Friday, October 5, 2007

"Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics."

Update: 01:30 in Bangkok, 01:00 in Rangoon, and 13:30 in Washington D.C.

Tonight, not far from here, an entire nation sleeps -- the few who can -- with the knowledge that they or a loved one could be taken away in the dark of night. During the day, they saw more monks round-up by troops and put on trucks; more protesters arrested; more names sought by police who made enquires at schools, monasteries, businesses. Were you at the protest? The Burmese sleep in fear. For one thing, they know that torture is the policy of the government of Myanmar.

Meanwhile, half a world away, the New York Times publishes an investigation entitled "Secret U.S. endorsement of severe interrogations." The White House asserts the US president only approves such tactics be used on those he deems a true threat to the nation.

It's a wonder how Americans will sleep tonight.

Over and over the Burmese hear this very explanation from the mouths of their own leaders: men accountable to no court, legislature, or constitution. Tonight this justification for torture provides no consolation whatsoever for the Burmese. It does not help them sleep.

If essential ingredients of Enlightened self-government can be jettisoned so quickly and with so little protest in the United States, what hope for Burma? Let us pray it is not too late -- for the Burmese, for the Americans, and for ourselves.

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