TO TORTURE OR NOT TO TORTURE
The confirmation process for Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey seems to have hit an interesting speed bump. Once again the country is being confronted by not only whether or not the United States should allow captured terrorists to be "tortured," but also we are being challenged to define "torture" in a very public spectacle.
The question centered around an aggressive interrogation technique called "waterboarding," which many, including Presidential candidate, and former prisoner of war, John McCain, do consider torture. On the second day of his confirmation hearings last week, Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding is torture. Waterboarding is a technique that involves pouring water over a prisoner's face to create the sensation of drowning. ``It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else,'' Mukasey stated at one point. However Mukasey also said he did not know if waterboarding is torture because he is not familiar with how it is done. This frustrated many senators who equate his response with legalistic hedging.
So what is it going to be? Do we, as a country, believe that terrorists, who operate outside of the conventions of warfare accepted by civilized societies, deserve to be treated with the respect and general well being reserved for soldiers fighting under the flag and command of a recognized government? This is an important distinction that goes to the very heart of our war against terrorism.
There are those, Senator McCain among them, who consider the technique of waterboarding to be torture and therefore are against the United States employing such measures when interrogating a captured terrorist. (notice that I do NOT refer to them as "enemy combatants" but call them what they are!) Senator McCain's position is well received. Certainly there are not many people who can claim to know more about this subject. His history as a "guest" of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war entitles him to much respect on this issue. As it pertains to the United States engaging in wars with other nations I would even wholeheartedly agree with his position. The information we might gain would be corrupted by bad information and false confessions. Trained soldiers know how to handle tough interrogations, even those that might be considered torturous. Therefore the information would be of dubious value and not worth the harm that would be incurred to the reputation of the United States. But terrorists, by definition, don't play by the rules...do they?
Many people on the political left in this country take matters even farther. It is their contention that these "enemy combatants" are entitled to the same "due process" as an American citizen in the U.S. judicial system. They believe that these terrorists should be tried in the criminal justice system. This in spite of the fact doing so would inevitably involve compromising U.S. national security interests by forcing the United States to reveal the means used to capture them. Trying to deal with terrorism as a law enforcement issue is the tried and failed policy of the Clinton Administration that culminated in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Placing international terrorists on an equal status before the law with citizens of the United States is absurd. Pure and simple.
I was watching C-Span the other night and one of these "wackadoos" was bemoaning the fact that the Bush administration had only brought one of the detainees of the Guantanamo Bay facility to trial....ever. (and yes he was convicted) This may be true, but I found it interesting that this person chose to omit another important fact that is crucial to understanding how serious a danger these "detainees" pose. At least 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against U.S. forces FOLLOWING their release. Ouch! That is a stinging truth isn't it?
These terrorists, for their part, claimed to be farmers, drivers, cooks etc. to explain why they were caught in the wrong places and at the wrong times in Afghanistan and Iraq. These former detainees successfully lied to U.S. officials to acquire release from the Guantanamo Bay facility only to return to fight against us.
In July, one such detainee, Abdullah Mehsud, reportedly blew himself up rather than surrender to Pakistani forces. In December 2001, Mehsud was captured in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay until his release in March 2004. He later became the Taliban chief for South Waziristan.
Let's cut through the malarky. These terrorists do not fight for a government. They do not serve under a flag nor do they wear a uniform. They consider themselves soldiers of Allah, and as such, they answer only to him. This provides them with several advantages. They get to operate in that area between international laws regarding warfare. They are therefore not restrained by anything and consider themselves free to violate all of the rules of warfare...and they do. They have certainly shown no queasiness when it comes to their willingness to use and misuse "noncombatant" civilians to advance their Islamic Supremacist agenda.
This has had its most gruesome display in the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, which they had the audacity to record and distribute for broadcast to the delight of the Islamic world. Meanwhile the U.S. media refused to show it. Ask yourself why? As far as I am concerned you must have seen this video to even voice an opinion on this issue. The media doesn't want the American people to see the enemy for who he really is. They have too much sympathy for the terrorists because they have a common enemy...the Bush Administration. Treason has never been so obvious.
