Today Booman posted a piece titled Sociopathic Justice. My first reaction was:
Well…yeah, Booman!!! Good on ya! Tear a strip off of the whole system!!!”
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I found that the article focused on a single Supreme Court judge rather than the entire so-called justice system of the United States, a system that imprisons literally millions of minority people and the young for “drug offenses,” most of which are penny-ante compared to the financial and criminal/moral offenses of many of the movers and shakers of this country. Singling out one nasty-spited judge resembles focusing on a pimple that has appeared on the ass of a leper.
But…there are people who are pointing out the facts of the matter on any number of levels. To my surprise and delight, President Jimmy Carter…whose failure to win a second term could very well be explained by his deeply-rooted moral principles…laid out the true scope of the problem yesterday in a NY Times op-ed titled A Cruel and Unusual Record. And…a reluctant round of applause from me for the NY Times. I imagine that there are realplolitik reasons for this act. (Maybe a shot across Obama’s bow regarding Israel? “Stick to the script, bubba. There’s always Mitt.”) But still…they published it.
Read on for more.
Now…Booman’s piece was also involved with the idea of “cruel and unusual,”, but in point of fact there has been nothing cruel and unusual…well, unusual, anyway…about morally empty decisions and actions from the U.S. government over the past 50 years or so. On the contrary, “morality” has only been referenced by the government as a media meme that is meant to cover up the total immorality of many of its actions. I looked up “immorality” in the thesaurus and “realpoliitik” was one of the first synonyms offered. Then I looked it up in the dictionary and Henry Kissinger’s image was the only definition provided.
Here’s what President Carter had to say:
June 24, 2012
A Cruel and Unusual Record
By JIMMY CARTER
THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.
While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.
The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global affairs. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress (the law is currently being blocked by a federal judge). This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.
In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate.
Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.
“This would have been unthinkable in previous times?”
Of course…Carter is a politician too, and also an ex-career military man. The concept of collateral damage was extended to entire countries during the Vietnam War. No one knows how many Southeast Asians in Cambodia and other border states were killed by secret American bombings during that war. Estimates of people who were directly killed, injured and/or made homeless reach into the millions, and the political results….like the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the resultant slaughter of more hundreds of thousands or millions…were equally tragic. In Cambodia alone a least 2,756,941 tons of bombs were dropped.
As a Yale study reports:
To put 2,756,941 tons into perspective, the Allies dropped just over 2 million tons of bombs during
all of World War II. Cambodia may be the most heavily bombed country in history.
Only to those with some remaining semblance of morality left in their being.
These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas, affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behavior.
Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses 169 prisoners. About half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.
At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.
As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years.
The long decay of American morality is not a new, post-9/11 occurrence, but its rapid acceleration should most certainly be clear. Nixon and his ilk had to resort to “secret” programs in order to run their vicious games. The process has now gotten to a point that a so-called progressive president…or liberal or centrist, the labels have lost all meaning in the morass of modern hypnomedia journalism…can bald-facedly sign a National Defense Authorization Act that bascally allows the federal government unlimited powers of arrest and detention while simultaneously running as “the candidate of peace and freedom.”
But even more amazing…people are gobbling it up like it’s some kind of new McDonaldsburger.
YUM!!! Dat preznit sho’ can cook!!!
FOUR MORE YEARS!!!
1984 came a little late this century, but we in it now.
Bet on it.
In it deep.
Wake the fuck up.