One thing about terroists; they know the lessons, and tend to follow the rules to the letter....
The detainees in Guantanamo were certainly humiliated and made to feel extremely uncomfortable. They may have been deprived of light and sleep and forced to stand for long periods. But did it constitute torture? The US Department of Defence insists that none of the Britons even alleged they had been tortured or abused until October last year – and that when US officials investigated those claims, they not only found they had no foundation, but that one of the Britons had assaulted one of his interrogators.
The men's claim that they were tortured at Guantanamo should also be set in the context of the al-Qa'eda training manual discovered during a raid in Manchester a couple of years ago. Lesson 18 of that manual, whose authenticity has not been questioned, emphatically states, under the heading "Prison and Detention Centres", that, when arrested, members of al-Qa'eda "must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security investigators. [They must] complain to the court of mistreatment while in prison". That is not, of course, proof that the Britons were not tortured in Guantanamo. But it ought to encourage some doubts about uncritically accepting that they were – which seems to be the attitude adopted by most of the media.
Monday, January 31, 2005
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Iraq celebrated its freedom today, and the United States celebrated with them. The pictures are moving, as millions of Iraqis showed courage, literally risking their lives to do something Americans take for granted. Estimates of voter turnout range from 60 to 72 percent, a far higher turnout than in any recent election here. The price of freedom will continue to be high, but the fruits of freedom in a country like Iraq could be great.
There are those who said this day could never happen, and terrorists who murdered dozens to try to prevent it. But the election did happen, and hopefully heralds, in the words of Lincoln, a new birth of freedom.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The pain meds are the only reason I can sit at the computer for a few minutes to blog. The MDs are conferring on how to proceed. Looks like I've got disc fragments compressing a nerve, but the surgery may complicate the asthma. Any cortisone shots would aggravate glaucoma which has returned due to high doses of steroids related to the asthma. Sigh.
May have surgery within the next week or so. Hope so, as this is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase " pain in the a**." Blogging continues to be intermittent at best, due to not being able to sit for long. Again, thanks for the prayers and support. It is greatly appreciated.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The time of this post is accurate. Woke up with some pretty bad spasms, and wheezing. Sigh.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Monday, January 24, 2005
Sunday, January 23, 2005
On Jan. 11, 2005, The Times' Op-Ed page published a column by Robert Scheer titled "Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?" Apparently, in the 40 months since Sept. 11, at least a few Americans have gone from "who did this?" to "no one did this." The way this paper has covered the difficult and complex story is part of the reason for such ignorance.There was a question asked in WWII: "Don't you know there's a WAR on?"
I would like to see The Times restructure its coverage to accomplish crucial objectives:
• Do more to identify and inform the readers on the organization, leadership and capabilities of the Islamist terrorist network, paying more attention to experts who support the war in Iraq and believe, along with President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and many others, that the battles there will ultimately slow the spread of terrorism elsewhere.
• Start a daily — a daily — feature on the Global War on Terrorism and call it that. Explain the money trail and detail the leadership and do so with the repetition that assures that readers are not overwhelmed with one giant aircraft carrier of a piece. Give them the digestible segments that make for understanding. Where does the support come from and who manages the accounts? Are there names behind the cash that funds the madrasas that churn out the jihadists? What has been done to stop the funding? Beneath Osama Bin Laden, his top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, and the Jordanian Zarqawi, who are the generals, the colonels and the rising young officers of the movement? Tell us and tell us again as reporters turn up new information. And alert readers to the many widely visited and cited blogs that have emerged as sources of analysis of this war's intricacies — among them the Belmont Club (belmontclub.blogspot.com), the Command Post (www.command-post.org), and the Fourth Rail (www.billroggio.com).
In short, The Times needs to reorganize to actually cover the war as a war. The last global war was not covered as though the Pacific Theater was independent of the battles in North Africa, or the Russian front disconnected from the D-day invasion. As with that global struggle, so with this one. As it is, unfortunately, readers know less of the terrorist enemy than 1942 readers knew of the geography of North Africa.
