Inspection- On Barack, Hillary and Torture
“…a few bad apples…”
-Ex-Pres. George W. Bush, forgetting to mention these were mostly the rotten apples at the top of the barrel
“What they essentially have said is, ‘If we have policy disagreements with our predecessors, what we are going to do is turn ourselves into the moral equivalent of a Latin America country… and systematically prosecute the previous administration on policy differences.'”
-Karl Rove, claiming that drowning people, slamming their heads up against the wall and locking their children into bug infested boxes are merely “policy differences.”
(Obama’s stand on prosecuting torture…) “…has turned into a ‘murky maybe.'”
-Bill Press, getting it right
Anyone who would ever accuse me of being a Bush supporter either has never read a damn thing I’ve written, or their reading comprehension is less than zero.
And as many regular and former regular readers know, I don’t always quite qualify as an “Obama supporter.” Brief history: I started with Kucinich, who the media made damn sure would never get any traction. Then I marginally picked Hillary over Obama… only because I felt, between the two, only a Clinton would hit back enough to win. And maybe, just maybe, the Clintons knew enough about what happened last time that they wouldn’t put up with another Right Wing Hell storm. It certainly wasn’t because I’m some googly eyed Hillary-ite, any more than I’m what the Right Wing likes to refer to as “Messiah worshiping” Obama-nite.
I’m very glad I was wrong regarding Barack’s ability to win.
I’m one of those voters that always winds up voting for the least undesirable option, not that I thought Obama himself was that “undesirable.” Just not my first pick by any means… any more than Hillary was.
Because I had a sneaking suspicion that he was more platitudes than substance. I guess you might say that I get suspicious when any candidate’s main source of rhetoric is mouthing catch phrases over and over, like different slight variations on the theme of “change.” I don’t ever do well when it comes to selling candidates with “new and improved”-type labels. Reminds me of all the products that really weren’t.
Hillary? I already knew she had the same problem to a certain extent, only less “catch phrase”-y.
I have been pleasantly surprised in many ways. For example: pleasantly surprised that there has been a change in how we speak to other nations, and talk about things… especially the BS bluster.
I also have recently seen another possible pleasant surprise recently: a possible change in whether we will legally pursue those who approved torture…. and those who did all they could to legally excuse torture. But as to whether he’s sincere? I agree with Bill Press: “murky.”
Not that I think Hillary would have been doing any better at this point. Frankly, I never thought at the core they would be all that different. My marginal choice was based on winning.
I’m glad so glad I was wrong about that. But I also think without Hillary and Barack trading the rhetorical ball back and forth the outcome could have been quite different. Two moving targets; sometimes pitted against each other in media-convenient ways, are always harder than one.
Part of the plan?
Those those who were angered by Barack offering a post to Hillary would understandable speculate so, but maybe not. Yet if it was a bit of a fake like in football: damn good plan. With most of the talking head shills, and a whole network, serving as propaganda slaves for the other side, more than a few fake passes would always get a big thumbs up from me.
The shills and the Goebbels for the Right network can go suck on their pens and computer mice as far as I’m concerned. May they be arsenic-laced.
But as to the torture issue, I’m not happy regarding how it has been handled, to type the least vile descriptive I can. Though it was about all I would have expected of a weak knee; Democratic administration, run by either Hillary or Barack. You know: the kind more interested in “getting along” and “going forward” than actual justice or precedents set?
May the Cambodian skulls and concentration camp half dead be damned: just crunch your way towards a… better? …future. That’s “the past:” just shove those tormented souls off to the side.
As of this typing Barack is now varying somewhere between, “Yes we will,” “Maybe we will” and, “No, we won’t.” I suppose that’s marginally better than, “No, we won’t.”
Some very bad precedents will been set here unless we prosecute; at least one precedent (#2) that Hillary and her husband unintentionally helped to create. Precedents that might include, but are not limited to…
1. Under a Republican administration Republicans can do anything no matter how vile, how much of a lie. Personal responsibility is for everyone else. The President has more information than you, so shut the hell up.
2. Under a Democratic administration any accusation aimed against a Democrat; especially a president, is fair game and proof of guilt in itself. Everything is a plot: even when your friend with depression issues commits suicide. If your cat named Socks gets fan mail it’s obviously some socialistic plot.
