What If This Was Your Son or Daughter?

December 5, 2006 at 3:40 am | Posted in America, American politics, Jose Padilla, King George, Muslim, Torture, War on Terror | 41 Comments

I ask this question about Jose Padilla. Apparently few Americans find it in their hearts to be truly troubled by how this man has been treated. After all, he was a former gang member, and he’s a Muslim, and apparently had contacts with Al-Qaida. But read the following accounts about his three and a half years in custody at the hands of the United States government and ask yourself if this is something you wish to see upon your son or daughter. This is important, because if this sort of thing is allowed to continue, the government might accuse your son or daughter of being a terrorist, and throw your son or daughter in prison without the possibility not only of standing trial, but of confronting his or her accusers and demanding the evidence, the proof of the accusation. It is tough to want to find love for a former gang member, but if we cannot do unto the least of these His brethren, have we done it unto Him?

The ongoing national disgrace of lawless indefinite detentions

As I have said many times, the most astounding and disturbing fact over the last five years — and there is a very stiff competition for that title — is that we have collectively really just sat by while the U.S. Government arrests and detains people, including U.S. citizens, and then imprisons them for years without any charges of any kind. What does it say about our country that not only does our Government do that, but that we don’t really seem to mind much?

Breaking the furniture

This treatment is extremely inhumane. They basically blinded, deafened and then isolated him, essentially destroying his mind. There is no reason on earth to put those goggles and earphones on him to go to the dentist in the prison in South Carolina except to keep him from ever feeling like a normal human being, part of the natural world. It’s sick.

………

Somewhere they came up with the idea that every single person detained by the military as an enemy combatant was not just guilty, he was not even a human being. And so they did this stuff almost as if to make sure the person was not treated as a human being in any way. Perhaps it tested their own assumptions too much if they were seen as people instead of pure personifications of evil.

And it worked:

In his affidavit, Mr. Patel said, “I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ”

This “piece of furniture” had to have blackout goggles and earphones, manacles and a force of men in riot gear in order to go to the prison dentist. I do not know if they made him wear the goggles and earphones when he had his root canal. But I’d be willing to bet they did. It would be so much more punishing not to be able to see and hear, but be able to feel. Why waste an opportunity to further dehumanize the furniture?

Urban Archaeology

Anyway, in the diary were observations about the mental health of the prisoners. The prisoners lived in solitary confinement, in small rooms lacking natural light. The diarist expressed genuine surprise that it didn’t take very long (6-12 months) for prisoners – many of whom were in for minor offenses – to start displaying signs of profound mental illness.

What this has to do with current events is left to the reader.

drooling sociopath

A couple years ago, I had a first-hand encounter with one of these “drooling sociopaths” when I was selected for jury duty in a murder trial here in Chicago (26th and California).

The woman accused of murder was a black woman 20 years old. During selection for jury duty, the judge asked us all some questions.

She came to one white woman about 20 years old who immediately said that the accused black woman should die for her crime. The judge calmly pointed out that this was not a death penalty case in the first place, and secondly, no evidence had been even presented.

The young white woman stood her ground and told the judge the other woman “should die!” and that as far as she was concerned “anyone accused of a crime is guilty.” Furthermore, said the woman, she happened to be a “Christian” and a very religious woman, and that her religion demanded that this woman must die. It was in the Bible, “an eye for an eye.”

Jose Padilla in chains

This series of video images shows a typical prison cell extraction of Jose Padilla, an alleged al-Qaeda operative who faces federal terrorism charges after being declared an “enemy combatant” by President George W. Bush. The photos, taken from an unclassified Department of Defense video shot at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., show some of the precautions taken by officers (who are dressed in camouflage and riot gear) when transporting the 36-year-old Padilla. After cuffing Padilla’s feet and hands–which the detainee had to stick through openings in his cell door–officers removed him from the cell and placed blackout goggles and headphones on Padilla. In this case, according to a December 1 court filing by Padilla’s legal team, the former Chicago gang member was being brought to “other parts of the facility where he was confined.” Padilla’s counsel included the seven images as an exhibit to a U.S. District Court filing arguing that he has been subjected to torture and unduly harsh treatment since his incarceration in 2002. Padilla’s lawyers claim that his mistreatment has included “isolation; sleep and sensory depravation; hoodings; stress positions; exposure to noxious fumes; exposure to temperature extremes; threats of imminent execution; assaults; the forced administration of mind-altering substances; denial of religious practices; manipulation of diet; and other forms of mistreatment.”

