Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Return to Divided Gov't

From the New York Times:

Newly released documents show that detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, complained repeatedly to F.B.I. agents about disrespectful handling of the Koran by military personnel and, in one case in 2002, said they had flushed a Koran down a toilet.

The prisoners' accounts are described by the agents in detailed summaries of interrogations at Guantánamo in 2002 and 2003. The documents were among more than 300 pages turned over by the F.B.I. to the American Civil Liberties Union in recent days and publicly disclosed Wednesday.

Unlike F.B.I. documents previously disclosed in a lawsuit brought by the civil liberties union, in which agents reported that they had witnessed harsh and possibly illegal interrogation techniques, the new documents do not say the F.B.I. agents witnessed the episodes themselves. Rather, they are accounts of unsubstantiated accusations made by the prisoners during interrogation.

The Bush Administration dismissed the newly released reports, claiming the allegations were old news made by "enemy combatants" who could not be trusted to tell the truth.

But if the Bush Administration won't allow abuse allegations to be investigated by somebody outside of the Administration or the military, how will we credibly investigate the accounts one way or the other, even if they are old news?

Here's what we know:

There has been a pattern of abuse, torture, and murder in Abu Ghraib, Camp Bagram in Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There are many photos and reports documenting this pattern of atrocities. Yet the Administration continues to deny any problem exists or they scapegoat low-level members of the military and call the atrocities "isolated incidents". Or they destroy the messenger by focusing on small parts of an accusation report that are unconfirmed while whitewashing or smokescreening the larger truths.

The solutiuon to this mess is for the American electorate to return a divided government to Washington. The Bush Administration has gotten away with making torture, abuse, and murder unofficial policy (wink,wink) in its War on Terror without anyone holding them accountable precisely because the Republicans control every part of the government. A Republican congress has allowed this Administration to quite literally get away with murder, bankrupt the country both financially and morally, and bog the military down in two wars that seem to be unraveling more and more each day. While a few brave Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham have tried to hold the Bushies accountable for the debacle in Iraq or for the prison abuse scandals, most have cheerfully ignored the problems and gone along with the White House propaganda.

Give back either the Senate or the House to the Democrats. Let them open real investigations into pre-war intelligence manipulation, the Downing Street Memo, the Abu Ghraib scandal, Koran abuse, Gitmo abuse, etc. Because as long as Republicans control every branch of government in Washington, the Bush Administration will never be reined in or punished for the terrible crimes they have committed in their War on Terror.

And there have been many.

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