Dubya calls for the prosecution of himself

Andrew Sullivan uncovered this statement from George W. Bush circa 2003:

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.

Bush also described some of the techniques he found offensive:

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens.

In addition to waterboarding, stress positions, forced nudity and sleep deprivation, Bush authorized beatings for prisoners held by the military and CIA.

Isn’t it time to hold Bush accountable to both the law and his own standards?


More link love for Sullivan:


More on Bush’s own promises:

It’s important for people to understand that in a democracy, there will be a full investigation. In other words, we want to know the truth. In our country, when there’s an allegation of abuse … there will be a full investigation, and justice will be delivered. …  It’s very important for people and your listeners to understand that in our country, when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act. And we act in a way in which leaders are willing to discuss it with the media. … In other words, people want to know the truth. That stands in contrast to dictatorships. A dictator wouldn’t be answering questions about this. A dictator wouldn’t be saying that the system will be investigated and the world will see the results of the investigation.


  1. Ian

    I wish that this wasn’t a partisan issue, and that we could be objective about this. Unfortunately it is a partisan issue, and its basically going to become a political witch hunt which is the last thing we need.

  2. Chris

    Witch hunts imply ginned up charges. You know… witches didn’t actually exist 🙂

    Here we have very clearly documented crimes, confirmed by multiple sources, including by the accused.

    And independent prosecutors aren’t necessarily political. See: Patrick Fitzgerald.

  3. Ian

    You know I am right though. I’m more referring to the “public outcry” about this. Even you are doing it to some extent here citing stuff about Reagan and England. You have a definite intention in citing Reagan in juxtaposition to Bush.

  4. Chris

    The public outcry is completely irrelevant to the question of whether these guys committed crimes, and some very substantial evidence has come out against them.

    There were strong opinions along racial lines about OJ Simpson, but I doubt you would have suggested not prosecuting him for that reason.

    My intention with Reagan’s actions and Bush’s statements is to point out an absurd level of hypocrisy.

  5. Ian

    “The public outcry is completely irrelevant to the question of whether these guys committed crimes, and some very substantial evidence has come out against them.”

    I don’t deny this, but you know there’s probably some truth in guessing that if Bush had not wrecked the economy (or maybe that it had not soured under him), this wouldn’t be happening.

    “My intention with Reagan’s actions and Bush’s statements is to point out an absurd level of hypocrisy.”

    Which is precisely what the current liberal outcry is as well. Yes, many criticized the government for passing torture laws when they were passed, you included. However, the push for arrests and investigations by the Democrats was not made until now. That leads me to think that the reasons it wasn’t pushed for before were purely political, which also leads me to think this is purely political as well. It was pointed out by another commenter on this site that attacking Clinton was political suicide for the GOP at the time because Clinton was so popular. Had Bush been equally popular, it would only be the liberal fringe wanting his head right now.

    In other words, this isn’t about justice. This is about politics.

  6. Chris

    Bush was despised long before the economy went sour. And besides, being hated by the public isn’t a defense for war crimes.

    As for politics versus justice, read what Greenwald had to say.

  7. Ian

    Bleh, I stopped reading that garbage when he got to the amateur psychological stuff dealing with “projecting”. If anyone is projecting, its him. He assumes that because he wants justice free of partisanship (I’m not sure I even believe that), that everyone does.

    I’m not arguing that those who committed a crime should go unpunished. I’m arguing that the reason for going after the Bush Administration is disingenuous. Even you admitted so with your “Sometimes you have to get Al Capone on taxes”, quip. While you think thats a clever truth, it only serves to prove my point in the other debate. A justice system where you can’t get Al Capone for the myriad other things you want to get him for and should get him for, but are instead forced to get him for something as asinine as taxes, is fundamentally flawed.

  8. Andrew

    Politicians sometimes do things for political gain? Our justice system has flaws? Someone should probably call the New York Times. I’m glad we’re focusing on the big issues here, it’s not like anyone was tortured or anything.

  9. Ian

    Has Andrew become a mindless lefty troll too? Say it ain’t so!

  10. Andrew

    Seriously dude – you know what will most likely happen to the people who violated US law by authorizing torture? Nothing. Absolutely fuck all. And yet the problem here is that the people who aren’t happy with that are being too partisan? Really?

  11. Ian

    That’s not really what I meant. I said it sucks it has to be a partisan issue rather than a more objective issue (see my first post in this thread). Chris posted that one Gallup poll where they showed the percentage of Democrats wanting prosecution for torture being double that of Republicans. That sucks. Also, why do we do the trials now, instead of before when the torture was still happening so that we could’ve put a stop to it? That’s the political side of it that sucks. It could’ve been stopped earlier. We knew it was going on during Bush’s tenure, the release of these memo’s isn’t really a revelation in that regard.

  12. Andrew

    Your original post in this thread has you worrying that the torture prosecutions would become “witch hunts,” and you cite as an example Chris mentioning Reagan. So, sorry if I misread you there, but I think I had help.

    I’m with you that it sucks that so many people in this country don’t seem to care about this, but really I’d like to see more partisanship here out of the Dems, not less. Frankly I think this is one issue where harnessing the attitude of “fuck you, you fucking Republicans” is our best hope of getting the right thing done.

  13. Ian

    “Frankly I think this is one issue where harnessing the attitude of “fuck you, you fucking Republicans” is our best hope of getting the right thing done.”

    Maybe, but if Pelosi and others were in on it, I want them too. Even if the majority of this can be pinned on some of the Republicans, some of the Democrats were complicit in it as well. If it’s the Democrat’s doing the trials, we might get politicized indictments only for one side. That’s a bad thing.

    I called Chris out on the Reagan thing because I felt like he was making a deliberate point to be partisan here, when it really isn’t necessary. The point can be made without it. It should be obvious at face value that if the laws say torture is illegal, it doesn’t matter that Reagan signed that law, not in the way Chris is implying anyways.

  14. Chris

    For better or worse, the torture debate is dividing along somewhat partisan lines. 71% of the country thinks waterboarding is torture, while numbers largely equaling Bush’s minimum approval rating, and Republican part affiliation think it isn’t.

    I think it’s highly relevant to point out that the heroes of their own movement, including one that stands currently accused, were vocally opposed to torture.