Bush’s America

Three ridiculously well-armed soldiers to guard and escort a defenseless inmate with no shoes, driven to mental illness, who has a record of perfect compliance with his jailors and who has seen all the main charges against him dropped. An American citizen detained without charge for almost four years – in solitary confinement and darkness and forced to wear goggles and sound-erasing ear-plugs in public.

One man is responsible for this. And he is president of the United States. I am told I am hysterical to be angry about this. But my anger gets deeper the more we know. I simply do not understand why the anger and sense of disgrace is not more widely felt.

I do not understand either, Mr. Sullivan.

41 Comments »

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  1. I wouldn’t put too much stock in Mr. Sullivan if I were you. He’s virulently anti-Mormon.

  2. My husband and I knew a man who was accused of terrorism. He was held in maximum security prison and only was allowed to see his family or his lawyer, all of whom lived over an hour away, for one hour a day. He was supposed to be released on bail, but because of some immigration issues, the government managed to keep him locked up for well over a year before his trial. And, no surprise, he was acquitted on all terrorism charges.

    I also cannot understand why we allow these things to happen, and this man had it very easy in comparison to many who are being held right now.

  3. Jesse,

    One doesn’t have to be pro-Mormon to tell the truth.

    Amira,

    I’m sorry about your husband’s friend. You’re right, there is something sinisterly wrong with what is going on and I agree with Mr. Sullivan. I don’t understand why there is not more anger about this than there currently is.

  4. No, but someone who’s demonstrated a willingness to lie and distort to win isn’t very trustworthy. I don’t put any stock into him. I’m sure you know the feeling.

  5. I know the feeling. But there are battles in which I side with him. This is one. I’m glad he is speaking out so forcefully about this issue, and I would hope more Americans were appalled than currently are.

    What troubles you more, Jesse, that I quote from Andrew Sullivan, or that Mr. Bush detains Americans indefinitely without charging them for the crimes they are accused of, and then tortured?

  6. Which do you like more, being poked with a needle or having your hand chopped off? Neither is an appealing option. The same as being forced to choose between quoting from Sullivan or supporting Bush’s anti-Constitutional streak.

    While I can see “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, you’d better be careful which of those “friends” you pick, especially the ones that’d happily turn on you in a heartbeat or employ some questionable tactics.

  7. I feel the same about Sullivan as I do of Coulter and Card. All three use questionable and dishonest tactics to make their point.

    As someone once said, “The great flaw in American democracy has nothing to do with voting machines or lobbyists, it is the enormous tolerance for intellectual dishonesty.” On both sides.

    Neither side is clean when it comes to promoting intellectual dishonesty.

  8. Jesse,

    Don’t you worry, I do keep Mr. Sullivan at a distance. I do have him on my blogroll and sometimes quote from him, when he makes sense. On most of the things he brings up, I could really care less, but he is one of the most vocal people on the issue of Americans being detained by the Bush administration and held indefinitely, not charged, but tortured, punished for no crime because they haven’t yet been convicted. I wish you’d focus more on that aspect of my post, Jesse, than on the fact that I quoted from Andrew Sullivan. I did also quote from five other blogs.

  9. Sherpa,

    Somehow I don’t see Sullivan anywhere as bad as Coulter. He has an agenda, that is for sure, but he’s far more polite and engaging of his political opponents than Coulter could ever dream of doing.

  10. Eh.

  11. It’s funny, when I say Moore is as bad as Coulter or that Sullivan is as bad as Moore or Franken, people try to justify their pundit of choice and choose to skip the point I’m making.

  12. I don’t justify my pundit, because he’s not my pundit. I quote him when he makes sense. As you see, I’ve not quoted Anne Coulter, except in the one post comparing her quotes to Hitler’s quotes. Ironically, that post came courtesy of Mr. Sullivan. 🙂

    I think lumping all “pundits” in the same intellectual dishonesty category is not a reflection of reality for many pundits. I think many of them do actually ponder carefully their point of view and back it up with hard evidence. You can’t say Coulter is truthful with her words.

    In any case, this post wasn’t supposed to be about whether I should have quoted Andrew Sullivan, but about Jose Padilla. I’m rather disturbed that even you, Sherpa would rather talk about the pros and cons of quoting pundits than about the fact that an American citizen has been detained indefinitely, tortured, and now is like a piece of furniture.