States such as Iran and Syria train and equip these killers and send them into Iraq to do the work they haven't got the courage to do for themselves. In this manner they think they are outsmarting the United States by playing in between the rules. And they are outsmarting some of you. Iranian trained terrorists using Iranian made munitions are killing U.S. soldiers. Iran is entitled to a U.S. counterattack. Or does my history fail me. It seems that I recall the U.S. Civil War started when confederate forces fired on a U.S. installation (Fort Sumter). The United States was mad and suddenly very hot for war. Strange when you consider no one was killed in the attack. Yet the new religion of tolerance now demands that we tolerate Iranian and Syrian interference that results in the deaths of our people. The terrorists provide a political shield to prevent the supporting states from receiving what they have coming to them. This is the perfect system for engaging a superpower such as the United States. They are using our democracy against us.
Another question that seems to be both answered and ignored is whether or not "aggressive interrogations" actually produce results. Former CIA Director George Tenet said the "aggressive interrogations" of top al-Qaeda leaders brought the U.S. more valuable information about planned terror plots than all of the government's other intelligence gathering efforts. "I know that this program has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots," Tenet said in a "60 Minutes" interview. Tenet went on to say "I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."
Why do you think these "aggressive interrogations" are so successful? Because these terrorists are often misrepresented in the media. We constantly hear them referred to as being "trained." Its true that they are given as much training as can be done in their chosen predicament, but no one should ever equate a trained terrorist with a trained soldier. The media uses the word "trained" to try to persuade you into viewing the terrorist as some form of a soldier. He is not. That is precisely why "aggressive interrogations" work so well. They were trained to kill others or themselves. They have no knowledge how to handle a real military interrogation and as a result they co-operate...fast. That is why the former CIA Director is so adamant about its usefulness as a technique. It doesn't take torture to get these cowards to capitulate. THEY ARE NOT SOLDIERS!!!
Well, maybe they are....phoney soldiers.
Am I the only one who wonders what happens to U.S. soldiers who are captured by the terrorists? How are THEY being treated. Unfortunately we know the answer to that as we always get our captured soldiers returned to us...in pieces. It seems the terrorists don't find our soldiers to be of any use to them. That's called discipline, and our people pay dearly for their adherence to it. That's the difference between a "trained" soldier and a terrorist.
So do I believe the United States is torturing these people? No I don't. They don't need to do it. The media have an alliance to anyone that will help them get a Democrat into the White House and this is just an issue created to try to damage the credibility of our President and the military during a time of war. Our soldiers have every reason to question whose side the media is on in this war. Though I'm afraid the answer is obvious.
However if torture was required to extract information from these terrorists I would hope we wouldn't hesitate to do it. In this issue, I am vehemently pro choice. Terrorists choose to operate in the area outside of the law. Let's give them exactly what they have asked for!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
TO TORTURE OR NOT TO TORTURE
Sunday, October 21, 2007
THE EXPLOITATION OF GENOCIDE
"Kill without mercy! Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" -Adolf Hitler
Some people never learn from history. Instead, they endeavor to repeat it by falling victim to their own shortsightedness and political ambitions. The controversial Armenian Genocide Resolution, sponsored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is just such an instance.
Before assessing the merits and the timing of Speaker Pelosi's resolution, it is a good idea to make sure everyone knows just what happened in the first genocide of the 20th century. The Armenian Genocide occurred between 1915-1923 when 2 million Armenians living in present day Turkey were forcibly removed from their historic homeland through deportation and massacre. The Turks, for their part, claim the death count is inflated and the result of civil unrest, not a deliberate government policy aimed at exterminating an entire population of people.
For three thousand years the Armenian community thrived in the area known as Asia Minor. The roads of commerce from three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) run through this area which had been ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols. The Armenians created a flourishing society of peace and prosperity through commerce and were well known for their unique style of architecture.
Then, in the 11th century...the Turks came. By the 16th century Armenia had been totally absorbed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Though once seemingly invincible, the Ottoman Empire was reluctant to embrace technological and economic progress, which inevitably resulted in their decline. The countries of Europe became dominant and many Ottoman conquests like Greece, Romania and Serbia won their independence from the declining empire.
In spite of the Ottoman's decline, the Armenians were a prosperous minority within the empire. Sultan Abdul Hamid II got the genocide ball rolling by massacring 100,000 to 300,000 Armenians between 1894-1896 with a series of widespread pogroms.
An organization known as The Young Turks carried out the Armenian Genocide. The Young Turk Movement was a reaction to the lack of progress and societal advancement under Sultan Abdul Hamid II. It was largely organized by young military officers upset by the decline of the Ottoman Empire and wishing to restore it to its previous greatness by espousing a form of Turkish Nationalism. Their idea of Turkish Nationalism was extremely Xenophobic and exclusionary.
