Posted by vickitulsa in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Wed Oct 11th 2006, 08:52 AM
Yes, US, the U.S.
A nation once beloved and respected both at home and abroad, once idolized as much as it was idealistic (but realistically so), was one we could be proud of with just cause. This was true for many reasons but none were more important than America's humane treatment of foreign enemy troops when they became POWs in our care.
Once we were a nation so well known for its compassionate handling of prisoners of war that opposing soldiers realizing they were facing defeat would make a determined effort to surrender to U.S. troops instead of to our allies with whom good treatment was not as certain. It's a matter of record that this happened during WWII, but it's worth noting that as recently as 1991 and the first Gulf War, Iraqi fighters also opted to surrender to Americans.
The reputation of the United States on this score was so strong up until that desert war ordered by George W. Bush's father, GHW Bush, that we all witnessed amazing scenes captured on camera by embedded reporters ... scenes of Iraqi soldiers surrendering en masse to our astonished soldiers -- and even to American reporters! Clearly, Iraqi troops believed their best chance of not only surviving but also being fed well, housed decently, and having their wounds treated by medics or doctors lay in becoming POWs of the Americans.
We should recall as well that many German POWs -- those who had been housed in camps within U.S. borders during WWII and who were very well treated by our government and our citizens for the duration -- chose at the war's end to remain here and seek to become citizens of the nation that had shown them respect and unexpected common decency.
The German POWs were the benefactors of official United States Government policy at the time. These policies and rules went even beyond those of the Geneva Conventions! In their understanding of the sensible wisdom of considerate handling of one's enemies, the U.S. officials responsible for those policies demonstrated a remarkable grasp of the most basic needs of all human beings, the responsibility of our nation to "practice what we preach" as a victor which laid claim to being "the good guys," and the likely positive results of recognizing one's foes as humans, not masses of vicious animals or psychopaths.
Many of these German POWs expressed tearful gratitude to America both for how they were cared for as POWs and for our country's part in restoring the world to sanity and balance, even though that meant great harm had come to many of their own family members in the last months of the war inside Germany. Those POWs, having been far removed for some time from the influence of Nazis, recognized it was Hitler and his jackbooted thugs who were responsible for the perversion of Germany's government and people and so for the bitter price they had to pay -- the devastation that came to their homeland because Hitler never ceased ordering all Germans to "resist" and to fight to the death.
From being this kind of America, with a well-earned and longstanding reputation for compassion and honorable behavior toward its enemies once they were captured, to becoming a nation which passes laws to permit torture of any foreign enemy combatants "or those who materially support them" -- all during one American President's few short years in office!
From respect and honor around the world and a reputation as a superpower that does not use its technology to confuse and spy on its own citizens or its military might to abuse others, to being a lying bully that decides unilaterally to detain whomever it pleases indefinitely and without access to anyone who might witness torture or murder.
Thank you very much, George W. Bush, for how "safe" you have made us all!
Before this President took control of its military, court systems, and media, America was a nation I was very proud of and grateful to live in. I never dreamed it could be any other way.
Not any more. Now I'm wondering if it's safe or wise to live here at all and if I will still be free tomorrow! I know for sure that any non-citizens living here are not safe from endless secret detention and grave physical and emotional harm at the hands of my government. Why would any of us be foolish enough to believe we could not be next on this administration's list of undesirables?
The above covers the changes this administration has made in our government's treatment of enemy soldiers; but the U.S. -- and its military especially -- was at one time equally deserving of a reputation for treating humanely everyone from an individual foreign child needing lifesaving surgery in America to masses of starving, beleaguered civilians in wartorn regions. Now, however, I have little doubt that many people around the world are avoiding visiting the United States simply as the civilians and tourists they are, for fear of what could happen to them here at the hands of a psychotically paranoid American administration!
After all, with no discernible conscience and now almost no restraint by law on their lust to destroy human life on their quest for dominion, this President and his supporters and minions can NOT be expected to curb their own willfully violent natures. Why would they? Apparently the people of this country, through their "duly elected" representatives in Congress, have officially released them from any responsibility to behave humanely!
So I am ashamed -- terribly ashamed, and somewhat anxious and restive as well. For certain I am deeply concerned that the United States of America I once knew and loved so much is now an entirely different country. Now the U.S.A. is truly feared and passionately loathed by many millions throughout the world who see us as a threat to freedom and justice everywhere -- and again it is with just cause.
