Bush Legacy: China Defends Its Use of Torture By Citing The Bush Torture Program

The Bush Administration has long been ridiculed by the international community as converting the United States from a leader in human rights to the very symbol of the violation of core principles of human rights. However, few were prepared for the utter hypocrisy of watching the Administration condemn China for its use of torture on the very same time that President Bush vetoed a ban on the use of torture in the waterboarding bill. Now China is using our torture program to defend its own abuses.

Chinese spokesman Qin Gang has accused the United States of “exercising double standards on human rights issues” in its condemnation of his country. There is little question that we are applying a double standard when both the President and Congress has struggled to preserve a well-defined form of torture. This hypocrisy will become more acute when our soldiers are waterboarded by other countries who will quote the President and various members of Congress in saying that it is perfectly appropriate.

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49 thoughts on “Bush Legacy: China Defends Its Use of Torture By Citing The Bush Torture Program”

  1. VC,

    You know its interesting how this culture awards physical courage even fashioning medals and ribbons and little lapel pins you get in a box and never ever actually wear.

    But the same culture gives no awards for moral courage…in fact actually has to pass laws to protect people who display it in work contexts.

    It is also interesting that this same administration that has glorified the soldiers (to their cynical amusement I assume) actively seeks ways to punish whistleblowers who after all are the silver star candidates in ordinary life.

    Again and again in this administration we have seen the pattern of attacking people who display the courage of their convictions and abiding faith in ethical and honest government. This administration is like an inversion of those two qualities, a photographic negative if you will.

    Governments are like white handkerchiefs, if you dip a corner in red ink, it will slowly spread out to the rest of the fabric. This corrupt administration has taken the color of the people at the very top. And thats a sad reflection on the latter which will be recorded by historians…

  2. I always read every word you write. I would rather face a gag order than put down my pen. I consider it a lifeline or a sword at my pleasure. This all reminds me very much of a era we couldn’t attend.

  3. You are, as ever, modest.

    A bio note: I received, in 1972 I think it was, a citation for physical courage: it involved saving someone’s life “under fire” and I was young. So I think I can speak from experience that physical courage is sometimes a matter of quick, unthinking action to do, as you say, the right thing. Moral courage is a bit different: like Atticus Finch, you have the time to weigh out the consequences of your action and there is sometimes considerable risk involved. It is a courage after deliberation, and in some ways, I think I respect it more.

    Hence the kudos. But I take your point about the allergic reaction.

    Another note: of all the posters here, your writing style most closely resembles mine. Is it a generational thing? I have never learned brevity but brevity is the lingua franca of the internet it would seem. Even Patty C has taken me to task.

  4. Hey DW:

    Please don’t think me ungracious because I do appreciate your kind sentiment. Your one of those people on the planet that makes a point of the high notes.

    But more important – I truly feel that doing the right thing shouldn’t be in the same league as courage. Perhaps I’ve just matured a bit, because I just didn’t actually have a choice. It was an allergic reaction.

  5. VC,

    Moral courage is as magnificent as physical courage. Kudos to you.

    An aside on elephants. Some of us may have read that article in Smithsonian or somewhere else, I forget, how elephants in the wild do have a culture transmitted down through the generations. And how that culture, in Africa, has been disrupted by the heavy poaching for ivory, killing the adults and leaving the adolescents. And how the culture now in many herds has turned dysfunctional and abnormal, with heightened levels of aggression and conflict, inter-elephant, and outward toward other species.

    I suspect the Republican party’s elephant herd has also undergone such a twisting of culture, caused by their long exile in the wilderness.. They are now more properly described as a cult than a party, and a very angry and dysfunctional group they are.

  6. Patty: Surprisingly, I was able to transform the disappointment and anger into a confidence and pity. My canceling the project was a considerable statement of my dyspepsia without need for further insult. And even though it was at a considerable cost, my partners agreed it was worth the financial loss to sever the relationship. Until I saw the large pachyderm emblazoned flag – I hadn’t even given the matter another thought.

