Friday, December 19, 2008

From Shoe Throwing to Discrediting Reasons For Invading Iraq- Cheney Unrepentant

Anyway let's begin with Rachel Maddow's take on the Shoe-throwing incident.

Bush's Victory Lap in The Middle East
Bush Shoe throwing Incident Rachel Maddow-Dec. 16, 2008

The shoe throwing Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaidi who was described as a proud Arab.It has been reported that he may have been beaten & possibly tortured while in custody after the incident.
Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody' December 16, 2008.

Al-Zaidi’s brother reports that the journalist is suffering from a broken hand, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.

...despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.

(and one should note that this journalist had been arrested under Saddam's regime and has been arrested by American forces on two occasions and had been kidnapped by unknown persons and later released. )

"He has no ties with the former regime. His family was arrested under Saddam's regime," he said.
Mr Zaidi has previously been abducted by insurgents and held twice for questioning by US forces in Iraq.
In November 2007 he was kidnapped by a gang on his way to work in central Baghdad and released three days later without a ransom.
He said at the time that the kidnappers had beaten him until he lost consciousness, and used his necktie to blindfold him.
Mr Zaidi never learned the identity of his kidnappers, who questioned him about his work before letting him go
and some journalist are asking for Bush to forgive Al-Zeidi for shoe throwing incident.

President Bush, Please Publicly Forgive Muntader al-Zeidi
by Thers, Firedoglake December 16, 2008.

If American values mean anything at all, this is the right thing to do.
Mr. President, please publicly forgive Muntadhar al-Zeidi for throwing shoes at you, and please state, unequivocally, that the Iraqi journalist should not face charges or endure official harassment for his actions. If American values mean anything at all, this is the right thing to do.

According to press reports, al-Zeidi is currently being held by the Iraqi government in an undisclosed location. He faces quite serious, if as yet unspecified charges:
An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a miminum [sic] of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state, but could face a 15-year term if he is charged with attempted murder.

In the United States, "insulting a visiting head of state" is not a crime. Nor should it be. Throwing a shoe could certainly be illegal, and hustling a shoe-thrower out of a press conference would certainly be understandable. But pressing charges?

We value vigorous dissent in this country. So much so, that even when objects are publicly hurled at controversial speakers, we do not necessarily prosecute, and if we do, we do not consider the "insult" the specific crime at issue. Property damage as a result of such an incident might be a felony, but never an "insult

And more on Cheney and Bush supporters still trying to re-write history . America didn't invade because Iraq because of WMDs but just to get rid of Saddam. In what way was he a mortal threat. Neocons back-peddling . Now they claim that the killing of the Kurds by chemical weapons before the first Gulf-War. Cheney admits the War was not justified based on the reasons he and the Bush Regime presented to the public in 2002 - 2003. So was it just for revenge or for the oil or to establish an American presence in the Middle East. Was it just a matter of extending America's Empire.

Perfume sprayers and aerosol can' laced with chemicals?
The smoking gun that may come in the form of Mushroom Cloud- Bush
Saddam has nuclear weapons - Cheney
But inspectors did not find any evidence of WMDs chemical or nuclear.
How was Saddam supposed to show that he no longer had WMDs !
Cheney: "America would have invaded Iraq even if we KNEW they did NOT have WMD's"

Hardball - Chris Mathews PART 1-Dec. 17, 2008
Hardball-Chris Mathews talks to Frank Gaffney.
He and Cheney justify the war, says WMD'S were not necessary for US to go to war with Iraq
America would have invaded Iraq even if we KNEW they did NOT have WMD's

Cheney: "America would have invaded Iraq even if we KNEW they did NOT have WMD's" Hardball-Chris Mathews PART 2

And as Arianna Huffington notes in her commentary on Dick Cheney that he is a cold, immoral , unrepentant self-righteous character who is unable to admit to having done anything wrong.

at Huffington Post A Tale of Two Dicks Dec. 18, 2008

... Cheney has been a portrait in unabashed unrepentance.
Looking back over the debacle-filled landscape of the last eight years, Cheney sees little to feel bad about.

Asked if he has regrets, Cheney says, "Not a lot at this stage."
Does he feel the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used against "high-value" prisoners went too far? "I don't." Does he think the use of waterboarding was appropriate? "I do." Bush says his biggest regret was the bad intel on WMD. Would Cheney agree? "No, I wouldn't." Rove says if the intel had been better, we probably wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq. Would Cheney agree? "I disagree with that...we made the right decision in spite of the fact that the original NIE was off in some of its major judgments."