  13. Dan, I never lumped all pundits together. I just gave a few example of those who don’t take the time to think out their ideas or thoughts. I never did lump all pundits together, I think you can glean information from most all. However, I guess I didn’t make my point clear.

    Coulter was just an example.

    Dan, I’m calling you out on that last paragraph. Don’t try and turn the tables on me. That’s a lame debating device.

  14. Don’t make it personal dude. Once you start saying things like that, you try and make it personal and in my opinion, thats hitting below the belt. Keep your emotions in check, even if this is your blog.

  15. I guess I think there are weightier matters to discuss than the ability of some pundits to think before they post or not.

  16. Dan, pundits are paid serious bucks and serve a public interest by writing political commentary. When one is intellectual dishonest, it serves a disinterest to all that read it. However, we the public don’t tend to hold them to a higher standard, so in a way we’re just as much as fault as the pundits.

    http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-602-30,00.html

    I have a friend who is a member of a political panel that is seen each week on national television. Explaining her role, she said, “We are encouraged to speak before thinking!” We appear to be living in an era in which many are speaking without thinking, encouraging emotional reactions rather than thoughtful responses. Whether it be on the national or international stage, in personal relations or in politics, at home or in the public forum, voices grow ever more strident, and giving and taking offense appear to be chosen rather than inadvertent.

    The Lord has warned that from the beginning and throughout history, Satan would stir up people’s hearts to anger.1 In the Book of Mormon, Laman set a pattern of so murmuring as to stir anger, to stoke rage, and to incite murder.2 Time and again in the Book of Mormon, we find deluded and wicked men inciting rage and provoking conflict. In the days of Captain Moroni, the apostate Amalickiah inspired “the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi.”3 Amulon and the wicked priests of Noah; Nehor; Korihor; and Zoram the apostate (the dishonor roll goes on throughout the Book of Mormon) were agitators who inspired distrust, fueled controversy, and deepened hatreds.

    In speaking to Enoch, the Lord indicated that both the time of His birth and the time preceding His Second Coming would be “days of wickedness and vengeance.”4 And the Lord has said that in the last days, wrath shall be poured out upon the earth without mixture.5 Wrath is defined both as the righteous indignation of God and as the very human instances of impetuous ardor and deep or violent anger. The former arises from the concern of a loving Father whose children are often “without affection, and they hate their own blood,”6 whereas the latter wrath arises from a people “without order and without mercy, . . . strong in their perversion.”7 I fear the earth is experiencing both wraths, and I suspect the divine wrath is very much provoked by those who are stirring up the hearts of men to wickedness, slander, and violent hatreds.

    The first casualties of human wrath are truth and understanding. James counseled that we be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”8 As Enoch observed, God’s throne is one of peace, justice, and truth.9 Whether they be false friends or unrighteous teachers, artists or entertainers, commentators or letter writers to local newspapers, seekers of power or wealth, beware of those who stir us up to such anger that calm reflection and charitable feelings are suppressed.

    Alma at the waters of Mormon invited those who would enter into a covenant relationship with God to stand as witnesses of God and to bear one another’s burdens.10 As those who have indeed entered into a sacred covenant, we must remain true to the way, the truth, and the life, who is Jesus Christ.

    Have we who have taken upon us the name of Christ slipped unknowingly into patterns of slander, evil speaking, and bitter stereotyping? Have personal or partisan or business or religious differences been translated into a kind of demonizing of those of different views? Do we pause to understand the seemingly different positions of others and seek, where possible, common ground?

    I recall that as a graduate student I wrote a critique of an important political philosopher. It was clear that I disagreed with him. My professor told me that my paper was good, but not good enough. Before you launch into your criticism, she said, you must first present the strongest case for the position you are opposing, one that the philosopher himself could accept. I redid the paper. I still had important differences with the philosopher, but I understood him better, and I saw the strengths and virtues, as well as limitations, of his belief. I learned a lesson that I’ve applied across the spectrum of my life.

    General Andrew Jackson, as he walked along the line at the Battle of New Orleans, said to his men, “Gentlemen, elevate your guns a little lower!” I think many of us need to elevate our “guns” a little lower. On the other hand, we need to raise the level of private and public discourse. We should avoid caricaturing the positions of others, constructing “straw men,” if you will, and casting unwarranted aspersions on their motivations and character. We need, as the Lord counseled, to uphold honest, wise, and good men and women wherever they are found and to recognize that there are “among all sects, parties, and denominations” those who are “kept from the truth [of the gospel] because they know not where to find it.”11 Would we hide that light because we have entered into the culture of slander, of stereotyping, of giving and seeking offense?

