Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bush’s Shrine, Part 2 “Love These Two”

George Bush Admits to Authorizing Torture

The Constitution Report on Torture

Rachel Maddow and the Poop Cruise Theory

   Syndicated columnist Charles (Mr Smiley) Krauthammer mentions Afghanistan and Iraq in his April 25th op-ed in the Washington Post. He is happy that the Taliban were overthrown in Afghanistan, and that everybody thought invading that country was the right thing to do at the time. The same thing with the invasion of Iraq, that it was okay to invade that country because there was a broad concensus that Iraq was terribly dangerous. But most of all Charles praised Bush for this: “He created the entire anti-terror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe.” I would think by that statement he meant the founding of the Department of Homeland Security, a huge new bureaucracy, but instead he sites “ indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo,” which technically cannot be considered infrastructure, as they are not physical entities (except Guantanamo), but techniques and strategies... like terrorism itself. And he seems pleased that these techniques and strategies work so well that President Obama continues to use them.
   Bush’s brain, Karl Rove thinks George Bush was a wonderful president too. He also thinks Bush kept America safe, and continues to do so.
   “He kept us safe after 9/11, he moved to modernize our tools, provide the tools to fight terror, he called terror for what it was, he tackled the big issues of trying to reform Social Security, Medicare, immigration, education,” Rove said at the opening of the Bush Library and Museum.  
   He was asked about Iraq.
   “I do believe that the Iraq War was the right thing to do and the world is a safer place for having Saddam Hussein gone,” he said. Like Krathammer, Rove also justifies the war due to the fact  there was a “bipartisan consensus” that Hussein had WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction).
   Rove also blamed the democrats for the 2008 financial crisis, and ranked President Bush high on the list of great Presidents.
   “The greats, you can't touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan [?], FDR, the greats. But yeah, I'd put him up there,” he said.
   President Obama thinks Bush is a good man:
   My lovely sort of niece, Shannon, reposted the picture of then President Bush and his wife that is at the top of this post, with the caption... or direction or order, “Love these two.”
   Apparently she believes Bush was a dandy president as well, and misses him being in office. I know she was a Romney supporter, and we’ve discussed this before:
   I have a different view.
   I don’t watch Fox so-called news, or listen to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. I do watch MSNBC quite often, but I don’t get most of my information on current events from that network, although that would be fine if I didn’t have access to the Internet machine.
   As many faithful readers may know I am a great supporter of what is known as the “Scientific Method,” which consists of three simple components. 1. Create an idea or hypotheses, 2. Test that idea by an experiment or test that can be independently repeated by others, and 3. If your idea passes that test have all of the available data reviewed by experts.
   That process deals in real world facts, not opinions of how I might like the world to be like. If the idea I have doesn’t fit the available evidence and can’t pass the above process, then by necessity I have to alter my way of thinking, or ideas to fit the available evidence.
   Opinions, no matter how cherished, don’t work well within the model of the scientific method. The idea of “Intelligent Design,” for instance, that creationists attempt to pass off as valid scientific theories repeatedly in our nation’s schools, cannot pass the rigors of the scientific method simply because there is no available evidence to support the theory, or to test. Intelligent design is an opinion, an idea, a wish that many would hope to be true, that may support their own personal beliefs, but which cannot be verified in what I like to call the “real world.”
   MSNBC, I’ve found, deals in verifiable facts that can be... verified. Yes, some of the hosts offer their personal opinions, but when that happens I know they are opinions and accept them for what they are... opinions. Yet most of the time they are opinions that are based on facts, that exist in the real world.
   Fox, and the right wing media do not deal in facts that can be verified. They offer opinions that can not be verified in the real world. Their viewers are less informed about what is going on in the real world than people who don’t watch any news at all! ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/fox-news-less-informed-new-study_n_1538914.html )
   What Fox does do well is tell people with a certain mind set what they want to hear, rather than what really is.
   As former President Clinton pointed out past presidents have a large incentive to revise history as to make themselves look good. I and others point out that these presidential libraries are one tool they utilize to do that.
   But let’s take a look at some verifiable facts concerning the Bush administration, facts, I maintain, that will be remembered and etched in the historical record, rather than what the revisionists would have us believe.
   1. Bush kept us safe. Officials of the Bush administration were warned almost as soon as they entered office that Middle Eastern interests were planning to attack within the United States. They were even warned how it would be done ( http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=91651&page=1#.UX6_oEqsOSo ). On September 11th 2001, the attacks occurred. How is this considered keeping us safe? This was the greatest attack  as far as casualties are concerned in the history of this nation, yet Bush apologists pass over this incident as if the Bush presidency didn’t begin until September 12th.
   Further, Conor Friedersdorf of “The Atlantic,” points out:
   "Bush's tenure included anthrax attacks that killed five people (more than died in the Boston marathon bombing) and that injured between 22 and 68 people. Bush was president when Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two and wounded four at an LAX ticket counter; when the Beltway snipers killed 10 people; when Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar injured six driving his SUV into a crowd; and when Naveed Afzal Haq killed one woman and shot five others in Seattle."
2. Bush is an admitted war criminal. Six days after the 9/11 attacks Bush personally issued orders instructing the CIA that it could use “enhanced interrogation techniques” against suspected terrorists. The methods included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and “stress positions.” The United States has laws making the use of torture illegal (After World War II, during the Tokyo Trials for war crimes "an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning." Politifact went on to report, "A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps."). As reported in the second clip above a recently-released bipartisan committee concluded it was “indisputable” that these techniques constituted torture, and that the highest authorities in the country bore responsibility for the creation of torture programs at Guantanamo Bay and CIA “black sites” around the world. The report also stated that there was no actionable intelligence that was derived from using these methods.

