"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

America is better than Bush

The shame of being an American during a time when lawlessness was pervasive in our leadership. The International Committee of the Red Cross produced a classified document back in 2006 which detailed the ways in which so-called "enemy combatants" were treated in US custody. Have a look at the table of contents
1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime....
It's a litany of tactics right out of the Nazi playbook. Or WW2 Japan. Or the Khmer Rouge. Or any number of authoritarian regimes. If nothing else convinces you that Bush and his whole crew need to be hauled off to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, then let this concluding paragraph from the ICRC report sink in.
The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
So when Bush said
"The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it—and I will not authorize it."
he was a lying sack of shit. And now it's time to hold him accountable.

1 comment:

trjh said...

Horrific, and shameful. Perhaps the worst in a long list of things wrong with that administration.

However, speaking as someone whose 'shame' or 'pride' in being American is a bit more tested -- or at least questioned -- than those generally surrounded by fellow Americans, I believe there has been entirely too much hyperbole around the use of those terms.

During the years of the Bush administration I was not ashamed to be an American, and certainly didn't think I should be. I was unhappy that that administration had been elected (or judicially appointed), I was varying degrees of disappointed with the policies of our leadership (on both sides) -- though not all the time, and I agreed with my European friends & neighbors about the state of America more often than I generally liked.

However, I do not believe that a country or a people should be judged entirely on their leadership at any one point in time. Just as I don't believe protest against said leadership or practices can truly be branded as 'unAmerican'.