Actions speak louder than words

Headline from the Austin-American Statesman, my local newspaper: “Rumsfeld doing ‘superb job,’ Bush says” (registration required). Apparently, Bush gave Rumsfeld a public back-patting yesterday. Atta-boy Rummy.

The Senate also approved a resolution condemning the torture of Iraqi prisoners, and apologizing to them and their families. That’s a good start, but condemnations and apologies ring hollow if they are not followed by action.

This is a great opportunity to teach the Iraqi people a core tenet of democracy–that leaders are held accountable to the will of the people. It is precisely this accountability that separates our leaders from tyrants.

Speaking of accountability, consider this statement from White House spokesman, Scott McClellan:

“The president’s reaction was one of deep disgust and disbelief that anyone who wears our uniform would engage in such shameful and appalling acts.”

Are you kidding me? The president is laying all the blame for this at the feet of the prison guards? What happened to “the buck stops here?”

When Saddam was in power, we didn’t blame his soldiers for the torture conducted in his prisons–we blamed him. And rightly so. Then, we toppled him from power because of it (that and some as-yet-undiscovered WMDs). Following the same logic, what right does Bush now have to remain in power?

This is no time to be shifting blame, now is the time to show the Iraqi people (and the world) the power of democracy in action.