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"When a distinguished American military commander accuses the United States of committing war crimes in its handling of detainees, you know that we need a new way forward," writes op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.

Specifically, Kristof argues that "we need a national Truth Commission to lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing."

Kristoff quotes from Major General Antonio Taguba's preface to the landmark report by Physicians for Human Rights, titled Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of US Torture and Its Impact.

Taguba writes:

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors....

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

What kinds of abuses occurred?

Kristoff recounts:

It’s a national disgrace that more than 100 inmates have died in American custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo. After two Afghan inmates were beaten to death by American soldiers, the American military investigator found that one of the men’s legs had been "pulpified."

Moreover, many of the people we tortured were innocent: the administration was as incompetent as it was immoral. The McClatchy newspaper group has just published a devastating series on torture and other abuses, and it quotes Thomas White, the former Army secretary, as saying that it was clear from the moment Guantánamo opened that one-third of the inmates didn’t belong there.

How were such abuses allowed to occur? Kristoff lays blame not only on the corrupt, secretive, incompetent Bush administration, but also at the feet of weak-kneed Democratic party operatives and media lap dogs:

These abuses happened partly because, for several years after 9/11, many of our national institutions didn’t do their jobs. The Democratic Party rolled over rather than serving as loyal opposition. We in the press were often lap dogs rather than watchdogs, and we let the public down.

Yet there were heroes, including civil liberties groups and lawyers for detainees. Some judges bucked the mood, and a few conservatives inside the administration spoke out forcefully. The Times’s Eric Lichtblau writes in his terrific new book, "Bush’s Law," that the Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner, James Ziglar, pushed back against plans for door-to-door sweeps of Arab-American neighborhoods.

Another hero, of course, is retired Major General Taguba, who was forced into retirement because he told the truth about what he found at Abu Ghraib. The Honolulu Advertiser has taken note of that fact. The Advertiser could be considered Taguba's hometown newspaper: his family moved to Oahu when he was 11.

Recently, Advertiser columnist William Cole profiled Taguba:

Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, a Leilehua High School graduate who has family on O'ahu, didn't mince words in 2004 when he led the investigation into detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Taguba, who was born in the Philippines, was the second Filipino-American to become a general. He was known in the military as a straight shooter and standup guy.

Four years later and retired from the Army, Taguba, who is vice president for Army and joint programs at Serco Inc. in Virginia, has sharpened his attack on detainee abuse, saying the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes.....

His father, Tomas, served in the Philippines Scouts under the U.S. Army in 1942. The family came to Hawai'i when Antonio Taguba was 11.

Contacted by e-mail, "Tony" Taguba said thank you, but "I don't do interviews on this issue."

But he added, "I hope the media will (go) after those who were intimately responsible for creating this situation while disregarding the rules of law."

Taguba, a true hero, is counting on the media to go after those responsible. And some in the media, Nicholas Kristof and Bob Herbert among them, are acting more and more like real watchdogs on the issues of U.S. torture, truth-telling, and accountability for war crimes.

Bob Herbert writes in a recent Times column:

"We saw the hideous photos from Abu Ghraib. And now the Nobel Prize-winning organization Physicians for Human Rights has released a report, called "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," that puts an appropriately horrifying face on a practice that is so fundamentally evil that it cannot co-exist with the idea of a just and humane society.

The report profiles 11 detainees who were tortured while in U.S. custody and then released — their lives ruined — without ever having been charged with a crime or told why they were detained. All of the prisoners were men, and all were badly beaten. One was sodomized with a broomstick, the report said, and forced by his interrogators to howl like a dog while a soldier urinated on him.

He fainted, the report said, "after a soldier stepped on his genitals."....

The most effective element of the report is the way in which it takes torture out of the realm of the abstract to show not just the horror and cruelty of the torture itself, but the way in which it absolutely devastates the body, soul and psyche of its victims.

Maybe, as Taguba hopes, the media will act less like lap dogs and increasingly more like watchdogs on the issue of war crimes.

But you know and I know that the netroots need to keep the pressure on. (H/T to MeteorBlades, for being the first to blog about PHR's Broken Laws, Broken Lives report, and for leading his essay with the key "war crimes" quote from Taguba.) If you agree with Taguba that the only question is whether those who ordered to use of torture will be held to account, then please visit and sign PHR's petition calling on the U.S. government to:

   * fully investigate and hold accountable those who ordered torture;
   * issue an official apology to survivors of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay;
   * and make reparation, including compensation and medical and psycho-social services.

Originally posted to abundance on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 08:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If this doesn't get rec'd, (115+ / 0-)

    I resign.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:01:52 PM PDT

    •  What an utterly completely depressing diary this (37+ / 0-)

      is and it's absolutely criminal that the TM has been complicit in keeping these disgusting facts from the general public and writing only wonderful things about how McCain's surge is working.  It hurts my heart that the general public, often through no fault of their own, is so ignorant.

      "He's not an African American candidate, he's an American candidate." - 82 yr old Jean Weiss on CNN

      by vernonbc on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:38:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Useless (33+ / 0-)

        What good is a "truth commission" when everybody is going to lie. We have 9/11 commission remember?

        It's war crime tribunal time, because everybody in the system lies. Pentagon, congress, republican/whitehouse/Bush, DOJ, intel agencies, the press.

        •  Good question. (50+ / 0-)

          I would say this. Then-Major General Antonio Taguba headed up a fact-finding team into Abu Ghraib. And his team found a lot of facts. A lot, a lot, a lot of facts: some of which they were allowed to report. Because their charter was very narrowly drawn.

          But they found lots of info that has yet to see the light of day.

          Now my point is this: As Kristof suggests, there are a lot of former generals and admirals who could do a very thorough job (as Taguba did) of finding the facts, if they were given a broad charter to report back what they found.

        •  I'm less interested in punishment (12+ / 0-)

          than in purging this from our system. The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions formed after apartheid and after the fall of communism are probably a decent model for how to expose and cleanse this kind of widespread and horrific official wrongdoing from our governance.

          •  Punishment is what purges it (18+ / 0-)

            If you don't enforce a law it ceases to be a law, it becomes a joke.

            The widespread and horrific wrongdoing of our government is like eight years of neglect in a garden so that the overgrowth of weeds is hiding all the flowers

            For years we have been ruled by outlaws, terrorists hiding behind a war on terror, watched Congress appoint judges who allow the Bush administration and its cronies to break our laws with impunity.

            So long as they can continue expecting immunity, and pardons for their crimes they are unlikely to just cease and desist. There is a name for that and it is Tyranny. It is our responsibility to put an end to it with punishment suiting the crime.

            Democrats have gone along and been complicit taking impeachment, the sole power of removal granted in the Constitution, off the table.

            Judges have gone along allowing FISA to be a rubber stamp even as telcoms and others have datamined Americans personal, financial and medical records.

            The Patriot Act, The Detainee Treatment Act, The Military Commissions Act, the Executive Orders and signing statements are now treating kidnapping, torture, murder, and holding without rendition as what is right and proper, legal, just and good.

            We cannot allow any government to just get away with such precedents and expect to ever purge it from our system, or go back to being a law abiding nation.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:44:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That was not South Africa's experience (5+ / 0-)

              I had the privilege of listening to Mandela's daughter talk about this ... and punishment was not the key factor.

            •  Yeah, the death penalty works so well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z, kafkananda

              Not. I"m with Damiani. I also think the desire to punish reeks of authoritarianism. My 2 cents.

            •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, Mnemosyne, Gustogirl, Matt Z

              There is one reason and one reason only that no one is willing to prosecute the prinicpals in this regime for crimes against humanity and war crimes: cowardice.  The fear of the consequences and the shame of admitting to having blood on our hands. Let's have truth and reconciliation commissions for people who took out mortgages they couldn't afford, or how about for people who use drugs?  Let's all be nice?  Hell no!  Send these monsters to the Hague!  Imagine the stunning effect of jailing these powerful men for crimes against humanity.  That would end the temptation of others who share their psychosis to manifest it in government.

