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Bush Now Under Fire; May Face An Investigation

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Bush has published and is promoting Decision Points, his new book, just released, and one may suspect, designed to absolve him from responsibility for a number of accused war crimes and immoral conduct during his presidency. Some Congressional members have suggested that a full investigation may be in order. We should review some of the matters that a full investigation might include.

In the days following the destruction of the World Trade center, in New York City, by unknown terrorists, the president made a determination to strike Iraq, this determination linked in the minds of most Americans to that September attack. Iraq was found to have little or no involvement with the attack. Among Bush’s arguments in support of a preemptive strike was his avowal of the presence in Iraq, he said, of “weapons of mass destruction”, including nuclear weaponry. The Western Alliance sent inspectors to that sovereign nation with full authority to inspect any area of Iraq, whenever they chose. They uncovered no weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqi Air Force was, as shown in satellite surveillance photos, buried in the desert. At Bush’s insistence, the strike went forward, never-the-less.

The President believed weapon-grade uranium was being purchased by Iraq from Africa. The CIA investigated the allegation, sending an operative, Joseph Wilson, to Africa to fully substantiate or refute the claim. Wilson’s investigation proved the claims were false. When the President sought to suppress the indications of the investigation, career diplomat Joseph Wilson, on his return from Africa, and in the awareness that his findings were being ignored, came forward bringing the results of the investigation directly to the American people. He wrote a letter directly to The New York Times. Infuriated, G W Bush sought to punish Wilson by exposing and endangering Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. Iraq had no nuclear capacity, weapon grade, or otherwise.

In February of 2006, The President sought to turn six American Ports over to Dubai, an area which gives refuge to terrorists, and recognizes Al Quada. We can only speculate on his reasoning. He attempted to make this change while congress was on break. The United Arab Emirates, in which Dubai is located, in one of only three nations to consider the Taliban to be the ruling government of Afghanistan.

Bush, following the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, which involved massive bombing and ruinous artillery barrages, had to choose a company to go into the devastated areas and to rebuild. Bush and his administration chose Halliburton Industries, the Presidential family corporation. Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries in 1998. Dresser had been founded by Solomon Dresser in 1880, and taken over in 1928 by W.H. Harriman & Company, an investment bank owned by the descendants of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman, himself a front for the British Royal Family. Under Averell and Roland Harriman, Dresser was a Skull & Bones shop, whose board included Bonesman and presidential father and grandfather Prescott Bush – Yale University, class of 1917. Dick Cheney the Vice-President under George W. Bush, personally negotiated the purchase of Dresser Industries. Cheney is a past CEO of Halliburton.

During May of 2006, General Michael Vincent Hayden, of the CIA, was associated with questionable warrantless surveillance on Americans, and was also associated with detention facilities; secret prisons, used for rendition of terror suspects. In spite of actions in Congress toward censure, the administration continued to ignore traditional values and existing laws, and tracked phone calls, numbering in the millions, in concert with the “war on terror.” During that period, USA Today disclosed the existence of the massive domestic intelligence-gathering program. The effort began soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The agency collected call records on tens of millions of personal and business telephone calls made in the United States.

On October 5, 2007, President Bush responded to an uproar in Congress over disclosure of formal opinions within the Bush Justice Department permitting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects. Bush said, “This government does not torture people.” He then went on to clarify: “I have put this program in place for a reason, and that is to better protect the American people. And when we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we’re going to detain them, and you bet we’re going to question them, because the American people expect us to find out information – actionable intelligence – so we can help protect them. That’s our job.” President Bush declared that interrogation methods had been “fully disclosed to appropriate members of Congress.”

In two separate legal opinions written in 2005, the Justice Department under Bush authorized the C.I.A. to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. It was speculated that the actual practices extended far beyond the limits described by the president. We may consider the case of one suspected supporter of al Qaeda, German Murat Kurnaz. Kurnaz was tortured. For nine months he was kept permanently under a bright light round the clock. This light was never switched off. Kurnaz has said he suffered abuse at Guantanamo; interrogation techniques including sexual humiliation, water torture and the desecration of Islam.

