Assassinating suspects undermines justice

My following letter about assassinating terrorists appeared in the Daily Beacon, the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, on March 5, 2010:

In light of the publication of a secret Israeli assassination in Dubai, Treston Wheat committed his Feb. 25 waste of ink to glorifying assassination, which he deems necessary to the fight against terrorism. Even if this were true, assassinations are illegal under domestic and international law, so he condones lawbreaking. While ignoring all moral and legal questions, Wheat boldly assumes that assassination can stop terrorism. It cannot, and one could argue that the assassination of suspected terrorists increases the strength and legitimacy of the terrorists’ cause, while undermining our claim on liberty and justice.

As a Jew and a staunch advocate of freedom, due process and the rule of law, I am often disappointed by the Israeli government’s tactics and policies. I am equally disappointed by self-proclaimed followers of Christ like Wheat, who defend government policies that are immoral, expedient, unnecessary and antagonistic to everything Jesus taught. The philosophical innovation of Judaism was the recognition of human freedom; to this, Christianity added the common brotherhood of all men. These Western religious tenets, freedom and brotherhood, have been abandoned by the current Israeli coalition and its supporters. Do I support Israel? Yes, but only an Israel that recognizes all its inhabitants as free and equal under the law, and one need not look far into Israel’s laws to discover that it does not. I hold every other nation to the same standard.

The United States itself participates in secret assassinations more often than we know. The targets of these assassinations are suspects. They are innocent until proven guilty. They are the accused, and in a free and just society, the accused have rights. Our CIA is not all bad, but it is often involved in a lot of mischief offensive to our idea of justice. Recently, ABC News released agency recordings of a small plane being shot down over Peru, with the aid of our CIA. The plane was suspected of smuggling drugs, but was actually carrying an American missionary family, all of whom were killed by the machine gun fire of Peruvian fighter jets. These deaths are a consequence of the notion that it is okay to murder suspects without the benefit of a trial, or even evidence presented against them. Even if the plane had been carrying drugs and smugglers, since when is capital punishment, executed in secrecy without trial, the proper punishment for this crime? Or any other crime, for that matter? This practice destroys 800 years of our legal traditions dating back to the Magna Carta. Now we are told by the CIA that it considers itself obliged to assassinate American citizens, on secret evidence, in order to protect us from threats. The power given to the U.S. president by our passive acceptance of this practice is definitively totalitarian. It is a real threat to essential human liberties.

Terrorism works, and the more brutal the physical force opposing it, the more quickly it strengthens and spreads. The true “War on Terror” is a battle of ideas and politics, because terrorists are inspired by ideas and political grievances. I prefer destroying the dark tree of terrorism at its root — not picking off one prickly leaf at a time, as several grow back in its place. To do this, we must ask ourselves what the root cause of terrorism is and address that cause. If we have not properly answered that question, and the answer to it is well-publicized by its perpetrators, we cannot begin to address the terrorist threat.

Wheat’s disapproval of the recent Mossad assassination stems from its sloppiness, not its intent. The trouble with the Israeli government’s policy of murdering suspected criminals, Wheat has so amorally asserted, is that the crime was eventually caught on film. The real trouble is that assassination is murder with impunity. It is always unjust. If a person is evil enough to “deserve” assassination, certainly that person is evil enough to stand trial for his crimes.

Alex Winston

Senior in political science

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Religious freedom: a confined policy

Freedom of religion is an established right in the United States; the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees it to every person.  In the U.S., no person may be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.  Equal opportunity is among our most cherished tenets; it is the product of much national soul-searching, and it did not arrive without a struggle.  It has brought tranquility in a diverse nation.  In the U.S. today, it is legally irrelevant whether a person is male, female, Mormon, Jew, Christian, Muslim, White, Black or Asian.

Americans know that a human being is rightly judged on character alone, but they abandon that knowledge when they consider foreigners.  Americans have allied themselves with many governments around the world that hate American rights.  Israel, for instance, would not dream of placing the Arab and the Jew on equal footing.  Many American allies in the Islamic world treat non-Muslims as second-class citizens.  The U.S. has also supported many autocracies that discriminate against (or even exterminate) political dissidents, and it continues to reward the perpetrators of these atrocities with weapons and cash.