    It is far too easy sometimes to fall into a spirit of mockery and cynicism in dealing with those of contrary views. We demoralize or demean so as to bring others or their ideas in contempt. It is a primary tool of those who occupy the large and spacious building that Father Lehi saw in vision.12 Jude, the brother of Christ, warned that “there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”13

    Closely related to mockery is a spirit of cynicism. Cynics are disposed to find and to catch at fault. Implicitly or explicitly, they display a sneering disbelief in sincerity and rectitude. Isaiah spoke of those who “watch for iniquity” and “make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”14 In this regard, the Lord has counseled in latter days that we “cease to find fault one with another” and “above all things, clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.”15

    President George Albert Smith observed, “There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and the attitude that some people have toward their fellows, of unkindness.”16 In matters of politics, he warned, “Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground.”17 Speaking of the great mission of the latter-day kingdom, he counseled: “This is not a militant church to which we belong. This is a church that holds out peace to the world. It is not our duty to go into the world and find fault with others, neither to criticize men because they do not understand. But it is our privilege, in kindness and love, to go among them and divide with them the truth that the Lord has revealed in this latter day.”18

    The Lord has constituted us as a people for a special mission. As he told Enoch in ancient times, the day in which we live would be one of darkness, but it would also be a time when righteousness would come down from heaven, and truth would be sent forth out of the earth to bear, once more, testimony of Christ and His atoning mission. As with a flood, that message would sweep the world, and the Lord’s elect would be gathered out from the four quarters of the earth.19 Wherever we live in the world, we have been molded as a people to be the instruments of the Lord’s peace. In the words of Peter, we have been claimed by God for His own, to proclaim the triumph of Him “who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.”20 We cannot afford to be caught up in a world prone to give and to take offense. Rather, as the Lord revealed to both Paul and Mormon, we must neither envy nor be puffed up in pride. We are not easily provoked, nor do we behave unseemly. We rejoice not in iniquity but in the truth. Surely this is the pure love of Christ which we represent.21

    In a world beset by wrath, the prophet of our day, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has counseled: “Now, there is much that we can and must do in these perilous times. We can give our opinions on the merit of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other. Political differences never justify hatred or ill will. I hope that the Lord’s people may be at peace one with another during times of trouble, regardless of what loyalties they may have to different governments or parties.”22

    As true witnesses of Christ in the latter days, let us not fall into the darkness so that, in the words of Peter, we “cannot see afar off,” but let us be fruitful in the testimony of Christ and His restored gospel, in thought, in speech, in deed.23 God lives. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Joseph Smith, the great prophet of the Restoration, was the instrument by which we have been constituted as a people, led even today by a prophet of God, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Let us daily renew in our hearts the pure love of Christ and overcome with our Master the darkness of the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  17. I’m just curious why you chose this particular post to be troubled by Mr. Sullivan. I’ve quoted him before. An American citizen was tortured by our government at the command of our president. Why don’t you want to talk about that?

  18. Dan, you’re dodging what I’m saying, but that’s okay.

    Honestly, I barely read most of your blog. I find it a little too monomaniacal and emotionally manipulative for my tastes.

  19. Iraq is the big elephant in the room, you’re right, but I’m not monomaniacal. I do feel passionately about the issues I care about yes. I’m glad you still take a look at my blog, but I will be honest with you, I deeply regret I ever studied politics at BYU. I wish I had never gotten into it. The world around us is much to violent and ugly and hateful for my tastes. I can’t get away from it though now that I’m in.

  20. Iraq isn’t the big elephant in this room, it seems to be the only one.

    Dan, I’m a poli sci grad and have a Masters in Public Administration. I don’t regret my course of studies at all, I enjoyed it and still do. I try and keep my sense of humor about it and don’t let my emotions overpower what I see happening in the world. Yeah, the world is violent, ugly and hateful, but its also beautiful, peaceful and charitable. We’ve been told time and time again by our church leaders not to dwell on the negative. We shouldn’t be blissfully ignorant, but it’s the fullness of times–that phrase goes both ways.

