Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
--George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September, 2001
Is our freedoms leaving?
[Photo seen on FireDogLake]
Dear Mr. President,
I have a question. Are these the same freedoms our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq hold dear and are fighting to defend on this Memorial Day? Are these the same freedoms outlined in our Constitution that you swore to uphold and defend?
And, if you don't mind me asking, when do you think you might get around to upholding and defending them?
Because, to be frank, I think you hate our freedoms. I base this observation on the fact that you and your advisors have worked deliberately and systematically to undermine nearly everything that makes us free.
This is very serious, Mr. President. Nothing less than the soul of our nation is at stake. And, under your increasingly totalitarian leadership, our country's soul is transmigrating into something dark and troubling -- and making us over into someone most of us clearly do not want to be.
Like what, you ask. Like this, sir, found in Amnesty International's annual report released on Tuesday:
The United States has become a world leader in avoiding human rights accountability [emphasis mine]; a case in point is the reliance of the United States government on private military contractors, which has helped create virtually rules-free zones sanctioned with the American flag and firepower,” said Larry Cox, who became AIUSA’s executive director May 1. “Business outsourcing may increase efficiency, but war outsourcing may be facilitating impunity. Contractors’ illegal behavior and the reluctance of the U.S. government to bring them to justice are further tarnishing the United States’ reputation abroad, hurting the image of American troops and contributing to anti-American sentiment. These results are a distressing return on the U.S. taxpayers’ billion-dollar-plus investment and undermine what remains of U.S. moral authority abroad.
CBS News provides further analysis of the AI report:
Rights groups have loudly criticized the policies of the United States and its allies since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, complaining that human rights and civil liberties are being sacrificed in the name of counterterrorism.
"The Amnesty report and the recent U.N. report have documented the fact that the U.S. human rights record in recent years has generated distrust of U.S. motives and methods," said CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk.
"Splitting hairs on what is or is not international law misses the point: the reports as well as revelations by a former Pentagon lawyer familiar with the Guantanamo interrogations, Alberto Mora, all raise the question of whether or not the U.S. has violated basic human rights in its detention and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody,” said Falk.
You, Mr. President, and your Attorney General and
toadies advisors, consciously split those hairs. And now America is again leading the world -- in torture and gulags. I read, Mr. President, that earlier this week you compared yourself to Harry Truman. However, you appear to be more closely emulating other less tolerant leaders:
Maybe it's time we gave you a nickname. How's "Slobbo Jr." sound?
[Image seen on Feedback]
And I keep waiting for a response to the AI report, aside from the perfunctory "We do not torture" reverse negative statement in the "Healthy Forests = Clear-cut with Extreme Prejudice" dichotomy, but so far all I've seen was this on MSNBC today:
The Bush administration has asked federal judges in New York and Michigan to dismiss a pair of lawsuits filed over the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program, saying litigating them would jeopardize state secrets.
In papers filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers said it would be impossible to defend the legality of the spying program without disclosing classified information that could be of value to suspected terrorists.
Shayana Kadidal, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, called the administration’s motion “undemocratic.”
Ample safeguards could be put in place to allow the case to continue without disclosing classified information, he said. The center has also argued that the court already has enough information to decide whether the program was legal.
“The Bush administration is trying to crush a very strong case against domestic spying without any evidence or argument,” Kadidal said in a written statement. “Can the president tell the courts which cases they can rule on? If so, the courts will never be able to hold the president accountable for breaking the law.”
But you're already above the courts, aren't you, Mr. President. You amend signing statements to laws exempting you from executing any policy you disdain and thus bend the Constitution to your will. You don't need no stinkin' warrants. You make your own reality. The Rove Doctrine rules. Kill 'em all...and let Diebold sort 'em all out.
But I've got to tell you something, Mr. President. And it might surprise you because you surely haven't heard it from your
stoolies advisors. Are you ready? You might want to sit down.
9-11 did not change everything.
I know I'm speaking the unspeakable but it's true. Really. The soul of our country should not transmigrate into something else because of 9-11. Somehow, we managed to confront and defeat our terrorist enemies after Pearl Harbor without steamrolling over our own freedoms. And all this Orwellian snooping is too ripe for abuse, as Bolling's cartoon I posted yesterday cleverly demonstrates. And all this torture and trampling of civil liberties, well, it's making our soul sick and risking permanent transmigration to
neocon evils a mirror image of America I never thought I'd see. It's not who we want to be, Mr. President. And it's a slippery slope, too. The next thing you know we'll be the bad guys and start committing even more horrific abuses and war crimes.
Oh. I forgot.
But I hope you remember we're the land of the free, Mr. President. At least, we used to be...before you came along.
P.S. This used to be the home of the brave, too. Hey, Democrats! Hello! What the fuck are you waiting for? Why are you sitting on your hands and burying your heads in polls these days while BushCo jerks our chains with this and this and this? You know, Al Gore is starting to look pretty good about now -- especially after Hillary's execrable flag-burning wingnut kissyfacing. Frank Rich wants Al to go for it in 2008. At least Al speaks up. So please spin the bottle and pick an issue. Or, if nothing else, just start working overtime to make absolutely certain the election in November is fair. Do something to give me a choice this fall other than choosing between the cowardly and the treacherous smirking war-mongering freedom-hating intelligence-cooking torture-loving eavesdropping apocalyptic-bringing Left Behinders.
Oh, and, since I have your attention, thanks. Even crumbs are better than no bread at all.