Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Torture and Terror: History of the Bush Regime

It seemed painfully foolish and unnecessary, the Canadian border service's decision on Monday to prevent William Ayers of Chicago from entering Canada when he arrived at Toronto airport to attend an education seminar at a university here.

Ayers is no threat; he's long since defanged. But he is hardly an admirable figure either. The studied certainty with which he refuses to take any responsibility for his violent acts in 1968-70, the way he continues to argue it was a reasonable response to American foreign policy: all that suggests a spoiled self-absorbed manchild who has still not learned and reflected on his experiences. He beat the rap on a technicality, but he seems to have no sense of the wrongs he was part of. He still conveys an unlimited sense of entitlement: "Why can't I bomb people I disagree with?"

He reminds me of George W. Bush. We also had news in the last couple of days of how Omar Khadr was tortured into giving bogus testimony about Meher Arar and how the drumhead court-martials at Guantanamo are now trumpeting those frauds to the world. Amazing, how uncritically the news media repeated all this! It reminds us that everyone involved with American torture will need to face justice before all this is put away.

I don't imaging George Bush ever will face charges for authorizing the regime oftorture -- though he may need to be careful about his foreign travel. But torture is one reason why Bush's "historic standing" (that mythic thing all leaders are said to hanker for) will never be redeemed. He will always be the torture president, the president who made the United States of America into a torture state.

It's a safe guess that Bush, like Bill Ayers, will never recognize his wrongs.
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