Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Just like the third world
Now that a judge in Spain (the same one who indicted General Pinochet a short while ago) has agreed to look at a prosecutor's request that six former Bushco apparatchiks be tried for (according to AP): (giving) "legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay, a lawyer in the case said Saturday." perhaps the Obama WH will be willing to something about it at our end. In South Africa, Rwanda, the Balkans and Cambodia--among other, mostly third world countries--there have been attempts at "Truth and reconciliation" style commissions. With varying degrees of success these commissions have attempted to clear away the deliberately obfuscatory layers of camouflage and unravel the reality of criminal or just plain bad government policy in those countries. Policies which resulted in much human suffering and lots of death and injury to those countries' citizenry. Can we do less? Can we fail to follow the example of a country like Rwanda and shine a light on the mechanisms, motivations and identities of those responsible for such horrific depradations? Admittedly, in the case of the U.S., from 2000-2008, most of the dying took place in yet other third world countries. Nevertheless, the people of the United States have suffered as well. Certainly we are not victims to the extent of the innocents of Iraq and Afghanistan, or the extra-legal "prisoners" that have been shoved into the likes of Gitmo. However, these actions were taken, like it or not, in our collective names. I am not suggesting the gallows (although I think it is actually an appropriate punishment for some of the people who were in charge during the Bush era), but if we fail to investigate the excesses; if we fail to identify--publicly--the miscreants; if we "sweep it under the rug", it will be impossible to expiate the collective guilt of our nation for what amounts to war crimes. I and most others were simply bystanders, witnesses to the depradations committed in the name of "The war on terror", but our guilt is, while diffuse, quite real in our own hearts. Without the truth coming out we cannot "fix the problem". Can we not do at least as well in this regard as Rwanda?