For the transformation of my country in the last five years to the pariah it is now is due almost entirely to the decisions made by this administration to change us from a humane, responsible nation with great power to protect the innocent and defend genuine freedom in the world to a lying, greedy, autocratic and dangerous neighbor to anyone this Republican administration doesn't agree with or favor.
This criminal clan seeks world dominion. It is driven to gain a global empire with no challengers. And those in power in America right now do not care who or how many they have to lie to, threaten, turture or murder in order to get what they want.
I cannot think of any state of affairs more depressing or more conducive to peril for everyone who dwells on this planet. "My" United States of America as I described her above seems to be very quickly passing from view -- but certainly not from memory!
Note: The paragraph below was posted at DU by NNN0LHI this past Sunday in an excerpt from an Asia Times Online article. Regarding the evidence of rampant torture in Baghdad alone we have the following grim report.
Precise numbers are obviously in short supply on this one, but large numbers of bodies are found in and around the capital every single day, a result of the roiling civil war already under way there. These bodies ... commonly display a variety of signs of torture, including "gouged-out eyeballs, wounds in the head and genitals, broken bones of legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns ... acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin ... missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails". The UN's chief anti-torture expert, Manfred Nowak, believes that torture in Iraq is now not only "totally out of hand" but "worse" than under dictator Saddam Hussein.
The DU thread where I first read this is here,
and here is a link to the Asia Times Online article -- which I highly recommend to everyone. (No registration is required.)
The title of this article is
DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA
Twenty-one reasons Iraq is not working
By Tom Engelhardt
Within the article is a good descriptive paragraph of its purpose and content:
So what exactly does "victory" in Bush's Iraq look like 1,288 days after the invasion of that country began with a "shock and awe" attack on downtown Baghdad? A surprising amount of information related to this has appeared in the press in recent weeks, but in purely scattershot form. Here, it's all brought together in 21 questions (and answers) that add up to a grim but realistic snapshot of Bush's Iraq. The attempt to reclaim the capital, dipped in a sea of blood in recent months - or the "battle of Baghdad", as the US administration likes to term it - is now the center of administration military strategy and operations.
This was one of those threads at DU which sank out of sight before enough people saw it and responded to keep it kicked, but I urge anyone reading this to also go read that full article at the Asia Times Online! The 21 questions format is excellent and the overview and history of Bush's war in Iraq makes it very easy to follow the summary laid out by the writer. It's a long read, but I hope many people make some time for it and think long and hard about what it reveals.
Finally, I have a few questions to ask, too -- all rhetorical, but all very important.
Does the above quote detailing the condition of dumped bodies in and around Baghdad indicate that the United States military in that country condones a lot of this torture and murder going on under their noses? Could our own troops be participating in some of it, or teaching militia members methods of "information extraction" from citizens, or perhaps learning new methods of torture from such militias?
Could we wake up in America in the not-too-far-distant future to find that these methods are being employed in our own country -- or by our military or intelligence operatives in secret prisons elsewhere, used on foreign captives and U.S. citizens alike?
Is is even remotely possible that historians will look back on this entire period from 2000 to 2006 in America and the world, survey the evidence of power grabs, of election fraud, of abuse of trust, of blatant lies and dirty tricks, and of pervasive criminal activities by this administration, and note that Americans were as tragically wronged by this "leader" as the German people were by Hitler in the 1930's?
And worst of all, is it possible that some day when the Bush government IS history and all of the darkest secrets that have been so well kept thanks to a compliant media and an incurious population are at long last revealed, will we find that there really isn't a lot of difference in the activities at America's hidden detention camps and the ones Hitler used for years to hide his shocking crimes?
What will the headlines look like then?
How will the world view us then, and how will we feel about ourselves?
Don't we care enough to do something about the danger before the damage gets much, much worse?
Posted by vickitulsa in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Sep 12th 2006, 06:00 AM
I'd seen the other photos you put in the OP. All too well do I remember some of them from having seen them at the time such scenes were broadcast or published.
But this one -- Whoa! It's a new one for me and it packs a real gut punch! This person definitely sees things very clearly, and perhaps that's what he's implying by putting the names of bin Laden and the Chimp where the lenses of his glasses are...? "I see you the same!" he might be saying.
Thanks for this, your OP, and all you do here at DU, Kyndculture -- you're a real gem!
It's clear from the number of recs this thread has received that you represent so many of us in the way you "memorialized" the 9/11 anniversary today. I'm proud that you brought our focus back to this very important aspect so that it doesn't once again get lost in the outpouring of intense emotion that can sometimes confuse or distract us.
