Coming to America: The Disappeared

Kissinger and The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina: America on the Brink of Horror.

This blistering Buzzflash editorial deserves to be spread far and wide. The reappearance of Henry Kissinger as a top adviser in the White House dredges up horrors that have long been buried by time – but wh
ich are still fresh in the scarred hearts of millions of people. It reminds us of the complicity and cooperation of the American political elite in the South American mass murder campaign known as "Operation Condor." This earlier "war on terror" – which reached its apogee on that other September 11 terrorist attack,  in 1973, with the American-backed murder of Salvador Allende, Chile's democratically elected president – also featured unrestrained "unitary executive power" claiming the right to imprison and torture and permanently detain anyone arbitrarily declared a "terrorist" or "enemy of the state" on the most specious – or nonexistent – grounds.

The savagery and tyranny that Kissinger and his cohorts in the Nixon White House – including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George H.W. Bush – helped visit upon South America is now coming home, brought to you by the same people, the same faction of rapacious, power-gaming, blood-spattered punks. As they have shown over and over and over again, for decades, from Vietnam to Argentina to Chile to Central America to Iraq, they know only one way to rule: by force, by fear, by lies, by loot, by lawlessness and death.

This same faction has contracted with Halliburton to build "emergency detention camps" set to hold tens of thousands of people. They have induced their bootlicking rubberstamps in Congress to vote its approval of unrestricted, arbitrary presidential power over the lives and liberties of every American – indeed, every person on earth. They have launched a war of aggression that has killed an estimated 250,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and more than 2,700 American soldiers as well.

Given everything they have already done, given the autocratic powers they have claimed for themselves and have had confirmed by Congress, given their until-now secret reliance on a war criminal directly complicit in the death of millions of people in Southeast Asia, where do you think this faction will draw the line in order to retain their power, their privilege, their dominance?

There is no line for them. There is no limit. History has proved this. And history is now circling back on the United States, preparing to visit upon us some of the same horrors that this same group has wrought upon other people.

Excerpts from the Buzzflash editorial:

...What happened during Operation Condor is so horrific – all done in the name of the safety and security of "the nation" – that it is barely speakable. The torture included one of the Bush Administration’s favorite techniques – waterboarding – and many other methods. Families were forced to watch or listen to their love ones being mutilated. Friends were required to conduct torture on those that they knew....Many Americans will say that this horror cannot happen in the United States, but they are wrong. Legally, as a result of the legislation passed in September, it is now quite possible...

The new law is vague enough that the Bush Administration, which drives a Mack truck through loopholes or openly disregards congressional laws, can justify arresting American citizens it simply declares are providing support to those it declares are enemies of America. It is "Operation Condor" all over again.

What one must remember about "Operation Condor" and Gitmo, for example, is that they were basically horrifying fishing expeditions. One did not need to be guilty of anything. One was adjudged guilty merely because a state authorized agent declared one so. In "Operation Condor" – as at Gitmo – the vast majority of people were detained and tortured merely on the suspicion that they might have some knowledge of value. And if they didn’t, it was their bad luck – and their detention would be a sacrifice paid for the "security of the nation..."

It is not a large leap – however much Americans would like to think otherwise – from the summary arrest, torture and occasional murder of foreigners to applying the same process to residents of the United States. Suspicion or politically-motivated accusations of the government become equivalent to a sentence of guilt. Bush has already declared persons who disagree with his Iraq policies "tools of the terorrists."

One cannot fully control torture as if it were a thermostat. When you start down the road of torture, people are going to die accidentally. And then when the culture of torture becomes ingrained in the military, people will start to be murdered. It is hard to contain torture; it is impossible to just torture the "guilty." Soon, it becomes – as it did in "Operation Condor" – a nightmare combination of "trolling" and "cleansing" the political opposition.

In such an environment, torture is the first step on a descent into state-authorized murder to achieve political goals, not necessarily "national security."