Oblivious to the Obvious: All Truth Can Be Found in The Wire
In what has to be the worst timing in the world, Asa Hutchinson and a bipartisan panel that has been investigating torture in the Bush Administration following 9-11 has released a report this week.
It concluded that, yes, the Bush Administration engaged in torture.
Also in this week, water is wet, and the sky is blue.
Further, and this is what I’ve come to expect from the Huffington Post as regards Barack Obama–the headline and photo isn’t of Bush, Cheney, and the cabal of evil sociopaths who tortured. No, it is a picture of Barack Obama because he . . . was a state senator when this shit was going down?
No. Of course not. The Huffington Post and Progressives have concluded that President Obama refusing to investigate what we all know happened is the equivalent to, or even worse, than torture.
Thank you HP for once again proving you can’t be trusted when it comes to the president. Let me explain for all of you out there saying that the POTUS refusing to launch a witch hunt investigation into torture was somehow a betrayal, or part of the problem rather than the correct play in a dicey situation not of his making.
In times of conflict and political uncertainty I have found that all answers can be found in The Wire. An investigation into torture is like chasing the money in The Wire. The exact quote you are looking for is, “You follow the drugs, you get drug addicts and drugs. You follow the money and you don’t know what the fuck you’re going to get.”
Here is why this quote and this argument are important. You follow atrocities committed on the battlefield, soldiers committing crimes, drone strikes or mistakes and you get soldiers, even high-ranking soldiers. If you follow the torture and extrajudicial killing you don’t know what the fuck you are going to find.
The president came into office and looked behind the curtain. He looked behind the photos of Abu Ghraib; he looked at the Patriot Act and Bagram Air Base. He made changes. He stopped torture. He opened Bagram to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent; he did what he could. But he didn’t open a special counsel investigation into torture. He didn’t Ken Starr torture, and while it would feel good short term to lock up a bunch of Republicans for torture, you don’t know what the fuck you are going to find if you “follow the money,” or in this case the torture.
I preach the gospel of the rational actor, of the person who acts in a Realpolitik way. I know we tortured, and I know that proving it would have consumed the entire first term of President Obama. I had other fish to fry, I had other battles to wage and win. For me, it is enough that we stopped doing it, and that the impetus to do it again is gone. People are aware of the possibilities now. We’re vigilant in a way that we weren’t before.
We all, as a people, bear responsibility for what happened on our watch. This is a controversial view. Liberals constantly tell me they were protesting and screaming about torture. But it is a fallacy. We had control of the house for two years and the senate for four when Bush was president. We had oversight but failed to use it, we had the ability to protest and I didn’t see the Mall filled to bursting. Did you?
We all own this dog’s dinner. We all failed. Some more than others. I would love to frog march Dick Cheney into court and light his chicken hawkin ass up. But Dick Cheney wasn’t doing this alone and our silence for so long aided and abetted the worst conduct of a US administration since the Japanese were interred during WWII.
Water is wet, the sky is blue, and Bush ordered torture. We have to do better.
J. Christian Watts
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