One of the main reasons why we need to see Barack Obama elected as president is his attitude towards foreign policy and his willingness to meet with foreign leaders with whom the U.S. has had run-ins.
George Bush says it would be unseemly to meet with Raul Castro or Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But why? Because Raul Castro believes in Cuba's socialist revolution? Because Hugo Chavez publicly insulted George Bush by calling him "satan"? Because Ahmadinejad is a devout believer in Islam?
Meeting with leaders who disagree with American leaders or with the foreign policy of the U.S. does not exhibit weakness or or lack of judgment. Rather it indicates strength and maturity. Instead of the leaders of the United States solving all problems with guns and missiles, it is long overdue that Americans have a president who believes it is far better to talk and negotiate. Rather than declaring certain leaders and countries as "enemies" of the U.S., we should treat all countries with respect and openness.
This is the main reason why we must elect Barack Obama as president.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
One of the main reasons why we need to see Barack Obama elected as president is his attitude towards foreign policy and his willingness to meet with foreign leaders with whom the U.S. has had run-ins.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I wrote yesterday why I cannot support Sen. Hillary Clinton. Did I mention her vote on reforming the bankruptcy bill, which had the harshest effect on individuals and couples. The purpose of the bankruptcy laws is to give debtors a fresh start, with the realization that people from time to time get into financial difficulties from which they cannot emerge on their own.
The credit card companies and the banks pressured the Republicans to adopt a harsh bankruptcy "reform" bill that passed in 2005 and was signed into law by George Bush. Many Democrats in both the Senate and House rejected the bill because it tightened the screws on the moms and pops but allowed corporate debtors to proceed unaffected. However, Hillary Clinton was one of the Democrats who voted yes on the bill. Shame on you, Hillary Clinton!
Monday, February 25, 2008
My number one reason for being for Barack Obama and not Hillary Clinton is the War in Iraq. Clinton voted for the War Powers Resolution of 2002 which allowed Bush to start an unjustified war against Iraq. Then she refused to admit she was wrong. Just like Bush refuses to say that he has made any mistakes, so Hillary's refusal to declare publicly that she had been mistaken is hard to understand.
Second, I don't like to have a vote for Hillary Clinton wind up really being a vote for Bill Clinton. Bill was a fine president and did a lot of good things, apart from his sordid affair with Monica Lewinsky and his sworn testimony on this subject. But overall he was a great president. But he had his turn, and he should let Hillary Clinton be her own person. Whoever in the Hillary camp suggested that she have Bill campaign for her made a strategic mistake. A former Democratic president should not involve himself in Democratic primaries, no matter that one of the candidates is his wife.
Thirdly, Hillary Clinton comes off as too devious and too power-driven. Compare her with Obama who seems more relaxed, less tyrannical and less ambitious. Of course, these are simply impressions which might turn out exactly the opposite. However, there are my impressions from seeing and listening to both candidates on the debates and otherwise.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I wrote yesterday how I look forward to an intelligent and rational foreign policy under Barack Obama. In contrast to Bush and his fellow Republicans who think that the world is filled with "enemies" of the United States, I want a foreign policy where the assumption is that there are no "enemies," that other countries and other cultures are in fact different, and that it is in the best interest of the United States and all Americans to look on the world as friendly and not as hostile.
Consider specifically Cuba. There is no reason why the United States should not have good relations with Cuba and Cubans. Republicans like to talk about how bad Fidel Castro is and was, but could he be any worse than George Bush and Dick Cheney who believe in waterboarding and other forms of medieval torture? Furthermore, good relations cause governments to modify their excesses, and I believe, to grant more freedoms, to allow more dissent.
There is no reason why the foreign policy of the U.S. should continue to be that of Bush and Cheney who seem most content when they can invade, bomb, shoot missiles, and overturn democratically elected governments. Obama's point of talking with other leaders and other governments is the only sound and rational way to live in a world without going to war every ten years.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The BBC reports today that Condoleeza Rice is calling for more sanctions against Iran. And this because Iran has not explained U.S. charges that it is coordinating a missile development program with a weaponization of nuclear materials.
