Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Utter Madness

March 11, 2009

Some comments made by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh on March 10 at a forum at the University of Minnesota:

“After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.

“Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. …

“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

“Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.

“It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.

“In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.

“I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’

“But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”

Ending Torture

January 23, 2009

I’m very happy that Obama has ordered the closure of Guantanamo and denounced torture. Nevertheless, we now have a cadre of government employees who have crossed a line and are accustomed to torturing other human beings. That makes me uneasy. I have no doubt that there are politicians both in and out of government who are angry with Obama for discontinuing the practice. Any practice a government will use on its “foreign” enemies, it will eventually use on its domestic critics. Remember. Bush’s line was, “You’re either with us or against us.” If you didn’t support him, you were with the enemy. I never believed that the goal of their domestic spying was to stop terrorist attacks. It was always aimed at controlling the domestic scene. The neo-cons have shown themselves to be ruthless. I often felt over the last six years that we were just one terrorist attack away from martial law. As they mull over the election, they’re bound  to see their loss as the result of not being ruthless enough.

It’s tempting to relax now. (I’m so tired of politics.) But we really need to stay involved with what happens in the coming years. A lot could happen that would make possible the return to power of these monsters. And their methods will be much harsher if they ever do.