Posts Tagged ‘War on Terror’

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Obama’s ‘State Secrets’ a Bigger Threat to Our Free Society than Health Care Ever Will

09.26.10

Those in the Tea Parties like to rally against government getting too big and usually cite the bank bailouts, the stimulus package, and the health care reform as tell-tale signs that Obama and the Democrats are leading us into socialism.

It seems that the size of government, regardless of what those programs intend to do or why they were enacted in the first place, trumps the content of the policy.  It’s a simple numbers game for them.  In their mind, the government has peaked that curve that tips us from capitalism into socialism in their own view of the world and that’s that.

But what about the real issue of government getting too big: the deprivation of American civil liberties. And it’s already been happening.  First under Bush with the warrantless wiretapping and torture of terror suspects and now with Obama’s declared execution of an American citizen without any formal charges or due process:

Obama’s now asserting a power so radical — the right to kill American citizens and do so in total secrecy, beyond even the reach of the courts — that it’s “too harsh even for” one of the most far-right War on Terror cheerleading-lawyers in the nation.  But that power is certainly not “too harsh” for the kind-hearted Constitutional Scholar we elected as President, nor for his hordes of all-justifying supporters soon to place themselves to the right of David Rivkin as they explain why this is all perfectly justified.

What’s a more egregious act of a too-powerful government: making everyone have health insurance or the ability for the president to kill Americans with total impunity?  Why aren’t more people on all sides of the political divide beyond outraged at this?!

Is it because Anwar Awlaki – an American citizen – is an alleged (not even accused, because there haven’t been formal charges even) terrorist and traitor?  Unfortunately it seems that a large swath of Americans – including most, if not all, of the GOP – feel that once someone is deemed a terror suspect, they lose all human rights — as evidenced by the support of torture, rendition, and imprisonment for indefinite amounts of time without trial, even for American citizens.

How anyone could be in favor of smaller, less intrusive government yet support any of these powers that the President has given to the executive branch lacks any and all intellectual honesty.  It’s downright baffling and oxymoronic.

It must be problematic for those on the right because their fostered hatred for all things Islam has them believing that all Muslims are “the other,” they’re not truly American – even if they are U.S. citizens – which lets them be okay with this because, after all, it’s not like Obama is attempting to assassinate Bubba Joe Thompson from South Carolina or something.  It’s Anwar Awlaki from New Mexico.  With a name like that and the government saying that he’s a terrorist, well, that’s all the evidence I need!

Sigh.

It’s all good when the President is using those extra-constitutional powers to get the bad guys when the bad guys aren’t you.  But what happens when some radical in your social, ethnic, or religious group ends up doing something awful and all of a sudden you’re lumped in with them and targeted by the government?  What then?  By then it’ll be too far gone to stop.

This is why it’s so dangerous to conflate Islamic, murderous radicals with all Muslims, of which they constitute a tiny minority.  We get these knee-jerk reactions that toss away our civil liberties that we fought so hard to gain centuries ago, all under the guise of security and safety and protecting the American way of life.

Unfortunately, it seems that by having Obama – who was elected to clean up government and end these atrocious violations of the Constitution – continue and expand them, it may be too late to change already.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Lea Steele.

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Ft. Hood Tragedy Polarizes Nation Immediately

11.10.09

Major Nidal Hasan sure got both sides spewing their rhetoric.

One side uses the tragedy as an excuse to condemn all of Islam and its followers and to justify the wars in the Middle East.  The other side condemns those who condemn Islam.

As the picture becomes clearer about Hasan and his extremist views, those who were quick to blame Islam may have more of a leg to stand on than when the news first hit about the shootings at Ft. Hood.  It doesn’t by any means justify jumping to conclusions based on the Major’s Middle Eastern name and apparent religious affiliation, but it’s beginning to seem like what looked like a duck and quacked like a duck is, in fact, a duck.

Perhaps.

One of the downsides of our world of instant news is that no one has the time to gather facts before presenting them in a way that fashions some sort of picture.  There is no illumination; just a few spare details and the rest is left to speculation until more facts help reveal the true image.  Unfortunately, by the time the true story comes to light, the blogosphere has already reached their conclusions and they’re just waiting for new details simply to enhance their preconceived notions.

