Washington is contagious
It is not easy being a US citizen with a conscience. Dwight Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles destroyed Guatemalan democracy, launching a half century of genocide, and Ronald Reagan did his best to equal that slaughter in El Salvador and Nicaragua. The Republican Party has now canonized both. Johnson and Nixon slaughtered perhaps two million in Vietnam. Ford gave Indonesia the green light and guns for genocide in East Timor. Bush I ordered the bloodiest drug bust in history in Panama and slaughtered fleeing Iraqi conscripts.
Clinton starved or bombed a half million more Iraqis to death and temporized while 800,000 Rwandans died. Bush II, well, even America’s least conscious can count to 650,000. Meanwhile, we have been banker and guarantor of Israel’s denial of human rights to millions of Palestinians for 60 years — and thoroughgoing repression, since stealing their country. We have doomed millions of Haitians, who had the temerity to become a democracy, to disease, misery, or death for 17 years now. This is what our federal taxes pay for.
Now, we learn that our governor, attorney-general, and the bullies with all the firepower who run Maine’s prisons — and their predecessors going back maybe 30-odd years have concluded, like the architects of empire and usurpation of powers in Washington, that they need not respect the law governing prisoner rights (see “Maine Prison Bosses Violate Court Orders,” by Lance Tapley, June 29). And I had thought I could pay state taxes with a clear conscience.
Thank God for Lance Tapley — but that sense of relief may be premature. The Maine electorate will likely be as reconciled to Augusta’s crimes as it is to Washington’s.
William H. Slavick
, George W. Bush, Crime, Ronald Reagan, More