Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First the Shah, now...

The cartoonist could have added the US one-time support for Saddam, right Mr. Rumsfeld?
Musharraf and Bush

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Continued dis-service

In an earlier post I made note of how some Presidential candidates who are also Senators abstained from a key Iraq war funding vote.

They're at it again. This time, they fail to vote of the nomination of Attorney General Mukasey.

Clinton, Dodd, Biden, Obama, McCain all did not cast a vote.

Do they no longer need to represent the interests of their states and nation while they campaign for President. I understand that they will miss votes, but on fundamental matters? Especially fundamental matters on which they express strong opinions on the campaign trail?? Where are they when needed to keep another person who does not know if waterboarding is torture and illegal from assuming the position of chief law enforcement officer?

If they can be so cavelier about representing their states interests, how can we trust them to represent ours once they assume the office of President?

These individuals should be ashamed of their failure.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"All must be friends
All must be loved,
All must be held dear,
All must be helped."

- Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

God is Great, God is GREEN

I've always seen care and concern for the planet- stewardship of God's gift to us- as a matter for people of faith.
Now an increasing number of typically Republican voters of an evangelical persuasion are coming to a similar conclusion.  To these individuals I say, "Welcome!"
[A] movement called "creation care," which asserts that Christians are the stewards of God's creation, has rapidly been been gathering momentum, said the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, or NAE.

"What is really happening is that American evangelicals are becoming, well, green, if you will," Cizik said...

"This is going to be an issue which evangelicals are going to look at when they cast their ballots," Cizik said.

"I think it should be on par with all the other issues," like abortion and same-sex marriage, he said. "When you think about it ... hundreds of millions of people around the globe are already being impacted by climate change."

In a poll last month by Ellison Research, 70 percent of self-described evangelicals said they believed global warming would have an impact on future generations, and 64 percent said action should begin immediately.

More than half — 54 percent — said they would be more likely to support candidates who worked to curb global warming.

AG vote coming up

Headling from "Truthdig"
I agree.
If we cannot have someone who understands that waterboarding is torture, and is willing to say that torture is wrong and illegal, then we should let the Attorney General's office remain vacant.
Anyone in the Senate who votes for his confirmation is voting to continue the torture policies of the US, is voting for slipping moral standards on the world stage, is voting to put American service men and women at risk if captured by would-be enemies, and is demonstrating a profound lack of moral integrity.
Keep an eye out for which of the presidential contenders who are in the Senate vote for this nominee.

Waterboarding History

Interesting article about how waterboarding has been used across time, and helping to clarify that it is in fact torture.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Discouraging story

Experts: West can't stop Web radicalization

Internet plays growing role in spreading extremist propaganda, recruiting

Whether the hate is domestic- white supremecy groups, for example- or international islamist in origin, it is spread rapidly through the internet.
Talk about a computer virus.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What Bush leaves behind for the GOP

It used to be that the Republicans had two crucial strengths in how they were perceived in the public eye as they headed into national elections. 1) They were better on national defense. 2) They were better for economic growth.

I'm sure that there will be many, many Republicans lining up in January '09 as President prepares to leave the White House to say thank you for the state in which he leaves the party.

War Politics

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is finding himself in some trouble due to his support of the Iraq invasion. His numbers are not strong as he seeks re-election.

What's interesting is some of the polling data from the state.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Kentucky voters want the U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year. That figure is close to the national average and includes 22% who want the troops withdrawn immediately. Thirty-seven percent (37%) want the troops to remain until the mission in Iraq has been accomplished.
A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 57% of Americans would like to see U.S. troops brought home from Iraq within a year.

Also interesting is the fact that the "out of Iraq" numbers are actually down in the last couple of months- from about 64% to the present numbers.

Perhaps that's because the major media coverage of the war has slipped to virtually none while the news has been dominated by other stories- some important (California wildfires), but others ridiculous (Britney Spears and her latest bad behavior).

It seems that the more Americans think about the war, the less they like it.

If only they had thought a little bit more before the invasion.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Historical Reminder

