Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Is No Longer the America We Love

On a daily basis now, we are being shown the extent to which George W. Bush and Richard "Dick" Cheney pillaged our nation. The 43rd president laid waste to the Constitution, enriched his cronies, and created millions of enemies. I am sickened by the actions of Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rove, et al. The damage they have done to this great nation is still being assessed. One can only hope that the vehicle isn't "totalled".

Reader(s), this era will be regarded as one of the darkest times in America's 233 year history. I predict that the Bush Jr. "Administration" will be viewed by our children's children as on a par, or worse, with the years of slavery or the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. The swiftness with which Bush's malevolence surpassed that of the Nixon Presidency is stunning.

This is not the America I love. This is not the nation in which I grew up, the nation in which I was taught to have pride, the nation to which the rest of the world looked for leadership.

Would our fathers recognize America now? Would those who died on the beaches of Normandy, or fell at Antietam, look at this country and see the ideals for which they sacrificed? Or would our patriarchs view what their bravery helped create and recoil in horror?

The news today recalls a story that first came to light in 2004. At that time, the abuses of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were described by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as the actions of a few "bad apples". Since then, we have learned that those apples were cultivated by the hand of Dick Cheney. Cheney has not wasted any time in his rush to claim credit for "enhanced interrogation" techniques that he maintains kept America safe. That "enhanced interrogation" simply means "torture" is no longer in dispute, Cheney's defenders having dropped any pretense in their slavish adoration of the Dark Prince.

So we are all agreed that the Cheney/Bush syndicate advocated, encouraged, and facilitated the use of torture on "enemy combatants". The abuses at Abu Ghraib, or "Abu Garef" as W. so eloquently put it, were not just isolated actions of a handful of "bad apples", but were in fact actions committed in a systemic violation of the Geneva Conventions and any semblance of good taste.

Now to address the new developments in this five-year-old story: the website reports today that previously unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib (and, to be accurate, those photos are still unreleased) document the rape and sexual abuse of prisoners, both male and female. The photos are being kept from release by, surprisingly enough, President Obama. Citing the safety of American soldiers in Iraq, Obama is suppressing the distribution of these pictures. The Huffington Post also reports these abuses, adding that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denied the existence of the photos.

This brings us back to the excesses of the Cheney, I mean Bush, administration. When Dick Cheney can walk freely among us, after confessing to war crimes, something deep within the foundations of our nation has gone terribly wrong. That George W. Bush was the Worst President Ever is indisputable. That he and Cheney and the rest of the gang may go unpunished for their crimes is unconscionable. President Obama has made it clear that he wants the country to move forward, not remain mired in the past eight years. While this is an honorable sentiment, and, given the many challenges facing us as a country, the importance of keeping an eye on the road ahead is muy importante, we must not forget that the previous president, vice president, and most of their immediate circle are not only war criminals, but furthermore, are responsible for the problems which make it imperative that we keep our eyes on the road. In other words, Bush drove the bus into the ditch. While it is important that we all work together to get the bus out of the ditch, it would be irresponsible to not hold Bush accountable for his driving.

I cannot stress this enough: To allow Bush and Co. to get away with their crimes is to become complicit in those crimes. We must either seek justice from Bush, Cheney, et al, and do so with expedience and grave seriousness, or we will all be adjudged guilty by association for their crimes.

Write your Representative, Senators, Governor, whatever it takes. Write the President. Call the White House. Do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice. For the good of the country, we must do this.

If we fail in this, we will answer to future generations. We know how history will judge Bush. How do we want history to judge us?

Yours for the Greater Good,

D.H. Swinehart

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