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City of Brass

City of Brass


A letter to President Bush about torture

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Andrew Sullivan has written a lengthy letter to President Bush that calls upon him to acknowledge his role in authorizing torture. It’s a masterpiece and lays out the case against torture in President Bush’s own words, and makes a powerful indictment against him for his responsibility. It’s simply amazing and a must-read. Sullivan’s core appeal to Bush is,

I believe that if you review the facts of your two terms of office, you will be forced to realize that, whatever your intentions, you undermined this fundamental American principle. You may not have intended that to occur. But you were the commander in chief and president, and these were presidential-level decisions. The responsibility for all of this is yours-before the American people and before the court of history. And you need finally to own these decisions, to take full responsibility for them, to account for them, to explain them, and, yes, to apologize for their scope and brutality.

but it’s how he goes on to document, exhaustively, those facts and decisions – and contrasts them with Bush’s own rhetoric about opposing torture in “all its forms” – that really make this a tour-de-force. I generally try to avoid overhyping a link but in this case it deserves all the praise I can muster. You must read this.



  • Thom Hunter

    Aziz,
    The letter is indeed very detailed, lengthy, researched and difficult to read. That is not a pretty part of American history. Andrew Sullivan says more than once in his letter that he has no doubt that President Bush was doing what he thought was in the best interest of his country and in his role as the chief protector of Americans. The days and years following the attacks on America in 2001 brought out the best and perhaps the not-so-best in many people motivated by a desire to seek the truth and preserve our nation. What is has brought so far is relative safety, perhaps because of knowledge that could not have been gained without immense pressure.
    As Sullivan points out, our nation does not need and would not benefit from prosecutions or further threats of such. I believe we will not benefit either from an apology from President Bush. Sullivan’s perspective that President Bush perpetrated a horrible evil as defined by the president’s faith is flawed. To have risen to the level of evil that Sullivan claims, President Bush would have had to have analyzed his actions, determined them to be evil and pursued them willingly and in spite of his personal beliefs as a man of Christian faith. There is no evidence of that. President Bush did what he believed his oath required him to do: protect the American people. He is known to be a man of prayer; he did not make his decisions unaided.
    The bottom line in all this is that those who perpetrate evil — as in destroy innocent lives in the attempt to force their ideals on people of other faiths — will find themselves recipients of the consequences. Our justice system has become so difficult to maneuver that the risk of “evildoers” going free pushes the need for evidence-gathering to the extreme.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if those who hurl airplanes into buildings would just say “OK, you got me. I did it?”
    I believe President Bush governed a nation in midst of the grip of terror and should be honored for having done so. What is truly torturous now is that more than eight years later we still cannot bring the truly evil ones to trial so they can pay for their crimes.
    Thom Hunter
    http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/

  • Patsy Elders

    I,as a US Navy veteran, wish Bush and his cronies would acknowledge what they did and say they were sorry. I will never believe “They” did right. Yes, it was horrible what happened and our nation suffered. But we continue to be hateful to all and spread comments of prejudice and intolerance for others that do not accept “our” way of thinking. We should have shown the world how strong we were as a nation, but instead Bush lied to us (meaning most people, as I knew the real reason we are doing what we are doing) and he basically trampled on our constitution. If we want the rest of the world to act “sane” then why can’t we set an example? Why do we hold ourselves as better than others? We are ALL humans and should be tolerant of all.
    There are a lot of people that still want to kill others, torture and treat God’s (Allah’s) children like less than human.
    Bush and Cheney hurt this great nation beyond belief. And we are still showing the world our stupidity by listening to hate mongers such as Rush and Beck.
    How do we expect other countries to stop torturing us, killing us and hating us if we can’t stop?

  • Taha Raja

    The Article from the Atlantic is excellent. It clearly outlines beyond a shadow of doubt that as a nation our President Authorized Torture. It was a hypocritical and shameful act. We as a nation will need to redeem from this over time. Redemption will be the elixir that will heal this wound – and it will take a long time unfortunately.

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