Last week's Dateline NBC news correspondent and Today co-anchor Matt Lauer's highly-touted, highly-talked about hour-long interview with former President George W. Bush has sent attentive shock waves throughout the entire media establishment, the nation, and the world. More accurately, it has been a critical bust for the network and its show, considering it's accumulated a meager 7 million viewers, pushing it to fourth place.
More importantly, while it has been an eye-opener for the show's viewers, it hasn't been for its critics who finally see that Bush has admitted his war crimes against humanity -- waterboarding, the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, rape, sodomy, torture, homocide, and other forms of sexual assault against detained Iraqi insurgents ("freedom fighters" or "rebels" in the eyes of the Iraqi populace in their native homeland). (Sadly, President Obama has continued these atrocities which have been largely ignored by the establishment and its media cronies, but that's not a surprise because they are heavily in bed with one another.)
The Lauer-Bush interview, which was conducted to promote Bush's new book Decision Points, ought to give observers pause. (Many pundits refuse to buy into Bush's war criminal and warmongering propaganda and lies, except for the Fox News commentators who are smiling in the background.) When water-boarding is discussed, Bush responds with the following statements taken from the show's official transcript (which is available at the network's Decision Points website):
BUSH: We believe America's going to be attacked again. There's all kinds of intelligence comin' in. And-- and-- one of the high value al Qaeda operatives was Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the chief operating officer of al Qaeda… ordered the attack on 9/11. And they say, "He's got information." I said, "Find out what he knows.” And so I said to our team, "Are the techniques legal?" He says, "Yes, they are." And I said, "Use 'em."
LAUER: Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?
BUSH: Because the lawyer said it was legal. He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer., but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do.
LAUER: You say it's legal. "And the lawyers told me."
So, Bush claims that water-boarding is "legal" because his attorney said it was. That's an outright confession of a war crime right there (which he even openly let slip in his book). Bush, while using the excuse that his "attorneys" said that it was "legal" to do it, knows that just because it was legal to do it under American law at the time of that incidents doesn't mean they were legal internationally. The U.S. like every nation is subjected to international law, whether the hawks in his administration and his supporters like it or not. (Are Bush and Co. aware that the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1929 and 1949 mandate that prisoners of war (POWs) are to be "treated humanely" and that all acts of torture against them as well as homocide, rape, and all other vile atrocities are illegal under international law? I supect they do, but they apparently have no compunction in violating the terms of those treaties.)
The fact of the matter is that Bush and Co. had the legitimate power that they had given themselves to decide what is "legal" and what isn't. But, even when it was legal to employ such a horrendous technique, did it "keep America safe" as his defenders posited? Of course not! Everyone is well aware of the fact that, when a prisoner is subjected to water-boarding (which is the act of coercing the captive to believe that he or she is drowning when it is artificially, psychologically, and mentally induced, although water is sprayed or poured over his or her nostrils), no truly legitimate intelligence is extracted from the detainee. In the words of actor Jake Gyllenhaal's character CIA operative Douglas Freeman tells a U.S. government-backed Middle Eastern official in Northern Africa in the 2007 film Rendition:
In all the years you've been doing this, how often can you say that we've produced truly legitimate intelligence? Once? Twice? Ten times? Give me a statistic; give me a number. Give me a pie chart, I love pie charts. Anything, anything that outweighs the fact that if you torture one person you create ten, a hundred, a thousand new enemies.
Whether Bush, Obama, and Co. want to acknowledge it or not, he's right. As a matter of fact, the use of extraordinary rendition, which is the kidnapping of a citizen from one country and brought to another and kept at a clandestine location, as established by the Clinton administration, carried out by the Bush administration, and continued by the Obama administration has not come to a screeching halt. Although Obama has put a stop to extraordinary rendition via an executive order simply by allegedly ensuring that the practice is compliant under international and domestic law and establishing a Task Force, he has not put an end to "erroneous rendition" (the practice of kidnapping a citizen and employing extraordinary rendition due to mistaken identity).
Moreover, the use of water-boarding, even after the application of extraordinary rendition, does not result in attaining and obtaining reliable intelligence as stated above. The reason being? Captives who are held for these illegal proceedings will lie while being tortured just for the torture to stop. They will virtually say anything to get out of it. Besides, that unreliable data is inadmissible in a court of law. Japanese soldiers and officers who employed waterboarding on their American prisoners during World War II were tried for war crimes and hung in 1945, and our own courts set precedent for the criminal prosecution of those thugs by establishing water-boarding's status as torture. The real deep-seated message that Bush told Matt Lauer's viewers that night is, "Torture against our enemies is okay, as long as the state does it. If other governments do it to us, then it's not okay." This is nothing but purely blatant hypocrisy from Bush and his conspirators.
Of course, here comes this grotesque tidbit from the interview:
LAUER: Not everybody thought you should go to war, though. There were dissenters.
BUSH: Of course there were.
LAUER: Did you filter them out?
