I know you’re excited to get right to this one, to let’s just start straight up with the biggest mistake Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama made over the last two years.
Here’s the context…
Although it comes as no surprise, George Bush‘s straight admission that he personally authorised waterboarding – an act of torture and a crime under US and international law – marks a dismal moment for western democracies and the rule of law. When again will the US be able to direct others to meet their human rights standards? Certainly not before it takes steps to bring its own house in order.
Unlike the UK’s coalition government, which has announced a judicial inquiry on allegations of British involvement in torture, Barack Obama’s administration has apparently ended the practice – but has done nothing to investigate the circumstances in which it was used by the Bush administration.
Bush claims that the use of waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah “saved lives”, including British ones. There is not a shred of evidence to support that claim, one that falls into the same category as the bogus intelligence relied on to justify war in Iraq.
Yes, we are all torturers now. That middle paragraph quoted above highlight’s Obama/Pelosi/Reid’s major flaw in the political arena.
They would do the good thing (in italics: ending the policy of torture) but not do the really important thing (in bold: prosecuting the torturers to the fullest extent of the law).
The first year of Obama’s administration should have been all about putting Cheney and Bush in prison. He made the same mistake Ford did, and gave a pocket-pardon to a self-avowed torturer. The fact that Bush claims to have done it for “our safety” does nothing to assuage my guilt. How many need to be tortured to keep us safe?
Once one is a torturer, the degree to which ones tortures is a footnote. Kinda like being a murderer. You don’t get kudos for only murdering a few people, when you could have murdered millions. Same goes for torture.
Anyway, I will probably now refer to George W. Bush as “The Torturer” for a long time now.
There’s another thing that has come up in The Torturer’s book-tour-victory-lap and it allows me to highlight one of the major problems facing 21st century America. I highlighted one the other day (i.e. we generally have no idea how wealth is distributed in this country and this is a bad thing, at least we used to think so). Another is that we have wildly diverging ideas on what caused the latest economic crisis. From a review of The Torturere’s interview with The Gasbag.
Which gave Limbaugh a chance to slam Barack Obama, who, he suggested, has been demeaning the presidency. “The current occupant [of the White House] constantly runs around saying, ‘I inherited this mess from you!’” Limbaugh exclaimed.
(Apparently, Rush is unaware — or unconcerned — that Obama was actually following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan by doing this, and that the Gipper spent the 1982 midterm campaign season blaming Jimmy Carter for the country’s economic woes. “Our critics are saying our economy is on its knees,” Reagan said at an ’82 campaign rally. “Well, you know something, if the economy is back on its knees, that’s quite an improvement because two years ago it was flat on its back.”)
What else did we learn from the interview? Well, apparently Bush and Rush are golfing buddies. “I hear that your handicap is getting better now that you’re married,” Bush kidded the host at one point. Also, both men agreed that the financial crisis was a result of “the Democrat Party” and its policies toward Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Bush insisted that stories about him privately taking shots at Sarah Palin are baseless.
It’s that part there that I bolded. There is this recurring myth, perpetrated by Limbaugh and the RWEC that claims it was poor people, yes poor people, overstating their incomes to qualify for liar-loans, yes overstating, on speculative real-estate investments, who were forcing, yes*forcing*, Wall Street to repackage these over-valued loans as grade-A investments and trade them like securities.
Obviously the years of de-regulation that let this happen, the relaxation of capital requirements for i-banks that Bush pushed through in 2004, and the general greed and recklessness of an unleashed Wall Street had nothing to do with it, it was all the poor people’s fault (and the Democrats for forcing poor people to overstate their incomes in order to…you do realize, dear reader, that their theory about poor people causing this by overstating their incomes is a logical contradiction? I just mention this because it has not yet occurred to Limbaugh, Bush and the rest their theory on why we just had a huge recession is complete bullshit.)
Here watch this animation. It’s a complex world sometimes, but simple easy answers that feel good (in this case, “It’s the poor’s fault”) are almost always wrong.
BTW, The Torturer is pushing for his cuts to be extended, completing the “I am the most fiscally irresponsible President ever” tri-fecta. It’s not quite fair to blame all our fiscal woes on Bush. After all, it was Cheney who cast the deciding vote on cutting taxes while going to war.
“Most new jobs are created by small businesses,” Bush said this morning on NBC’s Today show. “Many small businesses pay tax at the individual income tax level; therefore, if you raise the top rate, you’re taxing job creators.”
Can someone please explain to him that humans and businesses are not the same thing, even when loopholes in tax law allow them to appear so? Thanks. By his logic, we would, of course, have seen epic job growth over the last 10 years (we saw net 0 jobs gains during his term, the debt went up by $5,000,000,000,000 though) and we’d be fine. Instead we saw huge debts, all the money flowing to the top of the pyramid, then to Wall Street, then fed into the fire of crisis and catastrophe.
But instead of acknowledgeing this record of torture and ruin, the guy is taking a freaking victory lap after voters were pissed his successor was black and didn’t fix all the problems he caused in under two years.
So that’s why I think it was Obama and Reid and Pelosi’a biggest mistake to not hold the Torturer accountable. It would have distracted voters from the economic disaster that was the Bush Years while they were cleaning up, rather than have voters blame them for both the disaster and for cleaning it up (what!? why do we need a stimulus!? why do we need a domestic car industry!?)
Finally, by holding accountable the guy who ordered Americans to torture people we might have salvaged a bit of our national soul, as well.
Oh well, maybe we can borrow enough money to buy a new, cheap one from the Chinese.