"They did this in your name, Americans. "
I'd like to register my own sense of shock and disgust at the revelations of torture planning at the highest levels of the Bush administration that Digby discusses below. Of course, my own reactions, like yours, are of little import compared to the agonies of those tortured by the men and women our government hired. Nor do my reactions mean anything compared to the evaporation of any vestige of moral credibility the US had with other nations. Still, it is impossible for any American with an ounce of self-esteem not to take this as a betrayal of so much we hold self-evident and good about our country.
Myths that the United States is a nation of laws, not men, die hard. When, back in '05, I wrote The "F" Word, I was neither kidding nor exaggerating: Schiavo demonstrated that we are living in a fascist state.* But it illustrates how much even a very alarmed observer cut the Bush administration some utterly uncalled-for slack that I wrote:
[S]ince Bush first took his oath in 2001, American and foreign citizens have been held without trial or communication so many times it's almost routine. Torture is ubiquitous, all but official US policy; one well-respected pundit even suggested amending the Constitution to allow retributive torture of those convicted of capital crimes. How wrong I was. By 2005, torture was official US policy and had been for quite a while.**
One final point. As horrifying as this latest news is, I'd like to remind you that we don't know the half of it. The fact that Bush felt comfortable confirming his own approval of White House torture planning indicates that far more dreadful moral outrages were planned and committed by these bastards. And that those horrors are official United States policy.
This is not some puerile propaganda-disguised-as-entertainment like '24,' dear friends, where the guns fire blanks and the blood is ketchup. This is the real thing. People are being tortured with your tax dollars. And let us not forget that there are no "utilitarian" excuses that trump this immorality. "Our" goals are not intrinsically benign and therefore justify these obscenities. Torture has not saved a single American life.
Should Bush, et al immediately be impeached and removed from office for these and other heinous activities? Should he and the others stand trial? Of course they should, it goes without saying.It is a measure of how far removed we are from a representative democracy that, politically, it is simply inconceivable that the top level of planners will ever encounter justice.
Oh America, America...
*In the context of the present revelations, let's not quibble technically about whether America is "a fascist state," "an authoritarian state," or "a dictatorship." The difference matters not at all to those being tortured in your name, Americans.
**The pundit who wanted to torture capital crime perpetrators later changed his mind.