Monday, May 18, 2009

American Torture

American Torture

When Barack Obama took office as the 44th President of the United States of America he inherited a large number of very serious crises that included two wars, the meltdown of the American economy and U.S. foreign policy that was in shambles. Among these many issues that our new president had to deal with was the political fallout from the authorized use of torture by the CIA and other government contractors under the Bush administration. Like many things controversial, the use of torture has become a club with which both sides of the political isle are beating each other in the futile effort to gain a little more power for their team. The American public, as usual, are the real losers in this game. The true significance of what we, as a country, lost during the darkest days of the Bush administration has been obscured by the ever increasing polarization of our political system. The real problem with this situation was not the waterboarding of a few terrorists but rather that President Bush had officially sanctioned the use of torture. The fact that the administration invoked sacred cows like "national security” and "War time powers” did nothing to change the reality that the United States had crossed a very dangerous line when our government decided to make official policy of torturing unarmed and defenseless prisoners.

I am no card carrying pacifist. In the days immediately after the attacks of 911 I would have personally liked to do things to those who were responsible that would make waterborading look like a trip to Disney World. Americans were outraged at those despicable attacks and most of us wanted to retaliate in the strongest manner possible against those who took part in turning commercial airliners full of passengers into flying bombs. Only President Bush and his cabinet know for sure exactly how decisions were made in the months after the attacks yet the whole world has had to deal with the consequences of those decisions. This point in time is where the road branches into many paths and few agree on much beyond this fork in the road. The facts are abundantly clear, however, that in declaring “WAR” on terror the administration began to expand the powers of the Executive Branch to dangerous new levels and in doing so stretched the Constitution to the breaking point. One of the most disturbing and controversial manifestations of the administration’s expansion and abuse of power was the rounding up of guilty and innocent people alike, torturing and detaining them indefinitely and using the “War on Terror” as the excuse for these and many other actions that were beginning to shred the fabric of American values.

Wanting to validate my suspicions on this matter I spoke with several sources that were high-level players in the intelligence and military communities at different points in time. These men confirmed many of my suspicions. According to sources the U.S. has indeed tortured in the past and has been doing so for as long as we have fought wars. I was not surprised as I had always suspected that the use of torture was nothing new. War is ugly, even Cold War, and sometimes in the prosecution of our wars we do things to our enemies that could certainly be considered torture. Somewhere in the middle of the “War on Terror” I remember hearing about “Extraordinary Rendition.” It turns out that this friendly sounding term refers to cases where U.S. intelligence agents or contractors spirited suspected terrorists off in the middle of the night to other countries around the world where “real” torture could be carried out. The methods of torture used in some of these cases will likely never be read aloud at any congressional hearing. The Bush administration authorized extraordinary rendition many times but they were not the first administration to do so. There have certainly been times when it has been necessary to break the rules and carry out things like “Extraordinary Rendition.” The problem lies in making things like torture the rule rather than the exception. Torture and all the excruciatingly painful things that come to mind when one utters the word have been tools in the intelligence community’s toolbox for generations before George Bush came to power. According to my sources these tools were used sparingly, for tactical purposes, in what they referred to as “Dark OPS.” In other words; Torture carried out without official Presidential sanctioning during covert operations. These same sources all seem to be in agreement, to a certain degree, that torture is not the most effective way to obtain information. If the torture is severe enough, I am told that a well trained intelligence officer can get anyone to say just about anything. If one needs tactical information of a specific nature and they need it in a hurry, torture may be useful, and in many cases it may not be. The development of certain types of relationships, brainwashing, between the intelligence officer and the captive is said to be a better way of getting more reliable and abundant information. So, why the big deal now?

The Bush administration crossed the line when it made torture a government sanctioned business. In consulting attorneys to look for legal loopholes then passing directives down the chain of command, thus giving the green light to torture, Bush and Cheney climbed into the gutter with all the petty dictators of the world and dragged American honor, for which many brave Americans had fought, sacrificed and died to uphold, with them. Some of the most indelible and abhorrent symbols of the environment the Bush administration created by officially sanctioning torture are the pictures of the grotesque and humiliating abuses inflicted upon the prisoners at Abu Grieb. Abu Grieb is the very prison in which Saddam Hussein and his sons tortured the citizens of Iraq. When the gallows door dropped, sending Saddam Hussein to Hell, the reputation of the United States of America as a good and decent nation swung on that rope with him. Restoring the good will and honor the Bush administration tarnished by officially sanctioning torture, among other things, is going to take a long time and a lot of work. The United States of America and her good people started the process of doing so at the ballot box.

Copyright © 2009, Gordan Thibedeau, Jr.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Short Letter to The Big Weiner: AKA Michael Savage

