Sunday, January 18, 2009

It Vas My Duty

The people can always be brought
to the bidding of the leaders.

That is easy.

All you have to do is tell them they are

being attacked and denounce the pacifists

for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

It works the same way in any country

--Hermann Goering

I've accomplished my duty as a State worker.

If you condemn me you have then to condemn

thousands of other workers

--Wilhelm Frick, hanged 10/16/46, Nuremberg

He gave us the orders.

He kept saying that it was all his responsibility.

--Wilhelm Keitel, hanged 10/16/46, Nuremberg


President Bush gave a farewell speech proclaiming that he made the tough choices. We beg to differ.

"I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions," he beseeched The People. We do not agree.

The tough choice is not always the choice to act tough. The hard choices are always the moral choices, which are more nuanced than bringing a down a preponderance of force. U.S. leaders took 9-11 as a license to ignore the moral choices.

No Mr. President, your choices were simple, once you negated facts which might have complicated matters. You chose for an aggressive war and torture and to turn a blind eye to the rule of civilized law.

You chose the easy route, and the fast-track to disaster and those choices have shamed us all. What will be hard is living with the consequences of your decisions.

All war criminals say the same thing. Nuremberg was filled with such guilty apologists.

"I only did my duty, and it was hard."

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

in his book the torture team, phillipe sands points out the closeness in grammar and philosophy that the bush statements about torture have with the defenses put up at nuremburg.

as a well respected international lawyer (he was on the team that eventually brought pinochet to the bar of justice) he argues clearly and consisely for the same treatment of our last administration.

if they are not brought to account for their actions we, by our silence, and by our inaction, clearly state our approval of those actions.

it makes me sick. (re: your preceeding post, i received my letter about exposure to agent orange in 92. i was like "wow, that's fucking nice to know." so far, asymptomatic, i also know that this can change with the beginning of a new day, like sleeping next to the time bomb's clock, you hear the ticking but are not allowed to see the dial)

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 12:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

It may be over 20 years since my military service ended but I well remember the oath I took at the beginnign of it. And that was an oath for life as far as I was and am concerned. I will never rest a single day while these criminals remain free in our society! There will be no silence from me!

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 12:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

A couple of thoughts on the subject of Nuremburg and the Bush Administration.

I am by no means a Bush apologist, and Chief, and the rest of the crew who were on Intel Dump can vouch for my intense animosity to...well, hell, pretty much all of Bush's decisions with the exception of...what...two...maybe three that could be defined as uncharacteristic decisions that were actually humane considering the source. So without dwelling on the exceptions, lets get to the meat of the issue...

Bush is an unforgivable putz.
A useful idiot to his patrons who saw, exploited, and persued a policy of wanton greed and arrogance that walked hand in hand with each other.
For all that, though, Bush's administration, along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Yoo do not, cannot be compared to the juggernaut of inhumanity and sheer scope of evil that was Hitler's resurgent Reich.
That said, I should note that I agree that Bush is a war criminal, however, therein is the restraint that is implied in my thoughts.
We must deal with each offense individually lest we make ephemeral comparisons that dissolve under historical scrutiny.
If a charge is to be leveled let it stand on it's own, for if Bush is as bad as we say he is, and I firmly believe that he is, then the egregious offense needs no embellishment with historical comparisons that would detract from the barbarity of the present crime.
It is enough, then, that Bush, his cabinet, his advisors, and his cheerleaders in the AEI are all corrupted individuals who wrought to undermine our constitution, our rights, and our laws with intent and purpose.
So, at the very least, by our own national legal statutes they are criminals and traitors to our laws and country, but since they spread their poisonous activities beyond our borders...they are, now, war criminals and that is enough of a charge to warrant their own special moment before the Judge.

We don't need to make them worse than they are with comparisons to historical figures...they've done a thorough job of defining their own special form of babarity.
For me, at least, that warrants it's own special consideration for criminal charges.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 1:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Mr. Oblivious said...

When has Bush 43 ever had to face up to the consequences of his actions?

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

To my mind the failure of the Nuremburg Trials was that they allowed the German people the luxury of concentrating the blame for the atrocities of 1933-1945 on the small group of high Nazi officials on trial. The nation as a whole was able to maintain the myth of "the good German", honorably fighting for his country in blissful ignorance of how evil his Nazi overlords were. It avoided the spectacle of tens of thousands of German soldiers and civilians going to trial and from there to prison or death for active participation or guilty knowledge of the mass murders Germany committed during the Nazi era.

And, of course, the very presence on the bench of Soviet jurists, proof of their own murderous crimes bloody to the shoulders, makes something of a mockery of Nuremburg as "victor's justice".

I will go out on a limb here: our nation is at what Jim has described as the "bingo point". If we don't turn back now we cannot. The authoritarian strain of executive imperialism that was fostered by the Nixon Administration was never rooted out, never extirpated. In the Cheneys and the Rumsfelds and the other Nixon and Reagan and Bush 41 hands it was strengthened and bore much poisoned fruit over the past 8 years. The republican spirit is nearly dead in our country, killed by pettiness, selfishness, ignorance, greed and hubris.

If we cannot root up this noxious weed - expose it to the light of truth, individually crush the toxic sources of the poison in the persons of the Addingtons and Yoos and Cheneys and Bushes - it will return, burgeon and kill what is left of the semi-democracy we call the United States.

