There was Bill Clinton claiming that “he did not have sexual relations with that woman,” for which he was impeached. Aides to Richard M. Nixon went to prison for crimes, and covering up crimes, that subverted the electoral process and that abused the power of government to investigate and punish Nixon’s political enemies.
So how about the lies of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld? The lies about “a few bad apples” committing aberrant crimes at Abu Ghraib? Where do we stand as a nation on those?
Oh sure, you have been hearing reports on the news all day, but we are historians: we always want to look at the archive. So you might want to read this government report about the full knowledge Bush administration officials had about what was going on at Abu Ghraib, and other places where people were being tortured on the authority of the President of the United States. How did the Bush administration know? They ordered it, that’s how. And they bought and paid for the lawyers who did the paperwork that gave them cover. Why, one of those lawyers was so smart the Bush administration appointed him to the federal bench! If you look at the summary of the declassified report released today, you will see that every branch of the armed services knew that what was being proposed was torture, that the so-called “legal reviews” were cooked, and the administration went ahead anyway and ordered them to do it. And they did. One striking thing about this report is that the word “torture” is used over and over in the narrative, as well as in the documents that were reviewed and are cited as proof of these human rights abuses.
Please remember that the executive branch and the media have instead, for all these years, insisted on the phrase “harsh interrogation” to describe what was done to prisoners in the custody of the democratic, freedom-loving United States government.
Where are all those Republicans who insist on accountability now? Where are the conservative intellectuals, screaming for the truth, denouncing government lies? And would a conservative administration have promoted the brutal torture of people they considered fully human? Christians? Whites? Someone needs to ask them this question.
On the Lehrer News Hour tonight, Lindsay Graham, the mealy-mouth Senator and eternal Presidential hopeful from South Carolina, reminded us that he has opposed torture all along, but that “we should only look backwards to look forward in the right way.” Those who tortured and authorized torture “should not be criminally responsible” for what appear to the rest of us to have been politically-motivated criminal acts. “I don’t want to prosecute somebody for a political difference,” he expained.
I. Am. So. Ashamed. Of my country.