Another attack on the United States is inevitable. It will be a test of this paper and big journalism generally if, when the identities of future attackers are discovered, their organizations' intricacies and intentions will have been covered extensively in these pages.
I think many in this country forgot the correct answer to that question as soon as the rubble was cleared from Ground Zero. The terrorists haven't forgotten, and the MSM would do well not to forget either.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.A speech worthy of these middle times of World War IV. A warning to our enemies, and a trumpet call of support to our allies. Savor the whole thing.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
But the most significant wartime re-inauguration in our history was Abraham Lincoln's in March 1865. The country was then in the closing days of the Civil War. The conflict had begun shortly after Lincoln took office; in 1861, he had entered Washington under armed guard. Four terrible years later 600,000 Americans were dead, and countless numbers wounded, maimed, or gone missing. Lincoln's second inaugural address was brief, but memorable, and spoke movingly of the cause for which so many had paid the ultimate price. Fifty thousand visitors came to Washington, and by one report "Pennsylvania Avenue, for once, rivaled Broadway in its busiest days." The mud was deep but spirits high. The length of the street was decorated with flags and banners. A grand reception was held that night at the White House. Which was thronged with visitors. There was a two-hour wait to enter, Lincoln doggedly, if distractedly, shaking hands with all.
The signature social event of the inauguration was the Grand Ball, held on March 6. The elaborately engraved tickets cost $10 (over $100 in inflation-adjusted dollars), and over 10,000 people attended. The event was held in the large marbled hall of the Patent Office, which had been used as a hospital for the wounded after the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. Walt Whitman, who served as a nurse in Washington during the war, looked in on the preparations for the ball and was struck by the sense of irony. "To-night, beautiful women, perfumes, the violins' sweetness, the polka and the waltz," he wrote, "then the amputation, the blue face, the groan, the glassy eye of the dying, the clotted rag, the odor of wounds and blood.... Think not of such grim things, gloved ladies, as you bow to your partners and the figures of the dance this night are loudly called, or you may drop on the floor that has known what this one knew, but two short winters since." The scene that night was a magnificent pageant, a celebration of life in a town accustomed to the pains of conflict. Emblems, flags, and banners decorated the walls. A brass band played light music in the foyer, while a string ensemble was on the floor for dancing. Five hundred dancers crowded the floor. Soldiers and sailors in uniform were prominent, both the old and distinguished and the young and dashing. Young women glided along in long dresses of satin, velvet, silk and lace. Politicians and their wives hobnobbed with representatives of foreign governments. Supper was on sideboards, a sumptuous menu of roast beef, veal, chicken, turkey, quail, pheasant, oysters, salads, fruits, cakes, creams, and confections of all types.
The presidential party arrived around 10:30 P.M., and stayed until after 1:00 in the morning. President Lincoln, dressed in a plain black suit, looked weary but pleased with the proceedings; his wife Mary was vibrant in a white satin dress and pearls. After midnight the crush on the dance floor cleared, and those who actually came to "thread the mazes of the dance" were given free reign. The festivities lasted until dawn. Then as now, some were concerned with the appearance of excess. However, as one observer wrote, "the great, warm heart of the nation has little sympathy with that neuralgic nerve which forbids the expression of exuberant feeling at this most auspicious moment."
The Grand Ball of 1865 was a celebration of freedom; and in a chamber that had known suffering and death, it was a statement of life and hope. In time of war, it is vitally important to remember and recognize that for which our troops are fighting. The inauguration of the president is a symbolic rebirth, a renewal of the system of government established by the Constitution and sustained by the faith and fidelity of generations of Americans. To celebrate this event is to rejoice in that freedom, and affirm the sacrifices made by those who at this moment are fighting to defend it.
Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address ranks as one of the great documents of American history. Here it is, in its entirety. Enjoy.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
So, I will forgo my plans of laying on the couch, coughing and wheezing, but with a big 'ole smile on my face as I watch what I consider one of our great Presidents take the Oath of Office for the 2nd time. I will not thank God that John Kerry failed in his bid to "report for duty." I will put away my copy of "Unfit for Command" and will not cheer when Mr. and Mrs Bush walk down Pennsylvania Avenue in the grand celebration of freedom that occurs every four years.
