So the news is all atwitter over recently released memos that prove that the hierarchy of the Bush government sought out and approved methods of "enhanced interrogation techniques," particularly Cheney and Rumsfeld. Tell me something I don't already know. One witness after another has refuted the Rumsfeld "few bad apples" explanation for institutional torture in American run prisons. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, I personally don't care if they pull his teeth one by one, each representing 100 victims inside the World Trade Center, to get information or exact revenge for that matter. If he was responsible for the sneak attack on this nation, then he is an enemy combatant deserving of retribution. It's disturbing, however, to learn that the White House was inquiring about which "harsh techniques" they could legally use on prisoners three months before they had anyone to interrogate.
Focusing on the Bush government's sanctioning torture of detainees in the midst of this ghastly enterprise is like quibbling over the preferred thumbscrews used during the Spanish Inquisition. The My Lai Massacre occurred within the massive horror that was Vietnam. Violations of international law concerning treatment of prisoners happened in the greater atrocity that is the American invasion of Iraq. The continuing reports of prisoner abuse in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib while under U.S. control are worthy of examination, but they are misdemeanors when compared to the Bush government's larger crime. They conspired at the highest levels to willfully and without provocation, invade and occupy a sovereign nation, cynically using the 9/11 attacks to mislead the American people and the Congress into believing we were living under an imminent threat of nuclear attack from Iraq. All they needed was a major Al Qaeda leader to confess a confederacy with Saddam Hussein, and that would seal the deal.
I'm no seer, but I saw through the obfuscation the day the entire Bush cabinet fanned out to the Sunday talk shows to warn of Saddam's "mushroom cloud." In a time of patriotic fervor, this previously unutterable phrase sounded like obvious bullshit to sell the public on a war that's execution had already been decided. Why else would they send Colin Powell in front of the United Nations to display pictures of "rolling biological weapons labs," and "aluminum tubes used in the manufacture of nuclear materials," when U.N. weapons inspectors were still on the ground? But, according to the Downing Street Memo, the timetable had already been set for March, 2003. White House chief of staff Andrew Card famously told The New York Times in 2002, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Even when Bush gave the Husseins 24 hours to get out of Dodge, the invasion was set. In the final hours when asylum was offered and accepted by Hussein, Bush blocked his exit. Cheney and Rumsfeld were going to exorcise the demon that had haunted them since the first Bush presidency ended; after a brilliantly executed war against Iraq, they had allowed Saddam to remain in power, and Poppy's critics called him a "wimp."
If the Justice Department wants to look at who approved waterboarding, have at it. After all, they finally got Al Capone for income tax evasion instead of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. But there are larger issues here. Taking a nation to war through lies and deception is a more serious infraction to me than smacking someone upside the head. Conducting a military exercise that kills over a half-million civilians and foments an insurgency that costs our soldiers 35,000 casualties is a higher crime than placing a dog collar on a detainee. The best estimate I've found of prisoners that have died in U.S. custody is 108, and that was four years ago. Of those, the Army admits that 34 are homicides. Our government's agents have done far worse than lock a man in a box with insects. We have tortured people to death, and it is documented. It's best that we, as a nation, address this egregious breach of civilized law ourselves, rather than have an international court parade the Bush lawyers who justified torture before the world. They were just the good Germans. The criminal conspiracy that took over the highest offices of government are the evildoers. I'm sure, however, that comfortable accommodations can be arranged for the Secret Service within Federal Prison grounds. Better locked-up in Leavenworth than renditioned to Romania.