10 February 2005

The power of the Dark Side

    Yoda: But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice.
    Luke: Vader... Is the dark side stronger?
    Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
      -The Empire Strikes Back
This article from the Washington Post is merely the latest installment in the saga of "Ugly Things We Feel Justified Doing Because We Were Attacked." There are many other chapters, and probably more to come. There's Abu Ghraib, of course. There have been illegal detentions of immigrants. We've even indefinitely jailed an American citizen, Jose Padilla, without any charges whatsoever.

Sharon told me about a comment someone made to her upon seeing a picture of the Twin Towers. The person said they could care less that we abused these prisoners, considering what they did to the Towers. Of course, the Iraqis in Abu Ghraib had absolutely nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. What is it about us that lets us justify such acts in the name of revenge? Our laws state that cruelty is wrong and has no place in our society. Our predominant religious beliefs teach us that seeking vengeance will lead to our own doom. For a nation where moral values were considered a key factor in the re-election of the President, we sure are quick to throw all those moral values out the window in favor of security and payback.

Of course this is nothing new. Any history of WWII will no doubt discuss the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent. Many will also point out that the ones who weren't in the camps were busy dying for their country in the most decorated Army unit of WWII, but I digress. Eventually, we did realize and admit our mistakes. In 1989 we officially apologized and began to make reparations. Since I am optimistic about our future (present administration notwithstanding), I am betting that somewhere around 2050, Congress will draft a similar apology to the surviving families of Guantanamo detainees, Afgans, Iraqis, Jose Padilla, and who knows who else. Maybe we'll even rejoin the civilized world with respect to capital punishment.

Unfortunately I am not so optimistic as to believe that we won't persecute anyone else in the name of freedom, probably at the same time we issue those apologies.

1 comment:

Sharon GR said...

The Bucky the Cat's reply to Rob's comment about Germany? "Poland? Hey, just ask Chrysler."