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"President Obama can talk about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is"

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Faygo Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:10 PM
Original message
"President Obama can talk about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is"
Edited on Sat Apr-25-09 10:14 PM by Faygo Kid
Frank Rich, of course, in Sunday's New York Times.

You lose, O'Reilly et al.

The Banality of Bush White House Evil


WE dont like our evil to be banal. Ten years after Columbine, it only now may be sinking in that the psychopathic killers were not jock-hating dorks from a Trench Coat Mafia, or, as ABC News maintained at the time, part of a dark, underground national phenomenon known as the Gothic movement. In the new best seller Columbine, the journalist Dave Cullen reaffirms that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were instead ordinary American teenagers who worked at the local pizza joint, loved their parents and were popular among their classmates.

On Tuesday, it will be five years since Americans first confronted the photographs from Abu Ghraib on 60 Minutes II. Here, too, we want to cling to myths that quarantine the evil. If our country committed torture, surely it did so to prevent Armageddon, in a patriotic ticking-time-bomb scenario out of 24. If anyone deserves blame, it was only those identified by President Bush as a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values: promiscuous, sinister-looking lowlifes like Lynddie England, Charles Graner and the other grunts who were held accountable while the top command got a pass.

Weve learned much, much more about America and torture in the past five years. But as Mark Danner recently wrote in The New York Review of Books, for all the revelations, one essential fact remains unchanged: By no later than the summer of 2004, the American people had before them the basic narrative of how the elected and appointed officials of their government decided to torture prisoners and how they went about it. When the Obama administration said it declassified four new torture memos 10 days ago in part because their contents were already largely public, it was right.

Yet we still shrink from the hardest truths and the bigger picture: that torture was a premeditated policy approved at our governments highest levels; that it was carried out in scenarios that had no resemblance to 24; that psychologists and physicians were enlisted as collaborators in inflicting pain; and that, in the assessment of reliable sources like the F.B.I. director Robert Mueller, it did not help disrupt any terrorist attacks. . . .

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Catshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Please stay out of small planes, Mr. Rich.
A very informative and insightful piece, as always.
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Reform Donating Member (417 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. Either that
or make sure everyone you know knows you are not "Suicidal"
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R
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davidwparker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. Not looking back = Presidential Write-in in 2012 n/t
Edited on Sat Apr-25-09 10:33 PM by davidwparker
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. K & R (nt)
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. The entire sordid episode was to sell the war in Iraq by linking Saddam to 9/11
In other words, the ticking time bomb was not another potential Qaeda attack on America but the Bush administrations ticking timetable for selling a war in Iraq; it wanted to pressure Congress to pass a war resolution before the 2002 midterm elections. Bybees memo was written the week after the then-secret (and subsequently leaked) Downing Street memo, in which the head of British intelligence informed Tony Blair that the Bush White House was so determined to go to war in Iraq that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. A month after Bybees memo, on Sept. 8, 2002, Cheney would make his infamous appearance on Meet the Press, hyping both Saddams W.M.D.s and the number of contacts over the years between Al Qaeda and Iraq. If only 9/11 could somehow be pinned on Iraq, the case for war would be a slamdunk.

How many have died on account of our government's lies?
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spiritual_gunfighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. That may all be true
but remember what President Obama said, "Now is not the time for looking backwards".
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
the torture issue is a NATIONAL DISGRACE
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. That's it in a nutshell
They knew that torturing wouldn't get the truth. They weren't after the truth -- they just wanted some poor sap to say Iraq and Al Qaeda were in cahoots.
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sweettater Donating Member (674 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
20. Then why didn't some poor
sap say Iraq and Al Qaeda were in cahoots? Seriously, if one was being waterboarded why didn't they just say it? Having said it would the torture have stopped?
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. They probably did. They also probably told where the WMDs were
Remember when Rumsfeld went on about how they knew precisely where all the WMDs were? And that turned out to be so much BS? What do you bet he got all the "details" from one of the tortured detainees.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. !
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. This is so twisted that it didn't occur to me until last couple of years sometime
Even while I proclaimed with full confidence that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc., etc., et al., knew very well that Iraq presented no immediate threat and although everybody in the world knew that torture was being used, it did not occur to me that the purpose behind the torture was get detainees to do the one thing torture will get reliably: the victim will say whatever the torturers want him to say. We knew some time ago that al-Libbi had told them some nonsense about Saddam's WMDs that Cheney appeared to take on face value, but might that have been an isolated incident.

Then we started to get Cheney whining that the torture program worked and by these methods we got all of this valuable information from Zubaydeh and KSM, yet professionals more expert at interrogating prisoners than Cheney and in a position to know contradicted him, saying that there was "no actionable intelligence" gained from KSM and that Abu Zubaydeh started spewing nonsense after the waterboarding started.

So, it appears that the "good" intelligence gained from torture must be buried along side of Saddam's biochemical arsenal. That's probably also where we can find the memos that prove that Cheney is right.

By now, Fibber McGee has more credibility than Dick Cheney. He has a right to defend himself, so let him try. But it better be good, because we would be foolish to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Is Cheney the worst scumbag to hold the office of Vice President since the traitor, Aaron Burr? Any one who says that now owes Burr an apology.
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Faygo Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Well said. I, too, have thought about the worst VP. Burr & Agnew were better than Cheney.
Dick Cheney is not only the worst VP in history, he may be the worst elected official in U.S. history. It's abundantly clear (except to the 30% dittoheads and O'Reilly believers) that the torture was instituted not to prevent future attacks, but to justify war on Iraq.

