Thursday, August 30, 2007

The ultimate bully

I'm gonna hit you where it don't show....

Torture isn't torture if it leaves no marks says the Bush administration:
On July 20, George W. Bush issued an executive order authorizing the CIA to use "enhanced" techniques (as the president likes to call them) in its terror interrogation program—including in the CIA's secret prisons, known internationally as "black sites."

CIA director Michael Hayden assures us that "now our mission and authorities [to conduct that mission] are clearly defined." Adds national intelligence director Michael McConnell: "We now have a clear legal basis" for the CIA's crucial national-security responsibilities.


But McConnell also doesn't want the tenderhearted among us to fear that the world will regard our nation as monstrous for permitting the use of these methods. When Associated Press reporter Ben Feller asked him whether the American people would be upset if the enemy used these secret interrogation methods on American citizens, McConnell answered:

"I would not want a U.S. citizen to go through the process. But it is not torture, and there would be no permanent damage to that citizen."

In other words, so long as no marks are left on a CIA prisoner, interrogators are left to their time-tested cruelties. However, Elaine Massimino, the Washington director of Human Rights First, makes a very pertinent point: "Administration lawyers may try to convince [CIA] interrogators that the secret interrogation techniques authorized by the president are lawful because they cause no 'permanent damage.' But interrogators shouldn't buy it."

She goes on to list certain long-practiced (and subsequently leaked) interrogation techniques that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the CIA and the president have continually insisted are not torture, or that could not be considered cruel and inhuman. There is every reason to believe that the new presidential executive order includes their use.

Accordingly, Massimino emphasizes: "Stress positions, prolonged isolation, sensory bombardment, mock-drowning, and other such abuses can cause serious physical and mental pain. They need not inflict permanent damage in order to violate the law and potentially result in very serious criminal sanctions." Sanctions, that is, that could be directed at administration officials all the way up the chain of command.

The United States tortures, thanks to the Neocons' bloodlust for world domination.

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Update: Found where I'd picked this link up: Ripley of Zen Cabin.


Steve Bates said...

"The United States tortures, thanks to the Neocons' bloodlust for world domination."

That is undoubtedly true. But please, please do not forget that Mr. Bush is a deeply sick individual, and his personal lust for pain is at least as great as the collective neocon "bloodlust for world domination." In short, I've watched him for at least six years longer than most of the rest of you, and I am certain that, in the casual sense of the word, Mr. Bush is a sadist. He likes inflicting pain, or causing it to be inflicted. He gets his jollies from it. It's a sorry thing, but it's true.

ellroon said...

I agree. Ignoring the huge elephants of Afghanistan and Iraq (and soon Iran), the slow response to the tsunami, the awkward 'laying comfort' on the people of Katrina, there are the smaller details.

The stories told about blowing up frogs is known, but Kitty Kelley's book touched on his mean streak with the neighborhood kids, deliberately creating games that were cruel rather than fun.

The stories during his college years of relying on alcohol for social interaction.

The mockery of Karla Faye Tucker and the excessive executions while governor.

There was that scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 where he draped his arm around the neck of a woman while talking to her friends, ignoring her delight and discomfort, smirking all the while.

The inability to feel sympathy, the bizarre outreach (think Merkel), the hooking of his hands at the base of the neck while interacting with a person so as to control them, the attempted running over of the press with the huge Catepillar equipment... the list goes on.

If he were born of less connected folk, he'd be the creep at the WalMart or the incompetent bozo losing yet another job. But we get him as president and look at the harm he has done.

ellroon said...

Quoting from here:
"First and foremost, George W. Bush is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What this means, mostly, is that he has rather desperate insecurities about himself, and compensates by constructing a grandiose self-image. Most of his relationships are either mirroring relationships--people who flatter him and reinforce his grandiosity--or idealized self-objects--people that he himself thinks alot of, and hence feels flattered by his association. Some likely perform both functions. Hence his weakness for sycophants like Harriet Miers, and powerful personalities like Dick Cheney.

Even as a narcissist, Bush knows he isn't a great intellect, and compensates by dismissing the value of intellect altogether. Hence his disses of Gore's bookishness, and any other intellectual that isn't kissing his ass. Bush knows that his greatest personal strength is projecting personal affability, and tries to utilize it even in the most inappropriate settings. That's why he gives impromptu backrubs to the German Chancellor in a diploamtic meeting--he's insecure intellectually, and tries to make everyone into a "buddy" so he can feel more secure. (Pathetic, isn't it?)

The most disturbing aspect about narcissists, however, is their pathological inability to empathize with others, with the exception of those who either mirror them, or whom they idealize. Hence Bush's horrifying insensitivity to the Katrina victims, his callous jokes when visiting greivously injured soldiers, and numerous other instances. The guy simply has no capacity to feel for others in that way. When LBJ was losing Vietnam, he developed a haunted expression that anybody could recognize as indicative of underlying anguish. For all his faults, you just knew he was losing sleep over it. By the same token, we know just as well that Bush isn't losing any sleep over dead American soldiers, to say nothing of dead Iraqis. He didn't exhibit any sign of significant concern until his own political popularity was sliding--because THAT'S something he can definitely feel.