            •  The punitive model of justice (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rktect, jaysunb, ER Doc, Matt Z

              is not a progressive one.

              It expresses a worldview that order is the result of police enforcement, rather than the outcome of civil society and moral consensus.

              The punitive model of justice, which always teeters dangerously close to its cousin, revenge, is a hallmark of conservative ideology, informed by religious repression and a belief in the fundamental evil of the human soul - which, by this model, can only be repressed and corralled into submission.

              A progressive worldview examines the root causes, conditions and motivators that cause people to behave badly, and then seeks to address those negative incentives. This worldview, while ultimately optimistic, is not naive, if it is tempered by a rational respect for empiricism - that is, measuring the results of a policy and adjusting it based on those results - rather than being based on blind faith. Thus, progressives believe in both rehabilitation and in ameliorating poverty and fighting repression.

              A progressive worldview leads rationally to mechanisms such as a truth and reconciliation process, as opposed to parading the formerly mighty around in chains for the delight of the masses.

              Schadenfreude is not a progressive value. Conservatism is fueled by fear of chaos and a bias for enforcement, and is obsessed with consequences, while progressivism is fueled by a belief in redemption and a bias for education, and is obsessed with potential.

              We must learn from history or be doomed to repeat it - but we must not live in the past, we must look to the future.

              Empirically, we must seek the most effective means to prevent repeat offenses.

              Particularly when we are dealing with those who make and enforce the laws of our land, relying on punishment to inhibit future excess is, in my view, the naive position. As long as the power dynamics strongly favor those who do not play by the rules, the rules will be broken - or, new rules will be written to accommodate the corrupt.

              What we need is to reform the system, so that it no longer inherently rewards bad behavior. That does not mean we should not also enforce the law; it just means that law enforcement is no substitute for fundamental reform.

              Our system currently rewards corrupt behavior. Take out the benefits of acting corruptly, and you increase the odds that humans in positions of power will act in ways that benefit us all.

              One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

              by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 08:45:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you had no laws you would have no crime (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                because a crime is the breaking of a law.

                Maybe that would be a good thing, to have no crimes, no need for police, regulations, norms, mores, attitudes, values... being a criminal would be meaningless and there would be no such thing as outlaws.

                As it is now most laws fall into one of three categories. Victimless crimes which are crimes of institutionalized morality;

                Property crimes which are generally exploitative and

                violent crimes which are caused by the frustrations and consequences of having to deal with the other two and perhaps the rights and regulations that the law abiding are so fond of encombering their legislation with.

                I suppose if you are progressive enough you can reason with the lawless and just explain the error of their ways...

                If on the other hand you want a society where most people are law abiding rather than lawless, then you need to enforce the laws. Hopefully you enforce them with competent administrators and justice.

                If we don't enforce the laws we have now we can get to that lawless state pretty quick.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:10:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not everything is a binary choice, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  and punishment is not the only available remedy, nor empirically the most effective one in all cases. It is possible to enforce the law while supporting rehabilitation and addressing the root causes and triggers for crime - and by applying consequences that are not merely or primarily punitive in nature.

                  In some societies, property crimes are addressed through compensation in material or in kind; if you drive your car through your neighbor's window, the village court might you to fix the window at your own expense, and perhaps do a few extra hours of chores for them.

                  Our punitive system is based on a puritanical view of the world that doesn't really hold up to modern scrutiny.

                  I did not argue against enforcement, I argued against sole reliance on punishment, and cautioned against the ease with which punishment slides into revenge.

                  One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:37:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What we are talking about is organized crime (0+ / 0-)

                    not an accident.

                    The Bush administration is engaged in a systematic teardown of Law and order in this country. The participants have been engaged in this for more than half a century, in some cases more than two centuries.

                    The idea of Federalism, the Federalist Society, Federalist Society members teaching the lawyers who become politicians, the linkage between lawyers and corporations, think tanks, lobbiests, deregulation of industries, the removal of rights and protections for the environment to enhance the bottom line, all of that is not an accident.

                    The appointment of right wing judges, the control of the mass media, the propaganda about the war, the fear mongering, the removal of Constitutional safeguards, the shredding of the Bill of Rights, none of that is an accident.

                    Police forces and prisons, convictions and incarcerations, kidnapping, torture, murder, holding without rendition are a part of that system and are not a part of the enforcement I'm talking about; I doubt that any of that including death sentences deters those involved.

                    The huge profits for war profiterers, oil companies, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, the neglect of alternative energy and the downplaying of global warming, peak oil and the consequences, none of that is an accident, for corporations the risk vs reward analysis makes it unthinkable to waste the opportunity.

                    The election frauds, Dibold, the US Attorneys hired to discredit Democratic officeholders by attempting to build spurious cases against them as they run for reelection, there is no way to compensate or rehabilitate, or undo the damage of Bush vs Gore.

                    So far its cost more than 600,000 lives, more than 9000 in the US, probably many more lives ruined.

                    My perspective is not that punishment evens the score, or is just retribution, we will never come up with anything that even is a good deterent given the balance between risk (none) and profit (huge).

                    This country was founded by pirates and smugglers. Its business ethics have come out of the barrel of a gun since before we stole the land from the indians. I don't expect we are going to solve the problem by taking the moral high ground.

                    I just want to purge the system, put things back the way they were before John Yoo when people actually thought of the written law as meaning what it said.

                    If you don't think there should be penalties and prosecutions how would you deter this cold, calculating well organized engine of destruction?

                    Do you think resistance is futile?

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:32:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Feel free (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      to continue to use comments as springboards for your own, unrelated rants, while utterly ignoring the actual substance of the comments.

                      If you don't think there should be penalties and prosecutions

                      If you can't read, you shouldn't respond.

                      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:37:06 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  What I responded to were these comments (0+ / 0-)

                        punishment is not the only available remedy

                        Punishment isn't a remedy, its a means of enforcement. Written laws shouldn't be subject to the interpretation of the John Yoos of this world.

                        If you can talk your way around them, have a well placed friend offer you immunity, indulgence or pardon, then you are encouraged to scoff at them which is not the reason we have them.

                        if you drive your car through your neighbor's window, the village court might you to fix the window at your own expense, and perhaps do a few extra hours of chores for them.

                        I would view that as an automobile accident, possibly compounded by negligence. The Bush administration is no accident

                        Our punitive system is based on a puritanical view of the world that doesn't really hold up to modern scrutiny

                        We don't have one single punative system. We have one system for poor minorities whose chances of being protected rather than prosecuted are not good, and another for our "best and brightest" whose chances of being prosecuted rather than protected are not good.

                        Equal justice for all requires prosecution of those who up to now have been protected.

                        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

                        by rktect on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 09:18:15 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  not to be pedantic (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          But, enforcement is done by a police force, punishment is meted out by a judiciary.

                          An example of "enforcement" would be arresting someone for violating a law, or issuing them with a summons; while "punishment" is one of several possible sanctions imposed by the courts. Another is a truth and reconciliation commission, as the diarist suggested, and others are seeking ways to connect the criminal with the aggrieved and force them to redress their victims, by imposing some kind of compensatory labor or other means.

                          The car example was not a comment on the severity of the Bush administration's crimes, it was merely an example of an alternative to the common punitive sanctions US courts impose for such crimes.
                          Another example would be when courts order a drunk driver to educate young people about the consequences of his or her drunk driving - which does happen on occasion in US courts.

                          It is not a binary choice - sometimes the most effective consequence is a combination of punitive, educational, rehabilitative AND compensatory measures.

                          As for the rest, I don't know how you decided that I was either defending the Bush administration or endorsing anything but an equal standard of justice for all, from the fact that (as I repeatedly note) I made two simple points:

                          1. punishment is not the only available sanction against those who violate a law (and, there is quite a bit of research suggesting that, in many cases, it is not the most effective one); and,
                          1. we must remain vigilant about the slippery boundary between punitive sanctions and revenge.