When we treat certain people as inferior beings based on religious differences (or condone such treatment), we give credence to the very evil we aim to suppress, and this ignorant practice has brought more wretchedness to humanity than all other evils combined.  It will continue to bring Americans trouble in the forms of anxiety, fear, terror, and war.  U.S. policy is philosophically unsound, for it is a philosophical contradiction to support religious freedom and the establishment of any religious state–Islamic, Christian, or Jewish.

All those who espouse the doctrine of religious statehood, may be included within the following descriptions: the interested, who are not to be trusted; the weak, who cannot see; the prejudiced, who will not see; and a certain set of moderates, who think better of the religious state than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this world than all the other three.

Want some bad debt? Bailing on America.

Rights wronged

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” – Presidential Oath of Office in its entirety

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face!  It’s just a goddamn piece of paper!” – George W. Bush, (so help us God)

“Go f*** yourselves, America.” – U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson (paraphrased)

“Amen, Mr. Secretary!” -Barney Frank (shockingly not a retard…according to standard definitions), and Christopher Dodd (aka, Oppressive Slimeball)

The unwritten American law: when any financial institution makes any bad loan anywhere, that institution is not accountable for its error: the American taxpayer is.  Actually, for the sake of preserving the market (and when they say “preserving”, they mean “undermining”, the American taxpayer will now prop up any large corporation, assuming it is a complete and total failure.  GM, Ford, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, IndyMac, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and every other non-competitive corporate loser: do not worry, because the United States no longer believes in capitalism.  Therefore you cannot fail; in fact, as a reward for your magnificently unsuccessful business models, you get free money from the American taxpayer.  The D.C. mafia are perfectly happy to crap all over the average American in order to sustain a politically friendly (albeit criminal) banking system.  What’s the old saying about America’s hospitable nature? Give me your swindling, your greedy, your corporate jet-flying masses?

Guess what, America? Henry Paulson is officially above the law.  $700,000,000,000 is not nearly enough; $2,000,000,000,000 is far from “enough” for the socialist journey upon which your government now embarks.  There will be more to pay, more to print, more to steal from your labor.  This new socialism is insatiable.

America does not have leaders anymore.  It has rulers.  It has owners.  They rule you, they own you, they have spent over a century subverting the supposedly binding agreement between you and them called the U.S. Constitution, and they have the power–through formal taxes and inflation–to take every last real dollar you ever saved, and they will, because their cars aren’t fast enough, their jets aren’t new enough, their diamonds aren’t big enough, and they know you are a bunch of suckers who still think the Presidential election matters.  Wake up and read the Constitution.  You’re getting royally screwed, America, and by a creature many of you still consider friendly: the federal government.  This President, this Congress, these judges and bureaucrats, these candidates–the agents of change–are, for the most part, your masters and your enemies, and if you let them, they will strip you of everything but your soul.

When you ask why or how this could happen–how the freest modern society could fall so far, and become economically depressed and politically oppressed–they will respond as they do now, explaining that they are not accountable, but you are–and sadly, in a way, they will be right.  The further their explanation strays from the truth, the more oppressive they will become, the more dangerous dissent will become to them.  The Constitutionalist will take on the foster name “terrorist”.  The reflective person will be legally termed the dangerous person; the truthful person: an enemy of the state.  As a wise man once said, “truth is treason in the empire of lies.”

The Iraq War, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift

Iraqi prisoners

Before reading:

Read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. This will help you understand the title and the tone.
http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/modest.html
Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFptybbietQ
Intellectuals will understand the nature of this piece without explanation, and those readers who do not will find themselves inspired to defend the Iraqi people, which the media has taught them are subhuman.
It is satirical.  It is supposed to be disgusting.  My aim is to help the disgusted American reader, by forcing the reader to view Iraqis as humans, which is what they are.

The fundamentalist factions of Islam and Christianity have such similar social goals regarding women, substances, arts, sciences, and sex, that I have often wondered why the two don’t join forces against socially liberal ideas. These factions are almost invariably better armed and more passionate than liberals, and could together defeat and rule their pusillanimous counterparts within weeks. Instead of joining forces, however, they have become brothers at arms, and because the Christian faction “represents” my nation, I submit a modest proposal, hoping it will teach U.S. rulers how to maximize the economic productivity of their otherwise wasteful war (beyond the apparent strategy of stealing oil).

