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Thursday, January 05, 2006 

Ignorance is not an excuse

I didn't use to care so much about politics. Yeah, I was a Democrat, sometimes I might have called myself an Independent but it just didn't matter too much to me. My Republican friends and I could go out for drinks and 50% of the things we agreed on. Agreeing was easy when it came to issues of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and being the worlds police. Other matters like the death penalty, education, and health care - we just had different ideas - and as far as I was concerned there was room for both of them.

Unfortunately, I don't feel this way anymore. It is not that my views have changed so much, it is just that most of these Republicans fail to care that the Bush administration is bigger government, fiscally irresponsible, and has taken up the cause of nation building (the cause that they so vehemently critized Clinton for). In light of this hypocrisy, I have realized that these conversations I was having weren't really discussions about our nations future, (they never really held these beliefs so high - if they did they would continue to defend them) these conversations with my Republican friends were as deep and as much about our nation as "rooting for the home team". Like sports events- it doesn't matter who is on the team and what kind of player they are as long as they wear the correct colors, heck even if they lose most "Fans" support their team. Which is admirable in sports but is despicable in politics.

We are Americans, we are supposed to be thinking about what is best for our country and our fellow citizens - standing up for our personal belief system whether our "Party" stands up for it or not. I believe modern Republicans consistently put Party Loyalty above National Interest on a daily basis.

So - for a while, I still had these conversations with my Republican Friends, nothing wrong with disagreeing right? Most of the time it was enjoyable - disagreeing can be fun, a mental exercise and besides most of the time I could call them on their hypocrisy! But, after the torture allegations arose and they were still "Proud Republicans" and "Standing with Bush" and not even modestly recanting their support. I grew sickened, I doubted the friendships. Seriously, what do they have to offer me as a friend? Either they are too ignorant to realize what is going on or are too party loyal to defend the very beliefs that they had just a few months ago and both of those traits just signify weak character to me.

Then came the final straw, the child torture and rape. The accounts of it enraged me...
A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that coalition forces are holding more than 100 children in jails such as Abu Ghraib. Witnesses claim that the detainees – some as young as 10 – are also being subjected to rape and torture

A US soldier, Sergeant Samuel Provance, who served at Abu Ghraib, has also blown the whistle on child prisoners being abused. He told how interrogators soaked a 16-year-old prisoner, covered him in mud and then used his suffering to break his father, who was also a prisoner, during interrogation.

Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker reporter who first broke the story of torture at Abu Ghraib, recently spoke at an ACLU convention. He has seen the pictures and the videotapes the American media has not yet shown. "The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking," said Hersh. "And this is your government at war."

"I can tell you some of the personal stories of some of the people who were in these units who witnessed this," Hersh commented. "I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers. And so we're dealing with an enormous, massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher."

German television aired footage of American abuse of children in jails in Iraq Monday.

Such assaults are unacceptable,» said Odd Jostein Sæter, parliamentary secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, to the Norwegian television channel NRK. «It is against international laws and it is also unacceptable from a moral point of view. This is why we react strongly, as we already have reacted to the abuse which is documented at the prisons in Iraq.
In a May 21 piece on the previously unreported witness statements from Abu Ghraib prisoners, the Washington Post reported the account of detainee Kasim Mehaddi Hilas. According to the Post, Hilas, whom American personnel had been beaten, stripped, photographed and threatened with sexual assault, also witnessed a teenage boy being raped in October 2003 at Abu Ghraib by someone the Post identified as "an Army translator."
According to Rolling Stone, Abu Hamid is the name of the translator who raped the teenage boy. "I saw Abu Hamid, who was wearing the military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass," reads Rolling Stone's July 28 story
Army investigator Major General Antonio M. Taguba stated in a February 2004 report that all of the above witnesses' accounts were "found to be credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses."

Now - I cannot even stand to be around a person who defends this administration. Everytime, I look at them I see someone who either condones child rape and torture as a necessary evil or is so rah rah ignorant that I question their patriotism. My sense of responsibility may go into high gear and I'll try to spread some truth and reality. But - Most of the people still supporting Bush will never really care anyways.

When it is all said in done, the facts will come out and these people will have to tell their children that they supported the administration that condoned torture and used our tax dollars to rape children. I suppose they'll lie and like the citizens in Nazi era Germany will say "they didn't know" when in reality they didn't care to know.