                          I keep hoping for a response to those actual two points, but thus far you have not presented either a counter-argument or agreement.

                          Since I stated those points in response to a comment of yours which outlined three different kinds of crimes in general - those without a victim, crimes against property, and violent crimes against the person - my response would seem to be perfectly substantive and, uh, responsive - while your rants seem to be tangential to anything I have argued.

                          I was looking forward to a thoughtful discussion about the pros and cons of progressive reform of the US judicial system, and how models like the diarists might or might not be more effective than mere punitive measures, and instead find myself portrayed as a Bush apologist. This is beyond absurd.

                          This is becoming a distressingly frequent phenomenon on DKos, as people stop listening and only care about venting their anger at whatever aggravates them at the moment, with no reference to the actual comment they are supposedly responding to. If I needed to bath in bile, I'd go to LGF.

                          Can you hear that you and I - and the diarist - are in violent agreement regarding the Bush administration and the need to enforce the laws equally in all cases - AND that we differ on the best judicial consequence to impose for the betterment of society?

                          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:05:29 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Violent agreement (0+ / 0-)

                            I suspect that when you claim punishment is a sanction (but not the only one) you are suggesting there are both positive and negative sanctions and you get more flies with homey than with vinegar.

                            You apparently consider that a punitive sanction is tantamount to revenge.

                            I don't consider you a Bush apologist but I do think you have too much faith in a judicial system no longer staffed with competent administrators but rather secret rubber stamp FISA Courts.

                            How can we believe justice will come forth from a justice department staffed with US Attorneys whos first alleigence is to the Republican party rather than the constitution.

                            How can we trust politicians who as lawyers have at one time or another in their careers listened to a jurist they admired speak on behalf of the principles of the Federalist Society.

                            A politician who has listened to a man argue that separation of powers are implied in the constitution and not walked out in a huff should not be voted for.

                            Any member of the Senate who has heard it argued that the president as chief executive (unitary executive)should be Commander in Chief of all the departments in the executive branch including the defense department and the justice department and have people serve at his pleasure without the advice and consent of the Senate and has sat still for it should be tarred and feathered.

                            You may call that revenge, I call it a wake up call; its similar to a preacher laying his hand on your brow and shouting heal as you fall to the floor, or your dad slapping you up against the side of your head.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:20:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I suspect (0+ / 0-)

                            that people who spend most of their comments restating the arguments of others in ways that suit their straw man construction, are people who lack confidence in their own position.

                            Once again, you ignore actual comments and proceed to rant on your favorite topic. I'm done with that childish game.

                            One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:37:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  If the President, Vice President and others (9+ / 0-)

            have committed war crimes, then they should be prosecuted for war crimes. Maybe we shouldn't execute a President, but I do think we should join the International Criminal Court and if guilty spend the rest of their lives in a cell.

        •  9/11 Commission Had Subpoena Power.... (6+ / 0-)

          ....but they hesitantly and rarely used it.

          A truth Commission on War Crimes, that's what torture is, could be of great benefit to the nation. It also could be a sham that the 9/11 Commission was.

          The GOP would likely try to neuter an investigation into the nirvana of "bipartisanship".

          Well I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari... Tehachapi to Tonopah--Lowell George/Little Feat

          by frandor55 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:44:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lessons from Morocco (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Matt Z, abundance

          In Robin Wright's book "Dreams and Shadows", she describes some of the horrible things that Morocco did in the name of national security.  Torture, holding people without charges, kangaroo courts..actually it sounds quite familiar.

          The new king took office and decided to make a break with the past.  Further, he decided that he could not step into the future unless they looked squarely at the terrible things that had been done.

          His process was flawed and there was no punishment attached to anything.  In spite of the frustrations of the process, there was an opportunity for the victims to give their pain expression.

          Afterwards the country did move forward.  Again, there were frustrations and they did not go far enough.  However, there has been tremendous progress and the old methods have been roundly discredited.

          I think a truth commission is worth trying.  It will not be a perfect process and we may end up frustrated by the results.  We can take steps to discredit the work of the Bush Administration. During the next security crisis, when someone is brought in for questioning, there won't be much anyone can do to protect his/her rights.

          But maybe if we expose the evils of this administration, the next round of abuses (wheneven it comes) won't be so bad.

        •  When someone suggests (0+ / 0-)

          a truth commission, it just seems to me that it's sort of like the trial you should have, but with noone getting punished, because you know the truth is so much more important.

          Bollocks, every one of them should end up doing hard time in rough prisons. no excuses, no soft easy jails. they should face the worst time that  we can give them, a taste of their own medicine.

        •  There is value in holding up a mirror (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          so that every single person in this country has the opportunity to contemplate asking themselves the question, "How could we have let this happen?" Yes, there will be lies, but there also will be enough hard evidence and sincere people such as Major General Taguba to cast doubt on those lies. This is part of a long process of awakening people's conscience to the reality of what has happened to this country and to each of us who live here, how we have been diminished and by our silence and willful ignorance have diminished ourselves. We allowed ourselves to be terrorized by our own government and its corporate allies. If even a fraction of the people in this country can understand and acknowledge this, along with their responsibility to not allow it to continue, things can change. As much as I'd like to see Bushco in jail, every single one of these sociopaths, I'll be happy just to see people begin to Wake The Hell Up.

          "The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit leaders stumbling around like zombies handcuffed to a corpse." Larry Hunter

          by TheWesternSun on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:18:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is a FANTASTIC DIARY! (20+ / 0-)

      And such good news is long overdue!  Thank you so much for writing this diary.  It made my day.

      This is a little off topic, but it still touches on the degree of corruption within our government.  I was reading an African Newspaper, and ran across this article I thought was rather interesting.  It discussed suspected political murders carried out by the United States in Nigeria, and the author urges for more murders to be carried out with regards to the situation in Zimbabwe. I found this article to be shocking.  Although, I guess I should be shock proof after the Bush years. It appears I am not shock proof, afterall.

      Here is the link:

      We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

      by Eyes Wide Open on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for this. (15+ / 0-)

      I am utterly convinced that the President and Vice President, as well as the former Secretary of Defense and others, authorized torture. This is a gross assault on the Constitution and America itself. Not so much the nation of America (although that too) as the idea of America.

      This President has broken this precedent that goes back to George Washington. He has done so willingly. If any president has ever deserved impeachment, this one does. I'd argue that he deserves it more than Johnson and Nixon did, and obviously Clinton.

  •  Glad to see this ... (48+ / 0-)

    ...although it sure took Kristof a long time to get around to covering this story that I wrote two and a a half weeks ago at Clear Evidence of War Crimes: Stern Letters to Come?

    The problem with Kristof's idea is that the model for it - the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions of South Africa and Rwanda - required that those who committed the crimes had to come forward and tell the truth, nothing but the truth, and leave nothing out. Do we really expect Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and the others in this atrocity to speak without reverting the the forked tongues they have employed since 9/12/01?

    I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land. -- Mark Twain

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:14:48 PM PDT

  •  diaries such as your, abundance,... (13+ / 0-)

    are the true watchdogs.  The MSM, in general, has lost all motivation for exposing the truth.

  •  Sidebar on retired Major General Taguba (30+ / 0-)

    If you've read the national best-seller or saw the film We Were Soldiers Once... And Young, then you know it was written by former war correspondent Joe Galloway. He was the only civilian awarded the Bronze Star during the Vietnam War. He was honored for rescuing wounded soldiers under fire. (Actor Barry Pepper portrays Galloway in the film.) This is to say that Galloway's word carries weight in the U.S. military.

