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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Executive orders

Rick Sanchez, of CNN, is making happy sounds via Twitter because BO signed an executive order banning torture. Why am I unhappy?

It used to be understood. It used to be unspoken. When I was in the Navy (for two blinks of an eye), we spoke with hatred and intense disapprobation about countries that tortured. We thought of them as animals.

And so, today, BO signed a piece of paper that says the US will not, may not, must not, partake in torture. Apparently, when Maj. Gen Paul Eaton along with several other retired generals of the US armed forces told Bushy that the US shouldn't torture, that we NEVER get anything good from it, that it's not just nasty, inhuman, illegal behavior, but against everything we stand for as a country and a leader, that didn't quite get through. How anyone could stand by Bushy after he okayed torture is beyond me. Apparently it was beyond many Americans--many of whom had to live through it themselves (like Mac did).

But what does it say about us as a people that two hundred plus years after we started this experiment of a country in which people were supposed to be free, innocent until proven guilty, of equal worth, and inherently trying to do better than what came before us (The British Empire, The Roman Empire, Etc.,) we finally get around to writing down that torture is not in our national arsenal of behavior--and are forced to do it because there are leaders among us who think it should be.

I am not ashamed that BO signed it, but I do have to say that it comes late and short. That there are men and women who have suffered at our hands. And that whether they are or were terrorists is beside the point; we are supposed to be better than that.

When we take on our enemies' worst traits, we become our enemy. We cannot suspend our greatest values as a nation in order to defend the nation; for when we suspend our values, we are no longer a nation.

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