Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eternal Shame -- Means It Lasts Forever

A presidency that will go down in infamy. George W. Bush, the torture president.

Eugene Robinson: I still find it hard to believe that George W. Bush, to his eternal shame and our nation's great discredit, made torture a matter of hair-splitting, legalistic debate at the highest levels of the U.S. government. But that's precisely what he did.
Some of the rules of karma, as I understand it, are fairly inflexible. You do it, it redounds to you in some way. Ripples on the water, the pain of separation, a nervous breakdown, being classed as a war criminal.

When you're a president of the United States, if you simply sat on the Oval Office couch for eight years, you created a legacy that will be known and analyzed forever. If you have violated international law, if you have violated the standards of essential human decency -- have committed, sanctioned, or allowed crimes against humanity -- it's not just going to go away.

Whether George W. Bush feels any shame is beside the point. He has it whether there's any feelings at all. He has dirtied things up for himself big time. And having engaged in this criminal activity in our name, he hasn't done us any favors either.

From Eugene Robinson's column:
A clear and urgent duty of the next president will be to investigate the Bush administration's torture policy and give Americans a full accounting of what was done in our name. It's astounding that we need some kind of truth commission in the United States of America, but we do. Only when we learn the full story of what happened will we be able to confidently promise, to ourselves and to a world that looks to this country for moral leadership: Never again.
That will help us, to have a full accounting of what was done in our name.

But it won't help George W. Bush. Nothing will. His misdeeds will be told and retold throughout time from this day until the time people quit talking about history. His name will always be associated with the shame of torture. Even if he escapes paying for his crimes in one sense, it's still on him and always will be.

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