“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner] … I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause … for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”
— George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775
11 thoughts on “Those who forget the past …”
I so agree, and wish I could express my real discomfort concerning the recent actions of the previous administration, but truthfully, I’m afraid to go too hard. That’s right, afraid. But Charles Pierce at Esquire isn’t. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Iraq_In_The_Room His last paragraph is blistering.
And chilling. Still, it’s entirely plausible. Especially knowing what we know now.
How far we, as a nation of values and laws, have come in so short a time. I voted for President Obama, twice. I even gave him money. I am disappointed beyond words now, to learn he is “ambivalent” about torture (as reported last week by the New York Times).
Ambivalent is, at least, step up from fervently in favor of it, but in no way, shape, or form does ambivalence about torture reflect the most fundamental philosophical underpinning of our nation and its system of government.
Torture is an abomination, a crime against humanity. Any man who does not oppose torture in his soul is not a civilized man; he is a vestige, a holdover from the dawn of time, the time of cave dwellers and hunter-gatherers and barbarism.
May God save the United States of America from its own leaders.
-HLM, 14 DEC 2014
We abandoned the moral high ground and violated international law. As an American it makes me sick to think my government is claiming to have done this in my name. Prosecuting the offenders would at least prove it was an aberration we won’t tolerate. I don’t buy the ACLU’s suggestion that the president pardon all the responsible parties, thus officially establishing that they committed a crime. It’s the sort of legal technicality that a lot of people here and abroad won’t appreciate, and it certainly doesn’t constitute punishment for the guilty.
The quote by George Washington from 14 Sep 1775 began with the words “Should any American soldier…”. Based by the written response of our leaders in Washington and the written report on terrorism,they do not agree with George Washington. I do believe that this goes to show that in the eyes of a great many of our political leaders in Washington subscribe to the theory of “the means justify the ends.” Do they really believe that the American people are so stupid that we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong?
I’m sure they convinced themselves that the ends justified the means even if that meant violating the very laws they were sworn to uphold. Which it did.
Excellent quote PT, and well timed indeed!
I found it making the rounds and thought it too apropos not to publish. Makes me want to apologize to Washington for having let him down so badly after all he did for us.
Whether intentional or coincidental, I thought it quite appropriate that you would post this on the anniversary of George Washington’s death. There seemed to be such compassion and honor instilled in the men who founded this country that I find it difficult at times to not hang my head in shame when I take stock of our nation and leaders today.
As a side note, last night PBS aired an interesting piece on the death of Washington and the miserable death he had to endure. If you have time, give it a listen…
Concerning the Death of George Washington
The posting on the anniversary of Washington’s death was purely coincidental. As to the way he died, that is truly sad. I don’t recall ever before hearing the details of his death. Makes one grateful for modern medicine.
After reading about how he insisted prisoners be treated, I appreciate even more what he did for this nation … and feel even more ashamed and angry at the lack of honor being displayed by our leaders today.