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Tue Dec 9, 2014, 04:46 PM

Prosecute Cheney & Bush [View all]

The following is from an interview that I did with Chief Paul Waterman, of the Onondaga Nation, shortly after 9/11:

Q: President Bush has referred to the “evil doers.” What do you think about this?

CPW: Well, he’s the same way. Those people in Afghanistan are poor and miserable. They suffer when bombs kill their parents, and they hurt when bullets kill their children. So, even if Bush believes what he is doing is right, he has to commit evil acts to achieve his goal.

But he can’t stop. The other guy won’t. And when they kill bin Laden, someone else will take his place.

Like everyone on this forum, I was horrified by the information released in the US Senate’s investigation of torture. While I doubt that any of us were surprised that the torture was worse than what was previously known, I am stunned by attempts to justify what happened.

I find the attempts to justify torture, the claims that it was a “patriotic” response to terrorism, even more offensive than the attempts to keep the public from learning the truth about the policies of the Cheney-Bush administration. Attempts to keep this information secret are cowardly, unpatriotic, and shameful. Yet, in a real sense, they are admissions that the torture was evil.

It’s no coincidence that the two individuals who are most intent upon not merely justifying the torture, but defining it as patriotic, are none other than Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Their smug self-righteousness is no different than that of the most sinister, psychopathic mass murderers, in attempting to justify their acts by blaming others.

This nation had problems before Cheney and Bush were selected by the US Supreme Court in 2000. In his autobiography, Malcolm X quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who noted that the United States was created from, and built upon, the violent abuse of Indians and Africans. Of course, other minority groups have had trials and ill treatment. But those two examples are important in helping us understand not only what went wrong in the distant past, but can be applied to help Americans to understand many of the problems that we continue to face today.

It’s not a coincidence, for example, that a nation that invests in torture of enemies abroad, would also begin to rapidly militarize its domestic police forces. I remember when I was a teenager, hearing basketball legend Bill Russell say, “Use care in selecting those who you hate, for they are the very people you risk coming most closely to resemble.” Listening to former president talk about torture, I could almost believe that he really thought it was right.

“Almost believe,” though, because of something that my other mentor told me.I’ve been fortunate to have both Chief Waterman and Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter for teachers. And Rube had, in his capacity as an opponent of capital punishment, met with then-governor George W. Bush, of Texas. He told me that he found Bush to be a repulsive human being, who delighted in having the “power” to send people to the electric chair. Rubin described Bush as becoming “giddy” when discussing the horrors of the chair. He asked me, “Do you know what that ‘W’ in his name really stands for? It’s for ‘death.’ His name is George Death Bush.”

(Another family friend, who was central in attempts to improve services for troubled youth in NYS, had been hired to assist Texas in a similar way. Her programs were very effective, in both costs and outcome. She enjoyed working with the governor of Texas, until Bush took office. She also describes him as a cruel, hateful human being.)

In order to change behavior -- be it an individual teenager or a country -- there is obviously a need for information. The public has to be informed. Thus, even though we have only been given access to a review of the Senate investigation of torture, it’s a significant start. But it is only a start. Again, to change behavior, there have to be consequences. This includes rewarding good behavior, and punishing bad behavior.

More, in order for the general public to maintain faith in the system, it is essential that the top dogs do not get a free pass, and avoid all responsibility for their misdeeds. And it is rather clear that the top dogs in the Cheney-Bush administration have been given that free pass thus far. Their list of misdeeds includes torture, the war in Iraq, the Plame scandal, and many others. In this case, the failure to prosecute is consent.

In his 2008 book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,” Vincent Bugliosi presented a strong case for prosecuting Bush et al. That book still holds up extremely well. When we add the war crimes of torture, it is evident that the top tier of that administration has to have legal consequences for their crimes. Anything less makes a mockery of our justice system.

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