Instead, tonight I will take ashes from the fireplace.
Tomorrow, as the President takes the Oath, I will cover myself in them, and then crawl naked through the frozen tundra of The People's Republic of Illinois, in sack cloth and ashes, as my Liberal friends believe proper and fitting.
I will then shrivel up.
No wait. I'm sorry.
Those last two are what the Left of this country is already doing to themselves.
My bad. :-)
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an “alternative history” novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of “alternative present” that he has developed in several recent articles.
Mr. Hersh’s preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations.
Finally, the views and policies Mr. Hersh ascribes to Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, and other Department of Defense officials do not reflect their public or private comments or administration policy.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Comparing the current war to Hitler's monomaniacal pillage of Western Europe is obscene, and does a grave disservice to the dead, both those murdered by Hitler's SS, and those lost in the smoking rubble of 9/11. Comparing George W. Bush to Hitler shows a profound ignorance of both personalities. Look at Afghanistan and Iraq today, and compare these nation's fledgling democracies to the horrors experienced by Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, and the Occupied lands of the Soviet Union. in 1943.
In the interviews recently given by President Bush to Major Media Outlets, one phrase has continued to stand out:
....President Bush spoke often of his commitment to the spread of democracy, sometimes in startling terms. As he told the Wall Street Journal in an aside after the end of the formal interview, "I understand there are many who say 'Bush is wrong.' I assume I'm right. It's exciting to be part of stimulating a debate of such significance. It really is the philosophical argument of the age." I don't know which is the more remarkable: An American president who thinks in terms of "the philosophical argument of the age." Or that, well, yes, Mr. Bush is right, the question of the spread of democracy really is the philosophical argument of the age."The philosophical argument of the age." The President and his "cronies" as they are called by the Left, have not acted as Hitler did. In fact:
We could have dealt with our security concerns in both places very differently, at considerably less cost in blood and treasure, simply by smashing the Taliban and the Saddam regime and installing local strongmen in their stead, each having been sternly warned by the example of the demise his predecessor of the consequences of future misbehavior, either with regard to harboring terrorists or looking guilty on illicit weapons programs. But we didn't do that. Instead, we committed ourselves — however fumblingly — to the establishment of decent, democratic government in both places. And by "we," I mean pre-eminently George W. Bush. He rejected (if he ever entertained) the strongman solution as inadequate.For the Left to criticize President Bush on his policies is certainly fair, and at times helpful to the ongoing war effort. Indeed, debate remains a cornerstone of the Checks and Balances which keep this Republic free. For those on the Left to make comparisons to the evil of Nazism, however, is offensive in the extreme, and is evidence of a shallowness of both history and thought that does a disservice to The Greatest Generation of WWII, and this Generation fighting and dying today in the clash of Philosophies.
Monday, January 17, 2005
For a long time now, I've been following John Podheretz' s lead in calling the conflict begun on 9/11/01 World War IV. His article in the Fall of 2004 will remain one of the seminal documents on our time. The coming campaign against the theocracy in Iran is the next logical step in winning the war. Despite Mr. Hersch's dire warnings, Donald Rumsfeld is just the man to have in the job right now, as is Peter Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, US Army. His experience in Special Ops has already served the US well in Afghanistan and Iraq, and will continue to serve the war effort in the coming campaign in Iran.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Saturday, January 15, 2005
It is the lack of religious protections that concern me the most. For Christians, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews, homosexuality is seen as a sin. These faiths have the right to believe that, and to practice their faith accordingly. The new laws in Illinois would indeed force a conservative church to hire a gay youth director, pastor, etc, or be threatened with violating the law. It is likely that without these protections, this law will not pass Constitutional muster, but in today's courts, this is not a foregone conclusion. Conservatives, myself included, were asleep at the switch on this one. It may too late now to change this seriously flawed bill without a significant court battle in the near future.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Update: 2:45 pm CST
The first picture in in, and it is beyond expectations! In the left hand corner are rivers, possibly leading to a huge ocean on the right. You can see the pictures on Space.com in the link below. I'll post them on Liberty as soon as the servers slow down.
