By Mark A. Goldman
" -- - If I have my facts straight, Hitler killed
only one person in his lifetime: himself. All the other
atrocities that are attributed to him were carried out by people
who were only following orders.
If it is true that the war in Iraq is illegal, as I and others
believe it is—including the Secretary General of the United
Nations—then all the deaths and atrocities that have occurred to
date, inflicted by our coalition forces, are the acts of
individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, with good intentions
or not, have been willing to break the law in order to follow
the orders of superiors.
Each member of the US military took an oath to preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution of the United States. Each also took
a pledge to follow the legal orders of the Commander in Chief.
Under the Constitution, no soldier is required to follow an
illegal order. But that's what many Americans have been doing
now for quite some time. And this is not confined to our
military personnel, but also to members of the FBI, the CIA, the
NSA (the folks who have been carrying out those illegal wire
taps), outsourced contractors, the media, and perhaps most
egregious of all— elected members of Congress, who for all
intents and purposes, put their conscience and oversight
responsibilities on hold as they get their marching orders from
the Oval Office or from party leaders.
I believe the reason that many of those who do follow illegal
orders, or otherwise fall into line under pressure, is that if
they refused, they would be subject to severe ridicule and/or
punishment. They know that if they subjected themselves to this
ridicule or punishment, that we would not do anything to protect
them from that injustice.
And so, in pursuit of this war, we have suspended the
Constitution. Many members of Congress have supported the
administration in carrying out illegal acts, rationalizing that
such behavior is in the name of national security. That was
Hitler's rationale too. Innocent people have been killed,
wounded, tortured, rendered, humiliated, had their privacy
invaded, and their lives dismantled all in the name of national
security. Anyone who objects can now be put under suspicion and
may be targeted for future intimidation or worse. According to
members of Congress, nothing this administration does is
egregious enough to qualify them for impeachment.
The stories of individuals who have been damaged by the illegal
acts of our government and their agents are beginning to filter
through. But the damage that's been done is far greater than the
stories yet told. Damage done to our Constitution and to our
self respect will likely take a heavy toll for generations to
And yet for most Americans their sensibilities are not disturbed
by what's been happening… many do not want to hear about it.
Those who do hear about it, make up their own rationalization of
why it's ok. Many simply don't know what to think or do.
This all leads me to believe that with every victory this
administration experiences, the light of liberty and freedom
will dim a little more. If we were to achieve the victory that
Bush talks about in Iraq, it would not help the cause of
freedom, it would help to kill it. It would only encourage his
hubris, his arrogance. He doesn't want democracy, he only wants
stability. He wants the oil. He doesn't believe in the
Constitution or the rule of law. He has the sensibilities of a
Since the atrocities and illegalities for which his
administration is responsible have not been repudiated by
Congress or the American people, he and his conspirators will
continue to conclude that there is no limit to their power… all
they have to do is take however much they want... but do it just
a little bit at a time. And there is no reason to suspect that
they will not do just that and use that power for their own
purposes, whatever that might be.
I say to you: the ends do not justify the means. If we do not
identify, explore, and repudiate the illegal acts of this
government, soon the fist of injustice will come knocking at
every door… if history teaches us anything at all, it surely
teaches us that.
There is good reason for secrecy in the Bush administration. The
reason they don't want to conduct or discuss their activities in
the light of day is because eventually the American people would
figure it out: they would come to the conclusion that the reason
the so called terrorists are out to kill Americans is because
secretly the American government has been responsible for murder
and the disenfranchisement of decent people all over the world.
The United States has been active in destroying democratic
institutions for a long time. We have done this to satisfy
American greed for resources that don't belong to us, oil being
supreme among them. We have caused people in middle eastern
countries to suffer tyrants like Saddam Hussein and the Saudi
American leaders favor tyrants. We help install them. We work
very hard to keep them in place. We like tyrants because we can
buy them off in a protection racket. We use our money and our
military power to support their illegitimate regimes in exchange
for cheap oil, or whatever the resource happens to be. In all
countries it works pretty much the same. And in these countries
it is ordinary people who suffer because of our policies.
When some of these people finally decide to strike out, fight
back, to get us to stop, our leaders call it terrorism and then
they ask us to send our children to die in battle fighting these
'bad' guys. They tell us that we are being attacked for no other
reason than that they hate our freedom and our democracy. And we
believe them; and we send our children to die and to kill
because we don't have the knowledge or courage not to believe
them. We are so afraid, we are even willing to send our
beautiful children to die and to kill. What a price to pay for
ignorance and blind faith.
No one in Congress has been willing to stand up and say what I
just said. It is only the truth that will save us. Nothing less
will do. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Stand up. Speak out. Remove the traitors from their perches or
they will take our children and turn them into criminals like
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