Thursday, April 17, 2008

We can't heal until we face our demons

The United States of America tortures people.

Get used to that. It is no secret - it isn’t even up for debate. There is not one person that has even the cursory knowledge of what was discussed, what was authorized, what was justified or the acts that were carried out on detainees by people representing the United States of America.

This is not a “time for healing”. Not yet.

This is the time of reckoning for the people and future of America - an accountability moment. The corporate media here in the US, not surprisingly, is ignoring this story but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t widely reported or known around the world. This isn’t new, although the revelations about the entire uppermost level of the Bush administration spent hours discussing sadistic acts that they could do via proxy to others “in the name of freedom” is new.

This can not pass - this can not fall into the waste heap of all of the dozens, nay, scores of scandals, crimes or “just” unethical acts taken by these torturing, lying, thieving, murderous criminals since stealing the 2000 election. This can not be swept under the rug. It can not and will not be forgotten. After all, civilized countries do not torture people, no matter what.

We can’t just move forward and put this bad period behind us. We need to understand how we got to this point, how we allowed this to be done in our names, and why those who were supposed to be “the opposition” did not object when briefed, did not investigate in any meaningful manner and are not screaming from the rooftops at the most recent discovery.

Torture is not something that will be excused - not for any reason. There needs to be justice. There needs to be a recognition of how far we have sunk - how a callous disregard for law and a complete and utter lack of any humanity by those who occupy the top offices in the United States Government has resulted in a sanctioned program that was specifically designed to do nothing other than torture people.

The current Congress is at a crossroads - not that it hasn’t been on other issues, but this is a defining moment in our country’s history. With all of the other illegal acts where no meaningful action was taken (other than continuously funding the disaster in Iraq, which is part of the same thing), ignoring the issue of torture specifically discussed in great detail by Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Powell, Tenet and Bush himself is one that will show the world what kind of country the United States of America is.

The next President will have to deal with the fallout of this as well. Revelations that the President and his top officials discussed torture is what emboldens terrorists. This is what puts our troops at risk, as they will more likely be tortured now if captured. That will not go away.

Both Clinton and Obama have indicated that they will investigate the Bush administration crimes. Whether they will, with what zeal they will and which crimes they will investigate remains to be seen - one of them has to beat McSame first. But the issue of torture is one that should carry no excuses, no leniency, no tolerance.

This is not a partisan issue. It is an American issue. It is what will define us and what our role is in the global community. It will define us here at home - right now, torture is carried out in our name, and we are finding out how high up in our government this goes.

If we do not confront this, it will define us. If we attempt to “let this pass”, it will come back to haunt us for generations. If we don’t step up, we will forever be “one of those countries that tortures”.

It is up to us to make sure that something is done about it, since we are not getting much help from those whose job it is to do something about it.


Please join the ACLU in demanding a special prosecutor to investigate the role that was played by the highest officials in the Bush administration - including Bush himself in the acts described above.

And please spread the word - even if the corporate media doesn’t think that this is important enough - it is how we act now with respect to accountability that will determine who we are as a country.

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