3. Dropped the ball in the unnecessary war with Afghanistan to start an unnecessary war in Iraq. Before 9/11, the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan offered Osama bin Laden up for trial ( http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2011/09/20119115334167663.html ). This appears to be a failed response by both the Clinton and Bush administrations, which if acted upon would have made the invasion of Afghanistan unnecessary. After 9/11, and after the United States began bombing within Afghanistan, the Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden or try him if Bush ordered the bombing to stop ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5 ), thereby ending the conflict. Bush refused. Not only did he refuse, but he shifted resources needed by American forces in Afghanistan away in order to wage another unnecessary war in Iraq which had nothing whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attacks.
   The evidence Bush (and when I say Bush, I also include his senior staff, such as Vice President Cheney, Sec Defense Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Sec State Colin Powell, and others) presented to the world to justify starting a war in Iraq was at first ambiguous and then fabricated. In the end Bush lied us into war. But even taken at face value the rational was flawed. First it was weapons of mass destruction. Saddam had them, had used them against his own people, was a clear danger to the entire world. The intelligence supporting this conclusion was thin to say the least, but even if it had been true, so what? Saddam, once an ally of the United States (if indeed Saddam Hussein had WMDs, there was a good chance that the United States had sold them to him) was never a threat to the United States as he had no way to deliver his weapons to the US. He may have been a threat within the region, but we didn’t seem to care about that when Iraq and Iran were at war with each other for 8 years. In fact we supported him in that war. And Israel, with it’s nuclear arsenal could more than likely take care of itself. Why did we need to interfere? Also, using this rational, why is it that we didn’t invade North Korea, which we knew for certain had WMDs?
   Then it was Saddam had links with Al-Qaeda, that he was a bad person, that the U.S. needed to liberate the Iraqi people and spread democracy. All of these excuses to go to war with another sovereign nation were pure and simple bullshit. The truth is Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq because... well no one really knows. Only Bush does. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
   “As of 26 March 2013, there have been 3,173 coalition deaths in Afghanistan as part of ongoing coalition operations (Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF) since the invasion in 2001. In this total, the American figure is for deaths "In and Around Afghanistan" which, as defined by the United States Department of Defense, includes some deaths in Pakistan and Uzbekistan and the deaths of 12 CIA operatives.
   The decade-long War in Afghanistan (2001–present) has caused the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, and crime resulting from the war.
   A total of 4,487 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012.” -Wikipedia
   “The true number of military personnel injured over the course of our nine-year-long fiasco in Iraq is in the hundreds of thousands -- maybe even more than half a million -- if you take into account all the men and women who returned from their deployments with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, depression, hearing loss, breathing disorders, diseases, and other long-term health problems.”-Dan Froomkin, writing for the Huffington Post.
   I hold George W Bush responsible for every injury and every death that occurred in these two conflicts. He is a true mass murderer. Love him? No other person on the surface of this planet deserves the death penalty more than he does.