The Young Turk Revolution was itself guided by The Committee of Union and Progress which seized power in a coup d'etat in 1913. At first, both the Turks and the Armenians were happy with the prospect of a brighter future under this new government. For the Armenians, this happiness would prove to be short lived. You see, there is one thing that keeps being left out of the discussion of the Armenian Genocide for "political correctness" reasons. Turkish Nationalism brought with it what we today call "Islamic Fundamentalism." The Armenians, unfortunately, were Christians...and now you shall learn the rest of the story.
Christian Armenians, always among the best educated and wealthiest communities within the Turkish Empire, were once again labeled as infidels in the time honored Muslim tradition. The Committee of Union and Progress devised a secret plan for the extermination of the Armenian population. This was in spite of the fact that the Armenians had already proven themselves to be an unthreatening and loyal minority by putting up with the hardship of unequal treatment as prescribed by Islamic law.
With the rest of the world preoccupied with World War I the Turks felt the time was right to "solve" the Armenian problem. Surprisingly, the Armenians were cooperative with the Turk's plans. This was largely due to the fact that they were misled by the Turks. They were being told it was necessary to "relocate" them for their own safety in order to keep them from being caught between the Russians and Turkey.
The Armenian population was to be disarmed first (something to consider for those of you who support "gun control" laws) and then "relocated." The Armenian's wealth was then to be seized and dispersed among the members of the Committee of Union and Progress and their cohorts. Alas, 20th century genocide was to prove as profitable as the Islamic Genocide taught by their master...the Prophet Muhammad! 40,000 Armenian men already in the army were immediately killed while other new recruits were "drafted" in the army only to be used as slave labor. If they somehow survived the brutal working conditions of the project they were working on they were subsequently shot at its completion.
The actual extermination order came from the ruling triumvirate of Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal. Three names that deserve to be remembered in history. The order was transmitted in coded telegrams to all the governors in Turkey. April 24, 1915 saw 300 Armenian political leaders, educators, clergy, and writers removed from their homes in Constantinople. In the dead of the night they were briefly jailed and tortured, then hanged or shot. And so the genocide began in earnest.
Mass arrests followed throughout the country. Men were tied together and led out of their towns and killed by death squads. Armenian women, children and elderly were taken on death marches under the pretext of "relocation." They were led to the Syrian desert where they were killed upon arrival. That is assuming they survived being raped, starved and dehydrated along the way.
Muslim Turks took instant ownership of everything. Churches and monuments were desecrated and destroyed. Many Armenian children were "generously" spared from the "relocation" policy. Young children were often taken from their parents to be farmed out to Turkish families who would rename them and raise them as Muslim Turks. Many young girls were taken as slave brides. Once again a time honored Muslim tradition when dealing with "infidel" Christians.
The death marches involved over a million Armenians traveling in caravans. Their Turkish "escorts" allowed, and even encouraged, roving bands of criminals to attack the caravans and take whatever and whoever they wished. Killing for sport and amusement was common as was the raping and murdering of young women. It is estimated that 75% of the Armenians died on these death marches. Decomposing corpses littered the Turkish countryside. Though orders were given to bury the corpses, they were largely ignored.
The Allied Powers did issue warnings to Turkey, but they had little to no effect. World War I was too much of a strain on their resources for them to intervene in a serious manner.
In 1918 the Armenians took matters into their own hands. They managed to acquire weapons and began to fight back. They defeated the Turks at the battle of Sadarabad and subsequently managed to save the remaining Armenian population.
It is clear that the Armenians were the victims of a deliberate government policy of genocide. There is no denying that these people deserve to have their fate recognized as one of the great atrocities in human history and not the result of a breakdown of law and order at the end of the Ottoman Empire as the Turks have historically claimed. Any one should be able to see and understand this. However the question must be asked: Is the resolution sponsored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi the proper way to address this issue?
Consider the situation. Turkey currently is an Ally of the United States and a member of NATO. It is one of the very few Islamic populations ruled by a secular government. That rule is being challenged more and more by Islamic Fundamentalists who seek to have Turkey governed under Islamic Sharia Law. Also Turkey has proven to be a very valuable ally in the current conflict in Iraq. Not only is Turkish land and airspace being used as a conduit for supplies to the war effort, but the government has also provided some valuable support for U.S. interests there as well. Kurdish rebels, with bases located in Northern Iraq, have been attacking and raiding Turkish territory with regularity and (as of this writing) the Turks have shown admirable restraint in dealing with the situation.
