Saturday, November 03, 2007


I reread the quote below from George W. Bush in 2001, after reading the quote from him today. I wept. I'm weeping right now. The 2001 quote is so hopeful and beautiful. I wanna be like that, and be from a nation like that. The quote from today is so horrifying. I don't wanna be responsible for the torture, and the horror, and be part of a dominant white American culture that is so desperately trying to weasel its way out of the culpability. I don't wanna be in a place where we *need* to weasel our way out of the responsibility by arguing technicalities and allegations during confirmation hearings.

George W. Bush, November 3, 2007:
Since I sent his nomination to the Senate, Judge Mukasey has provided nearly six hours of testimony. He patiently answered more than 200 questions during his hearings, and he responded promptly to nearly 500 written questions. Yet some senators are working against his nomination because they want him to take a position on the legality of specific techniques allegedly used to question captured terrorists. As Judge Mukasey explained in a letter to Judiciary Committee members, he cannot give such a legal opinion for several reasons. First, he does not know whether certain methods of questioning are in fact used, because the program is classified, he's not been given access to that information, and therefore he is in no position to provide an informed opinion. Second, he does not want our professional interrogators in the field to take an uninformed opinion he has given in the course of a confirmation hearing as meaning that any conduct of theirs has put them in legal jeopardy. Finally, he does not want an uninformed legal opinion to give terrorists a window into which techniques we may use, and which we may not. That could help them train their operatives to resist questioning, and withhold vital information we need to stop attacks and save lives.

George W. Bush, January 20, 2001.
America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation's promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love. And the proliferation of prisons, however necessary, is no substitute for hope and order in our souls. Where there is suffering, there is duty. Americans in need are not strangers, they are citizens, not problems, but priorities. And all of us are diminished when any are hopeless. Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government. And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws. Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do. And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.

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