Saturday, December 18, 2004

We're only the Good Guys if we act like it

I am growing increasingly more alarmed at the things our country is justifying in the name of "War on Terrorism." While the events of 9/11 are horrifically tragic, if we use that to justify prisoner abuse in Guantanamo Bay and holding prisoners without access to lawyers because they might be terrorists, or hell, even if they are terrorists, than we lose any right to claim we're the "Good Guys" and we're all about justice and freedom. We're no better than the terrorists when we behave this way.

No better than the terrorists? Some might say that's overly harsh. "How can you compare this to the BEHEADINGS that are going on in Iraq?" I've heard people argue. The answer: I can't. Those are horrific crimes. 9/11 was a horrific crime. But since when is our goal to only be less horrific than the terrorists? If they're beheading people, then it's okay for us to "only" abuse prisoners, to "only" deny them due process? My God, that is really frightening. I'm not an Iraqi or a Muslim, so I can't be ashamed of their behavior. I am an American and a Christian, and I am ashamed of our behavior.

Equally disturbing is this gem from Fox news about a Cornell University Survey that found that nearly half of Americans want to curtail the rights of Muslim-Americans. Innocent people who just happen to belong to the same faith (and for the vast majority of them, a much more moderate version of that faith) than the criminals who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. Even more chilling for me personally as both a Christian and a Republican:

The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.

How can followers of Christ justify this? How can those in the party of Lincoln justify this? As soon as we do this, we might as well go up to the terrorists and say "You won." We say we're fighting them, but then we're letting them turn us away from our ideals about justice and equality for all and innocent until proven guilty? I thought we'd learned our lesson in World War II with the Japanese "relocation camps."

We want to think we're the Good Guys in the War on Terror, but unless we behave like it, we're nothing more than the "At Least We're Not as Bad as the Really Bad Guys." And that simply isn't good enough to earn us the white hat.


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. A lovely country in which we live. I guess no one remembers the Japanese internment camps. (Most of them probably never were even told about them.)

We are an ignorant, ignorant country.


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