As I indicated in a post yesterday, what can Iran do to disprove that it is developing nuclear warheads? The answer is Iran can do nothing. How do you disprove suspicions of an accuser who is riven with paranoia? The flimsy charges stem from a notebook smuggled out of Iran four years ago, showing drawings and schemas of what some American analysts claim are diagrams of weapons. But apart from this notebook of dubious provenance and ownership, there is no credible proof that the Iranian government is engaging in nuclear weapons creation or coordinating nuclear weapons with missile development.
Yet because Iran has not confessed to such a militaristic development, Bush and Cheney and Rice want to impose more economic sanctions on the people of Iran.
This is American foolishness. There is no good reason to penalize Iran on account of accusations and suspicions that lack a firm grounding in credible evidence. Instead of increasing hostility with Iran, I want the U.S. government to sit down and begin to create harmonious relations. I want to see Bush invite Ahmadinejad to Washington. I want to see the United States treat Iran as a sovereign nation worthy of respect and entitled to full diplomatic relations.
I harbor no realistic hopes that Bush will begin talks with Teheran. This is why we need Obama. Instead of solving its problems with guns and missiles and bombs, the U.S. needs a change of direction in its foreign policy. We need a Pax Obama.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Why is Bush/Cheney/Rice seeking new sanctions against Iran? The latest report of IAEA for the most part says Iran has been forthcoming on the issues asked by the IAEA. Apparently, the one unresolved issue has to do with coordinating nuclear weapons with missile development, an area that the U.S. says it learned about from some purloined notebook that was discovered last year.
For one thing, it is not clear that the contents of the notebook show that Iran has any plans to weaponize nuclear materials. The notebook has not been linked definitively to Iran, and so Iran feels it does not have to prove something that it knows nothing about. The U.S., however, through Bush/Cheney and Rice assume that the notebook shows conclusively that Iran has a secret weapons program.
And so the U.S. on possibly faulty assumptions wants to continue to press Iran to admit what the U.S. accuses of it based on the notebook. If torture could be applied to a nation, I have no doubt that Bush/Cheney would torture Iran to force Iran to admit and confirm mere suspicions.
This type of militaristic diplomacy must end. The U.S. thinks all foreign questions can be solved with missiles and guns. When will this nightmare of an administration finally come to an end?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Dan Froomkin in his blog White House Watch in today's washingtonpost.com refers me to a story in McClatchy Newspapers by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel on Bush's efforts to keep Pervez Musharraf in the Pakistani government even after his party suffered a huge defeat in Sunday's elections.
Write Landay and Strobel:
"The Bush administration is pressing the opposition leaders who defeated Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to allow the former general to retain his position, a move that Western diplomats and U.S. officials say could trigger the very turmoil the United States seeks to avoid.
"U.S. officials, from President Bush on down, said this week that they think Musharraf, a longtime U.S. ally, should continue to play a role, despite his party's rout in parliamentary elections Monday and his unpopularity in the volatile, nuclear-armed nation."
It seems Bush, Cheney and the rest of their gang are so enamored of that dictator Musharraf that they are putting pressure on the winning Pakistani parties to keep Musharraf in the ruling circle. The worst part of this is that Bush is also counselling against reinstatement of the Supreme Court Justices that Musharraf illegally forced out of office last year in his quest to remain Pakistani president.
Report Strobel and Landay:
"The U.S. is urging the Pakistani political leaders who won the elections to form a new government quickly and not press to reinstate the judges whom Musharraf ousted last year, Western diplomats and U.S. officials said Wednesday. If reinstated, the jurists likely would try to remove Musharraf from office."
This is outrageous. Talk about destroying any semblance of the rule of law. Bush aids and abets Musharraf in this dismissal of the judges when their decisions go against Musharraf's personal interests. And we have not even mentioned Musharraf's use of force against the peaceful demonstrations of the judges and lawyers when he had the police beat them with canes and arrest them. Now Bush counsels don't reinstate them because then they will rule that you, Musharraf, occupy the presidency in violation of the Pakistan Constitution. Bush shows his contempt for the Pakistan Constitution, notwithstanding his constant mantra of democracy being the gift of the Almighty for all.
"Bush's policy of hanging on to Musharraf has caused friction between the White House and the State Department, with some career diplomats and other specialists arguing that the administration is trying to buck the political tides in Pakistan, U.S. officials said. . .
"One Western diplomat said, however, that the strategy could backfire if Pakistanis feel betrayed after voting to kick Musharraf from office. "This is dangerous," said the diplomat. The officials spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss internal government debates.
