosecuted for carrying out their jobs at Abu Ghraib while the military brass and administration officials who oversaw it and sanctioned it walked away noticeably unscathed. Let’s not let it happen again. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales need to be held accountable for what they have perpetrated on this country and the world.
Electing President Obama was an attempt to lay waste to the outright criminal acts and pervasive unaccountability of the Bush years. If we as a nation can do no better than go after the lawyers who crafted these arguments then what is ever going to change? Isn’t hanging the small fish while protecting the big fish just a recycled Bush administration tactic? Let’s actually place accountability where the truth dictates it should reside – that is at the top. We cannot afford another Bush administration in this country who might have the same Bush propensity to run a moral, ethical and criminal Ponzi scheme on the American public. We as citizens were all wiped-out as “investors” in America in the last 8 years. It is apropos that the concept of the Ponzi scheme works in both the metaphorical realm as well as the literal. After all, under the lens of magnitude, doesn’t Bush make Madoff look like a schoolgirl with pigtails cheating at a game of hopscotch? I you think the magnitude comparison seems misplaced answer the question; how many people died as a result of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme?
How can Obama, in good faith, go around the world representing a “new” America, with the requisite gravitas bestowed by the position and the electorate if he isn’t the staunchest advocate of cleaning up our past? Without doing so his attempts will be seen as disingenuous and therefore he and his administration run the great risk of being less effective. I can say today that I for one will not vote for President Obama for re-election if this is not addressed head-on and without the prevailing anesthetized political discourse that he is currently embracing. Yes we certainly have a great many priorities, such as health care reform and the financial crisis… to name only two, but it is exactly this slippery slope we create for ourselves, by not following through, that has helped create the crisis in health care and the financial markets.
In this pivotal moment, Obama’spromise of “change” to all the young voters may become more and more a transparent political cliché as his position on this appears, at its heart, to be driven more by politics than it is by doing the right thing. I hope that it is not true but it seems that it may be that we as a nation are now ingrained with an inescapable moral relativism …due to our inability to do the right thing. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that ... “it’s all good now”… since Obama is so much better than Bush. This appears to be true today, so much so, that we already appear to be forgetting that that which just occurred, under Bush, was an unconscionable and deliberate act of criminality. It isn’t unimaginable now that outrage is muted by other domestic distractions to the degree that the issue fatigued electorate might now gesture a collective shrug and let the perpetrators walk …what is unimaginable is that the mantle of responsibility, in doing the right thing, is not seized by Barack Obama… I offer that this is one of the many underlying reasons he was elected...in that going after the Bush administration was one of the many treasures that we all sought from that ethereal promise in the Trojan horse of “change”.
So it looks like we might get is politics as usual. Out with the Old – In with the Old as the title here questions. Really, I mean, how would this inaction make the Obama Administration any different than the actions of the Bush Administration? I don’t see a lot of distinction between the two administrations if one executed the crimes and the other whitewashes them into the background of history. If there was a genealogical chart of unconscionable acts in the history of the world, assuming this plays out in the way it appears it might be heading, these two would be brothers by different fathers – and surely under the weight of the DNA evidence at hand by even the most surgically eloquent rationalizations and political doublespeak - inseparable.
For George W. Bush, as has been his life’s pattern, it pays to have friends in high places and in this case – who can ignore the irony - that his new BFF turns out to be Barack Obama.