By Jill McLaughlin
I woke on a recent morning and went immediately to my computer to look at my email. I saw an email from a World Can’t Wait steering meeting member with a link to CNN’s Jonathon Mann’s article “Could George W. Bush end up behind bars?”
The story weighed the possibility of George Bush actually serving time for the war crime of torture now that Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed a prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogators involvement in torture. The premise is that once one opens the door to this investigation that one will have to follow it all the way to the top.
Anybody who has been following this story with a critical eye knows full well that this investigation will probably only lead to a few low-level CIA agents being prosecuted.
But why? Why would it stop there? In part it’s because of critical statements not so much from Republicans but from Democrats themselves. While I sat there reading the article, nodding my head in agreement that this investigation is the investigation to nowhere, something caught my eye and my ire. It was a statement from none other than James Carville, Democratic strategist. This is what he said about the investigation and most likely speaking to any miniscule of a chance for subsequent investigations. "This is not very good politically for the administration. The public clearly doesn’t have much of an appetite for this."
Obviously some of the public has an appetite for it otherwise Holder would not have felt compelled to appoint an investigator. But Holder’s move is an attempt to assuage those in the American public and the civil liberties groups who were demanding investigations and prosecutions of Bush officials long before Obama was elected President and have thankfully not been satiated by the news that there will be investigations. Not to mention that those at the top have to appear to be doing something about it. This is true as more keeps coming out about the torture program such as the Inspector Generals (IG) report that came out last week where we learned guns and drills were used to threaten and coerce detainees…where we learned that hundreds if not more detainees were tortured to death.
What makes me want to blow chunks about James Carville’s statement is that: one, it suggests that “American lives are more important and so we shouldn’t bother American’s with investigations into gruesome crimes against humanity that their government committed in their name. Two his statement does not even come close to coming from a place of “Hey look the economy is in the tank and many Americans are really suffering here because they can’t good and affordable health care so we gotta focus, focus, focus.”
We’re supposed to believe that he cares about those who don’t have access to good and affordable healthcare. This is the same guy who suggested that the Democrats let the Republicans kill health care so they can be beaten at the polls. This is also the same dude that is quite comfortable going on a speaking tour with known war criminal, Karl Rove.
The two of them traveled the country together in late May dubbed the Speakers Series where they were interviewed by Charlie Rose. In several cities where they appeared there were protesters demanding prosecutions for war crimes. Some protesters got into the event and called out Rove for being war criminal at which point Carville would try to shut them down and defend Rove. They probably had dinner a lot and stuffed themselves with caviar and expensive wine.
Carville’s statements about the torture investigations and health care reflects both the Obama administration’s insatiable appetite for political expediency and that we do indeed live in an imperialist capitalist system that never operates in the interests of the people. Not here or anywhere else on this planet. Yes, health care is an important issue and many people in this country are suffering needlessly, but let’s get real. Health care is a human right and everyone should have access to it no matter what. Here and everywhere else. Reforms will not do. Reforms have rarely helped the people this system has said they were supposed to help, but instead have often worsened conditions for people here and around the world. The majority of the time reforms have only served the ruling class. And reform is what the Obama administration is doing with torture and indefinite detention.
We know this from when Obama talked of his preventative indefinite detention plan. We know this from when Obama announced a new interrogation unit to be overseen by the White House. He said this unit would ensure that those detainees taken to other countries for interrogation would not be tortured. Well, if you’re not going to torture someone then why do you still need rendition? There will be no investigations into Bush era officials spontaneously coming out of the Obama administration because this imperialist capitalist system needs the torture state to keep feeding itself lest it starve to death. Alan Goodman, writer for Revolution Newspaper, gives an in depth analysis of what the IG report reveals about how torture is vital to the so called “war on terror” and what it says about this bloated empire overall. More importantly Goodman’s article talks about the resistance from the people that is needed at this time to bring about the investigations and prosecutions. This would be instrumental in dismantling the torture state.
While, we know that these investigations that Holder has called for will lead possibly to only low level CIA interrogators, they will constantly point to persons higher up in the Bush regime. These investigations no matter how weak they are, no matter how much of diversion and distraction from whom is really responsible for the torture state, do provide an opening. This is the contradiction we must grapple with. As these investigations will most likely continue to point up and the powers that be try to work around this, the people of this country who care about humanity must seize on this opening. We must call the truth out and visibly demand prosecutions for Bush era officials. The victims of torture and the people of the world hunger for justice. Let’s feed them. Join World Can’t Wait in October for a new season of resistance.