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See the Bush in 30 Seconds Ad produced by Mike Cuenca.


That's touching, Rummy, but you aren't the one in charge.  
By Mike Cuenca | May 9, 2004
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was right to take responsibility for the violations of the human rights of those Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. His May 7 apology to joint a House and Senate committee session appropriately follows the military tradition that a commander is responsible for those under him; for those actions that occur on his "watch," as Rumsfeld put it. Unfortunately for those in the White House who may be hoping Rumsfeld's apology should suffice to account for this latest damaging revelation, we must all remember that the Secretary of Defense is not the ultimate commander of the military. As Commander in Chief, the President is in charge of the military. It is the President who ultimately bears responsibility for the conduct of all people in the military, of all ranks, in all assignments, everywhere in the world they may be.

Of course, to protect the President or the Presidency, some will argue that the President shouldn't be responsible for every order that's given down through the ranks. And that's true to a degree; no one would expect him to micro-manage tactical operations or any other activities of the military. However, we can expect the Commander in Chief to be responsible for clearly establishing the moral priorities and standards to be expected from everyone in the military and in the executive branch of our government. It is ultimately the President's responsibility to give the order that every human in our care will be treated with utmost respect and humanity, with zero tolerance for human rights abuses.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush has instead established moral priorities and standards that directly result in the types of abuses in Iraq that have apparently been occurring for months and which are now becoming more widely known. As he has clearly established, leading by example if not by direct order, protecting individual rights has not been a priority for his administration.

Clearly, this President's administration does not operate under an order from him that violating an individual's civil rights or human rights is not to be tolerated. On the contrary, his actions, his words and his silences have established that protecting the rights of individuals is subordinate to political ideologies and necessities. He is leading an administration that is responsible for Guantanamo and other notoriously inhumane U.S. installations and practices. He's leading an administration that has attacked affirmative action and abortion rights and undermined civil rights law enforcement. Again, one might argue that Bush has not "pulled the trigger" in these actions; that he may not have directly ordered these practices and approaches. But no one can argue that he has taken any public actions at all to stop them or to demonstrate his opposition to them. He should be expected to have done at least that.

This attitude of his administration has defined both our foreign policy and our domestic policy. The mistreatment of those Iraqi prisoners is merely one symptom of a national illness of pandemic proportions. The United States has acted as if only its own collective rights and interests are inviolate, while the rights of individuals—even individual American citizens—are vulnerable if "need" be. Across this nation, too many individuals and government officials, while waving the flag and crying for "security", have violated one Constitutional right after another, from the freedom to dissent to the right of habeas corpus. Abroad, we've ignored human rights abuses among our trading partners, in favor of profits, and among our "allies", in favor of intelligence. We've ignored genocide and holocaust both abroad and in our own country.

As the electorate in a democracy, each of us as an individual voter is responsible for the actions of our government. It is now our responsibility to hold this President and this government responsible for their actions and inactions. We must make sure that we hold our Congressional representatives accountable if they refuse to act appropriately. At this critical moment in history, we must, as a nation, prove that we neither sanction nor condone human rights and civil rights violations, whether by direct order or by our silence. Nothing less will appease the righteous indignation of the world community and help restore this nation's integrity.


 


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Media Analysis
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By inflating the importance of Kerry's supposed flip-flops and dismissing Cheney's drag on the GOP ticket, Paula Zahn and Joe Klein show us just how easy it is for mainstream journalists to slant their coverage for the President.
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Americans should look at those pictures from Fallujah
Maureen Dowd proves that even professional women often diss other professional women.
Culture and Identity
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Remaining silent in the face of crimes against humanity and the U.S. Constitution is just the same as stating approval.
Now arguing that we must protect Fred Phelps' right to express "offensive" speech, when the rights of so many have been violated for so long, merely sounds like support for Phelps' hateful message.
Other teachers and professors in Kansas teach courses that place intelligent design in a religious or mythological context. Why did one Kansas University professor get singled out for ridicule?
A Lawrence, Kansas, educational group is using a puppet to teach children to avoid potential sexual abuse. It's a great idea, but why is the puppet obviously Hispanic?
Human Rights
Remaining silent in the face of crimes against humanity and the U.S. Constitution is just the same as stating approval.
New Iraqi prime minister reported to have summarily executed several suspected insurgents.
According to the New York Times, Iraq's new prime minister was a CIA-paid terrorist in the 1990s.
The war crimes and other abuses in Iraq make for a hard time convincing people we're an honorable country.
The President has reminded us time and again that he's Commander in Chief of the military.
US Politics
Shamefully, Ms. Ferraro is also helping perpetuate the bigoted idea that minority men and women don't get ahead unless we make an exception and give them a job for which they're not qualified.
My "He Lied" TV commercial for MoveOn's Bush in 30 Seconds contest was too controversial in the climate of the time, but now the message in it is becoming more widely accepted.
Don't let anyone convince you that the Kansas Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it ruled the school funding plan unconstitutional.
You may think you know who won the presidential election, but you may be wrong.
UC statistical study proves increase in Bush support in Florida was 99.9% likely the result of the deliberate manipulation of the totals from electronic voting machines.
Civil Rights
Now arguing that we must protect Fred Phelps' right to express "offensive" speech, when the rights of so many have been violated for so long, merely sounds like support for Phelps' hateful message.
Other teachers and professors in Kansas teach courses that place intelligent design in a religious or mythological context. Why did one Kansas University professor get singled out for ridicule?
A Lawrence, Kansas, educational group is using a puppet to teach children to avoid potential sexual abuse. It's a great idea, but why is the puppet obviously Hispanic?
Who could possibly be surprised that Kansas is overpopulated with bigots?
Bush has a lot of nerve blaming the NAACP for his decision to ignore them and their convention.
Anti-War
The administration must articulate policies that will put us in a leadership position in the 21st century, not a muddled ideology that threatens to plunge us back into the early 20th century.
Pat Tillman could have been so much more than the empty symbol they are turning him into. He could have been a genuine hero, not simply a dead one.
Rice says we didn't have solid enough evidence to respond to 9/11. But we didn't wait for solid evidence to attack Iraq.
Right-wingers love to proclaim their "support for the troops," but they fail to put their money where their rhetoric is.
How dare those Army Reserve wives want their husbands home.
Economic Justice
I don't understand how people can believe that the wealthy should be allowed to continue to hoard even more than they already have.
The disclosure of the tax returns of the President and Vice President reveals what the American public should remember
Wealth is obtained through profit, not hard work. Too many people around the world can attest to that.
Somebody gets rich when social programs are privatized. It's not society.
Women are making 34% less than men in the same jobs. Why don't more men care?
Environmental Justice
Some people just don't understand the value of the natural world.