  7. Binx, I know the type, as well. Did you subtly suggest he simulate drowning himself?

  8. American Elephant wrote:
    “Absolutely no one in the administration has ever, or is advocating the use of torture.”
    “Waterboarding causes no physical harm, causes no pain. It scares people.
    The point of waterboarding is to induce a low-level instinctive reaction to water entering the lungs. Once that point is reached, there is nothing a person can do but react with total and unbearable terror. It is a physical reaction and it is beyond the intellect. Even if someone KNOWS they are not drowning or KNOWS that the torturers will stop before they die, that knowledge makes no difference whatsoever. To call it “simulated drowning” is to grossly understate the sensation: it IS drowning. Drowning does not always lead to death–they are two different things. The videos we see show someone with a rag in their mouth with water being poured over their face, and they are not reacting at all. That is because water has not yet been sucked into their lungs. Once that happens you would see a very different reaction. But you will never be shown that video. It is too gruesome to watch.

    The tortured is on a slant board so that any water will (hopefully) flow back out and death will not result. But there are no guarantees. It all depends on the skill of the torturer. And you can be certain that it IS torture. To say it is not torture is to falsely parse words. Most of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are specifically designed to leave no marks. Waterboarding, sleep-deprevation, stress positions, sexual perversions: all these leave no physical marks, but they can leave psychological scars that last a lifetime.

    “They say Kalied Sheik Mohammed divulged information that was used to foil active terrorist plots.” Maybe. Maybe not. You and I are not in a position to confirm such assertions. Personally, I would never trust a torturer to justify their actions. But most experts in the application of torture agree that someone who is being tortured will tell you anything they think you want to hear in order to get the torture to stop. Whether the information is true is irrelevant. If that is the standard you set, then torture away. But do not expect to gain accurate intelligence.

  9. the bush crime family is using a technicality when they profess to have only tortured 3 people. How many have we sent to Syria? The ONLY reason to have done so was to have them tortured. The newest guy they just put in Gitmo this week was caught a year ago. Where has he been all this time?

  10. VC:

    Kudos to you for your courage and sacrifice. I am guessing the elephant was mashing the flag beyond all recognition. That attitude has prevailed for decades and my grandparents faced it just like yours did. Italians, Poles, Irish, and countless others aren’t “real Americans” in their eyes, and, god forbid, your skin color be any different from theirs. They would tear down the Statute of Liberty and put up a fence if they could because “they got theres.”

  11. American Elephant wrote:
    “Waterboarding causes no physical harm, causes no pain. It scares people. It has been used on Kalied Sheik Mohammad and he sang like a bird, divulging information that was used to foil active terrorist plots. ”

    And you know “waterboarding causes no physical physical harm/pain”….HOW, exactly? Were YOU brave enough to volunteer to prove that statement yourself? Something tells me you were not. So making such a statement only displays your ignorance and your idiocy, as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Most assuredly, these discussions are fascinating. It begins we speak of our Nation – mind you – presumably – many of us are all on the same team, that is to say America the Beautiful. But are we really?

    My neighbors and business colleagues are multi-cultural AMERICANS. Recently, I had a visit from a friend and client – now former friend and client – a visit that was most dark. Where he lives is a distraction from the point. Needles to say, I’ve always been able to deal with his ultra-right political leanings, but on his recent trip – I understood from him that these AMERICANS that are my friends and neighbors aren’t AMERICANS in his book. They are slowly turning America into a Third World country.

    He would later describe each one he met by describing a physical attribute of their ethnicity or disturbing purposeful mispronunciation of their name, ostensibly intended to emphasize their ineligibility to be called AMERICANS, despite that they were born here, or are in fact, otherwise Citizens.

    He would become ecstatic when talking about – what he considers – all things military. He is a gun enthusiast and collector, but doesn’t hunt. His guns are all military weapons. He rarely shoots them – but he does enjoy talking about them and displaying them.

    He never served in the military, nor has he been trained in military tactics, warfare or strategy, yet he speaks endlessly of politicians critical of war with contempt. He talks of Global Warming and quotes Cheryl Crow as though it were her science behind the discussion.

