‘Damn Right’: Bush Boasts of Waterboard Order

November 18th, 2010 by Andy in Human Rights (Torture & 'The War on Terror')

Ray McGovern, a former military intelligence officer and later a CIA analyst for 27 years, lays it out Here as succinctly and directly as possible as to George Bush’s corrosive impact upon American political culture, and his corrupting influence upon the social and civic fabric which is underlaid by the respect for the rule of law.

Former President George W. Bush continues to be beyond shame. Those favored with an advance copy of Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, say it paints a picture of a totally unapologetic Bush bragging, for example, about authorizing the CIA to waterboard 9/11 “mastermind,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

According to a newspaper account of the memoir, Bush says he is asked by the CIA for permission to subject KSM to the technique that creates the sensation of imminent drowning. His response is: “Damn right.”

For such a frank admission of high-level criminality, we can say, with ample justification, Shame on Bush. But that shame also sticks like Saran wrap to the rest of us – and especially to the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM), which has soft-pedaled the significance of Bush’s confession, and to his make-nice successor, Barack Obama, who has refused to demand any accountability.

However, if we are still a democracy, we are all complicit.

I don’t much care if this sounds judgmental. You see, I was alive during World War II when there was torture galore and then it was considered a grave offense. The Nuremberg Tribunals tried and convicted Germany’s leaders for torture and other war crimes.

In the aftermath of WWII, there were a very few serious people who were arguing that the world should simply look forward, not backwards, no matter how pressing the other crises that were facing a war-ravaged world.


However, it is now clear that U.S. officials do not believe they should be held to that universal standard, that the Nuremberg principles and other international laws should not apply to decisions emanating from the White House.

Rather than facing a stern judgment for his criminal actions, including approving torture and authorizing aggressive war against Iraq, George Bush is about to be lionized in Dallas over his presidential library, in bookstores for his memoir, and in the FCM.


In his memoir, Bush exudes confidence that he can achieve the resurrection of his popularity even as he boasts about his role on torture. It was a mark of almost inconceivable hubris that he would callously admit his authorization of waterboarding.

But he did make that admission, which lobs the ball into our court as American citizens. It is indeed time for the kind of judgment Justice Jackson envisioned, not a celebratory book tour.


Last but hardly least, shame on Bush’s timid successor. Every time I hear that Obama is a former professor of Constitutional law I find myself muttering, “And that would be the constitution of which country?”

The President’s soaring rhetoric falls flat fast the moment you stop to ponder how he has betrayed his oath to see to it that the laws are faithfully executed — in this case, by holding self-confessed torturers accountable.

Shame, too, on those of us who decide to remain silent as Bush openly brags about how he personally approved the use of controlled-drowning for interrogation. The Spanish Inquisitors who applied for the first patent on waterboarding had no qualms calling it what it is — tortura de agua.

“Unequivocally torture” is how U.S. Brigadier General David Irvine described waterboarding, after teaching POW interrogation and military law for 18 years.


As interrogator Matthew Alexander has said, “I have been contacted by World War II veterans who were outraged that the Bush administration so easily dismissed the American principles that millions of veterans gave their lives to defend. They pointed out what I have said all along: we cannot become our enemy in trying to defeat him.”


In 1775, as the birth of America hung in the balance, General George Washington said, “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any prisoner…by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

With George W. Bush’s “Damn right” permission to waterboard – and the FCM’s generally positive response to his torture declaration – America has certainly come a long way. Again, I believe we are all complicit.

So when will the “law and order” contingent of American politics call for Bush’s being arraigned for his violation of This law, as well as his violations of our international legal obligations as signatories of the UN Convention Against Torture.

Read the Original Full Length Article by Ray McGovern, published by Consortium News

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