Sunday, June 19, 2005

"We Have Met The Enemy ...

... And He Is Us."

Walt Kelly, the late and renowned creator of the Pogo cartoons (back when cartoons could be both socially relevant and funny) wrote this memorable line about thirty years ago, but it's amazing how appropriate it is. Because, ladies and gentlemen, it's true.

We have become our own worst enemy. There are Official Government Spokespeople holding forth that what is going on In Our Names at Guantanamo Bay is perfectly okay. Supporters of this position are fulminating at anyone who suggests that our treatment of the detainees is anything approaching unethical, if not illegal.

These same people are attacking the Downing Street Memo as irrelevant - because, they say, it was written by a low-level bureaucrat and can be disregarded. Um, just to clue you in, guys and gals - the Wannsee Protocol, which started the Holocaust, was written by a low-level bureaucrat. A colorless mensch named Eichmann. Remember him?

And apparently a US soldier was beaten brain-damaged by other US soldiers at "Gitmo" during a drill. The hapless soldier, a National Guardsman from Kentucky, is suing for $15 million. The story was printed in the Los Angeles Times on June 16th. Now, if this is how our soldiers treat one of our soldiers (apparently they weren't told it was a drill), how do you think the real detainees are being treated?

Still, the Administration is out there telling us that everything's okay, and we've "turned the corner" in Iraq. Unfortunately, if you turn the corner often enough, you find you're just going around in circles. And all of President Bush's repeating the now-discredited "reasons" for invading Iraq are not going to make things better.

When the House of Representatives voted in 2001 to abdicate its Constitutional responsibilities and give Bush a blank check to use whatever he wanted to use to fight terrorism, there was one dissenting voice. Representative Barbara Lee, D-CA, said as she defended her position, "I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States ... as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."

We have met the enemy, and he is us.


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