Media And Democrats Sleeping Through Wakeup Call

April 14th, 2008at 07:20am Posted by Eli

What BooMan said:

Asked whether he was aware that his National Security Council Principals Committee discussed and approved torturing human beings that we’re being held at the U.S. government’s mercy, our President responded:

“Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. “And yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

To be more specific about what Bush knew about and approved:

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA. (…)

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.

No one with any credibility on human rights thinks that waterboarding is legal under U.S. or international law. And waterboarding is not the only violation of law committed by our government and approved by the president. A look at the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against Torture clearly demonstrates that our country is guilty of numerous violations.

Unfortunately, those with credibility on human rights are not the ones controlling our national narrative.  Instead it’s the shallow corporate-owned Heathers of the media and the cowardly (if not outright complicit) Democrats in Congress.

As recently as March, the president vetoed a bill banning torture. And the international press is covering the news that torture was authorized at the highest levels, even if our domestic press is more concerned with meaningless back and forth arguments in the Democratic primary.

The reputation of our nation has been seriously damaged, and ignoring the damage will only exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, neither the media nor the Congress appear capable of coming to terms with what was done in our name and doing anything about it. The ACLU is calling for a Special Prosecutor, but it is very unlikely that the Bush administration will willingly authorize someone to investigate them for serious felonies that they have already confessed. Any talk of impeachment must account for the seriously depressing prospect that the Republican Party will act collectively as official apologists for torture and thereby, by failing to convict, establish the unhealthy precedent that the most serious violations of human rights are not worthy of removal from office. Compounding the problem is that a failure to attempt to impeach will establish the same precedent.

It is hard to believe that just ten years ago this nation impeached a president for lying about his sex life in a civil deposition in a case that was eventually tossed for lack of merit. Ten years ago the media could not grant enough coverage to the crimes of the president, but now even confessed felonies are covered over in favor of silly campaign coverage.

(…) We, as a nation, need to do something about this. It is a most difficult thing to come to terms with. There is a strong impulse to set this aside and write it off as an overreaction to the national trauma of 9/11. We see the same instinct in how so many want to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications carriers that were ‘only doing their patriotic duty’ when they allowed the government to violate our 4th Amendment rights and spy on us without judicial warrants. In this case, government officials were ‘only trying to keep us safe’. That’s their defense, but it is not an adequate defense. And it does nothing to justify Bush’s recent veto of a bill banning torture.

Bush and Cheney will be leaving office in nine months, and the easiest thing to do is to just run out the clock. But that isn’t the right thing to do. And it will not absolve us of our responsibility to punish injustice and vindicate our nation’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law. Just look at how the world views us. Are we to let this stand?

And, yet, what can we do? With Clinton and Obama distracted by the primaries and the domestic press in the bag and with Republican complicity and administration obstruction, there seems to be no leadership and no path to a solution.

That leaves the responsibility on citizen activists…people like you and me. If the media won’t cover it, we will. And we will hope that shame compels the media to recognize our shame and agony, and our commitment to our country and its reputation in the world.

Even with a closely fought primary going on, this should be the story of the year, if not the story of the century: The President Of The United States has admitted to approving war crimes.  Impeachment is the very least that Congress should do; criminal prosecution seems far more appropriate (although perhaps not legally feasible for Dubya until he leaves office).

I doubt that Congress will do anything more than hold ineffectual hearings that get stonewalled, so does anyone (i.e., torture victims or their families) have standing to prosecute the evildoers, including Dubya in 2009? That will probably be the only possible way to obtain justice, and for this country to finally begin redeeming itself.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Impeachment,Media,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture


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