Mirror, mirror . . .
When it comes to loathing, I stand behind no one for loathing everything Loathsome George did and stood for.
In May Day’s Washington Post, op-ed contributor Michael Kinsley opined, correctly in my opinion, that the pointing finger of opprobrium for the torturing of “detainees” and “enemy combatants” that were schemed and executed by the Bush administration should have a 180-degree crook, to point at a knowing public that stood by. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/30/AR2009043003301.html?wpisrc=newsletter) To closely paraphrase Sir Edmund Burke, enough good men and women did (said) nothing, and evil triumphed.
I have written previously that, by 2004, we knew, we all knew. Only those who chose not to ponder the morality of the acts, or the accuracy of the reports, are now able to cloak themselves with some rationale, as despicably disingenuous as such a rationale assuredly is.
Others attempted to sanction what Americans must never abide, let alone exculpate, by suggesting the administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” were no different than the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training experienced by select members of our own armed forces.
The membrane on that is soap-bubble thin. Those in training knew with absolute certainty that: 1.) the exercise was precisely that — training; and that 2.) those in charge and those carrying out the exercise would not take it so far that either physical or psychological damage would be the end-product. (Trainees and trainers alike were, going in, fully aware that being drummed out of the service would be the very least of repercussions if a trainee suffered permanent physical or psychological harm, or died. Sailors and marines undergoing SEAL training have 24-hour access to the fall-out bell, and are, every step along the way, encouraged by the instructors to pull on the cord that rings it!)
Those we took prisoner, bound, hooded, loaded into the backs of trucks, then transported either to an in-theater location, or overseas to a foreign country or to Guantanamo, and who spoke no English, enjoyed no similar assurance when water-boarded. For all they knew, indeed, for all we wanted them to know, they were going to perish a most agonizingly ghastly death.
Thus the conclusion remains unmitigated: WE knew! And for everyone who voted in 2004 for George W. Bush, the stain of their personal participation and guilt remains unblotted and indelible. What they knew of — or should have — they approved.
Their guilt and shame, however, adheres not only with those who pulled the lever to keep the execrable conduct going, but with those of us who refused, for whatever reason, to call our relatives and associates on it.
For the sake of this conversation only, let’s assume that your brother-in-law Hagar (or the guy in the adjacent cubicle) loves kiddie-porn. He’s constantly surfing the web for it. Or, let’s say that your sister-in-law Hildegard (or the woman at the adjacent desk) is constantly on the hunt for 10 and 11-year old boys, to seduce. To the best of your knowledge, she’s either never been successful, or at least she’s never been caught.
I’m just not prepared to accept the proposition that anyone out there will let those behaviors go, to “keep peace within the family”, or because “I have no choice about who I work alongside”. How then is it possible to lay hold of those very same rationalizations when it comes to relatives and associates who, with their votes, said they were all for torturing human beings?
From the moment the proposal to prosecute members of the Bush administration, including George Bush, for advancing and conducting torture gained coinage, it set uneasy with me. Until we’re all prepared to at least confront our family members and associates for their endorsement of what we seem prepared to indict the administration over, my vote is to entirely close the topic to further investigation and comment. This suggestion may not sit well with most. But then, looking square into the mirror isn’t something any of us takes on easily.
— Ed Tubbs