    Galloway writes a military affairs column for McClatchy Newspapers. Galloway recently wrote this about Taguba:

    Tony Taguba knew something about prisoners in wartime long before the Pentagon ordered him to investigate the torture and shameful mistreatment of Iraqi detainees revealed by those soldier photographs taken inside Abu Ghraib prison.
       You see, his father Sgt. Tomas Taguba was a soldier in the famed Philippine Scouts and was, briefly, a prisoner of the Japanese after Bataan fell in the opening days of our war in the Pacific. Sgt. Taguba escaped during the Death March and spent the next three years spying on the Japanese and relaying the information to U.S. forces.
       After the war the senior Taguba was allowed to enlist in the U.S. Army and served honorably and unsung until his retirement. His son was born in Manila in 1950 but grew up as American as apple pie, earned an ROTC commission at Idaho State University and was only the second Filipino-American to attain the rank of general in our Army.
       Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba would undergo his own trial by fire when, in 2004, he was named by the Pentagon to conduct a carefully walled-in investigation of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib....
    My thoughts keep returning to a little speech Gen. Taguba made to his team of investigators as they first began their work in 2004:
       "Bottom line: We will follow our conscience and do what is morally right."
       Would that our president and his unindicted co-conspirators had done the same.

    •  But the horrifying thing is.... (6+ / 0-)

      none of those responsible had consciences.  there is mounting evidence that they not only knew and condoned what was going some cases, they may actually have watched it happening.

      And knowing all that, if they had consciences, they still let it run unabated....and in fact often pushed for techniques used to be even more brutal.

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:11:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But... (10+ / 0-)

    the other recced diaries told me that the NYT had become a mouthpiece of the republican party, and wasn't to be trusted!

    I'm so confused....

    (Seriously, Kristoff freaking rocks, and thanks for the diary).

    "I do not equate my oppression with the oppression of blacks and Latinos. You can't. It is not the same struggle, but it is one struggle." Bob Kohler

    by dedmonds on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:24:05 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (7+ / 0-)

    I really hope this gets done. There has to be some accountability for the Bush administration.

    Maybe a Truth Commission will wake up John Q. Public to what has been going on. It's so sad how many people don't know or just don't care.

  •  will explode in their faces (13+ / 0-)

    It was all well and good to beat, sexually assault, and otherwise ruin the lives of detainees when we were top dog, but our banking system is about to implode:

    And the rest of the world is sick to death of the Bush administration's conduct. One would hope the large, multinational bus will have a variety of administration figures thrown under it, preferably in the form of extended, all expense paid trips to The Hague.

  •  I'd support a commission (19+ / 0-)

    ... provided no one from the Bush-Cheney administration is on it.  No one connected to the administration; no one connected to McSame.  And no one who is a Democrat who has supported any legislation proposed by Bush/Cheney or the neoCons or this stupid illegal, unethical, immoral, unjustified war/occupation in Iraq based on lies for oil.  The only Rep I can think of who hasn't caved is Dennis Kucinich, since he's the only one man enough, with balls big enough and spine stiff enough to bring impeachment resolutions against both Cheney and Bush to the floor of the House.

    From this "truth commission" must come a recommended list of people to prosecute for war crimes, along with warrants of arrest for those people.  It can be done under US code, Title 18 which specifically deals with war crimes.  War crimes are also unconstitutional since the Geneva Conventions is incorporated into the US Constitution under the treaties clause.

    It's not enough just to have a "truth commission."  The findings must have consequences for those who ordered torture as well as those who actually did torture (altho some of the latter have already been punished since they were the lowest on the totem pole).  Otherwise it's a useless venture, and will be more of the same kind of congressional investigations going on now where nothing gets done because the defendants keep claiming executive privilege to protect Georgie's and Dickie's butts.


    by NonnyO on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:28:08 PM PDT

    •  Amen! Accountability is the Taguba position. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, alkalinesky, on board 47

      The only question that remains to be decided is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account. It's not just about fact-finding. First, name-taking; then, butt-kicking.

      •  Taguba has ir correct, IMHO (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jesterfox, greenskeeper, snazzzybird

        I want a truth commission, but I don't want forgiveness and reconciliation.

        I want justice for those who have died and those who have been maimed or harmed in any way for the sake of lies for oil.  Only after the perpetrators (those who ordered torture and those who actually did the physical acts of torture) are convicted for their war crimes and spend time in jail (preferably for the rest of their lives) can some kind of healing process begin.

        Forgiveness is NOT what they deserve, but prison is.  There are times when forgiveness is just not possible and this is one of those times.  I will certainly never forgive them.


        by NonnyO on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 11:19:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bush tried to kill key provisions of 18 U.S.C.... (6+ / 0-)

      ...§ 2441 or what is commonly called the 1996 War Crimes Act.

      "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:13:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the link to the statute... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bmaples, NonnyO, abundance, paul94611

        "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:17:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you know if this was successful? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug, ImpeachKingBushII, abundance

        The article is dated Sept. 22, 2006, and the Military Commissions Act of '06 did pass in the Senate almost a month later (ca. 16 Oct, IIRC - Leahy and Kennedy both brought tears to my eyes in their speeches against MCA '06 when I watched the "debate" on C-SPAN).

        I still firmly believe MCA '06 and the Patriot Acts should be repealed in their entirety.

        It makes me physically ill every time I think about how the Dems cave in to Bush-Cheney, especially after the Dems got a majority in '06.  If the Dems would "only" stand up to them, on anything, they could save their own sorry asses, but they continually cave, which makes them accomplices to the Bush-Cheney administration's crimes.  Don't they understand that?  (Doesn't Obama understand that, too, since he's a constitutional lawyer?  I don't understand why he would support the new FISA fiasco with or without the telecom immunity clause in it.)

        Now this latest FISA fiasco.  It only covers Bush's and Cheney's arses in the long run.  And it was the House Dems who helped bring it back to life after the bill had already been killed.  "All" the Dems would have had to do was leave it the hell alone until after January '07....  As I understand it, there really is only the one section that needs to be changed to allow some kind of wiretap on foreign calls that go through 'wires' in the US, so not a lot of the original 1978 FISA laws needs amending.  The rest of the stuff in the current FISA fiasco doesn't need to be added.

        Here's the list of money the House Dems got from the telecoms:


        Thanks for the link, IKBII.  I marked it in my favorites file.  Oddly enough, I already had the other link from Cornell marked in my favorites file already.  I've known about the war crimes statutes for a while, know it can be used against Bush, Cheney, their administration.  All that on top of the fact that the Geneva Conventions are part of the US Constitution under the treaties clause.  It's now also mentioned in Kucinich's impeachment resolutions, too.


        by NonnyO on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 11:10:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm doing some more research on it... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jesterfox, NonnyO, roadbear

          ...but here's a link on Bush's plan for blanket retroactive immunity from the War Crimes Act for the CIA and military as of 2006:

          It's probably going to take hours to research this if Bush is true to form. If I turn-up anything I'll keep you informed. I may diary it if I think anyone will read it. I get frustrated after researching for days and weeks sometimes and nobody seems interested in my hard work. I think you know the drill here which really bores me day after day.

          People would rather(it seems so anyway)have their petty flame wars and talk about how Obama let them down ,"boo hoo". They let themselves down by not doing their homework and electing congress critters like Kucinich & Wexler who actually have read and stand for the Constitution! I wish people would stop blaming Obama for not fixing everything-he's not even president yet! You would think that would ring a bell in their brains!

          Anyway, about it, Bush's modus operandi is to keep the public in the dark as much as possible about his tyranny, i.e. the law he signed permitting him open and read our snail mail was enacted on Christmas Eve on 12.24.06! YES HE CAN!

          So don't be too terribly surprised if he doesn't already have this immunity allowing our troops to kill and torture indiscriminantly at will, by his orders, and with our yellow-bellied, subservient, compliant, (did I say cowardly?) congress' blessings! Like I said, I'm going to research it and get back to you. Thanks for the link to the traitors who were bribed by the telecoms to change their votes.

