President Bushs wanderings in the political minefield that is Iraq just got kicked up a few notches - his minefield has just come under heavy artillery attack and theres no chance for an exit strategy. The Bush administration has trapped itself because of their earlier successes with secret, cabal-directed government by politics, rather than managing a government based upon a rule of law. Their modus operandi has done them in: We are both law and government and always right because of our superior might!
In a nation as diverse as ours, with all our aliens, legal and illegal, our vast land mass, our large and diverse population and all its religions, and our diverse economically driven occupational undertakings, governing such a multi-faceted nation is anything but easy. It is clearly a case where that government governs best that governs least. Adding international intrigue in terms of initiating profitable wars to benefit a few very rich military-industrial complex investors, oil barons and the imperial claims of a tiny yet dangerous Mid Eastern nuclear power, is anything but a wise course of action.
Considering also, the very purpose of our nation, that of guaranteeing the individual God-given freedoms to all its legitimate and taxpaying citizens, there is absolutely no need for the tyrannical and abusive government Americans have now been saddled with. An observer of history has commented as to how the German people, a hospitable, joyous, and fun-loving nation, could ever have allowed a monster like Hitler to rise to power. Thats easy - he didnt become a monster until after all his broken promises and treaties. He didnt show his true colors at first, and when he did, his lies and contempt for humanity morphed into torture, prisons, concentration camps, wars and eventual annihilation.
And this transition from the once exhilarating human freedom that existed in America is happening in exactly the same manner as it was with the rise of Hitler. The difference is, Hitler knew precisely what he was doing, even if his military genius was only a myth. President George Bush is clueless. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are running the country, and our country is running amok.
Not seeing much of an alternative with Senator John Kerry, I was prepared after 40 years as a Republican, as well as one that voted for George W. Bush, to merely sit this election out. Not any more! Not after this concentration camp mentality that is emulating Hitlers New Order. The Bush family has modified Hitlers dream slightly; it has now become the New World Order.
It is for these reasons, that perhaps, just perhaps, this prison scandal may provide US with the break we need! Maybe Congress can now make up for its crimes against the Constitution and the American people by aggressively pursuing the latest example of Bushs secret government gone wrong. It can abolish the Bill of Rights-destroying USA Patriot Acts I and II, and call for an immediate end to this deadly, unjust and unnecessary war in Iraq.
Seven low level members of our military will shortly face court martial proceedings. The hope on the part of the administration is that these scapegoats and sacrificial lambs will satisfy the political bloodlust of the Democratic opposition. That would be very unfair, and set an irreversible precedent. Guilty higher-ups have been identified, their roles exposed, and thanks to CBS, the Washington Post and now Newsweek, and especially investigative reporter Seymour Hersh writing for The New Yorker, a logically sequenced analysis of events describe how Bushs secret government lost it and went over the top.
Lets be clear and up front as concerns one important point; the 9-11 terrorist attacks could have been prevented, and in all likelihood, very easily. Agencies of the United States government knew the attacks were planned, had names, had methods, and had a very manageable time frame as well as probable buildings that would be rammed by aircraft. American government did indeed fail the American people. All that is left to ascertain is whether American governments failure was planned and deliberate, or just another example of bungling, bumbling, big government incompetence.
A horrific outcome of the 9-11 terrorist attack is the virtual total destruction of our Bill of Rights and therefore the entire purpose for our existence as a nation. Another product is the Bush administration spending overruns for yet more bungling, bumbling, big government. Weve got Homeland Security, and its TSA that continues to block the implementation of the simple measure of arming airline pilots, something the people of America and the Congress of the United States want. And their agents cant even shoot straight - theyve lowered TSA agent firearms marksmanship standards while raising the standards for airline pilots, most of whom were trained to shoot while pilots in our military.