By some counts, our war has extinguished more than one million souls in Iraq, many of them young and–aside from bullet and/or blast wounds–relatively healthy. A show of hands reveals that many of the million dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) have suffered severed limbs or crushed skulls, but that a large percentage of their torsos remain intact.

Let us modestly assume that–subtracting infants, the aged, and the unusable–we have produced 300,000 employable human torsos in Iraq, and we have let them all decay to waste. This is tragic when we consider that many die on transplant waiting lists in the United States each year, and that there are only 107,213 Americans on all such lists today. To the list registrants and their families, there can be no sufficient reason why the bodies of our enemies should not have been harvested for useful organs. We know our enemies are evil, but we are well aware that the corruption resides in their minds–not in their hearts, livers, lungs or kidneys–so let us use their organs productively.

We know that many of those who die waiting for transplants are waiting for new livers. This is where our habit of killing Islamofascists in defense of freedom will be uniquely helpful. The backward people of the Islamic world are discouraged from consuming alcohol, and have outlawed its use in many places, which makes their livers pristine replacements for those of good, freedom-loving, beer-drinking Americans.

Many liberals–and even some weak-hearted conservative Americans–are saddened by the innocent-looking eyes of Iraqi children, but I assure you, we should feel no remorse for the children we have incidentally killed. First, we must face the reality that the people we are fighting are peculiarly wicked and–even as children–believe that freedom-loving people deserve death. Moreover, I understand that the children will be very useful to us (given that they are dead). There are certain areas of the body in which a transplant from a child is preferable to one from an adult. Corneal transplants are a perfect example.

Given that our toll of useful corpses nearly triples our conventional need for them, and that we have been assured, “my friends, there will be more wars,” it is only appropriate–for the sake of production–that some unconventional uses for dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) be explored.

For example: intestine. Of the 107,213 on the organ transplant waiting list, only 236 are waiting for intestine, which naturally brings us to wonder what is to be done with all of the extra gut. Gut has a variety of productive uses, and its excess promises to be of great use to American society. It can be fashioned into a tough string for musical instruments or tennis racquets. It is a source of rennet, which is used for the production of cheese. It can be used to case sausages. With all the possible uses of gut employed, we will be able to minimize the waste of Islamic intestine.

The use of human remains is not my area of expertise, and I hope and trust it never will be, but I am sure our government’s scientists will find a number of uses–known and yet unknown–for leftover Iraqi flesh. This new resource will be undoubtedly welcomed by the struggling United States economy.

The management of the war has also given us overseas prisons filled with terrorists. Of such prisons and their occupants, we are told, “my friends, there are some bad people down there,” and this is undoubtedly true. If the people in our government’s secret prisons were not obviously guilty terrorists, they would never have been arrested and detained by our benevolent military forces.

Currently, the scoundrels in our overseas prisons are a drain on the American economy, but this effect can be reversed. Because we know that their cases will never be formally tried, and that they will remain in these prisons indefinitely, we are fools to let them age wastefully. They are terrorists. They are guilty. They are fanatics. They cannot be rehabilitated. They are not getting out, ever. They are, for all intents and purposes, already dead. It is torturous beyond measure for a person to live endlessly in confinement this way, so it is with the utmost mercy that we should kill them humanely, and harvest their remains. This is the only way for them to become productive members (or–pardoning the pun–dismembers) of society. Because of their religious beliefs, a number of them are begging for death, so I am merely suggesting that we fulfill their requests.

Given our economic strife, and the necessity for our war despite its hefty price tag (not to mention the irrefutable sense of what I have proposed), there can be little doubt that these suggestions will be taken into serious consideration by our elected deciders in Washington. I believe, through sincere reason and revelation, that the measures I have proposed will help the United States win its war against evil, and thus they will help ensure that good people always prevail.

McCain thinks like a dictator

the new Bush

I believe the Supreme Court made a very good decision last week in the case of Boumediene v. Bush. McCain calls the decision to extend the writ of habeas corpus to detainees at Guantanamo “one of the worst decisions in history.” Perhaps he would rank it along the lines of the Court’s support of slavery prior to the Civil War, or even worse, considering his hyperbolic characterization of the dangers the U.S. currently faces. By simply drawing McCain’s words to their logical conclusion, he would treat black people like farm animals before he would treat America’s suspected enemies like humans.

