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The Evil Men of The Bush Administration

The second installment of the WaPo series on the evil that is Vice President Dick Cheney and his henchmen is up. The series is a journalistic tour de force. And it is appropriately sickening. A close and complete reading of the magnificent reporting by Bart Gellman and Jo Becker is required. Read this on Attorney General Gonzales from the second installment:

That same day, Aug. 1, 2002, Yoo signed off on a second secret opinion, the contents of which have never been made public. According to a source with direct knowledge, that opinion approved as lawful a long list of specific interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including waterboarding, a form of near-drowning that the U.S. government classified as a war crime in 1947. The opinion drew the line against one request: threatening to bury a prisoner alive.

. . . On June 8, 2004, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell learned of the two-year-old torture memo for the first time from an article in The Washington Post. According to a former White House official with firsthand knowledge, they confronted Gonzales together in his office.

Rice "very angrily said there would be no more secret opinions on international and national security law," the official said, adding that she threatened to take the matter to the president if Gonzales kept them out of the loop again.

Please read both installments to fully understand what this Administration is, what is has wrought and what we are still dealing with.

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    Well, I'm at a loss (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:39:26 PM EST
    The Democrats refuse to go to war with the Administration in any meaningful way, and so we're stuck.  

    Not the "democrats" (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:43:01 PM EST
    The "Democrats". The DLC and the Blue Dogs, and a few other scattered neocons and republicans moles.

    Guess whose side they are on?

    Parent

    Actually, here's what I want (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 09:47:21 PM EST
    Pelosi should admit that she's at war with Hoyer and the Blue Dogs. Many people in the netroots seem unaware of this, and it would be useful to sacrifice some unity for a target of liberal action.

    Not war - coalition (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:21:04 PM EST
    and it has to be treated as such. Think of the Blue Dogs as making up a completely different party from the Democrats. The risk of losing them as a voting bloc to the Republican side is real at every step. It's what's been elected and has to be dealt with realistically. The politics of coalition are more about constantly riding the wave. Kudos to Pelosi for keeping that fractious governing majority together as well as she has so far. Confrontation is not helpful in maintaining a coaltion - sweeteners are.

    Parent
    I think Hoyer and the dogs plays her though (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:28:52 PM EST
    and it could easily be equal playing or the other way around.  Someone once told me I wasn't very smart about tactics when it came to fighting.  That can be remedied but first it has to be addressed that a person doesn't have good fighting tactics or skills.  Pelosi needs to address that.  She needs someone she can trust completely who is good at fight tactics at her side as an aide night and day because the casual conversation can get your head lopped off as well as the debate on the floor when you lack tactics and others understand that you do.

    Parent
    Actually no it can't (none / 0) (#9)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:58:05 PM EST
    it could easily be equal playing or the other way around

    They are in the catbird seat, can throw the majority vote whichever way they go, so no.

    Having a majority is important, but there must be much more pushing the envelope on more progressive candidates being elected in order for things to change, IMO.

    Parent

    But we ride under a common brand (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:39:49 PM EST
    I think the risk of dissolving the coalition is worth the chance of ending the war. Not all Blue Dogs are the same, after all, and the only important thing is that Pelosi get 218 members on her side. If she can't do that, then her coalition, which was elected to end the war, deserves to fail.

    Parent
    The risk (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:10:14 PM EST
    of losing the BELIEF of it being a governing coalition is the danger. Why do you think the very first thing the WH did was invite the Blue Dogs in for a talk to try to sway them over? Dissolving the coalition can only be a loser. Keeping it together using compromise is making the best of a bad situation. Though progressives aren't likely to get a whole lot of what we want at least Republicans won't have sole control of the agenda.


    Parent
    Well I don't believe in it (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:39:02 PM EST
    This new majority has failed to take steps necessary to end the war. Therefore, the basis upon which it was elected appears false.

    Parent
    The Blue Dogs (none / 0) (#14)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:23:14 AM EST
    were elected for promising fiscal responsibility and support for the war as I remember.

    Parent
    There's something about this installment (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Maryb2004 on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:21:16 PM EST
    that I don't like.  Even though it lays out as you say, what this administration is and what it has wrought, I think it is less effective on laying out what we are still dealing with.  It gives, I think, a false sense of security that the system is still working to keep him and this administration in check.  Sentences like this:

    Over the next 12 months, Congress and the Supreme Court imposed many of the restrictions that Cheney had squelched.

