Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BeggingYour Pardon

"Pardon Me"

It's the new game in town, brought to us by none other than the Deciderer, grand Inquisitor of the new crusade.

See, the President has spent the last 5 years promoting and ordering torture. Torture is immoral. That's why 194 countries, led by the United States (back in the days when we actually held the moral high ground in the world), cobbled together the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions prevented thousands of our soldiers from torture in the dark days of WWII.

The Geneva Conventions were heralded as a sign of humanity's commitment to true and lasting civilization. It was a commitment to the belief that as humans, we are better than frightened animals; a commitment to the belief that we are better than petty, cruel, murderous barbarians.

The Father of our country, George Washington, did not allow his troops to torture the British. Washington understood something that the stunted adolescents now occupying office in the city that bears his name don't: torture is wrong, inhumane, immoral, and counterproductive.
"Always some dark spirits wished to visit the same cruelties on the British and Hessians that had been inflicted on American captives. But Washington's example carried growing weight, more so than his written orders and prohibitions. He often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies. ... Even in the most urgent moments of the war, these men were concerned about ethical questions in the Revolution."

Now, in the city named after the man who started the uniquely American trend away from petty cruelty and vengence, the current President and his apologists are playing the game of "Pardon Me." It goes something like this:

  1. Do something so deeply immoral that all of the civilized world signed a treaty agreeing never to do it again.

  2. Keep making excuses for this immoral behavior until it looks like you're actually about to get caught red-handed, because some of your victims are about to be interviewed by a neutral international humanitarian organization.

  3. Then, as the fan starts to spin and the manure pile starts to stink ... grant yourself a pre-emptive pardon!

It's easy: Just write a bill that "clarifies" the wording of the treaty - wording that has saved countless numbers of our soldiers from inhumane treatment over the decades, through at least 4 wars and 8 presidents. Rewrite it to make it "clear" that you're excusing yourself for your own immoral acts. It's just like excusing yourself from going AWOL, or excusing yourself from illegal drug use, or heck, even from skipping school.

What's one more excuse? So what if it hands our children over to cruel abusers beyond imagining? So what if it turns America from a shining beacon of morality into just another petty bully on the world stage? So what if it means lower-quality information from our prisoners, leading us to waste millions on wild goose chases and causing us to kill, maim, and torture innocents on the way?

So what?

Well, Pardon me, but I know we're better than that.

For hundreds of years, from George Washington all the way through to Bill Clinton, we have been better than that. We must not let this petty President excuse himself for his behavior. He doesn't get a "pass" just because he's not used to taking responsibility for his actions. If anything, it's high time someone taught him about the importance of personal responsibility - that there are consequences when you do something wrong. It's something most kids learn from an early age.

It's time for those who are required to provide 2/3 of the Checks and Balances built into the Constitution to take their obligation seriously. Do not pass ANY of the laws that seek to change the wording of the Geneva Conventions - the treaty that brought a new level of hope and security to the civilized world.

Compromising our integrity and our morality is inexcusable.

Call or write your Representatives and Senators and tell them you won't accept any more excuses. Tell them that you will accept neither the President's Detainee Bill, nor any proposed compromise bill.

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