What Has Bush Accomplished?
This morning President Bush defended his last year's fly-in photo-op under the banner of Mission Accomplished. And he once more bragged about what a good job he has done in Iraq.
"One year later, despite many challenges, life for the Iraqi people is a world away from the cruelty and corruption of Saddam's regime."
..."We will finish our work in Iraq, because the stakes for our country and the world are high," Mr. Bush stressed. "The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the globe, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the Middle East. The success of Iraqi democracy would send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran, that freedom can be the future of every nation."
What work is he talking about? The foul and despicable acts done by a government that believes its war on terrorism justifies any actions and any methods?
What can Bush do now to convince the Iraqis he cares at all about them and their well-being? Ultimately Bush is responsible for the atmosphere of intimidation and humiliation that festered in Abu Ghraib.
Bush says that he has been called to lead the battle of good against evil. He doesn't believe that existing laws should constrain his war because the terrorists are evil and our ability to get the terrorists to cough up good intelligence must not be handcuffed by considerations about the rights of the prisoners; after all they are terrorists. What happened in Abu Ghraib is what you get when you ask racist and psychopathic people to do whatever they want to get prisoners to confess.
Taguba’s report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.
Bush's words about "embolding the terrorists" is such a joke since it is his policies that have created a world that is significantly more dangerous for Americans.
Photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners has inflamed Arab sentiment, sparking rage, hatred and a grim comparison that U.S. liberators were no better than ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"They keep asking why we hate them? Why we detest them? Maybe they should look well in the mirror and then they will hate themselves," said Khadija Mousa from Syria. "What I saw is very very humiliating. The Americans are showing their true image."
"The liberators are worse than the dictators. This is the straw that broke the camel's back for America," said Abdel-Bari Atwan on Friday, editor of the Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.
We Americans are accountable for allowing a moral midget to drive the world to this place. And this is particularly true for all those who thought Bush was good on terrorism. Yup, very good. He is bin Laden's best friend.
[Aside. Read all of Seymour Hersh's article to understand how depraved and sick this policy is and how deeply it is embedded in the military culture engendered by Bush and his neocons. And if you want to know who are being detained in Abu Ghraib, read Riverbend's Tales from Abu Ghraib.]