Published on Sunday, November 13, 2005 by the Toronto Sun
US President's Latest Scandals of Leaks and Torture are Turning him into a Modern McCarthy
by Eric Margolis
|Whoever advised U.S. President George Bush to escape the storm of criticism over Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, and the Libby CIA case by flying to Argentina for a free trade summit should be sent to Guantanamo.
Bush's venture was an embarrassing diplomatic failure and the most humiliating fiasco faced by a U.S. president in Latin America since Richard Nixon got mobbed in 1958. He was left looking confused, while his nemesis, Venezuela's boisterous merengue-marxist leader, Hugo Chavez, mocked him.
Now Bush returns here besieged by factional warfare. The long-simmering conflict between America's national security establishment and neo-conservative extremists has burst into the public realm with the criminal indictment of VP Dick Cheney's powerful chief of staff, Lewis Libby, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame CIA case.
The Libby investigation could produce embarrassing evidence of the White House neocons deceiving the U.S. into war.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff for 16 years, publicly charged that a "cabal" of neocons "hijacked" U.S. foreign policy and drove the nation into a trumped-up war -- what this column has said since 2001. The "cabal," claimed Wilkerson, included Cheney, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, and former Pentagon desk warriors Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle.
Gen. William Odom, former chief of the ultra-secret National Security Agency, called Bush's Iraq adventure "the biggest disaster in the history of the U.S." Republican elder statesman Gen. Brent Scowcroft accused Bush of being "wrapped around the little finger" of Israel's PM Ariel Sharon.
In London, leaked cabinet documents shockingly revealed that before the war, Bush told PM Tony Blair he "wanted to go beyond Iraq" by occupying Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the FBI, intensifying its war against the neocons, is investigating two senior officials of the Israel lobby and a necon Pentagon analyst for passing security secrets to Israel. The CIA is deeply split between professional officers furious that national intelligence was corrupted to sell the Iraq war, and a minority eager to tell the White House whatever it desires.
Bush and Cheney now face a Republican and Pentagon revolt over their disgraceful defence of torture.
"We do not torture," Bush insisted from Panama,. Of course not, Mr. President. You call it "forceful interrogation." Meaning: Being kidnapped, drugged, stripped, thrown into a refrigerated, lightless underground cell, starved, deprived of sleep and sensory contact, covered with urine and excrement, severely beaten, anally raped, subjected to mock executions, given hideously painful electrical shocks, and strapped onto a special board and immersed in water until confessing or drowning.
This is what suspects have reportedly endured in America's secret, outsourced prisons around the world.
Republican Sen. John McCain, an American war hero, is leading efforts in Congress to ban torture and compel observance of the Geneva Conventions.
CONVENTIONS WERE SACRED
When I was a U.S. GI, we were taught the Conventions were sacred. They protected all at war, as the CIA's renowned former chief in Afghanistan, Milt Bearden, so brilliantly observed in a recent article.
But those little Torquemadas of the modern Inquisition, Bush and Cheney, who both dodged regular military service in wartime, claim the Geneva Conventions are bunk.
Bush is actually threatening to veto McCain's bill. Cheney keeps defending torture. Americans will one day look back on this period with the same revulsion and shame as they do on Joe McCarthy's era.
Copyright © 2005, Canoe Inc.