"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Monday, January 19, 2009

Olbermann: Bush guilty of torture



"President-elect Obama should not be afraid to prosecute"

By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
updated 27 minutes ago

Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment about the President-Elect, the soon-to-be President-Emeritus, torture, and its prosecution. We have tortured people. You and I.

This is the people's democracy, we are the people, these are our elected officials. That they did not come to us and ask to act thusly in our names is unfortunate, indeed criminal, but it is also almost irrelevant. They work for us, they tortured people, and so, we have tortured people.

You and I know we have tortured Khalid Sheikh-Mohammed. We not only know about it; we have now heard it boasted about by one of the men who as of tomorrow will no longer work for us: George Walker Bush.

"...the techniques were necessary and are necessary to be used on a rare occasion to get information necessary to protect the American people," Mr. Bush said to Fox News on January 11th. "One such person who gave us information was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

"And I'm in the Oval Office and I am told that we have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the professionals believe he has information necessary to secure the country.

"So I ask what tools are available for us to find information from him, and they give me a list of tools. And I said, are these tools deemed to be legal? And so we got legal opinions before the decision was made."

"And I think when people study the history of this particular episode they'll find out we gained good information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in order to protect our country. We believe that the information we gained helped save lives on American soil."

Never mind Mr. Bush's delusions here—never mind that all primary sources who witnessed the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said they got nothing from him until they started buddying up to him.

Never mind that Mr. Bush's supporters' favorite torture construction—the mythical "ticking time bomb" scenario—not only did not transpire here, but Mr. Bush hasn't even had the imagination to pretend it, in order to just slightly cover his moral tracks.

The key, is that this statement, if it had been under oath, would be…. a confession to a war crime. Mr. Bush is proactive, "I ask what tools are available".

Mr. Bush is aware of the legal haze into which he steps: "And I said, are these tools deemed to be legal?." Mr. Bush realizes the tools he has chosen… have been used: "We gained good information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed".

Since we know from previous admissions from the Pentagon that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was water-boarded, we can infer that Mr. Bush knew he would be water-boarded, and knew afterwards that he had been water-boarded. Mr. Bush is guilty.

He's guilty as sin. Mr. President-Elect, you were first asked about all this on the 18th of April, last. I am proud to say you were asked about it by a fellow who got onto his high school newspaper while I was the editor—Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News.

"I think you are right," you told him. "If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right 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. So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment."

Good. Amen. But in that brief interview, was born—or at least elucidated—the loophole, as you put it, of "genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies."

Vice-President-Elect Biden echoed it on December 21st - a statement to which your transition team has directed all those to whom this is a paramount issue, "The questions of whether or not a criminal act has been committed or a very, very, very bad judgment has been engaged in, is something the Justice Department decides."

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