    True, there are procedural and legal checks on the administration.  But as we know the processes by which checks happen are so slow compared to the processes by which changes can happen when someone like Cheney wields such tremendous power.  

    Two important paragraphs: (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:44:31 AM EST
    The way he did it -- adhering steadfastly to principle, freezing out dissent and discounting the risks of blow-back -- turned tactical victory into strategic defeat. By late last year, the Supreme Court had dealt three consecutive rebuffs to his claim of nearly unchecked authority for the commander in chief, setting precedents that will bind Bush's successors.

    Yet even as Bush was forced into public retreats, an examination of subsequent events suggests that Cheney has quietly held his ground. Most of his operational agenda, in practice if not in principle, remains in place.




    Parent
    Held Back (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:30:25 PM EST
    It makes sense that the article was sitting on the shelf for some time as a veteran news editor friend of Laura Rozen points out:
    My guess is that this series ready to go during the debate over the supplemental funding of the Iraq war and that Downie or someone at the top held it back until Gellman and others started carrying snub-nose .38s to work under their seersuckers.

    And this:

    A careful reading of the story of Cheney's coup against a feeble executive reveals that paragraphs 7 through 10 were written and inserted in haste by a powerful editorial hand. The banging of colliding metaphors in an otherwise carefully written piece is evidence of last-minute interpolations by a bad editor whom no one has the power to rewrite.

    Laura Rozen

    Vanquishing rights; torture w/o rhyme or reason (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Ellie on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 09:59:35 AM EST
    The practice of torture and deprivation of franchise is bad enough.

    The cynical way this administration exploited 9/11 to get carte blanche and to abuse this fraudulently obtained power to start an elective, unjustified war is worse.

    What's almost inconceivably rotten -- and borne out as a recurring element in stories emerging -- is how THAT opacity was further stretched to to routinely cause suffering and employ torture to fish for evidence to slap onto rickety cases that bolstered their undeserved power. It's just virally malicious and malignant.

    It's almost inconceivable to me that anyone would wrap a flag around this practice of fishing within deliberately created desperation simply to see what a suffering, threatened creature would say to save themselves or spare someone they knew from suffering the same fate.

    And not only was evidence sought to bolster (after the fact) shabby cases for personal and political gain, but because they could and anything that wasn't immediately useful might come in handy later, for barter or currency.

    It's the last point that's so frightening and saddening and which hs turned hard-earned human rights progress on its ear. Given what these creeps admit to proudly, imagine what they don't want others to see or know until legal covers and dodges can be cobbled together. They tortured jsimply because it was opportune and they might find a good use for its fruits later on.

    Bush is kidding himself when he says that history will judge him kindly. History knows all too well what this administration's about. Their pals in the media bubble are just slow to catch on.

    I'll have to read it all in the morn (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 10:36:22 PM EST
    I'm pooped.  Long day and I had to go see the new Fantastic Four.  I thought I was just preforming a parental duty but it wasn't that bad and I ended up really watching it.

    No Wonder (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 24, 2007 at 11:15:39 PM EST
    Libby forgot. He was busy conspiring with other war criminals. How can these guys not be tried as war criminals? Not only were they aware of the law, they did everything in their power to flaunt it.

    And to what end? Was it vengence? Or was it doing everything that they could to ensure perpetual war?  

    My guess it the later.

    BTD, this series is much too (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:26:56 AM EST
    important to scroll off into oblivion on a Sunday evening.  

    Good to know they drew a line (none / 0) (#17)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 01:53:27 AM EST
    The opinion drew the line against one request: threatening to bury a prisoner alive.

    Egads. The madness of the Übermensch and its will to power.


    Why did Cheney (none / 0) (#18)
    by ding7777 on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 07:55:03 AM EST
    need torture if it was all about oil?

    That's a really scary question (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 08:32:37 AM EST
    I think Cheney gets off on power almost as much as he gets off on oil.

