See Gore Roar! Tellin' it Like it IS!

Discussion in 'America Attacks!' started by skip, May 26, 2004.

  1. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    You're not going to believe it! Timid Al Gore just made this fantastic fiery speech!

    LISTEN HERE!

    This about sums out most people's sentiments outside the US. It's good to see that US politicians have finally awakened to the incredible fiasco that the Bush Administration has brought about with it's Mideast Policies.

    By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer


    NEW YORK - [size=-1]Al Gore (news - web sites) delivered a blistering denunciation Wednesday of the Bush administration's "twisted values and atrocious policies" in Iraq (news - web sites) and demanded the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) and CIA (news - web sites) director George Tenet.






    Raising his voice to a yell in a speech at New York University, Gore said: "How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace! How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s torture prison!"



    The Democratic former vice president said the situation in Iraq is spinning out of control.



    "I am calling today for Republicans as well as Democrats to join me in asking for the immediate resignations of those immediately below George Bush and Dick Cheney (news - web sites), who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe we are facing in Iraq," Gore said, drawing strong applause from the partisan crowd.



    "Donald Rumsfeld ought to resign immediately!" Gore bellowed. "Our nation is at risk every single day Rumsfeld remains as secretary of defense. We need someone with good judgment and common sense."



    Rice "ought to resign immediately. She has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy. This is a disaster for our country," he said.



    "It came from twisted values and atrocious policies at the highest levels of our government," he said.



    The former presidential candidate was gentler on Tenet, a Clinton administration appointee, describing him as a friend and "honorable man" who should still leave his position for intelligence failures.



    The Republican National Committee (news - web sites) shot back at Gore, pointing out that while he was vice president terrorists attacked U.S. embassies in Africa, bombed the USS Cole (news - web sites) and carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.



    "Al Gore's attacks on the president today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror or he has amnesia," RNC spokesman Jim Dyke said in a statement.



    Gore also argued that the abuse of Iraqi inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison was not the result of "a few bad apples" but "the natural consequence of the Bush administration policy."



    He said reservists photographed abusing prisoners "were clearly forced to wade into a moral cesspool designed by the Bush White House," which, he said, had abandoned the Geneva Conventions.



    He said the crisis in Iraq has generated fierce anti-American sentiment and provided a strong recruiting tool for terror groups.



    President Bush (news - web sites) "has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every town and city to a greater danger of attacks by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness and bungling at stirring up hornets' nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us," Gore said.



    Gore said that because of the war, Iraq has "become the central recruiting office for terrorists." The administration, he said, has also set up U.S. soldiers for "payback the next time they are held as prisoners."



    The speech was one of several Gore appearances sponsored since August by MoveOn.org. The liberal interest group also has a television and radio ad calling for Bush to fire Rumsfeld.



    Gore, who served in Vietnam, predicted greater problems for America's involvement in Iraq. "The worst still lies ahead," he said. He added that electing Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) as president would be the first step toward dealing with Iraq.



    He said that Kerry should not "tie his own hands" while campaigning by offering any specific proposals for how he would handle a situation that is "rapidly changing and, unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating."


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  2. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    If those people that Gore mentioned did resign, leaving Bush & Cheney to pretty much fend for themselves policy & PR wise, they would be sitting ducks! They could not stay in office for the humilation alone. Although I know Bush has no conscience so he'd probably stay until election time (why move when the rent's paid, right?)
     
  3. EllisDTripp

    EllisDTripp Green Secessionist

    Gee, Al Gore finally grew some 'nads! :rolleyes:

    Maybe if he showed some spine back in 2000, when he was actually RUNNING FOR OFFICE, maybe so many people wouldn't have gone for Nader...:)
     
  4. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Hey, this could ALMOST restore my faith in America...

    (yeah right!)
     
  5. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    It's all politics, though. Isn't Gore just another part of the whole scheme, ultimately (looking at the whole picture)? The way I look at it, Democrats aren't all that different from Republicans. I am no more of a fan of Al Gore than I am George Bush.

    But, at least I can have some respect for Gore for his stance on the environment, which is certainly a lot better than what the Bush administration has done.

    So, while I may agree with what Gore said about Bush, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice, and whoever else he mentioned in his speech, I am still not fan of Al Gore simply because he got up in front of an audience and started yelling. Many people have expressed their disgust in Bush, so it's really nothing new or even all that exciting for that matter.
     
