How Dare They!

Friday, June 03, 2005

How Dare They!

In the comments to my recent post on Amnesty International, I went off on a (brief) Al Gore-esque rant--"The United States doesn't torture people! How dare they drag our country down into the slime!" You know the sort of thing.

Turns out J├╝rgen Habermas is more eloquent than I am. Go figure.
Certainly, the patriotic upsurge following upon September 11 had an American character. But the key to the curtailment of fundamental law, which you’ve referred to, to the breach of the Geneva Convention in Guantanamo, to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, etc., I would locate elsewhere. The militarization of life domestically and abroad, the bellicose policies which open themselves up to infection by their opponent’s own methods...all this the politically enlightened American populace would have overwhelmingly rejected, if the administration had not, with force, shameless propaganda, and manipulated insecurity, exploited the shock of September 11. For a European observer and a twice-shy child such as I, the systematic intimidation and indoctrination of the population and the restrictions on the scope of permitted opinion in the months of October and November of 2002 (when I was in Chicago) were unnerving. This was not “my” America. From my 16th year onward, my political thinking, thanks to the sensible re-education policy of the Occupation [Habermas grew up in postwar Germany], has been nourished by the American ideals of the late 18th century.

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