I am so ashamed of my country, and it just keeps getting worse

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I came of age in the time of Nixon and Vietnam.  I learned then that our government was not to be trusted, that they lie to us whenever it’s convenient and that there is nothing pure about their motives.  I also learned to suspect that elements of our government played an active role in the assassination of John Kennedy and possibly others.  I’m not saying they did, just that I’ve pondered that possibility for most of my life and not without reason.  I still have to wonder.  The possibility that our government is that fucking evil shouldn’t seem like such a stretch to anybody these days.


I just heard it described on CNN how a man arrested in Baghdad by U.S. forces was sodomized as many as 15 times, and another man was made to lay face down in urine, was raped and then urinated upon – all of this at the hands of U.S. servicemen.  This new information comes from the report released today by Physicians for Human Rights, and as disgusting as it is, it is nowhere near the worst of what has been done in all of our names.  And the claim that it was just some out-of-control rogues at the bottom of the food chain is just another dirty lie.  The real culprits are hiding in plain sight, so far untouched by accountability or justice.


“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”


Heh, he’s starting to sound like some of us.

Then there was this from the Washington Post.

A senior CIA lawyer advised Pentagon officials about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay in a meeting in late 2002, defending waterboarding and other methods as permissible despite U.S. and international laws banning torture, according to documents released yesterday by congressional investigators.

Torture “is basically subject to perception,” CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at the U.S.-run detention camp in Cuba on Oct. 2, 2002, according to minutes of the meeting. “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.”


The newly released documents show that in the summer of 2002, Pentagon officials compiled lists of aggressive techniques, soliciting opinions from the CIA and others, and ultimately implementing the practices over opposition from military lawyers who argued that the proposed tactics were probably illegal and could harm U.S. troops.

Washington Post

Torture “is basically subject to perception.”  That line says a lot.  I wonder whose perception he had in mind, the torturer or the tortured?

In the days leading up to the latest debacle, the New York Times said this:

Mr. Bush v. the Bill of Rights

Published: June 18, 2008

In the waning months of his tenure, President Bush and his allies are once again trying to scare Congress into expanding the president’s powers to spy on Americans without a court order.

This week, the White House and Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill hope to announce a “compromise” on a domestic spying bill. If they do, it will be presented as an indispensable tool for protecting the nation’s security that still safeguards our civil liberties. The White House will paint opponents as weak-kneed liberals who do not understand and cannot stand up to the threat of terrorism.

The bill is not a compromise. The final details are being worked out, but all indications are that many of its provisions are both unnecessary and a threat to the Bill of Rights. The White House and the Congressional Republicans who support the bill have two real aims. They want to undermine the power of the courts to review the legality of domestic spying programs. And they want to give a legal shield to the telecommunications companies that broke the law by helping Mr. Bush carry out his warrantless wiretapping operation.

New York Times


Of course we all know what happened.  Who didn’t see it coming?  Especially after this:

House Leaders Agree on War Funding


Published: June 19, 2008

WASHINGTON – House leaders struck a bipartisan deal on Wednesday night on a major spending measure that would provide money for the war in Iraq through the end of the Bush administration, establish a significant new education benefit for veterans, and meet Democratic demands for added unemployment benefits.

The bill, which could be voted on as early as Thursday in the House, would effectively bring to a close the two-year battle between President Bush and Congressional Democrats over war financing by allocating about $163 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through early next year without imposing conditions like a withdrawal deadline.

White House officials took part in the talks that produced the agreement, suggesting the president was willing to sign the emerging legislation.

“I think we have an agreement,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, who worked out the final deal in talks with Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, as well as senior members of both parties from the Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees.

New York Times

They stab us in the back every chance they get.  They can’t help themselves.  And the evil just keeps on rolling along.

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater is Still in Charge, Deadly, Above the Law and Out of Control

By Antonia Juhasz, AlterNet. Posted June 19, 2008.

Think Blackwater’s days are numbered? Think again. Jeremy Scahill explains why its slaughter of Iraqis has not stopped the notorious mercenary firm.

On June 3, Jeremy Scahill’s bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army was released in fully revised and updated paperback form.

The new edition includes reporting on the now-famous Nisour Square massacre on Sept. 16 of last year, in which Blackwater mercenaries opened fire in a Baghdad neighborhood, brutally murdering 17 Iraqi civilians. The killing spree, which the U.S. Army would label a “criminal event,” would reveal the extent of the lawlessnewss enjoyed by private contractors abroad and the lengths the Bush administration will go to protect its private army of choice.


It would be hell if this was all the horror and all the evidence of it all piled up in one place, but this is just a brief sampling of the most recent outrages.  The full litany, as you know, is long and shameful beyond all measure.


I will spare you a recitation of the gruesome facts.  We all know them.  I won’t rant about justice, truth, or our solemn obligations to the rest of the world.  I won’t call out the Democratic leadership as traitors to the American people.  

No, tonight I will just hang my head in shame.



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    • OPOL on June 21, 2008 at 03:45
  1. thinking of this as “my country” a while ago – especially when it comes to the MICMC.

    I’ll do anything I can to stop them or limit the damage they’re doing. And I’ll stand in empathy with the pain of those they have brutalized. But for me, I will NOT give them the power to make me feel ashamed. Just MHO.

