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Post Torture 

Here's a great op-ed from Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, on why and how America is losing its moral high ground, and why it's vital that we gain it back (something Bush shows no interest in doing, what with his push to "re-interpret" the Geneva Conventions):



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Post Moral Low Ground 

I would say that Paul Rieckhoff gets it right.

As to America "losing its moral high ground," that happened long ago. When the United States bombed innocent civilians in WWII, both in Germany and Japan, it stepped down from the mountain. And I suppose I am going to hear the "Well, the A-Bombs saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of American GI's" argument.

That may well be true. But what was gained by the firebombings of Dresden, Stuttgart and other German cities, when Germany was already beaten? Hundreds of thousands of civilians died. No matter the justifications, this nation crossed a moral Rubicon during that war.

And it wasn't only the bombings that pushed us from the high ground. At war's end, 2.5 million former "inmates" of the largest prison in the world, the USSR, were forcibly returned to Stalin--"repatriation," it was called--and an estimated 300,000 were murdered, some before they got out of earshot of the American and British ships that transported them. The rest were sent to slow deaths in the Gulag. Why did the Allies cooperate in this genocide? So as not to make Papa Joe angry.

Eisenhower imprisoned hundreds of thousands of German civilians and soldiers, including youthful conscripts. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands died in worse conditions than we keep our livestock, from starvation, disease, and exposure.

All this was before No Gun Ri, My Lai, and Abu Gharib. And disturbing revelations keep appearing, of abuse and killings of civilians in Iraq.

And Bush wants to, by law, weaken the rules? He will make it more dangerous for our soldiers, and Americans in general.

(See "Pawns of Yalta," by Mark Elliot and "Other Losses," by James Bacque. I have read both.)

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