Olbermann's editorial speech tonight reminded everyone of that same amazing, beautiful, and groundbreaking sense of unity we Americans felt with each other and with the world on that horrible day five years ago, and that's why I believe the power of his speech will be increased exponentially. You have done the same thing here in your way -- and I'd love to see you given the opportunity Keith had to touch the wider world with your message as well!
Sadly, this key factor of the squandering of the world's compassion for us and sense of unity with us after 9/11 has been allowed to slide from Americans' memories during the last five years. I think that's one big reason why the criminals in the White House have been able to get away with their evil manipulations.
They have harped and carped with their drumbeat of rhetoric that emphasized the idea that people HATE us -- not love or care about us! It was easy, and all a matter of where they directed our FOCUS.
How different things could be now if our leaders had embraced the compassion and willingness to join and to help us that poured in from around the world. Instead they had the U.S. act like a mad dog that had been kicked and sought to fight back by biting almost everyone in sight....
If "the Decider" had made choices directly opposite to those he did make ever since 9/11, what a different country and world we might be living in today!
Does anyone else here remember also that the Chimp seemed almost to shrug off abruptly at that time the many gifts, offers of help, and books of condolences that were given us by the people of countries around the globe? I swear, when I think of how he behaved then when presented with these most valuable and meaningful of gifts, I can see that he already KNEW how he planned to "respond" to the attacks and so didn't want to even consider any other tack he might take that would head us in another direction entirely. Why let others help you when you don't want them "meddling" in the plans you had ready to launch?
He played the martyr only very briefly in order to justify what he was about to do -- and then quickly and guiltily turned aside those who would have, as our allies, influenced us away from launching any military attacks beyond the first ones on al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
As for us -- genuine American patriots and regular folk who have far more right than Dubya does to express how it is WE really feel: Let's not allow the unity and the love to be forgotten again as it has been up till now, right?
Let's keep reminding other Americans of how we all felt that day in THIS respect. I know I'm going to do that in my daily life from now on. Whenever anyone says "Never forget" September 11th, I'm going to respond with "Never forget the LOVE of the entire world felt for us on September 11th!"
Then ask, rhetorically, "Oh yeah, what ever happened to that?" WHY did the feelings of love and oneness with us seem to just DISSOLVE so soon afterward? What happened to it? WHY did virtually everyone withdraw it like it had been a big mistake for them to have cared about us?
And WHY did they begin instead to hate and fear us with an intensity and a dedication we can't remember ever feeling from most of them before....?
People need to remember ALL of this, not just the sad and angry parts. And then IMO they're very likely to rethink what's been happening and wonder how they've been led astray ... led, in fact, right into the mouths of the lions! Why did the number of dangerous predators out there hunting us down to eat us multiply instead of dying off?
For all those Americans who have been stewing with resentment of ARAB terrorists and therefore embracing whatever Bu$hCo wanted to do to fight them -- the same ones who are by this time tired of stewing for too long so they're beginning to question the integrity and wisdom of the Chimperor ---- to them this could be the issue that gives them the ultimate "out" from their embarrassment over having supported such a madman.
Here's how that would work: Whenever any of them wants to abandon at last the neocon team's pep squad but hesitates because s/he doesn't know what to say about WHY, s/he can simply mention that s/he's been thinking about it all again after today and has REMEMBERED that unity and goodwill from the world that we have now lost. S/HE felt it too -- s/he knows what it was like, how it gave each and every one of us HOPE in the midst of so much pain and anger. Hope, and comfort as well.
It's an area where I think we can begin to rebuild our bond with our fellow citizens. It could be ours again, that precious and rare bond we felt so strongly but for such a short time immediately after 9/11.
Then the world is next! How wonderful it would be to feel loved, understood, and accepted again by the people of the world as we did that day and for a brief time afterward. I'd give a LOT for that feeling again.
Posted by vickitulsa in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Sep 12th 2006, 02:19 AM
I am as blown away as everyone else. When I finally tuned back in to DU after football to see what had gummed up the works here earlier and found out about the KO editorial, then read it in this thread, I was stunned ... happily, wonderfully stunned. Will view it later, but often I get more from reading a transcribed version in black and white words on -- well, screen, usedtabe paper.
Before I offer my two cents about the Monsters, I want to say that I do believe tonight's eloquent and very hardhitting editorial by Keith Olbermann should and likely will go down in modern history as not only courageous as hell but a brilliant, timely, heartfelt, and honest rendering of the truth in a big way, as in capital "T" Truth.
