Sunday, December 09, 2007

Where Is The Moral Compass?

In light of the article today in the Washington Post that reveals that the Democratic Congressional leadership was complicit in the ongoing torture conducted by the CIA in the last 5 or 6 years all I can say is that I am rapidly losing hope that we can right the grand ship that was America. We have wrung our hands and pointed fingers at Shrub and his enablers and at the complicit GOP thugs in the Congress. Now we find that it is not just the extreme right that enables and condones torture but that the apple is rotten through and through. How can we hope to turn from this abysmal course when all that drive the bus are guilty of paving the way to hell?

With this revelation we have now reached the nadir of American moral substance. We no longer have the right to chasten others for the abuse of human rights. We no longer have the right to expect nor demand our soldiers be treated in accordance with the Geneva conventions. We no longer have the right to expect American civilians traveling abroad be treated fairly by foreign governements. We are completely and despicably morally bankrupt.

We at least used to have the excuse that this was just Shrub and company and just give the Democrats a chance and we'll make right. This last 7 years is just a small blip on the great tradition of respect for human rights and democracy that has been the hallmark of our great country. Oh no, this is all lost to us now. An apology to the rest of the world is not enough when we are so black. All I can think of is Walt Kelly's “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As usual Glenn Greenwald is all over this:

Just look at how compromised Congressional Democratic leaders are when it comes to those charged with exercising "oversight" over our intelligence communities. And one finds this with almost the entire list of Bush abuses.

Whether it's the war in Iraq or illegal surveillance or the abolition of habeas corpus and now the systematic use of torture, it's the Bush administration that conceived of the policies, implemented them and presided over their corrupt application. But it's Congressional Democrats at the leadership level who were the key allies and enablers, never getting their hands dirty with implementation -- and thus feigning theatrical, impotent outrage once each abuse was publicly exposed -- but nonetheless working feverishly the entire time to enable all of it every step of the way.

As is Marcy Wheeler:
  • Frankly, I think our intelligence oversight has put the Administration in as difficult a position as John Yoo has. That is, by signing off on something (and, as the WaPo describes, in several cases encouraging it), our Congressional intell leaders gave the Administration the legal sanction to torture. And now, after years of it, they're trying to shut it down. Shutting it down is far overdue--that has to happen. But we're now in the difficult place of condemning, as a society, practices that our society sanctioned as legal just a few years ago.
  • We need to find a way to make intelligence oversight useful. On every major revelation like this, we have had at least one Democratic leader who objects to illegal practices. Yet that person is virtually helpless to respond.
  • And for that matter, we need to get better intelligence leadership. As I showed yesterday, Jello Jay's first instinct when hit with one of these revelations is literally to parrot the script of the CIA. That's not oversight. If nothing else, this revelation needs to spark a call for real leaders in Intelligence, not the script-reader in the Senate and and not someone whose brother is the CIA torture master's buddy in the House. I nominate Russ Feingold and Rush Holt.

This nation has a lot to answer for before the rest of the world. Ugh.

I am sure more of the liberal blogs will have more and better posts on this but I couldn't let this pass without expressing my deep shame at what has become of the country I love. Shame on all of us for letting it happen.

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