throw stones

29 06 2007

The White House is falling down. Metaphorically speaking.

I mean, of course, that the Bush administration has been playing an impossible game of Jenga for the past four years, and it’s finally starting to topple in a stunning display of unprecedented Congressional chutzpah. C.I.A. leaks. Bold healthcare statements. Cheney exposed for the psychopath he really is. It’s an era liberals have only thusfar dreamed of.

And today something big happened. After six long years of bad behavior at Guantanamo Bay, the Supreme Court has decided to “reverse course” (as the Times aptly put it) and begin hearings from detainees on their right to challenge the federal court:

The decision, announced in a brief order released this morning, set the stage for a historic legal battle that appeared likely to affect debates in the Bush administration about when and how to close the detention center that has become a lightening rod for international criticism.

Thank God. Because when the Bush administration suspended habeas corpus last year with the Military Commissions Act, only the “radical” liberals batted eyelashes. Sure, it provided a lot of column fodder for some of the best and brightest journalists, but it also kinda put a damper on human rights as we know them. Ah well, right?

Of course, then you start reading the stories about Guantanamo Bay. This one, for instance, details a compellingly horrific tale of those detainees who, outraged at the conditions of the base, have gone on hunger strikes. The writer, an attorney who has been graphically detailing her experiences for In These Times magazine, describes the situation thusly:

…there are two cells with force-feeding chairs. Each day [my client] is strapped tightly into the chair with 13 straps. The guards begin with the feet straps, then his waist. Then they fasten one wrist at a time. There is one band around each shin, one on each wrist, one on each elbow, one strap that comes down over each shoulder and one around the waist. Three straps are used to immobilize his head. The ankles are shackled to an eye on the chair, and then they pull a mask over his mouth.

What follows is enough to make you want to happily eat your least favorite food every day for the rest of your life.

Equally striking is a documentary which came out last year called The Road to Guantanamo. It tells the story of four Pakistani Britons who traveled to Pakistan for a wedding but decide to visit Afganistan, which was being bombed by American forces post 9-11, to see what war can really do to a country. Then they were captured by Alliances forces and sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they were tortured in an attempt to get them to confess to being terrorists.

Huh.

For almost six years we as an American people have allowed this to go on, despite countless grisly reports and irrefutable evidence of ethical unjustness. Progressive Democrats in Congress have been too terrified of scaaaary middle-of-the-road voters who might accuse them of being soft on terror. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has literally stepped all over that outdated old document we like to call the Constitution so this country could commit acts of terror every day. All of this is nothing new.

But today the Democrats finally sprouted a pair and, in the face of the nation’s increasing progressive population, did the political equivalent of quoting a Twisted Sister lyric: they said, “We’re not gonna take it anymore.”

There’s skepticism from all sides, of course. The important thing, though, is that the downward spiral America seemed to be headed down just six months ago has miraculously taken a turn of course in the last week.

Maybe we can start putting American flags on our car bumpers again soon.

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One response

29 06 2007
ellemay

I’d like to put an American flag on my car too, and display it again proudly. I haven’t flown my flag since October 2001, because after 9/11 it became apparent that our flag had been annexed by the right/war mongers/inept Bush Administration. I also look forward to the day when seeing the American flag will make me proud to be American, because we stand for justice, fairness, law, truth, compassion, intelligence, and peace.

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