I fear for my nation that Dick Cheney remains among us. I have no doubt that he has a cadre of loyalists that remain in places like the CIA.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:00 AM
Response to Original message
10. The "Ticking Timebomb" Was the Bush Administration
And it has two stages--first it blew up everybody's lives, then it blew up itself, as everybody else seeks justice.

The second stage wasn't supposed to happen, not until all the guilty were dead.

But the war criminals don't get 60 years of "cover-up" like their daddies did in WWII. There is no way in these Internet times to co-opt the angry blogger as they did the mass media, which set off the troops, the whistle blowers, and the grassroots, who didn't want the stupid wars in the first place.

I'm with Frank Rich. This is too big for Obama to squelch. If he promised that to BushCo, it will come out too.
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SlingBlade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
12. With a plate FULL of Bush era disaster and evil
Priorities and prioritizing must commence.

Hopefully, The American people will not allow this to fester.
I believe that America has the moral fiber and the strength of character to
not only force investigations but trial and punishment as well

The loud small voice of radical neo-conservatives will do all in their power
to keep this down, Because it is their death nail and they know it.

America is dirty, America KNOWS it is dirty, America wants to take a bath
to remove the neo-con scum from its body and I believe that regardless of
political deals or even political will that this will take place

My opinion, My hope
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ThirdWorldJohn Donating Member (525 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
14. Obama is looking Forward to more war - more economic failure from the Bush Regime - more anger from
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 01:55 PM by ThirdWorldJohn
the families of those murdered by the Bush Regime. And if we so readily jump up and hug the Bush/Cheney criminality that was executed in the last 8 years, then the slime that make up the lying - back stabbing - criminally active - brain dead followers of the now called republican party, then what the fuck do you thionk these slimes will do if and when they find themselves (SHUDDER) back in power again. These people still want to get even for Nixon. They see it as pay back. The more corruption that we reveal makes them want to go darker with their criminal activity. They are the most un-American people ever. These people who are now ready to secede because Obama is in office, saw no problem when a woman lawyer was shot in the face with rubber bullets in Florida dury a demonstration against W by the Sheriff Department and they laughed their fucking asses off about it after. Or when people were forced to "Practice their freedom of speech" only in Free speech zones set up so that they could be silenced. Or the woman that was escorted away from a State of the Union Address because she wore a T shirt with an anti Bush message on it. Obama needs to hang those little sewing samplers ( or whatever they are called) - those stitchery little things - that say "TORTURE IS OK IN THIS HOUSE". He should put one everywhere there is a place for it to be read from 20 feet away. For it was Powell - Rice Ashcroft - CArd and others that sat down there in the WH to discuss the great idea to use TORTURE.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
15. K&R
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
16. Twenty years ago, when I signed up for the Navy,
I never would have believed that we would have a government that would condone and encourage torture and a political party in America defending it.

This is just so unreal. McCain was right about something, the US is a Banana Republic. But not because we will prosecute law breakers even when they were once pResident of the nation, but because we tortured. Torture, apparently, is a prerequisite for Banana Republics and Communist countries as well. Now it seems, according to the Republicons, torture is a prerequisite for the USA.

How far have we fallen in the last 20 years?
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
17. A majority of Americans are placing a special counsel investigation in Obama's future
There is like walking west on a sunny morning, you end up walking into the shadow you want to leave behind.
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geckosfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
19. Attorney general. Appoint special prosecutor. Leave Obama out of it - he is busy.
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 06:08 PM by geckosfeet
I do find it sad and somewhat frightening that the author feels he has to invoke a television program (24) as a frame of reference for his readers.

Is this because Americans think television programs are real in any shape manner and form? Or is it an esoteric literary device?

Levin suggests and I agree that as additional fact-finding plays out, its time for the Justice Department to enlist a panel of two or three apolitical outsiders, perhaps retired federal judges, to review the mass of material we already have. The fundamental truth is there, as it long has been. The panel can recommend a legal path that will insure accountability for this wholesale betrayal of American values.

President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It wont vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We dont need another commission. We dont need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nations commitment to the rule of law.

on edit: added excerpts from article
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scentopine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
21. Guess what story that isn't aggressively reported in NY Times?
Torture. Perhaps it brings up unpleasant memories of being used like shills by Bush Co. in support of the Iraq war. Oh- you won't find much reporting on Wall Street rip-off, either. That's because the scandal is geographically centered in their backyard. And wire tapping? Once again NY Times being accused of withholding damaging wire tapping story until after the election because of pressure by a congress women using her influence to secure leniency in an Israeli spy case. Seem far fetched? Same thing was said about Judith Miller.

So - what's on the front page? An feel good story about Wall Street pay recovering. Great.

Of the large banks receiving federal help, Goldman Sachs stands out for setting aside the most per person for compensation. The bank, which nearly halved its compensation last year, set aside $4.7 billion for worker pay in the quarter. If that level continues all year, it would add up to average pay of $569,220 per worker almost as much as the pay in 2007, a record year. (I put the bold in)

The Times has gone from reporting and investigating the news, to simply being the news. Its so much easier. Over and over, when it comes to the big stories, the Times cannot be trusted. Period.
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