and that’s a tragedy…

Posted on Monday 20 February 2006

Alberto J. MoraMora said Navy intelligence officers reported in 2002 that military-intelligence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were engaging in escalating levels of physical and psychological abuse rumored to have been authorized at a high level in Washington.

"I was appalled by the whole thing," Mora told the magazine. "It was clearly abusive and it was clearly contrary to everything we were ever taught about American values."

Mora said he thought his concerns were being addressed by a special group set up by the Pentagon. But he discovered in January 2003 that a Justice Department opinion had negated his arguments with what he described as "an extreme and virtually unlimited theory of the extent of the president’s commander in chief authority."

When the first pictures from the Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib appeared in the press in spring 2004, Mora said, he felt stunned and dismayed that what he had warned against had taken place, and in a different setting than Guantanamo Bay.

Please note the dates – "2002" "January 2003" – they were quickly out of the gates. The N.S.A. Warantless Domestic Surveillance, the policy of torture of military prisoners, probably the use of foreign prisons – all started very early on. When one reads over the ideas of the early Neoconservatives, their claims were lofty. We were going to spread Democracy, Freedom, a respect for human rights around the globe. We owed it to the world.

What those policies have done, it seems, is plunge us into the same dark mentality of our worst enemies. An Administration that was elected on a self righteous platform of Christian moral imperatives is currently fighting against investigations of:

  • our using torture on prisoners of war
  • indefinite imprisonment without legal recourse
  • unobserved spying on our own citizens
  • escalating debt to support a war machine
  • unparallelled secrecy in government
  • palace intrigue methods like exposing our own secret agents
  • feudal warfare between departments of government
  • unequalled corruption by public officials

What happened? How did we allow all of this to happen? Are things going so well that we just didn’t notice? It’s too late to answer those questions. What’s important is what we do tomorrow, and what we do on November 7th, 2006 in the midterm elections. We failed as an electorate in November 2004, and that’s a tragedy.

But some people are finally waking up:

  • U.S. church alliance denounces Iraq war
    On Friday, the U.S. National Council of Churches … released a letter appealing to Washington to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and saying reports of alleged torture violated "the fundamental Christian belief in the dignity of the human person."
  • Many Kansans, including members of The Eagle editorial board, have long admired Sen. Pat Roberts for his plainspokenness and reputation for fair brokering of issues.

    So it’s troubling that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fast gaining the reputation in Washington, D.C., as a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies.

    We hope that’s not true. But Roberts’ credibility is on the line. . . .

    What’s bothering many, though, is that Roberts seems prepared to write the Bush team a series of blank checks to conduct the war on terror, even to the point of ignoring policy mistakes and possible violations of law.

    That’s not oversight — it’s looking the other way.

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