Police and soldiers emboldened by state of emergency powers swept up hundreds of activists and opposition members on Sunday, dragged away protesters shouting "Shame on you!", and turned government buildings into barbed-wire compounds.
This nation is, according to President Bush, one of our "key allies in the global war on terror," and yet here they are acting like the military dictatorship that they are.  Bush administration officials relentlessly use the word democracy- at every turn- when discussing Pakistan, but there is nothing democratic about that nation.  Musharaff took power in a coup, appointed himself President, conducted elections that were decidedly less than free, and has now given up all pretense of democracy by suspending the Constitution and seeking out hundreds of political opponents.
This is reminiscent of one of the key areas of moral confusion in the US during the Cold War- many of the nations we supported then because they were 'anti-communist' were horribly undemocratic, corrupt, and every bit as evil in their treatment of their people as communist nations. 
Will we repeat this mistake (or perhaps I should say, continue to repeat this mistake) in our struggle against terrorism?  We certainly appear to be poised to do this.
In doing so, the people of the US should realize that they fan the flames of extremism and make our terrorism problem worse, not better.  A key complaint of Al Qaeda and other jihadis is that the US supports corrupt regimes in the Middle East.  While this complaint is more than a little disingenuous (remember that the Taliban was selling opium as its major export), it is none the less hard to defend ourselves against when we DO in fact support corrupt regimes like Musharraf's.  Bush and Rice repeating the word 'democracy' repeatedly when discussing Musharraf or Pakistan is not only simply an example of the 'big lie' technique (just repeat the lie over and over until it becomes perceived as truth), it is a laughable one, as no one, despite the repetitions, believes it.
This is just another example of how a moral compass must guide our foreign policy.  Lies, support for repressive dictators, and, of course, torture, will undercut any US efforts in the struggle with terrorism, and, in the end, leave us more vulnerable and in a weakend position in the world.
The sooner we recognize that moral thinking is also pragmatic thinking, the better off we will be.

Getting Out of Iraq

Interesting article over at History News Network on the subject of comparing Vietnam and Iraq.  Drawing comparisons is problematic, the article correctly points out.  That said, in terms of comparison...
In diplomatic terms, leaving Vietnam was a prerequisite to reestablishing U.S. moral standing abroad. By the early 1970s, at the height of the war, many U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere had become concerned that a country willing to spend 20 years and 50,000 lives opposing an anti-colonial liberation struggle was seriously lacking in competent leadership. Withdrawing from Vietnam thus removed a persistent irritant in U.S. relations with its closest allies and deprived American enemies of an invaluable propaganda point.
As did the Vietnam War, U.S. involvement in Iraq has produced a profound strategic myopia on the part of American policymakers. The Iraq war has drained U.S. military and economic resources and distracted the Bush administration from longer-term challenges to American power. It has deeply damaged the foreign policy consensus that emerged after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and left the future course of U.S. diplomacy in doubt. And, like the Vietnam War, the conflict in Iraq has led much of the world to conclude that the United States lacks the wisdom and maturity required of a superpower.

Read the whole article for yourself.  Nicely done.

Last to Die

Bruce Springsteen asks on his new album that famous question asked of Vietnam:  "Who will be the last to die for a mistake?"
I don't think he's talking about Vietnam.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

- Proverbs 29:2-2
Especially those tortured by the wicked will groan.
Sounds like Isaiah is referring to the Mukasey hearings...

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased [God] that there was no justice.

- Isaiah 59:14-15

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mukasey should listen

What Mukasey could say:  

"Anybody who does not know if waterboarding is torture or not has no experience in the conduct warfare and national security."
"People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that... It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak."
Source of these quotes:  John McCain.  I disagree with McCain on the Iraq Invasion, but he's no softy on foreign policy, and knows what it's like to be tortured.

No Attorney General is better

President Bush says that, "[i]n a time of war, it's vital for the president to have a full national security team in place... A vital part of that is the attorney general."

This statement came in response to the fact that Democrats are holding up the nomitation of retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey for Attorney General. And they are absolutely right to do so. We've had too much toleration of torture by this adminstration. We've taken the body blows done to American prestige by former AG Alberto Gonzales, with his 'torture memo' and tortured logic when it comes to the treatment of those detained by the US in the 'war on terror.'

When testifying before Congress in his confirmation hearings, Mukasey was unwilling to address the question of whether waterboarding is torture and thus illegal in a forthright manner. Someone as evasive as he was should not become the chief law enforcement officer of our nation.

Remember the outrage by Republicans over the "that depends on what the meaning of 'is' is," by President Clinton. That outrage was fair. Clinton parsed his words in ways that at times during the whole Lewinsky affair strained any credible use of the English language and did, in fact, amount to purjury. It was wrong.

Isn't evasiveness on the issue of torture equally wrong- perhaps even more so than evasiveness about private, consensual sexual matters?

It is time for American to begin moving forward towards a more moral foreign policy, one more consistent with what Americans would prefer to believe about themselves, rather than to continue to have a foreign policy that represents what has been America at its worst- about vengence rather than justice.

Mukasey should either answer the important questions clearly, honestly, and concretely, or America should do without an Attorney General until we have a President willing to appoint a person of integrity and dignity.

And, as we move towards the election of 2008, Americans should take care to make certain they put into office someone who is willing to appoint such a person, as our current President is not.