The Broad is Back!

January 22, 2009

Oh Happy Day! The Torture is ending!

Filed under: New Broads,Obama,patriotism,politics,torture,Uncategorized — by maggiec @ 11:16 pm

Tuesdays events were historic, but today’s were almost as  important. President Obama signed executive orders to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp and to stop waterboarding along with other tortures. God bless the man!

America was a great country and will be great again, but for too many years now we’ve been behaving in a morally reprehensible manner.  Because this is my country and I love it fiercely, I hold it to a higher standard.  And if we say we are fighting the good fight, we have to behave properly.  Breaking the Geneva Conventions is wrong.  Torture is wrong.

I have no sympathy for terrorists.  As long as the spirits and accomplishments of  Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  live, no one on earth can convince me of the need for terrorism.  Over the years, in many arguments, people have tried to tell me that oppressed people have no other choice.  That is just wrong.  Yes, I know that there are millions of politically wronged people on this earth, but I will never condone terrorism.  So contrary to my more radically conservative relatives’ claims, I’m not a “bleeding heart liberal”.  Really, I’m not.  I’m not against torture because it’s bad for the tortured.  I’m against it because it’s bad for the torturer.  When someone tortures a prisoner in the name of the United States, it weakens my country.

Finally, we have a president who understands that.

I know that torture works.  I’m quite aware of that fact, and knowing me, if I thought I could save a family member by torturing someone, I’d do it in a heart beat.  But I know I would dehumanize myself in the process.  Something in me would die, and I would be in the wrong.  Expedient, but wrong.

But I am an individual.  My actions are between me and my God.  The United States is a different case.  We can’t tell other countries not to torture, tell them to give prisoners due process of the law, and then turn around and break the same rules ourselves.

According to today’s story in CNN, “The president said he was issuing the order to close the facility in order to ‘restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.'”

About the order banning torture, Obama said, “This is me following through … on an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct not just when it’s easy but also when it’s hard.”

This is a hard decision, but it’s a great one.  Thank you, Mr. President.

March 9, 2008

Torture is OK? Not in my book!

Filed under: American culture,military,New Broads,politics,soldiers,torture — by maggiec @ 9:15 pm

Read yesterday’s news that Bush vetoed the bill to ban waterboarding.  What has happened to my country?  America used to have moral authority in this world.  Maybe we didn’t deserve it, but we had it.  But we’ve been slowly but surely abdicating it under the current president’s administration.

First we illegally invaded a country. 

Then we condone torture at our POW camps.

Then there’s that whole Guantanamo thing I don’t even want to get into.  It makes me sick.

And now this.

Can’t say I’m surprised.  A lot of people I talk to don’t give a rat’s patoot about terrorists, alleged or real.  Torture is too good for them.  OK, I give you that’s human nature.  But the purpose of government, in my view, is to help humans transcend that nature and be something better.

I’m gonna wax a little philosophical here, so bear with me.

I know it’s not PC to see humans as a corrupt animal, to see us as having fallen natures for lack of a better way of putting it–all that wonderful stuff from Locke, Rousseau, and all of their current progeny.  But I’ve always been a lot more of a Hobbesean kind of gal when it comes to human nature.  Nothing I’ve seen of human nature has convinced me otherwise.  Oh, I have hope, and I live in that hope, and I’m a dyed in the wool optimist, but things like yesterday’s veto sorely try my optimism.

Of course, Hobbes himself would support Bush’s making himself a supreme power.  Hobbes was against separation of powers and advocated for a strong sovereign who totally controlled the government.  That’s why it’s John Locke who is paraphrased in the Declaration of Independence, not Hobbes.  And in most ways I admire Locke much more than I admire Hobbes, but I don’t think he would condone torture, either.

For me, it’s more than a moral dilemma.  I hate that my country, my wonderful, idealistic country no longer exists.  I am realist enough to know that it probably never really existed, but no matter what, the United States of America should not condone torture.  Morality aside (a strange comment in any context), the president’s veto scares me in terms of constitutional integrity.

As anyone who ever saw Schoolhouse Rock! knows, our government is a three-ringed circus, and, in the words of Schoolhouse Rock,

“No one part can be
more powerful than any other is.
Each controls the other you see,
and that’s what we call checks and balances.

Well, everybody’s act is part of the show.
And no one’s job is more important.
The audience is kinda like the country you know,
Keeping and eye on their performance.”

Schoolhouse Rock!

 But this administration is trying to make the presidency more important than it should be.  In the past seven years, Americans’ rights have slowly but surely eroded.  And so have the rights of people who come in contact with us.

The Boston Globe had a good article on the veto.  Take a look for yourself.

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