Monday, May 18, 2009

A Great Reference on Torture and Rumsfeld's Bible Quotes

There are two things worth mentioning this morning to start the week.

First as we continue the conversation surrounding torture, Batocchio has an extremely comprehensive and well-written piece on this topic. It provides links to a lot of relevant blog entries as well as many other sources. You will find that this is well worth your time. You can find the piece here and here is a snippet:

This is not a game. These torture "debates" should not be thought experiments divorced from objective reality, history, the known timeline and the very real and deadly consequences of these policies. It's one thing for members of the general public to be confused or not be up to date on the general timeline and key details, or be swayed by fantastical ticking time bomb scenarios. It's one thing for the bloodthirsty chickenhawks who assume every Muslim or Arab prisoner is a guilty terrorist to indulge in their ignorant, self-flattering Jack Bauer fantasies of living in the "real world" of tough decisions. It's inexcusable that so many members of the media still - still - know and/or report these matters so poorly. We deserve and need better.


We have failed as a nation in allowing torture. We will fail again if we don't learn the full story and prosecute where appropriate as many of the guilty as possible. The perpetrators and their allies say they've done nothing wrong, so why would they stop should they re-gain (or maintain) power? The specific abuses of power may change, but the pattern of abuse will not. There's a direct line from Watergate through Iran-Contra to the Bush administration's abuses. As the recently-released Senate report shows, there's also a direct connection from trying to sell an unnecessary war with Iraq to torturing prisoners to make them "confess" to a non-existent Iraq-al Qaeda/9-11 link.


Torture is immoral and illegal. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but there's more than one road, and the price of doing nothing is just too damn high. It's a radical stance to be sure, but: Let the truth come out, and justice be done.

Also noteworthy this morning is the news that during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld delivered intel briefings to the President with Bible verses printed over top of military imagery. These Bible versus began appearing on the cover sheets of the intel briefings around the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and were delivered to a President who once referred to the mission of the United States as a "crusade". You can view the cover sheets of the intel reports here and here is a sample of some of the Bible versus that were used:

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [The quote appears over an image of a tank at sunrise]

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” [The quote appears over an image of a soldier in Baghdad]

“It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” [The quote appears over an image of Saddam Hussein]

“Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, The nation that keeps faith.” [The quote appears over an image of tanks entering an Iraqi city]

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