Saturday, July 12, 2008

Turning Against the Dark Side

Next week, Doubleday Press will publish Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. Friday, the Washington Post reported that the book includes citations to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross' stating that the CIA's treatment of al-Qaida detainees constituted war crimes.

The newsworthiness of this may not seem obvious to anyone who has followed the US' conduct in the "war on terror." But since the involvement of top government officials has long been cast in doubt by the administration, and since the ICRC is the closest thing outside of an international tribunal to an authoritative voice on international humanitarian law, a document with such far-reaching language is of political and legal significance - even if the document was addressed to the US Government, rather than intended for public consumption or legal precedent.

At Crooks and Liars, there is an extensive discussion of this story in the comments which warrants a close look in itself. In particular, several commenters debate the appropriate response of US citizens in such a context. One of my favorite comments:

"yes, i have hit the pavement in protest, and yes, i have written dozens of letters to government officials, but i have continued to pay my taxes and submit to the authority of a criminal government . . . there is no difference between me and the average german citizen during hitler’s rule...this situation calls for civil disobedience on a massive scale . . . anything less is acquiescence. We probably could just stop paying taxes on a massive scale, but like I said before, I doubt we’re coordinated enough. But I will tell you, as a former IRS employee, if even a few million of us stopped paying taxes, it would cause significant havoc and the IRS doesn’t have the resources to come after that many tax protesters. Truth be told, our taxes don’t really go to pay for government anyway, it goes to pay interest on the debt. Our government is bought on credit through the central banks. We stop paying taxes, then interests is no longer paid, then the central banks will refuse to lend more credit by not being able to sell enough treasury debt to foreign countries to make their reserves. Unfortunately, the value of the dollar would plummet to a little better than gravel, but maybe thats the sort of wake up call this country really needs?...On the other hand, like Hitler’s Germany, some dictator demagogue could come along and unify the huddled masses and make the situation even worse than it is now. But that’s the gamble you take when you’re making history…" -Jo
Read the entire forum here.


Andrea said...

I think that the sad thing here is that we tend to forget but the way we as a nation treat any threat real or imagined is the same becoming hysterical and creating a huge duality between the way we want to think about the world and the way we actually do think about the world

vimothy said...

"there is no difference between me and the average german citizen during hitler’s rule"

Do you agree with that?

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