To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, October 29, 2020

New Observercast

A Pass On Torture … After All This?

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BY KAREN WEBB

About to be an ex-president George W. Bush, at – thank God – his last press conference, said “the burdens of the job are overstated.”

If you are familiar with Dubya’s observations of the 60s, then this statement shouldn’t surprise you, but I was surprised because I thought maybe he had learned something in the last 50 years.

Keep in mind that Dubya is a month and six days older than I am …

“Gosh, I can’t remember,” Bush said, struggling to recall whether he had discussed these issues with his father. “I mean, I’m confident we discussed issues. I just can’t remember any long sessions sitting around.”

My dad and I discussed issues. The entire family discussed issues.

“There wasn’t a lot of protest at Yale in ’68,” he added. “I don’t remember that. And I think most people – I don’t know if you found anything differently – I just don’t remember any great days of rage. I think those were mainly in the 70’s.”

It is true that Yale did not explode until after the class of 1968 had graduated. But it is very odd to describe Yale in 1967-68 as “a fairly placid period,” as Bush does.

In Corpus Christi we were reminded all the time because they trained carrier pilots on the next island and they repaired big helicopters. When the entire dorm shakes with a flight of 10 or 15 big Hueys, and then you see on TV what they used them for, you can’t ignore it.

“Race riots erupted in New Haven between Mr. Bush’s junior and senior years, antiwar ‘teach-ins’ and protests multiplied, students burned draft cards and Mr. Coffin, the chaplain, was indicted for helping draft resisters. A group of nine students [including Strobe Talbott, now deputy Secretary of State] circulated a statement among seniors saying that they would refuse to be drafted; Mr. Bush refused to sign it. The Yale Daily News captured the surly mood with an editorial headlined, ‘Yale’s Future, If Any.'”

He didn’t sign it because he had special pull to keep him out of the draft.

I know it was some sort of exercise in fun and games to burden the rest of us with all the crap that didn’t burden him.

I think of the guy who ran his White House staff transition team. We all remember him, Kenny Boy Lay, who ran ENRON like a sadistic monopoly game, bankrupted his retirees and then died.

Building the attack on Iraq out of whole cloth. Giving huge tax breaks to people who didn’t need money and who did zilch to help the economy and he did it twice. He hid the dead heroes being brought home from his war.

There are so many things it is difficult to imagine how the burden of his eight years can be overstated without lying through his teeth, and that is exactly what he did.

I didn’t watch that last press conference, but I’ll read the transcript to save my TV from total destruction.

He actually thinks that we would all have been happy about the Katrina response had he landed Air Force One at Baton Rouge or New Orleans. I was just reminded by Keith Olbermann that the fly-over was on Wednesday, two days of frivolity after the hurricane hit
He had a friggin’ horse show judge in charge.

Olbermann also reminded me that the rescues he is speaking of were not ordered by Bush or the federal government. How long were those people at the SuperDome? The idea that he thinks it was alright to leave all those people there. The idea that his landing in Louisiana would have satisfied me or most of the people I know is bizarre beyond lunacy.

Right now, I can’t think of one thing he did to improve anything in either term. He blames everyone else for what he did. That is what happens when you surround yourself with people who already have an agenda and are going to invent anything they need to carry out that agenda.

I am extremely disappointed that from what I have observed, the Obama team is going to say they committed war crimes, but give them a pass for the good of the country. I hope that doesn’t happen.

If the Obama team hasn’t the stomach maybe another country will bring them up on charges. Torture is a crime and hiring people to re-define it doesn’t make it alright. If it is only done rarely it still isn’t right.

Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regularly contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.