M I S S I O N A C C O M P L I S H E D !
The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
Eric Holder and Barack Obama have taken pains to tell the American people that water-boarding is illegal torture. So what? That's just their opinion. President Bush disagrees. The persistent failure to hold anyone accountable at any level for years of state-sanctioned abuse speaks louder than their words. It has taken this issue from a legal question to a matter of personal taste. What we choose to define as torture is now just another policy disagreement, like extending the Bush tax cuts or picking a caterer. This is precisely the kind of sliding-scale ethical guesswork the rule of law should preclude.
"There was, in fact, an actual scarcity of combat footage depicted on television, since such footage only ranged from three to six percent of all war segments broadcast, depending on how the scenes were categorized. Factors that limited the graphic depiction of combat included the manner in which the war was fought - most of the operations that were covered took place in extremely remote areas of Vietnam and involved little or no contact with the communists and the technological limitations of the equipment - three-man television crews, carrying 80-100 pounds of bulky equipment each. The chief limiting factor, however, was that the television networks had no desire to broadcast gruesome battle scenes during the dinner hour in America, which might have prompted viewers to switch channels or turn their sets off. The result was that the American public, "although treated to nightly scenes of combat and men in battle...rarely, if ever, before 1968 and the Tet Offensive, saw the war in all its bloody detail." The result was that from August 1965 to August 1970, only 76 out of more than 2,300 television news reports originating in Vietnam depicted heavy fighting."
"Restrictions also covered still photography and television news coverage. Newsmen were tasked with abiding by a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) ruling that pictures of recognizable American dead or wounded servicemen would not be released until their next of kin had been notified. Pictures of disfigured wounded, of amputees, or of men in severe shock were also to be withheld unless the permission of the individual had been obtained first.[43"
On the other hand, he admits that he approved torture, which is a war crime. And he created prison camps throughout the world where innocent people were tortured, abused and held without any kind of due process for years. And, obviously, he opportunistically invaded a country on a phony pretext which resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Letting that go without even any serious inquiry is an injustice of massive proportions.
So, I guess my question is, how do we "learn" from his presidency if in addition to giving him a pass on his crimes, we aren't even willing to have an honest conversation, using real words with real meaning about what happened? If we dance around these things as if it's wrong to call white white and black black and insist that someone who ordered war crimes shouldn't be called a war criminal then I see a very different lesson being taken from that example than the one this commenter anticipates.
Yes, it's pretty to believe that the country will self-evidently come to the right conclusion without any legal or even social condemnation of what went wrong. We'll just "know" going forward that we need our leaders to have more patience, and be more thoughtful and less bellicose in the future. But I think this defies human nature and it certainly defies the reality of the world in which we live.
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