The light of true freedom is buring mighty low right now, as exemplified by these subhuman scumbags who found nothing objectionable, nothing unconstitutional with subjecting other humans to practices - call them "abuse", call them "torture", you'd be screaming too loudly to call them anything coherant after a couple days' exposure to them - that they would NEVER accept for themselves or someone they loved or cared for.

That in itself is the simplist definition of a "high crime".

Common sense: if you cannot take actions against an obvious criminal, you have lost your ability to distinguish between the law and a crime. And, as always, the bad will drive out the good.

If we cannot prosecute this scum, in the end, we are lost.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 7:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

And I should add: we are deeply implicit in the crimes we allowed the loyal Bushies to commit. If we cannot purge them we cannot purge ourselves. Thereby are we lost.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 7:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Nuremberg, "allowed the German people the luxury of concentrating the blame for the atrocities of 1933-1945 on the small group of high Nazi officials on trial. The nation as a whole was able to maintain the myth of 'the good German'."

Of course -- Schulz's "I-Know-nothing" German. I do not think Americans suffer from that same level of hubris. We feel shame, and not just at being caught or not being successful, as with the Germans. We know it is against our higher nature.

We are all mutts, and have no pretensions otherwise. America prides herself on her ethos of inclusivity, an ethos antithetical to the very nature of these current wars.

When speaking of America at this moment, you use words like "extirpating" the rot before it "burgeons." They remind me of the mutations in bacteria.

We have "superbugs" because we do not finish our courses of antibiotics, and the most virulent strains are left to replicate.

As with the economic fiasco, we must have a total revamping of the way in which we conduct business, both financial and governmental. Band Aids won't do. Yet trials must also occur, if we are to retain faith in jurisprudence.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 9:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

That's very well put FDChief!

And Lisa, the comparision with the superbugs caused by not completeing the proscibed treatment is very apt! We let the criminals of the Nixon regime go free, and they went on to give us Iran/Contra. We let the criminals of the Reagan regime go free, and they went further on to give us wars of aggression, illegal detention and torture. It's time we rid our society of this disease! And NOT stop short on the treatment!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 8:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

excellent chief, and i too, understand your reluctance khan. i do.

the thing is, the maxim of the law is qui tacet consentere (silence gives consent). if we remain silent, knowing that there were crimes committed. knowing that some sadistic thugs satisfied their twisted impulses under the color of national security, we are all of us, complicit in that crime. we consent. we approve.

if it is not against the law to beat a bound and helpless captive to death in a dungeon, if it is not against the law to wire electrodes to the genitals of a similarly helpless prisoner, if it is not against the law to hold the children of another prisoner and threaten them with mutilations and disfigurement, what then, tell me, can be the definition of unacceptable conduct?

there is no excuse, no reason, no explainable tactic or grand strategy behind this. it was designed to be thuggish brutal and had no regard for the truth.

it has no place in our nation. never. never under any circumstance. i have stood in the rooms of the ticking time bomb so beloved by the apologists. i have never seen cruelty produce the wanted results of prevention or foiling of plots. not once.

i have also seen decency, humanity, and simple respect from one soldier to another produce information that has saved lives.

it's not about who we are fighting at all. it's about who we are.

if these crimes are allowed to stand unchallenged they become the law of our land, they become custom and usual practice.

in a world like that i can only see myself maintaining patriotism and self respect by holding a flintlock rifle at concord bridge, lexington green, boston square, bunker hill, monmouth, princeton, trenton, cowpens, king's mountain, long island and brooklyn.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

it's not about who we are fighting at all. it's about who we are.

Absolutely true!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB and Terrible,
As we say at RAW- the PWOT defines America.Our actions say more about us than any Terrorist can only imagine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today Bush had the look on his face of a man who knows that though he may have left the world stage He is doomed to spend the rest of his life answering for what he did. In essence for 7 long years he handed Al-Qwacky a huge asymetric victory. With those 11 box cutters the events of that sad day have caused huge over reaction and the kind of strategic damage OBL could not have wished for in his wildest dreams. The west stands on the brink of financial collapse and has almost lost all moral authority. Democracies and Capitalism are being tested like never before and folks....It's going to get worse.
One of the only ways that we can regain our standing in the world is to have a second Nuremburg Trials and at the very least bring some of these fools to justice. Only then can we repair the damage Bush's little school boy fears have caused.
I am encouraged but what I see of President Obama so far but the clock is ticking and we can only pray he has enough time to help us bring ourselves back from the edge of the aybess.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

FDChief has once again done the heavy lifting for me. He knows how I feel about his writings, so I'm not even going to spend time praising this recent post.

What I do want to point is something that to me is all too obvious: No, we're not going to see even Nuernberg-like trials, because, you see, it would be too "divisive" or "controversial" or "partisan" or "unfair" or "distracting." Or something. Get used to the idea. It's part of the wages of being citizens of a "mature" nation. No Bastille for us. Too many barnacles on the old ship of state.

And there's something else that all of us military types need to own up to: there are way too many bad fucking hombres in the ranks, both active and retired. Too many to whom the Constitution is just a "goddamned piece of paper." Too many who seem to owe their fealty to individuals or parties rather than to nation.

I think it's high time for our "warriors" to get some serious character guidance and citizenship classes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


You caution we should expect no Nuremberg because we are too "mature" a nation for that. Were we less mature in 1946? Are you saying we are less resilient, more ossified and prone to breakage now? Why?

You say they would be "too divisive"? Yes, but we need not be united under silent and shameful complicity. Lockstep unification comes at a price.

Character guidance and good citizenship courses were done away with some time ago in p.s. We're reaping the wind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 12:06:00 PM GMT-5  

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