Archive for torture

Medical Ideal: Do No Harm

Posted in culture, history, humanity, life, medical, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by chouck017894

Ethics, morals and compassion were never close companions to the G. W. Bush administration in spite of their claims of religious guidance.  And like the bad apple that infects the whole barrel of apples, the aura of calloused disregard for anyone outside their clique spilled even into the medical branch of the armed service.  After the 9/11 attack upon U.S. soil in 2001 many international norms established by members of the Geneva Convention, of which the United States was/is a member, would be disregarded and violated by the Bush administration.

 Of the numerous crimes sanctioned by the Bush group, the authorization of torture of prisoners was possibly one of the most reprehensible.  An example of the administration’s disregard for the Geneva Convention agreements was made clear in December of 2002, for it was at that time that Donald Rumsfeld issued a directive that allowed interrogators to withhold medical care in non-emergency situations.  In other words, enemy soldiers with injuries, including gunshot wounds, were to be denied medical treatment as a means to make them reveal information.  The directive did not stand very long, but even after being revoked the practice was established and continued.

 But around April of 2003 Rumsfeld then approved the provision that doctors had to certify any prisoners held for interrogation as being “medically and operationally” suitable for torture, and the doctors had to be present for the torture sessions.  This medical involvement with the torture strategy of the administration was in direct opposition to the Hippocratic oath and to the World Medical Association’s directive that doctors could not assist in cruelty or torture of any kind.  Indeed, doctors are held duty-bound to report any abuses they might witness.  Unfortunately, too few uniformed physicians were warrior enough to stand up in defense of their Hippocratic principles.

Then in June 2005 a memo was excreted out of the Pentagon that cunningly sought to skirt official forbiddance of a doctor’s involvement.  The memo asserted that doctors were allowed to participate in torture and share medical records with interrogators as long as the detainee being interrogated was not officially their patient!

 There were a few honorable military physicians and medics who called for ethical reviews, but the Pentagon consistently overruled them.  There followed a clampdown on medical ethics by the Pentagon which altered the way doctors were screened for service, with only those favorable to the torture program being deployed to locations where “high value al Qaeda” detainees were held.

 To the shame of the American Medical Association, it was not until November 2006 that it finally issued a statement avowing that doctors cannot participate in torture-inflicted interrogation.  Even then there were four AMA military delegates who objected and sought to obstruct such high-principled medical ethics.  Thankfully there are still ethical doctors who have petitioned AMA leaders to endorse an independent investigation of their colleagues’ participation in detainee abuses.

To date they have been voted down four times.

Any Torture is Un-American

Posted in Atheist, culture, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2009 by chouck017894

In the harsh winter of 1776, a time of crisis for the American colonies, General George Washington sent written orders to officers in charge of overseeing captured enemy soldiers.  One four-line sentence stands out clearly expressing the belief shared by all the founding fathers, which was that each human being retains dignity before the Creator.  That one short sentence was, “Treat them with humanity.”

The authors and signers of the Constitution were men committed to enlightenment principles, and when they had met in 1776 to declare independence from the imposed injustice of a despotic king, their desire was to establish a new nation devoted to those enlightenment principles.  Disrespect for any human life could have no place in such a noble land.  Consequently, the founding fathers emphatically forbade any use of “cruel and unusual punishment” which had for centuries been the mode of conduct throughout church-dominated Europe.

The “uncouth men” of a “course country” dared to defy the traditions of the self-defined “civilized” motherland, and the American yeoman soldiers were expected to treat even enemy soldiers with respect.  And here was set down a purely American tradition; the enlightened principle that declares the equality of all persons before the powers of Creation.  Such a truly noble perception of each person’s inherent worth in the universe astonished the Bible inspired enemy troopers who were taught to believe that physical domination reflected heaven’s favor.  But the colonies clung to enlightenment and endured—and the enlightenment principles they had used as their standard were raised in triumph and held high for the world to reach out for in wonder, hope and inspiration.

