To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, July 15, 2024


Tortured Logic



Am I perfectly clear on this, Mr. President: ignorance might be no excuse for me, but for the president and leaders of this nation it is an excuse? May I use that if I am ever charged with a crime?

You can excuse the highest ranking lawyers in the country, those advising the president for not checking case law or precedents when concocting torture instruction memos and then excuse CIA operatives even if they go way beyond the okie dokie to the torture.

Am I clear that if I can get an attorney to write me a memo saying that whatever I have done or am planning to do is legal that I am completely excused from culpability? Or does it have to be the president’s attorney, the top law guy in the nation, who gives me the permission slip?

So waterboarding is torture, but it might not be criminal if it is the CIA doing it and George Tenet and others can claim they were ignorant of the notion that the Sere program isn’t an offensive program, but is designed to aid someone who might be tortured?

Texas sheriffs can be convicted and Koreans, Germans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Pol Pot, but anyone in the leadership of the United States can claim ignorance and do whatever they please? The Red Cross and everyone else can agree it is torture and they can go after every other country in the world, but not this one?

I was on federal grand jury for a year back in the 1980s, and if anyone had tried to force-feed me this crap, I would have voted to indict just on the basis of being so stupid as to assume I would swallow this dung heap of moral flim flam.

Exactly which Constitution were you teaching? As far as I am concerned this is the darkest day in the history of the United States and I am including all of those other dark days. The day the United States of America accepted the idea that we can just give torturers a pass if we promise we won’t let anyone do it again.

How is it that we came to this point in history? We had a president who could excuse anything because we were attacked on 9/11. He can take about all kinds of civil rights and do anything while saying he was protecting us. Now we have a president who can excuse the same activity because the previous guy created two wars and an economic collapse and he doesn’t have time to worry about the past.

Please do not ask permission to give instruction to any more children because this simply will not do. Why would you say to a child, “Yes, I am aware that you cheated because you felt it was the correct thing to do; I am aware that you blamed someone else for your cheating; and said you had permission to cheat because you are you; and then you beat the crap out of your neighbor, and he is still suffering from you trying to force him to admit to your reason for cheating, but because graduation is next week and you still need to pass your finals we will forget all that stuff and make sure you graduate”?

I don’t buy it and I don’t care how you explain it, Mr. President. The Bush Administration dragged the moral compass of this country through the mud and they should not be allowed a pass. I am having a hard time believing that the GOP – which spent eight years going after President Clinton for lying about sex, which wasn’t any of their business – now thinks torture is excusable.

If I hear one more administration official say that we just need to move on I am going to scream and they will hear it in the oval office. Are they absolutely crazy? I guess the next incidence of waterboarding by another country, the U.S. will be forced – even if they are doing it to one of your own soldiers – we will have to say, “We understand, you were ignorant and your economy sucks, so let’s just forget it and move on.”

Is there anything that anyone could possibly do that can’t be excused because we are at war or we are in an economic crisis? I know they will say we aren’t excusing this – we are condemning it, but it just isn’t worth the time or effort.
Tell me just one thing: If we find out tomorrow that Bush and Cheney participated in lining up entire cities and just mowing everyone down and burying the evidence, will that be enough to get someone interested in the fact that this is completely, totally inexcusable and I don’t care what else was going on?

I will never understand, nor will I ever forgive anyone, including Obama, if we manage to get by with what we have sanctioned other countries for doing. We have starved countries with blockades because their leaders did this stuff. A Texas sheriff goes to jail for it. But the president of the United States can do it and make a fortune, which he doesn’t need, traveling all over the place giving speeches on how he saved the universe using torture?

Please waterboard anyone and everyone who says it isn’t torture. Do it to Cheney 183 times in May as my Mother’s Day present. Does anyone know that by letting these people off with just a hit to their legacy is giving any country on the planet permission to do the same things.

Talk about plea bargains – this one is a doozie! And then you get to say: this doesn’t count or mean that I believe the higher up you go, the less any laws of this land apply to you.

Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regular 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.