Torture that seems to go far beyond the president’s description has long been reported at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At one point it was reported that although news reports indicated that the “stink should soon be ending”, inmates were attempting suicide at an unprecedented rate. The UN Committee Against Torture said the US should release detainees or give them access to a judicial process. In December of 2006, a lawsuit was filed by two civil rights groups that would hold then American Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, under Bush, personally responsible for allegations of torture in overseas military prisons. The lawsuit describes the imprisonment of nine foreigners detained in Iraq and Afghanistan. It contends the men were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

The United States was criticized by human rights groups and some of its allies for holding an estimated 450 foreign guerrilla suspects at the naval base in Cuba, many for four years or more and without charge. There suspects were held without trial, unadvised of their charges and subjected to torture. Early in the Iraq war, one detainee, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, forced to wear women’s underwear, and perform “dog tricks” on a leash, for 18 to 20 hours/day, for 48 of 54 days. 

The UN Torture Committee recommended the closing of the facility at Guantanamo Bay, recommending that all secret US detention facilities abroad, which would include Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, should be closed. It called for “immediate measures” to eradicate torture and ill-treatment of detainees by US military personnel “in any territory under its jurisdiction”. A similar report from a committee of the European Parliament drew similar conclusions. It accused Poland and 10 other countries of being complicit in the CIA’s practice of rendition and other operations in which terrorism suspects were taken to countries where they likely would face torture.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • So many words and so little to say.

    The arguments for pursuing criminal charges against Bush are about as valid as they are for Obama, which, needless to say, fall far short of anything even remotely resembling coherency.

    Then again, who cares, right? I mean, after all, when your party has just been effectively flushed into the electoral sewer, then taking a vacation from reality can be a very attractive option.

  • John Lake

    Here’s an ironic thought. Obama, hoping in vain to gain support from and communication with Republicans in Congress, chose from the onset a course of “don’t look back”. He ignored the vile gorilla in the room, he ignored the pain and suffering that the inept Bush caused. By so doing, he rejected a policy of zero tolerance of wrongdoing. He allowed that some corruption was perhaps unavoidable. He conceded that he was unable to buck established congressional standards. His course decision backfired. He failed to win favor. His integrity was less than absolute. Now he himself is selected as a target for investigation. Even the most corrupt men may have regard in their hearts for high principles. Obama failed to consider that.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Here’s an ironic thought. Obama, hoping in vain to gain support from and communication with Republicans in Congress, chose from the onset a course of “don’t look back”.

    Really? Is that why he hasn’t given a single speech since in which he referred to the economy without mentioning that he “inherited it,” or in some other way reminding people it was the Republicans that “drove the car into the ditch?” (We don’t hear that one being trotted out anymore huh?)

    “He allowed that some corruption was perhaps unavoidable.”

    That would explain Tim Geithner and the other tax cheats in the administration.

    “Even the most corrupt men may have regard in their hearts for high principles. Obama failed to consider that.”

    What the hell is that even supposed to mean? Obama is no more virtuous than any other politician. The only reason people made such a big deal about him is that he’s black. Now that rubber has met road
    and we’ve seen what he’s really all about his support is where it ought to be….in the toilet.

  • zingzing

    “The only reason people made such a big deal about him is that he’s black.”

    preach it, brotha! look into the hearts of your fellow man and divine all his intentions! we would have elected mr. t had he decided to run! such is the truth of the matter. it was all because he was black.

  • Sarah Goldston

    Well I for one don’t see Obama as the bad guy here…nor do I see any reason to place the blame on him..What I do see is Obama playing it safe for obvious reasons..Bush and Cheney should both be tried for crimes against humanity at the very least…a good way to get this started would be by closing Gitmo down and then bringing both men to trial here in the USA..use them as the example of what not to do for future POTUS. At the very least allow the American People the right to bear witness to our Constitution being somewhat restored.