...Waterboarding, stress positions, hooding, and prolonged sleep deprivation are not torture because, well, because the vice president says they are not (and was able to strong-arm the Justice Department into agreeing). "I don't believe it was torture," Cheney said. "I thought the techniques were reasonable."

Reasonable? Remember, these are techniques originally used to train American soldiers how to resist abusive interrogations by enemies who refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, which last week released a bipartisan report on the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, said the Bush administration's adoption of these techniques was a "particularly disturbing part of the story."

...But Cheney utterly refuses to consider the cost to our national security - and to our moral authority in the world -- that his approach has exacted. Indeed, he defends it as "moral" and "ethical." "I think it would have been unethical or immoral for us not to do everything we could in order to protect the nation."
Cheney, of course, has no problem making stuff up - including stuff about the effectiveness of torture: "Did it produce the desired results?," he asks. "I think it did."

...A quick recap of The World According to Dick: the ends justify the means, the invasion of Iraq was right (even though the justification for it was wrong), Guantanamo is a "first-rate facility" that should remain open until "the end of the war on terror" (though, he admits, "nobody knows" when that will be). What this reveals is an abiding, unshakable belief in the use of hard power.

...The Bushies have always had a detached response to the human cost of their policies - be it the unwillingness to attend military funerals, the head-in-the-sand treatment of injured veterans, or the fly-over handling of Katrina's aftermath

and yet the chances are that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove & Bush etc. will go unpunished and given time may have their actions re-analyzed and their reputations restored as all of the horror they have visited on America and the world is lost down the old Memory Hole. If Obama is unwilling to want to take these characters to task and have them brought to justice then it will be up to various individuals and organizations inside and outside Obama's administration who will have to find other legal routes to do what should be done to restore America's reputation . And if those in America can not do this then it is up to the International Community using whatever legal means necessary to bring all those involved in these Crimes against Humanity to justice.

also see: Cheney Was Key In Clearing CIA Interrogation Tactics
Tuesday 16 December 2008 by Greg Miller, The Los Angeles Times

The vice president says that the use of waterboarding was appropriate and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should stay open until "the end of the war on terror."

and at Think Progress ;" Cheney: ‘Guantanamo Has Been Well Run’ " Amanda Terkel, Dec. 15, 2008

Though some argue tha Obama as president will have a legal and moral duty to bring to justice those who have committed a War Crime or Crimes Against humanity :Will War crimes be outed by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith /Dec. 18, The Nation

In April Obama said that if elected, he would have his attorney general initiate a prompt review of Bush-era action to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies."

"If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," Obama told the Philadelphia Daily News. He added, however, that "I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."

Obama's nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder, speaking to the American Constitution Society in June, described Bush administration actions in terms that sound a whole lot more like "genuine crimes" than like "really bad policies":
Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution.... We owe the American people a reckoning."

A Reckoning?

While attention has focused on whether, once president, Obama will move quickly to close Guantánamo, shut down secret prisons, halt rendition and ban torture, there's a less visible struggle over whether and how to provide a reckoning for war crimes past.
A growing body of legal opinion holds that Obama will have a duty to investigate war crimes allegations and, if they are found to have merit, to prosecute the perpetrators.

In a December 3 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed, law professors Anthony D'Amato (the Leighton Professor at Northwestern University School of Law) and Jordan J. Paust (the Mike & Thersa Baker Professor at the Law Center of the University of Houston) ask whether president-elect Barack Obama will have "the duty to prosecute or extradite persons who are reasonably accused of having committed and abetted war crimes or crimes against humanity during the Bush administration's admitted 'program' of 'coercive interrogation' and secret detention that was part of a 'common, unifying' plan to deny protections under the Geneva Conventions."
They answer, "Yes."

"Under the US Constitution, the president is expressly and unavoidably bound to faithfully execute the laws." The 1949 Geneva Conventions "expressly and unavoidably requires that all parties search for perpetrators of grave breaches of the treaty" and bring them before their own courts for "effective penal sanctions" or, if they prefer, "hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party."

and for a good article on the moral and ethical quandaries on torture and how it is often the case that those who commit War crimes feel somehow justified in their actions and commands:

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by Committing War Crimes for The "Right Reasons"
by Glenn Greenwald

and more on Cheney's cold calculating peronality:

David Latt at the Huffington Post argues that Cheney admitted to ordering the abuse and torture of detainees but believes he was justified and so to protect Cheney and himself Bush should pardon Cheney for his actions since his decisions and policies were approved by Bush.
"Cheney Taunts Bush , Pardon Me or Else" by David latt, Dec. 17, 2008

and so it goes,

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