In Junior High, I knew when I was on the outs when few would eat lunch with me in the cafeteria. I was blooming into pubescence, my body was undergoing some pungent changes, and my personal hygiene was suspect. By High School I had figured most of my problems out, leaving my odd personality to protect me from fellow teens. Today most of the nations of the world won' eat lunch with the USA. As the big bully we have our stooges, (Poland, Portugal, Romania, etc) who will put their trays on our table, but we make the cool kids nervous and, while polite, they won't stand by us before class. Things haven't always been this way. After September 2001 our friends stood up for us because a snotty little nobody with a tremendous chip on his shoulder brought a gun to school and shot us in the back. As soon as we recovered, and not understanding who the guys that attacked us were, we chased them out of their house, and had them on the run. Our long time allies supported our efforts for the good of all. At this point the Jr. High analogy breaks down.
How far we have fallen. We now have secret prisons, torture, closely controlled borders, abrogation of our rights of habeas corpus, and violation of the first, fourth and fifth amendments to the constitution. These are the things that The Soviets, Fascists and Nazis did. These travesties were the things that separated us from the villains. We didn't torture Germans to get information about troop movements, even though it would save American lives. We had dozens of Nazi submariners in custody, but we didn't water-board them to get information about the wolf packs. We indicted and jailed Japanese torturers for using the same techniques we now use. The Soviets and Eastern block pioneered sleep deprivation coupled with beating and other psychological techniques. This sort of thing defined what it meant to be a bad guy.
I propose De-Bushification after January 20, 2009. A truth and reconciliation board should be available to those who want to come forward and unburden their souls. For the balance of the stonewallers, fair trials that they denied their victims would be on the menu. War crimes and other Nuremberg offenses should be reserved for the true criminals in the administration. Cheney front and center. We must not use this time to even political scores. That was their policy.
We must restore our reputation as the beacon of freedom and enlightenment. Our very survival depends on it. Rome kept its monopoly with brutal repression, and few regretted their fall when they went broke supporting the empire. Bullying is only effective for a few years, Love and respect is forever.
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