It’s official… “President Bush says he was aware that his top aides met in the White House basement to micromanage the application of waterboarding and other widely-condemned interrogation techniques.”
And he says it was no big deal.
“I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved,” Bush told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on Friday. “I don’t know what’s new about that; I’m not so sure what’s so startling about that.”
It’s true that it has been widely assumed and occasionally reported that the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation techniques could be traced back to the White House on a general level. But it was most definitely new last week when ABC News reported that a group of Bush’s top aides, including Vice President Cheney, took part in meetings where they explicitly discussed and approved — literally blow by blow — tactics such as waterboarding. And while Bush has previously defended these tactics — vaguely, and insisting against all evidence that they did not amount to torture — he had not, until now, acknowledged that he personally OK’d them beforehand.
If you consider what the government did to be torture, which is a crime according to U.S. and international law, Bush’s statement shifts his role from being an accessory after the fact to being part of a conspiracy to commit.
Bingo! I know all the practical reasons why we never tried to impeach the SOB, but hello — he has admitted to this – let’s put impeachment back on the table!
And where the blazes is the mainstream media on this??? As Dan Froomkin points out they have been mighty silent:
The mainstream media by and large seem to agree with Bush that the ABC News Report wasn’t so startling, and they have given Bush’s remarks almost no coverage. There was no mention of Bush’s admission in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or the Los Angeles Times. There was nothing on the major wire services. And nothing on CNN, CBS or NBC.
From an ACLU press release on Saturday:
“The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.
‘No one in the executive branch of government can be trusted to fairly investigate or prosecute any crimes since the head of every relevant department, along with the president and vice president, either knew or participated in the planning and approval of illegal acts,’ said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. ‘Congress cannot look the other way; it must demand an independent investigation and independent prosecutor.’
“Fredrickson added, ‘Congress is duty-bound by the Constitution not only to hold the president, vice president, and all civil officers to account, but it must also send a message to future presidents that it will use its constitutional powers to prevent illegal, and immoral conduct.’
Earth to Congress — Are you paying attention?