[Ed - I wrote this post yesterday, but due to some technical difficulties we had, was unable to post it. Here it is, better late than never...]
Whenever you think the Bush administration can't stoop any lower, can't possibly demonstrate any more depraved behavior than it has already, it's time to think again. Because they'll always surprise you.
Here's a stomach churning example, that should be causing riots in the streets by Americans who believe in the basic goodness of their country.
According to a New York Times article published [yesterday], former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved a secret legal opinion in early 2005 that amounted to "an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency." This was after the DoJ publicly condemned torture as "abhorrent" and the White House appeared to retreat a bit on the issue.
The secret legal opinion from the DoJ is still in effect today, despite the fact that both "Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations." Not to mention the fact that techniques approved and endorsed by the White House are in blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions. Which the executive branch is obligated by law to uphold.
So can someone explain to me why Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants are still so committed to keeping impeachment off the table? Is it only the Congress that doesn't see high crimes and misdemeanors here, there, and everywhere? I had high hopes for her as the Speaker, but so far it's been just one disappointment after another.
What happens when Bush, or the next president, starts another war? And American soldiers end up as prisoners of war in Iran or elsewhere? I'll tell you what happens: American soldiers will be tortured mercilessly. And what moral ground will we have to stand on in condemning it? Thanks to the precedent set by Bush, Cheney, Addington, Gonzales and others in the Bush White House, none. They have ignored history, acted without concern for the future, and exposed American soldiers to a significant danger (and I'm not talking about their disastrous war in Iraq here). This is the legacy that George Bush is leaving for future generations of Americans:
The Bush administration had entered uncharted legal territory beginning in 2002, holding prisoners outside the scrutiny of the International Red Cross and subjecting them to harrowing pressure tactics. They included slaps to the head; hours held naked in a frigid cell; days and nights without sleep while battered by thundering rock music; long periods manacled in stress positions; or the ultimate, waterboarding.
Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics. While President Bush and C.I.A. officials would later insist that the harsh measures produced crucial intelligence, many veteran interrogators, psychologists and other experts say that less coercive methods are equally or more effective.
With virtually no experience in interrogations, the C.I.A. had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture. The agency officers questioning prisoners constantly sought advice from lawyers thousands of miles away.
The administration had always asserted that the C.I.A.'s pressure tactics did not amount to torture, which is banned by federal law and international treaty. But officials had privately decided the agency did not have to comply with another provision in the Convention Against Torture — the prohibition on "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment.
There is no doubt that he will be condemned as the worst president in American history. But by then, it will be too late. The damage has already be done. And the House, and the Senate, sit by like confused puppies, wasting time on pointless resolutions and letters condemning MoveOn and Rush Limbaugh for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.
I'm embarrassed to have a war criminal as my president. And I'm infuriated by the inaction of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress.