Friday, March 11, 2011

Obama Joins Bush as an Evil President

Bush will be infamous in history for ordering US troops to torture and turning the US into a torture nation.

Obama will be infamous for turning a blind eye to the abysmal treatment of an accused, Bradley Manning, in effect torturing an as-yet innocent man because you hate his actions.

Here's the relevant assessment from Mark Kleiman:
Asked about the extraordinary conditions imposed on Bradley Manning and the even more extraordinary remarks of the State Department spokesman dumping on DoD for that mistreatment, Barack Obama sounds completely clueless. Clueless at the Bush level:
I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assured me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.
Surely the President knows as well as anyone else that asking people accused of maltreating a prisoner whether the prisoner is being properly treated is like asking a drunk how much he’s had to drink. Since Barack Obama is not a fool, this can only mean that he’s reluctant to countermand Gates and Gates’s subordinates. (Note that he didn’t say that he’d had the allegations checked out and found that they were false.)
Obama reminds me of those German civilians living next to a Nazi death camp who claimed they "never knew" what was going on in the camp and weren't curious enough to attempt to find anything, not one thing, about what was going on in the camp. That was evil because they weren't that innocent. You can't live by a death camp and literally have "no idea" what is going on. Obama knows that the military is torturing Bradley Manning, an accused man but one who is still innocent until proven guilty. And even if the brain-dead military finds him guilty of treason (because he released material incriminating the US military is war crimes), it would not justify the torture they are putting him through. Obama is a lawyer. He knows that. But he is pulling the "nobody told me" excuse. Well... the Nurenberg trials made the point that you can't use the excuse "I was only following orders". And similarly "I didn't know that my underlings were committing crimes" is not exculpatory. Obama is evil.

Here are the facts according to Wikipedia:
Juan E. Mendez, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture submitted a formal inquiry about Manning to the U.S. State Department in or around January 2011.[35] In the same month, Manning's lawyer filed an Article 138 complaint, arguing that under Article 13 of the UCMJ the conditions of the detention amounted to unlawful pre-trial punishment.

And the British are pulling the same lying and fakery as they are with Julian Assange:
Amnesty International asked the British government in early 2011 to intervene on the grounds that Manning is a British national. Citing the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association in London, The Guardian wrote in February 2011 that Manning acquired British nationality by descent through his Welsh mother; under the British Nationality Act 1981 anyone born outside the UK after 1 January 1983 whose mother is a British citizen by birth is British by descent. The British embassy in Washington told The Guardian that it had not received a request to visit Manning.
I guess the British "lost" Amnesty International's request. And I'm willing to bet they will "lose" every one they get from Amnesty International. Yeah, sure Britain loves to tout Amnesty International for the "fine job" it does defending freedoms in countries Britain doesn't like. But if Amnesty International puts its nose into British misdeeds, the British suddenly find they can't understand how requests from Amnesty International get "lost". So much for "justice".

Mark Kleiman is willing to give Obama higher marks than I will:
Our actual choice next November will be between an incumbent who would more or less like to do the right thing about torture but isn’t willing to cash in all his chips to do so, and who also has sane and decent views about poverty, ignorance, and environmental catastrophe, and a Republican candidate who is enthusiastic about torture and also about poverty, ignorance, and environmental capacity.
I think the 2012 choice will be between (a) an evil shill for the ultra-rich eager to torture (the Republican) and (b) an evil hypocrite who claims virtues he is unwilling to practice, in short, a "leader" who doesn't have the courage to lead (the Democrat). Pathetic

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