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Murder, Sadism and Torture: The Bush Administration Was the Combo Deal

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Message Mark Karlin



It's not considered politically correct -- even among the high-profile progressive political blogs that are now quoted by the D.C. Beltway corporate media -- to accuse the Bush Administration of murder and sadism. It's "the wave" now to urge an investigation of the torture memos and potential prosecution, but the reality that torture resulted in the murders of an untold number of detainees in the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld Gulag is not discussed much.

That's why I wrote a BuzzFlash Editor's Blog yesterday, "The Legal Case Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Et Al., Is Murder One, Not Just War Crimes." Yet, as much as I agree that the torture memo authors should be tried (and Judge Bybee impeached), the MSM and progressive Internet focus on the memos discounts and dishonors the justice that is necessary for those perhaps hundreds of detainees -- many of them, if not most of them, innocent of any actual crimes -- who were murdered as a result of torture.

This reminder of murder in the name of the "War on Terror" clearly makes many Americans uncomfortable.  But if one becomes a denier of death by torture, such as the one detailed in "Taxi to the Dark Side," one is conceding one of the biggest right-wing talking points: how can it be torture if no one died? The reality is that many did indeed die from torture, but the Bush Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the highest profile Al Qaeda detainees were not murdered, just so that they could make the case of "no harm, no foul."

Yet, such life-saving torture precautions were not taken at Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib and the many other prisons around the world where lower level detainees were tortured, many of whom died as a result or just "disappeared."  This is not speculation; this is fact.

For 8 years, we were not only under the rule of an administration with reckless disregard for life (remember that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as a result of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld initiated war there, as well as thousands of American soldiers), we were under the government of a president and senior staff who were "stimulated" by exercising power over who should live and who should die.

There is no question that George W. Bush, going back to his erotic thrill over setting the record for executions as Governor of Texas, barely conceals an inner sadistic streak that no doubt probably began with blowing up frogs as a child.  And Cheney and Rumsfeld just regard any "non-American" life as cheap and expendable in pursuit of American control over the world's natural resources.

The Washington Post last year reported that Bush's inner circle met regularly in the basement of the White House and approved specific torture measures.  It was also reported that Bush personally viewed torture videotapes of at least one high profile Al Qaeda member before the CIA allegedly destroyed the evidence. 

Everything that is now being revealed in documented form, we pretty much knew before, except now we are seeing the written text.  Cheney was using torture not to get more information to prevent terrorist attacks, but to try and get a top Al Qaeda operative to recite Cheney's script that Osama bin Laden was connected to Saddam Hussein, a meme that Cheney has never stopped repeating.  Unfortunately for Cheney, it is not true, and so he needed to waterboard a couple of Osama's lieutenants some 266 times in a month in order for them to make up the Osama/Saddam link to get him off the hook. That's a War Crime, a regular crime and just plain sadistic.

Rumsfeld thought himself a "Master of the Universe." With reckless disregard for the truth in his blathering Pentagon briefings and reckless disregard for life in the torture protocol he had distributed to all the military sites of interrogation around the world (along with parallel CIA "guidelines"), he joined his sadistic partners in sanctioning torture unto death.

As I noted yesterday, how quickly we have forgotten the tortured dead of Abu Ghraib that we saw in body bags as military and contracted "interrogators" mocked the bodies.  How quickly we have forgotten even the surely underestimated accounts of "homicides" issued by the Pentagon.  How quickly we have forgotten the "suicides" by torture in Guantanamo.  How quickly we have forgotten people like the innocent Afghani taxi driver who would have been just another unknown victim of two days of deadly torture if not for Alex Gibney's brilliant and grueling documentary.

So while the blogosphere and some of the corporate media debates about what should happen to the attorneys who wrote up the torture memos, BuzzFlash wants to know when Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will be charged with murder?

In all likelihood it will never happen.  The D.C. establishment protects its own.  And most Americans don't want to face what horrible, homicidal deeds were done in their name by their government.

At Nuremberg, we set the precedent that you didn't have to gas the victims to be accountable for their deaths.

This is a disconcerting thought for many Americans, but it is our soul as a nation that must bear the scars of not seeking justice for these deaths.

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Mark Karlin is founder, editor and publisher of, a website providing headlines, news and commentary to over five million people a month. He is a gun control activist with a focus on Illinois.
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