After spending over three years lecturing the world about “our values,” George Bush was asked a very simple question during a press conference at the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia.
Question: This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I'm going to say it one more time. If I -- maybe -- maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We're a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions out of -- from me to the government.
Is that clear enough for you? We have laws on the books to “comfort us”? Damn, I’ve had it so wrong for so long. I always thought we had laws on the books that reflected our “values” and that the government enforced them to make sure we all got along and respected each other’s rights. Now, I know better. We have law books for comfort. If it’s a cold and stormy winter night, we can burn them to generate heat.
A little later on in the conference, in response to other questions about his relationship with the other leaders who attended the G8 summit, George was back preaching about values. “We’re united by values. We're united by common values. …I like courageous leaders, people who express their opinions.…It’s hard to have a good meeting with somebody if you always wonder what their opinion is.”
Right about now, I am still wondering about Bush’s opinion of torture. Does his opinion reflect the values enunciated in the Convention Against Torture, ratified by the United States in 1994? Does he agree with the sentence in that treaty that states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
How about some follow up questions from these slick mass media reporters favored enough to get an invitation to ask George some “torture” question. If torture were made legal under American and international law, would an avowed God fearing Christian consider it moral? After all, abortion is legal but George considers it immoral. So, one has to assume that even Dumbya can make the distinction between morality and legality. How would Jesus treat Abu Ghraib inmates or Afghan “illegal combatants”? Are American values consistent with torturing inmates to death? Did George Abu Ghraib Bush abandon his values when he approved twenty-eight “kinder gentler” forms of torture?
Is it true that the Bush administration has handed over individuals to certain foreign jurisdictions where torture is routinely practiced? Is that not a breach of the Convention Against Torture, which just happens to be the law of the land? Before George gets more comfortable by burning another law book, could he tell us what Jesus would do?
Or how about the holier than though John Ashcroft, a man whose modesty compels him to cover up naked marble breasts because they affront his religious sensibilities. Forget about tortured legal opinions, what does holy Johnny really think about stripping Iraqi men naked in front of lewd sadistic women and setting wild dogs on them? Why doesn’t he demonstrate his moral fiber by releasing those memos approving torture? Maybe Ashcroft could paste them on those naked marble mammaries that so offend him? Or is he concerned that the memos are too obscene for people with “our values”? What would Jesus do with those memos Johnny? Would he claim executive privilege for Caesar?
How about Boykin, the man with the bigger god. Maybe he could give us another sermon on whether Jesus would set dogs on the “enemies of his bigger god.” Isn’t this a good time for Boykin to conduct a revival meeting with all kind of moving passages from the scriptures about how to properly torture the evil ones? What exact instructions did Jesus leave for the proper conduct of Christian soldiers in torture chambers? If God knows of a sparrow falling from the sky, would he not notice that Boykin was a party to the systematic humiliation and torture of defenseless naked Iraqi prisoners? Praise the Lord and go fetch the wild dogs.
Moving on to Rummy. How much of the “known knowns” is he desperately trying to bury in the “unknown” file? Is torture considered torture only when it causes “organ failure, impairment of bodily function or death?” Can he explain the memos condoning such practices? What exactly is his definition of “one-dimensional” torture? Instead of banning cameras in America’s Iraqi gulags, shouldn’t he be making them standard issue so that we can all get a two dimensional perspective of what goes on in Abu Ghraib and Fallujah? After the scandal broke, was it a good idea for Rummy to visit Abu Ghraib in an Israeli-made armored bus?
And while they’re explaining their role in the Abu Ghraib torture chambers, maybe these avowed Christians can do us another favor by giving us a body count of all the innocent Iraqis who were maimed, disfigured and killed by indiscriminate American firepower? What would Jesus say about “collateral damage”? Would he walk among the corpses and give the public an accurate tally? Would he casually walk away from the wounded and leave them to bleed to death? Would he investigate each incident to make sure that we don’t have rogue elements shooting up innocent Iraqi bystanders? Do the secret terms of engagement for jittery young American soldiers conform to biblical injunctions against the taking of innocent life?
When exactly did Christian doctrine devolve from ‘love your enemy’ to “sodomize your enemy”? In virtually every speech and interview, no matter the subject matter, Bush performs a little dog and pony show to preach his values and his faith and his religion. So, why can’t he give us a straight answer about whether torture is an acceptable part of his “faith tradition”? You are either for torture or against it? We don’t want the comfort of your law books, George. We want to know your heart. Once again, the question is: “Dumbya, regardless of what the law says, do you think torture is moral?”
Isn’t it way past time for this loser to demonstrate his commitment to the values that he incessantly preaches? Wouldn’t it inspire the children of America if George and the rest of our high priests performed a soul cleansing “mea culpa” concerto and then retired to a nunnery? Impeach yourself George and sin no more.
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