Meh Culpa

Color Me Disgusted

Josh Gerstein and Craig Gordon’s article in Politico yesterday, “Should America Torture?,” begs the question by assuming it’s a reasonable question to ask based on the specious notion that maybe, just maybe, if torture works, it might be all right to use. Not only that, they insert a rationale for “outlawing torture”–as if it were never illegal in the first place–that neglects what Obama has said on the subject. Say Gerstein and Gordon:

Obama took water-boarding and other tactics out of use — not because experts said they never work, but because they offer a recruiting tool for al-Qaida that on balance made America less safe, not more, the White House said Thursday.

Uh, hellllllo?! During his inaugural speech, Obama said:


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

….Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

There is nothing in that speech about stopping torture because it doesn’t work.  In fact, Obama repudiated the “false choice” between allegedly defending our nation in ways that he considered expedient because we somehow thought it would make us safe. In essence, he was arguing that we should act with courage rather than from fear.

Fear brought the Bush administration to its moral knees and left it cowering. Obama has tasked us with the obligation to stand on our feet once more.  I am not certain what the President’s up to now.   I think his political machinations may be such that he can say,”Oh, I’d rather just move forward,” while at the same time delegating authority to his Attorney General, who will decide what to do with those in the last administration that formulated torture as a policy and saw to it that war crimes were carried out by CIA operatives, medical personnel and psychologists. Obama may not approve the idea that Congress should investigate,  partly because some members of Congress approved torture themselves, but he may say something else,  such as, “I think we need to concentrate on the economy, health care and other government business.” That might be the best way for him to proceed, actually. And it would be strategically brilliant because how then could anyone blame him for legal proceedings?

This morning I brushed by an article on HuffPo entitled “Never Again.” How many times have we heard that mantra, and yet how many times, equally mantra-like,  does the same sort of thing happen over and over and over again? The Turks perpetrated genocide upon the Armenians, and still won’t admit to the crimes. The Nazis tried to exterminate all Jews, gypsies,  disabled, mentally ill, and homosexuals.  Serbians conducted ethnic cleansing on ethnic Albanians, Croats and Muslims.  They raped the women as a  tactic of war. The Tutsis massacred Hutus. The National Islamic Government of Sudan has taken Southern Sudanese women and children into slavery; the government-sponsored Janajaweed have murdered “upwards of at [least] 250,000 black Africans” in Darfur. The Israelis and the Palestinians have both perpetrated war crimes against each other.

Never again: those are just words now, a worn out refrain.

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April 24, 2009 Posted by | Afghanistan, Arab world, Bush administration, Cabinet, Cheney, Congress, Defense, Executive branch, Gaza, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, human rights, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Obama, politics, torture, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Tis the Season of Much Folly

These are a few of the things I’m tired of hearing (or reading) about:

  • Rod Blagojevich.  Throw away the key already!  Well, not really.  Just do the impeachment thing and let us know what happens.  We have more important items to think about, such as how a 25 year-old taken into custody at Camp Cropper in Iraq can die of a “heart attack.”  (Last instance reported Monday, December 15)
  • Sarah Palin.  The election is over.  With any luck, so are her presidential ambitions.  I’m praying for obscurity  or ignominy by 2012.
  • Karl Rove.  OMGWTFBBQ!  Didn’t Bush 43 send him back to Texas? Is Rove so desperately in need of a job that he has to go back to D.C.?  Karl, go home. We don’t want you any more, and if the Republicans had any cojones (or any sense) they’d kick you to the curb. Who helped lose the last election? You.   Sometimes vicariously, but it was still you.
  • That Obama’s cabinet picks aren’t progressive enough.  The blush is off the American Beauty before Obama’s even been inaugurated. What’s up with that? Give the guy a chance to do some real damage before complaining!
  • Rielle Hunter and Ashley Alexandra Dupre.  I’m sad for the former’s baby, but I have no sympathy for women who knowingly sleep with married men.  Especially if they exploit their, err, connections by sitting down for an interview with Diane Sawyer.  ( I have very little respect left for Diane, either. )
  • W. and Cheney.  Need I say more?  Probably. I give you:  an International War Crimes Tribunal.
  • The War on Christmas.”  Oh Bill-O, please.   Stop.  You can have your Christmas–in all it’s anti-Semitic glory.  (Gah.)  Just remember where it came from:  Mithras (sol invictus) was born on December 25, so said Emperor Aurelian in the Third Century BCE.

If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

Falalalala-lalalala!

December 17, 2008 Posted by | "heart attacks", appointments, Bush administration, Cabinet, corruption, Executive branch, far right, Foreign policy, Geneva Conventions, Iraq, Iraq War, liberal, religion, torture, transition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meh Culpa: Ta-da!

It’s official. Obama has appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. He announced the rest of his National Security advisers, too, but that’s not such big news.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | appointments, Cabinet, Executive branch, Foreign policy, National Security, politics, transition | | Leave a comment