  2. to name just one of many things — is why people aren’t foaming-at-the-mouth mad and out in the streets??? What is wrong with everyone??? Why are people so complacent?? There are crimes being committed right in front of our eyes and no one cares. I wonder if there’s anything left that they do care about…  

    • Alma on June 21, 2008 at 04:24

    The things these people do, just churns my stomach.  I don’t know how they can sleep.  I know I can’t sleep very well.

  3. Hate to do this but here’s something else to add to the grief. This is from The Guadian – George Monbiot on June 17th.

    We shouldn’t be surprised to hear that George Bush dined with a group of historians on Sunday night. The president has spent much of his second term pleading with history. But however hard he lobbies the gatekeepers of memory, he will surely be judged the worst president the United States has ever had.

    Even if historians were somehow to forget the illegal war, the mangling of international law, the trashing of the environment and social welfare, the banking crisis, and the transfer of wealth from poor to rich, one image is stamped indelibly on this presidency: the trussed automatons in orange jumpsuits. It portrays a superpower prepared to dehumanise its prisoners, to wrap, blind and deafen them, to reduce them to mannequins, in a place as stark and industrial as a chicken-packing plant. Worse, the government was proud of what it had done. It was parading its impunity. It wanted us to know that nothing would stand in its way: its power was both sovereign and unaccountable…

    …Could it be worse than this? Yes. In 2003, a US official admitted to the Sunday Telegraph that the CIA was detaining and interrogating children. Discussing two boys aged seven and nine held in secret detention by the CIA, the official explained: “We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children, but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible.

    • Edger on June 21, 2008 at 07:15

    • Mu on June 21, 2008 at 14:34

    Oh, never mind.

    Mu . . .

  4. But it also makes me angry enough to act in my own realistic  self-interest. This will be a time to coalesce and rise again. Ever so gently, the move to the left is inexorable, inevitable, and Bush will be seen as awful but also incompetent. The reaction will have to be as decisive and righteous as Bush was immoral and illegal. It will take time, but I am certain that he will have to face justice – not only the historians.

    Vincent Bugliosi has laid out the case, and it stands as an opportunity for any District Attorney with standing (constituents who have suffered a loss of a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan) to bring charges of First Degree Murder against Bush and, possibly, Cheney & Rumsfeld. In time of war or not, the legal profession will rise.

    • sharon on June 21, 2008 at 16:57

    all i want to do is work in my garden today and forget that yesterday happened and that so few in this country seem to care or want to know the truth.  while spending memorial day weekend with my family, my mother said to me and my sister over lunch “what i don’t understand is when i see these photographs of iraq and there are children in them – why are they there?  why aren’t their parents taking better care of them?”  when i explained what is going on in iraq she refused to accept that our armed forces might be doing wrong.  she refused to believe that she had been propagandized and claimed she was well-informed by reading the boston globe and watching the news every night.  she shut down.  she may be better informed than some – at least she doesn’t watch fox – but this is the woeful state of much of our populace.  here in nyc we are primarying jerry nadler on an impeachment platform.  it’s hard work collecting signatures to get adam sullivan on the ballot, but i keep thinking that it is worth it – not because he will win, but because it will force public discussion of impeachment and cause others to question jerry nadler and see him as grandstanding and accomplishing very little.  and tomorrow anthony weiner is holding town hall meetings in queens and he needs to be asked to cosponsor 1258 and also why he did not keep his word when he said he would sign onto wexler’s letter. i keep thinking that if we are present we will remind them that they are accountable to us and to their oath of office.   and it it is done in public it may help others to think critically and become concerned and involved.

    and last, but did anyone notice that at dkos last night at the top of the rec list was an excellent diary on impeachment by thereisnospoon?  at 2 am it was at the top, by 8:30 am it had disappeared from the rec list altogether.    how could this happen, most of the newer diaries had fewer recommends.  are they censoring impeachment diaries over there?

  5. during Viet Nam myself, I as a potato chip once advised, turned on, tuned in, dropped out. That movement was co-opted by the big money that seems to have eaten every thing that opposes it. This morning I was thinking that this time around instead of being outside, counter, the resistance was doing the opposite. It too is being assimilated and chewed up, the rotten core is growing stronger and bolder.  

    I’m told this is the center, instead of the edge of darkness. I’m told that compromise is the only way, because the enemy like the commies before will get you, that two legs are better, and the ‘we don’t do this were the good guys’. Insult to injury as I vote and ‘support’ the enemy the real one, the one with no party or laws.  

    This morning the futility of trying to break on through to the other side has got me down. Two realities in one space stretches your mind to the point of accepting the necessity of accepting pure evil as the way it has to be. Terrorism like any ism is bs. Saddam was their (our?) monkey, a fellow gangster. Dropping bombs on Afghanistan  and installing a Unical guy is not fighting terrorism. This is all just a projection shown to us so that the timeless dance of the strongest thugs can continue.

    Don’t know what people of good will can do. This time around maybe it will eat itself, and then we will start again piecing back together. Today it seems that it will always become the same picture as before, the one that lives in our own minds and loves the dark. Seems ironic that we allow all of this to occur for protection from ? when the forces we need to protect ourselves from are the ones we aid.                

  6. or tortured koan

    Torture “is basically subject to perception,” CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told…

    If a human being screams in a forest and there’s no one around (but spooks) to hear it, does he make a sound?

  7. Have been somewhat of a lurker lately but want you to know that you have my continued gratitude and admiration for your lovely essays.  You can count me in on your revolution.  


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