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George Bush 43, Commander-in-Chief, Decider, Your Royal Highness,
however youâd like to be addressedâŠ.
For Godâs sake, take your torture program and go. Take your secret
prisons, your attack dogs, your electrodes, your water boards, your feeding tubes, your ceiling restraints, your whipping wires, your excruciating music, your sleep deprivation, your hobbles and cuffs. Take all such instruments and go.
Theyâre making things much worse, as I will show.
I saw you on CNN, Sept. 15, and you said that unless Congress
âclarifiesâ Article 3 of the Geneva Accords, âthe program is not going forward.â You sounded like a spoilt child threatening to take his ball and go home.
But you werenât talking about a little ball, you were talking about
torture, though you wouldnât call it that.
So, if youâre that oblivious to how the majority of us feel about
torture and the Geneva Accords, then please, maybe itâs time you took your âprogramâ and went home to Texas. Heaven curse the day you ever decided to leave there.
As Colin Powell suggested in his recent letter to John McCain, your
undermining of the Geneva Accords threatens to take away whatever moral high ground our nation has attained. Itâs demoralizing our troops and further dividing the country.
Worse yet, itâs ineffective. Tell me what your âprogramâ has done for us?
You claim it shut down another attack on the homeland. Can you provide a shred of hard evidence? I can name a dozen things you got precisely wrongâand in a very loud and petulant voiceâleading up to the war in Iraq.
One of them is especially pertinent, because it was based on torture.
Over and over you suggested Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots, and in February of 2003, you sent Powell over to the UN to make that claim to the world. Turns out the information he cited was based on lies told by a man undergoing torture.
I can show you where Newsweek, the New York Times, the New Yorker and others have documented that Powell unwittingly based his claim on lies told by one Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.
Al-Libi, a man with serious mental problems, told his interrogators in Egyptâwhere heâd been sent by the CIA for torture--that Saddam Hussein was teaching al-Qaeda how to make chemical and biological weapons. Powell didnât refer to al-Libi by name, rather he called him âa senior terrorist operative,â according to the New Yorker. Later, al-Libi recanted and said heâd made such false statements in order to end the torture. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. Itâs likely that more than 100,000 people have died as a result of that bad information.
Thatâs how torture works. Bad information begets bad action. Ask Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian engineer who was mistakenly put on a watch list in Canada. Snagged at a U.S. airport in 2002, our government flew Arar to Syria, in secrecy, and against his protests. There he was beaten with cables and forced to live in a tiny underground grave, as he called it, unable to communicate with the family heâd left behind. He was released without charges one year later thanks to pressure from the Canadian government.
So yes, George, Your Highness, please, take your torture and go. It
isnât working. While youâre at it, take your signing statements and all the cute titles for programs that mean the opposite of what you name them, and give us back our Constitution and our country.
Try not to nuke anybody on your way out, as Seymour Hersh and several other reporters believe youâre itching to do. Just take your phosphorous, your depleted uranium, your cluster bombs, your secret labs and everything else youâve unleashed contrary to international law, and go away. If not now, then soon. At least say youâll go quietly come 2009 and not try slipping back into power, as some suggest youâll do, heaven help us, through one of the loopholes youâve blasted in the Constitution.
Try to understand that, while some of us who loudly complain against
you donât hate you, as our critics charge, weâre heartsick and angry at what youâre doing to our country, its reputation, its once-generous soul, its capacity for optimism, joy, empathy and rational debate. Weâre heartsick at what youâre doing to our beautiful blue-green world. So please, take your talking points, your Karl Rove, your Condoleezza Rice, your hunting buddy Dick Cheney, your Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz and secretary of offense Donald Rumsfeld. Take all the wolves you placed in charge of all the henhousesâat Treasury, Interior, FCC, Education, Labor, FDA, NRC. And then
please let someone, anyoneâmaybe your fatherâtake you by the hand and lead you away, to a very safe place.
Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary writing. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is finishing a novel, âRed State Blues,â set in his native Tennessee and Iraq. His book of selected journalism, âHeroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About Peopleâ by Don Williams, is now available for ordering. For more information, email him at email@example.com. Or visit the NMW website
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