Monday, November 21, 2005

The Good Guys?

How did we land here? Debating torture? The US government in an open debate about the use of torture?

We had a bloody history that was glossed over in the early years of public school and by Hollywood. Genocide. Slavery. Still, we were on the right side of the two World Wars, and the Cold War. We moved beyond the savagery of our early history and were evolving into the only benevolent super-power. We were about freedom, equality and fair play. This was the message that we were told and the message that we believed in as individuals and as a nation.

We were the good guys.

Many can point to dubious deeds of our government in the 20th Century and claim that we were never the good guys, that it was all propaganda. I can say relatively speaking we weren’t the worst, and we were raising a generation of decent people who believed that we were the good guys, and who wanted to be the good guys. We were driving our nation in the right direction, even if we were not yet at the destination.

We learned that in Viet Nam there were atrocities committed by our side, and as a nation we were shocked. This behavior was not condoned, it was to be condemned. If you were intelligent and open-minded, you understood that under extreme circumstances of war, people are capable of atrocities. You might even have had feelings of pity and sorrow for the soldiers who engaged in this behavior, but you still knew that it was wrong and not the American way. Torture was not the policy of the US Armed forces, and if it happened it was to be treated as a crime.

Torture is barbaric. It is dehumanizing. It is largely ineffective. It does much more harm to our agenda, our reputation and our humanity then any information that could be gained from such techniques. Torture fuels the kind of hatred and retribution that continues between peoples for centuries. Atrocity breeds more atrocity. Torture justifies retribution. The line that separates us from the bad guys is erased by torture. We tell the world that we will free the oppressed people from oppression. We will show the oppressed the ways of freedom and democracy.

How? By torturing them?

What now separates us from Osama bin Laden in the eyes of the Arab world? What do we have left to tell the people of the Muslim nations about our ways and culture to contradict what they have been told by their own kind?

I must say that I am ashamed of the latest news. I am once again appalled after years of being appalled by the actions and policies of this administration. These chicken-hawks who never themselves endured one day on the front-lines of any war, that actively took steps to make sure that they never would be in that situation, these war-mongering blood-thirsty businessmen with a lust for power and oil masquerading as world-leaders are now openly debating the necessity of torture. Outsourcing interrogation to other countries that employ the use of torture. Telling the world what? That the good guys are better than the bad guys, because, well, because we say we are?

And these neocons have the nerve to call us traitors. They have the temerity to question our patriotism. They have the absolute, unmitigated gall to claim that we are a Christian nation, and that God is on our side? I just don’t know how much longer the American people can tolerate the blatant hypocrisy and obvious contradictions.

I am beyond the point of comprehension. I'm now just trying to get to the other side.

We have to win back the congress in ‘06 and the Whitehouse in ’08. We just have to.

***

This Week's Top 10.

Tunesmith has a letter from Cindy Sheehan to Barbara Bush.

5 Comments:

Blogger Soundsurfr said...

Damn, that is one scary photograph.

Bush is threatening to veto the bill containing McCain's "no-torture" clause. If he does so, it will be his first and only use of his veto power. In five years as president, he has NEVER vetoed a bill, and now he wants to veto The NO TORTURE bill. Excellent.

I would ask "On what grounds?", but I'm afraid the answer will only be more Orwellian.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Another good post, Al. How far will these bastards go? As far as we let them.

We wanted to be the good guys, like you said. Remember that? Or has it been too long now?

11:23 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

I think we were the Good(er) Guys, at least for the first half of the 20th century -- up until we won WWII and truly became a world power. Then, international/strategic considerations and the might of the military/industrial complex overwhelmed moral considerations.

This country has not been walking the talk for a long, long time. I remember really waking up to this as a teenager, when I found out about Allende. Of course, it was true even earlier than that. The crows have been coming home to roost now, as people wonder why the evildoers hate us so...

4:42 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

My mind is absolutely boggled too. A torture 'debate'?! Are you kidding me? Jesus, what's next, a debate about slavery? My head feels like one of those "moo" boxes you had when you were a kid. Whenever you turned it over something inside there would bounce back and forth off the cylindrical walls before the mooing began.

4:58 PM  
Blogger fuckstick2020 said...

I agree we must win.

10:54 PM  

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