The Turks have made it quite clear that they do not wish to see Speaker Pelosi's resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide pass through the U.S. House of Representatives. They have indicated, clearly, that it would cause serious damage to the U.S.-Turkey relationship. They have threatened to cut off U.S. access to Turkish land and airspace. It also bears noting that they have more troops massed on the border with Northern Iraq than we have in Iraq. Their parliament, in response to Speaker Pelosi's proposed resolution, has authorized the use of force in dealing with the Kurdish rebels. Their "restraint" in dealing with this situation would appear to be in jeopardy if the resolution were to proceed. You will recall that the area controlled by the Kurds is the quietest and most successful of all the territories in Iraq. A Turkish army invading that area isn't going to do a lot to promote tranquility. President Bush has correctly made it clear that this is neither the time or situation in which to introduce this resolution.
After almost a century, why now push the issue when it can do irreparable damage to the interests of the United States? Perhaps Democratic Congressman James Clyburn accidentally let the answer slip when he said an American victory in Iraq "would be a real big problem for us" in the 2008 election. It would appear this is a last ditch effort to prevent that very big problem. This is nothing more than an attempt to reverse the, now undeniable, success of the military surge conducted by General Petraeus and the U.S. military. Unfortunately, its hard to come to any other conclusion. The democratic party invested all its power and effort in a fruitless campaign to prevent and subvert the military effort following the 2006 election. Now with that military effort proving successful they are faced with a political disaster. Its not that the Democrats WANT the United States to fail in Iraq...they NEED the United States to fail in Iraq. This is politics of the most treacherous sort.
"The interests of Muslims and the interests of the socialists coincide in the war against the crusaders" -Osama Bin Laden, Feb. 14, 2003
Which brings me now to the Armenian victims of this genocide. These people are nothing to Nancy Pelosi. She is merely exploiting their tragedy for political advantage. Sadly, by trying to place this issue as stumbling block between the United States and Turkey, she is actually working to assist the very movement that led to their deaths! It is the Radical Fundamentalist Movement that we are engaging in our "War On Terror." The Young Turkish Movement of the early 20th century had this at the very heart of their own nationalist movement. They, like Al Qaeda, were Islamofascist to the core. The Armenians were murdered, not because they were Armenian, but because they were not Muslims. A politically incorrect and inconvenient truth. Now these Christian Armenians are being exploited in such a way as will benefit the descendants of their murderers. They are being victimized a second time.
Starved Mother & Children
Muslim Turks Posing with Their Trophys
Sunday, October 14, 2007
"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." Proverbs 26:11
You've no doubt heard of the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) controversy by now. President Bush recently vetoed this bill and congress is right this moment gearing up for a fight to attempt to override his veto. This is really a small battle in what is going to be a long protracted fight over socialized medicine in the United States.
SCHIP in theory is quite simple. It was created in 1997 for one reason: to offer federally subsidized health insurance to children ineligible for Medicaid but unable to afford private insurance. Simply put, its health insurance for poor children. However, the new SCHIP legislation has altered the rules considerably. Initially SCHIP's top income limit was 200% of poverty ($41,300 for a family of four). The new bill raises that to 300% ($61,950) of the poverty level nationally and even higher in some states (New Jersey-$72,285, and New York a whopping $82,300!!!). And this they call poverty? According to the states' budget projections, 13 will spend more than 44% of their SCHIP funds in 2008 on people who are neither children nor pregnant women. Michigan heads the list with 71.6% of its SCHIP money earmarked for adults who have no kids. In New Mexico, 52.3 percent of the state's SCHIP dollars will be spent on childless adults. IMPORTANT FACT ALERT: 46 states and the District of Columbia do NOT have an asset test for SCHIP!! So just how do they decide who qualifies?
If that isn't bad enough, the bill also includes a provision for children up to 25 years old. Thats right CHILDREN 25 years old!! I tell you what, I'll go along with that provision of the bill just as long as we apply this kind of rationale consistently. Let us also raise the drinking and voting ages to 25 years old as well. Any takers? After all we don't want children drinking...do we? Certainly children aren't adequately prepared to bear the responsibility of voting either now are they?
This is nothing more than an attempt to expand entitlements in the direction of socialized health care. A policy that all three leading democratic presidential candidates support. Truth be told, the entire democratic party has line up behind the socialist apparatus that is pushing for government controlled health care. The President thoroughly, and rightly, opposes socialized health care and he was absolutely right to veto this bill that is nothing more than an incremental step in that direction. I only hope the republicans in congress don't fall for the "poster children" the democrats will use to try to manipulate public opinion in their favor. This veto needs to stand.