"The effort to persuade Pakistan's newly elected parliament not to reinstate the judges could be perceived in Pakistan as a U.S. attempt to keep Musharraf in power after voters overwhelmingly rejected his Pakistan Muslim League-Q political party.
""There is going to be an uprising against the people who were elected" should opposition parties agree to the plan, warned Athar Minallah, the lawyer of ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, whom Musharraf has under house arrest."
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I recall that last year when China shot down one of its decaying satellites that the U.S. government was highly critical of the exercise, claiming that China wanted to engage in an arms race towards developing intercontinental missile warfare systems. Now the United States is itself engaged in the very same development. The reasons given by the U.S. military for this provocative exercise are too transparent for anyone to accept. As if the whole exercise were to save Earth from harmful space debris.
The real reason is that the U.S.military wants to prevent highly sophisticated spy technology from falling into the hands of other countries. Secondly, the U.S. government wants to develop an intercontinental missile system that could deliver warheads anywhere in the world, and also, develop a system which could shoot down missiles or satellites of any other country.
Consequently, this exercise of shooting down a errant U.S. satellite is fraught with military and political danger to the rest of the world. It shows how far the government of the United States under Bush and Cheney is prepared to go to establish military hegemony. Russia and China will especially feel threatened. Any talk of multilateralism, or cooperation and negotiation with other countries, will be blown up at the same time the U.S. shoots down the satellite, and, even if the U.S. fails in this effort, severe damage will have been done to international relations.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba is one of the main reasons why we need Bush to leave office and Obama to come in. Bush refuses to rethink American foreign policy to Cuba even after Fidel Castro says his days in government are over. The U.S. maintains an economic blockade against Cuba and against the Cuban people. This is the message of Bush: we said we are punishing Castro but even when Castro departs, as he is now doing, we will maintain the blockade and punishment against the Cuban people themselves.
The U.S. needs to sit down with Raul Castro and the other Cuban leaders and work with them for the mutual benefit of both Americans and Cubans. Instead of treating Cuba as an "enemy" of the U.S., we need to initiate dialog and contact. We need to foster friendship and respect instead of hostility and animosity.
Friendship between Cuba and the U.S. will never come as long as Bush or the Republicans hold the White House.
Monday, February 18, 2008
John Mc Cain now says he would be honored if W. campaigned for him, Michael D. Shear reports today in The Washington Post in its campaign blog, The Trail.
"As he accepted the endorsement of former president George H. W. Bush, Sen. John McCain declared that he would be "honored" to campaign with the current President Bush during the upcoming campaign in the fall."
This all happened in Houston today when former president H.W. endorsed McCain, saying that he was the best candidate "for a world at war."
"The former president had stayed neutral during the past year of primary battles, but heaped praise on McCain at a news conference in Houston. Standing next to McCain, Bush called him the best person for a world at war."
"In the coming election, we do not have the luxury of taking a pass on our unique role and responsibilities in the world," Bush said. "No one is better prepared to lead our nation in these trying times than Senator John. McCain.""
"Bush said McCain's character was "forged in the crucible of war" and he said he has "the right values and experience to guide our nation forward at this historic moment." "
So now Bush Sr. has given John McCain the kiss of death. The Democrats have an easy target: John McCain as the standard bearer of all the tragic mistakes of both Bush Sr. and Jr. McCain gladly accepts the transfer of leadership and says he would be "honoured" to campaign with W. Incredibly, McCain says W. was right in starting the illegal and unjustified war in Iraq.
By the way, McCain also accepts and supports Bush's use of waterboarding and mistreatment of prisoners, at least if conducted not by the military but by the CIA.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
George Bush and Dick Cheney and the rest of their Constitution-trashing gang must be quite concerned that they will be prosecuted for ordering and implementing torture of Al Qaeda suspects. They seem to be sending everyone out to claim that what was done was really not torture. This claim is bound to fail. It does not pass the test of common sense.
The latest to publicly defend torture is Steven Bradbury, the acting chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the Justice Department division that renders legal opinions on such things as the legality of waterboarding. Bradbury appeared before a House subcommittee last week and tried to say that the U.S. practice of waterboarding was not the same as waterboarding as it was done during the Inquisition or by the Japanese in WWII.
