(Optional Video Accompaniment To This Post)
As we continue to listen to the monsters among us discuss how fire-hosing hummus up a man's arse kept us all safe from another attack like the one that occurred partly through their own negligence, and as we here at the blog decline to move along to the next shiny object with everybody else, we discover that, beneath all the macho bluster, and the Jack Bauer fantasies, and the outright giggling sadism of our former leaders, there beat hearts of pure chickenshit. Dick Cheney has now spent a week bragging about his vicarious barbarism, and making sure as he does so that we are aware that one of the Senate report's great flaws is that it goes out of its way partially to exculpate the man once alleged to be Cheney's boss.
"The notion that we were not notified at the White House about what was going on is not true," Cheney said today on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "This man knew what we were doing," Cheney said of Bush. "He authorized it. He approved it. A statement by the Senate Democrats for partisan purposes that the president didn't know what was going on is just a flat-out lie."
(Translated from the original Weaselspeak: partisan Democrats engaged in a partisan conspiracy to protect the good name of George W. Bush. I'll give you just a second for your mind to unboggle.)
Also amusing is the contention of Marc Thiessen, who writes the torture porn available in the downstairs parlor of Fred Hiatt's House Of 'Ho's, next to the piano being played by Michael Gerson, that supports Cheney's testimony about the complicity of C-Plus Augustus.
The report claims that President George W. Bush did not know about enhanced interrogations until 2006: "According to CIA records, no CIA officer, up to and including CIA Directors George Tenet and Porter Goss, briefed the president on the specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006. By that time, 38 of the 39 detainees identified as having been subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques had already been subjected to the techniques." If they had bothered to ask CIA officials about this, they would have learned, as Michael Hayden told Politico magazine this week, "The president personally approved the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah [in 2002]. It's in his book!" Further, Bush received regular updates from the CIA on the intelligence that detainees were providing during his Presidential Daily Brief.
It gets even better. John Yoo, the performing seal who wrote up the legal fictions with which the government's savagery sanctified itself, has gone public with the notion that, the hypothetical crushing of the hypotherical testicles of hypothetical children aside, what happened with the hummus and the hose was not what he had in mind when he composed his infamous briefs.
Looking at it now, I think of course you can do these things cumulatively or too much that it would cross the line of the anti-torture statute," Yoo said on C-SPAN. On CNN, Yoo said if the instances outlined in the report are accurate, "they were not supposed to be done. And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders."
So, CIA torturers out there? You fcked up. You trusted them. It's getting awfully damn crowded under this bus.
It is axiomatic, or it certainly ought to be, that people who torture are fundamentally cowards, and that the people who order torture are more cowardly still since they subcontract their crimes to people to people they consider little more than hired hands, and who they will gladly serve up to maintain the fiction of the few bad apples that spoil the whole coffin-sized box. We are seeing this in real time now. Cheney makes sure we know Bush knew. Yoo says the CIA people went too far beyond the careful legal infrastructure he'd built. And this brings us, sadly, to the moral calamity at the heart of the Obama Administration, the final, tragic consequence of Looking Forward, Not Back. And the deepest tragedy about it is that it was inevitable.
It is clear from what we've heard from these creatures over the last week that, if they'd ever been tried for the crimes against humanity they committed, in any courtroom in the world, they'd have turned on each other in a New York minute. You wouldn't have to waterboard Cheney to get him to give you Bush. He'd do it for a steak. You wouldn't have to blow pasta up John Yoo's hindquarters to get him to roll on the people who relied on his instructions to carry out their orders. I'm willing to bet a considerable bag of nickels that there are a few dozen anonymous CIA operatives who are feeling very hung out to dry at the moment, and who would be willing, at the price of a reduction of their sentences, to sing a lovely aria. This might have been the easiest prosecution in the history of the world.
Alas, as we also have learned from the polling over the past week, it would not have been an easy prosecution to sell to a public that is more willing to trust a television show than it is to trust the Geneva Conventions. (This line of thinking, if should be noted, has as an adherent a sitting justice of the United States Supreme Court.) That is what made the moral calamity of the Obama Administration inevitable. The president is not an amoral man. Neither is he stupid. He knew full well, despite all his glowing rhetoric about the fundamental decency of the American people, that, for its own scurvy purposes, the previous administration unleashed the darkest collective human impulses that the country possesses, that the previous administration made good use of fear and ignorance, and the anger that is their monstrous stepchild, and that it profited politically and personally for having done so. He also knew that, somewhere, deep in the heart that he is sure the United State till possesses, a kind of national shame was building up to a level pretty close to critical mass and that, if it detonated in an uncontrolled explosion, the power of it could be terribly misused.
So the moral calamity of the Obama Administration is one that was forced upon it by the nature of the transformation of the country that was wrought in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, a transformation that never was going to be temporary, since an endless war requires a permanently transformed country. Reading the polls today makes a mockery of the notion that there ever has been a president elected to office who would have had the raw political courage to hand these gutless bastards over to the Hague to be tried for war crimes, or to prosecute them ourselves for criminal conspiracy. Hell, the political establishment of the United States only recently condescended to help the International Criminal Court, but not, of course, to join the thing, or to subject its citizens to the court's mandates. It would prefer that the court stick to prosecuting murderous African warlords, thank you very much. (Here are the comments of candidates Barack Obama and John McCain on the ICC from the 2008 election. See if you can make sense of them beyond, "We are beyond your law.") And that political establishment has resisted the court because it knows full well that the court has no constituency in the United States, an exceptional country that does not torture or commit war crimes, an exception country that has guaranteed that a moral calamity will be at the heart of every presidency for the next 100 years, because there is no constituency for law that is stronger than the constituency for vengeance.
Like dogs upon their masters.
Damn, it would've been an easy case to bring.
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