Monday, October 9, 2006

Of blessed memory

It almost happened. I almost succumbed to the pleasant temperatures and riotous colors of autumn. I almost forgot that our President could now authorize anyone classified as a "alien unlawful enemy combatant" to be subjected to such "alternative" interrogation procedures as prolonged hyperthermia, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding; deprived of the right to challenge his/her detention in a court of law; and have evidence obtained by coercion used against him/her during trial, while at the same time being denied the right to appeal to the Geneva Conventions as a source of just treatment. (Lawful enemy combatants wear uniforms and, presumably, collect official paychecks bearing the name and Great Seal of their nation, just in case your were wondering how to distinguish the two. And anyway, those suspicious, brown-skinned guys with the Arab names deserve what they get.) I almost went about my life, forgetting that in our most Christian of nations we've just approved a most unchristian, indeed a most heinous law.

Funny how easy it is to forget, to go about life with all the important things I have to do: working, preparing dinner, washing clothes, supervising my son's homework, going to kickboxing class. Just what the administration is counting on...the short memory of the citizenry.

  • In Friday's news from Camp Pendleton, California, the Pentagon said "that it will investigate a Marine's sworn statement that guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as a common practice."

  • The Association Press reports that the Navy lawyer who successfully defended Salim Ahmed Hamdan has been passed over for promotion and must leave, according to the Navy's up-or-out policy. Someone should really remind the Navy about John Adams' successful defense of the British soldiers who fired on civilians during the Boston Massacre. According to Adams, "It was ... one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country." But then, why should the Navy's memory be any better than that of Americans in general?
I managed to churn out an essay over the weekend that I intend to get published somewhere on the topic of how good Christians seem to approve of torture now. Because I invoke some Quaker principles in it, I'm running it past a few seasoned Friends to make sure my interpretations are acceptable ...

This is one American who is not going to forget.

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