I've made mention before about boot camp, and how we were taught what "the bad guys" did and what we were above. And we were told plainly that what made us a Great Nation was that we observed and obeyed our laws and treaties, and this included the Geneva Conventions. However, we were warned, just because we do this, we cannot expect our enemies to do so. This was in 1995.
Today, I pulled up President Bush's speech from September 21, 2001, when he announced that he was creating a Department of Homeland Security. Some snippets:
"They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."
"I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here. We're in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them."
"Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us."
He closed with:
"Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come."
Additionally, check out his speech on September 12, 2001:
"This enemy hides in shadows and has no regard for human life. (He's talking about Al Qaeda here, not the Bush administration). This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people, then runs for cover (not that we detained scores of people who were considered "suspect" merely because they were Iraqi males between the ages of 16-45). This is an enemy that tries to hide, but it won't be able to hide forever... Those in authority should take appropriate precautions to protect our citizens. But we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms."
Here's my question: based on President Bush's statements, and then based on what transpired under his tenure as President, how can we consider our way of life unchanged when we have a headline such as this: "Unresolved debate in DOJ memos: Does Torture Work?"
We have become what the President said he was fighting against. Isn't it wrong to abandon the rule of law when the violations came from the top down internally? Shouldn't we be pressing President Obama for investigations/prosecutions? And if not, then shouldn't we be pressing President Obama for a pardon of Lynndie England? I mean, he said "We do not torture," even while we were torturing. Then the story changed, and changed some more, and changed some more. What are we, if we allow our most prominent representative to walk away from this, as though the page has turned?