Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Aren't we better than this?

According to a written statement submitted by Gen. Richard B. Myers to the US District Court in Manhattan, the government is opposing the release of further photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib because it is "probable that al-Qaida and other groups will seize upon these images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill."

Let us be absolutely clear on what this really means. It's not an argument to suppress the truth on the grounds of national security. The adminstration is not claiming that Al Queda will be able to use this information against us in any material way. What they're really saying is that the facts make us look so bad that we can't face up to the scrutiny, that we can't convince the world that our position in this conflict is morally superior to the position of a bunch of murderous zealots.

If this country really is the shining light of freedom and liberty that we so loudly and frequently proclaim to the world that we are, then we ought to be doing the exact opposite. We ought to be so ashamed of this episode that the burning light of public scrutiny and accountability is the only way to remove the stain on our reputations and our souls. Sadly under our current leadership it seems we're not even close to being equal to that task.

It looks like we'd prefer to follow the model of your typical oppressive dictatorship and confine our torture and abuse of people to dark, hidden rooms and isolated camps. Hell, we don't even bother with the show trial.

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