ADRIAN OSBORNE: America Has Great Deal to Answer For
Sixty years ago in Nuremberg, Germany, we were sentencing Nazis to death for the crimes they had committed in their World War II prisons and concentration camps.
And now a court in Munich, Germany, has ordered the arrest of 13 U.S. CIA agents for kidnapping and torturing a German citizen for five months in one of our secret overseas prisons. The innocent victim was targeted by mistake and was released.
We declared a Canadian citizen to be a terrorist and demanded that Canada turn him over to us. Canada complied. We tortured and abused him, but later found out he wasn't a terrorist and released him. Canada felt so guilty about its part in this crime that it awarded the man just under $10 million. We didn't even apologize.
Do you know what has happened to us in the last seven or eight years? For those who believe in the paranormal and evil spirits, it is called losing your soul to the devil. For the secular, it is called losing your moral compass. For Pogo Possum, it was the declaration, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
We have held unidentified prisoners for years with no charges filed. They have had no contact with their families or an attorney. They have fallen into the black holes in our secret prisons in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Fallujah, et al.
Photographs, the sworn testimony of a few released prisoners, the convictions of American prison guards, and the confessions of our interrogators leave absolutely no doubt that our prisoners have been tortured and in some cases killed.
Our president has convinced us that malevolence and the malicious were nothing more than patriotism and expedient and good for us. He further tells us that our prisoners are all terrorists and killers.
Statistically, you know this has to be a lie. We know that some rot in our prisons due to faulty intelligence, others being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and other innocent men have been fingered because a tortured prisoner had to come up with some name.
Because we are the greatest democracy that ever existed, every one of those prisoners is innocent until he is indicted, provided legal counsel, given the right to meet his accusers in open court and found guilty by a fair judiciary.
Let me finish by quoting Eric Fair, who wrote an article published recently in The Washington Post. Eric was an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army from 1995 to 2000 and worked as a contract interrogator in Iraq in 2004. He states that he still has horrible nightmares over his treatment of prisoners while assigned to the 82nd Airborne in Fallujah.
"I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold human decency," Fair writes. "I humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values, and I will never forgive myself."
He goes on to describe the physical abuse meted out by his colleagues, including kicking and punching prisoners and placing naked prisoners in freezing cells. He tells of men who begged for help and who were deprived of sleep and food.
"The story of Abu Ghraib isn't over," Fair writes. "In many ways, we have yet to open the book."
In Nazi Germany, citizens conveniently claimed they did not know what was going on in the camps. Dear reader, you are hereby denied that easy way out. Mr. Fair says he may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. If nothing else, e-mail him to tell him that we certainly forgive him. Absolution cannot exist without confession.
Eric Fair is a patriot. The chickenhawks who claimed entitlement to deferments and used the National Guard in order to avoid wartime service cannot claim that same title.
H. Adrian Osborne lives in Pinehurst.
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