          "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

          by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:34:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sure all of the signers of the Declaration... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, abundance

            ...of Independence are jumping for joy(not), if they could only see what's happened to our Constitution under the reign and auspices of this treasonous rabble! And WARRANTLESS anything? You know it's got to be a hot poker stuck right in their asses eyes! This was one of the primary reasons they fought to sever ties with the British Crown! That and the quartering of troops in their homes. And isn't it exactly the definition of taxation without representation, if the corporations can thwart the people's will & steal our votes by the stroke of a check, aka bribery? Why do I feel like it's deja vu all over again? They've all got to be spinning in their graves! You can bet the founders, especially Washington, Jefferson, all three Adams-John, John Quincy and Samuel, Hamilton, Madison, Monroe, and the rest would hang this rabble, all of these monarchy-enabling traitors for high treason if they were still around! Starting with Bush and working their way down! Does anyone have the slightest doubt in their pretty little heads that they wouldn't? I don't doubt it for a second!

            "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 08:03:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Totally agree! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I cringe knowing the Founding Fathers would have condemned what the last couple of congresses have done in the strongest possible terms... and knowing our media has just gone right along with it, endlessly repeating the propaganda without questioning it.  As for publishing anything counter to the official stories coming from the White House... nah.  The few who do publish anything critical are jeered down and called unpatriotic in a time of war (never mind the whole damned war based on lies is a war crime and unconstitutional).

              The Founding Fathers would have had the courage to impeach the bastards, too.  They were far more courageous than the last two congresses.  That's what made the Revolutionary War succeed, as well as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  They were people who had the courage of their convictions.

              They seem like people out of some fairy tale myth now.


              by NonnyO on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:44:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, IKBII.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Well, I'd appreciate and be interested...!  Probably a few others would, too.  If you do diary it, those of us who need a scorecard to keep up with all the violations and abuses need a "refresher" for our memories.  We've had nearly eight years of ugliness, horror, abuses of laws, and violations of our Constitution that have gone unpunished, so it's difficult to remember all of it.

            Georgie and Dickie and their criminal lawyers have been dismantling our Constitution at an astonishing rate.  I remember something a while back about immunity for Blackwater and other mercenary groups, but for the life of me, I can't remember this second if that bill passed or not.  Probably yes, I'm guessing.  I can't remember an instance when Georgie and Dickie did not get their way.

            The only mystery is why our cowardly Congress Critters have allowed this crap.  Really, why would even the 'PubliCons okay half the idiotic legislation or going to war with no just cause, since the same powers would be inherited by Dems and I would think they would go to any lengths to avoid even the remote possiblity of that much power in the hands of the Dems.  Of course, 'PubliCons, unlike the complicit Dems, would impeach at the drop of a hat, with or without just cause.  Dems seem to have forgotten that.

            I appreciate your research and hard work...!  :-)


            by NonnyO on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:37:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Very good point and... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

     pose a very interesting question: Why would the repubs risk leaving behind the almost absolute kingly powers they've accumulated during the Bush constitution-slash and burn years"?Unless, they never have any intention of really ceding anything back to the people at all, why would they just hand-over to the Dems all-or any of their ill-gotten gain?

              I offer my own opinion written by my own hands, not based on anything but my own subjective anecdotal suppositions:

              I am left with only one logical reason, and that of a learned, thinking man, and I therefore must conclude that the Dems are active enablers, active accomplices, and actually part of, Bush's grand plan to turn America into a fascist police state. I am left with the burning question, is it too late, the die being already cast; have they worked their work so well we are beyond saving? And if one has any doubt of his true intent, one only need look at the end result of nearly 8 years of his flouting the rule of law, and thumbing his nose at our people and Congress!

              What else would or could possibly explain their lack of action, their lack of courage to oppose his tyranny, their lack of hearings?
              A-...on Bush's consitutional usurpations,
              B-...on Bush's use of torture and extraordinary renditioning,
              C-...on Bush's warrantlessly surveilling the American people-or warrantlessly searching anything against the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution!
              D-...on Bush's war crimes,
              E-...on Bush's war profiteering,
              F-...and even taking the impeachment of Bush's whole crime family off the table, since becoming the Majority party? They can't use the excuse of being in the Minority as a cloak anymore, can they? So why?

              What excuse can they offer the American people for letting these thugs get away with murder and unspeakable crimes against the Constitution, the American people and this republic, and against allowing them to continually commit the highest treasons imaginable with impunity?

              What excuses can they possibly offer besides active complicity? Unless they are motivated by fear, I know of no other excuse for their treachery, except perhaps money. Did they betray us for 30 pieces of silver? Or the lust for power, and the sharing of it with our political enemies?

              What is it about Bush that scares them so much, unless it is not fear at all? Inquiring minds would like to know the answers to these questions, and we need to keep pressing our elected leaders until we get them.

              "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

              by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:55:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, the $64 Trillion Dollar Questions.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                So many of your words echo what I've been thinking...! I'd jokingly ask if you've been reading my mind, but I'm in no mood for joking about this subject.

                I want answers from our Congress Critters, especially the Dems...!

                There is no good, solid, logical reason they've given away so many of our rights - without the consent of the governed (only the propaganda in Lamestream Media) - and hasn't anyone in their offices read the emails we've been sending them politely asking, then begging, pleading, demanding that they not give away our rights, and/or haven't their staff members conveyed the same messages from our phone calls...???  Are our calls and emails going to an intercepted office kept by Georgie and Dickie and not going to our Congress Critters at all?  After Harmon's brief speech in the House saying her phone had rung off the hook and her constituents were against it but then she followed with her reasons for voting for the PAA (FISA), something goes through to someone, but I wonder if all are going through.

                Of course, Harmon is one of those who got money from telecoms, too....

                If it's not fear or blackmail, then Congress Critters have to be willing accomplices.  And that thought does NOT make me feel predisposed to give them the benefit of the doubt or be charitable in my judgement of their ethics or morals or oaths of office....

                If you write a diary about all of this, please send me an email with a link to get my attention if I somehow miss it (I have errands to run off and on in the next couple of days, so many diaries could scroll off the list without me getting to them in time).  My email addy is in my profile.

                But I still believe you're on to something....


                by NonnyO on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:49:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I can't believe (14+ / 0-)

    This is my country.

    In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    by alkalinesky on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:30:26 PM PDT

  •  Send Bush & Cheney to the Hague (10+ / 0-)

    or hope the Europeans take them prisoner when they are foolish enough to travel to Europe.

    It took many years but finally Pinochet was taken prisoner. They released him because of sickness in old age but maybe Bush will see his day in court. We can hope. He's a war criminal.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:31:18 PM PDT

    •  Dictator Pinochet practiced water boarding (10+ / 0-)

      And he was condemned for it by human rights groups, including PHR. Of course, 20 years ago, nobody in the U.S. human rights community would have believed that one day, the President and his cronies would authorize waterboarding of detainees -- men who were never even charged with any crime.

      •  An except from "Slavery By Another Name"... (10+ / 0-)

        by Douglas Blackmon (Doubleday) which chronicles how (between the Civil War and WWII) white judges, sheriffs and justices of the peace, with the aquiesence of county and state governments in the south, conspired to arrest tens of thousands of African Americans on trumped up charges, and when they could not pay their fine, sold them to the owners of lumber mills, mines, factories and farms to work for little or no pay in hellish conditions.

        Punishment was far more severe for infractions as minor as fighting, tearing bedding, or insolence toward guards.  One witness told of the use of water torture at Eureka, on convicts for whom whipping was deemed insufficient.  Such prisoners were physically restrained.  Then, "water (was) poured in his face on the upper lip, and effectually stops his breathing as long as there is a constant stream."  Over the next 30 years, variations of this medieval water torture technique were repeatedly employed in southern slave labor camps, in some cases supplanting whipping as a preferred measure of punishment.  Many convict managers chose this terrifying method because the convict was able to more quickly recover and return to work than after a severe flogging.

