Bush’s Farewell: “I Followed My Conscience.”

Detainee being tortured by US personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq.

“I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right.
…This is a nation where citizens show calm in times of danger,
and compassion in the face of suffering.”

– President George W. Bush, Farewell Address, Jan. 15, 2009.

Agonized detainee during a bloody beating by US personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq.

“We must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose.
In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward.”

– President George W. Bush, Farewell Address, Jan. 15, 2009.

Detainees hooded and bound inside a plane, US flag hanging behind.

“We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard.”

– President George W. Bush, Farewell Address, Jan. 15, 2009.

Unspeakable horrors being performed by US personnel at Au Ghraib prison, in Iraq.

“I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people.”

– President George W. Bush, Farewell Address, Jan. 15, 2009.

George W. Bush giving the finger, during the 2000 presidential campaign,

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States,
and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution of the United States.
So help me God”

– George W. Bush, Jan. 20, 2001 and Jan. 20, 2005,
Presidential Oath of Office,
United States Constitution, Article II, Section I.

Listen to President George W. Bush’s
Farewell Address to the nation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009
(MP3, 13 min. – via WhiteHouse.gov)

4 thoughts on “Bush’s Farewell: “I Followed My Conscience.”

  1. Is it just me, or did anyone else notice the hackjob spelling of “rapist”? Thats our military boy howdy! Thump your chest and chant USA, we only send our best overseas! Some of them can even cipher!!

  2. The above post seems manifestly unfair. I noticed you are from Seattle. If I blamed you for the violence at the WTO protests it would be analogous to the attempt you are making with Abu Ghraib and Bush’s policy.

  3. Hi Craig –

    I respectfully beg to differ. For one, I’m not the Commander-in-Chief of Seattle, nor the WTO protests 10 years ago. :-)

    But more’s to the implied point, the position that the torture and other abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the military prisons and detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the “black” prisons run by the CIA were the acts of rogue soldiers/agents/contractors simply doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

    A. The declassified documentary records makes it crystal clear that the “enhanced” interrogation policies and practices were approved all up and down the command chain, right up to the White House. The Vice President was intimately involved in formulating and promulgating those same policies, and ultimately could only do so with the express approval of the President, whom he presumably reported to directly. The President also signed off on these policies. Even if that were somehow not the case, in the end as Commander-in-Chief the President bears full responsibility for the command decisions and actions of the senior-most members of his Cabinet and the military.

    B. The record irrefutably shows the abuses at Abu Ghraib in particular did not begin until Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller was transferred there from his position as warden at Guantanamo, where identical abuses — systematically planned and executed — are known to have occurred. It has been confirmed that Miller stated to the command staff at Abu Ghraib that his mission was to “Gitmo-ize” the facility. Miller reported directly to Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld who, as I say, worked intimately with the Vice President on precisely these matters.

    C. The testimony, under penalty of perjury, of parties known to be involved in or have awareness of or command responsibility for the abuses at Abu Ghraib states the activities had approval from higher authority. The testimony on this point is consistent, unwavering, and largely confirmed by the available declassified documentary and testimonial record.

    D. What the soldiers actually did (well, except the photo “keepsakes”) is fully consistent with known, well-documented “interrogation” techniques that have been carefully evolved over decades by the CIA and its client countries and agencies. This is borne out by examining declassified CIA documents dating all the way back to the ’60s, including but not limited to the infamous KUBARK interrogation manual. A handful of hillbilly grunts would not and could not have spontaneously hit those marks spot on without guidance from trained individuals.

    E. As I imply above, there was full consistency of techniques used between Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other facilities. That is obviously a concerted plan enacted from highest quarter.

    F. All of the official investigations were limited to a “down-rank” examination of responsibility. In other words, they were not permitted to look up the chain of command beyond the figures publicly identified in the press as being involved (actually or allegedly). That’s a cover-up, whether planned that way or not.

    G. Revelations still emerging only further reinforce the already compelling case for full executive responsibility for the entire program of interrogations and torture, including but not limited to what happened at Abu Ghraib. The only rogue elephants sat in the White House, not the barracks of Iraq.

    Anyway…there’s more, but you get the gist. In short: the evidentiary trail leads right to the Oval Office. The above post may be uncomfortable, disturbing, or just rude…but I don’t agree at all that it is manifestly unfair.