I'm not a big fan of the war in Iraq. I was against it from the start. We attacked an unarmed country that posed no threat to us. We did so in violation of the United Nations Charter. It was waged as an illegal war of aggression.
We destroyed that country four years ago, and it still lies in ruins. Reconstruction is a joke. And our troops, along with innocent Iraqi civilians, are still dying for Bush's ego and Cheney's oil.
But could it be that things are finally starting to turn around? Has America regained its moral conscience? Recent developments might suggest that this is so.
First, a delegation of 11 Republican Congressmen visited the White House this past week and staged a come-to-Jesus meeting with George W. Bush. In a nutshell, they told Bush that he had no credibility left on the Iraq issue. They told him that they need candor and honesty from the White House. They said that any future assessments of the situation in Iraq need to come not from the White House but from General Petraeus.
Sure, these Congressmen may well have been motivated more by electoral vulnerability than by any sense of moral responsibility; but this is nonetheless a positive sign that more and more of our legislators are seeing that it's time to put some real pressure on the White House.
Second, according to an article in yesterday's Washington Post, General Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, warned the troops against using torture. According to the article, Petraeus "admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades."
The article goes on to quote from an open letter from Petraeus dated May 10 and posted on a Military website: "This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground."
Petraeus then underscored my longstanding argument that torture doesn't work. He stated, per the Post: "Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary." Bingo!
OK, so these two developments of the past week are just small steps towards some positive change. But they're important. Every little step counts. Let's keep our fingers crossed in hopes that this trend will continue.
Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)