There's more on what is being called a "bizarre" ruling at OpinionJournal here.
Went back to work for a few days, but developed another upper respiratory infection. This brought on some pretty severe asthma attacks. We've upped my meds, including back on the prednisone. Many complications from the prednisone, including stomach distress. A big problem is that the multiple steroids I've been on has reactivated long dormant glaucoma in my right eye. This is being treated with drops, which should keep the pressures under control while I undergo another round of high steroid use.
On a much more positive front: Thanks to Jordan, a great respiratory therapist, we think we have the sleep apnea under control now. This was a major complication, as the sleep apnea would often wake me up in the night, and set off asthma attacks due to my airways already being obstructed. Jordan stayed far past his scheduled time to help me set up a new machine,and resize the mask I was using. I had a good night's sleep last night for the first time in a long time, and that while still on the prednisone. Still coughing, but less sleep deprived.
I still have hope of getting back to work, but the ongoing infections that get to my chest are a problem. Still hanging in there though. The prayers and supprt are greatly appreciated, folks!
It adds additional features to the commenting section, among other things.
Unfortunately, the install deletes previous comments. Hopefully this can be repaired. I'll give it a try. Let us know what you think of our posts, and of the new comment features.
Update: Thanks to the folks at Haloscan, Liberty should be able to get back previous comments soon. May take a few days to get the upgrade in place though. In the meantime, I remembered that I archived previous comments, so will repost them if necessary.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
How serious can one take a report that relies strictly on the testimony of the chief "suspects" that they had no political agenda?My initial reading of the Report echoes that question. Mary Mapes and Rather himself all deny bias (page 226), and the Report accepts their statements. Mr. Thomas has something to say about that:
This is the Watergate equivalent of locking up the men who conducted the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters, but ignoring Attorney General John Mitchell, Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon, which CBS News and Dan Rather famously did not do.
The report also says the editing process, especially rushing out to get a statement by Dan Bartlett just before the peice aired shows that there was no bias or agenda. Then, and most ironically, the Report says that IF those documents were true, THAT would have been a STORY. Here's the excerpt:
The September 8 Segment addressed some items pertaining to President Bush’s TexANG service record that were not previously known and thus could be considered newsworthy.
Significant among them were:
1. Lieutenant Colonel Killian on May 4, 1972 ordered Bush to report for his annual
physical no later than May 14, 1972.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Killian on August 1, 1972 suspended Bush from flying status on August 1, 1972 not only for failing to take his physical, but also for “failure to
perform to USAF/TexANG standards . . . .”
3. Lieutenant Colonel Killian wrote on August 18, 1972 that General Staudt, the then former TexANG Chief of Staff, was pressuring Major General Hodges and
Lieutenant Colonel Harris to “sugar coat” an evaluation of Lieutenant Bush.
If true, these statements appear to have constituted newsworthy information in which the public could have an interest. These documents would have, again if true, been the basis for a legitimate story in the Panel’s view, as attested to by the fact that other national media were pursuing the same story. It is a large part of an investigative reporter’s mandate to provide this
kind of provocative information to viewers or readers, assuming it has been properly reported and vetted, regardless of the reporter’s political affiliation or motives.
And if Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and the Da Vinci Code were true, what a story those would make! Apparently these three stories remain to be "properly reported and vetted."
