Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Liberal schmiberal: Torture is illegal

I had to laugh when reading a recent Associated Press article about 'liberal democrats' (and the story made a point of pointing out that the Democrats were LIBERAL) who are calling for an independent investigation into Bush era torture procedures.

WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats turned up the pressure on the Obama administration Tuesday to start a criminal investigation by a special counsel into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects.

It would be a conflict of interest for President Barack Obama's Justice Department to investigate lawyers from the Bush administration, even though they no longer work for the government, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Democrats wrote, "It is impossible to determine at this stage, and before conclusion of the necessary investigation, whether additional conflicts of interest might exist or arise."

The letter said a special counsel's investigation would insulate the department from accusations that the investigation was politically inspired.

Most of the 16 signers were Democratic liberals. Seven committee Democrats did not sign the letter, nor did any of the 16 Republicans.

Independent investigation means an investigation done by people who are, by their very independent nature, not going to do this in a partisan manner. The entire point is to take the politics out of this discussion and look at the legality. And yet conservative democrats and of course Republicans slam the very idea of investigating criminal behavior - and yes, torture is illegal - in the last administration because of course, that would be 'partisan.'

And that is a giant crock of BS.

I'm an independent. I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I don't consider myself 'liberal' or 'conservative.' I do however believe in the Geneva Conventions, our Constitution and our rule of law. I believe that all three were ravaged during the last administration, and I want to see an investigation. I believe our safety as a country resides entirely in our right as citizens to hold our government accountable to the law and to the people who supposedly represent our American democracy. I believe that if we stray as a nation from our ideals, then we have to make a firm move back to them by holding ourselves and our leaders accountable. If we can't do that... we are no longer a democracy.

If we all know that torture is illegal and against the Geneva Conventions (not to mention all sense of morality;) and we all know that Bush and Cheney directed the CIA to torture - they even admitted it - then we as a nation are all on the hook for their behavior until an investigation takes place. All of us. Every single one of us. We are responsible as a nation until we pin the behavior on the handful of bad apples who perpetuated it.

This is not a partisan issue: this is a national issue. This is a question of who we are as Americans, and what we are willing to sweep under the rug to remain comfortable. Its also a question of bullying, because the Republicans are desperate that this information not be investigated, and are using anything and everything to bully the rest of us into dropping it.

But it must not be dropped. This is our national soul on the line.

I personally am not comfortable. I won't be comfortable until the America I believe in - the ideals of liberty and justice that our grandfathers fought for against fascism in WWII, not to mention the freedom our ancestors bled for in the Revolution and Civil Wars - is redeemed. Many soldiers of our grandfathers' generation were tortured - were waterboarded - during WWII. Those who tortured them (those that we caught and tried after the war) were punished; some were executed. I can't even imagine what surviving POWs from that great war must be thinking today. We are betraying them.

Our children and grandchildren will judge us by how we behave today. Right now... we have earned an 'F' in restoring justice to our land. And we are proving to be cowards in the face of bullying by those who use the word 'partisan' to escape any further embarrassment and political association to an administration that they allowed to run amok.

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