Playing the role of Steven Seagal, Tom Cruise and Jesse Ventura combined, George W. Bush barricades himself in the Oval Office fending off the generals. Major General Romig, “Sir, this is against all military protocol.” Bush, “That’s right, I’m dangerous.” Brigadier General Sandkuhler, “This endangers our troops.” George Bush, “I ain’t got time to bleed.” General Sandkuhler, “Sir, it wouldn’t be you who was bleeding. It would be our men and women in the field.” Bush, “Well, they can take my promises to the bank, the blood bank!””
Major General Rives, “Sir, you are outside international and domestic law.” George Bush: “That’s right, I’m above the law!”
This is where we are supposed to see the credits with Bush bending some guy’s arm back, supporting a pony tail. Except this isn’t some cheesy 1990’s Seagal movie. It’s real life. These are the concerns that real generals and admirals from our Armed Forces shared with the President before he decided to go outside of international, domestic and military law to authorize torture.
This is where the usual Team Republican (people who have loyalty to their political party above their country) attack dogs step in and start screaming that the liberals don’t know how to fight a real war. So, let me list you the softie liberals who pleaded with the President to not go outside of established military law:
Maj. Gen. Jack L. Rives, Rear Adm. Michael F. Lohr, Brig. Gen. Kevin M. Sandkuhler, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Romig.
Go ahead, call them soft on terrorism – I dare you.
I know George Bush is legendary for how he fended off the Cong in Texas and Alabama, but he might have been wise to heed the words of real combat tested military officers. These men know that if we are outside of international law and our boys get caught, there is now a 100% chance that they will be abused, degraded and tortured. They weren’t willing to take that chance with lives of the men under their command. But Bush took that chance for them from the comfort of his Oval Office bunker.
Rear Admiral Lohr, in essence, warned that Bush’s actions would be “inconsistent with our most fundamental values.” Other senior military lawyers said authorizing this kind of detainee abuse would sacrifice our ability to claim “the moral high road.”
Eh, military officers, what do they know about being tough? George Bush was -- Out for Justice!
Trying to remind him that he was committing injustices (90% of the detainees in Abu Ghraib were released – it turned out they were innocent) in the name of justice only slowed him down. Trying to remind him that he was destroying American values while trying to fight for the American way only brought questions that he had a tough time grappling with in his tiny mind. Trying to remind him that, ironically, we might never be able to bring the detainees that are guilty to justice if we torture them, only made him seek shelter in the soft, fleshy comforts of Karl Rove’s tender arms.
No one in this administration should ever be able to utter the words “rule of law” without every reporter jumping down their throats and demanding to know how they can claim to be in favor of the rule of law while ignoring their top military officers’ pleas to stay within our own laws.
George W. Bush’s legacy will be a disastrous ship wreck, but when historians are looking through the rummage, they will find what caused the most amount of damage was that we sacrificed what it meant to be an American in an effort to sink to the level of our enemies. They will see that our military officers warned against this, said it wasn’t necessary, and in fact, was counterproductive. But the civilian leadership, almost all of whom had never been to war, ignored their advice.
And they continue to argue against this advice to this day. Just this week Dick Cheney went down to the Capitol to try to persuade Senators to not include an amendment proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the defense authorization bill. What did the amendment say? That we had to treat detainees in accordance with the Army Field Manual.
I know, how dare he? Besides what would Senator McCain know about prisoners of war anyway? Dick Cheney, who got five deferments from Vietnam (coincidentally the same number of years Senator McCain spent as a POW in a North Vietnamese prison), has the nerve to lecture John McCain on rules of war.
When Cheney couldn’t convince the Senators to back off, President Bush threatened to use his first ever veto. Vetoing a bill that demands we follow U.S. military law – how does anyone support these guys anymore?
I remember a day when America used to be better than this. I don’t say this because I hate America, as the rabid right claims. The generals didn’t warn the President against torture because they hate America. We fight for what’s right because we love America.