Why I'm Glad That Guy Threw His Shoes at Our President

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Everyone should download and read the bipartisan “Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody.“  WAIT! BEFORE YOU HIT THE BACKPAGE BUTTON AND GO BACK TO THAT ASIAN PORN… it’s only nineteen pages, and there really is a lot of amazing stuff.

The report demolishes the Jack Bauer argument, which holds that in the War on Terror, the bad guys are very, very bad, and the only way we can beat them is to go over to the dark side.

Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 2008 that “there are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq – as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat – are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.”

And the military knew the administration was handing them a bill of goods:

The Air Force cited “serious concerns regarding the legality of many of the proposed techniques” and stated that “techniques described may be subject to challenge as failing to meet the requirements outlined in the military order to treat detainees humanely…” The Air Force also called for an in depth legal review of the request.

The Chief of the Army’s International and Operational Law Division wrote that techniques like stress positions, deprivation of light and auditory stimuli, and use of phobias to induce stress “crosses the line of ‘humane’ treatment,” would “likely be considered maltreatment” under the UCMJ, and “may violate the torture statute.” The Army labeled GTMO’s request “legally insufficient” and called for additional review.

The Navy recommended a “more detailed interagency legal and policy review” of the request. And the Marine Corps expressed strong reservations, stating that several techniques in the request “arguably violate federal law, and would expose our service members to possible prosecution.” The Marine Corps also said the request was not “legally sufficient,” and like the other services, called for “a more thorough legal and policy review.”

But the administration ignored or overruled all these concerns in their zeal to redefine torture to a point where the word became legally meaningless.

The bipartisan report shows that the crimes at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were not perpetrated by a small group of renegade soldiers, as the Bush administration has claimed again and again. Rather, the soldiers who were court-martialed and took the fall were following orders that came from straight down the chain of command from the White House.

The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of “a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

The full report was approved in a unanimous voice vote by 17 of the panel’s 25 members. The panel consists of 13 Democrats and 12 Republicans

Notable heroes appear, people that made the kind of gutsy, principled stands that you see a lot in movies and not enough in real life.

Between mid-December 2002 and mid-January 2003, Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora spoke with the DoD General Counsel three times to express his concerns about interrogation techniques at GTMO, at one point telling Mr. Haynes that he thought techniques that had been authorized by the Secretary of Defense “could rise to the level of torture.” On January 15, 2003, having received no word that the Secretary’s authority would be withdrawn, Mr. Mora went so far as to deliver a draft memo to Mr. Haynes’s office memorializing his legal concerns about the techniques. In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Mora told Mr. Haynes he would sign his memo later that day unless he heard definitively that the use of the techniques was suspended. In a meeting that same day, Mr. Haynes told Mr. Mora that the Secretary would rescind the techniques. Secretary Rumsfeld signed a memo rescinding authority for the techniques on January 15, 2003.

In September 2008 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Colonel Steven Kleinman, an Air Force Reservist who was a member of the interrogation support team sent by JPRA to the Special Mission Unit Task Force in Iraq, described abusive interrogations he witnessed, and intervened to stop, during that trip.

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It’s gripping stuff.

This administration, and by extension, our country, have been and still are committing war crimes.  At the end of World War II, we executed German and Japanese soldiers that used these techniques on American POWs. And just last Sunday, in a U.S detention facility in Baghdad, a 25 year-old detainee died. Official cause of death: heart attack.

So, I’m glad that dude chunked his size tens at President Bush, because he’s a war criminal, and I’m incredibly angry that he’s going to get away with it.  The shoe volley is as bad as it’s going to get for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of them.

There’s a lot more to read about this from Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan (scroll down for many post), and Dan Froomkin.

I realize this isn’t the kind of post people probably come here to see.  It’s just nineteen pages, people.  Just download it and read it, and in the next post, I promise I’ll tell about the time David Yow poured Maker’s Mark on his penis, lit it on fire, and used it to light one of Mike Patton’s farts. We cool now? A’ight, then.

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One Response to Why I'm Glad That Guy Threw His Shoes at Our President

  1. Well, since no one has replied to this, I’ll give it a shot. So much to say about this, but I’ll limit it. I find it almost comical that owing to a series of extremely poor judgement and a near utter lack of intelligent communication, multiple sectors of the military and government managed to take abusive interrogation techniques that violate international law and were known to produce false intelligence and employ them to gather information from detainees. And all this stemming from the Republicans, the party that prides iteself on ‘shrinking big government.’ The only way this all happened was because there were far too many departments not knowing what the heck was going on but thinking they were right. Just good to know there were some people who knew this was wrong and reported it to supervisors. This kind of reminds me of ‘Brazil’ and would all be quite funny if real humans weren’t involved. Oh, and, Rumsfield with the old, “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?” was classy. There’s nothing more dangerous in this world than someone who thinks they’re right, whether s/he is or not.

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