There was a time when the Village clucked and screeched about "defiling the white house" with an extra marital affair or hosting fund raising coffees. I would say this leaves a far greater stain on that institution than any sexual act could ever do. They did this in your name, Americans.
The vice president, national security advisor and members of the president's cabinet sat around the white house "choreographing" the torture and the president approved it. I have to say that even in my most vivid imaginings about this torture scheme it didn't occur to me that the highest levels of the cabinet were personally involved (except Cheney and Rumsfeld, of course) much less that we would reach a point where the president of the United States would shrug his shoulders and say he approved. I assumed they were all vaguely knowledgeable, some more than others, but that they would have done everything in their power to keep their own fingerprints off of it. But no. It sounds as though they were eagerly involved, they all signed off unanimously and thought nothing of it.
Naturally, the saintly General C. Lukewarm Powell was his usual evasive self when asked about it. (And if I hear one more person say he should be on the Democratic ticket I'm going to have an aneurysm):
Powell said that he didn't have "sufficient memory recall" about the meetings and that he had participated in "many meetings on how to deal with detainees." Powell said, "I'm not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal."
The Attorney General(!) also present and approving, was concerned that this was being done inside the white house:
Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.
According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."
That's what passes for integrity in the Bush white house.
He's certainly right about history not judging this kindly. Neither would a war crimes tribunal.
Derrick Jensen has a wonderful piece that he does about a time when he was still reluctant to use the word "apocalypse" to describe what's happening to our environment. A friend asked him, "What would it take for you to use that word? Would it take chemicals in the breast milk of every mother on the planet? We're there. Would it take dead zones in the Pacific Ocean? We're there. Would it take the extinction of carrier pigeons who were once so plentiful they darkened the skies? We're there. Would it take polar bears dying because they can't swim far enough to find the increasingly-scarce ice floats? We're there." And on an on.
I wonder what it will take for Americans to break themselves away from American Idol and Dancing With The Stars and America's Next Supermodel and take to the streets demanding consequences for this evil junta. Would it take the death of habeas corpus? We're there. Would it take warrantless domestic spying (almost certainly used on the media and Democrats)? We're there. Would it take lying the country into an illegal and immoral war that drained our economy of so much money that we had to go hat in hand to the Communist Chinese and look the other way while they slaughter Tibetan monks? We're there. Would it take the president of the United States of America shrugging and saying, "Well of course we discussed the sickening, obscene details of how to torture people"? Because, well, because we're there.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."