Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern published a brilliant and damning piece regarding former President Bush’s upcoming memoir, Decision Points. In his essay, McGovern points out W’s little talked about “damn right” remarks he made when authorizing the waterboarding of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Not only did W sign off on the form torture as an acceptable practice, but added “damn right” and asserted that the torture saved lives.
McGovern not only points out the glaring falsehood in that assertion, but shows exactly how the torture of prisoners became a recruiting tool for insurgents in Iraq. In addition, he rightly states that the under-reporting of the torture issue in the media, coupled with plenty of support (or shoulder shrugging) of the American public at large implicates us all. The essay comes on the heels of Bush’s related comments regarding the “lowest point” in his presidency, when Kanye West hurt his feelings by saying he didn’t care about black people during Hurricane Katrina.
While both these comments may seem only tacitly related, public reaction to statements made surrounding Decision Points so far tells a much more damning tale of W’s presidency and our response to it. During the time leading up to Obama’s election, plenty of the public was fed up with disastrous and criminal policies of the Bush Administration – part of the reason why Obama was voted into office. A mere two years later and we’re already willing to rewrite history. Should we feel sorry for W because Kanye made some unscripted comments about his handling of one of the worst natural disasters in American history? Is it right to call that the “low point in the Bush administration?” What about intelligence failures leading up to 9/11? What about launching a war that killed hundreds of thousands based on false pretenses? What about tanking our economy? What about legalizing torture, something even Reagan, demagogue of the right wing, condemned?
Decision Points will be an opportunity for the Bush administration to not only build a more positive post presidential legacy, but to indemnify its criminal actions and whitewash history. As the Bush administration comes back into view with this book, it is the responsibility of the media and the American people to tell the truth about the last 8 years, not to let history be rewritten.