Thirty-five years later, things have taken a turn for the worse, to put it mildly. We still have congressional hearings. US congressmen have to do something with their time, so when the spirit moves them they “investigate” and make a show of trying to set the wrongs of the nation right. Last week a Senate Armed Services Committee probe heard testimony regarding US military torture of prisoners of war. One of the most damaging comments to emerge from the hearing came from retired Major General Antonio Taguba. Taguba was the officer the Pentagon put in charge of the investigation of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture scandals and he is even more convinced than ever that serious human rights violations were committed by the United States government. In a report, prepared by the group Physicians for Human Rights, Taguba stated “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
Now, this is from a man who was a career military officer and someone who would still be serving if he hadn’t been forced to retire because he told the truth in 2004. His statement is an example of the same sort of moral clarity that guided the US Congress back in 1973, and were America’s present day politicians even remotely like those of the seventies you could be sure that Bush and his henchmen would have been impeached. Not only that, but committing war crimes is a Federal offense because of international treaties that the USA has signed against torture. So, in addition to seeing Bush and Cheney kicked out of office we would also have the pleasure of seeing them tried for murder. Many men have died in the vast Neocon galaxy of clandestine gulags and it used to be that if you killed someone in the United States you would pay for your crime with your life. But not any longer. America has become a forgiving nation, at least as far as the high and mighty are concerned.
No one will ever send Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld to prison. They are the law. They’re not just above it. They represent the system in its entirety, Democrats included.