    Parent
    You're (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 09:22:27 AM EST
    Cheney has learned very well (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 08:38:08 AM EST
    hasn't he?  He must have been very disappointed when Nixon pulled up roots and left because he felt actual shame.  In order for any sort of justice to be had where Cheney is concerned we must fight as hard as he does and I'm not sure those who get to hold the cards in the game even want to go there.

    Cheney: US Patriot (none / 0) (#23)
    by Fritz on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 10:21:27 AM EST
    How will Democrats convince the electorate they are serious about gaining actionable intelligence?  Torture is a convenient meme, but what interrogation techniques will President Mrs. Bill Clinton find acceptable?   Whose neighborhood will President Hussein Obama be housing GITMO detainees?  It's easy to holler empty platitudes of self-righteousness, but having the actual responsibility is another matter.  

    fritz, don't be an utter twit (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by cpinva on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:08:47 AM EST
    in public, save it for your family.

    these things have been done for years, successfully, by the various military and civilian intelligence agencies, without resorting to violating our country's moral code.

    further, we have lovely "supermax" prisons, built in the middle of nowhere, where the nation's worst criminals are kept. if they're good enough for the country's most vicious, violent, convicted felons, than by golly, they're good enough for people who've never even been charged with a crime!

    Parent

    Really? How naive. (3.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Fritz on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 11:48:13 AM EST
    Only in the movies.  AQ rule number one if captured, demand a lawyer.  That is what KSM asked for when he was captured, but fortunately there was a water-boarding session waiting for him.  Club GITMO is a high security detention facility for terrorists, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to house these maniacs with American citizens.  Besides, if they were to be housed with Americans, you would be criticizing the Bush Administration for not properly protecting them.  

    Parent
    I do like this about you (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:30:07 PM EST
    Unlike the your other pro-torture fellow travelers, you are upfront about your pro-torture views.

    Parent
    LOL (none / 0) (#26)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 12:28:20 PM EST
    AQ rule number one if captured, demand a lawyer.   That is what KSM asked for when he was captured, but fortunately there was a water-boarding session waiting for him.

    OK, that settles it. Excellent satire, Fritz. LOL

    Parent

    Let me help (none / 0) (#29)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 07:39:18 PM EST
    what interrogation techniques will President Mrs. Bill Clinton find acceptable?

    Here's the rule of thumb.  Anything you would not want done to your mother is torture.

    Parent

    Has this done anything to change your mind (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 03:46:39 PM EST
    on the advisability of impeaching anyone?  Didn't think so.  But sure is maddening.

    issue (none / 0) (#30)
    by wg on Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 07:59:59 PM EST

    Technically the issue here, Cheney refusing to be bound by some rules, is relatively minor, he's simply jerking everybody around just for the heck of it, imho.

    As pointed out by the WaPo Cheney is an anomaly* of historic proportions, but anomaly only because GWB is so hopelessly and desperately above his head as president. Somebody had to fill his shoes. Cheney was simply there, although apparently very much willing.

    Also to keep things in proper perspective it is important to realize that as things stand now, Cheney is not removable. Not even remotely.

    To understand that realize that Rumsfeld was dismissed not because GWB found him lacking but because his generals issued the ultimatum, if he stays we won't fight your war much longer. So Bush had no choice. Same with Miers, she had to go because people whose votes got him elected issued an ultimatum too, either she goes and Alito gets nominated or your party can forget any future votes.

    Gonzales, a far more sorry disgrace than Rumsfeld ever was, got to stay because nobody had any leverage to exercise with Bush in his case. ( parenthetically GOP position in Gonzo affair is particularly disgusting, they are happy to see him losing any chances for SC nomination, but are entirely unconcerned about the damage being done to the DoJ and generally the administration of justice in this country)

    Cheney has always been in a stronger position that Gonzales, not only he has the full US military but also the entire US internal security apparatus fully behind him. They count on him for their budgets, for their overseas adventures (you think it was GWB who sent 3 aircraft carriers to the Gulf?), for their urgent legislative programs, for their new much expanded police powers,  warrantless searches, domestic spying, prisons in 3rd world countries, enhanced interrogation techniques, endless detentions, optional habeas corpus,  etc. And legal doctrines to support all that.

    He's indispensable to them, the only way he can be removed is by natural causes, so my advice to his people is get him to slow down, he simply ain't looking too good these days.

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    * a sinister anomaly to be more precise