Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not The Country I Thought It Was


Just in case you missed it, I'm going to point it out because this is very important. Do not shift in your seat and protest that "you don't like politics," please, because this is more important.

On April 9, ABC News reported this: "In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency." These "principals" included Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of Defense. They discussed techniques in detail, almost to the point of choreographing aspects of interrogations, and these discussions included techniques such as waterboarding. (Illegal torture, that is.)

Okay, so we have the President's closest advisors conspiring to commit war crimes. I put it that frankly because, despite what our government has chosen to believe, you can't just decide a law isn't a law anymore when it conflicts with what you want to do.

Yet it gets worse. Two days later, the President does not protest his revulsion at these talks. He does not deny any knowledge of what went on behind his back. He dispenses with the ritual denial altogether and owns it completely: "I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

Holy Roman Empire, batman!! This is the President of the United States admitting full knowledge and approval of his cabinet conspiring to violate domestic and international laws governing torture!

My country. My government.

How is this not a political atomic bomb? I simply do not understand. This President has openly admitted to, and even spoken proudly of, actions that are impeachable under our Constitution. In his conception and prosecution of a war under false and shifting pretenses, spying on Americans in violation of our laws and Constitution, and now a knowledgable part of a conspiracy to commit war crimes, one has to ask what limits a President cannot violate. By historical comparison, President Nixon ordered a botched burglary, and Bill Clinton lied under oath about getting a blow job on government time.

Already it is established that the United States is incapable of defending its integrity from a ruler who goes bad. Even more nauseous, we the people do not even stand and shout in outrage. I check out this morning's news, and I see pictures of Barack Obama on a tractor.

There will be no consequence. George W. Bush will open his library and be treated as an honored guest the rest of his life. He will retire in comfort and never be held to legal account for what he has done. He will not even suffer much in the way of opprobrium.

This is, to put it very simply, not at all the country I thought it was. And I can do nothing about it except use whatever forum I have to bear witness and say, "Yuck." That's all I have left.

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