This story was based on forged documents, from compromised sources to an agenda driven MSM agency. And the report fails to make that judgement. Sad. Not surprising, but very sad.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
The Puritans have been much on my mind of late. These stereotyped, often despised people who came to this country believing they were Called, with a capital C. Liberty Just in Case owes much to these people, and their desire to live their lives, and their faith, in freedom. This desire was so great that they left their homes by the thousands in the late 16th Century and early 17th Century for what they firmly believed was a Promised Land. As David Gerlerntner put’s it:
The “political” goal of Puritanism was to reach back to the pure Christianity of the New Testament—and then even farther back. Puritans spoke of themselves as God’s new chosen people, living in God’s new Promised Land—in short, as God’s new
Professor Gerlerntner is quite correct that they passed this Calling on to the generations of Americans that followed, right up to this day. This idea that God had a plan for the
This idea has especially impacted the Evangelical Christian community. It was most developed through a series of books begun by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. The Light and the Glory had a huge impact on Evangelical Christians in the early '80's, and with the release of the next two books in the series, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet, this impact has continued. The idea that this nation was Called, and that Divine Providence has Personally and Specifically intervened in it's history continues to be a driving force in American Evangelical Christianity.
I do not see Americanism as a religion in and of itself, but a Calling that resulted from the Puritans view of Christianity. The Puritans believed in Covenant Theology, and in individual Salvation. The Great Awakening, and The Second Great Awakening spread these ideas beyond the
I'm beginning to wonder about this Call in today's world. As the secularization of America has continued, I think Evangelicals are rethinking their citizenship. It's only a whisper so far, and certainly Christians remain actively involved in the political process, as the last election has demonstrated. But I think we are coming to the knowledge that our true citizenship lies elsewhere, as does our ultimate allegiance. Like the early Christians, we are coming to see ourselves as having dual citizenship, with one foot in one Kingdom, and the other firmly planted Elsewhere. I think this is a truth our Puritan forefathers knew well as they left their English shores for a hostile land. We would do well to read the writings of these great men. I am struck by the words of Governor John Winthrop, as the Arabella was setting sail. They are words we of Dual Citizenship would be wise to remember:
Therefore let us choose life,
that we and our seed may live,
by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him,
for He is our life and our prosperity.
Wheaton College, my alma mater, has as it's cornerstone this mission statement:
I have no doubt our Puritan Forefathers would heartily agree.
Friday, January 07, 2005
It would take too long to reply to all of her comment. That will await another day. But one of the many things she said got me thinking:
You said:Actually, in context, I said that I don't believe in multi culturalism, the idea that all cultures are equal. And despite the attempts of revisionist historians, Disney, and Kevin Costner with Dances With Wolves, the American Indians were not saintly tribes striding through pristine forests. The wars between Indian tribes were savage, with torture of captives a routine occurence. It continued with white captives taken from Colonial times right through the end of the 19th Century as well. You can read more about that here. This is not an indictment of the American Indian, but an example of the whole story of Indian culture. Something somehow left out in the rush to revisionism begun in the 1960's and continuing today. More on this topic to come in my reply to the Commentary Article. being featured on Evangelical Outpost.
Patricia asks why we should go back to the English Founding Fathers, when there were American Indians here already. Her question implies that the culture of the Indians is equal to the Western Culture that supplanted it.
Actually, no it was not meant to imply that the culture of the indigenous peoples is equal to the Western Culture it was meant to imply that it mayhap was BETTER. ;)
These are people to whom this land belonged, they knew the cycle of the land, the cycle of the seasons. The land was fertile and provided what they needed, were it not true, then the "founding fathers" would have not ever come here seeking their riches and remained to pillage them well. But for the moment,let us remember it was NOT the British that came here FIRST.. it was the Spanish Conquistadores, looking for GOLD.. and with them they brought numerous plagues of illness to the indigenous peoples, they brought them liquor which to the Native peoples was death in a flask. They raped their women, killed their braves and stole their land.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
NIck and Kelly are diving instructors....
