Man – and I thought the Rodney King incident was bad.
Read this, if you can stomach it. That warning isn't so much because of the graphic content (although it is graphic), but because of how disgusting this case is, and how there are now more incentives (or just the knowledge that military policy is to look the other way) to torture to get information.
The guy in question, tortured by the cops to sign a confession, was saved only because his wife was smart enough to start a tape recorder before she was forced to leave the house. Had she not, who would have believed her? Or the petty drug peddler? Who believes the US or cops or the Bush administration is capable of any of this, even when they're caught red-handed?
And they've been caught red-handed! But the shit don't stick, apparently. Because it's the exception, right? Right? Even when the President is trying to make torture a part of US military policy? So when is this unacceptable? When it's OK to practice on American citizens? Or "those people?" Or you?
Funny thing is, exactly what happened to "those people" at Abu Graib happened to an American citizen. On tape. With an FBI transcript of the tape. Those guys went to jail because a smart wife got lucky. What if they had caught her with the tape? Think she would have gotten her Miranda rights read to her?
Same with Abu Graib. One good American out of the rotten of that bunch who were committing war crimes in those pictures handed them over to his superior officer when they came across his lap. As he should have. Now, he's in a witness protection program, because many of his fellow servicemembers consider him a 'traitor." But the men who are beating, raping, killing – and taking pictures of it, to boot – are the real traitors to all Americans.
People say we're fighting "a war on terror," but what's the point if you become as corrupt as the people we're fighting? And since now the "land of freedom" is detaining and torturing human beings in the very dungeons built by our former enemies in Eastern Europe and even Iraq, who's winning the war, again? Did we even win the Cold War, really?
This is fucking embarrassing, and enrages me, as an American, more than any of these fairweather patriots could ever know. I can't see how any true patriot could support an administration that even hints at defending laws and policies that include torture, secret trials, interrogation without counsel, or even being arrested and held without charge, or the government even having to acknowledge they have you. That's what Patriots I and II would enable.
Oh, and your citizenship to be stripped if you are declared a "terrorist." And guess who decides that? Without guarantee of due process of the law? Yes, it may sound alarmist, but the legal groundwork for the state to be able to do this to American citizens – to disappear you completely without legal representation, recourse, or even being able to make that proverbial phone call – is already half-laid. Patriot I is law, see. If there had been more terrorist incidents, and the fear got to an unimaginable fever pitch, do you think they wouldn't have easily passed Patriot II, which the Republicans, by the way, had already conveniently (and secretly) drawn up?
When did current events start resembling the plot of a Star Wars movie?
Oh, that was Reagan, actually. My bad. When he used a science-fiction movie as the basis for a national defense strategy, against the protestations of all the scientific minds consulted on the project at the time.
Now, I guess we're back to Episodes I, II, and III for reals, right?
Abu Graib, CIA torture chambers in Eastern Europe, the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and the fact that Patriot II was penned, its existence denied, and then admitted only after the full text of it had been leaked to the Internet.
Wait – the Republicans wanted to impeach Clinton for getting his Johnson Waxed™ and lying about it, but Bush, Cheney, and company are taking a drippy shit all over both the spirit and letter of the American Constitution, and it's OK?
I don't know how any Bushites can even look in the mirror and call themselves "patriots" and wave the American flag. They need to take a good, hard look at the first ten amendments and the Constitution and think about the unjust war we're in, the lies we were told to get us there, the shredding of our basic American principles when we torture people in secret dungeons, and how this bodes well for us in the long run of history – not just the short run of politics and vested interests.