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Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

TAGUBA ON TORTURE....Anthony Taguba — not a Nation columnist, not a Code Pink activist, but the major general (now retired) who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal four years ago — writes about the victims of our officially sanctioned torture policy:

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored.

....After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

More here from Andrew Sullivan.

Kevin Drum 2:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

I don't read many reports that take me 12 hours or more to post about because I am so upset by what I read.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on June 19, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Abu Ghraib:...for the first time in my life, I was truly embarassed to be an American.

-MLO

Posted by: MLO on June 19, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Abu Ghraib:...for the first time in my life, I was truly embarassed to be an American."

Michele Obama doesn't seem so silly now, no?

Posted by: Everyman on June 19, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well Orwell, we did. And you condone it, so you are complicit. Enjoy hell, you craven fuck.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on June 19, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Interview question for George W. Bush (or Donald Rumsfeld, John Yoo, David Addington, etc):

Are there any countries you regret not be able to visit anymore, for fear of prosecution for war crimes under universal jurisdiction? If you weren't concerned about being detained, where would you like to visit?

Posted by: Grumpy on June 19, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Taguba: "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Taguba is mistaken in believing that the question "remains to be answered."

Nancy Pelosi has already answered that question: holding Bush and Cheney to account is off the table.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 19, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well if the Republican Party were really interested in saving itself, they could collectively decide to indict Dick Cheney, leaving the innocent, and impressionable little Bushie to the dictates of another puppet master easily enough.

I mean, wasn't this the whole premise behind Scott McClellan's Book? That it was ALL Dick Cheney's fault and Bush was really a nice guy, that never knowingly lied? If I were Dick Cheney, I'd be really be worried because every solution for the Repug Party's woes seems to point to outting the Dick, one way or another. And we couldn't call it scapegoating, because it really does seem to be Dick's fault.

But if Obama, whose talked really big about US Constitutional law fails to do anything about the FISA - it may not matter at all.

Posted by: Me-again on June 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Bush has to worry about being captured in a foreign country and brought justice through via world court. He never travelled outside the country before he was president and I doubt he'll do so after he leaves office.

I find it interesting to see that in this thread the majority of folks abhor torture although in an earlier thread many thought it was okie dokie to send our death squads throughout Iraq to put the kabosh on "terrorists". Presumably the group supervising the death squads will be more knowledgeable than those who supervised the torturers.

Posted by: Everyman on June 19, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Are there any countries you regret not be able to visit anymore, for fear of prosecution for war crimes under universal jurisdiction? If you weren't concerned about being detained, where would you like to visit?

Ah, such navet is touching. Bush will have secret service protection for the rest of his life, and even if he becomes as loathed as he deserves, a majority of Americans would still want to prevent an ex-president from being prosecuted for crimes in another country. After all, America went along with him, so it would be insulting to us. There would be, I don't know, a drop in tourism or something. Not much, but more than anyone would deem Bush to be worth if they're in a position to make the decision in the first place.

Posted by: Cyrus on June 19, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Bush can be impeached after he leaves office. If convicted, he'll lose secret service protection.

Posted by: Boronx on June 19, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

I still believe in "the audacity of rope."
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 19, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

NPR's Fresh Air has an interview with Phillipe Sands author of Torture Team and international lawyer. He says that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld can ALWAYS be held accountable for the crimes of torture. It's delightful. Give a listen at NPR.org or read his book.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 19, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Americans would rather have their living standards completely demolished before holding any leaders from the W. Bush regime held accountable for their crimes.

How many leaders from LBJ's regime were held accountable for their crimes?

Posted by: Brojo on June 19, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

It takes real courage to step forward four years later when Bush's approval ratings are 29% and condemn the administrations actions.

Posted by: BL on June 19, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, such na?vet? is touching...

Any naïveté here certainly isn't Grumpy's. There's no question but that Bush will, of necessity, remain untouchable, but recent trends toward universal jurisdiction, particularly when it comes to the Convention against Torture, offer good reason for people like Cheney -- and especially Rumsfeld & Abu Gonzales -- to exercise great caution when they travel outside of the United States. You need look no further than the examples of Pinochet & Milosevic as evidence that attitudes about personal responsibility for state crimes have changed.

Posted by: junebug on June 19, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Where's that idiot "orwell"?

Looks like he's going to need new talking points. Good think I assumed he was full of shit to begin with.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 19, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Someday, we may all have to pay for the horror we have unleashed in Iraq.

Posted by: Rosali on June 19, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

>"It takes real courage to step forward four years later when Bush's approval ratings are 29% and condemn the administrations actions."

Who are you talking about? Taguba?

He's the guy who produced the report critical of Abu Ghraib back in 2004. He was then reassigned to back-office duty... followed by an 'instruction to resign' from the Pentagon.

I get the impression he 'told it like he saw it' on Abu Gharib and paid the price.

Posted by: Buford on June 19, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

And now he wants to torture us with the truth!

Haven't we suffered enough?

Posted by: Joey Giraud on June 19, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Lasseter of the McClatchy Group has done the best investigative journalism on this issue. So few “journalists” actually do any real investigative work any more, it is truly refreshing to see someone spend a lot of time, do real interviews and methodically assemble evidence, instead of doing a “cut and paste” from the Drudge Report.

What is horrifying is the fact that most of the detainees at Guantanamo have as much connection to international terrorism as Donald Duck. Bush and the sick perverts he surrounds himself with have shamed this country in a way that really has no peer since the U.S. Calvary gave smallpox-infested blankets to native Americans in the early days of this country. These high crimes and misdemeanors demand the impeachment of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 19, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Moff my friend you should check the Tennessee sources rather than someone from South Wales.

