America has a lot of pride and self-confidence. We just know
we're the best country in the world, because: freedom. We look at ourselves as that gleaming beacon on the hill, an example set for the rest of the world to follow. We admire self-reliance and eschew government dependence. We consider ourselves to be just and moral.
Most Americans had only a superficial familiarity with Islam prior to 9/11. The Middle East was very far away, and we thought of it in a more abstract way. It was only after the day we were attacked on our own soil did we strive to educate ourselves. What we held onto was all of the those things common to the religion and culture that were alien to us. We looked down our noses at them like they were savages. They made their women wear burqas, they bombed those who didn't believe their religion, they were positively medieval when it came to torture and execution.
If only we were objective enough to look at ourselves with the same scrutiny.
The Senate report on the torture investigation
shows just how savage we can be. The report contains some of the horrific things done
in our name, paid for with our tax dollars, including forced rectal feeding, sexual assault, waterboarding, locking them in a coffin-like box for 24 hrs, and threatening to rape and kill their families. In one of the secret prisons, a prisoner was chained to a wall in a standing position and allowed to freeze to death. That sounds like something out of the dark ages.
This wasn't just a "few bad apples" - this was orchestrated at the highest levels of the CIA. It was implemented with an astonishing level of incompetency (if you missed it, just watch this segment
from last night's Rachel Maddow Show). This is a horrible dark stain on America - one that requires serious self-evaluation. Are we obligated to prosecute the members of the Bush Administration? U.N. Human Rights expert Ben Emmerson says yes
. The head of the ACLU suggested that - since they likely won't ever face prosecution - President Obama should just pardon them, since doing so would officially state that they did commit crimes. So far, the only person who has gone to jail for all of this is the whistleblower who exposed it
Besides the torture, there are also the Christian militants who bomb abortion clinics and churches. There is even a homegrown Christian "al-Qaeda" here in the U.S. called the Phineas Priesthood
Members of the Phineas Priesthood — which people “join” simply by adopting the views of the movement — are notoriously violent, and some adherents have been convicted of bank robberies, bombing abortion clinics, and planning to blow up government buildings. Although McQuilliams didn’t leave a letter explaining the reason for his attack, a handwritten note inside the book described him as a “priest in the fight against anti-God people.”
McQuilliams’ possible ties to the Phineas Priesthood may sound strange, but it’s actually unsettlingly common. In fact, his association with the hateful religious group highlights a very real — but often under-reported — issue: terrorism enacted in the name of Christ.
That sounds exactly like what ISIL does. And while we claim to treat women with respect and equality, our history has shown this was forced upon us legally, "allowing" women to own property and vote. A woman's value is often determined by her sexual attraction potential. Attractive women get harassed walking down the street all the time. We enact laws to force women to carry pregnancies as if they are merely birthing sows, vessels for creating more Christian children.
I hear time and again: "At least we don't cut people's heads off".
Wow - is that our standard now? Is that
where we draw the line?
Because if it is, beheading may be gruesome, but I will take that over the "humane" lethal-injection method that has states creating chemical cocktails administered to prisoners strapped to a table and writhing in pain for 30 minutes before finally expiring.
Most Christians will likely take offense at this, suggesting that THEY don't support torture, murder, bombing and terrorism. They may support women's rights too. The natural response to that is: neither do most Muslims. The majority of those killed by militant Islam is other Muslims. For the militants of both Christianity and Islam, the religion is an excuse for their sadistic psychopathic behavior, not the driving force. The actions of the worst shouldn't be used to paint the rest with a broad brush.
All of which means that our moral authority is based on false assumptions, prejudiced generalities, and blind ignorance of reality. It is time for us to realize that we are no more moral than any other country; the torture report confirms it.