I am appalled at what I have seen in the press over the last few months about questions of torture, rendition, civil rights and America’s claim that it is the highest bastion of democracy and protector of all that is good in the world.
The U.S. government drugs and kidnaps a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, and then drags him off to a secret torture prison, only to discover that he isn’t guilty of anything. He’s held for several more months, after which the father of five is dumped in another foreign country while the U.S. ambassador to Germany persuades that nation’s government to deny any knowledge of what will surely be branded as el-Masri’s wild tale.
All the while, an American citizen sits in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., for three years — without access to the usual channels of legal defense the Constitution grants to every single citizen of this nation — while his own government builds a monumental case against him. When it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court could rule in the man’s favor, he’s suddenly indicted.
As this happens, America’s leaders fan across the globe claiming that the country upholds domestic and international law when it comes to dealing with potential terrorists, yet a Washington Post reporter is able to unravel a network of secret prisons operating on foreign soil where suspects are tortured, likely until they provide some form of confession, be it true or otherwise.
And then there’s GITMO.
Why should I — or anyone else — trust the same administration that sends its head diplomat to Europe to say that America is doing nothing illegal and that the “black sites” don’t exist, when newspapers all around the globe are digging up the proof — including flight records of CIA-registered planes, of all things — that they do?
My political feelings aside, it is very difficult to watch what a small group of people are doing to an otherwise great nation. We are isolating ourselves in the world, and at the same time, creating legions upon legions of people who want nothing more than to kill our troops and harm our country.
When the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil occurs, what then? I don’t know which is more frightening — the next Sept. 11, or the next Sept. 12.