Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Higher Standard

As many of you know, Alberto Gonzales is being considered for the Attorney General of the United States. As you probably also know, Gonzales in his current role, has been an enabler of torture (although he has since recanted, as has President Bush). Nevertheless, Gonzales helped create a legal climate in which the United States of America has tortured individuals, both in Iraq and in Guantenemo.

I'm not going to waste your time with a long argument about why torture is indefensible, on both a moral and a practical level (One of the more frustrating things about this debate is how those who favor torture portray themselves as hardheaded grownups. In reality, they often seem to me as operating in a childish revenge driven mindset. But that is neither here nor there.).

Instead I just ask you to consider what America means and ask yourself if torture reflects well on what America means.

It reminds me of a line from the West Wing episode "Someone's Going to Emergency, Someone's Going to Jail," spoken by Sam Seaborne. He is responding to treason committed by an American in giving secrets to the Soviets during the Cold War. But I can see an application to this day as well.
This country is an idea. And one that's lit the whole world for two centuries. And treason against that idea is not just a crime against the living. This crime holds the graves of people who have died for it. Who gave what Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion.
Consider once more if torture reflects well on the idea of America. And consider if the man who held the rhetorical cloaks of the torturers should be this nations attorney general.

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