Sunday, April 26, 2009

The original sin

From Frank Rich's column in the NYT yesterday:
In other words, the ticking time bomb was not another potential Qaeda attack on America but the Bush administration’s ticking timetable for selling a war in Iraq; it wanted to pressure Congress to pass a war resolution before the 2002 midterm elections. Bybee’s memo was written the week after the then-secret (and subsequently leaked) “Downing Street memo,” in which the head of British intelligence informed Tony Blair that the Bush White House was so determined to go to war in Iraq that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” A month after Bybee’s memo, on Sept. 8, 2002, Cheney would make his infamous appearance on “Meet the Press,” hyping both Saddam’s W.M.D.s and the “number of contacts over the years” between Al Qaeda and Iraq. If only 9/11 could somehow be pinned on Iraq, the case for war would be a slamdunk.

But there were no links between 9/11 and Iraq, and the White House knew it. Torture may have been the last hope for coercing such bogus “intelligence” from detainees who would be tempted to say anything to stop the waterboarding.


Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to “protect” us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from “another 9/11,” torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality.

Some of us have been denouncing the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the beginning, unconvinced by the lies that were put out back when Bush and Company were misdirecting this nation toward that end.

We were called soft on terror, unpatriotic, and all the labels we summarize as DFH (dirty fucking hippies). Soft on terror because we did not think military expansion into territories not involved in 9/11 was a good idea.

Mind you, I supported going after bin Laden and al Qaeda then and I support it now. We DFH were not the ones who called off the troops when bin Laden was holed up in Tora Bora. That was Bush. We're not the ones who said "I just don't think about him very much." That was Bush.

Unpatriotic because we questioned our president. Hah. Tell that to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh now. [I am still of the theory that George W. Bush will one day tell the truth and explode. It will be a most intriguing cause of death. I can visualize the death certificate now. Immediate cause: auto-explosion. Proximal cause: telling the truth.]

Now it is generally known that we were right about damn near everything. And our worst suspicions were not far off.

As more and more revelations about the torture program come out it is increasingly apparent that it was not based on issues of critical timing (the "24" scenario, or "ticking time bomb"), nor on a failure to get actionable intelligence by traditional, legal, moral methods, but on a desperate desire to undergird the case for an unnecessary, immoral, illegal war.

"No one could have predicted...."

Keep the revelations coming. Follow the leads. Put the puzzle together. And enforce the law.

--the BB

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Now it is generally known that we were right about damn near everything. And our worst suspicions were not far off.
And no one will thank us for that.

I posted on Rich's column, too, but you've done a much better job.