Joe Nocera’s op-ed piece in Saturday’s New York Times struck a responsive chord with me. He wrote about Harold Burson, a young Army journalist who coved the Nuremberg Trials right after World War II.
The Nuremberg Trials were convened to bring captured Nazis to justice.
“G.I.’s have one stock question,” reads Burson’s very first script. “Why can’t we just take them out and shoot ’em? We know they’re guilty.”
Again and again, Burson’s scripts try to answer that question. Because “the guilt of the German leaders should be carefully documented.” Because “we of the four nations are devoted to law and order.” Because “our system is not lynch law. We will dispense punishment as the evidence demands.” Led by the Americans, the Allies were insistent that the Nazi defendants be treated fairly
That all seems quaint today, yet isn’t it really what our country is supposed to represent? Isn’t that what the Constitution is all about?
Today we keep foreign enemies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We chose Gitmo for a prison because we could loophole our way out of following our own constitution and laws–the ones we fought so hard to protect at Nuremberg.
Today we spy on our own citizens using the confusingly named Patriot Act. Trust me, the patriots from our revolution would never have bought into this warrantless invasion of privacy.
I am surprised when people claiming to be conservative support policies that soil the memory of our constitution. Moderates and liberals do too. Damn shame.