A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Now Is The Time to Tell of a Friendship Ended

The evidence is mounting inexorably that those who rule us have condoned torture, and that most of those who support them turn a blind eye to the fact that those who rule us have condoned torture. There is no escaping the fact that torture is a habit, and that there is no genuine boundary between the people for whom torture is supposed to be "necessary" and everybody else.

We are giving on the job training for the torturers in our future. Since most of those who support a certain political agenda are consistently willing to turn a blind eye to this fact, I can perfectly well guess which side of the interrogation table in the closely barred room I will be on, if it comes to that.

That said, it is now time to put on record that I have cut people dead who have befriended me because they justified the torturers of Abu Ghraib. That line of continued dialog I will not cross.

They were decent enough people otherwise, solid churchgoing folks, who think well of themselves for being so (as churchgoing folks usually do, for all the talk about the sinfulness of mankind) and were generous enough to me to warrant my gratitude. I hold them in my mind with all the compassion I can muster for every sentient being, and, when I am able to in the future, because of genuine insight, I will do everything I can to truly help them.

But such compassion makes no demands on my private social intercourse in this life, and I will not endure it with them. Justification of torture is the limit.

I speak of this now because the most likely avenue for bringing the Administration members who have condoned torture to book is the newly filed lawsuit by the ACLU against Donald Rumsfeld, and others in the military chain of command.

I urge everyone who feels as I do to read the PDF timeline of the facts about Rumsfeld's involvement with the approval of torture. I also urge everyone to support the ACLU effort to pressure the Administration to appoint an independent counsel to investigate torture and release all documents pertinent to its stand on torture.

The seriousness of this effort can be measured by the following description of the former military and government officials who have joined the team of the plaintiffs in this suit:

The groups are joined as co-counsel in the lawsuit by Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA), former Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals; and Bill Lann Lee, Chair of the Human Rights Practice Group at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. Admiral Hutson and General Cullen are "of counsel" to Human Rights First.

No one can say whether this suit will be successful, but, if it is relentlessly pursued by all of us who regard torture as an abomination and an indellible stain on this country's good name, it will at least make it abundantly clear who, in the future, we will have to cut dead.



Blogger Mike's America said...


There are MANY legitimate concerns regarding how we prosecute this war and protect the rights of our citizens.

But before I agree with your premise, I'd like to share with you my thoughts on the true nature of what we face:


2:04 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

ok JOSEPH...

I am VERY concerned about some of the infringements on civil liberties that have been accelerated by war on terror. By the way, I would point out that it's not a Republican/Democrat thing. Prior to moving to Hilton Head I lived in Washington, DC.. The number of federal agencies with enforcement capabilities (read cops with badges and GUNS) was exploding during the Clinton years. Perhaps you recall that photo of the INS storm trooper pointing the submachine gun at poor Elian Gonzales.

There needs to be an honest discussion of the Patriot Act and beyond. We need a renewed bill of rights for citizens carving in stone once again the limits of government power.

Sadly though, the looniness of the left and the "Hitler" rhetoric diminishes the credibility of principle opposition necessary to conduct the debate.

This isn't your fault of course, but the onus will be on rational persons like you to provide a leveling influence on your brethern.


P.S. I'd torture the hell out of those genocidal maniacs in Abu Ghraib!

8:34 PM  
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