Tag Archives: Bush administration

Now you tell us, general …

The moment of the falling of Saddam's statue, with the help of the US Army.

Michael Flynn didn’t disclose much that many Americans already didn’t believe or even know.

The retired Army lieutenant general — who once headed the Defense Intelligence Agency — told a German newspaper that the Iraq War was a big mistake and that the Bush administration started it on “sketchy evidence” that Iraq had a hand in the 9/11 attacks.

Who knew?

History, Gen. Flynn said, won’t be kind as the Iraq War legacy is written over time.

Gosh. Do you think?

I guess my question for the general might be: Why didn’t you tell us before now?

Flynn told Der Spiegel, “When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.'”

I don’t think the emotional part of the response should be criticized. We were angry as hell at what happened. that day.

But to assign complicity for the 9/11 attack almost immediately to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after going after the Taliban and al-Qaeda strongholds in Afghanistan is where the policy came apart rapidly.

Flynn believes that eliminating Saddam Hussein helped strengthen and embolden the Islamic State, the Sunni terrorist organization that has risen to become a fearsome force in the Middle East. He lays responsibility for that squarely on the Bush administration.

Flynn, though, doesn’t spare Barack Obama from blame in this conflict. According to the Huffington Post: “In a recent interview with Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera’s ‘Head to Head,’ Flynn took aim at Obama’s publicly stated goals to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ the Islamic State, saying that while the administration is effectively degrading the organization, the group cannot be ‘destroyed,'”

He added: “We may cause it to change its name, but we are never going to destroy this organization,” Flynn said. “Destroy means to completely eliminate — he should not have used those words, those were incorrect words to use and he should have been more precise.”

So … the debate goes on.


HRC turns over 55,000 emails; Colin Powell, none

A friend distributed this tweet, from Joe Conason, a liberal columnist who wonders about the Hillary Clinton email flap.

“If Beltway press isn’t satisfied that @HillaryClinton turned over 55K emails, why don’t they care that Colin Powell turned over ZERO?”

I think I know the answer.

Colin Powell isn’t considering a run for the presidency in 2016; Hillary Clinton is likely to declare her White House candidacy in a month, maybe two.

That’s the reason for the interest.

Colin Powell served as secretary of state during the first term of the George W. Bush administration. He used a personal email account, just as Clinton did. In no way does that justify anything, other than to suggest that the media have this way of applying double standards whenever and wherever possible — and against whomever they feel like doing so.

I suppose if Powell, a retired Army general as well, were to decide to run for president, then he’d become fair game, too.

Hold torturers to account

The New York Times is no friend of political conservatives. Thus, it shouldn’t surprise the reading public that the newspaper editorial board would jump down the throats of those who were responsible for employing torture techniques on prisoners taken right after the 9/11 attacks.

The Times did so in an editorial published this past Sunday.

It wants the government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for what it contends are illegal acts committed against suspected terrorists.

Of all the officials named, the one that stands out is former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who’s been out front and vocal in his criticism of a Senate Intelligence Committee report contending that the Bush administration acted illegally when it subjected detainees to what’s euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” (Let’s call ’em EITs to save space, shall we?)

Here’s the key question: Suppose prosecutors are able to convict Dick Cheney of wrongdoing? What then? Throw him in federal prison?

I’m not opposed to clearing the air on what the vice president ordered, what he knew and when he knew it. Nor am I opposed to putting it all on the record, into the public domain to let the public hash out what’s legitimate and what’s not.

As the Times noted, Republicans — except for one high-profile official — have been quiet about all of this: “One would expect Republicans who have gone hoarse braying about Mr. Obama’s executive overreach to be the first to demand accountability, but with one notable exception, Senator John McCain, they have either fallen silent or actively defended the indefensible. They cannot even point to any results: Contrary to repeated claims by the C.I.A., the report concluded that “at no time” did any of these techniques yield intelligence that averted a terror attack. And at least 26 detainees were later determined to have been “wrongfully held.”

Here is where a presidential pardon could be used.

I don’t want to see Cheney locked up. He does, though, need to be taken down a peg or two by a tough-minded independent prosecutor who could convince a jury that what the Bush administration did to those detainees violated federal law. Cheney has said he’d use the EITs again “in a minute.” The Senate report, issued by Democrats, reflects a different view.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Let’s get to the bottom of it.

GOP fires back at torture report

To no one’s surprise, U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans have their own version of whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” made America safer in the wake of 9/11.

They say the tactics saved lives and protected the country against further harm.

The GOP senators say the tactics were necessary to gather intelligence that led eventually to the killing of Osama bin Laden.


Intelligence panel Democrats are standing by their assertion — correctly, in my view — that American intelligence officials and military leaders could have obtained all of that information and protected Americans without subjecting terror suspects to torture.

So there it is: yet another political schism has erupted on Capitol Hill.

As Politico reports: “The GOP report decried the (Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne) Feinstein study, arguing that it contained ‘faulty analysis, serious inaccuracies, and misrepresentations of fact’ to create a series of false conclusions about the counterterrorism program’s effectiveness and the CIA’s interactions with Congress and the White House.”

So, the other side has responded with what it contends is accurate analysis and objective examination of the facts. Is that what they’re saying?

I’ve noted already that this discussion is going to turn into a liar’s contest over time. One side is going to accuse the other of deceit. It’ll go back and forth.

I’ll just stick to my assertion that “enhanced interrogation” can — and should — include tactics that do not include the physical torturing of enemy captives. I’d even allow for sleep deprivation that would include round-the-clock badgering of detainees as a way to make ’em squeal.

Still, the debate rages on.