  6. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Yes, but it's the first time ANY politician has had the guts to lay it on the line like that.

    And Gore still has a lot of standing since he WAS just vice president & really DID win the last election.

    I think Gore could've done a better job in his sleep than Bush has done. We should NEVER have let the Supreme Court's decision stand. That is where America was betrayed.
     
  7. dhs

    dhs Senior Member

    There have been plenty of high ranking active government officials who are against the war in Iraq - Kennedy, Leahy to name two.

    Most of the senate is against the way we are handling the situation. Do I think Gore would have done a more sensible job with this? I don't know. This is far more the war of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfawitz than that of Dubya. The man's a puppet - had he been advised against it from sensible cabinet members that didn't have a strong personal economic interest in the oil over there - it very well might not be happening. Bush won't allow the Rumsfelds and Rice's of his cabinet to resign as it will only further tarnish his image and reduce his chances of winning the election.
     
  8. mynameiskc

    mynameiskc way to go noogs!

    do you guys really think there's a real hope of getting bush out of office? i keep looking at the polls and kerry's weaknesses, and the people just saying "may as well vote for bush again" and i wonder. even among people who voted for bush, who think now that it was a mistake, they still don't want to vote for kerry. i wonder if bush is just gonna stay in office.
     
  9. SunLion

    SunLion Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    KCD, I've rarely heard that, and not lately. And it came from people who haven't even checked out Kerry. I think now I'd have to reply with something like this:

    Kerry has never been the CEO of a torture chamber.

    Kerry doesn't flip-flop on principles, whereas Bush will comprimise any moral, ethical, or legal principle by stubbornly clinging to policies that not only fail, but actually cause major direct harm to our national security. Every expert agrees that he's caused dire harm to our national security, though some POLITICIANS still back him for purely political reasons.

    Kerry has the look of a politician... but I've been consistently impressed with him.

    Perhaps we need to learn more facts, so that when someone says they don't like him, we can cite a very specific position he's taken, which they wouldn't know about, and ask why they're so against such a position (ideally one ANYONE would agree with!). Yeah, it's rhetoric, but in a national emergency it is not sinful to use whatever tactics will save our country and put it back into sane hands.
     
  10. SunLion

    SunLion Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

  11. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    Kerry doesn't flip-flop on the issues?? Please, tell me you are joking.

    Well, it's good you have faith in Kerry, because even a lot of the hardcore Democrats don't. If they did, Kerry would be much higher in the polls than Bush, who he's running about neck and neck with at the moment.

    Kerry and Bush are really secret, non-blood related brothers. Ever heard of Skull & Bones? Both have the same ultimate goal, they just present what they think you want to hear, differently. That's what I think.

    Can anyone fathom ever someday having a president whose arms aren't deep in corporate America and serving the power-elite these bastards are tied to, who want to take over this country and ultimately the entire world?
     
  12. honeyhannah

    honeyhannah herbuhslovuh

    The difference is that Bush has no common sense. He is a stubborn, ignorant bastard.

    And he doesn't even know how to hide it, you'd think that at least his arrogance would turn these people off, apparently they don't care.
     
  13. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Here's C-Span's video of Gore's Speech. This is the BEST speech I've seen in YEARS!

    C-Span Video
     
  14. SunLion

    SunLion Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Kerry and Bush are really secret, non-blood related brothers.

    I'm a life member of a fraternal organization in which we're sworn to look out for each other as brothers. It has secret rituals, secret encoded messages, and a secret method for security. Brother Bill Clinton, in that sense, is a brother, as was Brother John Wayne and as is rocker Brother Alice Cooper. So of course, I don't speak for myself in my posts, I speak for this Secret Society, and use my posts to prepare for when we Take Over. Just fair warning.
     
  15. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Following is the full text of a speech by former Vice President Al Gore at New York University on May 26.

    May 27, 2004 | George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

    He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon.

    Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

    How did we get from September 12th, 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the goodwill and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

    To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat -- and the assertion need be made by only one person, the president.

    More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.

    Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens -- sooner or later -- to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.