Dan Eggen writes in todday's The Washington Post:
"The method was not, he said, like the "water torture" used during the Spanish Inquisition and by autocratic governments into the 20th century, but was subject to "strict time limits, safeguards, restrictions." He added, "The only thing in common is, I think, the use of water."
"Bradbury indicated that no water entered the lungs of the three prisoners who were subjected to the practice, lending credence to previous accounts that the noses and mouths of CIA captives were covered in cloth or cellophane. Cellophane could pose a serious asphyxiation risk, torture experts said."
Several Japanese soldiers were executed by the Americans after WWII for waterboarding. Here again, Bradbury claimed there was a big difference between what the Japanese did and what CIA agents did to Al Qaeda suspects:
"Bradbury also referred to cases of waterboarding involving Japanese soldiers prosecuted after World War II; one well-known incident involved a type of waterboarding in which a U.S. soldier was forced to ingest large amounts of water and was beaten and stomped.
"The historical examples that have been referenced in public debate have all involved a course of conduct that everyone would agree constituted egregious instances of torture," Bradbury said.""
Bradbury said that a practice needs to be both severe and long-lasting if it really is "torture." A practice or technique such as CIA waterboarding that lasts only a brief period of time therefore would not qualify.
"Under questioning from lawmakers of both parties, Bradbury said pain suffered by a prisoner had to be both severe and long-lasting for an interrogation tactic to be considered torture.
""Something can be quite distressing, uncomfortable, even frightening," Bradbury said, but "if it doesn't involve severe physical pain, and it doesn't last very long, it may not constitute severe physical suffering. That would be the analysis. . . .""
"Bradbury's unusually frank testimony Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee stunned many civil liberties advocates and outside legal scholars who have long criticized the Bush administration's secretive and aggressive interrogation policies. . . ."
"Bradbury wrote two secret memos in 2005 that authorized waterboarding, head-slapping and other harsh tactics by the CIA. As a result of that and other issues, Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked Bradbury's nomination to head the legal counsel's office permanently."
Friday, February 15, 2008
Wonderful news that the House left on Thursday for a twelve-day recess without approving Bush's immunity for the telecoms. If the phone companies violated the FISA law by allowing the government to spy and wiretap without a valid court-issued warrant, then they should face the music, both civil and criminal. Bush and Cheney have no right to grant them immunity. I suspect that the purpose of the telecom immunity is to shield Bush and Cheney themselves from evidence adduced in possible telecom suits that thse government officials broke the eavesdropping law with knowledge aforethought. So by proposing immunity for the telephone companies, Bush and Cheney are really trying to obtain immunity for their own illegal and reprehensible actions.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Nicholas Kristof has an op-ed in today's The New York Times on the Al Jazeera cameraman, Sami al Hajj, who has been held these last six years in Guantanamo. I have previously written about al Hajj on July 29, 2007.
There have been no charges made against al Hajj. According to Kristof, al Hajj is currently on a hunger strike to protest the unfairness of his imprisonment.
People can only guess why the U.S. military continues to hold al Hajj. Is it because Bush and Cheney hate Al Jazeera for airing the Arab side to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or is it because the U.S. military wants to punish al Hajj for taking photos of insurgents fighting the U.S. forces in Iraq?
Kristof quotes a Pentagon spokesman claiming that there is evidence against al Hajj:
"“There is a significant amount of information, both unclassified and classified, which supports continued detention of Sami al-Hajj by U.S. forces,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, adding that the detainees are humanely treated and “receive exceptional medical care.” "
Yet the U.S. refuses to release any such evidence. For all the public knows, al Hajj might be completely innocent. Therefore, the U.S. military must give al Hajj a chance to clear his name. If there is no credible evidence and if the U.S. refuses to bring charges, then al Hajj must be set free without delay.
No wonder the whole world hates the U.S. for its cruelty and unfairness towards prisoners at Guantanamo.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
What is the matter with the mind set of Bush's political appointees and supporters? Justice Antonin Scalia says it is no simple question whether waterboarding is torture. Bush's Attorney General Michael Mukasey says he does not have enough information to tell whether waterboarding is indeed torture, but he will not hold an investigation into its legality. Republicans in Congress say they support "harsh interrogation methods," meaning waterboarding and torture.
