This is a time for reflection, not retribution. . . . But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.
My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him.
Obama, on Bin Laden
Capturing, or especially, killing Bin Laden would be certainly be retribution, would it not?
Why is retribution good in one case and not the other?
To be more specific, the politics of fear. The fear of…..retribution….for prosecuting. Retribution from who? Retribution from the people who supported the torturers. Fear that if justice is pursued, those who would “lose” in the prosecution (even if it is just losing face) would take their retribution politically.
Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.
Fear that pursuing justice would divide us. Those who would pursue justice are being divisive. We must instead of being a divisive force (by pursuing justice) come together on behalf of a common future….a future where the United States is allowed to torture with no consequences.
A common future where then, since we are allowed to torture, we cannot, honestly, condemn others for torture. A common future then, where torture is allowed. Because otherwise, if we stand up and say that torture is indeed wrong, that the cost would be that the United States would be “divided.”
As if that condition did not already exist.
For fear of a politically divided nation that is already politically divided, we cannot prosecute torture. Because those on the other side of the existing political divide would object and be more divisive than they already are?
THIS is a logical excuse for not prosecuting torturers?
And it is the people who are pushing for prosecution of our government torturing people to death….that are the divisive forces? Asking for the law to be enforced….is divisive?
Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.
We are struggling against others, elsewhere, who intimidate, torture, and murder people. But if we struggle against the people in our own government who intimidated, tortured, and murdered people, it is divisive and retributive. Justice would be politically divisive. That is why we cannot pursue it. Politics. The same politics referred to here…
People are very hungry for something new. I think they are interested in being called to be a part of something larger than the sort of small, petty, slash-and-burn politics that we have been seeing over the last several years.
We cannot trust our government to pursue justice when the only obstacle to justice is the retribution of it’s existing political enemies.
If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.
How can we put our trust in our government when our government puts politics above the Rule of Law and above Justice, Mr President? When even the good guys put political cynicism above doing the right thing. The cynicism that says that pursuing justice is merely retribution. The cynicism that paints those who stand and fight for justice itself as somehow …selfish and divisive?
In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?
Please consider your own words, President Obama. If you use you power to thwart justice for political ends, even if those ends may be worthy, you are excusing the worst crime, torturing innocent people, torturing people sometimes to death, that humans can commit. You are saying that the ends justify those means. That the ends of political unity, are worth the means of ignoring the Rule of Law and allowing torturers to walk free. For political purposes. That is cynicism, Mr. President.
There is nothing more cynical than saying that we can excuse anything, even the worst crimes known to humanity, that our government does ….merely for the sake of some mythical political or societal unity.
There is nothing more cynical than avoiding doing what is clearly the right thing to do….out of fear of political retribution.