March 4, 2007

In our name

Steve asked about violations of civil liberties under Bush. This oped from Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen who had first hand experience with the America created by Bush and Cheney. Unfortunately, given what we know about this policy of "extraordinary rendition" suggests that this story is not anamalous:
"ON NEW YEAR'S EVE in 2003, I was seized at the border of Serbia and Macedonia by Macedonian police who mistakenly believed that I was traveling on a false German passport. I was detained incommunicado for more than three weeks. Then I was handed over to the American Central Intelligence Agency and was stripped, severely beaten, shackled, dressed in a diaper, injected with drugs, chained to the floor of a plane and flown to Afghanistan, where I was imprisoned in a foul dungeon for more than four months.

Long after the American government realized that I was an entirely innocent man, I was blindfolded, put back on a plane, flown to Europe and left on a hilltop in Albania — without any explanation or apology for the nightmare that I had endured."

That this man experienced this in my name makes me ill. Our "City upon a Hill" for all its problems, has been transformed into a house of horrors. What do we say to a terrorist group that kidnaps an American citizen and tortures them? Do we express horror? Do we chide them for their immoral behavior? Or do we shrug because we know that if we have the chance, we will do the same thing?

The damage done to our moral image around the world is incalculable and will take generations to bridge.

4 comments:

steve sundeen said...

What is often missing from these types of discussions is actual examples. Thanks for providing one. I think the idea of holding non-combatants is appalling. If they have done something wrong, then conduct a trial and present your evidence. If not, let them go.

Andrew Napolitano has two good books on government abuses ("Constitution in Exile" and "Constitutional Chaos"). Fair warning, though. He is very much an original intent kind of constitutional interpreter. That being said, he fairly non-partisan in his critiques, in that he goes after both parties.

Streak said...

Steve, I understand. Like I said, I completely get the charge that rhetoric flies on both sides. But what I fear is that we have been duped with the "both sides are equal" and "there are two sides to every story." Both phrases have elements of truth, but spin, perhaps used well in the Clinton administration, has been perfected in Bush's. Global Warming becomes climate change, reducing pollution regulations becomes "clean skys initiative," etc.

Not only that, but that has allowed the Administration to move even further right, when everyone just assumes that they are in the middle and there are reasonable discussions on either side. True in most cases between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, but when you have a President who asserts the right to incarcerate American citizens without habeas review, I get pretty nervous.

steve sundeen said...

On some issues, both sides are not equal. A violation of civil liberties, even if done for a good reason, is still wrong.

Unfortunately, my lack of a science background makes me a poor choice to speak on global warming. I have to rely on others to understand the possible causes and solutions.

I wish we had some viable third parties. I think it would benefit us if we weren't relying on two parties to lead us and had some better choices.

Wasp Jerky said...

Well, then there's that whole no more habeas corpus thing.

As for third parties, the only way for there to be a viable third party is for more people to vote for a third party. Vote Green Party in protest.