Carter and the Truth
I watched "War" last night. The Ken Burns documentary which has aired recently on PBS stations is, without question, the most powerful representation of this most useless, destructive, and popular of human activities. In particular, the section dealing with the liberation of the Nazi death camps was chilling and devastating. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist Zen master, teaches that we should not turn away from suffering, so I forced myself to watch the scenes of bones and skulls and corpses heaped around the camps and the hollow-eyed stares of the survivors. And out of that came a certain clarity.
No one could claim that these events did not happen. No one could pretend that it was other than a white, Christian nation that committed these crimes. My aunt, an Army nurse in World War II, was part of the liberation team at Bergen-Belsen, where Anne Frank and her sister Margot died.
Yesterday, Jimmy Carter spoke out frankly about the fact that our government, so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Sadam Hussein's tactics for keeping his population in line, gleefully tortures prisoners in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and other "black" sites around the world. Here's what Carter said to CNN:
"Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights. We've said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we've said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime."
Meanwhile, the Torturer-in-Chief , George the Lesser, said, lying, "This government does not torture people."
Well, of course we don't. Here's why: President Weenie gets his little pal Alberto "The Discredited" Gonzales, back in his days as White House counsel, to write up a lot of bullshit legaleeze to claim that what used to be torture isn't REALLY torture, and since we SAY it isn't torture, if we do that, then we really DON'T torture. Get it?
Clarity. There is a certain fear behind, "This government does not torture people." You see, even Georgie Boy must realize by now that the conquest of Iraq has failed, and, with it, his stolen presidency. Now our little Phony Cowpoke is reviled around the world, and those who can read and reason must understand that The First Half-wit, The Evil Veep, Condoleza, and Rummy are all war criminals. They hope that saying, "This government does not torture people" enough times will convince the world that this lie is really the truth, for there is no statute of limitations on war crimes. (Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?)
Clarity. Our Congress will consider a resolution this month about whether to label the killing of 15 million Armenians by the Turks as genocide. (There's a WHOLE bunch of politics tied up with this, as you may imagine. Like the fact that our air base at Incirlik, Turkey is a major supply hub for the war in Iraq, and we sure wouldn't want the Turks to get pissed and not let us use it to fight the oil war to keep our soccer moms' SUVs running.) Perhaps we should consider our own genocide in the extermination and virtual imprisonment of Native Americans before we consider someone else's genocide. Or we might examine the razing of Fallujah, wherein we massacred thousands of civilians and made homeless hundreds of thousands more, enlarging the old military philosophy from the days of Vietnam: "we destroyed the village to liberate it."
I did not vote for Jimmy Carter, but I am thankful for him. In a time when few tell the truth for fear of repercussions from nut cases, corporate sponsors, or governments, Carter tells the truth with courage, compassion, and clarity.
Mamie on 10.11.07 @ 08:40 AM PST [link]