Monday, August 4, 2014

Republicans Circle Wagons to Defend Torture


Most defenders of  torture, which is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions are Republicans. This is sad as well as indicative of a deep, self-destructive streak that is going to continue to cost them elections at the national level. The time has never been more right for a serious alternative to to the ongoing wars, mass-surveillance, trampling of the Constitution and redistributing wealth into the military-security industrial complex. This is why so many are terrified of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's increasing popularity within the party.  He at least seems to represent a clean break from this ugly period in our nation's history and a return to the values that made this country great. Such values don't include torture - that is what Nazis, Communists and other despots do, we are Americans and actually aspire to higher standards.

On Sunday morning television in America, in particular on the so-called "news" shows, you get a good glimpse at the thorough rottenness of the political class. These are people who have squandered all of that which was earned with the blood of our forebears as they defeated fascism and communism for the sake of scoring cheap political points and covering their own asses. Yesterday morning was no different with numerous apple pie authoritarians trotted out to discuss the CIA surveillance of the Senate Intelligence committee overseeing the torture report. The 'debate' was however hijacked to mount a defense of torture itself. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, appearing on the CBS show "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer called the CIA's torture report "a mistake" and vowed to produce a "minority report" of his own defending the practice.

It is interesting terminology given that in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, with the imposition of mass surveillance that our country is increasingly resembling the dystopia depicted in the 2002 Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report" and the era of "Pre-Crime".  It is also notable that during the Iran-Contra scandal that a certain Republican named Richard B. Cheney also put together a "minority report" defending the actions of cowboys like Lt. Col. Oliver North that were conducted behind the back of President Ronald Reagan and could have gotten him impeached.

Saxby Chambliss by the way is the man who stooped to new political lows when he ran for Senate against Democrat Max Cleeland - a man who lost three limbs in Vietnam - impugning his patriotism and comparing him to Osama bin Laden. Chambliss by the way spent the time during the Vietnam war cooling his heels stateside courtesy of a series of draft deferments - just like Cheney did. None other than longtime Republican go-to guy, Senator John McCain has denounced the ads as “worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible". Chambliss proclaimed that torture was essential in the capture of bin Laden (a story that has more holes than Swiss cheese) which was reinforced in the CIA-friendly, slick Hollywood produced infomercial for torture "Zero Dark Thirty". But alas that is a movie, not reality.

Facing shifting demographics as well as a growing trend of young voters becoming more attracted to libertarian ideas, such as those expressed by Senator Paul (at least when he isn't flip-flopping for political expedience) should cause the GOP to rethink getting behind guys like Chambliss and other dinosaurs. It is time to look towards the future and unless they stop defending practices that are antithetical to American values they will be more responsible than any for that looming disaster of a Hillary Clinton presidency.