New York Times: Looking at America

I suppose there’s no better day than today to reflect on the state of our nation.  Certainly, there’s no shortage of things to dislike about what has happened to the U.S. in recent times.  The New York Times recently posted an editorial entitled Looking at America.  From the article:

Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America’s position of moral and political leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America’s global image, and trampled on the constitutional pillars that have supported our democracy through the most terrifying and challenging times. These policies have fed the world’s anger and alienation and have not made any of us safer.

In the years since 9/11, we have seen American soldiers abuse, sexually humiliate, torment and murder prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few have been punished, but their leaders have never been called to account. We have seen mercenaries gun down Iraqi civilians with no fear of prosecution. We have seen the president, sworn to defend the Constitution, turn his powers on his own citizens, authorizing the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans, wiretapping phones and intercepting international e-mail messages without a warrant.

We have read accounts of how the government’s top lawyers huddled in secret after the attacks in New York and Washington and plotted ways to circumvent the Geneva Conventions — and both American and international law — to hold anyone the president chose indefinitely without charges or judicial review.

All I can hope is that all of this is an anomaly – a time when Americans were caught sleeping at the wheel and let their politicians do whatever they pleased.  It seems like a long shot now, but hopefully we’ll see some change starting in 2008.

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