In Chile, Pinochet is slowly being brought to trial. Guatemela is struggling, once again, to come to grips with its dirty war against leftists, Mayans, anybody disasgreeing with the UI.S. backed and trained military. Yes, by all accounts, they studied torture and other "counterinsurgency" techniques at the School of the Americas, Fort Benning, Georgia, and it wasn't just the Guatemalans who learned brutality there. Yes, the U..S. knows a great deal about torture., and if the Senate votes today as expected, the U.S. will be able proudly to establish new standards for torture, for cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners, for denying basic legal rights to prisoners--including the right to face your accuser and to see all the evidence against you, not to mention the pesumption of innocence and ability to challenge your detention.
Forget who votes yes or no in the Senate on this one. The crew who spinelessly approved the Iraq fiasco agreed not to filibuster this moral and legal atrocity. That's right, not a man or woman among them could muster the strength to rise from their supine positions and howl. Not one in 100. They all joined in making a mockery of the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in shredding them and their own countries best traditions. Why? Because they were afraid of being called soft on terriors. None dare call them courageous.
they wouldn't be courageous if they stood up. there are standards for courage, and doing something that you are required by your office to do and that, moreover, only risks your political career but still leaves you wealthy and influential, is not among them. our politicians' base cowardice has lowered the bar of what counts as brave in this country. when clinton stood up to chris wallace, people said he was brave. brave? what did he have to lose? he wasn't brave. he was all right. he did the right thing. he did the normal thing. when i stop at a stop sign i do the right, normal thing. if no one ever stopped and i did i wouldn't be a hero. i'd be doing what's required of me. it doesn't matter whether other people do it or not. it's still what's required and my doing it makes me decent, not brave or a hero.
making sure the law doesn't get trampled on, if you are an elected member of a democratic country like ours, is the least you can do.
the the moral fiber of the political hierarchy of this country is slacker than an overboiled strand of spaghetti. it will take a long time for us to dig ourselves out of the shameful hole in which we have fallen.
thank you mark, as always, for your stark, heartfelt eloquence.
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