The New York Times published an editorial today entitled Looking at America that says very clearly what is at stake with the next election and how far we have to go to get back to the America we once knew:
There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country. Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators by destroying videotapes of their sickening behavior. It was impossible to see the founding principles of the greatest democracy in the contempt these men and their bosses showed for the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency.
The country and much of the world was rightly and profoundly frightened by the single-minded hatred and ingenuity displayed by this new enemy. But there is no excuse for how President Bush and his advisers panicked – how they forgot that it is their responsibility to protect American lives and American ideals, that there really is no safety for Americans or their country when those ideals are sacrificed.
The editorial is the question many people in Europe are asking as they consider whether the “American Century” is over because of the mistakes of George W. Bush and company. Whether they will have to look to the EU as the new world leader or whether Putin has positioned Russia to take that role, as concerning as that idea may be.
Whether those in America realise the precarious nature of their world position and their own position at home is yet to be seen and will require much reflection by the American people themselves. But, as the NYT editorial says so well and considering all that’s at stake, it may have become a prerequisite to good citizenship.
More below the jump…