        But of course, we're more civilized today.

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:20:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Probably won't happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug, abundance, paul94611

      There have been several diaries and many comments on BushCo and The Hague. I am not expert in this area, but it seems that because we are not part of the ICC establishing juristiction is difficult. In addition, it would take one of our European allies to spend a major amount of political capital to have Bush charged at The Hague. Not impossible, but seems unlikely.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:57:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may be right. (0+ / 0-)

        It would be a difficult and protracted legal battle, whether it were before The Hague or a federal case wending its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

        It would be a difficult case to bring. Yet if a truth commission were to follow the South African model, and grant broad immunity to those testifying, then accountability under the rule of law would become impossible.

        Yet it is possible to have a truth commission without granting immunity. It is possible to preserve the option of prosecuting war criminals, however difficult that legal battle might be.

        •  "Immunity to those testifying" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is the key condition here.  Do you really think Bush or Cheney would ever testify in front of a truth and reconciliation commission?

          I also believe immunity was restricted to those who told the truth to the commission.  Even if, and it's a huge if, Bush and Cheney would testify, we all know that they are genetically incapable of telling the truth.

          The more those subordinate to the power structure testify, the greater the true and ultimate sources of the war crimes and human rights violations would become.  Such a commission would make the guilt of Bush, Cheney, etal undeniable, even to their most blatant apologists.  Even the irrationally unreasonable will be forced to admit the obvious, sooner rather than later.

          I consider myself an Agnostic because the only thing I believe in less than God is certainty.

          by aztronut on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 11:06:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Also, it does nothing to make us a free nation (5+ / 0-)

        since our laws remain unenforced.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:12:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It might be possible (0+ / 0-)

        ... to have Bush, Cheney and their administration's officials charged with war crimes if the next president signs on to the ICC.

        I remember a long time ago someone said Bush refused to sign on to it early in his first term (as in, before 9/11) and now we know they planned the Iraq invasion even before the 2000 election, so the illegal invasion of Iraq was going to happen with or without 9/11, and they had to know if they did invade it would be considered a war crime under the Geneva Conventions which are incorporated into the US Constitution under the treaties clause, and they could be tried for war crimes by ordering the invasion, so that's why Bush refused to sign on to the ICC.


        by NonnyO on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 11:25:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is my view (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wonmug, NonnyO, paul94611

          That Obama will not allow Bush, Cheney or any Bush cabinet member to be tried for war crimes in the US or at The Hague. I think he will feel that it would be too devisive when he is trying to be inclusive. Just my speculation, based on no facts.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:14:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I think you're right.  I believe Obama will take the coward's way out.  Except for a few Dems like Kucinich, Feingold, Dodd, Kennedy, et al., that's what the Dems have done for the last eight years.

            Those who have died in vain and those who have been maimed for life will never have justice as long as Georgie, Dickie, and their evil co-conspirators are running around free.

            I'm in no mood to sing Kumbaya and let bygones be bygones.  Georgie and Dickie and their evil minions need to be held accountable for their lies and war crimes.


            by NonnyO on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:50:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to Kristoff and Herbert for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bethcf4p, abundance, mayim, on board 47

    starting to report on this disgraceful, but hopefully limited, and hopefully self-limiting, episode in American history.

    I suspect the intermittant and halting nature of the media's reporting reflects the reluctance of the American public, generally, to acknowledge and face this obviously difficult situation.

  •  Shouldn't the title be "Kristof Op-Ed" (0+ / 0-)

    It's in the NYT, but it is a columnist, not the editorial board of the Times. I think these titles should feature the writer, not the publication, it's misleading.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:50:25 PM PDT

    •  Maybe, But an Op-Ed is not an Editorial. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, hulagirl, Akonitum, mayim

      Here's my perception, for what it's worth. When the New York Times speaks, it is an editorial. When a columnist speaks, it is an op-ed.

      Therefore, to my mind, a "NY Times Op-Ed" implies that it is a column. If the reader were in any doubt, it is quickly dispelled in the lede to my diary, which describes Kristof as an op-ed columnist writing for the Sunday edition. Further, the link to his piece shows that he is writing under his own byline, for his own column.

      The purpose of the headline is to inform and engage. I thought more people would recognize and respond to "NY Times Op-Ed" than "Kristof Op-Ed." Many folks might not recall right off the bat that Kristof refers to Nicholas Kristof, the op-ed columnist for the NY Times.

      Anyway, that's my two cents. Sorry if the meaning was misconstrued.

  •  Oh, for f***'s sake. If this has been going on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for as long as it has, and much of it has become public knowledge, and most people don't give a rat's patootie, what DIFFERENCE does it make now? I bow to no one in my loathing for the Chimp and His holy ministers, and long to see justice done, but honestly: even "better late than never" isn't very satisfying. I've lost friends because they think Smirky's doing a heck of a job and simply cannot or will not consider why it is that I'm grieving for my country.

    •  Good question. What difference does it make now? (8+ / 0-)

      Justice needs to be applied equally, even-handedly, or it means little. Equal justice under law means habeas corpus for detainees who were rounded up, detained, and tortured without any criminal charge in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.

      The world is watching, waiting to see whether America's citizens will rise up and demand accountability of our government for committing war crimes. Our Statue of Liberty holds up a torch and invites the multitudes to seek justice on our shores.

      The difference that justice makes to the commission of war crimes is the difference that lighting a candle makes to darkness. The difference that light makes to darkness is vision -- vision without which we stumble in the dark, and lash out indiscriminately without distinguishing our potential friends from our potential foes.

      Because of the Bush Administration's blindness in committing war crimes, a new generation of terrorists is being recruited and motivated. We are less safe as a nation; the world is less safe because America has become a blind giant stumbling in the dark, lashing out indiscriminately.

      The difference is justice. The difference is vision. The difference is whether we and our children and our world will be made more secure or put in ever greater peril because of a refusal to shed light on the truth of what has been going on in the dark corners of the American experience.

      •  I quite agree. Too bad most of the rank and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snazzzybird, abundance

        file have their heads in anal defilade and care more about Brangelina than about torture, justice, etc. A friend of some 20 years' standing took umbrage to something I said and may well want nothing further to do with me (and unfortunately, I'll beg no one to be my friend.) Before leaving, though, he said (among other things) that $5/gallon gas didn't bother him. I guess that means the free market is working as it should, eh? I honestly thought that high gas prices would do what the endless parade of dead and mutilated youths could not: get people off their goddamn asses.

        •  You will enjoy this then. (19+ / 0-)

          Here's a laugh-to-keep-from-crying piece by Steve Bhaerman that just ran in Op-Ed News. Bhaerman writes about the traditional media's slow wake-up to the Taguba "war crimes" allegation:

          In case you missed it, there was a front page story two weeks ago that most newspapers -- like our own "liberal" San Francisco Chronicle -- treated as a no-page story. While those of us in the Bay Area were offered a front page analysis of Tiger Woods’ injury and the latest doings of penguins at he zoo, a former commanding general in Iraq accused the Bush Administration of war crimes.

          You didn’t hear about it? Well, obviously you weren’t supposed to. In the preface to a report prepared by Physicians for Human Rights, Maj. General Antonio Taguba (USA-Ret.), who led the U.S. Army's investigation into the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal, wrote: "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

          So, let’s see. An American general accuses the Commander-in-Chief of committing war crimes, and it doesn’t even make the news. The last time an American general accused the President of committing war crimes was ... uh ... never. In other words, something truly new happens, and it’s not even "news." Our so-called "free press" is free to report freely on any story it likes, provided it doesn’t rock the ship of state. I’ve said it before, but it -- sadly -- bears repeating. The main difference between the corporate media and Pravda is that the Soviet citizens knew they were being lied to.

          We no longer have a free press. We have a brainwashing machine stuck on spin.

