Not "Thinking Like Americans"

By Debra Sweet 

Crimes Are Crimes

Recently the message "stop thinking like Americans and start thinking like a human being" was posted on World Can't Wait's Facebook page.  The post got a large number of immediate "likes," as did the message that "American lives are not more important than other lives." 

We phrased a little differently in the flyer we distributed at recent anti-war protests: We must stand up for the whole planet, stop thinking like Americans and start thinking about humanity.

Many people wrote to say how much they appreciated this flyer and approach to stopping the wars. It's still quite relevant. You can download it here.

Exactly 13 months ago, the first Wikileaks revelation -- the Collateral Murder film -- came out.  Since then, we've had the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs, Cablegate, and 10 days ago, the Guantánamo Files. World Can't Wait has argued the relevance of these revelations in bringing the truth to the world -- and especially to people living in this country -- about the basic immorality and injustice of the wars and occupations.

Since the Guantánamo Files were leaked, there has been a battle for public opinion over whether they justify the Bush regime's use of torture, or "enhanced interrogation."  Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, waffled on that for a minute, but has rejoined the chorus of the Bush team for torture, which includes University of California Law Professor John Yoo (see below).  But the Obama administration, who have been defending Yoo and others in court every time they're sued for violations of international or U.S. law in the illegal detention cases, are just as staunchly defending the use of such measures.  The chorus of new Guantánamo supporters is not all Republicans.

A year ago, when World Can't Wait published the Crimes are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them statement we carefully worded this:

In some respects, this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of “terrorism,” merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of “preventive detention." Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the U.S. has the authority under international law to use such lethal force and extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war.

I urge you to take a moment now to read the whole statement and reflect on where things have gone in one year.