18 June 2008

timeline to a deadline

As the evidence continues to mount, one can only wonder if the Bush administration will ever be held accountable for its numerous misdeeds. On Tuesday, retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Baumgartner, Jr., testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about detainee treatment. Formerly with the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) school, he spoke of requests from the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and "another agency" (that he wanted to remain nameless) for information on SERE training techniques. By the way, SERE teaches soldiers how to withstand various types of torture, not how to interrogate.

These Bush administration officials were interested in reversing the process. However, as Mark Benjamin reports, "Skilled, experienced interrogators, in fact, say that only a fool would think that the training could somehow be reverse-engineered into effective interrogation techniques. But that's exactly what the Bush government sought to do. As the plan rolled forward, military and law enforcement officials consistently sent up red flags that the SERE-based interrogation program wasn't just wrongheaded, it was probably illegal."

Wrongheaded and illegal. Those are two words that sum up a good bit of the nightmare that the Bush years have meant, for America and for the world.

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