Not Too Late
By Richard A. Stitt
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An Internet press release last week reported, "In one of
the darkest weeks of his administration, President Bush saw
America's reputation sullied, the U.S. effort in Iraq damaged
and his own campaign for re-election clouded. And more bad
news may be on the way."
How crass of the author of this piece to present the unfolding
events in the "prisoner abuse" photographs as a critique on
Mr. Bush's reelection chances, rather than the pathetic tableau
that these events have become for our nation's security and
The article goes on to compare the impact of the photographs
released of the Abu Ghraib prison "abuses" with some of those
taken during the Viet Nam War, one of which was a naked girl
running from a napalm attack. Another photo which had great
impact showed a prisoner being shot in the head by his captor.
These graphic images brought home to all Americans the tragedies
and travesties of war and the horrible reality of the of the
millions who were slaughtered over the duration of the thirteen
years of that monstrous war and the fatalities of 58,000 US
What lessons we have learned from this cannot be consigned
to military policy nor can they simply result in reams of
new regulations and congressional recommendations on how to
deal with prisoners in future wars which, if Bush is returned
for another four years, will surely occur. After all, he is
the self-described "war president."
The biggest lesson for all Americans is one which can be
addressed and dealt with now. The lesson is this: The expanded
executive and judicial powers contained in the USA Patriot
Act and its companion, Patriot Act II, must be rejected. The
only way they can and should be rejected is to jettison the
entire arrogant and dictatorial Bush/Cheney anti-Constitutional
They must be replaced by one which hews to the precepts
and laws set forth by our US Constitution and one which conforms
to the principles set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution
that asserts that self-rule resides with the people. It cannot
remain totally in the hands of the current potentates who
have ignored international laws such as those contained in
the Geneva Convention accords, while shredding with total
impunity our Constitutional rights and individual freedoms
The lesson of self-rule must be reestablished in America.
It must affirm that the fundamental law rests squarely upon
a democratic foundation and that this framework is laid down
to serve all the people, not the corrupt corporate
autocrats whose proxies and surrogates now occupy the White
House. No longer can the monarchial Bush advocates and apologists
accuse their detractors of being only alarmists and skeptics.
The facts are now there for all to see and judge. Like an
approaching storm, the rain begins falling lightly, then slowly
and steadily, it begins to fall harder until the deluge turns
into a flood. Now G. W. Bush and his acolytes' attempts to
pull cover over their heads cannot prevent their submersion.
As I write this, even more horrific photographs of torture,
humiliation and human indignities are about to be revealed
to America and the entire world.
The foundations of the widespread and epidemic perversions
against the Iraqi prisoners are based upon an executive edict
which gives G. W. Bush unprecedented powers to declare all
those captured prisoners as "enemy combatants" with absolutely
no rights under US Constitutional or International laws. Now,
the Bush administration and his Justice Department chief,
John Ashcroft, have crafted yet more powers in their intractable
demand to deny not only foreign prisoners' rights, but American
citizens' as well.
The Department of Justice, for example, included in the
USA Patriot Act a "sneak-and-peek" provision under Section
213 which allows law enforcement authorities to enter and
search any citizen's home without a warrant. It is interesting
to note that this provision of the PATRIOT Act was not limited
to terrorism cases. But what better time to ram it through
with no discussion, no debate or public awareness or its ramifications
for civil liberties? It was a classic Bush tactic which exploits
fear to advance the perverted belief in their own omnipotence
and total control over the people. Nor was it made subject
to the sunset provision that will cause most of the new surveillance
provisions of the act to expire at the end of 2005 unless
Congress reenacts them. So Section 213 was clearly a provision
that the Department of Justice wanted regardless of the terrorism
threat after 9/11.
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on Mr. Bush's right
to expand those powers and apply them to all US citizens.
He alone will have unchecked authority to decide who is an
enemy combatant who will be entitled to no more rights than
those tortured prisoners in Camp Delta, Guantanamo, Cuba,
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other prisons which could easily
be expanded to meet the equivalency of an American Gulag.
In his review of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book, The Gulag
Archipelago, Hieromonk Seraphim states, "The free and
easy life of the West is more conducive to sleep than to awareness...
until the time comes when we too must face something like
Gulag. Solzhenitsyn has told us in advance."
It is not too late to act, but time is running out on democracy
the longer Bush/Cheney and their war hawks remain in power.
Time is running out for our guaranteed rights and Constitutional
civil liberties as Mr. Bush and his repressive, secretive
and dogmatic regime have demonstrably, and graphically, proven.