Who Gave The Green Light on Torture at Guantánamo? [Vanity Fair]

This article seems to be being cited all over the place, from Mic Check Radio to Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartmann and Keith Olbermann. Not so much in the ‘above the fold’ media.

This shows that the trail of torture at Guantánamo does not begin and end with a few ‘bad apples’ from a Guard unit from West Virginia. Rather, it was authorized “from the top.”

The Green Light
As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guantánamo detainee wouldn’t talk, the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual. The attorneys would even fly to Guantánamo to ratchet up the pressure—then blame abuses on the military.

The abuse, rising to the level of torture, of those captured and detained in the war on terror is a defining feature of the presidency of George W. Bush. Its military beginnings, however, lie not in Abu Ghraib, as is commonly thought, or in the “rendition” of prisoners to other countries for questioning, but in the treatment of the very first prisoners at Guantánamo. Starting in late 2002 a detainee bearing the number 063 was tortured over a period of more than seven weeks. In his story lies the answer to a crucial question: How was the decision made to let the U.S. military start using coercive interrogations at Guantánamo?

The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a “trickle up” explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration—by some of the most senior personal advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense. At the heart of the matter stand several political appointees—lawyers—who, it can be argued, broke their ethical codes of conduct and took themselves into a zone of international criminality, where formal investigation is now a very real option. This is the story of how the torture at Guantánamo began, and how it spread. [more at Vanity Fair]

If these are not high crimes and misdemeanors, what is? I mean, besides oral sex in the White House?

Can we impeach them now? Please? And reserve something especially odious for John Yoo?

“The only things truly “compromised” are the trust of the voters…friends, and family, in Iraq”

Olbermann was on fire last night, rightfully so. Joan Walsh at Salon says “it was a little over the top” but I don’t think so.

And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness–your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs–you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don’t give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands. How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic.

The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions – Stop The War – have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans. [Crooks and Liars Courtesy of MSNBC.com]

Since I live in Nevada, Harry Reid happens to be my senator. His office has heard and will continue to hear from me on this and other issues. You can watch the video at either Crooks and Liars or MSNBC.com