Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bush defends Saddam, screws our POW's

You think such a title would be just another over-the-top headline by an out and out lefty, but then, you'd be wrong:

During the Persian Gulf War, Iraq brutally tortured U.S. prisoners of war. Saddam Hussein's secret police broke bones; shattered skulls and eardrums; and whipped, burned, shocked, beat, starved and urinated on our POWs. Yet these brave Americans, as did generations of POWs before them, refused to give in to their captors. One extraordinary Marine was knocked unconscious so many times he lost count; he returned home with a fractured skull for refusing his captors' orders to criticize President George H.W. Bush. Because Iraq would not notify families of POWs, spouses did not know whether they were wives or widows. The result was serious and lasting injury to the POWs and their families.

Before the current Iraq war, 17 of these Gulf War POWs and 37 of their family members brought a historic suit to hold Iraq accountable and to deter such torture in the future. They did so courageously, despite being required to give Saddam Hussein their home addresses, something the POWs had refused to do under torture. And they won a judgment in federal district court that is the most important deterrent to date against torture of American POWs.

But rather than offering the former prisoners the support of a grateful nation, a decision was quietly made in the Bush administration to prevent the POWs from holding Iraq accountable. When (before the Iraq war) 20 distinguished American national security officials, including a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, requested that the president set aside funds from frozen Iraqi assets to enforce the POWs' judgment, they did not even receive an answer.

This decision to stiff the POWs, made by administration lawyers in the climate of misguided legal advice now exposed in the detainee abuse scandal, resulted in the administration's seizing the blocked Iraqi assets the POWs had been counting on to enforce their judgment. In seizing the entire $1.7 billion, leaving nothing for the POWs, the administration argued that the money was urgently needed for the "reconstruction of Iraq."

I don't doubt that a Bush defender, somewhere, will attempt to rationally justify Bush's stealing of U.S. court-awarded damages to our POW's, but I'm not quite sure what twisted logic they'll attempt to employ. This is an old story, one the press hasn't taken a big interest in. But it's an important story, nonetheless.

Why is Bush taking these folks' money? Who knows, and who cares. Sometimes, what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong. This time, Bush is wrong. This is immoral. This is outrageous. This is a national disgrace.

One would think that at some point, Bush lovers would re-identify their sense of shame and say 'enough is enough - I've had it with over-the-top, twisted-ass logic. George W. Bush - quit defending Saddam and give our POW's their due!'

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