“How dare this Administration blame its misdeeds on enlisted
personnel from a Reserve unit?”
SHAME. DISHONOR. HUMILIATION.
The True Meaning of Abu Ghraib
BY AL GORE
GEORGE W. BUSH promised us a foreign policy with recruits for Al-Qaeda, it undermines the international they drag the good name of the United States
humility. Instead he has brought us humiliation. cooperation that is absolutely crucial to defeating through the mud of Saddam Hussein’s torture
He promised us “honor and integrity.” Instead, terrorism. Thanks to his contempt for any person, prison?
he has brought deep dishonor to our country, and institution, or nation who disagrees with him, The soldiers who are accused of committing
built a durable reputation as the most dishonest George Bush has actually exposed Americans to a atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own
President since Richard M. Nixon greater, rather than lesser, danger of attack by actions, and if found guilty, must be severely and
It’s been less than three years since the events of terrorists. appropriately punished. But they are not the ones
September 11th, 2001, when we had the good will The President has created more anger and primarily responsible. Private Lynddie England did
and empathy of all the world, when a leading French righteous indignation against Americans than any not make the decision that the United States could
newspaper ran a headline proclaiming, “We Are All leader of our country in 228 years, by insulting the ignore the Geneva Conventions.
Americans Now.” religion and tradition of other nations, and by
Today, that good will and empathy have been pursuing policies that have resulted in the death of AMERICA’S GREATEST EXPORT has always been
squandered, replaced by horror and disgust at the thousands of innocents. President Bush said recently hope, hope that through the rule of law, people can
pictures from Abu Ghraib. that the war in Iraq is the central front in the war on be free to pursue their dreams. Hope that democracy
How did we get to this point? To begin with, terror. It’s not–but it has become the central recruiting can supplant suppression. Hope that justice, not
from its earliest days in power this Administration ofﬁce for terrorists. power, can be the guiding force of society. Our
has sought to destroy the foreign policy consensus The current Bush team is endangering the lives moral authority in the world derives from this hope.
that has guided America since the end of World of our soldiers and sharply increasing the danger It is precisely America’s moral authority that is
War II. Our time-honored strategy of containment faced by American citizens everywhere in the world, our greatest source of strength. And precisely this
was to be abandoned, in favor of a radical new including here at home. They are enraging hundreds authority has been recklessly put at risk.
theory called pre-emption. of millions of people and embittering an entire In my religious tradition I was taught in the Book
And what they meant by pre-emption was not generation of anti-Americans. Our nation is at risk of Matthew, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
the inherent right of all nations to act against an every single day. We now face a great challenge restoring America’s
imminent threat, but rather the assertion of a uni- What happened at Abu Ghraib prison, it is now moral authority in the world. One of the most tragic
lateral U.S. right to ignore international law at will, clear, was a natural consequence of this Adminis- consequences of these ofﬁcial crimes is that it will be
and launch military action against any nation, even tration’s purposeful dismantling of constraints on its very hard for any of us, as Americans, to effectively
in the absence of an imminent threat. power, its virtual war on our system of checks and stand up for human rights elsewhere.
The Administration’s frequent use of the word balances. Abu Ghraib ﬂows directly from the abuse This Administration has shamed America and
“dominance” to describe its strategic goals is partic- of the truth that characterized the Bush Adminis- deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human
ularly noteworthy, and disturbing. An American tration’s march to war, and its abuse of the trust rights everywhere. I believe we have a duty to hold
policy of domination is as repugnant to the rest of placed in the President by the American people in President Bush accountable. As Lincoln said at our
the world as the ugly photos showing the domin- the aftermath of September 11th. time of greatest trial,“We, even we here, hold the
ation of helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners. power and bear the responsibility.”
Dominance is as dominance does. It isn’t really a PRESIDENT BUSH himself set the tone for our
strategic policy at all, but rather a seductive illusion attitude toward suspects in his 2003 State of the These remarks are excerpts from a major
that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 speech on the Abu Ghraib scandal by former
yet more power by striking a Faustian bargain. And, suspected terrorists have been arrested in many Vice President Al Gore, in which he called for the
as always happens sooner or later to those who countries. And then he added, “And many others resignations of several top Bush Administration
shake hands with the Devil, they ﬁnd out that what have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way. They ofﬁcials. The full text of Mr. Gore’s May 26 remarks
they have given up in that bargain is their soul. ”
are no longer a problem to the United States ... He is available at www.MoveOnPAC.org.
One of the clearest indications of the impending promised to change the tone in Washington, and
loss of one’s soul is a failure to recognize the existence indeed he has.
of the soul in those over whom power is being George W. Bush has refused to honor the
exercised, especially the helpless, who come to be Geneva Conventions, just as he has refused to honor
dehumanized and degraded. UN treaties, the opinions of our allies, the expertise YES! I WANT TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD.
Ultimately, dominance is not just unworthy of of our own top military leaders, the role of Congress
America. It is an illusory goal in its own right. Our and the courts, and what Jefferson once described NAME EMAIL
world is unconquerable because the human spirit is as “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.”
unconquerable. Any national strategy based on How dare this Administration blame its misdeeds ADDRESS
domination is doomed to fail. on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit? How dare
CITY STATE ZIP
And our current strategy has indeed failed. Not they humiliate our nation in the eyes of the world
only does it create enemies for the United States and and the conscience of our own people? How dare OCCUPATION* EMPLOYER*
*Required by federal election and tax law.
Make checks payable to MoveOn PAC. Mail to MoveOn PAC, P.O. Box 9038, Berkeley, CA 94709. Please
include this coupon with your check.
Your contribution will be used in connection with federal elections and is subject to the limitations and
prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Paid for by MoveOn PAC, www.moveonpac.org. Not
authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Contributions to MoveOn PAC are not deductible
www.MoveOnPAC.org as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Federal law requires us to use our best
efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals
whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.
PAC GORE4 IRAQ NYT