Have these guys ever heard of the Inquisition that terrorized Europe between the 14th and 18th Centuries? How the Church suspected someone of being in consort with the devil, therefore church authorities put him on the rack and turned the screws until he confessed. Or how witches were given the "water treatment" until they admitted they were indeed witches commissioned by the forces of evil.
All these suspects did confess their allegiance to Satan, their diabolical powers, their conspiracy against God and his Church. Surely it must be the same with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others. Waterboard them and they will surely confess.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
How could the U.S. Senate vote to give telecom companies immunity from possible violations of the FISA Act which prohibits spying on Americans without a court order or warrant?
William Branigin and Paul Kane report on-line for The Washington Post that:
"Senators voted 67 to 31 to shelve the amendment offered by Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). A filibuster-proof 60 votes had been needed for the amendment to move forward.
"The vote represented a victory for the Bush administration and a number of telecommunications companies -- including AT&T and Sprint Nextel -- that face dozens of lawsuits from customers seeking billions of dollars in damages.
"Approval of the amendment would have exposed the companies to privacy lawsuits for helping the administration monitor the calls of suspected terrorists without warrants from a special court following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."
Here is the link to the roll call vote showing who voted for the final bill and who voted against. Sen. Clinton did not vote. Sen. Obama voted nay. All the Republicans and some 16 Democrats voted yea. Among the Democrats voting yea were Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Casey, Sen. Inouye, the two Senator Nelsons, Sen. McCaskill, Sen. Landrieu, Sen. Salazar, Sen. Lincoln, Sen. Conrad, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Kohl, Sen. Webb, Sen. Rockefeller, Sen. Pryor and Sen. Mikulski.
Shame on all these Democrats voting with Bush and the Republicans.
When a sitting Supreme Court Justice defends acts of torture, how can anyone ever again criticize Bush and Cheney? They have a rock-solid defense. What we did and what we ordered, for example, waterboarding, is perfectly justifiable and beyond all legal question. Why? Because, Antonin Scalia, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, backs us up and gives us legal cover.
In okaying torture and waterboarding, Scalia is truly reprehensible and without morals. Here is what he said according to the BBC:
"The most outspoken judge on the US Supreme Court has defended the use of some physical interrogation techniques. Justice Antonin Scalia told the BBC that "smacking someone in the face" could be justified if there was an imminent threat. "You can't come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say 'Oh it's torture, and therefore it's no good'," he said in a rare interview."
Scalia uses the example of a nuclear bomb hidden somewhere in Los Angeles in his attempt to justify torture.
"To begin with the constitution... is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime."
"Justice Scalia argued that courts could take stronger measures when a witness refused to answer questions. "I suppose it's the same thing about so-called torture. Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution?" he asked. "It would be absurd to say you couldn't do that. And once you acknowledge that, we're into a different game.
"How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?""
The problem is, Justice Scalia, suppose you torture the wrong person? Suppose you think that your suspect knows, but what happens if he really doesn't? Isn't this the same with the Inquisition where the Church handed over "heretics" to the ruling civil authorities who then used waterboarding or the rack to make them tell the "truth"? Suppose you yourself, Justice Scalia, were suspect and the authorities then waterboarded you to make you tell what you knew? Would you tell them that you were part of the 9/11 hijacking conspiracy? Would you tell them where the bomb in L.A. was hidden? Or would you allow them to torture you to death.
I suspect that Justice Scalia would be soon singing, telling his torturers what he thought that they wanted to hear, just to make them stop. Scalia calls it "so-called torture," so I guess he really doesn't think waterboarding qualifies. Why then, let's do it to him as a judicial experiment.
Monday, February 11, 2008
BUSH CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF TAX CUTS - BUT ECONOMY NEEDS SHORT-TERM STIMULUS LIKE EXTENSION OF EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
George Bush comes out today and announces that the congress must do more to stimulate the economy, the same economy which Bush has for so long been calling "strong" and in good shape. Jeannine Aversa of the AP writes in today's The Washington Post:
"President Bush, acknowledging that the country is suffering through a period of economic uncertainty, called on Congress Monday to do more to help people and businesses hurt by the housing slump and credit crunch. . . .
"Bush again renewed his campaign for Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. "Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief that we have delivered over the past seven years will be taken away and 116 million American taxpayers will see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800," the president said."
