Torturers? Who, Us? While George W Bush Thinks Everything Is Just Fine, Guantanamo and the Abuse of Terror Suspects Are Dividing His Cabinet and Corroding His Presidency

By Stephen, Andrew | New Statesman (1996), November 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Torturers? Who, Us? While George W Bush Thinks Everything Is Just Fine, Guantanamo and the Abuse of Terror Suspects Are Dividing His Cabinet and Corroding His Presidency


Stephen, Andrew, New Statesman (1996)


How civilised life in America really is. "In our system each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial," President Bush reminded us just hours after it was announced that Lewis "Scooter" Libby--Vice-President Dick Cheney's adviser on national security matters as well as his chief of staff--was to be charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Days later, Bush looked the world's media in the eye, after a five-day swing through Latin America, and declared: "We do not torture."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Bush lives in such a bubble these days, as removed from reality as Richard Nixon was in his final weeks as president, that I suspect he believes both statements to be true. It took his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, to put him right on torture--or what people in the administration prefer to call "enhanced interrogation techniques". "The president has said that we are going to do whatever we do in accordance with the law," he said. But in practice, it is "difficult" for the administration, he went on, both to follow the president's guidance and to "discharge our responsibility to protect the American people from terrorist attack".

Even Bush's most loyal lieutenants are at each other's throats, and the issue beginning to divide them publicly is torture, with constitutional crises looming fast. Poor Hadley, an ultra-loyalist, can hardly contain his exasperation with his boss and increasingly sounds like a sorrowful father having to explain the words of a wayward, dim-witted son. And Cheney took advantage of Bush's absence in Latin America to drive in his motorcade up Capitol Hill to furiously lobby Republican congressmen and women over continuing to support America's right to torture, particularly in the network of "detention centres" that, we are told, the CIA is operating around the world, so that the US can carry out enhanced interrogations without being impeded by constitutional rights and laws and Geneva Conventions and tiresome things like that. Lining up behind Cheney, naturally, is the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld.

But there is now an opposing flank in the administration, led by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and Rumsfeld's deputy, Gordon England. They argue that even fudged words of support for torture, such as Hadley's, are disastrous for America's image in the world, and that the Bush administration must renounce it unreservedly.

The battle is even more ferocious just a step down the hierarchy: David Addington, Libby's successor as Cheney's chief of staff, left a Pentagon official "bruised and bloody" a few days ago because the draft of a Pentagon briefing paper used the same Euro-wimp words as the Geneva Conventions in defining torture.

Thus Condi and Rummy, to say nothing of Dick, are now at loggerheads. The White House, in the form of Karl Rove, is privately briefing that Cheney's influence is on the wane and that Rumsfeld will go soon any way--but the truth, as all but Bush know, is that the administration's political and legal nightmares on torture and prisoner abuse are only just beginning.

Take Bush's words on Libby's entitlement to legal justice. It is taken for granted, certainly in the US but also in Britain, that the United States would never lock up its own citizens without due process and a fair trial. That is a bedrock constitutional right, as the Supreme Court has ruled. True, blind eyes may have been turned to the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo abuses--but that is because the victims have been foreigners and the abuses carried out abroad. The British media widely reported that Tony Blair's proposal to hold suspects for 90 days without trial could never happen in the US, as the constitution would make it impossible.

Tell that to an American called Jose Padilla, who was arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago in May 2002 and who has been incarcerated ever since--without ever appearing in court, being charged with anything, or even being given a lawyer. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Torturers? Who, Us? While George W Bush Thinks Everything Is Just Fine, Guantanamo and the Abuse of Terror Suspects Are Dividing His Cabinet and Corroding His Presidency
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.