It’s not just the blogosphere that overreacts, either.  Sen. Joe Lieberman sure has done enough of his own lately, seeking a Congressional investigation to consider the Ft. Hood shootings a terrorist act.  No formal charges have even been made yet and Lieberman wants Hasan declared a terrorist.

Sen. Lieberman:

It’s — first, this was a terrible tragedy. Second, it’s too early — it’s premature to reach conclusions about what motivated Hasan. But it’s clear that he was, one, under personal stress and, two, if the reports that we’re receiving of various statements he made, acts he took, are valid, he had turned to Islamist extremism.

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And therefore, if that is true, the murder of these 13 people was a terrorist act and, in fact, it was the most destructive terrorist act to be committed on American soil since 9/11.

He admits that it’s too early to say, but then goes on anyway with his multitude of ifs leading to his statement meant merely to rile people up.  This is something to be expected from blowhard pundits like Limbaugh, Wallace, and Beck, but not a U.S. Senator.  Nothing good comes of this except for more marginalization, more hate, and more misguided anger.  Thank you, Mr. Lieberman.  Job well done.

Perhaps everyone should just hold off while evidence is gathered, witnesses interviewed, and even an interrogation of the accused before he’s condemned before a trial.  Remember, not only is Hasan an American citizen, he’s a Major in the Army.  It seems that the senator has jumped to conclusions, based either on the information currently available, or perhaps, more likely, due to the fact that Maj. Hasan is a Muslim and there’s a sense of blame associated with Muslims simply due to their chosen faith.  As if his being a Muslim automatically places him alongside Bin Laden and Mohammad Atta without so much as even receiving his Miranda rights.

More and more facts will rise to the surface as the days go by and the investigation continues.  Authorities say that they still don’t have a motive for the massacre, but regardless, there is no excuse.  It was an unconscionable act of violence that took 13 lives and changed countless more.  Perhaps we’ll find that this was part of some bigger plot.  Or maybe we’ll find that it was just a man who snapped and came undone in the worst way.

But like Sen. Lieberman said, it’s too early to tell.

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Get Out Of The Desert! Cont’d

11.05.09

I know this is playing to emotions and there are difficult, real-world issues at stake here, but for the same party that touts family values and the traditional nuclear family to also want to just keep sending moms and dad overseas to fight for a pointless war for nearly a decade just seems so very contradictory and blind.

Let’s get out of both Afghanistan and Iraq for all of the little girls in the country who want their daddy back home.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

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Get Out Of The Desert!

11.05.09

As if we needed any more American deaths to make this war real to those of us back home who have the luxury of thinking about the ideal of spreading democracy and freedom across the planet.  Well, here we have it.

12 American soldiers.  Dead.  On American soil.

This is what happens to the human psyche when trained to kill and subjected to years in a war zone.  It breaks.  And, in this case, it takes others with it.

We went into Afghanistan and liberated it from the Taliban.  We installed a democratic government.  We’re done.  It’s over.  Time to come home.

The fact that that the Taliban has reemerged in Pakistan is not the same fight.  Sure, it’s the “War on Terror” but there’s no need for the tens of thousands of troops on the ground nor the 40,000 potentially deployed in The Surge, Part II (we all know how well sequels tend to be).  We can surgically help out Pakistan if need be with their fight with the Taliban.

It’s been over nine years since 9/11.  We’ve been at war for nearly a decade.  The human cost is incalculable, especially when you include the pain of people losing their loved ones as well as those troops who survive physically, but are mentally and emotionally wrecked.

This has to stop. Now. There are no more excuses.  No more reasons to stay.  No more staying the course.  No more troop surges for victory.  Win or lose, we’re done.

Bring our troops home.  It’s time to get out of the desert.

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A Breath of Fresh Air

01.26.09

Talk about a total climate change.

Everyday I read more and more about what President Obama is doing and I’m constantly refreshed by the actions he’s taking and the words he’s saying.  He proves that you can have a respectful air of authority without being a total cowboy.  His is a cerebral confidence and one of intelligence and rationality.  Exactly the kind of traits we need in an American leader.

“I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript. “My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.”

Somehow I think Obama’s approach to the situation trumps Bush’s: “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”