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We "Good" Americans of Today, Like the "Good" Germans of the 1930's and 40's

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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Many Germans in the aftermath of W.W. II when confronted with the scenes of the death camps and the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the 1930's and 40's pleaded ignorance, that they had no idea of the genocide and extermination policies authorized by the government.

Whether it was personally too difficult for them to acknowledge what they actually knew (along with the associated guilt of doing nothing to stop it), intentionally remaining ignorant i.e. it's better not to know anything) or just outright lying (of their own complicity with the Nazi regime) it is hard to know for sure.

What of us, we Americans of today and our recognition of our government's engaging in atrocities in the form of trumped up preemptive wars and occupations, our resort to torture, the indefinite detention of suspects and the suspension of habeas corpus, our killing of innocents and non combatants by drones and missile strikes and the massive use of Pentagon paid mercenaries in our wars and occupations (who act with impunity and no accountability) even in countries we're not at war?

What of our apparent tolerance and indifference to our present government's stance in not holding officials (Bush, Cheney et al) who have openly admitted authorizing torture policies from being held accountable?

What of the targeting of American citizens for assassination openly announced by our current president and our silence about it?

Have we not become the "good" Americans (no different than those "good" Germans of the 1930's and 40's) of our time?

Are we just in denial, rationalizing our government's atrocities, having drunk the "Kool aid" and accepted their propaganda? But aren't we its enablers accepting our government's hell bent pursuit of "terrorists" everywhere to justify everything it does i.e. ignore the sovereignty of other nations with our drone and missile strikes and the use of Pentagon paid mercenaries in our clandestine wars? Does the rule of law get suspended under these circumstances?

Let's say it for what it is; we have become an outlaw nation. Our government goes against the dictates of the Geneva Convention on war of which we are an original signee. We ignore the U.N.'s rejection of preemptive war (which is justified only when a country is under imminent threat). We torture detainees in violation of the Geneva Convention. Remember it was we in the aftermath of W.W. II who presided at the Nuremburg Trials as well as the trials of Japanese war criminals who we prosecuted as torturers and executed after the war.

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Our government gets away with its illegality because no other country or countries are able to challenge us militarily. Meanwhile we the American people give our tacit approval by our silence in the face of this abuse of the rule of law by our government.

My country right or wrong is no longer acceptable, not when our government's acts are clearly in the wrong and in clear violation of our country's presumed belief in the rule of law.

The German people let Hitler come to power, stood by to let him do what he did. We Americans have empowered our leaders and our government to engage in despicable acts. We may want to deny our culpability but we too are responsible. Remember our government acts in the name of the people and we the people have been its enabler and let it happen.

We should be condemning of what our leaders have done, what this country is doing here and around the world. Our continued silence, passivity and timidity are morally reprehensible.

A short postscript:

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It is personally revolting to know we have tortured and have not held those who authorized it (and who are now openly admitting it) from being held accountable. That is completely unacceptable. It makes us no better than the worst regimes that ever existed. I for one refuse to be silent in the face of this abomination. We have crossed the line. We have become a rogue nation. We condemn the Iran's, the North Korea's and the "terrorists" but what of us? We commit atrocities with impunity. We are not condemned because we carry the big stick. We are arrogant and get away with it. It will eventually be our undoing.


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