But Bush's tax cuts expire only in 2010. Bush will long since been gone, when any extension of these tax cuts would be effective. So how will that provide a short-term boost for an ailing and weak economy?
What Bush should call for is an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work and an increase of food stamps for those in the lower income brackets.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Members of Israel Cabinet have been making irresponsible threats against the people and towns of Gaza in reaction to the incessant missiles falling in nearby Israeli towns and cities. The BBC reports that members have called for harsh Israeli response in the form of collective punishment against the Gaza population:
"Senior Israeli officials - including members of Mr Olmert's government - have demanded far harsher military and economic action in response to the continuing rocket barrages.
"The Israeli interior minister, Meir Sheetrit, said the army should choose a neighbourhood of Gaza, give its residents a day to leave, and then destroy it."
Destroying and razing a village would be unfair and a serious war crime under international law. No matter how much Israelis want the rockets to stop, Israel is not permitted to punish Gaza residents indiscriminately and/or collectively. Gaza children deprived of a home have not done anything to Israel and its citizens to warrant having their homes destroyed and themselves made homeless.
Israel should know that the wrong way to avenge the rockets is to demand an eye for an eye. Nothing can be solved by the use of military force. Shooting or killing Gazans or member of the Hamas party can do nothing except exacerbate the feelings for revenge and blood atonement.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The New York Times today carries a story by Sheryl Lee Stolberg and Steven Lee Myers on the likely approach to be taken by the Republicans in supporting John McCain for president. The focus will be that the Democrats are weak and ineffective in combating terrorism.
The note was sounded by Mitt Romney in his exit speech when he said he was pulling out to prevent the Democrats from winning and surrendering to terrorism.
Bush and Cheney also made appearances this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference where they received wild cheers and ovations for, among other things, starting the war in Iraq, torturing prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and who knows where else, gutting the protections of the Fourth Amendment, seizing more and more executive power, running roughshod over the Congress, and so on.
What truly amazed was the reaction from the attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference. They cheered and clapped when Cheney said that he would order the harsh interrogation methods(read torture) again if needed, showing that the Bush/Cheney supporters have a deficiency when it comes to Constitutional and human rights. It is one thing for Bush and Cheney to be pro-torture, but it is an even worse indictment of their Republican supporters who shamelessly yell out their affirmations for what should be a reprehensible act in the light of fundamental ethics and morals.
Friday, February 8, 2008
The Bush Administration is pulling out all the stops in its efforts to justify its use of waterboarding. Saying that the CIA administered this classic torture technique on only three high value prisoners, Bush and Cheney want it to seem that they are judicious and prudent in nearly drowning only three out of many suspected terrorists.
Yesterday Cheney said if it were a matter of national survival he would again order suspects to be waterboarded.
Since Cheney seems to feel that the information produced by those subjected to the torture is worth it, I have a suggestion. Let's subject both Bush and Cheney to waterboarding. Let's see what information we can gather from them. Let's suspect them of being in consort with the terrorists. If they are indeed innocent, surely they will pass the water test without doubt. God himself will protect them, assuming they are innocent.
This is the very same test administered to those thought to have committed some crime back in the Middle Ages. Some suspects had to undergo a water test, others a test of fire, still others the rack. If they were indeed innocent, God would protect them from the rigors and pain of the trial, but if they were truly guilty, they would confess before the test was finished.
What is the difference between Bush and Cheney ordering waterboarding for certain suspects and the trials by fire, water and the rack some 800 years ago? Answer: there is no difference, they are exactly the same. That's why Bush and Cheney and their whole gang should be subject to waterboarding. If they are innocent, God will be with them. But if they are indeed guilty, God will not protect them and they will scream out in fear and pain.
Anyone want to take bets?
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The stuff coming out of the White House on waterboarding and how it isn't torture because some guys in the Office of Legal Counsel (read John Yoo and others) wrote a memo in which they said it wasn't - boggles the legal mind.
An opinion of the John Yoo cannot make something that exists not exist. It is not up to John Yoo to pass upon something like waterboarding and transform it into goldilocks like the alchemists of old.
Is waterboarding torture? We all know that it is. To say the opposite just won't pass the laugh test. If AG Mukasey and Intelligence Czar McConnell are unsure, then by all means they should volunteer to have themselves waterboarded.