    One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. We also know -- and not just from De Sade and Freud -- the psychological proximity between sexual depravity and other people's pain. It has been especially shocking and awful to see these paired evils perpetrated so crudely and cruelly in the name of America.

    Those pictures of torture and sexual abuse came to us embedded in a wave of news about escalating casualties and growing chaos enveloping our entire policy in Iraq. But in order to understand the failure of our overall policy, it is important to focus specifically on what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison, and ask whether or not those actions were representative of who we are as Americans? Obviously the quick answer is no, but unfortunately it's more complicated than that.

    There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have lead us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people any other nation.

    Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation -- especially the temptation to abuse power over others.

    Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our Constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.

    Listen then to the balance of internal impulses described by Specialist Charles Graner when confronted by one of his colleagues, Specialist Joseph M. Darby, who later became a courageous whistleblower. When Darby asked him to explain his actions documented in the photos, Graner replied: "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the Corrections Officer says, 'I love to make a grown man piss on himself."

    What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

    The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

    There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation -- because of his attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation who disagrees with him.

    He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us. And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries. And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name. President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror." It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists. [Dick Cheney said, "This war may last the rest of our lives.]

    The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict "has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaida and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition." The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq al-Qaida now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.



    The war plan was incompetent in its rejection of the advice from military professionals, and the analysis of the intelligence was incompetent in its conclusion that our soldiers would be welcomed with garlands of flowers and cheering crowds. Thus we would not need to respect the so-called Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.

    There was also in Rumsfeld's planning a failure to provide security for nuclear materials, and to prevent widespread lawlessness and looting.

    Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers even though they were denied the tools and the numbers they needed for their mission. What a disgrace that their families have to hold bake sales to buy discarded Kevlar vests to stuff into the floorboards of the Humvees! Bake sales for body armor.

    And the worst still lies ahead. Gen. Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, said, "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."

    When a senior, respected military leader like Joe Hoar uses the word "abyss," then the rest of us damn well better listen. Here is what he means: more American soldiers dying, Iraq slipping into worse chaos and violence, no end in sight, with our influence and moral authority seriously damaged.

    Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, who headed Central Command before becoming President Bush's personal emissary to the Middle East, said recently that our nation's current course is "headed over Niagara Falls."

    The Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., asked by the Washington Post whether he believes the United States is losing the war in Iraq, replied, "I think strategically, we are." Army Col. Paul Hughes, who directed strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, compared what he sees in Iraq to the Vietnam War, in which he lost his brother: "I promised myself when I came on active duty that I would do everything in my power to prevent that ... from happening again." Noting that Vietnam featured a pattern of winning battles while losing the war, Hughes added "unless we ensure that we have coherence in our policy, we will lose strategically."

     
  16. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    The White House spokesman Dan Bartlett was asked on live television about these scathing condemnations by generals involved in the highest levels of Pentagon planning and he replied, "Well they're retired, and we take our advice from active duty officers."

    But amazingly, even active duty military officers are speaking out against President Bush. For example, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior general at the Pentagon as saying, "the current OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) refused to listen or adhere to military advice." Rarely if ever in American history have uniformed commanders felt compelled to challenge their commander in chief in public.

    The Post also quoted an unnamed general as saying, "Like a lot of senior Army guys I'm quite angry" with Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush administration. He listed two reasons. "I think they are going to break the Army," he said, adding that what really incites him is "I don't think they care."

    In his upcoming book, Zinni blames the current catastrophe on the Bush team's incompetence early on. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war, and its later conduct," he writes, "I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption."

    Zinni's book will join a growing library of volumes by former advisors to Bush -- including his principal advisor on terrorism, Richard Clarke; his principal economic policy advisor, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was honored by Bush's father for his service in Iraq, and his former domestic advisor on faith-based organizations, John Dilulio, who said, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." But because Rumsfeld and Bush did not want to hear disagreement with their view that Iraq could be invaded at a much lower cost, Shinseki was hushed and then forced out.

    And as a direct result of this incompetent plan and inadequate troop strength, young soldiers were put in an untenable position. For example, young reservists assigned to the Iraqi prisons were called up without training or adequate supervision, and were instructed by their superiors to "break down" prisoners in order to prepare them for interrogation.

    To make matters worse, they were placed in a confusing situation where the chain of command was crisscrossed between intelligence gathering and prison administration, and further confused by an unprecedented mixing of military and civilian contractor authority.

