My "Deny...Then Rationalize" post received a comment from "Subsunk". I felt this comment and my response graduated the debate and called for a new post.
"Now, in my opinion Bush heads the most criminal administration in our history exercising massive abuses of power. I say this because we are in a war which at its foundation violates the Geneva Conventions on many levels. Intelligence was manipulated to duplicitously gain the trust and support of the American people. He and his administration willfully trample human rights to further an agenda of control, power and greed. I say this also because he is a proven liar. He tells Americans they should be willing to sacrifice their liberty for security. A concept that wholly goes against the American philosophy."
So who has manipulated intelligence? The administration who has kept it secret, or the press who has leaked only that which makes the government look evil? And once the intelligence has been declassified and released, who has claimed that it was done for political purposes? The Time article on prisoner 063 breathlessly claims to delineate "torture" of a detainee who is supposedly treated to "extremes" of hot and cold (from 60 degrees to 80 degrees), sleep deprivation (4 hours of sleep daily for 7 weeks), withholding of food and water (unless the prisoner finishes answering the question asked and for no longer than 3-4 hours), and items of clothing (hats and gloves to handle religious items, not underwear, pants, or shirts). And you believe that constitutes torture?
I worked harder and longer on my ships for years than this. If you consider these methods torture, then you are the weakest excuse for humanity I have ever seen. My troops suffered more than this twit on their best day because they WANTED to be better than he is.
You claim the Geneva Conventions have been violated, yet there is NO, I say again, NO evidence of wholesale violations whatsoever. Sure a couple of dozen servicemen have been prosecuted and punished for abusing detainees. Less than 5 have been acused of killing or severely injuring detainees. That is better than the murder rate in America as a whole. There is no violation of the Geneva Conventions because there has been no significant abuse. France abuses more prisoners in their own prisons because they are the third worst prison system in Europe. And conditions in Middle Eastern prisons are 10x worse. So who is the torturer here?
Now who is the proven liar? She who insists there is manipulation of intelligence (which I have personally seen, by the way), lies from the Chief Executive (which have not been seen, unless you can point them out and I can show you what he actually said in the transcript), and "willfully trampl[ing] human rights to further an agenda of control, power and greed" (where? -- show me where your personal rights have been infringed? Have you been imprisoned or fined for saying what you want, going where you want, or sleeping with whomever you wish?).
Show me the violations, dear. Then I'll believe you. Until then, I guess I must quote you about yourself:"the PERFECT example of your ease with distorting the truth, distorting statements, spinning it to suit your view and then stating it as if it were fact."
"I respect your opinion but disagree with you resorting to name calling. That solves nothing."
Carry on, dear. I guess I will wait for your answer. I also guess I won't hold my breath.
Thank you for adding your thoughts. Let me first say that I think you jumped to an assumption here that my references were largely about alleged torture. Although I could not condone torture at all, I believe there to likely be a very fine line between gaining needed intelligence by any means and torture and I don't pretend to know where that line is or should be drawn. I believe the convictions so far regarding torture have been justified as needless denigration and torture cannot become a routine American practice. We are trying to maintain the "rules of war" against an enemy who doesn't operate within the rules, this is bound to back up on us at times.
As far as specifics with regard to actions by this President and this administration.
Bush and his administration misled Congress and certainly the American people about his urgent reasons for taking us to war. And if you want to argue that he was completely unaware that the intelligence was false, then who is responsible? Also, that argument is hard to make when we know that Bush (in the SOTU) told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa when he already had the reports that this evidence was completely forged. If he did not have a pre-determined plan to go to war no matter what, why would he make this very public and blatant lie? He also maintained the WMD lie when he knew the UN could not and never did find any evidence of this. He also maintained the lie of falsely linking Iraq to Al Qaeda.
One has to consider so much when discussing Geneva conventions violations (as well as violations of other international treaties).
1. Bush administration authorized a war of aggression against Iraq - a sovereign nation.
2. Bush administration authorized and still authorizes conduct of the war that involve the commission of "war crimes". This is not just the torture issue although this is widely argued but even the method of previous and current attacks. Under the Geneva Conventions and customary law, it is a war crime to launch indiscriminate attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects. The distinction between combatants and non-combatants is fundamental to all humanitarian law. You can go all the way back to the 6 day "shock-and-awe" bombing campaign on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people.
3. In October, 2001 Cheney and Addington committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by directing that a Presidential order be drafted authorizing the indefinite detention without charge of detainees and their subjection to military tribunals.
4. In January, 2002, Gonzales committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by advising Bush in written memos to suspend the application of the Geneva conventions to detainees.
5. On February 7, 2002, Bush committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions by issuing in February 7, 2002 a Memorandum stating that Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees, "unlawful combatants".
6. In October 2001 Bush issued a secret finding authorizing the CIA to kill those he designated, either US citizens or non-citizens, anywhere in the world.
Human Rights Violations:
Subsunk, I am sure you don't mean to say that I have no right to point out human rights violations unless I myself have somehow been personally violated? These crimes are committed against a nation, a people. However, that being said, my human rights are violated by this administration by the continual attempt to subvert the constitution and use it as their tool to deny rights instead of protect them.
1. Bush authorized the secret, illegal, warrantless wiretapping of US citizens. Even arguments that we should be willing to sacrifice liberty for security does not make it any less of a subversion of the constitution.
Also, the US Human Rights Network last year took the unprecedented step of sending a detailed memo to the Bush administration cautioning them to look at their egregious human rights violations. I can't imagine anyone trying to deny these blatant and proven truths.
1. Coercive and unreliable interrogation techniques that amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment have been defended and promoted
2. Criminal trials have been conducted in military tribunals that do not provide adequate transparency or due process protections.
3. Foreign nationals have been deported to third world countries where it was likely they would be tortured.
4. More than one thousand immigrants in the US were rounded-up immediately after September 11th in a manner that was arbitrary, discriminatory and violated basic human rights
Furthermore, this administration has still failed to ratify half of the major international human rights treaties, including:
1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by every other country in the world except Somalia).
2. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (ratified by 177 countries -- over ninety percent of the members of the United Nations).
3. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ratified by 97 countries).
Subsunk, from someone who studies, collects research and works diligently to remain aware, even this lengthy response feels like the tip of the iceberg. When I read your (almost) challenge to respond, my first response was - whew, where do I begin? You sound like an intelligent person with access to interesting information that places you in a good position to debate this and I happily discuss it with you. I offer you my interest and my attention to anything you bring to the debate.