When I heard the disturbing news Tuesday morning that two American journalists had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor by a North Korean court for the "crimes" of illegally entering the country and committing "hostile acts." We can only hope that the reclusive, bizarre and barbaric leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, is putting on a show to get the attention of the rest of the world, that's what he seems thrive on, and that the two TV reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, will be allowed to return home soon.
So as we all hope for the safety of the two American journalists being held in North Korea, and as we support actions to help secure their release, let us not forget that what makes the United States the country we are all proud to live in is that we stand for the very freedoms not available in North Korea, and that we oppose the kind of abuses used by that nation, and is currently perpetuating on two of our innocent citizens.
But the problem before us is we didn't exactly think that way for about the past eight years while Bush and Cheney ran the show, and kept their followers is lockstep.
I also read about Lakhdar Boumediene, and the truly disturbing story of what happened to him after the 9/11 attacks. An Algerian man living with his wife and two children in Sarajevo, Bosnia, he was working for the Red Crescent in October 2001 when he was arrested and charged with conspiring to blow up the American and British embassies in the city. An investigation revealed no evidence of his involvement in any plot, so a Bosnian judge ordered him released, but the Bush & Chenney administration intervened, and in January 2002 he was shackled and flown to Guantanamo Bay.
He was the name plaintiff in the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case that, in a rebuke to the Bush policy, found that detainees had a right to challenge their detention in court, and a federal judge (a Republican appointed by Bush) later found that the evidence against him was a joke and ordered his immediate release. France agreed and accepted him, and he is now living as a free man in that country, reunited with his family.
In the end, Boumediene was held for 7 1/2 years in Guantanamo, during which time, he says, he was tortured. He says he was kept up for 16 days straight, beaten, and forced to run while chained to guards, and if he could not keep up, he was dragged until his body was bloody and bruised. Soon after he began a hunger strike, he had food tubes put up his nose and, he alleges, soldiers would purposely poke IV needles into the wrong parts of his arm, just to induce pain.
Guess what the one thing that was never done to him was? Nobody asked if he was ever involved in a plot to blow up the U.S.A. and British embassies in Sarajevo. Rather, all he was repeatedly asked about was his connections to al-Qaeda and to Osama bin-Laden and his answer for 7 and a half years was still the same, a resounding no.
Now we have two Americans at the hands of a Korean madman, who unfortunately has gotten his Q's from Cheney and Bush. Hopefully he won't be as stupid as Cheney and Bush, but he only need say to us, look what you Americans have been doing for the past 8 years so don't tell me who I cant capture and don't tell me how I have to treat my prisoners.
The part that is problematic for me is that all the while the Bush administration had been repeatedly warned, by Generals, and POW's even John McCain just to mention a few, not to break the rules of the Geneva Convention for the sake of protecting Americans.
But these two had plans of their own, and listened to nobody. Now two lonely, helpless frightened American women may pay the price.
This North Korean jack off has only to point his finger at the past administrations actions and pretty much do whatever he wants.
If we would have taken the moral high ground in the first place we would have a leg to stand on in this argument. One thing we can't effectively do is stand up and order some one else to act lawfully, when we didn't.
I'm sure Bush and Cheney will figure a way to blame this on the Clinton or the Obama administration. Cheney just sickens me, we have much to pay for the sins of this past administration and it will take quite a while before the healing begins.