Congratulations! You have finally been recognized by the "Mainstream Media." All you had to do was spew enough hate to be blocked from entrance to a civilized country. You had to see this coming. It is never good when a really intelligent person looses his mind. It is possible to be too dam smart for your own good. Your rather large ego has been a real detriment to your well being of late as well. So , they won't allow you into the UK, no big deal. Right? Right now your anger seems to be focused on the fact that your story is under reported. EGO. Most people simply don't know who you are. Yes you have a listenership of millions but they are made up mostly of people on the fringes of society and everyone in this business knows that listenership numbers are grossly inflated for advertising purposes. 25-54 with expendable incomes exists in your dreams and in well oiled sales pitches. You have obviously caught the attention of several governments. Let us look at that.
You once proclaimed yourself to be " To the right of Rush and to the Left of God." Even this statement portrays a love affair with your self that could only bear sour fruit. Armed with the experience of an immigrant upbringing, from the Bronx no less, and a diverse education including a PHD, you took on the world. Your broadcasts were always a little bit "out there" often requiring a disclaimer by the stations carrying your show so as to not be responsible for your radical rantings. When Barack Obama was elected you and the other right wing radio elite simply lost your minds and did so in front of millions of listeners. The Rush Limbaugh ditto cam showed the golden microphone dripping with slobber and food particles as he babbled mush for the masses. It was like you, Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly all ate a batch of bad oysters. Sometime after the inauguration you and the other teabags must have met at a bunker in Montana or via satellite from separate undisclosed locations because you all came out in lockstep, spewing vile and venomous hate filled insults at our new president. The most shocking fact to me was that this strategy worked. Disgruntled Conservatives and racists around the country jumped on the band wagon and ratings went up. For your compatriots this was clearly just a strategy designed to keep up ratings and keep their names in the news. The windbag was briefly taken on by a green President Obama and the President quickly learned that only bad can come from wallowing in the slime with the slimy and was forced to rise above the gutter pundits level. Even baptism in Chicago politics could not have prepared Obama for the low shots he was to receive in the national level, but that's another issue. But you Michael, you really lost it. Your mumbling hate filled rants continued and worsened. I wont quote you because I don't want to perpetuate your filth. Don't act so surprised and insulted that a country such as the UK would not want your hate filled poisonous body to step foot on their soil. The world simply has no room for bigoted hatred of the kind you espouse. I would never want to see the United States shut you up, or down. Censoring you would go against many of the values our country stands for and would lower us all to your level. I hope our government never gives you that pleasure. I do applaud the Brits for their actions. Someone had to get your attention and let you know that your filthy hate mongering has gone too far. I know that this will bring up your ratings and I hope you take the opportunity to become just a little less putrid.
To be fair I have spoken with you on a couple of occasions, years ago when a broadcast group I worked for picked up your show. You were polite and brief. When I started to hear you loose your mind, on air, I called to see if you were OK and if maybe this was really just a ploy. I was not able to contact you. You are a smart man Michael, get your self some help.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama: Change?

I always wondered what would happen if a man ( or woman ) with real integrity and new ideas actually became President of the United States of America. Could such a person ever be elected? Can you really even use the words politician and integrity in the same sentence? I think that President Carter may have fit the description in a plaid polyester sort of way but his administration fizzled like a warm can of Billy Beer. After eight years of the Cheney/Bush administration, a ticket comprised of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker would have felt like warm, white cotton on the line in a fresh breeze. When the 2008 Presidential run began I fully expected a second Clinton Administration. The thought of Hillary as Commander in Chief does scare me but I would have welcomed her with open arms if it meant that Hitler and Mussolini would be out of the White House and that decider guy with them. I have no doubt that the integrity and new ideas stuff would would be left in some musky Capitol Hill closet when the Clinton's moved back into their old digs on Pennsylvania Ave. There is no way in the world anyone could ever have convinced me that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama would come out of no where and take the reigns of the most powerful nation in the world.

There he was, with a million dollar smile, a wonderful family and an integrity laced new vision for America. After eight long years of hate, mistrust and fear, how could the country not love this man? Barack Obama was well spoken, intelligent, passionate with restraint, good looking, professional, and.... well....Black. I had relocated to the deep south during the latter part of the election and you had better believe that no matter how hard everyone on the campaign trail was trying to be politically correct, Obama's blackness stood out like cleavage at a Baptist convention. Still, here he was, the great whi...I mean black hope. I was immediately overwhelmed by his composure in all situations. Even though he did dance the politicians dance, and with grace I might add, he reeked of integrity and never tried to steal a kiss. Even the massive Clinton Political Machine could not stamp out Obama's embers, and those embers eventually became a wildfire that engulfed our nation. With great strength of character, courage and dignity, Barack Obama walked the razor fine line that is the politicians yellow brick road , and did so with a smile. I am shamed by the fact that the white in me was slow to acknowledge the fact that the black in him must have been instinctively aware of the hate and malice many felt towards him and his family for daring to be black and ambitious. Obama made it easy for us white folk by never, ever showing an ounce of fear. I often look to a mans eyes when attempting to gauge his character. In Obama's eyes I found that look of inner strength and essence of self worth tempered by the empathy required devote ones self to service and move beyond greed's grasp. When Barack Obama and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America quite humanly stumbled through the oath of office during an unquestionably historic inauguration of our 44th President, I knew that this country was about to experience real change and wondered if we were really ready. I also knew I was about to get the closest thing to a real answer to my question that I would in this lifetime. I am as yet unsure whether I like or agree with the kind of change I think I am seeing but I do love watching and listening to the right wing pundits absolutely loose their minds, quite publicly, over our new Presidents plans. The insanity of the pundits is something I can't wait to write about next time. I sincerely hope that you few who read my rants will take a look at my second installment.

All the best to You and Yours.

About Me

My photo
GLT JR is a 42 year old father of 7 and currently is raising an awesome 5 year old daughter as a single parent.

Mankind May Survive If We All check The Box Marked HUMAN RACE.

In order for all humans on Earth to survive we must stop concentrating on the things that make us different and realize that we all bleed red. Erase the imaginary lines that divide us, stop devoting our resources to building walls and war machines and we might just make it. People often ask how God could allow all the suffering in the world when the real question is why do we.