Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 13 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Bush's Torture Scapegoat

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   1 comment
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)
On September 27, Army Pfc. Lynndie England, the dominatrix of Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to three years in prison. She had been found guilty on six of seven counts involving the mistreatment of detainees.

Now, I do believe that England should be punished for her actions. She should have known better. She was clearly having too much fun in those photos. However, the abuse was not her idea. Lynndie England is a follower, not a leader, and she believed that she was following orders from military intelligence. She is Bush's latest scapegoat.

The Bush administration continues to blame the abuse on "a few bad apples", but the policy of mistreatment definitely came from the top. Photos from Guantanamo Bay show the same kinds of torture that we saw at Abu Ghraib. We can't blame Guantanamo on Lynndie England. And reports indicate that it's happening elsewhere, too.

But as the low-level offenders are sent to jail, the high-level architects of the policies that gave the green light to torture are rewarded with promotions.

Take Alberto Gonzales (please!). While serving as White House Counsel, Gonzales paved the way for war crimes with his now-famous "torture memo" in which he dismissed the Geneva Conventions as "quaint", and advised the Bush administration of ways to skirt international law while reducing the risk of criminal liability. He advocated for holding detainees secretly and indefinitely, and depriving them of the right to due process, by arbitrarily labeling them as "unlawful combatants". To Gonzales, basic human rights could be conveniently turned off and on at a whim by arbitrarily slapping a label on someone. Who's the real unlawful combatant?

And Gonzales was rewarded for his efforts with a promotion to Attorney General. The man who found creative ways of bypassing international law is now our country's chief law enforcement officer. You just have to appreciate the irony.

Then there's Jay Bybee, who collaborated with Gonzales to redefine what constitutes "torture". According to Bybee, you can abuse them all you want. You can kick them, urinate on them, sodomize them, and set dogs on them. To officially be "torture", it has to be the equivalent of organ failure. That other stuff doesn't count. In return, Bybee was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - the largest appellate court in the country.

And let's take a look at the new darling of the Bush administration - John Roberts. In Rumsfeld vs. Hamdan, Judge Roberts ruled that the President was not constrained by international law and that "the Geneva Conventions do not create judicially enforceable rights." This man who holds such low regard for human rights is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The word "justice" doesn't mean what it used to.

These high-level players in the Bush administration found their way to fame and fortune by creating loopholes through which they could get away with torture. And they created loopholes through which anyone - you, me, your sister, your brother, your mom, any of us - could be held in detention on a whim for years, without charge and with no legal recourse, and possibly tortured.

On May 7, 2004, George W. Bush boasted that "because we acted, torture chambers are closed." No, George, they're not closed. They're just under new management - yours!

And little Lynndie England takes the blame.

God bless America.

Rate It | View Ratings

Mary Shaw Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

No Excuse for Racial Profiling

No, Dan, America is Not a Christian Nation

They Still Cling to Guns and Religion

Racism Then and Now

Tea Party Talking Points, Translated

The Myth of the Christian Right

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend