Darrell Castle talks about war and honoring the dead and wounded.
In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, former President George W. Bush confessed to ordering the torture of a suspect in the 9/11 attacks.
“Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” Bush said of the man to whom The Grand Rapids Press referred as the terrorist who master-minded the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Bush went on to say that the event shaped his presidency and convinced him that the nation was in a war against terror.
To contradict Mr. Bush, his Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil said in the book The Price of Loyalty that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were planned from the first National Security Council meeting after the inauguration, obviously months before 9/11.
Ron Suskind, a Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote The Price of Liberty, a book about Mr. O’Neil’s time with the Bush administration.
If Mr. O’Neil is telling the truth, then Mr. Bush committed crimes against humanity by using the 9/11 attacks as a pretext for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
During these invasions and subsequent occupations, millions of people have been killed, wounded and left homeless. The infrastructure of both countries has been destroyed, and they have been contaminated by depleted uranium weapons. Tens of thousand of young Americans have been killed and wounded, both physically and psychologically.
Mr. Bush seems especially proud of his invasion of Iraq, a country that he must have known had nothing to do with 9/11 and had not harmed the United States in any way. Neither country presented even the most remote threat to the United States.
I quote from The Grand Rapids Press: “ ’Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world is a better place without him,’ Bush said.”
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to CIA admission, was water-boarded a total of 181 times. That’s 181 individual instances of torture before he supposedly “confessed.” I trust that we all understand that a confession obtained by torture is not a confession but a succumbing to unbearable persecution.
I have to give it to the Sheikh though, he’s pretty tough. I’m not sure I could hold on through 181 water-boarding sessions. I doubt if Mr. Bush could, either. I’ll wager that with a bucket of water and a couple of minutes a professional torturer – excuse me I mean interrogator – could make Mr. Bush confess to the 9/11 attacks.
But the invasions resulted in far more torture than Khalid Mohammed experienced. For example, the prisoners held at Abu Ghraib experienced torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide. These acts were committed by American units and US government agencies. I further point out that many of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were children, but the rest of that story is so vile, wicked, and disgusting that it is not appropriate for these pages.
So there you have it: A former President of the United States of America is proud of his authorizing torture and of his invasions of sovereign nations resulting in millions of deaths.
What does all this mean for us?
It means that we, the American people, are complicit in this man’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It means that the President is now above the law and totally unaccountable for anything.
His right to reign is similar to King John’s claim to rule by divine right. In fact, Mr. Bush clothes his actions in the Christian faith and uses it as absolution for what he did. I quote again from The Grand Rapids Press, “Bush underlined the role religion played in his life in the White House, saying prayer gave him strength to go forward. ‘I prayed a lot. I really did. I prayed before every major speech. I prayed before debates. It was a very important experience.’ “
So God told him to do it. He must know a God quite different from the one I know.
What does it feel like to wait in the night for your torturers to come? I don’t know, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does, and so do the children of Abu Ghraib.
- Darrell Castle
A recent article in the New York Times which was picked up by many other publications indicated that programs designed to help physically and psychologically wounded veterans transition into civilian life is still failing miserably.
The Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Fort Carson, Colorado, was the focus of the article, although there are many such units in the country. The WTU’s are supposed to help soldiers wounded in combat transition to civilian life or in some cases return to their units.
Many soldiers assigned to Fort Carson, along with their families, were interviewed regarding their experience in the WTU. Quite often the family had to be interviewed because the soldier had taken his own life. There have been months where more soldiers were lost to suicide than died in combat.
According to the Times article, the WTU’s are “warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by Noncommissioned Officers.”
The WTU is commanded by regular army NCO’s. Any person who has served in the military would know that’s a problem. The units should be headed by officers who are doctors, preferably trained in mental health. There should be no regular army NCO’s in charge of wounded troops. It’s not that they do a bad job; it’s that they do what they are trained to do and these soldiers just can’t take any more of it.
These problems have existed throughout our nine years of continuous desert warfare. Today’s soldiers are used up and thrown away like any other worn out piece of gear.
If a Constitution Party administration were in charge of the U.S. military, the promises made to veterans would be kept. The Constitution Party is completely committed to reducing the plight of veterans, wounded and otherwise. The military obviously has many soldiers from Tennessee, including entire National Guard units deployed in combat.
Perhaps it’s time the state governors, including Governor Bredeson, demand that President Obama do something to provide proper care for them. But wait. I forgot that President Obama is the one who demanded they pay for their care with private health insurance. Oh well, never mind.
- Darrell Castle