Earlier this year I posted about America’s long night into torture (snippet):
Sen. John McCain, for all his bitter sore-loser nastiness toward President Obama over the years, agreed to work with him to codify his Executive Order 13491 into statutory law. On Tuesday, the Senate agreed to the bill cosponsored by Sen. McCain. Senate Votes to Turn Presidential Ban on Torture Into Law:
In a vote of 78-21, senators approved an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would restrict all government entities, not just the military, to using only the interrogation techniques described in the Army Field Manual.
The amendment would enshrine in law an executive order that President Obama signed in 2009 permitting only noncoercive interrogation methods.
“I believe past interrogation policies compromised our values, stained our national honor and did little practical good,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who was a sponsor of the measure. “This amendment provides greater assurances that never again will the United States follow that dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs.”
The provision, which was supported by all Senate Democrats and 32 Republicans, would also codify an executive order by Mr. Obama requiring that the Red Cross be granted access to detainees in American custody.
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A 2005 law [the “McCain Amendment”] prohibited the Pentagon from using harsh interrogation methods. Those restrictions did not apply to the C.I.A. and other agencies until Mr. Obama issued his executive order.
The absence of a broader law means that a future president could overturn the executive order.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who sponsored the measure with Mr. McCain, said the amendment would ensure that lawmakers, not government lawyers, set the parameters for interrogations.
Apparently J.E.B.(!) Bush and the unindicted war criminals from his brother’s administration who are his campaign advisers do not care that Congress is declaring, once again in multiple layers of law, that America does not torture because torture is illegal and is a war crime. Jeb Bush Leaves Door Open on Resuming Use of Torture:
Speaking at a national security forum in Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday, the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged that his brother’s record on prosecuting the war and its aftermath wasn’t perfect as he tried to balance his own outlook and reconcile the implicit connection he has to some of his brother’s unpopular decisions.
“I think people have every right to be critical of decisions that were made,” the former Florida governor said. “In 2009, Iraq was fragile, but secure.”
The “mission was accomplished” when it came to Iraq’s security at the end of his brother’s time in the White House, Bush said.
“That is a fact,” he said. “You can’t rewrite history in that regard.”
You just did J.E.B.(!) This is classic revisionist history. J.E.B.(!) Bush and ‘The Surge Fallacy’ of the Bush Doctrine.
He also pointed to the decisions he regards as a success. “Taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal,” Bush said in a reference to the execution of the Iraqi president.
The early afternoon event, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd of about 250 people at St. Ambrose University, was sponsored by a group called Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security.
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Bush said he’d leave the door open to resuming the use of torture in interrogations, refusing to issue a blanket statement about Obama’s executive order banning so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA.
“When you are president, your words matter,” he said, adding that in general he’s opposed to the use of torture and doesn’t think it’s effective.
A few seconds later, he sought to take a more positive look at his brother’s record. “I’m proud of what he did to create a secure environment for our country,” he said.
In their criticism of Bush’s Iowa appearance, Democrats sought to link him to his brother.
“Today Jeb Bush laid out that, when it comes to learning from his brother’s reckless foreign policy mistakes—carelessly sending troops into war, relying on faulty intelligence, and dismantling our relationships around the world—he hasn’t learned a thing,” Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “What was made clear today is that under Jeb, we should expect another four years of the Bush Doctrine.”
J.E.B.(!) Bush has made this crystal clear this week. There is no daylight between the policies he would pursue and those of the unindicted war criminals of the Bush-Cheney regime who advise his campaign, and who no doubt would serve in his administration.
Several commentators have focused on J.E.B.(!)‘s comment that “Taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal,” is a gaffe. The unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq is far worse than a “gaffe,” it was a crime. Jeb Bush Says The Iraq War Was A ‘Good Deal’ Because Saddam Was Ousted. Here’s What It Cost:
Speaking at a national security forum yesterday in Iowa, Jeb Bush asserted that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.”
In his remarks, Bush also refused to rule out the use of torture as an interrogation tactic and mimicked his brother’s famous declaration, saying that the “mission was accomplished.” Many of the architects of the Iraq War are currently advising Jeb Bush on foreign policy.
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By saying the ouster of Saddam — and, by extension, the Iraq War — was a “good deal,” he appears to be reverting back to his initial position.
But just what was the cost of the Iraq war?
More Than 4,424 American Lives
Counts vary but according to the Department of Defense there have been at least 4,424 U.S. military fatalities connected to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Watson Institute at Brown University notes that “[o]fficial Pentagon numbers do not include the many troops who return home and kill themselves as a result of psychological wounds such as PTSD.”
There is no centralized reporting but, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, hundreds of Americans — including contractors and U.S. military — were killed while involved in reconstruction efforts.
About 319 Coalition Lives
As part of the Iraq invasion, George W. Bush assembled a small “coalition of the willing” which included the UK and a few other countries. About 319 people from those countries died in the Iraq war.
More Than 115,000 Iraqi Lives
Iraq Body Count, a UK based group that aggregates news reports, morgue records and other data, estimates that 115,000 civilians were killed as a direct result of violence. A group of public health researchers, taking into account indirect causes of death, estimates that about 500,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war.
More Than $1.7 Trillion
The Iraq war has cost American taxpayers $1.7 trillion in direct expenses. It owes an addition $90 billion in benefits to war veterans. Ultimately, expenses could grow to more than $6 trillion, including interest.
Zero Weapons Of Mass Destruction
The public justification for the Iraq war was to eliminate the country’s weapons of mass destruction. Despite searching for years, the U.S. did not find any such weapons.
I said earlier this week that J.E.B.(!) Bush is wholly unfit to be a candidate for president of the United States. After his statements on Iraq this week, the media should drive him out of the race. Forget about that clown Donald Trump. The people around J.E.B.(!) Bush have already demonstrated just how criminally dangerous they are. It is why the Neocon architects of the unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq should have been, and still should be, prosecuted for war crimes under the Nuremberg Principles. They should never again be given the opportunity to return to power.