George W. Bush’s awful legacy
Max J. Castro Read Spanish Version
official story -- the Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney version -- was that the
horrific abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, and
other U.S. “war on terrorism” prison camps was the result of a
few bad apples at the bottom of the barrel taking things into their
own hands and going too far.
has been clear for a long time, from press reports and other sources,
that this account is a lie. Now a bipartisan panel of the U.S.
Congress -- the Senate Armed Forces Committee led by Michigan
Democrat Carl M. Levin (chairman) and Arizona’s John McCain
(ranking Republican) -- has officially confirmed what the Bush
administration has long denied: “The fact is that senior officials
in the United States government solicited information on how to use
aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of
their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”
of the twelve Republican committee members was willing to give the
administration a semblance of cover; there were no dissenters from
the report. The result of the use of such techniques “damaged our
ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives,
strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral
report lays responsibility not only at the feet of former Defense
Department Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; both Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush himself are implicated.
Bush signed the crucial memo that paved the way for abuse and torture
by declaring that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to al-Qaeda and
Taliban fighters. Rice attended meetings where abusive techniques
were discussed; there is no suggestion that she posed objections.
News of the detainee abuse report could not have come at a worse time for George W. Bush and his public relations people, who lately have been busy trying to rewrite history in order to concoct a positive legacy for the lamentable forty-third President of the United States. Even before the damning report from Congress, the job of Bush’s flacks was mission impossible. Here are a few of the reasons:
Last week, a suicide bomber killed at least 57 people and wounded many others in Iraq, demonstrating the fragile and uncertain character of progress in that country.
The New York Times recently reported that “an unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.”
At home, the economic news continued to get worse, including skyrocketing new unemployment claims.
In a recent poll, an overwhelming percentage of Americans told pollsters that they will not be missing George W. Bush after he leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the last time.
The Republican President of the United States lacked the political capital and the credibility to persuade Senators from his own party not to torpedo a bill he backed to rescue Detroit automakers even after Vice President Dick Cheney went up to Capitol Hill to warn GOP lawmakers that, should car makers go broke now, the Republican Party would be blamed and suffer tremendous long term political damage.
Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad last week was marked by an incident during a press conference when a reporter threw his shoes at the president and shouted: “This is a farewell kiss” and “dog.”
good news is that the nightmare is almost over. Even if progressives
don’t agree with every Obama appointment or position, the reality
is that his presidency will mark a new era in U.S. politics and
it from one of the smartest among Washington’s right-wing pundits.
I confess I never have agreed with the opinions of Washington
Charles Krauthammer. At least not until I read his “The Real Obama”
published in the Post
I am delighted to quote, at some length, his opinions about Barack Obama.
“Transformation is his mission. Crisis provides the opportunity. The election provides him the power.”
“Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public -- and at his disposal the greatest pot of money in galactic history.”
“This is where Obama will show himself ideologically. It is his one great opportunity to plant the seeds for everything he cares about: a new green economy, universal health care, a labor resurgence, government as benevolent private sector ‘partner.’”
“Don’t be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn’t get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it.”