Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Letters to the Editor

May 1, 2013

Dark by definition

GALLATIN — When I first read the editorial by Stephen Dick with CNHI News Service In Friday’s Jacksonville Daily Progress, I was furious. After thinking it over for a couple of days, I have calmed down – a little.

Dick’s column focused on methods and practices used on known terrorists arrested and housed at U.S. prisons, particularly Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. In the column, he referenced the finding of The Constitution Project, a non-profit organization that investigates abuse supposedly contradicting the tenets of the Consititution.

While I find any action that opposes the U.S. Constitution to be highly objectionable, I take issue with Dick’s biased reporting of The Constitution Projects findings, and to a lesser degree, with the report itself.

Dick blames President Bush, Cheney and Rums-field for what he terms “systematic, intentional torture and law-breaking” during what he terms “the lawlessness of the Bush administration.”

Granted, no one wants to think of the torture of another human being, and most of us would not be able to accomplish the act or acts.

But what I find most appalling in Dick’s column is his reference to what he calls “the darkest chapter in U.S. history.”

Really, Mr. Dick? Can you actually define the questioning of several, maybe even hundreds of known TERRORISTS the “darkest chapter in U.S. history?”

Where is the justice for those who died, were maimed or lost loved ones at the hands of those terrorists? Those were dark days.

Where is the justice for those who lay buried under mounds of rubble at the World Trade Center, waiting, hoping, praying someone would come to rescue them before their oxygen was gone or they bled to death? Is that not torture?

Where was the justice for the families of our own military and private contractors who were captured in the early days of the Iraq and Afghan wars? Since battle began in 2001, 257 American contractors have been killed. In March 2004, four Blackwater contractors were killed, then dismembered, and two months later, another was decapitated and the video played worldwide.

In Boston, three were killed and more than 100 injured when two more terrorists decided to detonate their explosive devices. To the victims and their families, those have been dark days.

Although the Vietnam War was fought some 50 years ago, 58,159 U.S. soldiers were killed. Many more were captured; I’m pretty sure those imprisoned in the Viet Cong cells were tortured. The remains of some have never been found. When the rest came marching home, they were met by mockery, curse words and spit. Those were dark days.

Since the early days of warfare, captors have en-gaged in methods to extract information from prisoners.  In the July 2013 edition of MILITARY HISTORY, an article by Everett L. Wheeler deals with the subject:

“The phrase ‘law of war’ (nomos polemou) first appeared soon after the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.).  It denoted the right of the victor to dispose of a defeated enemy and his property as he saw fit, thus asserting the loser had no rights. After a successful siege, execution of adult males and the enslavement of women and children became common practice, moderated only by a victor’s political expediency or generosity.”

Dick’s column speaks of justice, calling for arrest warrants for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.  What he fails to quote is a finding quoted in The Constitution Project that sheds a somewhat more favorable light on the situation:

“Despite Abu Ghraib- or perhaps because of reforms in its wake – prisoners have more recently said they receive far better treatment in American custody than in Iraqi jails. (Yacoub, Sameer, July 15, 2010). "Changing of the guard at last U.S. run prison". Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press. pp. 8A

Where is the justice for the four Americans killed at Benghazi? When a Secret-ary of State asks, “What does it matter?” we have surely seen dark days.

Currently, an American pastor is being held and tortured in an Iranian prison, and an American soldier, Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl, has been held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2009. Where is the justice for them?

Hundreds of young women are sold into the sex slave business annually. Countless children suffer at the hands of child molesters, many of whom have escaped prosecution in our liberal court systems. Where’s the justice for our children?

When the current president praises Planned Parenthood, an agency that refuses to denounce the actions taken by Gosnell, a man who murdered babies born alive and forced women into unwanted abortions – not surprising, given Obama’senatorial record of voting three times against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act – we are experiencing dark days.

In his column, Dick said it is “imperative that the U.S. not forget its intentional descent to the dark side nor the twisted ideology that led it there.”

If that’s the case, Mr. Dick, why don’t you turn your indignation on the millions – not hundreds, not  thousands, but millions – of babies who have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 – 56, 763,165 as of 9:32 p.m. Sunday, April 28, 2013. As you can see, numbers change throughout the day, as embryos, fetuses – babies – experience their own form of torture.

Where is the justice for them, and for all the Americans listed who have experienced terror in one way or another?

Think again, Mr. Dick.  Let’s focus on the truly dark days.

Mary Beth Scallon


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