unastronaut*

Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Memo Signed By Bush, AUTHORIZING TORTURE, Surfaces

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This memo undercuts the frame that the recent ABC torture story suggested, by simply not mentioning the central role of the president in the NSC, that George W. Bush was elsewhere when decisions were made about torture. Now, we have signed memo indicating Bush was probably at the helm.

read more | digg story

It will be interesting to see how this shapes up as it is investigated further, but the idea that this could be true gives me shudders. Not because I am a George Bush hater, I actually have voted for him. I have always been a critic of his cronies, and his defense of them (see Alberto Gonzales, Michael Chertoff, Mike Brown just to name a few). Much of my criticisms have come because I care more about this country and the documents it was founded upon than I do any one head of state. This isn’t a country where we should get blinded by an administration. That’s why the interview for this job is extremely public and extremely long. We aren’t electing a saint, we’re electing someone to lead our country.

This story saddens me because of the state of our Constitution, our basic civil liberties, habeas corpus. A corrupt few have essentially been responsible for an irresponsible and unjust war, the loss of 4,000 American servicemen and countless American and Iraqi citizens and the resulting orphans, a de-regulation ravaged economy and millions of Americans soon-to-be homeless, and billions of dollars in no-bid contracts making those few and their friends filthy rich. President Bush is not a Republican, he’s not a compassionate conservative, he’s nothing at all like the man people voted for in 2000. The neo-conservatives are not representative of the beliefs and values of everyday Americans who identify themselves as Republican. This party stands for small government and fiscal responsibility, not the Department of This-and-That and a $500 billion war on loan from China.

Tell me Mr. Bush, how can a man give you information as his brain and nervous system are permanently damaged from simulated drowning? This isn’t even torture, it’s sadism. I’m all for getting information to prevent further terrorist attacks but by using methods that actually yield results. The origins of waterboarding during the Spanish Inquisition and its use in Cambodian prison camps not far from the Hanoi Hilton where John McCain’s resolve on war was strengthened should tell us this is not tactical, it’s torture.

I truly thought there was more good in President Bush than there apparently is, if this memo is accurate. Given the recent coverage of discussions in the White House involving Vice President Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the fact that Ashcroft himself knew “history will not judge this kindly”, it’s really hard to believe there’s not more we don’t know that would horrify most of America. Keep in mind, for these interrogations to be at all effective, they must take place before any trial. In the ticking-time-bomb scenario you can’t wait to establish guilt. So all of these torture methods would be ineffective in getting actionable intelligence if they occurred after we know for a fact the person is guilty and knows something. We are in a war without an opposing uniform and the difference between being a criminal deserving of habeas corpus and rights of the accused and an enemy combatant deserving of no respect for law or the Geneva Conventions is essentially a label.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations:

An “enemy combatant” is an individual who, under the laws and customs of war, may be detained for the duration of an armed conflict.

“Enemy combatant” is a general category that subsumes two sub-categories: lawful and unlawful combatants.

Lawful combatants receive prisoner of war (POW) status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. Unlawful combatants do not receive POW status and do not receive the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention.

I want our government to be strong on terrorism, but when we’re in Iraq making orphans I’m not feeling any safer. When we knew there was no link to al Qaeda and Iraq, that should have told us that this isn’t a War on Terror. As Republican presumptive nominee Senator John McCain and President Bush both beat the war drum toward Iran, we must remember that al Qaeda is also too extreme for their society in Iran. They are not training terrorists, they just want to be left alone and know that our presence in Iraq could threaten them if we did, for example, convince our population that Iran is now the enemy. We must always remember that our true enemy is in the mountains in Northwest Pakistan and spreading back in Afghanistan. We can’t forget that the reason we don’t have proper focus on Afghanistan and possibly why we don’t have Osama bin Laden in custody today is because we’ve diverted our attention to Iraq.

I have been raised as a student of history, not Democrat or Republican. I was supposed to see what everyone did right and wrong remembering all were human beings, none were gods. That’s how I approach the election. There are three people who have the potential to set the direction our country heads. Much like President Bush, who really only represents a small portion of the Republican party, we are electing a very powerful person.

We are electing the person who may give more of our own rights back, who may give back some of the executive power usurped by the Bush Administration and the person who may bring our loved-ones home without any fear of attack. For the world, it’s the person they find more representative of who we are as a nation, of what we think about possibilities and powers of the people. For the world, we can export democracy in the same way anyone truly exports religion, by example only. The people of Iraq, and they are just people like us, will see our election and wonder what that means for their future.

This truly will be a historic election. Think of the storyline if the wealthy old white man is elected to continue the charge on a war perpetrated upon lies and destroy our economy to pay for it. We’ll tell history: we haven’t learned anything.

Now the AP and MSNBC are reporting the same story, I love how stories break to Digg and a few days later they end up in mainstream media as “Breaking News”. It still lends more credence to the stories of just how vicious our heads of state and their advisers have been during this War on Terror, which would have had nothing to do with Iraq had there not been false claims of weapons of mass destruction and a stubborn commander-in-chief. We are living in sad times, in the words of John Ashcroft “history will not judge this kindly.”

I had to update this page with an example of what waterboarding means. Everyone should get a fair idea for what we are actually talking about, simulated drowning dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, and be able to voice your opinon.

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