Friday, December 30, 2005

"What has happened to this country?"

I just read a speech given by former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray on February 27, 2005. The question posed in the title to this post is asked by Mr. Murray in regards to Britain, but it can be asked of America as well.

The speech is spot on, and applies to America as well as to Britain. I am convinced that we must win the war on terror. There has never been a word typed in any post on this blog that questions that. Indeed it is this conviction on my part that leads me to criticize the Iraq war in formulation and conduct. The more we sacrifice our core values and beliefs in this effort, the more apparent it is that our enemies are winning this war. Not by the bomb and bullet, but by our leaders determination to surrender the values that make us what we are.

The notion that we, the international champions of human rights and democracy, support the absolutely brutal thug that rules from Tashkent should send a shudder through any informed American. If we fight a war on terror should we not fight the institutional terrorism promoted by our "allies"? Evidently if the terror is being used against "radical Muslims" that is fine and dandy. We actually create militant extremists out of moderates when they and their family members are tortured. Imagine if the government Mexico suddenly started boiling protestants alive. You'd see alot of militant evangelicals taking issue with that I can assure you. I especially deplore the sentiment of the U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan when Mr. Murray tried to tweak his conscience:
The American ambassador said to me ‘well most of them are Muslims’ as thought that explained everything. I said that I didn’t think that seemed like particularly good reason why they should be locked up. He said ‘But they’re extreme Muslims’. I said ‘from what I can see there is very little history of political or terrorist violence in Uzbekistan and most of these people are not extreme in the sense that they are advocating violence’. What he said to me was ‘We are next door to Afghanistan; we are next door to the Taliban. The kind of society the Taliban impose is itself a form of violence and for example the subjugation of women is itself a form of violence. So if that’s what we are holding back, then some reduction of civil liberties in the interim is no bad thing. To which I replied that there was virtually no history of Taliban type Islamic extremism in Uzbekistan and certainly the people I had been meeting were not Taliban type extremists in any sense. Furthermore even if some of these people did propound a Muslim based society, with Sharia law and so on, then as long as they were not advocating violence to achieve it then this was a case of ‘well I detest what you say but I will defend your right to say it.’ I certainly didn’t think there was any excuse at all for throwing them in jail and pulling their fingernails out.
How absolutely sickening. We are not concerned with whether or not these victims of our ally are actually innocent or guilty. This behavior from our ally is acceptable because the victims are Muslim! To me the American ambassador in Tashkent is a bigot, a party to the worst forms of torture known to man kind, and he has blood on his hands. Much the same as the people in power in whatever government who know what is happening actively encourage the abuse by supporting the dictator in Kashtent, and making use of intelligence gained by torture. Indeed... what has happened to this country?

And now with the Graham-Levin amendment passed we will be able to use the "intelligence" gained from this ally in our prosecution of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Shame! As ambassador Murray says, we sell our soul for dross. When asked if the Uzbeks were to uncover a plot to fly a plane into Canary Wharf, if Mr. Murray really believed that intelligence ought to be ignored, he was spot on with his answer:
This of course discounts the fact the information’s all not true anyway. It’s all nonsense. It would be impossible through all that dross to pick out the true bits.
The McCain amendment might have given pause to the abuse of prisoners under American control, but this amendment should not end the debate. As long as we encourage our allies in the war on terror to feed us information from prisoners that has been gained by torture, we as a nation are complicit in the horrors. It is simply unbelievable that this administration has turned America from our long held concern on human rights to what we see today.

When will the good people of America wake up... and see what has happened to this country.

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