Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lessenberry on Torture

Yet another brave American is stepping forward and speaking the truth a la Keith Olbermann. Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry weighs in on torture, the Bush administration, and those of us who complacently sit on the sidelines and say nothing.
Last week, in a move that should have all Americans who still care about freedom screaming as loud as they can, Congress passed a bill that essentially gives the president's bully boys the right to torture suspects.

They just can't call it that. Oh, and we can't legally rape our victims. Of course, since detainees have no automatic right to counsel, it isn't clear how anyone would find out they were being raped, unless we have another batch of enlisted men stupid enough to take pictures of themselves in the act. [...]

[Bush] is trampling on the rights this nation always has stood for, and we are sitting here like cattle, each placidly chewing our cud until they come to load us on the truck. [...]

So while I still can, let me tell you what I really think. I believe the Bush administration is a far bigger threat to America's rights and freedoms, and the peace of the world, than any silly gang of terrorists.

I think the essence of America is guaranteeing a free trial and assuming that anyone is innocent until proven guilty — even if they are aliens, even if they are fanatic radical Muslims in other lands, even if they are Republican congressmen who want to molest little boys.

I think that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have killed far more people and have done far more damage to our nation than al-Qaeda has. I think that our nation and the world would be immeasurably better off if Bush and Cheney were in Abu Ghraib, or Guantanamo, than it is with them making our nation's policies.

And I believe Bush and Cheney's actions are deeply un-American.
I agree, but do Americans really care or listen? What more will it take before we call for accountability?

I'm not really sure we can save ourselves after reading about Rep. Mark Foley and the GOP's attempts to spin the story when they should have been acting swiftly and decisively to protect our children. We should be outraged by their actions. Even among convicts there is a pecking order, and pedophiles are at the bottom of the list. Our children are sacred and Americans have every right to expect our government to protect them. However, as Lessenberry points out:
Yet now we learn that the House leadership had known about these e-mails, some of them anyway, for almost a year. Nevertheless, they allowed Foley to remain head of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

That alone ought to be enough to bring down the government in any civilized country, no matter how weak and muddled the opposition might be.
We're not as civilized as we think we are if we can't put our precious children above politics.


Anonymous said...

Man, Olbermann really laid it down didn't he?. I think you pose a good question when you say; "but do Americans really care or listen?". I would say the answer is NO!!

I am lead to this conclusion because so many Americans still support this administration. In all honesty the Republican "brass", I believe, is forced to either sweet talk or "smooth" over things that they know is going on, hell they'd be jobless and powerless if they didn't, so I don't agree with...but can at least put a reason behind their lies and words like "it's not that at all...", they have everything to lose (in their mind).

What proves that Americans don't listen (which means they don't care), is their inability to see what is going on. I'm from Texas and I see only two kinds of Bush supporters...

1) The ones that allow the Republicans to exploit those beliefs on election year to gain a vote. These people will forever have un-relenting "faith" (thats ironic) in the Republican party.
They don't care to be informed unless it pertains to morality.

2) Those that are illiterate or don't have the access to information like everyone else b/c they live too far away from civilization, so when all else fails; vote for the Texan!!

Anyway, good thoughts. I can sense your frustration. Just be comforted in knowing many others agree with you, and the truth will always show itself.

Lew Scannon said...

I think the main reason is we are a nation of television-watchers. The corporate media, but especially the broadcast media, are being used to control the way people should feel about these issues, from Bill O'Reilly saying waterboarding isn't that bad, to the morning radio show that celebrates torture and abuse at Guantanamo.
But the delibearte disinformation is probably the worst. Just yesterday, on Bill O'Reilly's show, Fox News indentified Foley as a Democrat. Several times.I could get into it more, but Im don't want to waste your space.

abi said...

Strong words. Lessenberry added the dare, "So come and get me" for speaking out, knowing there's nochance of that actually happening.

Not yet, anyway. If America continues to do down the path Bush is taking us, how long will it be before they do come to get people like Lessenberry? It's no longer unthinkable. This admin is laying the groundwork for it.

The argument can be made (and has been made) that people who speak out against Iraq, the "war on terror," etc give aid and comfort to the enemy. That they're traitors. Doesn't the government have a right to defend itself against that kind of thing?

Lessenberry is right - Bush and Cheney are doing more damage to America than terrorists could ever hope to do.

abi said...

(Sorry for the length and the typos.)

Kathy said...

Stephen, reading your description of Texas voters reminds me of the dynamics within family units. Very often we excuse the inexusable in our spouses and children because we either don't see or don't want to admit there is a problem. I guess voters are somewhat like that. (You're right, I am frustrated. It's nice to know I'm in good company.)

Lew, you're not wasting my space, and your point is important. Hastert is now being identified as a Democrat too. It's a subtle form of propaganda in my opinion. Is this really America?

Abi, I've left my fair share of typos all over the internet, so no problem! I agree with the argument that the government should be able to defend itself from critics, but Americans should also have the right to criticize the government. Criticism is nothing new, and we've won wars over the years in spite of it - until Bush & Cheney came along.