How did we get here? Good Germans--and many of them were decent, moral people--asked themselves the same thing. The answer is incrementalism, the
tendency of radical change to manifest itself in bits and pieces. People who should have known better--journalists, Democrats, and Republicans who are more loyal to their country than their party--allowed Bush and his neofascist gangsters to hijack our republic and its values. They weren't as bad as Bush. They just couldn't see the big picture.
Just as no single rollback led marked the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich, no event is individually responsible for America's shocking five-year transformation from beacon of freedom to autocratic torture state. It wasn't just letting Bush get away with his 2000 coup d'état. It wasn't just us standing by as he deliberately allowed his family friend Osama bin Laden to escape, or as he invaded Afghanistan, or as he built the concentration camps at Guantánamo and elsewhere, or even Iraq. It was all of those things collectively.
The Military Commissions Act signals that our traditional system of beliefs and government has irrevocably devolved into moral bankruptcy. Memo to Senator McCain: You don't negotiate with terrorists, and you don't compromise with torturers.
It doesn't matter how much food aid we ship to the victims of the next global natural disaster, or how diplomatic our next president is, or
whether we come to regret what we have done in the name of law and order. Our laws permit kidnapping, torture and murder. Our laws deny access to the courts. The United States has ceded the moral high round to its enemies.
We are done.
Just about says it all, imho.