"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."
"I hope one day I can clone another Dick Cheney. Then I won't have to do anything."
-- George W. Bush
In 1999, candidate George W. Bush spoke to biographer Mickey Herskowitz. He told him that as president, given the opportunity he would invade Iraq. At the time Herskowitz was helping Bush write his biography. Candidate Bush went on to say “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief… My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of [Kuwait] and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade Iraq, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” When the Bush camp saw what Herskowitz was going to write, we was fired.
Then 9/11 came along and bingo…justification. And we did have justification, to invade Afghanistan, to knock out the Taliban, to destroy al-Qaeda, to capture Osama bin laden, except besides invading Afghanistan, we accomplished nothing. The Taliban still exists and is getting stronger. Al-Qaeda still exists, and the mastermind of 9\11, Osama bin laden, has not been captured. We diverted our attentions to Iraq without finishing the job we should have. On March 13, 2002, in a press conference Bush was quoted as saying "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." Of course not, because our real priority was to get rid of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that was being built up by Saddam Hussein. But as we all know now, WMDs never existed. It was never the real reason we went into Iraq. We were lied to, we were deceived and to date we have 4299 dead U.S. soldiers, 31,156 wounded, and over 92,000 civilian Iraqi deaths, not terrorist Iraqi deaths, civilian men, woman and children Iraqi deaths.
So then why did we go into Iraq if there were no WMD’s? Was it to finish the job that Bush senior could not finish? Was it for Oil? Was it to liberate the people of Iraq from a ruthless dictator? Was it to protect Israel from Iraq? Was it to make money for U.S. firms that would benefit financially from the reconstruction of Iraq such as Blackwater and Halliburton (whose former CEO was Dick Cheney)? Was it for President Bush to be seen as a great leader, a commander-in-chief? Was it to break the ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda? Well those never existed either. In fact Osama bin laden hated Saddam Hussein. The truth is we don’t know the truth behind why we invaded Iraq because we were lied to. And the reason we tortured was not to protect American lives. It was so that the Bush Administration could create a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda that simply did not exist. Bush and Cheney messed up. They blamed the CIA for providing false information to justify their unjustified invasion of Iraq and then scrambled to find a smoking gun that the American public and the world would swallow. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Bush authorized the torture at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and the recent reports of waterboarding and now Cheney is all over the media defending his actions. If torture is justifiable then why don’t we use it on drug dealers, and murderers, rapists and child molesters? Aren’t there crimes often as terrible as the acts of some of these terrorists? We don’t because it’s Illegal in this country. We don’t because it’s immoral. We don’t because the information that torture gives us is unreliable. In addition it has also been shown that when a person who is high up in a terrorist organization is captured, the organization changes their plans. So even if the torture reveals factual information, it is often outdated information.
Charles Guthrie writes in the British newspaper “The Times,” “Torture is illegal. It is a crime in both peace and war that no exceptional circumstances can permit. The Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against Torture, firewalls for our collective humanity, expressly forbid it. It is prohibited without qualification in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a document signed by people from every corner and culture of the Earth who had survived the suffering of both world wars, the horrors of fascism, and the evil of the Holocaust. They understood well that global humanitarian norms and a rules-based world order are in all our interests…
There can be no exceptions to our laws, and no attempts to bend them … President Obama has consigned to the past a shameful period in his nation's proud history. The previous Administration sought to justify the unjustifiable. It narrowed its definition of torture to the infliction of “excruciating” pain to legitimize simulated drowning. It coined the euphemistic doublespeak of “enhanced interrogation” and “extraordinary rendition”. But its dissimulation did nothing to diminish the barbarity of its practice. Torture does violence to the defenseless, using their bodies against their souls. There must be no going back. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “necessity does not admit of cruelty"… I applaud (the) new Commander-in-Chief for honoring his promise and ordering an end to (the) use of torture. This symbolic act re-establishes an American legitimacy that had been forsaken in the eyes of the world.”