Another Bush Administration chicken has come home to roost. On 6/30/09, the U.S. Defense Department reported Private First Class (PFC) Bowe R. Bergdahl was missing from his post in Afghanistan--whereabouts unknown. About three weeks later, after the Taliban posted a 28-minute video showing Private Bergdahl as their prisoner, the Defense Department changed his status to missing-captured.
Now what are we supposed to do? The "enemy" is holding an American as their prisoner. What if they decide to slap him around; or slam him against a wall; or chain him in a stress-position for 40 straight hours in a cold room and throw ice water on him; or what if they decide to waterboard Private Bergdahl six times a day for the next month?
Thanks to George W. Bush and his fellow war criminals, there is little the United States government can complain about--even if the Taliban subject Private Bergdahl to such treatment; because these are some of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that the Bush Administration authorized and used on prisoners in American custody since 2002.
Because of the Bush Administration's shameful record of prisoner abuse, any complaint voiced by the U.S. about the treatment of Private Bergdahl will rightly be viewed as hypocrisy by the rest of the world. ...but when did American spokespersons ever let a little hypocrisy stop them from speaking out?
· "[I] would say my personal reaction [to the video] was one of disgust at the exploitation of this young man,"--Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, 7/20/09
Where is Secretary Gates' disgust at sending hundreds of thousands of Americans to invade and occupy two nations, which posed no threat to America? We have already sacrificed more than 5000 (and counting) of their lives for no reason--other than to get American oil companies back into Iraq and to secure a route for an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. That is exploitation.
· "I'm glad to see [PFC Bergdahl] appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video. They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law."--Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, U.S. military spokeswoman in Afghanistan, AP, 7/19/09
International law? Obviously, Lt. Cmdr. Sidenstricker didn't get the memo (2/7/02 ) "signed by President Bush declaring that the Geneva Conventions, which outline standards for the humane treatment of detainees, did not apply to captured al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters."--The Washington Post, 12/12/08 (It should be called "othernational law" since it only applies to other nations--not the USA.)
...And, if you want to see some real propaganda, watch any American television show or movie where the hero tortures the bad guy until he breaks and gives up the crucial information--allowing the hero to save the day. It may make for exciting drama, but it is not how torture works. In fact, most trained intelligence professionals will tell you that torture doesn't work--unless its purpose is to extract false confessions or to manufacture bogus information-- like "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" or "Sadaam is working with al Qaida". That was the information the Bush Administration wanted, and they got it by using torture.
· "Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush's marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture."-- Human Rights Watch, 5/13/09 [War crime prosecutors could ask Mr. Libi about his torture by the Bush Administration--if he hadn't conveniently committed suicide in May (Newsweek, 5/12/09).]
If only someone would have told us that torturing prisoners was wrong and could adversely affect how our troops might be treated by their captors--Oh wait! They did:
· "Employment of exception techniques [torture] may have a negative effect on the treatment of U.S. POWs by their captors and raises questions about the ability of the U.S. to call others to account for mistreatment of U.S. service members."-- Senate Armed Services Report, February 2003
· "[Torture] 'lowers the bar' and ensures, if there is any doubt, that similar techniques will be employed against any US personnel captured by our enemies."--Capt. Daniel Donavan, Staff Judge Advocate, email (Sept. 2003), quoted in Senate Armed Services Report, 11/20/08
There was a time when the United States knew it was wrong to torture people.
· "The United States had always taken the high road and set the standard internationally on treatment. There had never been any doubt. We had always set the standard. And now the danger is there's going to be a perception that, 'Well, the United States doesn't live to that standard why should we?'" ." [Major General Thomas Romig, former Army JAG, 11/19/07]