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Crime and (No) Punishment? Prevention is the Issue.

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This is not going to be pleasant.  Read on if you can muster the fortitude.  Why, if it's unpleasant?   Because YOU are involved.

Civilized people, a decent people, examine and punish as warranted, NOT because crime has been committed, but to prevent more crime from being committed. We are now at perhaps our history's most critical juncture of this perspective.

Four hundred years ago, Shakespeare penned "...past is prologue..." One wonders why it took so long for our learned professors to catch up with the notion that our behavior is the product of reward and punishment. How much longer will it take us -- our society -- to learn this?

Punishment and vindication are unpleasant notions. It is much nicer to put the past behind us; to turn the other cheek!  Unfortunately, to do so invites -- ensures -- the crime's repetition and encourages its magnification.

Ten years ago, OUR leaders, both elected and appointed, in any event serving at OUR pleasure, initiated what any reasonably intelligent and honest person now knows to have been a war based on lies. This is no longer suspicion, no longer conjecture -- we KNOW this.  Worse, we ignore this knowledge at our future peril.

Thus far, we as a people have either refused or avoided any real effort to examine our leaders' actions or reasons -- now known to be false -- for initiating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent victims on the other side of the world, at the cost of the lives of 6,000 of "our troops," the "support" of which -- through history's most convoluted rationale -- becoming somehow the justification for continuing the contrived atrocity!  Wow!  Goebbels writhes in his grave.

Now here's the difficult part for too many of us: It does NOT MATTER whether we are  Democrats or Republicans, or even Americans. What matters is that we are decent human beings. This grand atrocity must be examined, must be punished as warranted -- not from vindictiveness, not from outrage, certainly not from petty political partisanship -- but to send the message to would-be future tyrants that humanity will not permit such treacherous ambitions to be repeated with impunity.

The bridesmaid of the War of Lies is torture. Examining that issue would be a good first step up the ladder of justice and survival. This heretofore insufficiently supported initiative is now being elevated by Human Rights Watch. We need to support this initiative. America needs the examination. We need the revelation of the truth to protect not only our future, but that of our children and humanity.

We need also to expand our political perspective. We must reject those who lied us into war and those who led or abided torture (from the Right, if you will) and those who now extend, ignore or minimize such atrocities (from the Left, if you will).

The actions and the motives of former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld must be examined fairly but thoroughly, and without contamination by partisanship. We cannot afford to be led by such ever again.

So must we also examine the actions and motives of those who persist in providing cover to the original captains of this disgrace to our future history and threat to humanity's survival. "President Obama has defended the decision not to prosecute officials in his predecessor's administration by arguing that the country needs 'to look forward, not backward,'" said Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth. 

This is not good enough; this is not acceptable. We cannot allow such leadership to persist, to re-emerge in 2012 for four more years. Unexamined, not punished as warranted, the wars and the torture will persist, be repeated, be magnified to our and humanity's bloody consequences.

What to do first? Support the Human Rights Watch initiative calling for the examination of torture committed, its commanders, and its perpetrators. No judgment of guilt need precede this initiative. But the box must be opened, the contents examined in the fair and legal light of day, corrective actions taken as necessary, and prevention of future instances mounted. Fair enough? Sign on here.

Next step:  We must examine our political persuasions, regardless of partisan "loyalty," look these endless wars directly in the eye. We must deny at last the pernicious propaganda to "support our troops" as an excuse for the slaughter of others and of those same "troops." We must disallow any -- REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT -- who defends these treacheries or any who would discourage their examination, to assume or resume leadership over America in 2012.

 

Rafe Pilgrim, after "a life largely wasted on hard honest work," found himself a jungle of turkey oak, scrub pine and giant palmettos up a dirt road running east of Crystal River, Florida, which neither school busses nor the U.S. Postal Service dare (more...)
 

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