3. “Unequal protection” applies to George Bush and Dick Cheney and highly placed Republicans, but never Democrats or Lynddie England. Grunts have to take the fall for what the leadership will still claim was the right thing to do many years later.
Anyone claiming any of the above is fair, well Karl-bot, go ^%$#@! yourself with live wires attached to your genitals. After all, it’s not really “torture…” right?
And as far as I’m concerned not only should the Bybees and the Gonzos out there be on trial and some headed to the gallows both metaphorical and, perhaps, real, but Democratic enablers like Harry Reid too. One of my talk show habits is Mike Malloy. Mike says, “Barack did the appropriate thing handing it over. It’s up to Eric Holder now.” With all respect, Mike, I’m sure Eric knows what his boss wants done here; so if they don’t prosecute, in my opinion, it bounces right back to Barack.
Now here is my stand: plain and simple…
1. It doesn’t matter one bit whether torture “works” or not. Prince Vlad certainly saw less crime and perhaps even “terrorism” when he shoved big sharp poles up through his victims. “Works” is not the point, nor should it be. If we are to claim that it is right to use “whatever works,” then we might as well admit we are terrorists too.
2. Waterboarding is not “simulated drowning.” If you were to continue the process your victim would die. It is drowning people, and reviving them to drown them again… and therefore qualifies as “torture.”
3. If “enhanced interrogation” works so damn well, well then… where is bin Laden eight years later? Where is those massive amounts of invisible WMDs six years later? Not under here? Not under here? HA, HA, Ha, ha, haaaa… funny: not.
4. 9/11 provides no more an “excuse” for those wrongfully imprisoned than if any country; or movement, with an overwhelming number of these wrongfully imprisoned people decided that outrage would excuse torturing U.S. soldiers. Please remember: bin Laden and company had their excuses too. Doesn’t make it right, or anything but but horrific, sadistic, and a large number of rather nasty descriptive terms I’d rather not type.
So, if we “must” give a pass to Bush, Cheney and their cronies… whom do I blame now? Not just Bush and Cheney. I blame both Hillary and Barack.
Otherwise I have been somewhat pleased…
When Barack offered Hillary an appointment the Hillary hating portion of the Left howled. They spewed the old Right talking point that she would battleax her way into dominating policy. Not feeling they were all that different, I waited. These days I wonder what these Lefties think now? Nary a peep from the “I hate Hillary crowd.”
How has Hillary done over all?
Other than my obvious problem with both… not bad.
Not bad at all.
And I feel the same about Barack.
So much for the dominating “bitch” label both the radical Left and obscenely radical Right have slapped her with as if she were some unsubmissive wife who dares to ask, “Please don’t beat me again.”
But when it comes to not prosecuting those guilty of torture I get off both boats: though Hillary has been mostly: and quite appropriately, quiet on this issue… given her position as serving at the pleasure of the president.
(Let’s not go there… OK?)
Hillary, I’m sure, knows better than most what’s in store for President Obama… no matter how nice, forgiving or “let’s move on” he tries to be. That goes back to the Iran Contra crimes of Father Bush that Bill decided needed to be passed on. People made the mistake thinking that only if Hillary had ascended to the White House we would have had a Hell-storm created by the Right. Of course they’re right about “Hell-storm…” except the qualifier “only.” As the teabaggers and gun lobby have proven, we probably would have had that either way.
And to quote the Carpenters, “It’s only just begun…” My, how “romantic.”
This was never a Hillary, or even specifically a Bill, problem… though he didn’t help by any means. It’s always been a loud, obnoxious, hateful, group of extremists problem who have been mentally only a half a step behind Timothy McVeigh: at best.
As of now, we are better off under an Obama administration; with Hillary on board, than we were before. But unless we bring those to justice who have been doing these criminal acts… and been forgiven for them since before Nixon; since at least the days of House Committee on Un-American Activities, we will continue on this more than half a century slide to Right Wing dictatorship. As I have argued many times: they won’t stop unless it’s made obvious there are consequences for their outrageous misbehavior.
For those allowed to rule the day through such means will rule: no matter who holds the “pretend” reins of power. Obama taking back those reins and demanding justice is, simply put, acting presidential… and one hopes he has at least one appointee’s voice whispering in his ear, “Do it.”
Do I think either likely?
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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