dimanche, septembre 17, 2006

What Bush Teaches about America, What Bush Teaches about Democracy, What Bush Teaches about Christianity

So let me know if I’m oversimplifying things.

Does it seem at all inconsistent that the Bush Administration has sent anti-terror legislation to the Senate, which essentially disregards key provisions of the Geneva Convention because (after all this time – Geneva was signed in 1949) it’s suddenly, according to the Administration, too vague for application?

Never mind that our departure here leaves our own soldiers vulnerable to mistreatment (vulernable to our own new interpretations) should they ever become prisoners of war.

Never mind that this is really just a continuation of a consistent disregard, by Bush, of international treaties and accords (the 1995 Biological Weapons Convention, the 1997 Kyoto treaty, changes to the U.N. pact on the illegal flow of small arms among others).

Never mind that expert after expert after expert has said that any evidence obtained as a result of torture is inherently unreliable.

Never mind that on the day when the President promoted legislation to torture people in new and exciting ways, two military leaders, Colin Powell and Lieutenant General John (Jeff) Kimmons used their moral high-ground and superior understanding of war theory and war practice to come out in almost exactly the opposite direction*.

Never mind the effect it has on our laws and how they’re interpreted.

Never mind the effect it has on the tortured, or, stated differently,

never mind the lessons of Abu Ghraib.

Never mind the effect it has on the torturer, or, stated differently,

never mind the lessons of Mahmoudiya.

Never mind that it’s good politics so close to the mid-term elections to promote anti-terror legislation (to label it such even) and then dare Democrats to vote against it so that you can say they’re soft on terror**.

Never mind the effect it has on Americans, the flag, our standing in the international community, the world’s reaction to “democracy***.”

Never mind that all this torturing we do in the name of protecting ourselves from terrorism only emboldens terrorists, and diminishes any sympathy or latitude the rest of the world may extend us; undermining our ability to encourage future coalitions of the willing – which is to say, future countries willing to join us in worthwhile responses to (God forbid) future acts of terrorism.

Never mind how just downright sad it is that talented men and women spend time parsing words and phrases from respected agreements that are more than 50 years old, with the goal of finding ways to hurt people – to hurt them so badly that sometimes they die.

Does it seem at all inconsistent that the President who blows the horn of his Christian faith more than any other President…does it seem at all inconsistent that this is the President who tours the country speaking to his faithful – other conservative Christians - about the need for simulated drowning, the need for sleep and sensory deprivation, the need for beatings, the need for induced hypothermia, in short, the need for people to suffer and die in order for us to…

…to what?

Reduce Terrorism?
Find Osama bin Laden?
Promote democracy?
Be a moral force in the world?
Preserve the Republican majority in all four estates****?
Maintain our status as a superpower?
Test people’s patriotism?
Promote Christianity?


For those who don’t understand America, for those who don’t understand democracy, for those who don’t understand Christianity, what is the message here?

* Kimmons said “…No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, tells us that. And, moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used…”

** So what if people suffer, so what if people die, so what if future American soldiers find themselves water-boarded - if Republicans retain the House and Senate, it will all be worth it. Is that the argument?

***At a recent international protest at one of the many countries that are able to gather tens of thousands of people only to protest the United States, a woman was practically worshipped because she carried a sign which read “Be careful, the U.S. may bring democracy to you next.”

****Executive, legislative, judicial, and main street media.