Saturday, November 10, 2007

Moral Capital

I was sorry to read that the Senate went ahead and confirmed a man for Attorney General who equivocates on whether torture is legal. That should be unequivocal, and it's a sorry state of affairs when people find that the least bit acceptable. The Democrats tried to take a stand on this point, but six of them (including one of mine -- shame on you, Senator Feinstein) joined with 47 Republicans in voting to confirm Mukasey. Alas, of the 40 Democrats who voted against confirmation, none of them felt strongly enough to raise a filibuster (which would have done it in, as the approval margin was nowhere near filibuster-proof).

At the start of President Bush's current term, he used to talk about all the "political capital" that he had. It's too bad that his administration wasn't more concerned with the moral capital that the United States used to have, before Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, before our Constitution was dismantled at the altar of the omnipotent war powers of the President to fight the nebulous and unending "war on terror", before we became a country that endorsed and practiced torture. One might say that our current administration lacks a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. While Bush 43 proudly wields a reckless cowboy attitude about the rest of the world, I'm sure Bush 41 could tell his son a thing or two about the value of moral capital. In the First Gulf War, when we first started crossing the border into Iraq, hordes of Iraqi soldiers were willing to drop their arms and surrender to the Americans, confident in the knowledge that the Americans would treat them decently. That was when we had a well-earned reputation in the world for being the good guys. That was before Bush 43 (ill-advised by Cheney and his cabal) saw fit to throw our reputation away, to tarnish the shining city on the hill. Now our enemies won't be so willing to surrender, if the treatment they can expect from us is to be disappeared to Guantanamo, sleep-deprived and waterboarded.

Glad to see the Senate is doing their patriotic duty to restore the lost moral capital of our great nation. Senators, you're doing a heckuva job. Too bad you couldn't have brought this vote in time for Guy Fawkes Day.

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