Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What America Has Become

Under the Bush Administration, torture has become an acceptable means of doing business. This saddens me beyond words. Not only has this nation lost its way, ceasing to be a nation that can inspire as it did the young people at Tiananmen in 1989, but it leaves me to wonder how quickly we will be able to restore our collective soul. How long will it take to put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one? We will likely pay a price- for a long time- for the immorality of this Administration.

Two articles relevant to this issue today. They answer the key questions: Did it happen? Did the US government sanction it? Both questions answered in the affirmative. A devastating day- with more to come as the Bush Administration prepares to leave office (as more revelations will inevitably leak out) and we reach the "End of an Error."

Report: Exams prove torture in Iraq, Gitmo

Medical examinations of former terrorism suspects held by the U.S. military at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, found evidence of torture and other abuse that resulted in serious injuries and mental disorders, according to a human rights group.

One Iraqi prisoner, identified only as Yasser, reported being subjected to electric shocks three times and being sodomized with a stick. His thumbs bore round scars consistent with shocking, according to the report obtained by The Associated Press.

[D]octors and mental health professionals stated they could link the prisoners' claims of abuse while in U.S. detention to injuries documented by X-rays, medical exams and psychological tests.

"The level of the time, thoroughness and rigor of the exams left me personally without question about the credibility of the individuals," said Dr. Allen Keller, one of the doctors who conducted the exams, in an interview with the AP. "The findings on the physical and psychological exams were consistent with what they reported."

CIA defended waterboarding, harsh techniques

Torture 'is basically subject to perception,' CIA lawyer advised Pentagon

Torture "is basically subject to perception," CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at the U.S.-run detention camp in Cuba on Oct. 2, 2002, according to minutes of the meeting. "If the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong."

[I]n the summer of 2002, Pentagon officials compiled lists of aggressive techniques, soliciting opinions from the CIA and others, and ultimately implementing the practices over opposition from military lawyers who argued that the proposed tactics were probably illegal and could harm U.S. troops.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

- Frederick Buechner
Wishful Thinking

Friday, May 30, 2008

Real Peace

Real peace will arise spontaneously
When your mind becomes free
Of attachments,
When you know that the objects of the world
Can never give you what you really want.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bush Legacy

From an article by Thomas Friedman in today's NY Times.
The Bush team, by contrast, in eight years has managed to put America in the unique position in the Middle East where it is "not liked, not feared and not respected," writes Aaron David Miller, a former Mideast negotiator under both Republican and Democratic administrations, in his provocative new book on the peace process, titled "The Much Too Promised Land."
Fits within the Pilgrim's thesis that the US position is less secure now than before the Iraq Invasion.  We face real security threats from the Middle East.  Now we are less equipped to deal with them than ever.
The work to be done is greater than any single president can do- of either party.  Regardless of who will be the next president, the work will continue- if it is actually undertaken- past his/her term. 
And it will not be undertaken if the next president holds firmly to the same foolishness as our current president.  In a speech to the Isreali parliament, Bush likened Obama's belief in talking to Iran to the appeasment of Hitler by Chamberlain in the 1930s. 
Our current president's policy is to talk to our friends only, and then either ignore or bomb our enemies. 
Americans need to learn, and elect a president who understands, that peace is only achieved through a willingness to talk to enemies.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Whenever someone feels anger, there is a potential for powerful dignity, a sense of responsibility, and the expression of some deep personal value that has a universal rightness. This value needs acknowledgement.


-David E. Doiron

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Act in Love

 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Moon on the Water

A person getting enlightened is like the moon reflecting in the water. The moon does not get wet, the water is not disturbed. Though it is a great expanse of light, it reflects in a little bit of water; the whole moon and the whole sky reflect even in the dew on the grass; they reflect even in a single drop of water. Enlightenment not disturbing the person is like the moon not piercing the water. A person not obstructing enlightenment is like the dewdrop not obstructing the heavens.


Benefits of confusion

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

     ~ Wendell Berry