Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on Torture

I've repeated - I don't know how many times - before that we don't do the things we do because of who "they" are but because of who we are. Dick Cheney insists to this day that, because it yielded actionable intelligence, our torture of prisoners was justified. I think we all need to think about who we are and what, if anything, we stand for.

The Geneva Conventions are pretty clear that placing someone in fear for their life or of being maimed is considered torture throughout the world. We can call it 'aggressive interrogation' if we want to, but in the World Court it's called torture. People who torture are criminals. In fact, given that it's hard to think of anything more terrifying than being killed or maimed, it could be argued that people who torture are terrorists... terrorist organizations... state sponsored terrorism.

We did it. We need to face that we did it, and we need to stop doing it. I was going to say that we need to promise not to do it again, but historically we are also faithless liars. (Seriously, sending prisoners to countries where we know they will be tortured and then using the resulting intelligence makes us what?)

Does the end justify the means? If it does then any behavior can be justifed by a successful outcome. Is that who we are? It kind of looks like that's who we are.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Word on the Commissioning of USS Stockdale (DDG-106)

As I noted on his passing, I don't have a lot of heroes - don't believe in them for the most part - but Adm. James B. Stockdale was one of them. Yesterday the Navy commissioned the newest Arleigh Burke destroyer naming it USS Stockdale. In the Navy, that's considered a huge deal and rightly so. It represents a "second bite at the apple" to establish immortality as the ship and crew establish their reputation well into the 21st century while carrying Admiral Stockdale's name.

The LA Times chose to note that many people might be most familiar with the Admiral as Ross Perot's 1992 running mate. I acknowledge that there's a lot of ignorance in the world, but USS Stockdale honors an officer who commanded men with wisdom and courage through a literal hell and in the face of impossible conditions, and who carried his commitment to public service to his grave.

I wish DDG-106, and all who serve in her, fair winds and following seas throughout a long and honorable career.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kay!

A quick shout-out to wish Kay (of Kay's Thinking Cap) a fantastic birthday, and every happiness for many years to come.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ronni!

Wishing Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By a fantastic birthday today, and many more years of good health and great happiness.

I know that my path has been smoother over the past five years for the information and resources she's shared, and I owe her. She's a hero and role model, and a dear friend.