    He got drunk every night that he visited and became offensive beyond my wildest imagination. He offended my family, friends, and business colleagues. Many of us are veterans of not only the Military, but of public service as well. He was crude in his speech, harsh in his viewpoint. This was very sad, because while what I was about to do was going to cost me a year of work and investment – I had no choice.

    When I drove him to the airport, I told him good-bye, shook his hand and expressed that this be our final conversation and that I was stopping our project … then I drove away and felt more American than I have in ages.

    Its possible he followed me here. If not him, someone just like him. Someone that speaks of torture as though it were only a word, or that it were somehow beneficial. Wars mean death, pain and suffering. The legislation is not about what warriors must do in the worst circumstances – it is about State sponsored or approved torture. Not mere toys for the wall of shame.

    He wore a lapel pin on his jacket – an Elephant on an American Flag.

  13. Your problem is you do not understand Bush because you and Turley and others here have BDS blinding your eyes.
    Yeah, we should just shut up and let Bush and Cheney torture all the Pakistani cabdrivers they want. As long as we have the most guns, nobody will ever get to try them for war crimes. Four more wars! Four more wars!

  14. There have been over 30 (33, I think) documented deaths of prisoners in our care that have been murdered in cold blood.

    One suffocated by being forced into a sleeping bag, one by being hung from the ceiling and kicked in the legs repeatedly, as documented by the film “Taxi to the Dark Side”.

    Where is the outrage? Where is the rule of law? We might need a Constitutional Law teacher to become the next POTUS to restore our Constitution.

  15. Yes JEannie,

    There is a kind of Golden Rule thinking in international law. It basically boils down to “don’t treat extra-nationals in your jurisdiction in ways you wouldn’t want your own citizens to be treated in other jurisdictions.”

    Many people have objected that terrorists are not signatories to international conventions and are thus not protected by the same. This deliberately evades the point. In religion, the Golden Rule operates regardless of whether the other party in a dispute agrees to it or not. One doesn’t, as a Christians, steal from pagans, even if the pagans don’t feel bound by the 10 Commandments. Morality is not a contract between two parties.

    States undertake to act in humane and civilized ways. Even to enemies of civilization.

    Thats why civilization will ultimately prevail. Our ideals are always stronger than our armies.

  16. It was only a matter of time that this would happen. What concerns me more is that now Bush has paved the way for our own Soldiers to be treated in the same fashion which they have treated others.

  17. It has become apparent to me that our entire government is completely and utterly corrupt.

    After all the impeachable atrocities committed by this regime, we now hear the “president” state that he is envious of the soldiers fighting and dying on the front lines of Afghanistan. He thinks it is romantic for them to die for his lies.

    Had a Democratic presidential candidate made this statement, every right wing pundit and republican politician would be shouting for the candidates’ head to be brought to them on a platter. The main stream media would have parroted them, no doubt.

    Where is the outrage about a president, especially one that dodged active duty and was not even honorable enough to complete national Guard duty, that states that he is envious of the brave soldiers fighting and dying? Where is the outrage to comparing war to a romantic adventure? Where is the outrage to all of the impeachable offenses committed by this regime against the United States of America? Where is the outrage at Congress for doing nothing to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

    For the Congress to do nothing about the blatent, and so far successful, attempts to trash our Constitution, commit war crimes and establish a fascist state one can can only come to one conclusion. They are complicit with this rogue administration and its attempts to destroy our nation.

    The citizens of this country are in a large part responsible for the deterioriation of our democracy. The apathy and the ignorance displayed by a large part of our citizenry explains a great deal as to why these people have been able to wreck our constitution. When the general public do not know what the FISA bill is, what Blackwater is, who Dennis Kucinich is, who Ron Paul is and in fact do not even know who their own representatives are, should we be surprised?

    I am deeply concerned about the fate of this country. The world leaders are openly laughing at the United States and our “leaders”. The government props up dictators and squashes democratic leadrs around the world. Venezuela is a good example of the tactics used by this administration in trying to further their “mandate” to democracize the world. That democracy being defined by a fascist administration.

    God pray for us all.

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