5 Jun 10

George W. Bush said he approved waterboarding and he would do it again.  In a speech at Grand Rapids on June 3, 2010, Bush said:

Yeah, We water boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed…I’d do it again to save lives.” Now that he has admitted his responsibility in  the crime of waterboarding, Bush stands alone among U.S. Presidents as having acknowledged participation in a crime. But his record of criminal activity is a long one.

For your information, the U.S. Military has punished American soldiers who participated in this form of torture. From The Trial of a Waterboarder:

“During the Spanish-American War, a U.S. soldier, Major Edwin Glenn, was suspended from command for one month and fined $50 for using ‘the water cure.’ In his review, the Army Judge Advocate said the charges constituted ‘resort to torture with a view to extort a confession.’ He recommended disapproval because ‘ the United States cannot afford to sanction the addition of torture.'”

“After World War II a war crimes tribunal ‘charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for water boarding a U.S. civilian. His sentence-15 years of hard labor.”

On the front page of the Jan. 21, 1968 issue of the Washington Post, a photo showed “a  U.S. soldier supervising the water boarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk.” 2 whatsapp in one phone download The Army court martialed the soldier two months later.

More recently, on March 30, 2009, “three decades after Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge, a pro-China communist group, were flushed from power, a prominent regime official stood in the dock Monday for the first time to answer charges of crimes against humanity, breaches of the laws of war, murder, and torture.”

Kaing Khek Lev, a former school teacher known as Duch, ran the infamous Cambodian torture center Tuol Sleng in the capital of Phnom Penh. As many as 16,000 men, women and children died there between 1975 and 1979.

Some of the charges against Duch:

“There were autopsies carried out on live persons, there was medical experimentation, and people were bled to death: These were crimes against Humanity admitted by Duch.” One of “the four forms of torture he officially condoned…was pouring water up victims’ noses.”

The prosecution, a court made up of Cambodian and international judges, “described a chain of death operated by Duch. His victims-most of whom were either disgraced members of the Khmer Rouge or their families-were either tortured with electric shocks, waterboarding or beating to extract a confession, which would implicate new victims. After confessing, the victims would be killed, most often by a sharp blow to the back of the head.” (Cambodia is now known as Kampuchea.)

So waterboarding is a form of torture and a crime. So why isn’t George Bush,  Condoleezza Rice and others held accountable for their actions?

Yes, I’ve heard it before. The accountability process would be divisive and disruptive to our nation.  That means sometimes being held accountable for your actions depends on how important you are.

Please see Stanford Students Confront Rice on Torture. (The 7 minute video is no longer available.)


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