Thursday, June 02, 2005


There's no shame in being a pariah.

So I was having this convo the other day with a couple of friends, not long after reading something else about the extent of our torturous activities around the world. The thrust of the conversation was something like this:

Me: People who voted for Bush voted for torture. They have blood on their hands.

Friends: Aw, give 'em a break. Kerry was so lackluster. How much REALLY happened at Abu Ghraib?

Me: Umm, rapes. Deaths. Not just pictures of naked guys. We as a country had a chance to stand up for our values and we didn't do it. We should all be ashamed.

Friends: Huh.

I don't know ... it was frustrating. And got me to thinking: yes we can blame the unbelievably cowed media, the Democrats for not being stronger about this, even the compliant GOP Congress for not wanting to be traitors to their party. We can blame the troops (which is what the "supporters of the troops" invariably do). Or we can put the blame where it belongs: on Bush and Rumsfeld. Not just for the torturing, but for the covering up of the torturing, and worst of all, the belittling of those who would demand someone take responsibility:

Rumsfeld, Amnesty trade barbs over prisoner abuse
[Note: No, that's not what happened. Amnesty released a detailed report establishing that Rumsfeld helped establish and is currently responsible for our TORTURE policy. Rumsfeld tried to change the subject to get into a semantic debate. Amnesty refused to play that game.]

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday assailed as "reprehensible" Amnesty International's description of the Guantanamo prison as a gulag but the group said he should be held accountable for torture.

The spat between the Pentagon chief and the human rights group came a week after Amnesty compared the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the vast, brutal Soviet system of forced labor camps in which millions of prisoners died.

"No force in the world has done more to liberate people that they have never met than the men and women of the United States military. Indeed, that's why the recent allegation that the U.S. military is running a gulag at Guantanamo Bay is so reprehensible," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing.

The United States holds about 520 men at Guantanamo, where they are denied rights accorded under international law to prisoners of war. Many have been held without charge for more than three years.

"Most would define a gulag as where the Soviet Union kept millions in forced labor concentration camps, or I suppose some might say where Saddam Hussein mutilated and murdered untold numbers because they held views unacceptable to his regime. To compare the United States and Guantanamo Bay to such atrocities cannot be excused," Rumsfeld added.

Free societies welcome informed criticism, particularly on human rights, but "those who make such outlandish charges lose any claim to objectivity or seriousness," Rumsfeld said.


Rumsfeld's remarks came a day after President George W. Bush called Amnesty's gulag comparison "an absurd allegation," and said, "The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world."
Remember the torture folks. The 9/11 failure, the "war is our last option" lies, the pretense of caring about chemical, biological & nuclear weapons, the complete mishandling of the post-invasion Iraq situation (the looting, the unguarded depots), the failure to capture Osama bin-Laden, the tax-cuts-as-Trojan-horse-to-bring-down-Social-Security, the stem cell stupidity, the inability to pass any important legislation despite having majorities in the House & Senate, the assault on gay Americans. Any one of those things should have been enough to guarantee an historic loss in 2004 by Bush. But the torture should have been enough to push ANY. REMAINING. DOUBTER. over the cliff.

It wasn't.

It is amazing how the voters for Bush believe he is doing the right things for America.
As long as the voting public believes that our economy is in the tank, they'll be voting for a Republican president, and please remember that your friends are not activist observers and as such don't pay as much attention as you do; however, they also didn't vote for Bush.
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