Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004  

Put Up or Shut Up [2]

Bush's release of the administration's "torture" documents should not be interpreted as the transparency of a government trying to set things right, but--as usual--a President trying to cover his ass. It's a familiar pattern: a scandal erupts and the White House handles it badly, causing even more scrutiny. This is followed by an act of selective disclosure, where only the documents supporting the President are released. This has generally been followed by yawns and whimpers from the press--the last noise we hear before the story vanishes for good.

So yesterday, under scrutiny about policy decisions that led to torture, Bush released all the documents showing he wasn't responsible. (Some of the released documents are available here.) Although the administration is promoting them as "evidence" of US purity on the issue, they can more accurately be seen as the cloud of ink hiding the squid.

Keep in mind that in the Senate, Republicans on the judiciary committee rejected a Democratic subpeona to release the rest of the documents on a party line vote (10-9). For now, the President is sticking with his protected, forget-Abu-Ghraib,-we're-not-in-the-torture-business line--even though there's no way to verify this.

We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture. The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being.

So here we are in another one of those "trust me" situations I talked about yesterday. Trust me: you have proof that US soldiers were engaged in sophisticated psychological torture, but it wasn't our policy. Just a few, really sharp sadists, acting alone.

And so we have an immediate opportunity to use our new phrase. Really? Put up or shut up--and release all the documents.

posted by Jeff | 7:22 AM |
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