4. Bush was a good steward of the economy.  Alex Seitz-Wald, of Salon points out, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, writing in the National Review this week, "Over Mr. Bush's tenure, our national debt averaged 38 percent of GDP, a result of holding average annual deficits to 2 percent of GDP, and federal spending remained below 20 percent of GDP in six of his eight years in office. (Only one other president in the past 40 years was able to reach such a low level, and for fewer years)." Jennifer Rubin added in the Washington Post: "He is responsible for one of the most popular and fiscally sober entitlement plans, Medicare Part D."
   Former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card even had the chutzpah to claim that President Bush "probably has the best track record of any modern president in terms of fiscal discipline."
   The only way to make that claim is to be willfully dishonest, as the numbers are cut and dried. Notice that Gillespie cites the average debt over the course of the eight years, instead of the progression. Here's another way of looking at Bush's fiscal legacy: When he entered office, the U.S. government was running a surplus (and was projected to do so for the next several decades) and when Bush left office, the government was running its biggest deficit since World War II.
   Part of this can be attributed to the collapse in tax revenue during the Great Recession, and even if we don't blame Bush for letting Wall Street collapse the economy, you can certainly blame him for ruining the fiscal bulwark built up under the Clinton years with massive tax cuts that mostly benefited the rich and two hugely expensive wars.” See chart above.
   People have lost their homes due to this recession. People have died because of it. I hold Bush responsible.
   What else?
   5. Politicized climate science. 6. Botched the response to Hurricane Katrina. 7. Defunded stem cell research. 8. Required Muslim men to register with the government after 9/11. 9. Reinstated the global gag rule. 10. Supported anti-gay discrimination. 11. Widened income inequality. 12. Undermined worker protections. 13. Ideological court appointments. 14. Murdered the English language. On and on.*
   Instead of one of the best I believe history will find George W. Bush as one of the worst presidents this nation has endured.
   I’m not thrilled with the current president either. Obama has pandered to Wall Street interests, was willing to put social security benefit cuts on the table in budget negotiations with the republicans even when they hadn’t asked for them, is responsible for hundreds of deaths of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan due to CIA drone attacks, arguably making him a war criminal as well, and a terrorist as far as civilian Afghanis and Pakistanis are concerned, then exclaiming astonishment when we are attacked within the U.S.
   But as I’ve said before, I have considered Obama’s to have been a failed presidency ever since he made the decision not to prosecute George W bush, and senior members of his administration for crimes of war, despite his campaign assertion that there were not two sets of laws, one for the powerful and privileged, and one for everyone else. He lied to us. His “looking forward,” argument for not prosecuting Bush, and hindering other nations from prosecuting Bush, is so stupid it’s one of the stupidest arguments in the history of stupid arguments. My 3 year old grandnephew Jaxen rebutted that argument thusly, “If that were true then no one would ever go to jail, for anything, as all crimes that are prosecuted happened in the past.”
   So true Jaxen, so true.
   Perhaps President Obama is counting on his eventual successor to be as forward looking as he has been regarding his own crimes.
   We shall see.

The Daily Show’s Take

* Thanks to Alex Seitz-Wald & the mysterious folks at the ThinkProgress War Room for source information.

No comments:

Post a Comment