Al Gore needs all that power to run the internet.

Posted by: on June 19, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Nancy Pelosi has already answered that question: holding Bush and Cheney to account is off the table."

No, she did not answer the question. All she did by declaring impeachment, and by extension the possibility of stripping Bush and Cheney of the executive privileges they claim, as "off the table" is to put this case within the ambit claimed by the International Criminal Court, which only reserves the power to prosecute in cases where the host nation is unable or unwilling to do so internally.

Posted by: s9 on June 19, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I get the impression he 'told it like he saw it' on Abu Gharib and paid the price.

He knew as soon as he was picked for the job his military career was over.

He sat on his hands for the past four years when he knew better than anyone what a disaster this presidency was. I saw him speak several months ago and when asked why he wasn't more outspoken, he literally said the media is doing the job so he doesn't have to.

Posted by: BL on June 19, 2008 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The answer appears to be no. The two major parties who exclusively hold power in our republic do not have the political will to carry out their duty to serve and protect the United States Constitution. It is a shame and a disgrace to our Declaration.

Posted by: Algernon on June 19, 2008 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how quiet the trolls here have gotten...shamed into silence? I'd like to think so.

Posted by: Greg on June 19, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

IS IMPEACHMENT OFF YOUR TABLE? Its not off mine, call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 DEMAND IMPEACHMENT.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on June 19, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

It is amazing, is it not, that the elite centrist punditry kept on looking for more evidence, continuing to give the Republicans the benefit of the doubt even as the evidence kept on mounting during the last eight years that there is a high probability that many in the administration were knowingly engaged in egregious moral transgressions and illegal/criminal activities?

Posted by: gregor on June 19, 2008 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

The only problem with citing Andrew Sullivan is that with his history of gullibility, we'll have to wait another 4 years to determine whether he's right.

Posted by: degustibus on June 19, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

So, a “let’s kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” retired U.S. General says that the Bush administration has committed war crimes.

When a military person of this stature tells us we have big problems here, we’d better listen.

Posted by: Psyberian on June 19, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Psyberian wrote:
So, a “let’s kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” retired U.S. General says that the Bush administration has committed war crimes.

Uh, when did Anthony Taguba say or express this sentiment? Can you provide a source?

BL wrote:
[Taguba] sat on his hands for the past four years when he knew better than anyone what a disaster this presidency was. I saw him speak several months ago and when asked why he wasn't more outspoken, he literally said the media is doing the job so he doesn't have to.

I think he meant that the media was doing a job on him. You know, Club Gitmo and all that. The revelations of toture and abuse at Abu Ghraib came out in the middle of 2004. As you will recall, the overwhelming majority of Americans recoiled in disgust and signaled their contempt for the Bush administration by... re-electing* Mr. Extra Crispy that November.

Out of curiosity, what exactly do you think Taguba should have done? There have been various "high profile" Bush detractors over the years and, really, not a heckuva lot has come of it. You know it's bad when a male prostitute can overnight in the White House and it receives a collective yawn, but a stained blue dress occupies the nation's attention for a year.

[* Maybe. The 2004 Ohio election still smells bad, and even if it wasn't, Bush certainly didn't win Florida in 2000, so he technically wasn't re-elected in 2004.]

Posted by: josef on June 20, 2008 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Taguba for DefSec!

Posted by: Helena Montana on June 20, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK
Nancy Pelosi has already answered that question: holding Bush and Cheney to account is off the table.

That was a public statement, but it has no binding force; nothing prevents her (or the majority of members of the House, with or without her approval) from acting contrary to it. Further, it applies only to impeachment; the U.S. has criminal sanction for war crimes, and while the President, fairly unquestionably, is immune to criminal process while in office (though the Vice President is not), it is less certain that the President is immune to criminal sanction for actions committed while in office.

And even if they weren't held accountable, they weren't the only ones who would have to have committed crimes; if you deter underlings from following illegal orders rather than standing up against them, you remove the power from those who would give the illegal orders.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 20, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

There's no question Bush/Cheney and all co-conspirators should be prosecuted. What can we do and how can we do it?

Posted by: Feelingsohelpless on June 24, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

to think that the American people will have to pay secret service to protect the worst criminals of our time (w bush & family) makes me sick! that is the reason w and daddy bush have comitted so many crimes against humanity, they know they cant be touched! they are above the law. lets all pray that the bush family, ESPECIALLY W, not only have to answer for their crimes, but pay for them as well! I SAY LET W'S BUSINESS PARTNERS (the bin-ladens) protect him, we all know the protection w gave them!

Posted by: curt on June 24, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

wheres Michael Moore??? here is one great American that has tried to expose w bushie for the thug he is

Posted by: on June 24, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

with FEMA as w's scapegoat in New Orleans, i wonder who will take the fall for w's war crimes? come on people lets impeach that idiot, then when we are done with him lets go after daddy bush!

Posted by: on June 24, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is the most disturbing revelation about the actions of an American President since Richard Nixon, which really pales by comparison. The idea that people could be rounded up for being in the neighborhood and then tortured with 25 people dying as a result, while military MD's were in attendance, should be looked into as potential War Crimes, similar to some (not all) of the crimes committed by the Nazi Gestapo (Geheime Stadt Polizei) in WWII. This is outrageous!

Posted by: Joe on June 24, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: bglzqf resfxmib on June 30, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Fmmjfgwx on July 15, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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