Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bush Family Values [UPDATED]
I'm tempted to merely link to this (not necessarily work safe) as a premier example of Bush Family Values, or this as a repeat example of Presidential law-breaking and hypocrisy, but what we should really be outraged by are violations to our national conscience like this. The link is to a Washington Post review of the new book by reporter Ron Suskind, who includes explosive details of Bush's attitudes, statements, and miscalculations in the conduct of war.

Receiving the most attention so far is news that the "al qaeda mastermind" Abu Zubaydah was in fact clearly mentally ill, an organizational go-fer at best. Bush's main priority? Saving face. Sorry, long quote below, but important. Read the whole thing.
Suskind's portrait of Tenet, respectful but far from adulatory, depicts a man compromised by "insecurity and gratitude" to a president who chose not to fire him after 9/11. "At that point, George Tenet would do anything his President asked," Suskind writes.

Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
[UPDATE: For another jarring excerpt from the book, check this out. ]

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