Chris's Rants

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Few Good Men (updated)

Talk Left: Senate Votes to Ban Waterboarding
The House adopted the provision back in December. Bush has threatened to veto the bill.

As I wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton wrote Bush Monday and urged him to withdraw his veto threat.

Today Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and other senior Democratic Senators wrote to Bush and called on him to revise his Executive Order on CIA interrogation to comply with our treaty obligations and to prohibit explicitly a number of torture techniques that the Administration has used.
What they should have done is to threaten to try the Shrubya and his Sith Lord VP for war crimes if they did not heed Congress and the people of the United States, yet again.

I can't believe we are still having this debate.

Congress passed a bill in 2006 banning torture. That bill was championed by none other than John McCain, a former POW who was tortured so severely he can no longer raise his arms above his head. The President, at the urging of the dark one himself, penned a "signing statement" that basically said: "f*** you all, I'll do what I want, I'm the Unitary President, damnit".

The response from Congress?


Now, after it has become clear to all that we have engaged in torture, with the approval of the President, Congress passes another bill that reiterates what is already the law of the land, that it is illegal to torture.

I am reminded of the scene in A Few Good Men, in which Lt. Weinberg says:
"I strenuously object?" Is that how it works? Hm? "Objection." "Overruled." "Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object." "Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider."
Congress should have initiated impeachment proceedings long ago for Bush and Cheney, and criminal proceedings against those such as AG AG and the VP's chief of staff David Addington, for war crimes. I can see it now, with Dick Cheney sitting in the witness box excoriating the young prosecutor:
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled.
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth.
Col. Jessep: You can't handle the truth.
Col. Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
... just before they cuff him and take him away to the brigg.

The sad, unfortunate truth is that despite the fact that those who carried out Bush's orders to waterboard "those nasty terrorists", cannot use the "I vus just following orders" excuse. It didn't fly in Nuremberg, it should not fly this time.

Update: via Laura Rozen of War and Piece blog
CQ: McCain votes against torture ban. "There goes the one thing I still respected him for," comments the friend who sent the news.
I'm speechless.

Update II: Think Progress coins the catch-phrase of Indecision 2008:
John McCain: He was against waterboarding before he was for it.


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