  21. the election results in November showed me that people can come to their senses, but I’m afraid we haven’t seen the end to this nightmare. in fact, because of Iraq, we might see a worsening of violence and hate in the world.

    it’s only in politics that i dwell on the negative. Because there are still way too many people in positions of influence who still believe this crap, and they still try and convince people of their evil ways.

    on everything else, i’m quite positive. 🙂

  22. Dan, I’m pretty sure that when the Prophet asks us to be positive, he means positive about politics also. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t point out the problems that we see, but when our leaders talk about negativity and contention, that means in every aspect of your life. Yes, its easy to get so caught up about politics and become emotionally involved, but even in this “nightmare” its important to not let our emotions control us.

  23. I’ll be positive when Americans remove Bush and Cheney from power and utterly discredit neo-conservative thought, forever banishing it into oblivion. 🙂

    That’s how I am. Take it or leave it.

  24. I like what Dan Froomkin says today in his White House Briefing.

    President Bush this morning formally accepted a copy of the Iraq Study Group’s blistering report, vowed to seriously consider its dramatic recommendations and spoke hopefully about finding common ground for the good of the country.

    Sounds great. But does he mean it?

    We’ll know for sure once words turn into action. But in the meantime, it strikes me that as long as Vice President Cheney and political guru Karl Rove remain Bush’s closest advisers, then the answer is probably not.

    Cheney and his loyalists are largely responsible for the deception, delusion and incompetence that brought us to where we are today in Iraq. Rove intentionally turned the war into the most ferocious and divisive of partisan issues. Neither man has shown any sign of remorse.

    Since his electoral comeuppance on Nov. 7, Bush has alternated between conciliatory language and fighting words when it comes to changing course in Iraq.

    The nomination of Bob Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary was one indication that Bush might indeed adopt a more measured and realistic strategy in Iraq. Gates’s stunning candor about the current situation at confirmation hearings yesterday bolstered that view.

    But until or unless Bush turns away from Cheney and Rove — the two men who have been his most intimate and trusted counselors — it’s hard to imagine that his episodes of chastened, bipartisan talk on Iraq will amount to anything more than lip service.

    Oh and by the way, this particular post is not about Iraq….but about an American citizen who was tortured and held against his will without charge. What do you think about that, Sherpa?

  25. Dan, how am I supposed to answer that question? seriously Dan, you ask the most emotionally charged/leading questions? Its difficult and nearly impossible to have a civil debate when you consistently ask questions like that. Seriously dude.

    Oh, and Dan? This answer?

    I’ll be positive when Americans remove Bush and Cheney from power and utterly discredit neo-conservative thought, forever banishing it into oblivion

    That’s a cop-out, and an excuse. You can be positive, and critical of the administration. You can be up-beat and still think that the Administration has mistake after mistake. The talk I posted on here verbatim is one I read regularly and was given just 7 months ago. The points he makes aren’t just good points, I believe they are points we all should take to heart and incorporate in our daily political debates. On the bloggernacle I believe, there was a little discussion about how we never know who reads what we posts. Because of that we as Latter Day Saints should be very cognizant of what we say, online and on the web.

  26. Oh and by the way, this particular post is not about Iraq….but about an American citizen who was tortured and held against his will without charge. What do you think about that, Sherpa?

    Dan, questions like these are contentious, and nothing more but emotional rants. When I went to school we talked about normative and descriptive arguments. It was drilled into our heads that questions like this were inappropriate, because they lower the level of debate to non-existent levels. When I debate, I try to never make it personal and keep the debate cordial and fun. I’ve failed many times because I’m still a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean I try. When I see questions like this, to me there’s no real substance to that and frankly questions like this and the following are kind of insulting. Comments like this reduces the level of debate and really do hit below the belt: I’m rather disturbed that even you, Sherpa would rather talk about the pros and cons of quoting pundits than about the fact that an American citizen has been detained indefinitely, tortured, and now is like a piece of furniture.

    I tell you this because I know you can do better. I don’t say it to nitpick, I say it to try and elevate discussion, and debate.

  27. huh, if someone asked me that question, I wouldn’t feel it was emotionally charged. He was tortured. He was held against his will without charge. What do I think of it? I think it is reprehensible that the leaders of my country would even consider such an action. How would you like that question reframed? An American was tortured and held against his will by his own government. What do you think about it? or Is it right or correct that Americans can be held against their will and tortured as was Mr. Padilla? What do you think? It all leads to the same conversation. Do you think it is appropriate that an American citizen like Jose Padilla is held against his will and tortured by his own government?

    Sherpa, if you don’t like my form of debate or conversation, then feel free to stop reading what I write.

