Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strange Conversations

One of the more disappointing announcements from the White House last week was the decision to appeal a court ruling that would give military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to challenge their detention. The current White House, the Obama White House, not the Bush White House, is challenging a district court decision that would give detainees the right to appeal their arrest. Which is the same position taken by the Bush White House when they created the Guantanamo prison. So in plain language, we are continuing the abhorrent policies of the Bush Administration, picking up presumed terrorists in other countries, and shipping them off to Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan. I have to ask the question. How is that better than sending them to Guantanamo? At least in Guantanamo, the accommodations are better, as Donald Rumsfeld has said in the past, the prisoners enjoy a life of leisure, in a Caribbean paradise. Paradise. Wake up at 6:00 am to see the beautiful sunrise, waterboarding at 10:00, lunch, and then stress positions until 5:00. All while over-looking the lovely beach, and enjoying the warm tropical breezes. In Afghanistan, there is no beach.

Just the other amenities.

I called my Mom last night, after avoiding her for nearly a month. I haven't called her, mostly because she will ask me about work, and I don't want her to know that it's not going so well, and there's a possibility that I may join the ranks of the unemployed. She doesn't need to know that, I can worry enough for the both of us. So our conversation turned to politics, which is usually for my mother and I, a heated and awkward discussion. Last night I found myself in the peculiar position of voicing my disillusion with a candidate I chose, and my mother defending him. This has never happened before. My mother is a staunch Catholic, a conservative Republican, she actually listens to Rush Limbaugh(although she has said to me that she thinks he is getting too fat, and will soon die of a heart attack). I tried to explain to my mother that if we ignored our very own Constitution, and acted like some third world country without laws and basic ethics, we might win the war, but in the process, we would lose our very humanity. And she agreed. And then she told me that she thought Barack Obama was doing the best he could under difficult circumstances, and that I should support him.

I dropped the phone.

But I wonder. As a person who is over the moon about the end of the Bush years, and a citizen who supports the President ardently, I still have this nagging feeling that perhaps nothing fundamental has really changed after all. We are still engaged in wars that are essentially not sustainable. The promise to end the war in Iraq has been compromised to just a reduction in forces. The war in Afghanistan is set to escalate, and may expand to Pakistan. I wonder if we were sold a slick package, a candidate who made promises that he knew could not be kept. I wonder if we ourselves knew that these promises were unrealistic, but got swept up in a moment in history where we abandoned our healthy skepticism of politicians. People called the Clintons Republican Lite. But at least with Hillary, we knew we what we were getting.

Today, we liberals might have to face the fact that we have paid a high price for change, and what we have actually purchased might turn out to be less than what we were promised.

And non refundable.

posted at 2:16:00 PM by Tankwoman

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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