Friday, September 15, 2006

The Moral Basis

‘‘The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,’’

Colin Powell finally became so outraged by the intentions of this Administration that he came out of hibernation and wrote those words in a letter to John McCain, a letter supporting McCain’s efforts to prevent this Administration from trying to reinterpret the Geneva Convention to permit the torture of detainees.

McCain was asked in an interview, “Does this go to the basic values of this country?” He replied, “Yes, I think it does, but more importantly…” and he went on to describe how it put our soldiers in wars abroad at risk.

I am an admirer of both Powell and McCain, especially at this moment. I would disagree with McCain, perhaps, just slightly in terms of priority. I’m not sure that I would say that the issue of placing soldiers at risk is more important than the basic values of our country. But then I have not been held prisoner and tortured for five years, either, so I’ll just say I agree that both issues matter greatly.

This is an important moment in the course of our country. It does speak to the basic values of this nation, whatever arguments are used. McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham in the Senate, with Colin Powell in support, are carrying the flag for decency and morality. They speak for me.

‘‘The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,’’

This nation talks about being a nation that is based upon the values of freedom, liberty, dignity and justice. The road that this Administration has been leading us on is the wrong road. It is a road that is not consistent with the values upon which this country is based.

McCain, Warner, Graham and Powell are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in that road as a barrier saying, “Enough. No farther.” Stand firm.

Tony Snow says that Powell is “confused” and suggests that he should have consulted with Bush before speaking out. What arrogance. Since when, in this country, does anyone need to consult with authority before speaking out?

Well, serving military officers do. Bush cites several serving generals as supporting his position, but military officers are required to support their Commander-in-Chief while they are still in the service. No former military officer has come out in support of torture.

Bush says that if Congress does not bow to his will that Americans will be in danger. That is the same demagoguery that has been used in every power grab in history. “I am keeping you safe.”

There is an old saying that I try, don’t always succeed but try, to live by. “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” Freedom, liberty, dignity and justice. It’s not enough to talk about being that nation, or write about it. It’s not enough to put those words in our Constitution and then ignore them.

To be that nation we have to live those words. Even when it’s not safe.

Update 12:50pm:

‘‘The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,’’

In a press conference this morning George Bush responded to Mr. Powell,

“It’s unacceptable to think there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.”

No, Mr. Bush, he did not suggest such a comparison, and it is repulsive to make any insinuation that he did. Only a person of limited intelligence could misinterpret his words, or a person of moral inturpitude twist his words in such a disgusting manner to suit such low purpose.

It is you, Mr. Bush, that is causing the world to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. You with your wars against countries that are not involved in terrorism until we invade them, you with your abandonment of the pursuit of the terrorists who actually did attack us, you with your statement that capturing Bin Laden “does not concern” you, you with your illegal wiretaps, you with your secret illegal prisons and insistence on torture.

You are a blot upon the escutcheon of America. You shame your office and this country. With every word that comes out of your mouth you pile outrage upon outrage.

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