Hello Everyone,Sureal is the only word to describe the last 48 hours. Kelly and I made it safely off the island last night. No one should ever have to witness what the survivors have witnesssed. Most divers are ok as they were diving or on the "more protected " side of the island. Most people on holiday are dead. Many families broken apart and searching for their wives, 4 year old children or husbands. I don't understand why Kelly and I were so lucky, this is not right.Every single person on this island is devasted, The island is complete rubble. I don't really know how to put anything into words, as we have been going non stop, putting or own thoughts out of our mind to reduce emotion.We are now in the Krabi hospital helping friends any way we can. Most everyone lost every thing they had. Foreigners without passports, money or clothes as it ripped people out of their rooms while sleeping. Thais that lost all they ever worked for.The island is naturally flat on the inside of the island where everone one lives and we were hit from both the north and the south bays from 2 seperate tsunamis. This is a small community jam packed with people that you see all day, everyday. As you can imagine, we were a family and I have no idea what happened to so many. I suspect I will never know as id'ing bodies will be fruitless. We still don't really know anything, as communication was absolutely nothing ,Thanks for all your support and love and will speak again soon.Niko and Kel
I've seen alot of tsunami footage. I don't think I've seen anything that brings it home like this picture I recieved from George in Poway, CA
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Since the early 1990s, al Qaeda has, at the very least, killed American
soldiers and desecrated their remains in Somalia; urged the murder of all
Americans — civilians and military alike — wherever on the globe they may be
found; conducted simultaneous sneak attacks on the American embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania, resulting in the mass murder of over 240 civilians (the vast
majority of them Muslims and non-Americans); killed 17 American seamen in an
attempt to blow up the destroyer, the U.S.S. Cole; murdered 3,000 Americans in
hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; and spearheaded
guerrilla wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed well over a thousand
American military personnel and countless civilians.
In addition to killing civilians in sneak attacks — commonly, detonating bombs within nondescript cars parked or driven in broad daylight in densely populated areas — hey also secrete themselves among their once and future victims. They wear no distinguishing insignia to segregate themselves as a militia. They use mosques and schools and hospitals to plan and store weaponry. They feign surrender and then open fire on unsuspecting coalition forces attempting the civilized act of detaining, rather than shooting, them. As for treatment of their own detainees, their practice ranges from execution-style homicide to beastly beheading — usually captured on film and circulated on the Internet to buck up the other savages while scaring the living hell out of everyone else.
So here's an idea: Let's make a treaty with them.
Are there any questions why the Democrats lost the last election? They are preparing to gin up a controversy, not about torture, but about the limits to be placed on interrogating terrorists.
In any event, on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a
confirmation hearing for Gonzales. Critics are urging committee Democrats to
question the nominee aggressively on the benighted administration policy of no
Geneva protections for terrorists whose lives are singularly dedicated to
annihilating Americans. Fair game, one supposes, but no senator should be
allowed to take up the torch without at least answering a simple question: Do
you favor a treaty with al Qaeda?
The inarguable, inconvenient fact is we have no such treaty. Al Qaeda is not and, indeed, cannot be among Geneva's high contracting parties. It is not a country. The U.S. has for over two decades expressly rejected a treaty — the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions — that would have vested terrorists with Geneva protections. I hate to spoil the party, but if we're going to have such a treaty with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, it will have to be a new one.
Under Article III of the Constitution, the consent of two thirds of the Senate's membership is required before a treaty can be approved. Although we haven't yet been able to arrange getting President Bush and Emir Zarqawi together for a signing ceremony, getting the senators on record — especially given the caviling over Gonzales — could really get the ball rolling. So let's ask them. All of them. Plain and
simple, so the folks back home know just where you stand: Do you favor a treaty
with al Qaeda?
Does anyone think there are 67 yea votes on that one? How
about ten? How about one? No. The fact is, outside a lunatic fringe, there's not
a politician in America who would support something so absurd.
The next attorney general's position on this matter is not a radical view. It's America's view. So ask away — it'll be good for all of us to know where everyone stands.
And speaking as a dissident in The People's Republic of Illinois, I very much want to know where Sen Durbin and the Dems new heart throb, Barak Obama stand on terrorism.
The state of Oklahoma is in shock. We just need to keep repeating:
It's only a game, it's only a game, it's only a...sigh.
Monday, January 03, 2005
Patricia raised some wonderful questions in her comments on Judeo Christian culture in the founding of the
I would like to discuss a few specific questions in Patricia's comments though.
