Friday, August 05, 2005
Taking The Heat: Torture & Death
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long course of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.
To begin with oneself, not to end with oneself;
To start with oneself, but not to aim at oneself;
To comprehend oneself, but not to be preoccupied with oneself.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
Regular readers of my online ramblings expect something close to fun on Saturday mornings. True, sometimes there's a Friday evening release from the White House, meant to be overlooked, that I try to underline, but usually I try to spread the happiness of reaching another weekend...and maybe even some cash in the pocket from payday. It's difficult today though. The past 2 hours of reading the papers and the blogs have left me grim...and I'm preparing to share.
If that's not your cup of tea or coffee today, allow me to refer you to the delightful op-ed piece in this morning's Times about a novelist's revery of a very cold lake in the summertime. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/05/opinion/05amick.html?th&emc=th And the Internet is buzzing with lots of coverage of Novak's stomping off the set of a live CNN broadcast yesterday as Carville began tightening the screws. Wonder what could be bothering him. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/05/politics/05novak.html?th&emc=th
But aside from those moments of cheer, the matters requiring attention surround our relentless pursuit of the Terror War. At Truthout William Rivers Pitt let loose with a poignant essay on the soldiers who have died as one result~~~
"On Tuesday, some took solemn note of the fact that the total number of 'Coalition' fatalities from the invasion and occupation of Iraq had reached 2,000. On Wednesday afternoon, that number blurred upwards again to 2,015 dead soldiers. 1,821 of those served under the American flag. Fourteen US Marines died on Wednesday when their vehicle was shattered by a large bomb. Six other Marines were killed together on Monday, and a seventh is reportedly being held hostage. Two more Marines also died Monday, both from car bombings in separate locations.
"We are only three days into the month of August, and 22 US soldiers are dead. 54 died in July, 78 died in June, and 80 died in May. The occupation has lasted 868 days. More than two thousand soldiers, almost all of them young American boys and girls, have had the life blasted out of them because they were sent by their commander in chief to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Those soldiers who remain, those soldiers who have been redeployed into the war zone two or three times already, wait with grim resolve to be brought home to their families whole and sane and safe."
Pitt goes on to quote an essay that author E.L. Doctorow quietly published last September in his hometown newspaper, the East Hampton Star. The piece is making the email rounds on the Internet, and maybe a friend has sent it to you already---as coincidentally our church friend, Joanne Larson, did for us yesterday. Doctorow's withering description of Bush deserves reading...and then rereading~~~
"Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.
"A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the president who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the 40 percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills - it is amazing for how many people in this country this president does not feel.
"But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.
"And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it."
Furthermore distinguished columnist and human rights activist for as long as I can remember, Nat Hentoff has written an empassioned column in this week's Village Voice against the policy of torture so recently embraced and exposed in these United States. He concludes by laying into Democrats who have yet to get up on their hind legs about the morality of the policy, to say nothing of its ultimate efficiency in gaining information and prosecutions, or the aftermath upon the lives of its victims~~~
"Only an aroused American people—or enough of them—can force this Republican-dominated Congress to stop this shame of these United States. And for that to happen, the opposition party must use its organizing and communication resources to raise the consciousness, beyond party lines, of the citizenry.
"However, although there are some deeply concerned members of Congress, the public leadership of the Democratic Party is somnolent on this issue, as it is on the administration's rewriting the rules of the Constitution.
"What have you heard about torture from Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Harry Reid? The latter has even declared Alberto Gonzales qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court—the very same Gonzales who, as counsel to the president, orchestrated the 'torture memos' that led to the acceleration and expansion of the American ways of torture.
"How many Americans care enough to shame Congress and the one person who could stop torture right away? The man in the Oval Office."
Thanks for getting past that cool dip in the lake and reading this far. Let us rededicate ourselves to demand nothing less than the truth from our elected leaders!