December 1, 2008

Because he is still President

We have to keep talking about the worst president ever. And I mean that. The economy is crumbling around our ears, his vaunted War on Terror amping up in India, and what is our President doing?

Of course you know that, because he is not only a bad president, but actually a shitty one (technical term), he is busy gutting environmental regulations and workplace safety, even as you are thinking, "didn't he already do that?" His Labor department is planning on making it much harder for government to regulate toxic substances and limit worker exposure. And that isn't all:
"The Labor Department rule is among many that federal agencies are poised to issue before Mr. Bush turns over the White House to Mr. Obama.

One rule would allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. Another, issued last week by the Health and Human Services Department, gives states sweeping authority to charge higher co-payments for doctor’s visits, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid. The department is working on another rule to protect health care workers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on religious or moral grounds."
Who needs clean water? Another rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. It is literally as if Bush has not done enough damage to our environment. Evidently, that is what he thinks should be his priority before the change of power to the next admin. Heckuva Job, there Bushie!

And less we forget the other great legacy of this President, this, from an interrogator in Iraq about our torturing administration. And this is not some lefty anti-war person. He helped get the intelligence that got us Zarqawi. but he is still haunted by what he saw in Iraq--from our side. This section caught my eye:
I know the counter-argument well -- that we need the rough stuff for the truly hard cases, such as battle-hardened core leaders of al-Qaeda, not just run-of-the-mill Iraqi insurgents. But that's not always true: We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, "I thought you would torture me, and when you didn't, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That's why I decided to cooperate."

Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans.

Elections matter. Oh do they matter.

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