photo © 2011 Ramy Raoof | more info (via: Wylio)
If you follow the news then you know that Egypt is in the midst of a revolution. Don’t be alarmed if you’re experiencing deja-vu. The unrest is something the whole world has witnessed recently in Tunisia, Kyrgyzstan and Iran. What are the goals? And what do these movements say about Muslims and the rest of us?
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.
photo © 2009 Alan Wu | more info (via: Wylio)
I recently took some time to check out a report ranking each country in the world by a “freedom index.” As you might assume, the U.S. sits near the top. We have more rights that many countries, in a world where nearly 1 out of every 3 countries are entirely not free. There are many reasons to be thankful for our country and the rights recognized in this land. Having said that, these rights and liberties will not defend themselves, and they have taken a considerable hit since 9/11.
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.
Many of our nation’s political figures have become fire-breathing opportunists. They condescendingly point fingers during town hall meetings, or threaten other nations and then smile.
This country used to elect imperfect people who, despite personal flaws and often failed policy- still practiced restraint and favored diplomacy, especially in regards to matters of foreign policy.
Not anymore. In this post 9/11 era, we hear threats far more frequently from our own politicians than even Al Qaeda. Remember what Representative (and ’08 GOP presidential candidate) Tom Tancredo once told a radio show host? He said a Tomcredo presidency would “take out their holy sites” should Islamic terrorists pull off a multi-city nuclear attack on our soil. Yes, he actually clarified that he was talking about bombing Mecca. Way to distinguish between criminals and innocent Saudis, Tom. Innocent until stereotyped, I guess.