by Taylor Marsh
Soldiers do it every day.
But to save the tenets on which this country was founded, for which we have always stood and U.S. soldiers die every day, are we willing to do the same?
It is being called "a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm." It seems the only thing we came to fear was getting caught not doing enough, no matter what "enough" meant. The inability to access the morality of the means by which we protect ourselves got us into this mess. The cowardice to be willing to die for which we stand, the tenets of this American democracy, more prevalent than the courage to stand up to protect it, no matter the personal cost.
However, after listening to the serious men on "Morning Joe" exchange their pontificating hot air on the importance of knowing the "truth," but that simultaneously no one should be held accountable (or prosecuted if found guilty), no matter where that truth leads, there is little doubt how we got ourselves in this mess. The "leading" lights of government and traditional media, that dying forth estate that now holds court under the glare of cable network spotlights, all made up, some with their hair greased down, others looking rumpled, no woman in sight, holding court to weigh in on the realities of 9/11 and how all Americans supposedly were willing to do -- here it comes -- "whatever it takes" to keep "America safe," starting with 9/12. This included all manner of harsh interrogation techniques that we now know were readied before they were legal, all through the stroke of a pen from George W. Bush, who obviously mistook the presidency for king.
With the release of the Armed Services Committee Detainee Report today, we find out how our leaders, helped along by the fourth estate who fell asleep, all believe what Nixon believed, only with a broader brush: Whatever Americans do is not illegal.
(U)On February 7,2002, President Bush signed a memorandum stating that the Third Geneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and concluding that Taliban detainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or the legal protections afforded by the Third Geneva Convention. The President's order closed off application ofCommon Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. While the President's order stated that, as "a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva Conventions," the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legal compliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.
(U) In December 2001, more than a month before the President signed his memorandum, the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel's Office had already solicited information on detainee "exploitation" from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), an agency whose expertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques considered illegal under the Geneva Conventions. ...
That's obviously what was being set up, as President Bush and his administration decided that America had no moral code to follow because we were hit on 9/11.
It's especially helpful if you have the medical and psychological institutes represented, on cover thinner than a fig leaf, standing guard:
As one JPRA instructor explained, SERE training is "based on illegal exploitation (under the rules listed in the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War) of prisoners over the last 50 years." The techniques used in SERE school, based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean war to elicit false confessions, include stripping students of (sic) their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. It can also include face and body slaps and until recently, for some who attended the Navy's SERE school, it included waterboarding.
Is it any wonder that American politicians and others, for so long, condoned what Israel has done to the Palestinian people, because of what was done to them by Palestinian bombers? Quid pro quo becoming the standard, as long as a nation did it under protecting the people. Morality slipping into the abyss of national security.
That the blame is being put on the "far left," with those of us whether "far left" or not, demanding our country hold people accountable, makes those citizens fighting for America to regain our moral high ground the last refuge of brave patriots. Vilified, we stand resolved, because we know we are taking our country back to the high ground where the nation began. Willingly standing to sacrifice all for this country in lieu of ripping ourselves to shreds on the altar of "keeping America safe," if that phrase means dismantling what this nation stood for on its founding.
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin
Follow Taylor on Twitter, where next Monday she will be covering a foreign policy forum: US-SAUDI Relations in a World Without Equilibrium, with a liveblogging report of the event available.