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Tragic History. Future Hope.


Samm Simpson

Tragic History.  Future Hope.

 

February 27, 2007 -- Not long ago, the United States was known for exuberant and free self-expression, a right to a trial by jury, a right to privacy and an embedded sense of moral compassion. 

 

How things have changed.

 

Perhaps you recall the August 22, 2002 memo by assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, one the few who laid the groundwork for this administration's "updated" definition of physical torture. He writes:

 

“Where the pain is physical, it must be of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure."

 

These horrific practices were not limited to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or CIA black sites like those found - and don't click this link unless you are prepared for horror - in Uzbekistan.   The frightening loss of civil liberties all but swept away courtesy of the The Military Commissions Act of 2006 has the power to put any one of us in the same situation as those who were denied appeal in Guantanamo. Why do I say this?  Because the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant is now deemed as "any person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States."  Who will define "hostility"?

 

 Combine that with the fact that the President, thanks to the, John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for 2007 now has the authority to declare a public emergency and take over National Guard units anywhere in America.

 

Do you sense an ominous pattern here?

 

And this doesn't even scratch the surface. Our nation is in peril from mounting debt,  insatiable greed; the earth groans for restoration while children are discarded and our Veterans return injured from a war that should have never taken place to recover with mold and cockroaches at Walter Reed Hospital.

 

Seeking to understand and share these matters weighs upon my soul. We must sound an alarm! So many families are struggling with rising commodity prices, property taxes and insurance, education and health costs that while they may have little time to trove facts and figures, they can sense the damage, the urgency of a new direction. 

 

The election brought a ray of hope, yet this moment in history seems like no other.  The very framework of our Republic is at stake.  An attack on Iran, whether done by the U.S. or by Israel with our approval, would be, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."

 

You can do something. It's the job of Congress to listen to YOU. Find your representative here.  Join the movement for the people's impeachment. Call, email or best yet, visit their local offices.  Get informed by documentaries like "The Ground Truth," "The Power of Nightmares," "911 Press for Truth" and "Iraq for Sale."

 

That sense of "embedded" moral compassion may have been temporarily stayed, but deep in our souls, we know that what has happened to our country is a terrible illness, a temporary insanity of greed where the scales of justice and mercy are weighted too far right.  There will always be those individuals who think of themselves as "elite and above."  If that self-pronouncement is propelled solely through material wealth, and not balanced by a heart of compassion for the "least of these," then Jesus words ring as true today, as in the times of the Roman Empire. "For what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

 

May you and I be the part of a movement that seeks to recover the moral imperative embedded in every human. And, by doing that, work toward the restoration of our families, our cities, our country and our world  - including those we call our enemies.

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