Sunday, April 28, 2013

President Bush’s Library 4-28-2013

28, April 2013                        President Bush’s Library

Former President George W. Bush, who could never be accused of being erudite or bookish, now has his own library. Early reports show that sections of the library have been turned into a video arcade. On becoming president, Bush proclaimed that Jesus was his moral guide. It is a pity he paid little heed to the Bible in making his decisions. He dragged our nation to an unnecessary war and was responsible for the death of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Iraq has been torn apart by civil strife that has been unleashed as the aftermath of the invasion. Billions of dollars has been squandered in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan has been reduced to a failed state. A bipartisan committee of former Democrats and Republicans produced by the Constitution Project stated unequivocally, that contrary to Bush’s assertions, torture was used extensively - approved and sanctioned by the highest levels of government. The purpose was to inflict maximum pain and torment on the detainees. The Report also stated that no useful intelligence was obtained and precious time was squandered from false confessions. 

The slow response to the victims of Katrina was another failure. Finally, tax cuts to the very wealthy exacerbated the economic divide between rich and poor and precipitated the economic crisis of 2008.

President Bush would do well to set aside his paints and brushes and offer contrition for the monumental blunders of his presidency.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Boston Massacre & Drone Strikes 4-26-13

26, April 2013 The Boston Massacre & Drone Strikes

The emergence of the Tsarnaev brothers as the architects of the Boston massacre raises troubling questions of their inability to assimilate and the accelerated pace in which they morphed from ‘innocent’ immigrants into dangerous terrorists. There is little doubt that the Imams delivering sermons in Mosques can exert enormous influence on their adherents – good or bad. The deafening silence of Muslim religious leaders to condemn these acts of violence is troubling. Does Islam condone the killing of innocent people?  The concept of jihad has been grossly abused. Surely, its intended meaning is to overcome the evil that resides within each one of us not an external foe.  Islamic clerics need to clarify the concept of jihad to discourage other ‘Tsarnaev’s’ who might be lurking in the shadows. Equally troubling is the tone deaf response from key Senators to Farea al-Muslimi, a young Yemeni activist for his earnest plea to end drone strikes in his country. al-Muslimi presented a searing eyewitness account of the enormous suffering that drone attacks unleash on ordinary people’s lives. His family’s village of Wessab was hit by a drone strike leaving five people dead and a strong residue of visceral hatred of the U.S. The shredded bodies of the victims were beyond recognition. Villagers are now so fearful of leaving their homes lest they be become the next victim of the unmanned monsters in the sky. I urge readers to call the White House and their Representatives and demand an end to these drone attacks. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

GITMO 4-17-2013

17, April 2013                       GITMO

How we can claim to be a nation of law abiding citizens who respect international law and watch the wasted lives of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?  Many have been incarcerated for more than a decade and have been tortured mercilessly violating every norm of civilized behavior. Most prisoners have never been charged and many others have been declared innocent but inexplicably remain in prison. An increasing number have refused to eat and are being forced fed. See the New Your Times op ed, April 15, 2013 “Gitmo Is Killing Me.” 

Dr. Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University, was highly critical of the brutal practice of force-feeding prisoners and said this amounted to torture. There is little doubt that these prisoners will die if President Obama does not hold firm on his election promise to close down this hell-hole and release those innocent of any crimes. He should offer an apology and reparations for all those who have been horribly abused. Failure to do so will only encourage other hostile nations to emulate our falling standards of behavior and plunge our weary nation in more wars and unending conflict. President Obama, who claims to be a devout Christian, should heed the message of his Guru and return our nation to one of love, charity and respect for international law.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Immigration reform 4-10-2013

10, April 2013                        Immigration reform

It is amazing how Republicans have found solace from the ‘Good Book’ in their desire to win back political power. Evangelicals are now prodding Republicans to support a path to citizenship for the nation’s illegal citizens. Some are comparing illegal citizens with modern-day lepers who should be treated with compassion. Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition stated recently “what changed the calculus was the introduction of religion for immigration reform.”  Oh really? This was the same Ralph Reed who was indicted on anti-gambling charges, close ties with the infamous Enron Corporation and the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004.Amazing how the lust for power can change hearts and minds and rediscovery of the Bible. I am sure the humble carpenter from Bethlehem would not approve of drone strikes that kill large numbers of innocent men, women and children, occupying foreign lands and diverting billions of our tax dollars to prop up unsavory governments. If we viewed the world through a prism of humility and compassion rather than flexing our military might we might recapture the respect of other nations. Perhaps the Evangelicals could persuade their flock to heed the immortal words in Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”