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War Crimes of Bush Not Evaluated-- Cheney Wants Apology


The executive summary of the report condenses the narratives of 20 detainee cases.In one instance, McClatchy learned, the Bush administration claimed that the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, led to the foiling of a terror plot against Los Angeles’ Library Tower. The study, however, concludes that that information could have been learned without using the harsh interrogation techniques on Mohammad, who was waterboarded 183 times.

The scope of the committee’s work was hamstrung by concerns that the investigation would be an open-ended political witch hunt. “This issue has unfortunately become so politicized that this report might have been attacked as a political document if it had” delved into the White House, said Goitein. “That’s not the ideal outcome, but it’s an understandable calculus in my mind.”

As Mclatchy's Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor report:
The narrow parameters of the inquiry apparently were structured to secure the support of the committee’s minority Republicans. But the Republicans withdrew only months into the inquiry, and several experts said that the parameters were sufficiently flexible to have allowed an examination of the roles Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials played in a top-secret program that could only have been ordered by the president.


“It doesn't take much creativity to include senior Bush officials in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s jurisdiction,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s not hard to link an investigation into the CIA’s torture to the senior officials who authorized it. That’s not a stretch at all.” 
It’s not as if there wasn’t evidence that Bush and his top national security lieutenants were directly involved in the program’s creation and operation.
The Senate Armed Services Committee concluded in a 2008 report on detainee mistreatment by the Defense Department that Bush opened the way in February 2002 by denying al Qaida and Taliban detainees the protection of an international ban against torture.
White House officials also participated in discussions and reviewed specific CIA interrogation techniques in 2002 and 2003, the public version of the Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded. 
Several unofficial accounts published as far back as 2008 offered greater detail. 
Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld relentlessly pressured interrogators to subject detainees to harsh interrogation methods in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, McClatchy reported in April 2009. Such evidence, which was non-existent, would have substantiated one of Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. 
Other accounts described how Cheney, Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Secretary of State Colin Powell approved specific harsh interrogation techniques. George Tenet, then the CIA director, also reportedly updated them on the results. 
“Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly,” Ashcroft said after one of dozens of meetings on the program, ABC News reported in April 2008 in a story about the White House’s direct oversight of interrogations. 
News reports also chronicled the involvement of top White House and Justice Department officials in fashioning a legal rationale giving Bush the authority to override U.S. and international laws prohibiting torture. They also helped craft opinions that effectively legalized the CIA’s use of waterboarding, wall-slamming and sleep deprivation.
As a letter earlier this year signed by ten victims of the extrajudicial rendition under the Bush administration stated, the concept of full disclosure and accountability is key to restoring the credibility of the nation when it comes to human rights abuses:
Publishing the truth is not just important for the US's standing in the world. It is a necessary part of correcting America's own history. Today in America, the architects of the torture program declare on television they did the right thing. High-profile politicians tell assembled Americans that 'waterboarding' is a 'baptism' that American forces should still engage in. 
These statements only breed hatred and intolerance. This is a moment when America can move away from all that, but only if her people are not sheltered from the truth.
As to the point of GW Bush not being investigated directly as he should have been with this report, it was not only clear that he was fully aware and supportive of these actions while he was in office, it was abundantly clear how he felt about them when he vetoed the law (H.R. 2082) which would have put a stop to them -- citing the reason he vetoed, as the outlawing of torture.

The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R. 2082) would have authorized funding levels for the 13 government intelligence agencies and increased oversight for the U.S. intelligence community. The bill would have also applied the standards in the U.S. Army Field Manual to the entire government, effectively barring the CIA and other agencies from using tactics like waterboarding in their interrogations. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D, TX-16).

Among the techniques the field manual prohibits are:
  • hooding prisoners or putting duct tape across their eyes.
  • stripping prisoners naked.
  • forcing prisoners to perform or mimic sexual acts.
  • beating, burning or physically hurting them in other ways.
  • subjecting prisoners to hypothermia or mock executions.
The bill was vetoed by President Bush and did not receive enough votes for an override.
“Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists,” he said.
At that point, along with most of the nation, GW Bush quit being my president. His approval ratings dropped to 25% and did little recovery on his way out of the door.

The idea that he was perhaps not as bright as we would have liked, or that he was not as effective, or that he jumped into war too quickly, the WMD problem, the Patriot Act.. all of it, the nation could look over or find a way of dealing with it -- but the blatant proof that we had, for a president, a man who could not give up the possibility of needing to be able to beat, cut, rape and torture someone, sickened us. There was no denial possible. He told us that he needed to be able to torture.

In his memoir Decision Points, George W. Bush admitted that he enthusiastically authorized certain detainees to be waterboarded – or tortured. When asked if he would authorize the torture of one detainee, former U.S. president Bush declared “Damn right!” The release of Bush’s memoir coincided with reports that no one will face criminal charges for the destruction of CIA videotapes which contained interrogations using waterboarding.

Two days after Barack Obama became president he issued an executive order ordering the CIA to apply the standards of the U.S. Army Field Manual.

Recently, in an interview, Dick Cheney announced that he believed Obama should give him an apology for saying that using torture was not in line with the nation's values and that time would soon tell that he and Bush were right to do so:
"Thing I’m waiting for is for the administration to go back and correct something they said two years ago when they criticized us for “overreacting” to the events of 9/11. They, in effect, said that we had walked away from our ideals, or taken policy contrary to our ideals, when we had enhanced- interrogation techniques. Now they clearly have moved in the direction of taking robust action when they feel it is justified. I say, in this case I think it was, but I think they need to go back and reconsider what the president said when he was in Cairo."

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