Today, nearly two hundred and thirty years after the nation dedicated to enlightenment and equality was founded, we have witnessed the blatant betrayal of those high principles by those who gained political power in a decidedly undemocratic manner.  Authorization of “enhanced” torture methods were actually set in motion.  The founding fathers must have been pacing the floor in agitation in which Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, George Trent and Condoleezza Rice unashamedly conspired and approved the application of specific torture methods (“enhanced”) for enemy prisoners.  John Ashcroft, an oh-so-devout Christian, perhaps felt some psychic presence, for he is said to have wondered aloud, “Why are we talking about this in the White House?  History will not judge this kindly.”

As a side note let us note here—again—that the War of Independence between the American colonies and Britain was not over officially until 1797: only in that year was the final treaty signed at Tripoli recognizing the American colonies as an independent nation.  Within that document was expressed still another bold declaration, i.e. Article 11 which proclaimed in clear and unmistakable words a major principle of the United States Government.  Here are the powerful and precise words of the nation’s dedication to genuine enlightenment.  “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian  religion.”   The history of Europe was known to all the founding fathers, and the bloody record clearly disclosed that mixing church and state was unacceptable if genuine freedom was to flourish.

GOP = Greedy Outlaw Politicians

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, culture, history, life, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by chouck017894

A Demand for Accountability

With the help of the radical (self-serving) religious right, the radical (self-serving) political right managed in the year 2000 to pervert the democratic principles upon which the United States had become a world power.  It was a frightening demonstration of why church and state must always-and-ever be kept separate.  With George W. Bush as their front man installed as president through interference of a largely Republican appointed Supreme Court that did not listen to popular choice, a gang of outlaw political conspirators was jimmied into the seats of national command. 

The administration of government that was thus set in place thrust itself into activity that was much more than simple dedication to committing mafia-style crimes: it launched a war against democracy.  The radical religious right dreamed of imposing a theocracy: their political partners, however, schemed to bankrupt the nation and thereby open the means to seize permanent control of the nation’s wealth and power.

Immediately all surplus monies held for public benefit got reshuffled and miraculously disappeared into the coffers of the already obscenely rich.  The Justice Department was soon made a malformed instrument used for voter suppression, and legal balance was perverted by the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys that sought to investigate the administration’s illegal transgressions.

War with Iraq had already been in discussion among the political plotters even before their grab for political power had been blessed through use of subterfuge.  Strangely convenient, terrorists decided in this period to drive airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the financial records department of the Pentagon.  Blamed for the murderous attacks was Osama bin Laden, then said to have been operating out of Afghanistan.  But the “official” propaganda that was dispersed in bulk upon the U.S. citizens was that Iraq had been the base that had harbored the instigators of the attacks.

An illegal and disastrous war was launched through falsely representing to the U.S. Congress and to the stunned American public a wholly perverted tangle of “intelligence reports” on Iraq’s alleged relationship with the terrorists.  A department of Homeland Security was contrived through which was set in place the most dangerous attack upon citizen freedoms ever imposed on U.S. citizens.  With the illegal war, wartime contracts to substandard vendors with inside connections were issued, and the people’s legal representatives were suddenly defunded, which made it virtually impossible to police those activities.  There was some justifiable humor to the situation, however, for Security not only spied upon any political protesters, but upon church groups as well.

Probably the ultimate shame of all the Bush administration’s transgression against democratic principles was the denial of human dignity by authorizing the use of torture upon defenseless prisoners that were being held illegally under international laws and U.S. laws.  Never had any previous administration ever dared to act so thoroughly and openly lawless.  And through it all, the power honchos such as Dick Cheney declared himself to be above the law.  He is still pretending his lawlessness was noble and patriotic!

There is no precedent for prosecution of such betrayals of democracy by a president, vice president or senior officers—a fact that the instigators of these crimes hide behind.  But for democracy to allow such flagrant lawlessness to sit in high offices and simply allow them to walk away thumbing their noses at the nation they disgraced is to desecrate the memories of those who fought and died through the centuries to preserve a “land of freedom and justice.”

The breadth, scope, enormity and audacity of the Bush administration’s activities must be placed upon the scales of genuine justice.  The United States of America must again reinstate the principles of freedom, justice and opportunity for all mankind that once inspired admiration and respect from the world.