Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Reflections - What have we lost in their names?

Each Memorial Day, we as a nation are asked to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made in our name by countless soldiers. It used to be an easy thing to do, because we, as a nation, had a lot to defend. But in our descent into rendition, torture and indefinite detention, I am afraid that all those lives have been lost in vane. Those were not the values our soldiers, sailors, Marine, and airmen dies for.

And while we ponder that, let's ask each other another, fundamental question - what does it say about America that we allowed Saddam Hussein (he of the existential WMD threat to our Nation) to be tried in front of judges, with defense counsel, in the Iraqi legal system; and yet we are so afraid of the detainees in Guantanamo that we refuse the trial in our supposedly superior federal court system? How much longer will we run from this duplicity? What are we really afraid of - the prisoners, or us?


Thomas Joseph said...

I disagree. An errant move by one administration does not negate the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives of American soldiers lost in defense of this country and her values. Those values remain intact, indeed our very ability to discuss these issues is testament to that.

Philip H. said...

Those errant moves are now being echoed by another Administration. And if we as Americans do not soon reign in the errancy, it will be come normalcy.

SarahA-PR said...

The nation's cowardice in a) not holding real trials, and b) not granting what for most would be asylum in the US is the logical result of keeping citizens afraid for so long. We can not retain the vision of justice for long when these conditions prevail.

Philip H. said...

Sarah, I agree, which is why I have spent a lot of the last year blogging about the legal and ethical issues surrounding our treatment of detainees. Our soldiers should be defending a nation where a person, accused of being against us, can be tried in open court with evidence, and have a chance to rebut and defend. We did it for the original WTC bombers in 93, we did it for the Oklahoma city bombers - there's no reason we couldn't have done it for these people as well.

And becaue of that, the values my colleague T.J. describes have been tarnished, if not outright destroyed.