Just Another Navel Gaze
6 hours ago
My aching muscles,
Remind me of the struggle
To climb each mountain,
To rise from hot humid plains
And taste the peak’s cold crisp air.
But George Washington and his compatriots took their founding principles quite seriously. On Aug. 11, 1775, Washington sent a blistering letter to a British counterpart, Thomas Gage. He complained about gravely wounded and untreated American soldiers being thrown into a jail with common criminals.
Eight days later, despite threatening to treat British soldiers with equal cruelty, Washington admitted that he could not and would not retaliate in kind, writing: "Not only your Officers, and Soldiers have been treated with a Tenderness due to Fellow Citizens, & Brethren; but even those execrable Parricides [traitors] whose Counsels & Aid have deluged their Country with Blood, have been protected from the Fury of a justly enraged People."
Imagine that; a government on the run fighting a desperate war against a hated enemy and treating captured prisoners with compassion and decency. No doubt many of the captured British troops had intelligence that might have been useful to the Revolutionary cause - still, decent treatment was the norm. In the current war on terror, that would be described as being "soft."
WASHINGTON -- Senator John McCain yesterday warned that a push by the White House to exempt overseas CIA agents from a proposed ban on mistreating prisoners in US custody would exacerbate the problem of detainee abuse by giving interrogators legal authority to torture suspected terrorists.
''I don't see how you could possibly agree to legitimizing an agent of the government engaging in torture," said the Arizona Republican, who survived torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. ''No amendment at all would be better than that."
McCain went public with his concerns after published reports yesterday that Vice President Dick Cheney met with him to urge changes to his widely supported proposal to outlaw cruel and degrading treatment of detainees by any US official. Cheney suggested exempting CIA counter-terrorism agents working overseas, but McCain balked.
Five years ago, as troubling reports emerged about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a career lawyer at the Justice Department began a long and relatively lonely campaign to alert top Bush administration officials to a strategy he considered “wrongheaded.”
Bruce C. Swartz, a criminal division deputy in charge of international issues, repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of harsh interrogation tactics at White House meetings of a special group formed to decide detainee matters, with representatives present from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA.
Swartz warned that the abuse of Guantanamo inmates would do “grave damage” to the country’s reputation and to its law enforcement record, according to an investigative audit released earlier this week by the Justice Department’s inspector general. Swartz was joined by a handful of other top Justice and FBI officials who said the abuse would almost certainly taint any legal proceedings against the detainees.
Now their predictions appear to be coming true. A top Pentagon official chose this month to drop charges against a detainee who was roughly interrogated at Guantanamo, and U.S. officials believe it may be difficult to charge him at all. Defense lawyers for a group of alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in U.S. custody have said they plan to raise concerns about harsh techniques used by the CIA and will seek to keep evidence derived from such tactics out of court.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Slowly setting sun
Paints the sky orange and red,
The reflected blaze
Scorching the very ocean
That daily drowns its bright flame.
Anger points backwards,
The mind blindly nursing ire –
Worry points forwards
The fearful heart lacking faith –
Flowers bloom in the present.
With each new healing
Comes the faith to live again,
Comes the hope to thrive,
Although life leads straight to death:
Each fresh breath is a reprieve.
What should we name such chicanery
(Like locusts on guard at the granary) –
The commons is sold
For a bag full of gold –
Why don’t we rename it “McCainery”?
The benefit was rather fleeting
In that old scandal named after Keating
Those caught in the scheme
Said 'twas nothing extreme
Just business as usual (cheating).
There once was a man named for shrubbery
Whose use of plain facts was quite rubbery
Truths he might desecrate
Only to find ourselves blubbery.
A bulb buried deep
In fall, frozen in winter,
Will bloom in the spring,
Breaking through barely thawed earth –
So, too, human intentions.
The burning eyeballs
Ache like red-hot glowing coals
As fever blazes
Throughout the sickened body,
A painful but cleansing purge.
Rising purple clouds
Concealing blue skies, gold sun,
Swelling to a head,
Burst in rain on parched brown fields,
Repainting them in rich greens.
Waves rush in and out,
As singular as humans,
Riding the moon’s tides
In their eternal motion,
Their froth as fleeting as fads.