quarta-feira, 24 de agosto de 2005

Paul Kurtz: «Where is the moral outrage?»

«"... the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action."- British Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, quoted in the "Downing Street Memo"
Perhaps the evangelicals are right-perhaps America is in a moral free fall. After relentless media disclosures, Capitol Hill testimony, and the recent damning "Downing Street Memo," a belated reversal in American public opinion may be underway. Polls say a slim majority now realizes that we who opposed the Iraq war from its inception were right: there were no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's noxious regime posed no global threat, and it was never linked to September 11.
So... why did the Bush administration invade Iraq?
How disquieting that today, most Americans still respond to that question with a figurative shrug and some mumbled rhetoric about freeing the Iraqi people from Saddam or bringing democracy to the Middle East.
Those are laudable goals. But they're not the reasons America went to war.
America unleashed its devastating arsenal, killing and wounding (literally) uncounted numbers of innocent Iraqi civilians, bringing about the deaths of more than 1,700 Americans and the wounding of thousands more-and all of the reasons the Bush administration offered at the time for doing this are now known to be untrue. Even if worthwhile things come to be as a result of the campaign-something proponents will argue, and we will dispute-such results are afterthoughts at best, accidents at worst. The moral question is, when America's leaders chose this terrible path, did they have compelling reasons? Testifying on May 17, 2005, before a U.S. Senate subcommittee probing the United Nations oil-for-food scandal, the rambunctious British M.P. George Galloway answered that question for the ages. Riposting Senator Norm Coleman (R.-Minn.), a war supporter, Galloway announced: "Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies."[1]
That is the truth, and-apparently-most Americans now know it. So where is the moral outrage? Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a former Iraq war hawk, made headlines in June when he admitted to ABC's This Week that "the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there." The arch-conservative Representative Jones, not normally a man slow to judgment, could not muster moral outrage at this. The most he would say is "We've done about as much as we can do," then call for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops... someday.
Where is the moral outrage? In Iraq, the United States of America engaged in precisely the sort of behavior we condemn in our adversaries. Our leaders leapt to the ultimate human rights violation-"preemptive" warfare-for reasons that were either simply untrue or worse, known to be untrue. Today, America stands discredited among nations, an aggressor, its moral authority shattered. Does saying "We've done about as much as we can do" come anywhere near to capturing the enormity of the needless carnage? Does it come anywhere near to capturing what our beloved country has done to Iraq... or to itself?
Where is the will to admit that we as a nation have done wrong? Where is the demand that those who led us down this twisted path be called to account? Where is the moral outrage?
And if our nation is incapable of moral outrage even in the face of so reprehensible a provocation as this... whither America?