      •  Unless this is a tipping point (5+ / 0-)

        I don't see it happening, especially after I saw this, this morning

        AP: U.S. Okayed Korean War Massacres

        and this was friggin mid-1950 according to the article

        and I only see it in the news TODAY, July 6 2008

        I pray you are right, but I am pessimistic due to historical behavior

        It looks just like a Telefunken U47 - with leather...

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:25:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Truth AND Justice Commission (10+ / 0-)

    We do need a Truth Commission, but only if it insists on justice for the people who ordered the torture and for their enablers in Congress and the media. Public confession of guilt and repentance may be sufficient for many of the low level people involved in this, but it was initiated at the highest levels in part to undermine the rule of law, public morality, and the guarantees of the Bill of Rights—and to prepare the way for even worse crimes to come.

    The White House devils behind this, including the top ones like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Gonzalez and the middle management justifiers like Yoo, Addington, Bybee and their ilk, should all be held criminally accountable for this, along with their chief accomplices among Congressional leaders and the propagandists of talk radio and network TV "news". So in that sense we don't want the kind of Truth Commission that some countries have had that recognizes guilt but precludes its punishment. We do need a Truth Commission that allows for future prosecution of our own little Pinochets.

  •  Images from Abu Ghraib...WARNING... (5+ / 0-)

    Warning: This link is uncensored & extremely graphic and depicts pictoral evidence of our Armed Force's torture and abuse of the Iraqi people.

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:26:40 PM PDT

  •  I'd rather see a truth commission on 911 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, trueblueliberal, lisastar

    because everything stems from that big lie.

  •  I feel like I should be entitled to sue the US (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bethcf4p, frandor55, lisastar

    for my kids' sake and to protect all of us from the proto-fascist system they've been implementing since 9/11.

    •  Since Before 9/11........ (0+ / 0-)

      Bush and the Telcos were breaking the FISA law within weeks of his inauguration in 2001.

      for my kids' sake and to protect all of us from the proto-fascist system they've been implementing since 9/11.

      Well I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari... Tehachapi to Tonopah--Lowell George/Little Feat

      by frandor55 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:49:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Larry Wilkerson and Wesley Clark should head this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bethcf4p, lisastar, abundance

    Wilkerson, Powell's chief and Clark have spoken up loudly in opposition to the Bush travesties. Both respected military officers.

  •  I don't like the idea of a Truth Commission. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Divertedone, greenskeeper, abundance

    These sorts of commissions can get in the way of prosecuting war criminals.  It happened in Sierra Leone where their TRC made prosecution more difficult.  Investigate - Yes, but do it with an eye towards possible prosecution.

    John McCain - Practicing the old style of politics for the past 72 years!

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:39:18 AM PDT

  •  The only commision we need can be found (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulagirl, UTvoter the Netherlands.  Charges:  Crimes Against Humanity and Waging Illegal War.  Punishment:  Death By Hanging.

    You Sacrifice the Thing You Love the Most. I Love My Guitar - Jimi Hendrix

    by jds1978 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:49:11 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful concept.. (3+ / 0-)

    fully investigate and hold accountable those who ordered torture

    Punishing the few who were low on the food chain accomplishes nothing to prevent this happening again in the future.

    The place of blame is at the top.
    If those at the top say they didn't know this was happening, tell them that they should have known; as you fit them for their orange jumpsuit (codpiece optional.)

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:54:32 AM PDT

  •  War crimes tribunals is the way to go (IMO)... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, The Wizard

    we already know the truth.  

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:23:52 AM PDT

  •  Nice job abundance. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, abundance

    Let's keep the pressure on these bastards.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:24:37 AM PDT

  •  Kristof's piece is important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, abundance

    as is Taguba's book.

    Thanks for making the effort to try to make more people aware of both.


    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:30:07 AM PDT

  •  One of the national institutions (5+ / 0-)

    that didn't do it's job was the Democratic party.  The Media didn't do it's job as well.  The media worked hand-in-hand with the Bush administration to destroy any Democrat who attempted to do their job.  

    Kristof may have been one of the few who spoke out in 2003, but he didn't call out his newspaper then, or now.

    John McCain the last member of the Keating five.

    by AppleP on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:30:54 AM PDT

    •  Kristof seems to be regretting media complicity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He does not seem to be excusing himself, at least in today's op-ed column.

      Nevertheless, it's clear that netroots pressure is needed to spur traditional media into doing its job as a watchdog.

  •  A great group (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulagirl, abundance

    that has been involved in such commissions elsewhere is psychology beyond borders

  •  Why must we wait? IMPEACH (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, hulagirl

    Barack Obama -- The President we were promised as kids!

    by Jimdotz on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:05:39 AM PDT

  •  In Bush/Cheney (0+ / 0-)

    or anyone in their fucktard administration (past or present) are proven to have committed war crimes, won't Pelosi and Reid just pass a law to retroactively make it legal that they did so?

  •  Nerver (0+ / 0-)

    gonna happen.
    Never gonna amount to anything useful IF it should ever come to pass.
    Never gonna be anything but the status quo ruling through fear & governmental intimidation  as the Bill of Rights gets shredded.
    As Obama joins the crown to the roaring approval of the political center, glad that they are subjects once more to the Torie vision of perfection.

  •  Much as we would like to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elvis meets Nixon, abundance

    Bush and Cheney tried for war crimes, I cannot imagine that happening. The Obama administration will focus on moving forward on any number of fronts, being positive, coping with an economic mess, getting out of Iraq, etc. That will be judged internally to be more than enough to have on their plates.

    We (as much as they) need, however, to think long and hard about how to expose all that happened during the push years and mostly about how to make sure it cannot happen again. Should there be some new oversight office within the military, should there be some unofficial but visible inquiry, should there be a calling out on the failure of Congress to exercise any effective oversight, what else? Besides Bushco both the Congress and the media are complicit especially in terms of what they did not do.

    Kristoff and Hebert are doing an enormous service by setting an example now and should stay on it.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:16:49 AM PDT

  •  I smell a VP candidate (0+ / 0-)

    am I the only one?

    '1984': "Big Brother is watching you". 2008: You're going to end up on YouTube.

    by jhecht on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:18:36 AM PDT

  •  When is Obama going to start talking about this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, abundance

      It's like running against Admiral Doenitz* and pretending that concentration camps are politically "off the table", because the Germans "don't want to hear about that stuff".

      *Hitler's successor, briefly, as German Nazi Fuehrer.

    •  Kristof urges Obama and McCain to speak out (0+ / 0-)

      Kristof writes: "Both Barack Obama and John McCain should commit to impaneling a Truth Commission early in the next administration. This commission would issue a report to help us absorb the lessons of our failings, the better to avoid them during the next crisis."

  •  BS Truth Commiccsion (0+ / 0-)

    What the hell is a truth commission.  Why doesn't the NYT call for a friggin' Impeachment hearing like the CONSTITUTION allows and practically demands?

    Truth Commission No!
    Impeachment, YES!

  •  WTF do they need a fucking commission for? (0+ / 0-)

    It's not like they fucking have to fucking investigate for torture. The fucking Bush administration brags about fucking torturting people. What they fucking need to do is impeach some fuckers. Like, right fucking now!


    The Democrats will impeach Obama in 2010. Because it's only OKIYAR.

    by George Hier on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:35:24 AM PDT

  •  Waterboarding isn't torture; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it's partial execution.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:39:26 AM PDT

    •  Partial Execution is Torture.... (0+ / 0-)

      As is simulated execution.  Say you hold a gun to someone's head and pull the trigger.  The gun is empty or at least that cylinder is but the victum doesn't know it. That is also defined as torture.

