Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Who gets to decide what's in our best interest?

Bill O'Reilly, our favorite Fox News commentator, lambasted ABC News last night for reporting on where the secret torture prisons that CIA is running are located. In the loofah lover's own words, "ABC News says the public has the right to know, but this kind of exposition helps the terrorists and hurts the USA. The press is actively try to undermine the Bush administration."

Bill O'Harasser's guest, wingnut Lt. Col Ralph Peters, had to chime in, "I would like to see in the Constitution where it says that newspapers are obliged to trumpet military secrets in wartime. This is a war against an implacable enemy, and the terrorists in question are perhaps the most brutal killers on Earth. When ABC gives away our national secrets, they are putting America and our allies at risk."

It's bad enough that anyone that disagrees with the BushCo party line gets to endure screams and shouts of being unpatriotic and aiding the enemy. It's awful that a true patriot like Max Cleland lost his Senate seat to claims of aiding Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein because he held up the hackery Bush made of the Homeland Security Department, hackery made all too clear in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

But the idea that covering up torture, covering up secret prisons, covering up this blatant violation of the Constitution is somehow considered to be in our best interest, and that to expose this lawbreaking and to expose this operation that is ruining any credibility we have in the world makes us more vulnerable to terrorism, is unpatriotic, and helps terrorists is insane. It flips the idea of America on its head.

We are America because we've always respected the rights of prisoners, because we've always believed in the rule of law, because we've only attacked in self-defense, and because our word was our bond. This isn't the case with the party in power. Most of their leaders and a large group of their followers are serial liars, who rely upon the ad hominem attack, who do not face up to reality or twist it, who suppress dissent, who declare that only they know what's in the best interest of our nation, who support torture, who discourage the people from knowing what their government is doing, who are giving away our treasure to a select few while taking from the masses who struggle more and more while bearing the burden of supporting the nation, and who wear the flag and declare they are the only ones who love this nation, and anyone who disagrees hates it.

I'll be damned if somebody is going to tell me how much I love my country, how good a Christian I am, how I don't support the troops because I believe in disclosure and because I think we should work on withdrawal, that I am aiding the enemy because I think we should have a vigorous press that reports the facts, that I'm a tax-and-spend liberal even though I believe in a balanced budget and proportional bearing of our national burden, and that I am unAmerican for not following in lockstep behind a failed policy. On any day of any week of the year, I would rather be part of a group of people who think, who argue, who disagree on some points and have to compromise for a strategy rather than a group of people who brook no disagreement and insist on following a strategy that is completely incompetent and is ruining thousands of lives.

The American people are the ones who should decide for themselves what is in our best interests. A solid majority of the American people believe it is time to start withdrawing, that leaving Iraq in a relatively short time is the right thing to do, and it's time for our leaders to start listening to us. Nobody anointed them omniscient, unfailing leaders. They're human, just like us, and they serve us. That's one of those other things that America has always been about, one of those things we should be proud of, and one of those things we should remember in November 2006.