Friday, October 05, 2007

We got professionals who are trained in this kind of work

Congressional hearings on Iraqi corruption Thursday. See the WaPo and David Corn articles. The anti-corruption official fired by Maliki for actually trying to stop corruption testified about the level of corruption and the violence against his agency. Asshole points to Rep. John Mica, who said it’s no worse than Watergate, and a lot of witnesses against Bill Clinton also happened to “die suddenly,” so it’s not a big deal. Also testifying, State Dept official Larry Butler, who said that Iraqi corruption is a classified matter, and refused to answer any questions in public.

Bush spoke briefly to the press this morning. First, he talked about the economy and how “I also am going to make it very clear to people in Congress that we’re not going to raise their taxes on the working people.” The word “their” puzzled me for a second. At first, I thought he was saying that he wasn’t going to raise taxes on “people in Congress,” but I think what he actually means is that every bit of taxation should be blamed on Congress, that he has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Then he addressed the newly discovered Gonzales torture opinion. He suggested that anyone objecting to torture is opposed even to arresting terrorists: “There’s been a lot of talk in the newspapers and on TV about a program that I put in motion to detain and question terrorists and extremists.” “I have put this program in place for a reason...” he said.

Oh, you’re wondering what that reason is? “...and that is to better protect the American people.” It’s just as reasonable as that. “And when we find somebody who may have information regarding an -- a potential attack on America, you bet we’re going to detain them, and you bet we’re going to question them”. For years if not decades to come. You bet.

However, “this government does not torture people. You know, we stick to U.S. law and our international obligations.” And what makes them so sticky? The blood of tortured detainees on their hands.

IN OTHER WORDS: “there are highly trained professionals questioning these extremists and terrorists. In other words, we got professionals who are trained in this kind of work”. Actually, one of the reasons for the issuing of the secret legal opinion was that the CIA in fact had no trained interrogators slash torturers. Although if there actually are “highly trained” interrogators slash torturers, as he says, I’d be interested to here more about the training program. How long does it last? Is there a certificate? Are they certified separately in various techniques, i.e., is there a waterboarding license? Etc.

He insisted that “the techniques that we use have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress.” Appropriate? I want a list. A list of the members of Congress who know about every “technique” being used on prisoners.

He assured us that prisoners will continue to be tortured in the future: “The American people expect their government to take action to protect them from further attack. And that’s exactly what this government is doing, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.”

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