The "Good Germans" Among Us Frank Rich Op-ed 10-14-07

The "Good Germans" Among Us

In his column today Frank Rich suggests that Americans look in the mirror and accept their share of the blame, along with mainstream media and our Congressional leaders, for allowing the Iraq war mess to drag on, if not for allowing it to begin. Here are some selected quotations from Rich's provocative op-ed.

"Bush lies" doesn't cut it anymore. It's time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

Ten days ago the NYT unearthed another round of secret DOJ memos countenancing countenancing torture.. President Bush gave his standard response: "This government does not torture people."

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture. As Andrew sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in the Times of London, America's "enhanced interrogation" techniques have a grotesque provenance: "Versharfte Vernehmung," enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe wehat became nown as the 'third degree.' It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation...

Still the drill remains the same. The Administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled 'politics.' We turn the page....

The gunmen who mowed down the two Christian women worked for a Dubai-based company managed by Australians registered in Singapore and enlisted as a subcontractor by an American contractor headquartered in North Carolina. This is a plot out of "Syriana" by way of "Chinatown." There will be no trial. We will never find out what happened. A new bill passed by the Hou8se to regulate contractor behavior will have little effect, even if it becomes law in its current form.

We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq...But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committedf in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verscharfte Vernehmung on the map.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shell-shocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press--the powerful institutions should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration's case--failed to do their job. had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin. ...

The administration invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there's no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the administration bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military's holes....

...It took until December 2005 , two-and-a-half years after "mission accomplished" for Mr. bush to feel sufficiently public pressure th acknowledge the large number of Irqqi casualties int eh war. Even now, despite his repeated declaration that "America will not abandon the Iraqi people" he has yet to address or intervene decisively in the tragedy of four million-plus Irqaqi refugees, a disproportionate number of them children. He feels no pressure from the American public to do so, buth he, he pays lip service to Darfur....

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those "Good Germans who professed ignorance of their own gestapo. It's up to us to wake up orur somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war's last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose. except whatever remains of our country's good name.

Here's a link to Frank Rich's op-ed:

CIA Destroyed Torture Tapes to "Save Image"

A long front page article in the NYTimes 12-30-07 detailed how the torture tapes came to be destroyed after repeated discussions with members of Congress, the White House staff and Porter Goss, CIA director. Although several officials and members of Congress advised against destroying the tapes, Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA operations branch gave the order to destroy the tapes following a conversation with CIA director Porter Goss who reportedly told Rodriguez he wanted more decisions made lower down in the organization. A suspicion remains that someone in Cheney's office, possibly David Addington somehow may have encouraged or ordered the destruction of the tapes. The NYTimes article by Scott Shane and Mark Mazetti is linked below.

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Comments 9 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

My sentiments exactly. But when will we -- and our politicians -- stand up and express our objections. Congress and the current flock of presidential candidates have been holding President Bush's shirt while he and Dick Cheney run amok. It's time for good Americans, regardless of political party, to take action.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment. We're on the same wave length!

gooadam profile image

gooadam 7 years ago from san mateo

Love it!

Rob 5 years ago

Any chance you can remove my pic from your blog?

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Rob, I will be happy to remove the picture provided you explain why it is "your pic." It's not clear from your comment whether you are in the picture or whether you took the picture and own the copyright. You can reach me by email at I don't recall where I got the picture. My apologies if I have violated your copyright.

Rob 5 years ago

It's me in the pic and I own the copyright to the pic. I took it!!! No need to apologize, it has been screen grabbed my a few people and is popping up all over the place. Many thanks.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Rob, picture deleted per your request.

Rob 5 years ago

Hi Ralph - thank you very much for your cooperation.

Best wishes


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

You're welcome. It was a humorous picture!

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