And I should be grading. But have to take a break from some breathtakingly bad papers. Two items that just cry out for discussion and anguish. The first is an old one. Despite all of his claims to Christian beliefs, George Bush has allowed the US to authorize torture. And now, the realization that Bush's justice department issued several secret rulings allowing torture:
"But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.
Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard."
And it gets worse. Some have suggested that the inspiration for these techniques came from our former enemies, but read here:
Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics. While President Bush and C.I.A. officials would later insist that the harsh measures produced crucial intelligence, many veteran interrogators, psychologists and other experts say that less coercive methods are equally or more effective.Isn't that just lovely. Copying Soviet methods and learning from the Saudis on better interrogation techniques. Because the Saudis are well known for their respect for civil liberties.
With virtually no experience in interrogations, the C.I.A. had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture. The agency officers questioning prisoners constantly sought advice from lawyers thousands of miles away.
Every new revelation makes me more and more ill. This president has allowed our country to become a torturing nation. WWJD indeed?
But it isn't just in foreign policy. Bush has decided to address spending by trying to end the Iraq war. No, of course not. He ignores the billions and billions spent in this mistake of a war, but has decided to veto an increase in health insurance for children. As Paul Krugman pointed out months ago, Bush's objection is not that this policy would work, but because it would work. It would put more children in health coverage and he opposes that. In addition, Bush changed the rules to further limit those with access to SCHIP. Yes, by all means Some 50 million Americans have no insurance, and our President is adding to the numbers.
I feel ill this morning.