weeks ago, President Bush appeared on Arab television
claiming that he wanted to stop the abuses at
Abu Ghraib prison and implying that he had nothing
to do with the policies that led to them. During
his appearance Bush said, "We want to make sure
that if there is a systemic problem -- in other
words, if there's a problem system-wide -- that
we stop the practices" (1). However, a new report
appears to show that the President and top Administration
officials may have authorized procedures that
led to the abuses in the first place.
new investigation by Newsweek "shows that President
Bush, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and Attorney General John Ashcroft signed off
on a secret system of detention and interrogation
that opened the door to such methods" of abuse
and torture as documented at Abu Ghraib (2). The
secret orders were designed "to sidestep the historical
safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which protect
the rights of detainees and prisoners of war.
In doing so, they overrode the objections of Secretary
of State Colin Powell and America's top military
President has repeatedly said he wants to "usher
in an era of personal responsibility" (3). Yet,
despite these revelations, the White House has
yet to admit any culpability. When asked whether
a crucial Presidential legal memo (4) attempting
to skirt the Geneva Conventions (5) helped to
create the atmosphere that led to the prison abuses,
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "Absolutely
1. President Bush Meets with Al Arabiya Television
on Wednesday, 05/05/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=36188.
2. "The Roots of Torture", Newsweek, 05/24/2004,
3. President Bush Discusses Progress in Education
in St. Louis, 01/05/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=36190.
4. "Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings", Newsweek,
5. "Report: White House Memo Backed Abuse", San
Francisco Chronicle, 05/17/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=36192.
6. Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, 05/17/2004,
Posted: May 23, 2004