When history is written about America in the Bush years it will be a dark chapter indeed. Particularly, as we uncover more and more terrible facts about how this President and this Administration have corrupted our Constitution and betrayed the principles that have made this nation so great.
It was revealed this week that President Bush gave written approval to the CIA to conduct torture.
Of course, they don't call it torture. They call them "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques." These techniques were so severe that according to an article in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/14/AR2008101403331.html), the CIA desperately needed the written approval so they would not be prosecuted after engaging in this horrible and illegal conduct.
Let there be no mistake – from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib – our country has approved behavior that has destroyed our moral standing in the world.
There is no doubt that our nation faces grave dangers, and we must respond aggressively to protect our nation and citizens. But our response cannot be to take repulsive actions that threaten the very morality of our nation.
This again is not a partisan issue. Both Presidential candidates have come out against torture. Awful things happen in war, and our soldiers must always be given the best tools and support to defend themselves. When mistakes are made, we must see behavior in the context of what they have been ordered to do.
But the systematic approval of torture, violating domestic and international law, must not be tolerated. Period. Relabeling torture as "enhanced interrogation" does not make it any less illegal.
That we would summarily walk away from our principles, established in law and proudly defended by our soldiers, speaks to a broader point: It is in our national interest – and indeed an issue of national security – to retain the higher moral ground. In the last eight years, our missteps and misdeeds made the world more dangerous for Americans, and the list of Allies willing to step into the fight against extremists significantly shorter.
For decades, we cultivated an image of America that defended the abused and downtrodden. Brave soldiers spilt their blood on the streets of Mogadishu, not to stop extremism, but to make sure those that were starving could get the food we sent them.
We expend billions of dollars to address humanitarian crisis around the globe. In some cases, we were more responsive to international disasters than we were to our own.
How, then – does the world reconcile that with an administration that would officially deny the basic human rights and due process that we advertise as part of the American ethos?
They can't - and we can't - until we address these crimes.
Please remind your member of Congress and the leadership that these issues are important to you.