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View Diary: Droning Americans on US Soil: Why Holder's "No" is Not Reassuring (156 comments)

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  •  Beyond disconcerting (1+ / 0-)
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    corvo

    to someone who was raised in the 1950's. We were taught in school that being American was something to be proud of, among other reasons,  because our legal system considered everyone innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial, and that it was better to let 100 guilty people escape punishment than to punish one innocent person unjustly. Yes, it was idealistic, and no, the U.S. has never completely lived up to such noble ideals, but these ideals gave us aspirations worth having.

    Now it seems, the philosophy is reversed. If a person is suspected of something sufficiently nefarious by officials of sufficiently high standing, then that person is automatically guilty, does not even deserve a fair trial. In the words of the Red Queen in Alice In Wonderland, "Sentence first, verdict afterwards!"  

    Moreover, the philosophy seems to be that in order to destroy one guilty-and-not deserving-of-a-fair-trial person, it is okay to destroy quite a few that are not suspected of anything; better that 100 innocent should actually die, it seems, than that one (we think) guilty person should escape our version of nemesis.

    When did it start? Were the seeds sown by 1,001 revenge fantasies fed to us in movies and on TV, starting with (maybe) "Taxi Driver"? Teaching and preaching through imagination-gripping fiction that the legal system is so corrupt and iompotent that the only answer is vigilantism? Or does it trace back in a poisonous line to the bombing of Nagasaki? Dresden? And who coined that quintessentially dehumanizing and deadly phrase, "collateral damage"?  

    Behind all that...I can't help detecting a faint echo from my days of Sunday School...those days of scratchy crinolines under puffy Sunday skirts, Mary Jane shoes and little white socks. In Exodus -- you remember how the the story went? -- Pharoah strangely persisted in cruel, selfish behavior, determined not to let his slaves go in spite of warning after warning after yet more sinister warning from on high. Why couldn't he see where the consequences of his actions were tending? "God hardened Pharoah's heart" the story explained. And who hardened ours?

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