    The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.

    Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even -- we must use the word -- tortured -- to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.

    These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House. Indeed, the president's own legal counsel advised him specifically on the subject. His secretary of defense and his assistants pushed these cruel departures from historic American standards over the objections of the uniformed military, just as the Judge Advocates General within the Defense Department were so upset and opposed that they took the unprecedented step of seeking help from a private lawyer in this city who specializes in human rights and said to him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" where the mistreatment of prisoners is concerned.

    Indeed, the secrecy of the program indicates an understanding that the regular military culture and mores would not support these activities and neither would the American public or the world community. Another implicit acknowledgement of violations of accepted standards of behavior is the process of farming out prisoners to countries less averse to torture and giving assignments to private contractors.

    President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested in many countries and then he added, "and many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."

    George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did. As many as 37 prisoners may have been murdered while in captivity, though the numbers are difficult to rely upon because in many cases involving violent death, there were no autopsies.

    How dare they blame their misdeeds on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit in upstate New York. President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.

    How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison.

    David Kay concluded his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the famous verdict: "We were all wrong." And for many Americans, Kay's statement seemed to symbolize the awful collision between reality and all of the false and fading impressions President Bush had fostered in building support for his policy of going to war.

    Now the White House has informed the American people that they were also "all wrong" about their decision to place their faith in Ahmed Chalabi, even though they have paid him $340,000 per month. Thirty-three million dollars, and placed him adjacent to Laura Bush at the State of the Union address. Chalabi had been convicted of fraud and embezzling $70 million in public funds from a Jordanian bank, and escaped prison by fleeing the country. But in spite of that record, he had become one of key advisors to the Bush administration on planning and promoting the war against Iraq.

    And they repeatedly cited him as an authority, perhaps even a future president of Iraq. Incredibly, they even ferried him and his private army into Baghdad in advance of anyone else, and allowed him to seize control over Saddam's secret papers.

    Now they are telling the American people that he is a spy for Iran who has been duping the president of the United States for all these years.

    One of the generals in charge of this war policy went on a speaking tour in his spare time to declare before evangelical groups that the U.S. is in a holy war as "Christian Nation battling Satan." This same Gen. Boykin was the person who ordered the officer who was in charge of the detainees in Guantánamo Bay to extend his methods to Iraq detainees, prisoners ... The testimony from the prisoners is that they were forced to curse their religion. Bush used the word "crusade" early on in the war against Iraq, and then commentators pointed out that it was singularly inappropriate because of the history and sensitivity of the Muslim world and then a few weeks later he used it again.

    "We are now being viewed as the modern Crusaders, as the modern colonial power in this part of the world," Zinni said.

    What a terrible irony that our country, which was founded by refugees seeking religious freedom -- coming to America to escape domineering leaders who tried to get them to renounce their religion -- would now be responsible for this kind of abuse.
     
  17. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh told the Washington Post that he was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam, and after his leg was broken one of his torturers started hitting it while ordering him to curse Islam and then, "they ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive." Others reported that they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.

    In my religious tradition, I have been taught that "ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

    The president convinced a majority of the country that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on Sept. 11. But in truth he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The president convinced the country with a mixture of forged documents and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with al-Qaida, and that he was "indistinguishable" from Osama bin Laden.

    He asked the nation, in his State of the Union address, to "imagine" how terrified we should be that Saddam was about to give nuclear weapons to terrorists and stated repeatedly that Iraq posed a grave and gathering threat to our nation. He planted the seeds of war, and harvested a whirlwind. And now, the "corrupt tree" of a war waged on false premises has brought us the "evil fruit" of Americans torturing and humiliating prisoners.

    In my opinion, John Kerry is dealing with this unfolding tragedy in an impressive and extremely responsible way. Our nation's best interest lies in having a new president who can turn a new page, sweep clean with a new broom, and take office on January 20th of next year with the ability to make a fresh assessment of exactly what our nation's strategic position is as of the time the reins of power are finally wrested from the group of incompetents that created this catastrophe.

    Kerry should not tie his own hands by offering overly specific, detailed proposals concerning a situation that is rapidly changing and unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating, but should rather preserve his, and our country's, options, to retrieve our national honor as soon as this long national nightmare is over.
     
