Bush’s ballyhooed speech, full of swaggering braggadocio about his now-acknowledged secret prisons and the tortures his minions practice there (which Bush, using the usual prissy euphemisms favored by state-terror sadists, calls "an alternative set of procedures"), made much hay of the information squeezed out of al-Qaeda factotum Abu Zubaydah. But as Ron Suskind noted in his piercing book, The One Percent Solution — and notes again in a new Salon.com interview — Zubaydah is literally insane, suffering from a severe multiple personality disorder. He was never a top al Qaeda operative, as Bush claimed yet again in his bluster yesterday; and the "information" he spewed out under torture was almost entirely garbage — yet, as Suskind notes, it sent American agents on wild goose chases all over the world.
I mentioned here earlier this week that as the Bush era endgame begins, these thugs will grow more brazen in their depredations, and more open about their brutal tactics. It’s getting harder to hide the massive extent of their lawbreaking, and if the Democrats take Congress in November, it will be harder still. So what they must do now is simply break down all notions of law and morality, destroy the notions of justice and honor. They must make up down and turn black to white: Torture is not bad, it’s not a crime; torture is good, it keeps us safe. You want to be safe, don’t you? You want your children to be safe, don’t you? Then we must use these "alternative procedures." And to keep us safe, the president must be able to do anything he pleases, without hindrance from the "pre-9/11 mindset" of the Constitution: he can spy on us, he can imprison us without charges, he can hold us indefinitely, he can even murder us in "extrajudicial killings" without arrest, trial, jury — or warning. What’s wrong with that, if it keeps your family safe? Do you want your children to die? Because that’s what will happen if you oppose the president!
All of this must be made to seem normal, acceptable — even laudable — if the Bush Faction is to remain in power and escape prosecution. Like ABC’s "Road to 9/11" propaganda film, Bush’s speech is part of a larger campaign of moral and political subversion that will only grow in frenzy and intensity in the months to come.
The whole interview with Suskind, firewalled by Salon, is available below after the jump. We’ve dealt extensively with the Zubaydah case here, drawing on Suskind’s work, in the following posts:
- Insanity Defense: Power, Paranoia and Presidential Tyranny
- Crazy for You: Mental Illness as Propaganda Tool
- Balm in Gilead
Chris Floyd [send him mail] is the author of Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime.