The executive branch: now, Bush’s monarchy

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the latest spate of Bush’s executive decisions, he has vetoed the bill that would make specific torture practices, including waterboarding, illegal.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the latest spate of Bush’s executive decisions, he has vetoed the bill that would make specific torture practices, including waterboarding, illegal.

Ignore all the evidence that such tactics are known by our own military to provide very little, if any, useful information and generates even more false information that has to be

Ignore that Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has noted that the CIA’s use of such enhanced interrogation techniques has produced little to helped stop domestic and international terrorist attacks.

Ignore that at the same time Bush said such interrogation techniques have helped thwart plans against a Marine camp in Djibouti and the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, and plots to fly passenger planes into a Los Angeles building or London’s Heathrow Airport. Why doesn’t the Senate Intelligence Committee know about these things? And should we believe Bush, who lied about al-Qaeda and WMD in Iraq? And finally, ignore the reality that using such tactics makes our traveling abroad as Americans all the more dangerous since
we can be used as targets for retaliation.

In Bush’s words, "I cannot sign into law a bill that would prevent me, and future presidents, from authorizing the CIA to conduct a separate, lawful intelligence program, and from taking all lawful actions necessary to protect Americans from attack."

Notice that he says "a separate, lawful intelligence program," or in other words, a program that enjoys freedom from Congressional and Judiciary interruption. And when he refers to "all lawful actions," he is really saying whatever the government has approved as legitimate means.

Right now, thanks to Bush, "lawful action" includes forcing suspects into simulated drowning experiences, stripping prisoners naked, forcing prisoners to perform or to mimic sexual acts, burning, freezing and beating prisoners, and staging their mock executions.

But what about protecting Americans from attack? That sounds good, doesn’t it? Upon closer inspection we see what the implication of the U.S. being under attack really means.

First, many, if not most, of our enemies in the world are our enemies because of actions we have taken against them in the past – actions that served our interests at their expense, such as in Iran. We were responsible for the assassination of Mossadeq, their democratically elected socialist leader, in the early 1950s when he moved to nationalize Iran’s oil. We installed our man, the Shah of Iran – a dictator very much like Saddam Hussein – who terrorized his country for 30 years. We have brought much of the American hatred upon ourselves.

Second, we have by far more military power than any other country in the world, especially in numbers of nuclear warheads and high-tech weaponry. How are we threatened if our military is vastly superior?

Third, the foreign policy fiasco of the last 60 years should have taught us to study our history better. Remember in our country’s first wars how we completely annihilated King George when we were under attack by England? We were outnumbered, had fewer and much less sophisticated armament, no military discipline to speak of, had a continual influx of inexperienced men, and an exorbitant desertion rate.

How could we have won? Leaving the hand of God out of it, we used guerilla war tactics. We baited and ran. We attacked at night. We hid and shot.

In hindsight, we can see how we moved from being scrappy guerilla fighters to a world super-power through the threat of nuclear armament. But we have failed to recognize guerilla warfare as a technique that, short of total genocide, is fairly unstoppable. Just look at Korea, Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Guerilla warfare was unstoppable for King George, and it is impossible for us to fight too. Not when we have become the heavy, bureaucratic, occupational force asserting its authority on other nations. Is this why we can’t "win" in Iraq?

And because of our inability to win against guerilla fighters, Bush has made torture a legal part of our war tactics. And he’s done this to "keep Americans from terrorist attack."

It seems that, in fact, the person we are under attack from is Bush himself. By vetoing the CIA Bill, Bush has made being an American in the world more dangerous. Arguably, Americans are now more susceptible to attack than they were before Bush took office. It now requires more of our tax money and more governmental effort to keep us safe from the very situations our government has created.