While I would prefer that comments to my postings contain the name of the writer somewhere in the text of the comment, I choose to pay attention to this particular unsigned dissenting comment for reasons that should prove obvious:
On his latest HBO Comedy Special, Bill Maher, says that whenever he describes some of the problems with our administration in power, some of the more close-minded spew, "Well, he hates America!" Maher retorts, "I don't hate America. I love America! But sometimes, I'm so embarrassed! I feel like saying 'I'm Swiss'" That's also the title of the show.
In his column of August 2, 2005, Bob Herbert describes a senate conflict between Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. and Sen. John Mc Cain, R-Arizona. The debate was over legislation that would explicitly "prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."
Sessions said "...there was no need for it because, as he put it, the detainees are not prisoners of war, 'they are terrorists.'"
McCain (who certainly knows more than all of us put together about the results of torture and maltreatment as a prisoner), responded that the debate "...is not about who they are. It's about who we are." He concluded that Americans "hold ourselves" to a higher standard.
So, we are Americans, and Americans, like you and I, have grown up living by the two most fundamental principles of ethics:
(1) The Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." Or, today, "Do unto enemy combatants as you'd have them do unto our combatants."
(2) "The End Does Not Justify The Means."
Not altogether surprising, the comments I received regarding the Charles Krauthammer column, which I included in a recent posting, ran virtually 100% against his recommendation that obvious non-terrorist types be excluded from searches at airports. Yes, Dan, I can be "seduced" by logic. I'm not always consistent in my points of view, and I tend to like that about myself. Still, in the spirit of the present piece, I definitely will have to go along with the need to respect the rights of the smallest minority, even if only a minority of one. Somehow, writing this also produces a very real hesitancy because I have a visceral sense of being caught between the rights of the one and the convenience and right to privacy of the many. Still, if we must err, it has to be on behalf of "the least of our brethren." It brings to mind the allied issue of sacrifice which is something very few (other than our soldiers) are really being asked to do by the political powers that be...but can't we at least exclude the 85-year-old ladies in pink jump suits?!
Seriously, what is great about America is its soul. Let's all argue for a recognition of and a return to the true soul of America and all it has stood for in the world. America, once again, must be exemplary in its behavior at home and abroad. Only then can we bask in our own light.
- Ed Coletti - August 3, 2005 -
The time clearly here to believe no one whose skin
we cannot touch within a two-day journey.
I mean like "War is good" "War is bad" "War is coming" "Stop the war."
What will touch of skin determine about the merits or demerits of warfare?
Smooth tough hairy porous ennervated flesh pink and pulsing, warm and sleek,
cold and swampy, skin as membrane, skin as fabric, skin a curtain.
Skin is not woven tightly to be torn.
The TV screen is only so much frozen sand.
Let us touch the skin of those we know to try to really know.
Edward Coletti - 2003
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