Bush and Cheney and the rest of the gang will have some explaining to do in the near future. I mean before the International Court of Justice, and maybe even in front of a U.S. federal judge in the local district court. No self dealing will get them immunity from ordering the CIA to engage in torture.
By the way, I thought the Enlightenment in France in the Eighteenth Century put an end to such barbarisms and vestiges from the Inquisition. But no. Bush and Cheney have plunged Americans back into medieval days when trials by water and fire forced even the purest and most innocent to confess to unspeakable crimes.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
What's wrong with the reasoning of the White House and Bush on waterboarding?
Here's how those guys reason - Torture is illegal. Waterboarding is not illegal. Therefore, waterboarding is not torture. This according to Olivier Knox writing for AFP, quoted by Dan Froomkin in his White House Watch.
When Bush is out of office in another 11 months, will there be anyone in power who will defend waterboarding? Waterboarding defender John Yoo will long be gone, the same with former legal counsel now appellate judge Bybee who wrote that notorious memo saying waterboarding was not illegal. Furthermore, Bush will have no Dick Cheney to defend the practice or defend the Bush reasoning.
We all know that waterboarding is torture and is reprehensible. But these guys have resurrected it, as if it were a legitimate interrogation technique. History will not kindly look upon Bush and his minions.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Instead of sending down missiles upon Hamas members in response to rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel needs to rethink its strategy towards the Palestinians. Especially in the Middle East, the plan cannot be an eye for an eye. Otherwise the cycle of killing and shooting will go on ad infinitum.
The BBC reports that Israel's missiles killed nine Palestinians today.
"An Israeli army spokesman said Tuesday's air strike in Abisan, near Rafah, was in response to rocket attacks that hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot earlier.
"More rockets followed the air strike, and Hamas vowed to take further action.
""This blood will not be shed in vain; this crime will not go unanswered and the Israeli occupation will pay a heavy price," Sami Abu Zuhri said in remarks quoted by AFP."
Monday, February 4, 2008
Today we learn that American forces in Iraq killed nine civilians in a raid south of Baghdad. Solomon Moore and Qais Mizher write in today's The New York Times that:
"American forces said Sunday that they had accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians and wounded three in a strike aimed at militants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia south of Baghdad, acknowledging what appeared to be one of the deadliest cases of mistaken identity in recent weeks."
This is what happens in war. And this is a primary reason why Bush and Cheney should face serious legal charges of war crimes. They are responsible for starting an unnecessary and unjustified war in Iraq. Reasonable people could have predicted that hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi children and civilians would be targeted albeit accidentally and killed by U.S. soldiers. Bush as the "commander-in-chief" gave the orders to initiate the invasion and prosecute this war.
To minimize the importance of these civilian casualties as "collateral damage" is to say that Iraqi lives are not worth as much as American ones. Imagine if it were your husband, your wife, your child, your mother, your father, who happened to be one of the nine civilian casualties.
STOP THE WAR IN IRAQ.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez says that the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) is not a "terrorist" organization. Both George Bush and Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president claim the FARC is indeed a "terrorist" organization.
Is this a valid reason for the United States to overthrow Chavez? Does George Bush think that he has cause to invade Venezuela or topple Chavez because Chavez was successful in negotiating with the FARC to release Consuelo Gonzalez and Clara Rojas several weeks ago?
Why must the U.S. give millions of dollars of military aid to Colombia when it is clear that military means are incapable of either solving the Colombian's problems with the FARC or securing the release of the hundreds of hostages which FARC is currently holding in the Colombian jungles?
George Bush's way is to drop bombs and shoot missiles at anyone he perceives to be his "enemy." Hugo Chavez believes in talking with the FARC and negotiating. So far Hugo Chavez's way has proven to be the right way.
Will George Bush and his pal Uribe, in their growing animosity towards Chavez, start a war against Venezuela?
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Why does the United States need to put a missile defense system in Poland? This is an utter waste of taxpayer dollars because it is totally unnecessary.
Whom does the U.S. and Bush fear? Iran? That's a joke. Iran has never invaded another country or initiated aggression against another country. Iran has never shot missiles at the U.S or at Israel.
Bush's desire to place a missile defense system in Poland is unreasonable and unnecessary. But all that can be hoped for now is that a new U.S. president in 2009 will put a stop to this Bush profligacy and madness.