05 October 2007

The end of empire?

I know that on Friday I'm supposed to do football picks. I suppose I will, but I just finished reading the New York Times and the Washington Post's articles on the Department of Justice and "secret memos" advocating torture under a different name. The Times story gets straight to the heart of the hypocrisy that surrounds so much of the Bush Administration:
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

In other words, like most petty dictators and even elected heads of repressive states, Bush and his cronies mouth their support of freedom, democracy, rule of law, and human rights, while continuing to practice the cynical medieval methods of power.

Apparently, this administration will stop at nothing to turn the United States from a beacon of freedom into a symbol of terror. While you could argue that for much of its history, the US has held the paradoxical position of trumpeting human rights while at the same time imposing its will on weaker countries abroad and repressing its minorities at home, I think the Bush Administration goes further than any other in merely paying lip service to our supposed ideals, and their cynical, secret memos, composed only after they've cleared away the opposition among their own ranks (who ever would have thought a figure like John Ashcroft would ever be hailed as a defender of actual decency, but there you are...).

Where we are now, after seven long years of Bush's insurgency: an undersupplied official military, high-paying contracts to scum of the earth mercenaries, and completely unashamed and unrepentant liars in the highest positions of civil society.

1 comment:

asia said...

ugh, what a depressing way to start the day. at least those seven long years are behind us and we can start to hope for something a little better.