To be blunt, I'm having trouble meeting ANY Republicans - yes, I mean ANY - that are willing to admit that Bush went too far. They always defend Bush as honest at first, but when pressed with the facts they always turn to a "laws and the Constitution be damned" response. The "he kept us safe" and "that's all that matters" argument always prevails. Many finish with "the ends justify the means" even if they don't always realize they're saying it.
No matter what I say to them, our nation's founding principles of justice, humanity, and fair play during wartime mean very little to today's frightened Republican minority. They are completely uninterested in fair play these days. They seem almost brainwashed.
Our nation's "rules of engagement" have been pretty much the same since George Washington fought the British. Our founding father was a great example of fair play, despite the atrocities committed at that time. A few Americans have been charged with war crimes during past wars, but so far America has been considered a role model on how to act during times of crisis. American presidents have been pretty great leaders, representing our higher ideals during conflict, by and large.
America helped create the international conventions that guide civilized modern conflict - to the best of our ability at least. We always fought to protect civilians and prisoners, no matter how horrible they were, for decades. We didn't waiver on our principles in the past despite enemy atrocities and crimes. We always took the high road, hoping to serve as a good example of what is right in the world. Until Bush and his sheep-like Republicans, we were a shining example of good in the world - that "shining city on a hill" that Reagan liked so much.
The Republicans I've been talking to recently all seem willing to do "whatever it takes" to keep us safe. They all seem unconcerned with past rules of engagement. They seem to feel that "everything has changed in the world." I'm sure our forefathers would disagree with them if they could share some of their horror stories. I don't care what you say, but this nation has faced horrible enemies for over two centuries, and I'm sure we can handle a few thousand religious, pirate-like zealots, without abandoning our principles.
Bush and Cheney somehow brainwashed a large part of America into profoundly changing their national mindset. "9/11 changed everything" is a phrase they use far too often, and one that should be eliminated from our national debate. Their "war on terror" is also counterproductive.
The conservatives I've debated seem perfectly comfortable with the idea of torture ("on Americans if necessary" was said), eavesdropping ("on AMERICANS too" was mentioned), open-ended suspension of habeus corpus, soldiers on our streets, detention camps, neighborhood informants, private armies, and even genocide against those who they say "threaten our existence." It's very black and white with them. There is a rancid, ugly fear out there today, and it's mostly coming from Republicans. Let's hope our democracy holds; a potential dictator could have a field-day with today's Republican minority.
Bush, Cheney and the irresponsible right-wing media have helped turn a large chunk of Americans into pathetic, frightened cowards. Yes, if that applies to you, that's what I consider you - a COWARD! Yes, I said it, a COWARD!
That's what I've been calling my Republican friends who espouse undermining our national principles out of fear. You see, I would rather we risk our lives, and remain brave Americans, than sacrifice the best of what this nation is about - justice and human decency - out of fear. YES, I said it, and I mean it. OUR LIVES, ALL OUR LIVES, EVEN YOURS! For God's sake Republicans, grow a pair! Trust me, I'll feel the same way if we're attacked again. Being attacked will change NOTHING!
Just like our soldiers, we need to stand-up for what we believe in. Our nation needs to be an example for good in this world. No matter how bad they get, we need to stay above it. We need to always treat our enemies as human beings. Justice should not be sacrificed at the alter of fear. I will never stop fighting to preserve our national honor and system of justice. We need to fight to remain a just and honorable nation.
Monday's Political Rant #1 - Michael