Bush 43 has left the retirement palace to grace us with a a sense of denial, a shirking of moral responsiblity equivalent to verbal sewerage.
“I made a decision within the law to get information so I can say, I’ve done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people,” he told the largely sympathetic audience. “I can tell you, the information gained saved lives.”
He lied about the WMD, the urgency of the threat, the connections to al-Qaeda, left the country bankrupt as he spent a trillion dollars on Iraq, but dag gummit he’s telling the truth about torture. His oath of office was very short, simple and does not leave room for much interpretation, but Dubya thinks that his duties as a civil servant, the nation’s highest manager were as he was inclined to define them,
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.“
At one point it was revealed that Bush read Camus. Difficult to believe, but if he did the moral of the story was over his head,
Camus wrote The Fall during the Algerian War, when France was beginning to face a crisis of conscience over torture similar to what the United States faces now. Indeed, clear parallels exist between the French experience in Algeria and the American experience in Iraq: Like the war on terror, much of the French effort to pacify and retain Algeria was waged against a nearly invisible enemy that tended to melt into the landscape. Intelligence-gathering was crucial—and that led to torture.
The French complicity in torture eventually was publicly exposed and denounced in La Question, a firsthand account of his torture at the hands of the French army written by Henri Alleg, editor of the newspaper L’Alger Républicain. La Question was published in February 1958 and quickly banned by the French government—but not before it made its mark. No longer was it possible for the French public to refuse to see what was going on. It was the French equivalent of the New Yorker photos of Abu Ghraib and exploded upon the French conscience in much the same fashion.
Unlike Camus who at least agonized over the use of torture, Bush’s attitude is more pathological. He thought his lies and actions were right, thus any self reflection is time wasted, moral reflection a sign of humanity, humanity was declared obsolete at a time it was needed most.
“In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule – not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them. Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.”
Robert Gates, our current Secretary of Defence has his faults, but his short timers disease, especially for the Washington beltway, makes for some rare blunt honesty,
Undaunted, the legislators pressed their case — especially the Republicans, who seemed convinced, as one said, that the Pentagon budget was part of a nefarious Obama Administration plot: “Fiscal restraint for defense and fiscal largesse for everything else.” Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona was very concerned about anti-missile defense — a gold-plated pipe dream, if there ever was one — and especially a product dramatically called the Kinetic Energy Interceptor. To which Gates replied, in a manner so casually dismissive that Franks seemed to shrivel in his seat, “I would just say that the security of the American people and the efficacy of missile defense are not enhanced by continuing to put money into programs … that are essentially sinkholes for taxpayer dollars.”
And as for that kinetic contraption, it was a “five-year development program, in its 14th year, not a single flight test, little work on the third stage or the kill vehicle, etc., etc., no known launch platform …”
Rat-a-tat, Gates continued on, in that flat, unassuming Kansas twang that screams: No bull here.
For those that may not have been keeping up with our Marvel Comicish anti-missile defense system, it is based on a the premise that if someone shoots at you, you can effectively defend yourself by hitting their bullet in mid air with a bullet from your gun.
from The King of the Polar Bears by L. Frank Baum
The King of the Polar Bears lived among the icebergs in the far north country. He was old and monstrous big; he was wise and friendly to all who knew him. His body was thickly covered with long, white hair that glistened like silver under the rays of the midnight sun. His claws were strong and sharp, that he might walk safely over the smooth ice or grasp and tear the fishes and seals upon which he fed.
The seals were afraid when he drew near, and tried to avoid him; but the gulls, both white and gray, loved him because he left the remnants of his feasts for them to devour.
Often his subjects, the polar bears, came to him for advice when ill or in trouble; but they wisely kept away from his hunting grounds, lest they might interfere with his sport and arouse his anger.
The wolves, who sometimes came as far north as the icebergs, whispered among themselves that the King of the Polar Bears was either a magician or under the protection of a powerful fairy. For no earthly thing seemed able to harm him; he never failed to secure plenty of food, and he grew bigger and stronger day by day and year by year.
Yet the time came when this monarch of the north met man, and his wisdom failed him.
He came out of his cave among the icebergs one day and saw a boat moving through the strip of water which had been uncovered by the shifting of the summer ice. In the boat were men.
The great bear had never seen such creatures before, and therefore advanced toward the boat, sniffing the strange scent with aroused curiosity and wondering whether he might take them for friends or foes, food or carrion.
When the king came near the water’s edge a man stood up in the boat and with a queer instrument made a loud “bang!” The polar bear felt a shock; his brain became numb; his thoughts deserted him; his great limbs shook and gave way beneath him and his body fell heavily upon the hard ice.
That was all he remembered for a time.