The soldier blood on Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham's hands

Those who most frequently invoke The Troops to justify their policy views are the ones who care least about them.

By Glenn Greenwald

Published June 13, 2009 1:14PM (EDT)

A fairly reliable rule of thumb in our political debates is that those who most frequently invoke The Troops to justify their policy views are the ones who care least about the troops, who see them as nothing but props to exploit for political manipulation.  For the last week, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham have been running around accusing anyone who opposes their photo suppression amendment of indifference to the lives of the Troops based on their claim that top military officials and the Commander-in-Chief say that release of the photos will aid Al Qaeda recruitment and inflame anti-American sentiment.

But yesterday, the very same Joe Lieberman announced that he wants Guantanamo to remain opened.  Lieberman apparently doesn't care that top military officials -- including Gen. David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen -- have warned that Guantanamo aids Al Qaeda recruitment and makes us less safe, and our Commander-in-Chief has said the same.  Identically, the torture techniques which both Lieberman and Graham long supported are also, according to military officials and the Commander-in-Chief himself, major recruiting tools for Terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Indeed, people like Lieberman, Graham and their like-minded friends who support Guantanamo clearly have massive amounts of American solider blood on their hands:

Former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora. . . blasted the Bush administration’s abusive detention practices as leading to the recruitment of new radicals and the deaths of more American soldiers: "[T]here are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq -- as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat -- are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo."

Admiral Mullen said the same thing:

Well, the concern I've had about Guantanamo in these wars is it has been a symbol -- and one which has been a recruiting symbol for those extremists and jihadists who would fight us. ... That's at the heart of the concern for Guantanamo's continued existence

Yet Lieberman, Graham, virtually every Republican member of Congress and scores of Democrats want to keep Guantanamo opened and continue these interrogation techniques -- and thereby hand Al Qaeda a major recruitment tool -- because they are obviously indifferent to the lives of The Troops.  To borrow Lindsey Graham's language from his Thursday night appearance on Fox News regarding the release of torture photos: the policies Lieberman, Graham and their comrades advocate are tantamount to providing bullets and IEDs directly to Islamic extremists in order to slaughter American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.   What kind of moral monsters would knowingly advocate policies -- such as keeping Guantanamo opened and using "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- which our top military leaders and the Commander-in-Chief have clearly stated will help America's enemies and directly result in the deaths of the brave American men and women serving overseas (and that's to say nothing of their support for a totally unnecessary war that sent more than 4,000 American soldiers -- and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- to their deaths)?  

And how shabby and inane must our political discourse be for it to allow the very same people who have most aided anti-American sentiment and Al Qaeda recruitment efforts -- people like Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham -- to wrap themselves in language about the lives of the Troops and the imperatives of following the dictates of military leaders, when, as the statements of top military leaders and their own rhetorical formula prove, nobody has more American soldier blood on their hands than they do?  These are the very same people who constantly advocate policies that our military leaders and Commander-in-Chief have warned directly endanger America's security and the lives of the troops.  Shouldn't the most minimal standards of political debate prevent them from parading around as guardians of the lives of American troops and reverent followers of the pronouncements of military leaders?

Glenn Greenwald

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