Realism Snaps Me Back from My Idealism

by James Glaser
February 8, 2007

I still have that pride of being an American. Heck I still think of this country as apple pie, people going to church on Sunday, and helping out the neighbor down the road that is having a hard time of things.

I still have church suppers in my mind, and raffles to buy new playground equipment for the city park. Those thoughts I have are what America was when I was growing up. America was the good guy. We wore the white hat. We helped our neighbors, even if they lived on the other side of the world.

Today things are not the same. We are no longer thought of as the good guys. In a recent poll our President beat out Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Satan. The poll was asking who the most evil person on earth was.

A few years ago almost the whole world decided to outlaw land mines, but you know what, the United States would not agree to that. The United States would not sign another treaty, that treaty gave some standards to the rights that disabled people are entitled to.

The same is true about a Global Warming treaty that most of the world signed on to, but we wouldn't. Even the treaties we do sign, we ignore. We signed an agreement with those who have nuclear weapons. We were supposed to work at lowering the number of nuclear bombs we have, but we don't, and now George Bush is talking about using tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East. He also wants us to develop new atomic weapons.

People know the United States has secret prisons all over the world. They know it is against the law to torture people on American soil, so what does Washington do? They grab whomever they want, take them to these secret prisons in foreign countries, and we torture them there. Like I said, we are no longer the good guys.

On Tuesday almost 60 countries signed a treaty that bans governments from holding people in secret detention, but George Bush and the United States of America would not sign that treaty.

George Bush believes America needs secret CIA prisons. It has been reported that 51,000 people were disappeared by governments in over 90 countries since 1980. 41,000 of those people are still unaccounted for. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said, "Men and women disappear every day on every continent, for defending human rights, for just opposing their government's policies or simply because they want justice."

We know and now the world knows that George Bush has put American citizens in prison for years with no charges against them. These people have no lawyer, no court date, no right to trial. They have spent years in solitary confinement, and they have no hope of ever receiving justice. We have no idea how many people George Bush has "disappeared." We know he has prisons set up world wide. We know that Italian authorities want to charge something like a dozen CIA agents for kidnapping someone in Italy, and taking them off to some secret prison. Nobody outside of a few in Washington have any idea of how often we are doing this.

No, we are not the America I grew up in. We torture, we maim, and we kill. We start wars with countries who have never attacked us. We have told the world that if we even think a country might want to harm us, it is our right to attack them.

Times change, and the United States has changed, too. We wonder why 19 terrorists were willing to commit suicide to attack us back in 2001. It seems pretty easy to figure that one out.

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