Thursday, May 27, 2004

Apparently I'm not the only one who is scratching his head at the lack of attention given to Al Gore's speech yesterday. I watched most of it on C-Span last night. Boy, he was pissed. And after actually listening to what he said, as opposed, apparently, to folks like these, he made good sense.

Has not our credibility in the eyes of the world suffered due to the prisoner abuse scandal? Aren't the torture tactics used on these prisoners reminiscent of Stalinist gulags and the Gestapo? Aren't we, as Americans, sickened and disgusted by the obvious conclusion that torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions is a top-down policy of this Administration, and not the aberrant acts of "a few bad apples"? Don't we expect reasonable and humane treatment of our prisoners, just as we would expect the same if our people are taken prisoner by an enemy in the future?
I'm just as mad as Gore was.

Look, I'd like to believe that what happened in the Iraq prison and what may be happening in Guantanamo is off the reservation, and that the Bush Administration did not intend to treat our prisoners this way. But then I look at reports that the president's own Office of Legal Counsel has called the prisoner treatment provisions of the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete," and that strikes me as a rationale for treating prisoners the way I would expect the KGB or the Nazis to have done. As Wilford Brimley's character said in the movie Absence of Malice, "It ain't legal, and by God, it ain't right!"

Yeah, it IS politics, because Bush is running for office, and so is his opponent. But my rant has nothing to do with politics. We're Americans. We don't do the things that we apparently ARE doing, as dictated by policy from the White House. We have always seen ourselves as the guys in the white hats. This policy changes that for a lot of people.

Frankly, it was refreshing to see a professional politician speak his own mind, without thinking too much of the consequences. If Gore had done stuff like this 3 1/2 years ago, he'd be president now.