Sunday, September 24, 2006

Soft Water Torture

What doth it profit man
To gain the world and lose his soul
We change the law because we can
And still it fails to cleanse the soul
The Lord is not amused
By torture, death and lies
Searing his children not accused
But drowned in harshness and mourning cries

In the world according to GW Bush, “The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper.” At this point, that quote coupled with Alberto Gonzales’ claim that the Geneva Conventions are “quaint” should alarm each of us to level Red or whatever Bush would use to recharge this Nation’s fear level. It is interesting that the November 2005 quote has been corroborated and that the view from the left is that the President meant every word of it. Those on the right said that it is well known that the man has a raging temper and was angry because Republican legislators were trying to bring the Patriot Act within the Constitution, but that if you asked him directly, he would not say that it was just a piece of paper. I leave it up to you to decide which is worse, the man prone to extreme tantrums or the absolute despot. In my mind, one condition leads to the other and it matters not where you start.
I mention this because some well meaning Republican Senators held out, however briefly, for reason this past week. In the end, Bush got a compromise that holds him retroactively harmless from prosecution for war crimes in US courts. I do not know if Bush has committed these crimes, but retroactive exclusion seems a bit over the top. Oddly enough, no international tribunal would feel obligated to accept our internal decision if the Geneva Conventions or the Law of Land Warfare was violated, so it seems like a futile gesture of a desperate man. What could his defense of the use of water boarding be? “We are not like the terrorists. They use hard water and we use only soft water that has been especially treated by Halliburton.” “They are evil-doers and we are defending freedom.” “If you can’t see the difference, you have a fault in your logic.” Is exile in Crawford or Kennybunkport?
Some pundits have postulated that GW Bush used this maneuver to cover up the bad news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan. I find that to be a tortured explanation. Very likely, the Red Cross will soon interview detainees in Guantanamo and learn that unsavory and illegal prisoner handling has happened at home and abroad. Bush’s PR team wants to get ahead of the wave by playing to his home audience that what he did was legal and in the interest of freedom. Explicit photographs and testimony of released detainees has already tainted international opinion. In effect, that international game is lost and we will be told that their opinion does not matter anyway.
Recently, the Senate published a report that forever shows that al Qaeda not only lacked support from Saddam Hussein, but that Saddam was so hostile to al Qaeda, that it could not survive under his regime. There are consequences to upsetting the balance in Iraq and al Qaeda’s growth is one. There are other consequences. We cut and ran from Afghanistan to Iraq, much to the delight of both al Qaeda and the Taliban. The internal balance between Shiite and Sunni is destroyed. The external balance between Iraq and Iran is destroyed because Arab Shiites in Iraq have joined forces with their Shiite Persian brethren. Afghanistan has record recruiting, poppy and heroin output with soldiers and profits flowing to the Taliban. Pakistan grasped its own Reality and has cut a deal with the Taliban and therefore protected bin Laden. Civil war in Iraq is reaping, on average, a hundred souls per day. We have collected our tactical reserves into the Bremer Box of Baghdad. Meanwhile Bush is looking for another name for “Stay the Course.” His Department of CP (Crap Packaging) is on it and will have it on the shelves before the election. There was one highlight. Colin Powell finally found his courage and decried our loss of moral high ground. Bush seems to be trying to gain the world at the loss of his soul. Let us end this pathetic tragedy by removing his majority in November.

George Giacoppe
23 September 2006

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