To reasonable people an annual income of $82,300 is not poverty and 25 year olds are not children. This is politicians taking advantage of the good hearted nature of the American people to expand a generous program for the truly needy to include people who should be taking responsibility for themselves. Hopefully the American people will likewise not be fooled by the "poster children" either. The President has indicated he will sign a bill that has these unacceptable provisions removed. It is really the democrats who are using "human shields" to attempt to advance their socialist agenda. This is not the democratic party of Roosevelt, Truman or Kennedy!
Alas, this is only the beginning of a full out assault to try and bring socialized health care to the United States. Expect more foolish shenanigans like this. Socialism is like Kudzu, (if you are not from the south you may be unfamiliar with this fast spreading, virtually indestructible vine) once it sets a root it is virtually impossible to stop. Consider this story from Sweden, a country entrenched in Socialism and government run health care:
Roger Tullgren, 42, is a Swedish Heavy Metal fan. He has had his musical preference for heavy metal officially classified as a disability. The results of a psychological analysis enable this "headbanging" fellow to supplement his income with state benefits. Thats right, tax dollars are being used to compensate a grown man for "heavy metal" addiction!
Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life the employment service has agreed to pay part of his salary. His boss is even allowing him to play loud music while he works as a dishwasher in a restaurant. How many of you are thinking about Poison's "Nothin' But A Good Time" video right now?
According to Tullgren, he has been trying to get his "heavy metal" addiction classified as a handicap for ten years. Says Mr. Tullgren: "I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against." ...Ahh yes. Discrimination. That makes sense.
The ageing "metalhead" claims to have attended over 300 heavy metal shows last year alone. The natural consequence of attending all these shows was an unaceptable number of absences from work that his previous employer was unwilling to tolerate. So the intolerant and compassion deprived employer terminated him leaving him jobless and living on welfare.
I don't know where to begin in assessing the stupidity of this story. This is the kind of nonsense you get when the government gets involved in health care. If they really consider the man to be addicted to heavy metal, and therefore handicapped, why is the government becoming an enabler of the behavior instead of treating him and trying to get him away from the heavy metal environment? This is the equivalent of giving a gambling addict money to gamble with or buying an alcoholic a drink! How can you encourage a handicap? Only a government run program could do such a thing.
Now I realize some of you out there may be salivating at the prospect of getting paid for listening to heavy metal music. This may be all that some of you need to hear to go out and vote for a democrat in the next election. But be careful. Whenever a Socialist country declares someone to be "inferior" for any reason it tends not to work out well for them. Remember the Nazis are "National SOCIALISTS." Socialist governments have always proven willing to kill to maintain their idea of "order" and its never a secret who they are going to kill. Something to consider before you metalheads volunteer to vote yourselves handicapped.
Just a generation ago homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Now it is designated as a sexual "preference." Heavy Metal music has now been designated by a western government not as a preference but a "handicap." Something seems awry here and I feel pretty sure I should be offended.
You may laugh at the preposterousness of this and think it can't happen here, but the United States is being bombarded by this constantly. The attempt to expand the SCHIP program beyond its intended parameters is definitely a step in this direction.
The United States is about to have this choice presented to them in a big way...again. All three leading democratic presidential candidates support some form of a government controlled health care system. This was attempted immediately after President Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. The democrats, like the dog in Proverbs 26:11, have returned to this theme. They think the idea of universal health care will work this time. Politically appointed officials would have the authority to make these kind of decisions and declare various groups of people to be "handicapped." Do you really believe these decisions will be made without political considerations? Don't be foolish. Let us learn from Sweden, not follow them.
I remember watching the 1984 Republican convention and seeing some people holding signs that read: "Heavy Metal Rockers for Reagan." As the years go by I am more and more impressed at the prescience of these wise rockers of an earlier time. Its never popular for musicians or "rock-n-roll" types to be supportive of republicans even though that is the party that stands up for individual freedom. Democrats, on the other hand, believe in the "collective." So whats it going to be you rock-n-rollers? Are you going to let the socialists buy your vote even as they consider you "handicapped?" Or do you have enough self respect to resist this foolishness and stand up for individual rights...in this case your own!!
Me, I'm going to grab my copy of the "Heavy Metal" movie soundtrack. I want to hear that old Nazareth song.....you know the one.....Crazy? (A Suitable Case For Treatment).