more pre-meditation…

Posted on Sunday 28 October 2007

The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us
October 14th, 2007 

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

Still, the drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.
It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.
Two weeks ago, Frank Rich wrote this in the New York Times. It was about the same time as Naomi Wolf‘s, The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot was making the rounds. These are not silly analogies, the comparison of the Administration to the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany. We hope our government’s structure can block the future of American Fascism, but it’s anything but an idle worry. I believe the highlighted paragraphs. I actually believe they sent too few troops to Iraq because they didn’t want to institute a draft, and thereby expose the country to the reality of their war. I actually believe that the kookie tax-cuts had the same design – to keep it painless. The results of their attempts to make war invisible resulted in a shaky military operation and in a sky-rocketting national debt. Frank Rich’s "Good Germans" analogy is right on topic…
[program pre-recorded on the back porch]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.