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Kristen Breitweiser Headshot

Flush Bush

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How do we have an Administration lecturing Newsweek about "journalistic standards"--the failure to get on the record confirmation before printing a story -- when we went to war in Iraq on similar sloppy standards. Anybody remember Curveball? Or have we all forgotten the Senate Intelligence Report on WMD that discusses how our entire Intelligence Community and President Bush were duped by one bad allegedly "crazy" source who provided "dead wrong" intelligence?

Oh, that's right, I forgot that when the story of Curveball hit the media we were overwhelmed with steroids in baseball and the Schiavo debate. Remember the Schiavo debate--the "preservation of life" debate. How ironic. We couldn't discuss the fact that we were wrongly taken into a war where thousands have been killed and wounded--a war that has made the entire world less safe-- because apparently we needed to publicly debate a family's private decision whether a feeding tube should be removed from an incurably sick woman.

But, now we find ourselves overwhelmed by the debate over a story written by Mike Isikoff.

Anybody who has looked into some of the allegations floating around about the torture and homicides being carried out by our interrogators must realize that it is a possibility that something like flushing a Koran down a toilet could happen. What do you expect when you have interrogators basically given carte blanche to do whatever they want to detainees.

We all recall Alberto Gonzales commenting that the Geneva Convention was quaint, right? Or did he say it was cute? Doesn't matter. You get the point.

But, instead of immediately stopping these abuses, investigating them and coming up with clear instructions for our interrogators to stop them from re-occurring, what does this Administration do?

Nothing.

No discussion. Swept under the carpet, until journalists like Mike Isikoff write stories.

Now, 17 people are dead in riots stirred up by Islamic extremists for their own ends. And what does our Administration do? Hold hearings? Demand an independent investigation? Nope. Our Administration blames Newsweek for reporting the story and not getting a source to confirm the allegation on the record.

Here is a thought. What if the Administration had thoroughly investigated and cleared up the human rights abuses being committed by interrogators when they first learned of it so that (gasp) there was no story left for Mike Isikoff to write about?

Better yet, what if our leaders had actually sat down years ago and planned what they were going to do with "enemy combatants". Not just sat at a conference table and decided that they would hold people as "enemy combatants" for as long as they wanted and torture them at their own whim. What if our leaders actually thought about the consequences of their actions prior to making those actions?

We have major human rights abuses being carried out by our military and intelligence officers. Such human rights abuses are on their face morally reprehensible and wrong. Moreover, in the long run they put this nation at huge risk. Why? Because every person that is wrongfully held, tortured, and then wantonly released by us, immediately returns to their homeland, tells their story and becomes the poster child for why everybody should hate the Americans.

And these people do not forget.

They have long memories. The truth is that fifteen years from now when the current chain of command is long gone (sitting in the old folks home) people like you and me will suffer the consequences because it will be our kids and loved ones who will be in the wrong place at the wrong time when an emboldened "enemy combatant" or his daughter decides to blow up a building as payback for their treatment at gitmo.

If Newsweek holds Isikoff accountable, then I would like similar accountability in the Bush Administration. Afterall, how many thousands have died as a result of our President's bad executive branch standards--whether they be for taking us into a pre-emptive war in Iraq based on an erroneous source named Curveball or not providing clear instructions and training to interrogators of enemy combatants? All of these issues continue to further alienate us from the rest of the world and continue to make us less safe.

My take? Don't flush the Koran, Flush Bush.