Bush and Rumsfeld as Ethics Advisers


This Bush Administration just keeps on topping itself when it comes to outrages.

Now, after the press exposed a couple of cases of civilian massacres by U.S. forces–massacres the military tried to cover up–they’re calling for “ethics training” for the troops in Iraq.

Note that we are now more than three years into the slaughter, with our own forces responsible for the needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children (the president himself has casually acknowledged “30,000 civilians dead, give or take”).

Note that the administration–including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and Commander-in-Chief Bush himself–are responsible for the “rules of engagement” that have led to most of those deaths–the aerial “shock and awe” bombardment of populated cities, the leveling of cities like Samarah and especially Fallujah, the use of prohibited incendiary weapons like napalm and white phosphorus, the use of fixed-wing and helicopter gunships that saturate wide areas with lethal machine-gun fire, and not least the deadly tactics of “spray and pray” response to attack, and to shoot-to-kill orders at military roadblocks.

This administration’s talking about teaching ethics to soldiers is something akin to having the Israeli military or Hamas teach non-violent conflict resolution tactics, or having Attorney General Alberto Gonzales teach a course on civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to redefine torture to permit waterboarding and the use of 24-hour stress positions.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to round up legal alien residents in the U.S., including people who were given asylum because of persecution in their home country, and to deport them back to those countries without a legal hearing.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to take the most vile symbol of repression in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the Abu Ghraib Prison, and to convert it into a torture center for U.S. forces to use on captured Iraqis.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to kidnap people, both here in the U.S., and overseas, and to “render” them in secret to dank, dark gulags in former totalitarian states of Eastern Europe, and at Guantanamo Bay, there to torture them and even kill them at will, while hiding them and their fate from even the International Red Cross.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to kidnap, render and torture people, and eventually release them when it is finally demonstrated that they have a case of mistaken identity, and then to refuse to admit the mistake or even offer compensation.

This administration’s idea of ethics is to lie to its own people in order to be able to start a war against a nation that posed no threat, for purely domestic political advantage.

The point is, we’re talking about an administration of war criminals–people who should be indicted and put on trial, or, in Bush’s case, impeached and then indicted and put on trial, for crimes against humanity. And these guys have the gall to call for the teaching of ethics to the poor troops it has thrown into a pointless and hopeless war and occupation in Iraq?

Are we supposed to take this seriously?

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book, “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is due out May 1.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com




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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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