The Senator’s cognitive retardation is highlighted by his own experiences as a prisoner of war. He would do well to remember his own past situation, and then imagine that he had been captured by a foreign army while in his own country, and then transported to a prison in another country, without notice to his family or friends, without rights to counsel or a presentation of evidence, without his home country having the knowledge or ability to even put political pressure on his captors, and without any end to his situation in sight.

Sometimes mistakenly-anointed “experts” who share McCain’s reasoning deficiency argue that the controversial detainments in Guantanamo are perfectly legal and acceptable, because the prison there is a state-of-the-art facility, and that the prisoners are treated well, and allowed a more than reasonable level of comfort. This is no different than the argument that slavery is acceptable, so long as the slaves are treated well, and allowed a reasonable level of comfort.

“My friends, there are some bad people down there. There are some bad people,” McCain tells us of the detainees at Guantanamo. How does he know this? There has been no evidence presented that would tell him this. McCain “reasons,” against every argument history offers humankind, that because they have been arrested, the prisoners must be guilty. The American people cannot allow this mentality to lead our policies against terrorism. This is precisely the allowance the German people gave to Hitler after the Reichstag fire, and it enabled him to detain and kill prisoners without cause.

As for the morally empty argument of precedence in this case, I will only point out that every moment of human history like this one, in which a powerful group decided it safest to detain certain people it considers “dangerous,” has in reflection become a source of embarrassment to the perpetrating nation, whether it be Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or the United States. Just because a mistake has been made before without serious legal ramifications (i.e., encampment of Japanese Americans during WWII), does not mean that mistake should be made again. There is nothing wrong with opposing a precedent, especially when that precedent is clearly unjust.

While they may draw attention, I don’t expect these assertions to draw much argument, as it is difficult to even begin an argument against the truth. When one decides to argue against truth and reason, one cannot win; falsehood wilts, or imposes itself by force, but truth stands with God, on its own clarity and goodness.

Iraqis have a voice, “but nobody listened.” Will you?

We have committed the invasion.

I have written a book; and if it cannot be refuted, it cannot be condemned. But I do not consider the prosecution as particularly leveled against me, but against the general right, or the right of every man, of investigating systems and principles of government, and showing their several excellencies or defects.” – Thomas Paine

Don’t share this with anyone allergic to truth. I have recently seen testimony that is–shocking is not the right word–horrifying. The official story we have been told about Iraq is a lie so big (though some leader, perhaps modeling for our own, once noted that people are more apt to believe a big lie than a small one), that I fear American heads will roll as a result of its telling, and perhaps justly. The big lie has officially lost legitimacy, and can now only be perpetuated through force. God bless America.

Iraqi leaders have been allowed to talk to members of Congress on CSPAN, and it should well ruin the war propaganda campaign that the Clinton and Bush Administrations, in conjunction with mainstream U.S. media (yes this includes “conservative” talk show hosts), have been orchestrating against the American and Iraqi people for the past decade. What the Iraqis are revealing, to the horror of Americans who have tuned in:

  • “The surge is working” is a lie, and always has been. Anyone who uses this phrase after the revelations of 06.04.08 is either a contemporary or a follower of Goebbels, and should be prosecuted for sedition or libel, before their efforts pave in America, a short road to Nazi Germany. Those who henceforth perpetuate the lie that the surge is working are war criminals, and perpetrate crimes against humanity, by extending an illegal, unjust and murderous war through known falsities.
  • Iraq is undeniably capable of defending itself without U.S. military aid, and has been for some time.
  • The U.S. is not defending Iraq from Iranian invasion.
  • Iraqis would rather have Saddam Hussein than what America has “given” them.
  • Most Iraqis want American forces to withdraw.
  • Continued presence of American troops in Iraq will increase the size and strength of terrorist militias there.

If we believe it too radical to suggest that the people of a nation should govern themselves, if we believe that our distant and uninformed (if not misinformed) opinions will serve the Iraqi people better than their knowledge and experience can serve themselves, if we lack (or unpardonably disregard) the God-given virtues of humility and compassion that the Scripture commands us in all of our affairs to employ, and if we disdain our own blessings so severely that we might arrogantly idolize ourselves as Rulers of the Universe, then we will care very little for what the Iraqi people think of our presence in their country.

