Monday, April 12, 2010

Disgraceful, Shocking, but to be expected...

From an article from the Times newspaper:
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.


Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees — children as young as 12 and men as old as 93, he said — never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken.

He also claimed that one reason Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld did not want the innocent detainees released was because “the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were”. This was “not acceptable to the Administration and would have been severely detrimental to the leadership at DoD [Mr Rumsfeld at the Defence Department]”.
The Bush administration lied to the American public without qualms. They were ideologues who knew they were "right" despite the facts, despite any morality, despite any sensible political strategy, despite any sensible military strategy, despite the long term interests of the United States, and despite the economic implications of their policies.

You wonder how the Germans could be herded like sheep by Hitler? You can get an idea by looking at how the American public was (and still is) herded like sheep by right wing ideologues in the US.


kanna said...

First, there is no surprise in that administration and dishonesty. Their ends justified any means-just ask them.
There is a certain percentage that will always follow and want to be led for various reasons. The danger is when there is an overlap of groups. A "good" leader can use them all and convince them that their various desires are best served by joining together.
Scary isn't it.

RYviewpoint said...

Kanna: It is very scary. When fanatics get into power it is very hard to ordinary people to "stay on top" of how they are being manipulated. The initial impulse is to accept what the leaders are saying. Even when you know they lie and manipulate, it is hard to figure out why and where they are trying to herd us.

I blame the media for not calling the fanatics to account. Publishing the truth a few years after the fact is interesting historically, but it did the public no good. It didn't give timely feedback to let them react and push back against the lies and manipulations of the Bush administration.

The media are the ones with the time and resources to follow events closely, check facts, and provide analysis. The public needs this. But the media in the US has gone into the "entertainment" business rather than journalism. (This isn't the first time the US media has gone off the reservation. Back at the turn of the 20th century, the "yellow press" with the likes of William Randolf Hearst manipulated the news to boost his sales. Today Rupert Murdoch is the Hearst of our times. But it is worse. Murdoch is a right wing nut and he manipulates news not just to sell more but to push his political ideology.

You are right: yes, this is all very scary.

kanna said...

Yes, you are absolutely right about the mainstream media in the US today.
It does seem that as people have less time the "news" coverage is pathetic. Freedom of the Press?
For what?
Ah the "yellow press", an interesting point in history.
Rupert? Well what can anyone say about that.
I remember when he expanded more into Britain in the 70's. Not so much here we thought.
Wrong again. Money buys power.

RYviewpoint said...

Kanna: I hope I don't come off as a doe-eyed idealist, but I think societies swing between right and left, a kind of dialectic where rampant rightists sew the seeds of their destruction as people get fed up with the lies and manipulation. Similiarly, excesses on the left sews seeds of its destruction and people get tired of bureaucrats micro-managing their lives. Both sides fall prey to trying to legislate their brand of morality which eventually exasperates the people who then rise up and cast of the shackles of oppressive government (left or right).

For 30 years I've been expecting (and hoping desperately for) a swing back to the left. I thought Obama signaled the change. Certainly there was a popular groundswell, but Obama has squelched that. He is a centrist. He isn't interested bringing revolutionary changes. He is simply embroidering around the edges.

Obama's approach is probably better than my wishful dreams. One thing I've learned in life is that social movements aren't easily controlled and they always entice a certain kind of manipulator out of the woodwork and let them talk themselves onto centre stage. These people have few or no scruples.

Consequently change is dangerous. Necessary, but dangerous. The trick is to do it slow and steady with a broadly based mandate. I keep hoping Obama will deliver on that. But I get antsy and fearful.

The tragedy of the US is that you have political parties that are not responsive to populist groundswell and you have a media that is too comfortable with the power elites as they currently exist. There are groups at the fringes who talk "big change" but they scare most people.

In short, change will come. I think change in the media has come via the Internet and the facilitation of alternative "news and views" it makes available. I do know that almost all newspapers in the world are struggling to retain readership. Here's hoping that Rupert Murdoch has lashed himself to the mast of a sinking ship.

Oh yeah... I'm being delusional again. That's what I would like to see happen, so I keep seeing it pop up in the tea leaves. Unfortunately I have to remind myself that what I want to happen and what will happen are almost 100% guaranteed to be completely different things.