Individuals are capable of dying with dignity; empires are not. Their death is always ugly because they deny it is happening even as the lifeblood drains out of them. It is this denial that causes them to pile brutality upon brutality and subterfuge upon subterfuge.
All empires believe themselves to be “The Way,” the civilizing force that brings the light of truth to those they subjugate and destroy. This exceptionalism results in a loss of decency as the empire enters its decline. In the case of the United States, this loss is heightened by a sense of exceptionalism that is bloated beyond recognition. Because we are “The City on the Hill,” Liberty’s beacon enlightening the world, we can do no wrong, which is why the law must be constantly changed to legitimize our ever increasing loss of decency as we resolutely deny our decline.
Glen Greenwald describes the Obama administration’s latest attempt at this retroactive legitimization.
In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit brought by the ACLU, a circuit court ruled that the administration must release photographs of prisoner abuse by American forces. The administration has appealed the ruling and it looks like they will lose the appeal, as well.
So, if the law goes against the empire, the empire simply changes the law, which is what Obama is trying to do.
Good old Joe Lieberman and his partner in crime, Lindsey Graham, have introduced a bill euphemistically titled, “The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009” allowing the government to suppress any “photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.”
The logic is simple: if there is no evidence of a war crime, there was no war crime. Instead of washing the blood from our hands, we simply put on a pair of white dress gloves.
Greenwald asks, “What kind of country passes a law that has no purpose than to empower its leader to suppress evidence of the torture it inflicted on people?” The short answer is one that feels its potency waning. Brutality is a dying empire’s Viagra®.
The administration’s justification is that releasing the photographs would stir up resentment against our troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think the folks over there are already pissed off. Precision strikes by drones and aircraft that kill innocent women and children are doing the job, and it’s no secret that our prisons aren’t high-end health spas.
Hell, just our presence in these countries is enough to roil their resentment!
But then since we’re a dying empire we can't be expected to do things a sane country would do. Power doesn’t corrupt; it’s a malignant brain tumor that addles the senses.