This devil-may-care authoritarian arrogance is precisely why this prisoner situation got so out of hand. Trying desperately to control any indication of Bush administration incompetence and military failure as concerns its inability to keep America safe, a secret, politically and militarily expedient plan was devised by Bushs Pentagon, with the full decision-making and approval oversight of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Seymour Hersh in his May 16th article, The Gray Zone, explains that, Rumsfeld reacted in his usual direct fashion: he authorized the establishment of a highly secret program that was given blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate high value targets in the Bush Administrations war on terror. A special-access program, or sap-subject to the Defense Departments most stringent level of security-was set up, with an office in a secure area of the Pentagon. The program would recruit operatives and acquire the necessary equipment, including aircraft, and would keep its activities under wraps. Americas most successful intelligence operations during the Cold War had been saps including the Navys submarine penetration of underwater cables used by the Soviet high command and construction of the Air Forces stealth bomber. All the so-called black programs had one element in common: the Secretary of Defense, or his deputy, had to conclude that the normal military classification restraints did not provide enough security.
And as had been reported by the Washington Post, Major General Geoffrey D. Miller transferred to Abu Ghraib prison to Gitmoize it and institute torture methods. And Rumsfeld put his Under-Secretary for intelligence, a newly created Bush administration position [of course!], in charge of the super-secret black SAP program. This individual, Stephen Cambone, testified along with Rumsfeld and Generals Lance Smith and Richard Myers before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Hersh quotes a senior CIA official that colorfully pointed out how Rumsfeld and Cambone lied during that Senate appearance.
But the really incriminating portion of Hershs article is this: In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone, he said. This is Cambones deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program. When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, but hes responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, weve changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means.
The Bush administration knew well in advance it was engaging in wrongdoing on an international scale. White House counsel Alberto Gonzales composed a memo and sent it directly to President George Bush warning him that the SAP methodology was a violation, and in effect, a total negation of the Geneva Convention. The administration knew it was engaging in wrongdoing, and went right ahead and ignored an important treaty to protect our captured war-fighters in all future wars. That in and of itself is the most despicable aspect of the Bush administrations reckless abandon and sheer arrogance in this matter.
In R. Jeffrey Smiths article written for the Washington Post May 16th, another example of direct involvement by military higher-ups is documented. The article, Knowledge of Abusive Tactics May Go Higher, Smith offers: Then the [military] police were to put a hood on his head and take him to an isolated cell through a gantlet of barking guard dogs; there, the police would strip-search him [a 31 year-old Syrian they felt had vital information], and interrupt his sleep for three days with interrogations, barking and loud music [remember WACO?], according to Army documents. The plan was sent to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.
Sanchezs office refused comment, and Smith offers that it was one of 25 such requests for special handling. Sorry about the use of that term - it was the term used by the Nazis for unusual torture. Smith goes on: But the fact that a plan for such intense and highly organized pressure was proposed by Col. Thomas M. Pappas - a senior military intelligence officer in Iraq who took his job at the insistence of a general dispatched from the Pentagon [Miller in all likelihood] - suggests a wider circle of involvement in aggressive and potentially abusive interrogations of Iraqi detainees, encompassing officers higher up the chain of command, than the Army had previously detailed.
The Armys damage control officer in this matter is Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Armys deputy chief of staff. Smith records his statement, Weve got no proof that a person in authority told them to do this activity. Thats a bald-faced lie, at precisely the same level of arrogance and contempt as Rumsfeld and Cambones lies to the Senate! And it was Alexander who insisted that if anything, the problem existed at the brigade level and downward to just a handful of low-level soldiers. That too is a lie.
Enough evidence exists to at least call into serious question all of the top-level heavies in this mess. The American Idol and Reality TV American sheeple have been shown photographs, and now they are beginning to understand the seriousness of this matter. We are drunk with power and might. We can do no wrong, but if we do, so what? Whos going to hold us accountable? And that summarizes the Bush administrations attitude. And of course the talking heads of talk radio will be there to help the Bush administration with the cover-ups and damage control.
seem this is Americas last chance. Either we come clean, let the
big shots take their lumps, or the rest of the world will start taking
some big shots at US. We have lost world credibility with our selective
cooperation with a worse-than-useless UN; we have lost credibility in
covering for Israels war crimes, and now ours have been exposed
as well; and prosecuting and persecuting only the low-level of our military,
while at the same time stripping them of their Geneva Convention protections,
doesnt honor them in the least; nor does avoiding their funerals
and bouncing briskly on the flight deck of the Abraham Lincoln and proclaiming
incorrectly that hostilities are over.
© 2004 THEODORE E. LANG All rights reserved
Ted Lang is a political analyst and a freelance writer.