  • John Lake

    Arch Conservative: My discussion in remark #2 of the Presidential “Don’t look back” wasn’t in reference to the legislation of the Bush years pertaining to the economy but rather to the grim matters specified in the article. Bush’s wars indeed were costly to the economy. We note that Republican Senator McCain still seeks, in the foreign wars, to ‘win and go home’. To win is unrealistic and doubtless would require extensive military force; more bombardment, more devastation. It shows no understanding of the opinions of our Generals and military advisers. Such escalation would be costly. Bush merely bought votes with any surplus, sending $600 and more to each American taxpayer. His platform was simply that if we give the people money, they will spend it. The Bush administrated failed to dis-allow the ‘floating rate mortgages’ that placed many good Americans out of their homes. When a president sends the American military into sovereign nations to unseat governments, such militaristic expansionism is expensive, and in the case of Iraq, produced as I see it, no substantial revenue.

  • John Lake

    Sarah Goldston: Yes, a trial is in order. “POTUS”, that’s, “Presidents of the United States”.

  • Clavos

    Let us not forget that, in his zeal to pass his Obamacare Ponzi scheme, He Who Sleeps in the White House ignored the economy and its worst aspect, unemployment.

    Our current misery is his fault, not any of his predecessors’.

    And the people know that, as demonstrated by the election results two weeks ago.

  • zingzing

    clavos, even you must know that’s ignoring a lot of stuff. unless you expected a quick fix.

  • doug m.

    How many jobs did you create, Clavos? Or are you a conservative who expects the government to do for you?

    American voters are a poorly informed, fickle bunch. Ascribing one motive to midterm election results is rather narrowminded.

  • Clavos

    How many jobs did you create, Clavos?

    Irrelevant, Doug, it’s not my job.

  • Clavos

    …are you a conservative who expects the government to do for you?

    You have that backwards, Doug. It’s the liberals who expect the government to “do for” and take care of everybody.

  • The Caffeine-Free Herbal Infusion Party

    Them commie liberals!

    There’s more than an element of truth in the idea that the Bush administration’s policies, especially in regard to prudential regulation (or lack thereof), had a huge hand in landing America in the shit.

    And sadly, there’s no pot of gold at the end of a pule of poop.

  • The Caffeine-Free Herbal Infusion Party

    Let’s make that: ” .., pile of poop”.

  • Clavos

    clavos, even you…

    Thanls, zing.

  • zingzing

    thanls to you, too, clavos.

  • John Lake

    In writing this article critical of the Bush administration, I was not sawing an old violin. In fact I hope to join the advance guard in a new demand for investigation. Here in the US, Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman, has posted in the Huffington Post a piece, Bush Admission on Torture Should Draw Special Prosecutor, which includes the words, “Torture is a federal crime punishable by up to twenty years in prison. When President Nixon was forced to release a White House tape recording showing that he had orchestrated the cover up of the Watergate burglary, he immediately…”
    Also, from Tehran, an article by Bill Quigley calls for an investigation. I may have published my summary too soon, but I think we will be hearing more of this in the days and weeks to come.

  • John Lake

    We used to say, “Thanks, and a tip of the hat!”, so, that, to our friend at Facebook, Back to Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack), Paul Turner, who brings this to our attention:
    From the UK Guardian, November 20, 2010, —
    “International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.
    Pearle words: “President George Bush has consistently argued that the war was legal either because of existing UN security council resolutions on Iraq – also the British government’s publicly stated view – or as an act of self-defence permitted by international law.” Peruse the article for the segue.
    One last quote from the British article: “But Mr Perle, a key member of the defence policy board, which advises the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said that “international law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone”, and this would have been morally unacceptable

  • John Lake

    Correction: The Guardian article referred to in #18 above comes not from 2010, rather 2003. The point remains that Defense Secty Rumsfeld said international law would have required us to “leave Saddam Hussein alone”.

  • Really? Is that why he hasn’t given a single speech since in which he referred to the economy without mentioning that he “inherited it,” or in some other way reminding people it was the Republicans that “drove the car into the ditch?” (We don’t hear that one being trotted out anymore huh?)

    Makes and debunks own claim, all within the same paragraph. Pretty impressive, even for Archie.

  • Arch Conservative

    I didn’t debunk anything.

    I merely said he wasn’t using that line anymore. I didn’t say he wasn’t still blaming the GOP.

    Apparently you’ve the reading comprehension of a second grader with ADD Dr.