As American republicans and good people, what I have described in the preceding stanza is not our condition, but if it were, we could rightly call ourselves evil, and if unrepentant, we would certainly deserve Hell, presuming its existence. If our intentions in Iraq are good, we must seek to remove all ambiguity from our understanding of the conflict, because, as a selfish but quotable man once wrote, “the consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity.” A selfless and more quotable man expressed as much in fewer words: “mystery is the antagonist of truth.” And I’m told a wise chimpanzee shared a banana. With that in mind, I leave you to the material at hand, with this advice in closing: seek truth, remove ambiguity, remain conscious of good intentions, eliminate mystery, and most importantly, share your bananas.

Why hasn’t the media been telling us that these tan-colored, robed creatures in Iraq are capable of rational thought? I feel misled, for I almost believed Iraqis were little more than cackling orangutans with bombs strapped to their torsos. Apparently this Iraq War thing Americans have been watching almost as attentively as they watched season six of Survivor–Iraqis actually care about it for some reason. You would think the Iraq War actually affected their lives. Go figure. Maybe it does. Who knows? Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to see what these surprisingly rational residents of Mess-o-potamia are saying, and I have compiled some video and quotes from my worldwide web travels.

Some quotes from a prominent Iraqi Shiite leader and a prominent Iraqi Sunni leader, sitting side by side in the Capitol Building in Washington:

“I just would like to assert that Iraq is capable to defend itself.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“The majority of the people of Iraq are for the withdrawal, perhaps even about 70 percent.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“The [American] Embassy in Iraq has an incredibly large amount of staff. It is certainly larger than the diplomatic mission for which it has arrived. I have information that there may be about three-thousand employees, and there certainly is another view than the one that we see … From the principle of reciprocity, would it be appropriate for the Iraqis to establish a three-thousand employee embassy in Washington?” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“There definitely is a resentment for the presence of [U.S.] military bases.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“I would prefer if it [the invasion of Iraq] didn’t happen, because it led to the destruction of the country. The U.S. got rid of one person. It put in hundreds of persons that are worse than Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, now Iran is going into Iraq, and this is under the umbrella of the United States.” – Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, Iraqi Parliament

“Increasing the number of forces [a.k.a., the troop surge] didn’t affect the level of violence in Iraq. What led to the reduction of terrorism acts and violence was the forces of … those volunteers from the tribes of the areas where terrorists are more, and those forces managed to eliminate the terrorists, because they know them, and they know their tactics. We suggested that a long time ago for our government and for the American government, but nobody listened. I believe that the reduction of the level of violence is due mainly to the efforts of the volunteers. I believe the thing that will reduce the violence more–not a military force–but having realistic solutions to convince others to join the political process. I believe the best method to achieve that is a real national reconciliation, not only slogans, as is being done now.” – Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, Iraqi Parliament

“Many of the armed militias were established in order to fight the presence of foreign troops on their land, so their justification is to liberate Iraq from the foreign troops, so as soon as the troops have withdrawn, they have no more justification to exist, because it doesn’t make sense for them to start killing their own compatriots. It is my belief that when the troops withdraw, these groups will not bear arms any longer. And for as long as we have foreign troops on our land, these groups will actually increase in number…the presence of foreign troops is actually serving these groups. In the case of a withdrawal, we can rehabilitate them so that they can become civilians, and then include them in the democratic process in Iraq.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXelUuw4nWk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3eQVVe-dH0

Empire logic

The backward but true mantras of American empire (sans spin):

  • If we kill or imprison enough of a person’s family members, they will learn to love our way of life.
    • If they do not yet love our way of life, we will continue to kill them until they do.
    • The survivors should be told their dead friends were living a lie, and that we have come to show them the truth.
  • If a tyrannical militant dictator disagrees with our policies, he is evil, a sponsor of state terror, and should be replaced.
  • If a tyrannical militant dictator agrees with our policies, he is good and should be given weapons to use against his own innocent people, who will henceforth be called “terrorists.”
  • If you don’t want our troops in your country, be quiet about it.
    • If you speak up or act out, you are an enemy combatant, and should be detained (and perhaps tortured) in a secret prison.
  • Because our country has nuclear weapons, everyone in the world is safe.
  • If your country gets nuclear weapons, everyone in the world is in danger.
  • Aggressive war is wrong, unless we’re the ones initiating it.
  • Your country’s resources belong to our corporations. Let freedom ring.
  • We know what’s best for everyone. We are America.