2008/12/09

Whitewashing history

Paul Richter writes for the Los Angeles Times: "In a sweeping defense of his record, President Bush asserted Friday that his administration is leaving the Middle East a 'freer, more hopeful and more promising place' than when he took office.

When Bilbassy-Charters asked if he'd had any second thoughts, Bush replied: "I'm sure there will be. I mean, there's been some disappointments."
Q. "Like what?"
Bush: "Well, like, Abu Ghraib was a terrible disappointment. And admittedly, I wasn't there on the site, but I was the Commander-in-Chief of a military where these disgraceful acts took place that sent the absolute wrong image about America and our military.

If Bush is merely saying that Abu Ghraib was sending a message to the world that was inconvenient to the US, that "Dang, it's too bad word got out about this," then it's hard to disagree with his statement. If Bush is trying to claim that Abu Ghraib somehow didn't represent his administration, that this was a "rogue operation" of some sort, 'fraid not.

On March 11, 2008, House democrats (sic) failed to garner enough votes to override President Bush’s veto of a bill that would have made it illegal for the CIA to use brutal "interrogation" techniques to extract information from suspected terrorists. The vote was 225 to 188, missing the two-thirds majority needed by 51 votes.

Yes, the vote was a clear majority, good for those 225 Congresspeople, but 188 of them showed themselves to be as morally bankrupt as their President demonstrated himself to be. No, Abu Ghraib may not represent America as a whole, but it most certainly represents a substantial group of Americans.

Does Abu Ghraib represent the US military?

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said he found the Pentagon report “very troubling” would hold hearings on how the SERE training methods “migrated” into Iraq and Guantanamo as the basis for interrogation. “They were put to a purpose that was never intended,” he said. [emphasis added]

Unfortunately again, the answer is that while Abu Ghraib does not represent the whole of the US military, substantial sections are so corrupted that again, the term "morally bankrupt" is appropriate.
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Q. "But some say, sir, that the removal of Saddam Hussein has bolstered Iran and make emergent as a regional superpower."
Bush: "I disagree completely with that. I think the emergence of a democratic and stable Iraq on Iran's border is in the -- will help more likely keep the peace vis-à-vis Iran in the Middle East. . . . "

Erm, Iran has been greatly strengthened by the US invasion of Iraq, says the Jerusalem Post.

And from the Asia Times:

In short, Bush had from the first facilitated the very event he warned would be a disastrous consequence of a US withdrawal from Iraq: the takeover of a large part of the country by an Iranian-backed militia. And while Bush contrasts the promise of democracy in Iraq with the tyranny in Iran, there is now substantially more personal freedom in Iran than in southern Iraq.

Not sure if calling Iran a "regional superpower" is entirely appropriate, but calling Iraq an emerging "democratic and stable" country is, well, it's a nice idea, says Americans, but "61 per cent of respondents think Iraq will probably never become a stable democracy."

Bush's attempt to whitewash history is running headlong into the reality of the situation.

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