George W. Bush’s presidency, in 24 charts. Good news for George W.
Bush! His approval rating is the highest it's been in years, just as he's set to open his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. Forty-seven percent of Americans approve of Bush, up from 33 percent when he left office as the economy cratered. Bush Admits Approving Torture. When you are trying to acclimate a people to a new normal - in this case, the new normal means routine torture, with international law, and the law more generally, all subject to subordination and disregard as "military necessity" dictates - you start out by denying that you would even think of doing such terrible, illegal things as torture.
For a long time, Bush claimed that he had approved an "alternative set of procedures" that were not, heaven forbid, torture, but that the exact details he couldn't reveal because it would give aid and comfort to the enemy. He assured the American people that all the relevant laws and procedures were being safeguarded. Remember his famous lines? "We do not torture. " "Extraordinary rendition" and other terms of our times. English is such a wonderfully malleable language, especially the American branch of it.
New words, phrases, even recombined bits and pieces of words pour out of our mouths (or our computers) and -- poof -- before you know it, they're in our lives and the dictionaries. Our new realities -- whether the Internet (after all, I'm a "blogger" less than three years after I discovered the Internet existed) or George Bush's global crusade, his "war on terrorism" (itself a new combination of words) -- produce new vocabularies all the time, or drive more specialized vocabularies into wider usage.
"Blowback," to take but one example, was an old CIA term for "the unintended consequences of covert operations [to overthrow foreign governments], kept secret from the American public. " CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos. CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos Waterboarding Got White House Nod By Joby Warrick Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, October 15, 2008 The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.
The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency's interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.
Timeline: How Obama Compares to Bush on Torture, Surveillance and Detention. Rumsfeld in heated conversation with Al Jazeera. The war we can't win—By A.J. Bacevich. When democracy fails. When democracy fails By Ralph Peters Democracy is the most humane and desirable form of government yet devised by humankind.
From Afghanistan to Ukraine, democracy's recent successes have exceeded expectations. It deserves American support wherever it has a chance of taking hold. How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George's Presidency. Have been on a blogging and vlogging hiatus for quite a few years, mainly focusing on working and very occasionally doing TV segments with the Manhattan Neighborhood Network.
But with all of this wild news lately, felt a rant (in the video above) was in order… Related URLs are given below. Guantanamo, Drone Strikes and the Non-War Terror War: Obama Speaks. Thinking About Torture: Or is it really all that it is cracked up to be? The hyper-political confirmation hearings of Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales are not the best jumping off point for high-level thinking about human behavior and values, but after several years of proceeding on automatic pilot the nation will take what it can get.
First, dispense with the word games. The various legal opinions the Bush administration turned out on what has broadly become known as the torture topic were concerned with one thing: making sure that the Bush administration's treatment of detainees could not be taken as a violation of the Geneva Convention. The convention exists to prevent mistreatment of prisoners of war.
The extent to which you think mistreatment constitutes torture is the extent to which you think the Bush administration was concerned about torture. Bush Authorized Domestic Spying. President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
The super-secretive NSA, which has generally been barred from domestic spying except in narrow circumstances involving foreign nationals, has monitored the e-mail, telephone calls and other communications of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people under the program, the New York Times disclosed last night. The aim of the program was to rapidly monitor the phone calls and other communications of people in the United States believed to have contact with suspected associates of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups overseas, according to two former senior administration officials. Authorities, including a former NSA director, Gen. Michael V. CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos - washingtonpost.com. After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
But CIA lawyers say the documents -- memos from President Bush and the Justice Department -- are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public. The disclosures by the CIA general counsel's office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU. Dan Froomkin - Bush Gets His Way - washingtonpost.com. Pay no attention to the news stories suggesting that the White House caved in yesterday.
On the central issue of whether the CIA should continue using interrogation methods on suspected terrorists that many say constitute torture, the White House got its way, winning agreement from the "maverick" Republican senators who had refused to go along with an overt undoing of the Geneva Conventions. The "compromise"? The Republican senators essentially agreed to look the other way. Once again (see Monday's column ) there was so much disingenuousness flying through the airwaves that straight news reporting simply wasn't up to the task of conveying the real meaning of the day.
GRISWOLD v. CONNECTICUT, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) Britain Accused Over CIA’s Secret Torture Flights - Empire? - Global Policy Forum. UK airports are believed to be operational bases for two executive jets used by the CIA to carry out 'renditions' of terror suspects. IndependentFebruary 10, 2005 Britain's intelligence agencies have been accused of helping America in a secret operation that is sending terror suspects to Middle Eastern countries where prisoners are routinely tortured and abused. Since 11 September 2001, the CIA has been systematically seizing suspects and sending them, without legal process, not only to Guantanamo Bay but to authorities in countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Survey shows no tolerance for Torture.
Survey shows no tolerance for Torture Enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Taking this as our theme, the Gallup International Millennium Survey asked people in countries representing more than 1.5 billion citizens of the world whether they felt this basic right was fully or partially respected in their own country, or not respected at all.
Overwhelmingly, in the more sophisticated democracies of Western Europe and North America more than eight out of every ten believe that Human Rights in respect of torture are respected. It is not surprising to see 90% or more citizens in countries such as Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Finland claiming their rights are respected in this regard.
It could be seen as more of a surprise to find both the Czech and Slovak Republics of Eastern Europe show similar very high levels of agreement. The Swift Report: Good News for Gonzales: New Poll Shows Most Americans Think 'Some Torture' OK. President Bush's candidate for attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, got a boost today with the release of a poll indicating that most Americans back his position on torture: it's ok to induce physical agony in individuals suspected of crimes, if it is for a good reason. Support for torture highest among viewers of Fox News Channel By Deanna Swift A poll released this week shows that a majority of Americans share the position of President Bush's nominee for attorney general when it comes to torture: it's ok when done for the right reasons. The Harris Poll - Two in Five U.S. Adults Believe that Torture of Prisoners by Americans Still Prevalent in Iraq and Afghanistan.
FOX News Polls - Poll: Steady Support for Action Against Iraq. A majority of the public continues to support the United States taking military action to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein, and there is evidence of growing impatience for the action. A FOX News poll conducted this week finds 71 percent of Americans support using U.S. forces to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and 20 percent oppose. Support has been at about the same level for the last eight weeks. This leads to a growing number of Americans who agree, “it’s time to get it over with in Iraq.”
A month ago, a slim majority wanted to “stop the uncertainty,” while today over two-thirds agree with the let’s “get it over with” sentiment. ABCNEWS.com : Poll: Torture Methods Opposed. In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths. Weekly Standard: Against Rendition.
Question: Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents . . . [send] terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? . . . Answer: . . . We operate within the law and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people. News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / US must stop 'outsourcing' torture. Legalizing Torture. CIA prisoners 'tortured' in Arab jails. Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America's. American Amnesia: Extraordinary Rendition. Introduction of Legislation Prohibiting Extraordinary Rendition.
Progress Report, 3/15/05: RENDITION, Extraordinarily Irresponsible. Extraordinary Rendition. Extraordinary rendition. The New Yorker: Fact - Outsourcing Torture. Dojinterrogationmemo20020801.pdf (application/pdf Object) Torture Guidelines (washingtonpost.com)