I actually do think that over the next few months and maybe next few years, this speech of KO's will be quoted so many times by people who believe it and endorse it and are grateful to have it to express themselves and their feelings with it, that there's no way it could NOT become a cornerstone of journalistic integrity.
Everyone else who thinks he or she is an "A-anchor" or respected veteran journalist on the teevee must now be compared to the quality, integrity and courage Olbermann has shown he has in abundance. I love it so much that he called out his own fellow news types every bit as much as he did the criminal pols in power, and made it pretty clear they were now on notice too!
About the Monsters in the Twilight Zone episode Keith referenced from back in the early and very special Rod Serling days ... well, that's a favorite era of mine, still near and dear to my heart for just the reasons that Keith cited this example. Sci fi and fantasy have long been known to be excellent vehicles for thinkers to project the possibilities so the rest of us can see where we might end up if we continue in some trends or ways we're caught up in now.
I especially love and remember to the tiniest details that episode Keith summarized -- and it was so very appropo this context! Turn the people against their own kind -- that is precisely what the Criminal-in-Chief and his fellow conspirators did to conquer us all, while most or at least a great many Americans never knew what had hit them. The cynical bastards literally took advantage of our grief and confusion to put their longlaid plans into play -- just as they'd probably hoped they could after that shock to our core.
I so well remember, truly like it was yesterday, not only the intense shock and grief I felt as I watched the events of Tuesday, 9-11-01 unfold before my eyes, but also the very sudden development of a powerful, almost cosmic, sense of unity among Americans that day. I loved NYC for the first time in my life. LOVED IT AND ITS PEOPLE. Took them into my heart and wept for them as I had for my lost daughter many years before.
My father had been an abusive and terrible career state trooper and I had been wronged by other cops in my life so I fairly well loathed most people in law enforcement up until that day -- but suddenly as they died in large numbers while trying to protect us, I remembered why it was I once used to admire, respect, and TRUST them. In a hundred ways in just that one day, I along with most citizens in this once-great nation leaped high above the petty fray of greed and crappy political plotting and powermongering to grab and hold tightly to me the prospect of a new and powerful unity among my brothers and sisters in the United States of America.
I believed without a doubt then that we could not only defeat the terrorists which had so cruelly attacked us but that together we could ALL rise above the infighting bullshit and bring America back to where she'd once been -- on the high road, the right path. With so much support from around the world, even in places and among people who had not been liking us much in recent times, there was just NO WAY we could squander this tragic opportunity to put right in our country what had been going wrong with it. I felt that in so doing, we might just regain the luster our nation had lost around the world and help other countries lift themselves up a few notches as well.
I think that as most people in the coming days read and reread, view and view again what a brave newsman named Keith Olbermann did and said tonight, they will also remember like it was yesterday the similar feelings they had on September 11th five years ago -- because he reminds us of this nearly forgotten but vitally important reality of that otherwise horrible day. And if that happens, I don't think any response the bad guys can offer to Keith's outright challenge will stand a chance of gaining ground in the hearts of real folks.
And just imagine what the response around the world might be as those who have about given up on America altogether read and hear about KO's editorial! They may realize that there ARE still people here who can see through the lies and deceptions, the tricks and manipulations of our government and compliant media -- and who are willing to speak out against them in no uncertain terms to anyone who will listen. If they then witness a strong swell of support among Americans for the man who stood up and spoke truth to power here on such an important day as today, then perhaps, just perhaps, the rest of the world will give us a chance to fix what's gone wrong with our country and then make up for how we carried our wrongs to them.
This speech by our man Keith has done -- and I believe will do -- a lot more than just give us here at DU hope, joy, and renewed confidence. I believe it holds the potential to bring real change to the political landscape in this country and to lead the charge to really and bygod certainly dump the criminals from their contemptuously comfortable seats on the OUR furniture in the White House for good and all.
I was one of many Americans who caught on TV the second airliner's striking the second tower live as it happened five years ago today.
Now I find myself thinking that the gut impact of shock and horror I felt when I saw that happen right before my eyes could be echoed now by how some men who've had great power and abused it for their own gain for the last five years must feel when they first see or hear Keith's speech. Surely it will be like a mulekick in the gut to them!
And just like we all felt that day, they will possibly be struck just as forlornly with the sudden understanding that there's not a damn thing they can do about what's already happened to them just now....
I'm going to sleep on that thought tonight, and sleep well I surely shall!
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