Photo Credit: flickr/Kenny Holston 21. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.
A couple of friends are filling in for me while I’m away on break. This post is written by Jason M. Dye of the blog Left Cheek.
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” -Mahatma Gandhi
Someone out there is planning a counter-demonstration to a peace march. Oddly enough, it’s not Boeing, Haliburton, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, nor any of the other war profiteers taking out the banners and megaphones to stymie the influence of the peace activists.
It is a Marine who served in Vietnam.
Please don’t miss the irony of this. Someone who suffered under the direction of war-mongers and profiteers believes that those who oppose the war-mongers and profiteers need to be opposed.
Stress positions and humiliation at Abu Ghraib. This is just the PG-rated stuff.
“Let’s talk about waterboarding” former President George W. Bush said with an almost defiant shrug. There was Bush, sitting across from Matt Lauer in a recent interview, now bragging about his role in personally authorizing the waterboarding of key terrorist suspects- which we know occurred up to 183 times per person. “Because the lawyers said it was legal” and ‘keeping the nation safe’ were his favorite justifications, and what thuggish justifications they were to any person with even the most miniscule understanding of justice. And when the glib mockery of the rule of law was finished, and Bush had used every canard he could think of, Matt Lauer still had the look of surrender plastered all over his face, as if to say “I hope my questions didn’t offend you, sir.” Not that it matters all that much; the church, much like the rest of the nation, wasn’t really paying attention.
I’ve had a hard time understanding why the American people have largely disconnected from our government’s torture policies and practices during the Bush Administration (some of which continue to this day under Obama, but that’s for another post). Perhaps it’s because it can be difficult to believe that leaders in our own country would explicitly order something so vile. Or maybe it’s because people have accepted the un-American argument perpetuated by Dick Cheney and others that torture was either effective or necessary, and therefore morally justified. Many people including myself have argued that those kinds of arguments are inhumane and demonstrably false.
I came across two articles over at Andrew Sullivan’s blog and absolutely had to share them with you. I’d like to point out that Sullivan is a conservative in pursuit of justice for the Bush administration’s offenses, so his torture posts (based on government documents and investigative reporting) cannot be dismissed as merely partisan. I’m asking each person who sees this to read both brief articles.
by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson
At the risk of seeming like a ‘Me-Too,’ given President Obama’s decision on holding torture photos today, I want to echo what Ian wrote about torture on April 29th. What Ian wrote about the unethical and disgusting nature of torture is one of the most reasoned and passionate essays I have read online or anyplace else. My piece will not be nearly as in-depth or footnoted with other articles, but I do feel the need to speak up on what has happened today, as well as address the current media actions of former VP Dick Cheney.
Photo credit: abc.net.au
The United States does not torture. Oh wait- didn’t George W. Bush also say the very same thing? He did. Unfortunately for the previous administration, we are learning with the release of declassified memos that such phrases were part of a semantics dance designed to mislead and cover for a systemic policy of torture that was coordinated and approved from the very top down. And we have to deal with it completely, or this country will never be the same.
by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson
If there is one thing that all Americans seem to share in this new millennium, it’s that we ALL are dime store psychologists. These days we live for the moment we can point to a public figure and declare that we know exactly what their problem is. Do they even have a problem? Well, it seems if enough of us say they do, then they do.
I just finished reading the newly released ‘Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won The War In Iraq.’ Many remember the President’s infamous visit to the aircraft carrier in May of 2003, where he emerged from a S-3B Viking aircraft wearing a flight suit and later gave a “victory” speech that was premature to say the least. The title of the book borrows from the huge banner that hung behind the President as he spoke to the cameras on that day- only this time it’s meant to be tongue in cheek. It’s a quick read and a pretty devastating one, too.
“Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.” -George W. Bush, March 6, 2003
‘Mission Accomplished’ works so well because it is really just a compilation of quotes- about Iraq and related matters- spoken by everyone from the hawks at the top of the Bush Administration to the trumpeters in the media. The authors (Christopher Cerf and Victor S. Navasky along with illustrator Robert Grossman) frequently interrupt the rhetoric with factual rebuttals and clever sketches, but they mostly let the politicians and pundits hang themselves by their own words.
“Our forces have been given a clear mission: to end a regime that threatened its neighbors and the world with weapons of mass destruction and to free a people that have suffered far too long.” -George W. Bush, April 14, 2003
These two guys did a massive amount of research, and I want to share a bit of it with you in hopes that you’ll share your thoughts with me. First, a look back at the stated mission in Iraq (keeping in mind the previous two quotes):