BUSH: I was-- I was a dissenting voice. I didn't wanna use force.
What's interesting is that the his following additional statements were deliberately omitted from the televised interview in contrast to the transcript that was leaked out to the press a few days before the telecast:
BUSH: I mean force is the last option for a President. And I think it's clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world's better off without somehow [or someone?] in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.
(Why NBC omitted that bit from the aired interview when it was broadcast on the airwaves that night raises some eyebrows from a critical standpoint. I surmise that they didn't want the public to know that Bush was lying about giving "diplomacy a chance to work." That even includes his lie (which Bush apparently has made himself believe) that 25 million Iraqis are better off without Hussein in power.)
All of this is in reference to Bush's discussion of his claim that the CIA's "rock solid intelligence" showcasing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were stockpiled and directly controlled by Saddam Hussein prior to and leading up to the War in Iraq. Bush purports that he wanted diplomacy "to work," which is in stark contradiction to his actions in 2002 and 2003, in which his team and he knowingly contrived a report allegedly put out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that suggested that Saddam Hussein had violated U.N. resolutions by producing WMDs and having them in his possession, and that such weapons posed a threat to the national-security apparatus of the United States.
In his March 17, 2003 "ultimatum speech" he delivered to the American people, Bush claimed the following:
[T]he Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.
The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al Qaeda. The danger is clear: Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country or any other.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety.
In the same speech, Bush also declared:
In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687, both still in effect, the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.
After listing Saddam's alleged possession of WMDs, Bush also warned at the time:
And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail.
This is, of course, the same Bush who also asserted the following canard in the same speech:
In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.
More to the point, in his 2003 State of the Union speech, Bush painted Hussein as "[t]he dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons" and also concluded his anti-Saddam rant with the following:
A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all.
On August 26, 2002 former Vice President Cheney even peddled this political fraud by appearing before members of the Veterans of Foreign Affairs with the following assertion:
Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.
Approximately two weeks later, with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his side, Bush, still peddling the lies about the WMDs, told reporters:
I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied -- finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic -- the IAEA, that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need.
Cheney, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press on March 16, 2003, hocked the late show host Tim Russert the lie further with this new baseless claim:
[W]e believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
What a sham it turned to be! The IAEA made no such claims whatsoever. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the agency, told members of the U.N. Security Council at their 4714 meeting:
First, there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as having been reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.
Secondly, there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.
Thirdly, there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even if Iraq had pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium tubes in question.
Fourthly, although we are still reviewing issues related to magnets and magnet production, there is no indication to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in a centrifuge enrichment programme.
As I stated earlier, the IAEA will naturally continue further to scrutinize and investigate all of these issues.
After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear-weapon programme in Iraq.
This is scathing proof that Bush lied to his viewers and to Matt Lauer that night, knowing full well of the lies perpetrated on his side.
Bush furthers his lies by claiming that he felt "sick to his stomach" when reports of the abuses occurring at Abu Ghraib. The transcript from the interview goes like this:
LAUER: It was the spring of 2004 when you first learned that American soldiers operating as guards at a prison called Abu Gharib had terribly mistreated prisoners. Can you just give me your first reaction, your first emotions when you heard the--
BUSH: Yeah, I--
BUSH: Sick to my stomach. Not only have they mistreated prisoners, they had disgraced the U.S. military and stained our good name.
If that's true, Mr. President, why didn't you go after them when you had the chance? Why weren't there calls for criminal prosecutions against those soldiers when the opportunity presented itself in the first place?
Why didn't he do this? Because what he said is a lie all by itself. Seymour Hersh, a progressive writer for the New Yorker, detailed the disgusting abuses transpiring at Abu Ghraib via a report (infamously known as "the Taguba Report") by Major General Antonio Taguba. Hersh writes in his May 10, 2004 report:
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.
It should be noted that, on the day of the publication of Hersh's article, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Bush's administration, stated in a TV interview that he did not read the Taguba Report.
Interestingly enough, Bush and Co. implemented damage control on their end, purporting that the leaked photos revealing the abuses were nothing short of aberrations stemming from a handful of sexually deviant National Guard soldiers. What they fail to understand is that Hersh's anonymous informant, who happened to be a military consultant who worked closely with the officials at the Pentagon, went on record with Hersh, telling him that the photographs were principally and specifically intended to be be used to blackmail the abused prisoners "to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population." After that sentence, Hersh notes:
The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action, the consultant said. If so, it wasn’t effective; the insurgency continued to grow.
Hersh even pointed out:
The notion that Arabs are particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation became a talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March, 2003, invasion of Iraq.
That's proof that Bush didn't feel "a sickness in his stomach" when he saw the photos. He had plotted this all before the invasion and occupation of the Iraqi homeland. Again, it is more proof that Bush is a liar.
With all of these points put into their proper perspective, Bush is a definite candidate for prosecution for committing war crimes against humanity. He's a liar and a war criminal. Case closed. End of story.