      "Vote Your Hopes Not Your Fears."

      by YellerDog on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What most posters here are missing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, vrexford, abundance

    is that immoral policies don't just happen, they are carried out by otherwise decent people, people who may want, need, to relieve themselves of their burden of complicity. First the secrecey, then the power, then finally the shame will keep these other victims of Bushco separate from decent society unless we give them a mechanism for coming forward and telling the truth about everything done in OUR names. What we will witness is a collapsing island of lies and liars; leaving only the true believers who can be dealt with accordingly. The lies and secrecy will keep us divided. The lies and secrecy will limit our bully pulpit abroad. The lies and the secrecy will do us in unless we root them out like a cancer. A Truth and Reconcilliation Commision is the only way to accomplish this.

    We will fight. We will win. This machine kills fascists.

    by Elvis meets Nixon on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:18:16 AM PDT

  •  Special Prosecutors Needed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, abundance

    Anyone who thinks that the Bush Administration and its cronies will voluntarily reveal their many crimes is either kidding us or themselves.  It's not like we haven't seen this all before.  For thirty years at the end of each Republican administration, pardons are issued and the insiders collectively decide that the country must move forward, put the deeds of past administrations behind us, and otherwise not punish the guilty and not expose the complicity of the Village.  

    With each iteration of this process, the crimes get worse.  By now, the criminality is so rampant that it threatens our Republic, our economy, and the entire world.  I believe that there is broad public support for an investigative process to expose the truth and punish the guilty.  But, investigations are tough, and they need to proceed with both the power of the subpoena and the limitations on disclosure to protect those not prosecuted.  That is done with professional prosecutors - DOJ career staff for the DOJ scandals, JAG staff for the war crimes, etc.  

    The biggest issue is how to get around the anticipated presidential pardons.  There is only one limitation on that power, the President cannot pardon himself and he cannot pardon to prevent an impeachment.  Therefore, George W. Bush needs to be the target, and Congress needs to put impeachment back on the table (even after Bush's term ends).  

    •  ACLU is calling for independent prosecutor (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug, lisastar, rhutcheson

      I agree with the ACLU's position: Congress should demand that Attorney General Mukasey appoint a prosecutor, independent of the federal Justice Department, to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the treatment of detainees.

      •  Can Mukasey Be Trusted? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think not.

        President Obama's AG
        should appoint an independent prosecutor.

        I would rather wait and get something more than a fake investigation by an outgoing Bush Administration pick.

        •  Mukasey would have almost nothing to do with it (0+ / 0-)

          There's a three-prong test under which Congress can demand that the U.S. Attorney General appoint an independent prosecutor. That prosecutor would be able to investigate entirely independently of the Justice Department. Basically, the three prongs of the legal test having been met, Mukasey would have no choice but to appoint an independent prosecutor, argues the ACLU.

          Here is the three-prong test in a nutshell:

          1. A criminal investigation must be warranted (check!)
          1. The investigation or prosecution would involve a conflict of interest with the Justice Department (check! check!)
          1. Under the circumstances it would be in the public interest for an outside special counsel to assume responsibility for the matter (check! check! check!)

          Here's a link to the ACLU's letter to Mukasey calling for an independent prosecutor (PDF).

  •  Thank you for this excellent diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, abundance

    We can only hope that someone who has access to the kind of information that will serve as a tipping point on this horror will leak it.  We need a Daniel Ellsberg, a "Deepthroat".  If there are any real patriots out there who can do this, now is the time to act!

  •  Truth Commission? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, abundance

    Maybe the NY Times should start with itself...maybe with Judith Miller and working their way up.

    The paper's relentless pushing of the neocon drumbeat need a little disinfecting sunshine.

    Support the Netroots Candidates! A VETO-PROOF majority in 2008!!!

    by InquisitiveRaven on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:22:26 AM PDT

  •  The bush White House (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Simple Man

    can consider themselves forewarned. There are people in this country who will not rest until the torturers have been convicted.
        The people responsble for this policy need to be charged, they need to be tried, and they need to be convicted. The arrogance of John Yoo and David Addington is sickening to watch. They had the biggest, loudest, mouths in the White House when it came to the policy.
        Now watching them struggle and squirm while they debate the meaning of the word "the" is pitiful. They are  bigoted, craven, cowards just like so many others in their political party-and best of all their future holds a jail cell; and they know it.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:25:33 AM PDT

  •  Heroically refusing to grant interviews? (0+ / 0-)

    I hesitate to call Taguba a "true hero." He is calling for the media to go after those responsible, but refuses to grant interviews to the media so they CAN go after the people responsible. How, exactly, is that supposed to work?

    •  Taguba is bound to guard classified information (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Simple Man

      A soldier's soldier and a true hero and patriot, retired Major General Taguba is honor-bound to safeguard classified information. Much of what was discovered in the investigation of Abu Ghraib has yet to be revealed, because his task was closely, narrowly defined only to answer a certain, specific set of questions. All the rest remains classified.

      To date, Taguba is the most senior official to accuse the White House of war crimes. That is no small thing. Taguba has done his part, and more. It is now up to the rest of us to rise to the occasion and demand accountability from our government.

  •  Kristof thinks we are all responsible.... (0+ / 0-)

    Bullshit, as usual.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 08:33:49 AM PDT

    •  well we should be bringing pitchforks and torches (0+ / 0-)

      to the steps of the whitehouse everyday. yet we don't. We are all responsible.

      "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by UTvoter on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:52:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think that's what he's saying. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Bullshit---he conflates national guilt with (0+ / 0-)

        with Bush criminality....I don't buy it-I need no "truth commission" to tell me which way the fucking wind blows under his sails.

        Kristof is a republican surrogate, not my best buddy. He and Friedman can kiss my ass. genius stenographers.

        By 2001, the PNAC signatories were all seated deep within the new Bush 'compassionate' administration, slamming the White House and Congressional doors shut on anyone with PACs or lobbyists of Democratic Party affiliation. The NY Times is not teh stoopids. Tell me a story, Kristof.

        Truth Commission my ass. I want prosecutions and detention, rendition to the freaking Hague fror BushCheneyRumsfeld.

        btw, Kristol is his best buddy. How do you think Billy the K. got his job?

        "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

        by ezdidit on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:08:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bush is a stain on the pages of our history! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Accountability... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, abundance, UTvoter

    I'm assuming the model for this idea is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. If that is the case, the rub lies in the fact that adopting such an approach means that we'd have to make a decision to sacrifice accountability for the sake of enlightenment.

    You see, the purpose of the South African Truth Commission is not to bring offenders into account. Rather, it is to gain a better understanding of what happened and how it happened. To this end, its policy has been to grant immunity to those who have testified and to not employ its findings in prosecuting those who have committed crimes. As such, it has been quite effective at uncovering the abuses of the past, but many victims have been dissatisfied at what they see as blanket amnesty for unrepentant criminals.

    Of course, there are other viable models for dealing with the investigation of war crimes. But I'm sure Judith Miller wouldn't be very happy with them.

  •  Sigh...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A commission is the right place to start, but I'm so demoralized - I just don't see it happening and I just don't see any fallout if it did. It's like Pelosi saying 'impeachment is off the table.' There is no accountability for anything anymore and it is starting to seem like a very bad movie.

    "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by UTvoter on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 10:50:59 AM PDT

  •  Would like Bush and Cheney to rot in jail (0+ / 0-)

    for approving torture. But a Truth Commission may be the best we can realistically hope for. At least it would all come out.

    John McCain. Older Than Spam. By One Year.

    by organicdemocrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:32:28 AM PDT

  •  but, but, but we're trying to win an election (0+ / 0-)

    so let's not rock the boat. This could make Obama look weak on terrorism after all. He certainly shouldn't say anything about it and we know the Dem Congress won't do anything so why even discuss it.

    I'm really tired of all you purity trolls.

  •  What a fucking horror and disgrace (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the American military investigator found that one of the men’s legs had been "pulpified."

    Fucking Republicans!

    Tipped, Rec'd and signed PHR's petition

    Free university and healthcare for all, now.

    by SoCalHobbit on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:22:06 PM PDT

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