  18. skip

    skip Founder Staff Member

    Eisenhower did not propose a five-point plan for changing America's approach to the Korean War when he was running for president in 1952.

    When a business enterprise finds itself in deep trouble that is linked to the failed policies of the current CEO the board of directors and stockholders usually say to the failed CEO, "Thank you very much, but we're going to replace you now with a new CEO -- one less vested in a stubborn insistence on staying the course, even if that course is, in the words of General Zinni, 'Headed over Niagara Falls.'"

    One of the strengths of democracy is the ability of the people to regularly demand changes in leadership and to fire a failing leader and hire a new one with the promise of hopeful change. That is the real solution to America's quagmire in Iraq. But, I am keenly aware that we have seven months and 25 days remaining in this president's current term of office and that represents a time of dangerous vulnerability for our country because of the demonstrated incompetence and recklessness of the current administration.

    It is therefore essential that even as we focus on the fateful choice, the voters must make this November that we simultaneously search for ways to sharply reduce the extraordinary danger that we face with the current leadership team in place. It is for that reason that I am calling today for Republicans as well as Democrats to join me in asking for the immediate resignations of those immediately below George Bush and Dick Cheney who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe that we are facing in Iraq.

    Differences of degree are important when the subject is torture. The apologists for what has happened do have points that should be heard and clearly understood. It is a fact that every culture and every politics sometimes expresses itself in cruelty. It is also undeniably true that other countries have and do torture more routinely, and far more brutally, than ours has. George Orwell once characterized life in Stalin's Russia as "a boot stamping on a human face forever." That was the ultimate culture of cruelty, so ingrained, so organic, so systematic that everyone in it lived in terror, even the terrorizers. And that was the nature and degree of state cruelty in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

    We all know these things, and we need not reassure ourselves and should not congratulate ourselves that our society is less cruel than some others, although it is worth noting that there are many that are less cruel than ours. And this searing revelation at Abu Ghraib should lead us to examine more thoroughly the routine horrors in our domestic prison system.


    But what we do now, in reaction to Abu Ghraib will determine a great deal about who we are at the beginning of the 21st century. It is important to note that just as the abuses of the prisoners flowed directly from the policies of the Bush White House, those policies flowed not only from the instincts of the president and his advisors, but found support in shifting attitudes on the part of some in our country in response to the outrage and fear generated by the attack of Sept. 11.

    The president exploited and fanned those fears, but some otherwise sensible and levelheaded Americans fed them as well. I remember reading genteel-sounding essays asking publicly whether or not the prohibitions against torture were any longer relevant or desirable. The same grotesque misunderstanding of what is really involved was responsible for the tone in the memo from the president's legal advisor, Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote on January 25, 2002, that 9/11 "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

    We have seen the pictures. We have learned the news. We cannot unlearn it; it is part of us. The important question now is, what will we do now about torture. Stop it? Yes, of course.

    But that means demanding all of the facts, not covering them up, as some now charge the administration is now doing. One of the whistleblowers at Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Samuel Provance, told ABC News a few days ago that he was being intimidated and punished for telling the truth. "There is definitely a coverup," Provance said. "I feel like I am being punished for being honest."

    The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.

    To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate U.S. values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see -- and criticize -- in places like China and Cuba.

    Moreover, the administration has also set up the men and women of our own armed forces for payback the next time they are held as prisoners. And for that, this administration should pay a very high price. One of the most tragic consequences of these official crimes is that it will be very hard for any of us as Americans -- at least for a very long time -- to effectively stand up for human rights elsewhere and criticize other governments, when our policies have resulted in our soldiers behaving so monstrously.

    This administration has shamed America and deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human rights everywhere, thus undermining the core message of America to the world. President Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world -- but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions.

    He also owes an apology to the U.S. Army for cavalierly sending them into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders.

    Perhaps most importantly of all, he should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands.

    Of course, the problem with all these legitimate requests is that a sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable.

    And President Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error. He has thus far been unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in the history of the United States of America.

    He is willing only to apologize for the alleged erratic behavior of a few low-ranking enlisted people, whom he is scapegoating for his policy fiasco.

    In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.

    I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability ...

    So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation's trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and secret locations as-yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

    I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable -- and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, "We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility."
     

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