Thursday :: Feb 19, 2004

Give Me Liberty Mutual Or Give You Death

by pessimist

"Civil liberties matter to this President very much, and our values matter to us abroad. We are not going to stop talking about things that matter to us: human rights, religious freedom ... We're going to continue to press these things; we would not be America if we did not."
- Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Adviser

"Civil liberties matter to this pResident very much ..."

Why is it that I don't believe this statement? It wouldn't be that the Patriot Act, primary among a vast multitude of actions taken by the (mis)Administration, seems to indicate otherwise, would it? But then again, Condi doesn't say WHAT aspect of civil liberties matter to Bush. Based on the adage that goes "Actions speak louder than words", the actions of the Bush (mis)Administration speak volumes - "First Amendment Zones", the Patriot Acts, packing the courts with reactionary ideologues, ...

"We are not going to stop talking about things that matter to us ..."

Talk is cheap. There are dozens of willing minions to spead their words, colored to match the sentiments of certain populations - Rush, Sean, Bill, George Will, Novak, ...

The sad part is - it has been effective.

The effectiveness of these messages is, unfortunately, not lost on the "allies" of the United States:

US terror laws 'damage human rights'
By Kim Sengupta
17 February 2004

"It is ... important to note that the credibility of America's externally directed human rights message has been damaged by US curtailment of the rights of its own citizens and non-citizens."

The United States' "war on terror" has been "extremely damaging" for human rights, and has been used as an excuse by totalitarian regimes to impose oppressive laws, a leading think tank said yesterday. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), traditionally viewed as an establishment body, concluded in a report entitled Human Rights and Counter-terrorism in America's Asia Policy that issues such as Guantanamo Bay mean that Washington can no longer "assume a high moral position".

The report concluded: "US national security officials have also been reported as using techniques outlawed under the 1984 Convention Against Torture ... which the US signed in 1994, in their interrogation of al- Qa'ida suspects. US authorities have returned or sent a number of prisoners for further interrogation to countries where there are strong grounds to suspect they will be tortured."

The report examined the effect of US support for human rights in five countries seen as being in the front line against Islamic terrorism - Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China. Pakistan and Uzbekistan have brought in so-called anti-terrorist laws insisting that they are not much different to the Patriot Act enacted by the Bush administration, said the report's author, Professor Rosemary Foot.

Who is The International Institute for Strategic Studies

The IISS compiled a dossier Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction before the war. It said Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and would use them if attacked. Tony Blair's dossier, which followed two weeks later in September 2002, drew heavily on the IISS document. Last month the IISS said it had commissioned a new study to reassess its findings.

This should water down the credibility of the IISS, but as there are lots on independent reports supporting this contention, I tend to believe this conclusion.

"We're going to continue to press these things ..."

Let's not confuse the issue with facts! The minds are made up. King George (or a high-level functionary, reportedly) said it, Republicans believe it, and that settles it - for you.

"We would not be America if we did not"

That is the saddest part. What had once really been Reagan's "Shining City on the Hill" has become a mockery of its own historic greatness, unfaithful to the sentiments that inspired the creation of this nation in the first place.

I don't recall any quotes from Samuel Adams advocating surrendering meekly to the King of England. Patrick Henry never said "Give the Rich Liberty, or give the rest Death!"

Americans have forgotten their historical heritage, and soon will be able to forget about their traditional liberties. Why should the United States be any different than most of the rest of the world?

pessimist :: 11:07 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!