I am not in favor of a "theocracy." I honestly don't know any Evangelicals who are. I am also not in favor of Judeo Christian values being taken out of the
Patricia asks why we should go back to the English Founding Fathers, when there were American Indians here already. Her question implies that the culture of the Indians is equal to the Western Culture that supplanted it. Her question more than hints at the multiculturalism school that says all cultures are equal, and no culture should be judged as better as or worse than another.
I simply do not subscribe to that school. By any measure, Western Civilization, with its Judeo Christian morals and ethics, has shown itself more tolerant, more progressive, and more able to make life better for its people than any other culture. The framework of common laws begun in the Middle Ages did not, and could not have occurred in other cultures. To use the aberration of the Salem Witch Trials as the example of Judeo Christian culture ignores much, including the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, and the Puritan writings that served as the spiritual and political cornerstones for the American Revolution. These all hearken back to the very Ten Commandments that are the basis of our system of laws. Can the disturbed writings of Anton Lavey, or the Wiccan Rede, or even the sayings of Buddha make the same claims? I think not.
No culture is perfect. The pagan Romans and Greeks left unwanted children, especially females, out in the cold to die. The Pax Romana was achieved through force, and kept through force. The pagan Greeks killed Socrates for asking too many questions. And his follower Plato saw his utopia as the
Patricia's questions of what it would be like to be governed by Judeo Christian ethics are found in a few places in the world. Any Islamic country ruled by Sharia law would be well familiar with her examples. Ask the people of
The Pharisees of Jesus day sought to obey every single "command" in the Torah. It is in this context that Jesus lays out the Sermon on the Mount, with the quote from Matthew 5: 17-19 paraphrased by Patricia. Jesus was illustrating how impossible it is to live by the Law, not advocating following every word. The New Testament teaches that one must be perfect, and no one is. That's the meaning of the Gospel. Because humanity's relationship with God is fractured, man turns naturally to evil. This is true of individuals as well as governments. The Bible speaks of changing the heart, becoming a "new creation" through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I don't explain the above to preach, but to illustrate one of the principles upon which this government was founded. The Founding Fathers were products of Judeo Christian culture, and firmly believed that without a system that took into account man's tendency to abuse power, government would become dictatorial. This would occur whether the dictator was an individual, a Parliament, or the dictatorship of the mob. To forget this, or forsake this heritage puts our nation, and the benefits of Western Civilization at great risk. It does not mean that all Americans must be Christians. It also does not mean that Judeo Christian culture must give up its honored place in the
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Saturday, January 01, 2005
As to this post, I think the longer that I live, the more I realize this:
There is no one RIGHT way or one TRUTH. There are merely the right ways for ourselves and the Truth was we perceive it and believe it and live it.
It is true that for some, beliefs can be positive or negative, yet even so.. isn't that all within the individual perceptions? What is negative to one person, is not necessarily negative to others.
I think, by far.. the larger goal of our beliefs is to find the pattern weave of them all. If we are all truly pieces of a grander weaving or larger puzzle, then there is a place for all within the scope of that.
This was a wonderfully thought provoking quote.
And this one:
On Reasons for the Season:
Actually, many of our current celebrations are merely revamped, retold and repackaged and marketed versions of the earlier customs of the Tribes of man and their celebrations of the seasons of the earth.
One only need to go back to some of the cultural celebrations of the Ancient Tribes to find the base celebrations and in many cases, some of the same traditions though in simpler, more earthy fashions.
To the point of allowing for the creations of "holidays" for cultural groups, we need only to look backwards a short time to realize that we are not creating anything that has not been celebrated before in some of the tribes and clans of the earth. In being part of one nation, it does not mean that we must be of the same clan/tribe system. That in part, is what makes being a diverse populace upon the earth a wonderful thing. It was also in the "enforcing" of common ways, that many of the tribes/clans were lost, metabolized into the "states and governments" of the world, watering down their culture and their ways and their languages.
Speaking from a Druidic frame, it was in the coming of Rome to the Isle, that the overpowering of the Tribal ways caused much cultural conflict and actually gave rise to more of the "pict problem" as was *cough* solved by Hadrian's wall. The methodology being one of "If you can't beat them into submission, then wall them in." Talk about the ultimate set of blinders.
