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Why is this even an issue?

September 15, 2006

But Colin L. Powell, Mr. Bush’s former secretary of state, sided with the senators, saying in a letter that the president’s plan to redefine the Geneva Conventions would encourage the world to “doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,” and “put our own troops at risk.”

I’m going to preface this by saying that, lately, I’ve tried to get away from looking at politics from the lens of any given party or ideology. I’m worried about the polarization of politics at this moment in our history, and I’m trying to keep “the plank out of my own eye” as it were.

But moments like this just have me shaking my head. Our esteemed President wants to essentially gut the Geneva Conventions to make it easier to pursue terror suspects. The quote du jour, courtesy of the New York Times:

If we capture bin Laden tomorrow and we have to hold his head under water to find out when the next attack is going to happen, we ought to be able to do it.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee

How hard is this to understand? Our actions define us. If we’re going to act like the ends justify the means, that we’re allowed to do whatever we want to achieve our ends, we undermine the authority we rely on in the world.

Seeing this debate take shape, I think it’s very interesting to see who’s on what side. On one side you’ve got Colin Powell and John McCain, along with guys like John Warner and Lindsey Graham. I’m less familiar with Warner and Graham, but McCain is a guy I’ve always admired – and his credentials on this issue (having been a POW who was tortured) are impeccable. Powell is also a guy I’ve had great respect for – and these days the Powell Doctrine seems to something the administration has forgotten.

On the other side, you have a President in Bush who’s never (to my knowledge) been in combat, whose advisors are the same guys who seem hell-bent on renegotiating the social contract to remove any liberty necessary to give the government all-consuming power in the name of “keeping us safe from terrorists”.

And that doesn’t include the Democrats, who seem to be (wisely) staying out of this.

I’m having a hard time stating this as eloquently as I’d like to – so I’ll close with a few of my favorite quotations on subjects like this:

I’m sure there are others – if you know of any, please leave them in the comments.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jamie permalink
    September 15, 2006 11:35 am

    The most frightening thing about this is that the Bush Administration isn’t even TRYING to deny that they’re torturing people! They’re actually asking for PERMISSION to do it MORE.

    People in the US need to sit down and have a serious heart-to-heart with the image of the CAVE in Plato’s Republic.

    — And so ends Jamie’s nod to his freshman philosophy class from 1987.

  2. Thierry Henraldinho permalink
    September 18, 2006 8:25 am

    2 more years.

    who do you trust – war vets or think tankers with shares in defense companies?

    what’s sad is it’s taken 3 years for us to get to THIS point – and we’re still battling the wannabe facists.

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