Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Musings 112--"...willing to throw away our values."

At least it is good to see that not everyone has dropped over into the administration's "do anything to protect us" camp. I give you Alberto J. Mora, former general counsel of the United States Navy, a man of principles and dignity.

Mora took on the administration's torture tactics at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Three years ago Mora, in a 22-page memo, "tried to halt what he saw as a disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects," writes Jane Mayer in Feb. 27th edition of New Yorker magazine. (See Link)

It is a long article that makes one both sad and proud to be an American. Basiclly, the Bushies say to do anything it takes to get the bad guys. Mora, however, says that you endanger everything our democracy is about if you do so.

Here is the last part of the New Yorker article:

In Mora’s view, the Administration’s legal response to September 11th was flawed from the start, triggering a series of subsequent errors that were all but impossible to correct. “The determination that Geneva didn’t apply was a legal and policy mistake,” he told me. “But very few lawyers could argue to the contrary once the decision had been made.”

Mora went on, “It seemed odd to me that the actors weren’t more troubled by what they were doing.” Many Administration lawyers, he said, appeared to be unaware of history. “I wondered if they were even familiar with the Nuremberg trials—or with the laws of war, or with the Geneva conventions. They cut many of the experts on those areas out. The State Department wasn’t just on the back of the bus—it was left off the bus.” Mora understood that “people were afraid that more 9/11s would happen, so getting the information became the overriding objective. But there was a failure to look more broadly at the ramifications.

“These were enormously hardworking, patriotic individuals,” he said. “When you put together the pieces, it’s all so sad. To preserve flexibility, they were willing to throw away our values.”

And we all know that once something is thrown away, it is gone forever. At least Mora tried, but he was definitely in a minority.


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