Wednesday, December 10, 2014
by Dee Newman
As I wrote back in 2009, I’m sure, there are those who would love to watch Dick Cheney waterboarded until he cried “Uncle” and confessed that waterboarding is torture. But, most of us who recognized that the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by the Bush/Cheney Administration was actually torture have no interest in vengeance or retribution. What we have is a fervent desire and interest in upholding the rule of law and in preventing our government from ever again torturing anyone in our names.
What we are hearing from the “torture apologists” today is merely the re-hash of the same old rationalizations we heard Karl Rove and other spew out on Fox News and other networks six years ago.
Unlike President Clinton’s affair with an intern, it seems, to the torture apologists, the issue of torture is not serious enough to warrant moral outrage or legal action. Unlike the Japanese soldiers we sentenced to death for waterboarding our servicemen in World War II, the torture apologists, believe to prosecute those in the Bush Administration for doing the exact same acts would be “irrational vengeance.” To the torture apologists the decision by Bush&Co. to use waterboarding is just a “policy difference” between one administration and another.
What these folks seem to not understand is that this is not just about “policy differences,” as they would have us believe. No, this is a hell-of-lot more serious. It is about morality, the rule of law and the leaders of our precious country violating not only the international prohibition on torture, but also a number of federal statues and the United States Constitution, sanctioning and carrying out inhumane and illegal acts of violence against others.
Furthermore, it is about the fate of Americans captured behind enemy lines in future conflicts. The Bush Administration’s use of torture dramatically increased the likelihood that our servicemen and women will be tortured in the future. Failing to hold them accountable for their immoral and illegal actions, has only intensify the risk to our servicemen and women.
But, more than anything it is about who we are – our character and integrity!
According to the apologists, (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) waterboardering a person 183 times (six times a day) in less than a month is justifiable because they have convinced themselves it worked – that it kept our nation safe.
It always amazes me how rational people can rationalize anything. Apparently, the torture apologists 12-year-defense of the Bush administration has left them hopelessly attached to an immoral and illegal strategy of torture that they must now defend no matter how morally corrupt their efforts appear.
As Shepard Smith said six years ago on Fox News, (And, I paraphrase) It doesn't make any difference whether it kept us safe or not, THIS IS AMERICA! WE DO NOT TORTURE! no matter what.
The end can never justify the means even in a ticking-time-bomb situation, which we have never experienced. Two wrongs never make anything right.
I believe it is better to lose our lives than our values. That is what I call – true courage.
And, if you believe otherwise, you should, at the very least, have the courage to face the truth and consequences of you own actions in a court of law and let a jury of your peers determine your fate.
To continue to relentlessly defend the indefensible is not courageous – it is craven – so lacking in courage as to be worthy of contempt.
I have no desire for retribution. All I want is for those who authorized the so-called "enhance interrogation techniques" and their apologists to recognize and admit that what they did was WRONG!
Until they do the investigations should continue and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
In the mid 1960’s I met a man who changed my life. At that time he was a high school teacher in Sanford, Florida. I was an aviation electronic technician based at the United States Naval Air Station there. We met through our wives who had become friends at work.
Several years later, after I had left the Navy and was attending the University of Tennessee, he convinced me to join him in southern Arizona to work on a remarkable project he had conceived and developed as the Coordinator for Resources and Planning for Arizona Rural Effort, Inc., a five county community action agency.
He had written a grant that among other things utilized a mobile television van to create radio and television broadcasting material for the Poverty Program. It was one of only nine funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) throughout the United States.
The federally funded research and demonstration project received national media and Congressional attention in 1970 when it demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing microwave transmission for mobile medical units in isolated rural areas.
The two years we worked together on that project were, perhaps, the most intense, significant, and influential work experience of my life. And, that is saying a great deal when considering the entirety of my professional experiences and accomplishments.
For a good ten years we continued to maintained our friendship, visiting one another and communicating on a regular bases, in spite of the fact, the paths of our lives and work had taken us in different directions.
Though we lost contact with one another during the 1980’s and 90’s while he was working abroad in South American, Africa and the Far East, in recent years we renewed our friendship, our mutual feelings of trust, affection, assistance, approval and support.
Over the last seven years, Jack has authored a number of essays and articles for this Blog. Twelve days ago on October 1, 2014, my beloved friend died of a heart attack. He was jogging as he had done most everyday beneath the old live oaks between the Sacred Heart Church and Regions Bank on the west side Old Dixie Hwy in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He was 74 years old.
I will miss his intellect, his advice and council, and his kind gentle spirit until the day I died.