It is true, that the Clans were a feudal people, yet each had its ways, its heirarchy, its celebrations. There were not dictated by "might equals right". They gathered together in festivals throughout the year that would allow for trade, sharing of stories and lore, safe passage through other Tribal territories, etc..
The answer it would seem is in allowing Self empowerment without giving rise to Power OVER. Diversity, celebration, linguistics of others are all what make the world a beautiful place to live upon. A garden is not a garden, if it has but one type of flower growing in it! The United States of America, was founded on freedoms, one of which was freedom of religion, or freedom from religion as the perspective may be. It is in allowing cultural, religious diversity that we actually reveal the greater weaving of mankind as a whole. To be united does not mean to be generically the same as all others around us.
My two and a half cents.
And finally, this one. One of most thought provoking comments we've had in a long time:
In reading this post, I think my question would be this:Thanks Patricia! You're comments deserve a complete post all by itself, which will be coming in the next couple of days.
If it is governments intrustion into religion that we were being protected against.. what of religion's intrusion into government? To say that the American founding fathers believed in the Judaeo-Christian system is to deny that they were not the founding PEOPLE upon this continent? What of those people and their system of government and religious practices? Once again, it is the Power Over that should be feared the most, in my opinion.
What of the Salem Witch trials, in which religion made its way into the government and judicial system and numerous people were hung on Gallow's Hill and pressed to death, for crimes that later were 'retracted' and were based upon young, bored children's fantasies? Religion and the value system of which you speak, caused unnecessary death and this was but one case, of many. If today, we allow for the placement of the Ten Commandments in our nations school rooms, would the Christian population then welcome beside it, the Wiccan Rede? The sayings of the Buddha? La Vey's various statements? There can be no division of what should and must be allowed, if we allow for the establishment of the religious creed of one faith to hang upon the walls; we then must allow for all.
I am a Pagan/Druid. This is who I am. I do not feel it necessary to hang my credo upon the walls of my public school in order to justify or issue moral command for others. I also do not feel that others should be allowed to do the same to me. Spirituality comes from within it is housed in the quiet places in our hearts, in which we find the balance that we may conduct our lives and our life's affairs. Morality and virtue is not learned by reading it upon a wall - it is learned through the oral lore that was handed down to us all from cradle to grave and it is exemplified by each person's actions to the healing and good of the whole of mankind.
If we are to govern this country based upon the Judaeo-Christian system then we must accept that there are those amongst us who still should be subject to stoning at the outskirts of the city. That we should discontinue the Pork industry and probably should not have Tampax commercials on TV for all of these were considered taboo and "unclean" under those laws. Where then is the line drawn? Do we then pick and choose which of the commandments we will keep? Which of the laws were retracted under the New Testament? I believe it was Christs words that said "I do not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it." and further, "Not one part of the Law shall pass away until all be fulfilled.." (paraphrase)
If by the bible's own code we will judge morality and virtue and allow for the same Judeo-Christian tradition and values to be our guide of government, then by all means, should that not be in the most strict interpretation thereof? If this be the case, then we have numerous "sinners" walking the halls of Congress and writing our law, while all the while placing the laws which condemn them upon the walls of our public establishments such as schools and courthouses.
With all due respect, why not allow the code of humanity to govern? The code which though never plastered upon a wall has always been the wind of freedom in this land. "Allow me my space. Allow me to believe as my heart dictates. Allow me to worship as I will, where I will.. the God/dess as I understand them to be. Allow me to be fair with you, as you are to me. Allow me to define and live honor and then give to you the honor that is due to you by your personal actions. Allow me shelter and food and safe passage in your lands and I shall allow you the same within my own."
This is true freedom to me. I believe it was this code that dictated the Native people's and defined their relationship to the Land, the Great Mother and to Father Sky. Who were we, as immigrants to this land to ever seek to establish new religions, new ways, usurping places of power and doing away with what had always worked before we had ever arrived? It is a bold and a prideful people that would do such a thing.
Respectfully my brother, these are my opinions.
Best wishes for a bright and shiny New Year.