Ask anyone you have time to engage in conversation: "What is the number one issue that concerns you the most? " Guaranteed that an overwhelming majority of Americans would say it is the economy. Things have gotten so bad, so fast, that we all must focus on that. Everything we hold dear to us is failing, falling or simply ..... Gone! This writer and his family cannot afford the $12,000 yearly for comprehensive health coverage. Others may be in foreclosure, or laid off and unemployed. A plethora of conditions has beset the overwhelming majority of our countrymen. Yet, I suggest that there is one other issue that may be more detrimental to our future as a nation..... as a culture. That issue is torture. When a nation circumvents international and domestic laws, it gives a sour signal to the world: We cannot be trusted as a people, politically and economically. When a nation's leaders lose their empathy, we citizens must reject them and their thinking.
Segments of a riveting documentary Torturing Democracy, were shown on the PBS recently. If you have not seen it, go get the documentary. every American, especially our middle school, high school and college kids, should see this film. It reveals how the chain of command, directly from the White House, ordered and condoned torture on hundreds of detainees, between 2001 and...... Now? The film shows what these so called enhanced interrogations look like..... And we are not just talking about water boarding. That was only one of the countless procedures committed upon prisoners. The film focused mainly on three such detainees and their stories. Each of these men, by the way, was released after spending years under torturous conditions. No trials, no convictions, no nothing! As with the majority of the detainees held by our country, these men were not involved with any terrorist group at all. Yet, the Bush/Cheney crew decided to 'paint with a broad brush' and brutalize everyone being held. To what end? Watch the documentary and make up your own mind.
What saddens this writer is the total apathy in most of my fellow citizens concerning torture. The truth has been sifting out, too slowly to be sure, by the mainstream media. Yet, it is out there, as the truth usually is. Just takes a little effort to find it, that is all. Now, we have former and Pentagon officials coming forth in droves, like cripples to Lourdes. They all say the same thing:' What was done was not only illegal (against the Geneva Accords) but immoral. Plus, it places our own soldiers, should they be captured, at the severest of risks. A a small cabal of fanatical Neo-Con zealots have disgraced our Constitution, our flag, our values, and our standing in the world. Yes, America was always looked upon as the imperialist it is. Sadly put, our nation has instigated and conducted countless coups upon other sovereign nations throughout the entire 20th century (and into this one as well) . You can read Howard Blum's fine investigative book Rogue State if you require the details. Yes, we do have over 750 military installations in over 100 countries, where the majority of those citizens wish we would just Go! Yes, there is so much 'blood on our hands' throughout the world. Yet, this..... This is so horrific! To take human beings, regardless of how mean and nasty some may be, and to dissect their spirits, is against whatever God one may choose to worship. Where is the outrage? Locally, we are lucky to get 3 or 4 neighbors to come stand with us, once a week, when we protest torture and demand justice. Why? Does the stench of this have to reach someone's family before he or she realizes what must be done? No economic stimulus program, new Wall Street bull market, housing and business turnaround can ever wash the stain of what went on these past eight years. Only when those of you who are the real silent majority stand on those street corners, show up at your Congressperson's office, write those letters of dissent, will the tide begin to turn. With all due respect to Mr. Obama, who I am sure is a decent man, reality can be rude at times. No leader who is a part of this corrupt system can ever initiate real change..... Without the force and will of the people shouting out: "Let Justice prevail or may the heavens fall!"