WE WERE promised transparent dignity. We got the invisible dungeon.
I will use this posting to quote from and reflect upon the column and the subject he addresses. As is usually the case when I quote from a column such as this, I strongly urge you to read the entire piece, and not merely rely upon my selections.
'We want to restore honor and integrity to the White House"
'It is absolutely essential for us to do whatever has to be done to restore honor and integrity to the Oval Office."
''My primary reason for endorsing Governor Bush is based less on policy than it is principle. Quite simply, I believe that he is our best hope to end the Clinton-Gore era and restore honor and integrity back to the White House."
And from Bush again, after the 3rd and final debate:
''Should I be fortunate to become your president, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of the land, but I will also swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God."
The next paragraph is simply offered without commentary:
What America did not know at the time or chose not to believe was which part of the Bible Bush would emphasize. It must have been Psalm 115. That passage says, ''They have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes have they, but they cannot see. They have ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell. They have hands, but they cannot feel; feet but they cannot walk; They make no sound with their throat."
Jackson immediately follows that with
hat would certainly explain prisoners held without charge for years, ghost detainees, CIA secret prisons, the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and beatings and dog attacks in immigration detention centers on our soil.
He continues by describing an NPR report on a specific case of abuse on an immigrant detainee named Richard Rust who collapsed and got not medical treatment for 20 minutes, nor did an ambulance appear for an equal period of time. Other detainees received belittling treatment, including being called "boy." And Jackson further notes from the other detainees:
They said that the day after Rust's death, guards swept up friends of Rust and put them in windowless punishment cells for up to three months. They said they were intimidated by staff not to talk about Rust.
This was DOMESTIC, here in the U. S., in Oakdale Louisiana. Jackson uses this case to illustrate a point he notes from the grade report from the (-11 Commission, where they said
''The US has not engaged in a common coalition approach to developing standards for detention and prosecution of captured terrorists. Indeed, US treatment of detainees has elicited broad criticism and makes it harder to build the necessary alliances to cooperate effectively with partners in a global war on terror."
Bush has demanded "transparency" from the other members of the "Axis of Evil" and from Cuba. In 2002, as Jackson notes, he said
'People who love freedom understand that we cannot allow nations that aren't transparent, nations with a terrible history, nations that are so dictatorial they're willing to starve their people, we can't allow them to mate up with terrorist organizations."Jackson continues by reminding us that the current round of reports including of the secret prisons, come more than 18 months after, when the Abu Ghraib story broke, Bush promised tough investigations:
''Here in America, in our system," Bush said, ''the judicial process will be fully transparent."
Jackson concludes his piece with two paragraphs that focus on the issue of transparency. They are worth quoting in their entirety:
he only thing transparent about the administration are its excuses. This week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice neither confirmed nor denied the existence of secret prisons in Europe for terror suspects. All she said was that intelligence gathered from interrogations has ''saved European lives." Typical of the administration, she offered no proof how.
You would expect no proof from an administration that deceived the world about weapons of mass destruction, has not punished higher-ups for the prisoner abuse, and had Vice President Dick Cheney leading the fight to have the CIA declared exempt from laws banning torture. For four years of the so-called war on terror, Bush promised transparency. You can see right through him.
I remind you of the title I gave this diary, "Condemned by their own words?" Jackson's skillful collection and excerpting of previous statements, most especially by Bush, are, simply put, damning. By reminding us of the context in which these were said, little additional commentary is necessary. The words speak directly to us. It is unfortunate that we do not see more of this, and in places other than an op ed page not read by that many Americans. Reading the words is powerful. To see them said by those who spoke them would make them inescapable. I wish the broadcast and cable media would consistently do what Jackson has done: take us back and let us hear what our leaders have said to us. The conclusion of any fairminded viewer would be inescapable: either they were lying in the statements they made then or else they are miserable failures at keeping their word. No other conclusion is possible. And we will reach that judgment, as will any fairminded reader of Jackson's column, not because political opponents are looking to tear them down, or hate America, or any other misdirection they may offer. They will, as I noted when I began, be condemned by their own words.