  28. Dan, seriously. That question is horrible, as is the one you asked Jesse which is why he called him on it.

    That’s the “if you hate America, leave” debate. That’s a cop-out. Please listen to what I’m saying. Please try and not just to act and react at a purely emotional level.

    Dan, seriously? If you wrote like this at USU, you would’ve been thrown out on your butt in Poli Sci 101. I’m saying this to help you out, not attack you.

  29. Dan, why do you think you get in so many arguments and have been kicked off several websites? Its not your politics, its your method of delivery. I like you, that’s why I’m telling you this. Treat people kindly (even neo-cons) and they’ll treat you kindly back. Even if they insult you, if you treat them kindly, they won’t usually continue the lame insults. And if they do, there’s no reason to attack back.

  30. I wouldn’t write this kind of stuff at college, because there, you discuss theoretical aspects, not current events.

    Perhaps I haven’t been clear, but I really am trying to take Bush down. I really want him out of office.

    And yes, I am thoroughly disgusted that leaders of my country (and their backers) support such actions as this, where it is alright to torture and detain American citizens without charging them. Yes, I am very passionate about that.

    I don’t see a dry retelling of events or philosophical positions influencing people away from the Bush Administration. On the contrary, a strong rebuke against Bush seems to be working far better. And I will say it exactly as I feel it. Detaining American citizens and torturing them is wrong, evil, and not the work of the Lord.

    Now, if we wanted to do a paper on how revolutions work, or even looking at a comparison of one nation building success (say Germany 1940s) and one failure (Iraq now), I’m fine with that. But that does not serve the immediate purpose of getting Bush removed from office.

  31. Dan, seriously? The way I was taught to write in College applies directly to current events.

    Dan, its obvious that your emotions have taken over. I’m trying to help you see that you can still criticize, and be positive. You can still criticize and not attack everyone that disagrees with you. you can still criticize this administration and not be civil and courteous.

    Just because you’re trying to start a revolution, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be civil about it.

    Civil Disobedience my friend, civil disobedience.

    You see Dan, if you present your discussion civilly, people listen.

    Debates full of emotionally charged slamming doesn’t elevate the level of debate or even make people listen to what you have to say. The only people who really listen are those that agree with you. You’re not convincing anyone else with your presentation tactics.

    If you’re interested in reading a wonderful essay on political writing and discourse, check this out:
    Politics and the English Language

  32. Sherpa,

    There are just things that we should be angry about. The kind of treatment Mr. Padilla went through should make our blood boil. Maybe when your brother will be taken by the government and tortured you’ll understand, Sherpa. I, for one, do not want it to ever go any further than poor Mr. Padilla.

    And I’m not really concerned if I don’t convince anyone, but just preach to the choir. This blog is a conduit for me to vent my frustration at the world around me. It is a public vent, so you can participate, but again, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

    I don’t want an elevated debate about the Bush administration. That time is past. I want him out of power. Perhaps when he is no longer in power, my blog will return to “civil discussions” on this and that in the world around us.

    Perhaps you do not see how horrible things are under this administration, but from my vantage point, I cannot think of a worse situation for America in the post-Cold War world.

  33. There are just things that we should be angry about. The kind of treatment Mr. Padilla went through should make our blood boil. Maybe when your brother will be taken by the government and tortured you’ll understand, Sherpa. I, for one, do not want it to ever go any further than poor Mr. Padilla.

    Daniel, why the hell are you using that lame emotional manipulation by bringing my brother into this. Seriously, I haven’t said a word about this, so you have no idea of how I feel about this. Seriously, this was a lame comment.

    There are things that should make our blood boil. there are things when we should take a stand, but people listen when we present our side with emotion and respect. Read any of the respected revolutionaries. They state facts, they don’t use the lame emotional manipulations you do.

    And I’m not really concerned if I don’t convince anyone, but just preach to the choir. This blog is a conduit for me to vent my frustration at the world around me. It is a public vent, so you can participate, but again, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

    Dan, I’m trying to help you make it better. This isn’t what you said earlier, but hey, that’s okay. If that’s what you’re blog is, then that’s cool. More power to you.

    I don’t want an elevated debate about the Bush administration. That time is past. I want him out of power. Perhaps when he is no longer in power, my blog will return to “civil discussions” on this and that in the world around us.

    Dan, our church leaders have asked us to have elevated debates. If you’re angry, why do you have to take it out on others? That’s not healthy.

    Perhaps you do not see how horrible things are under this administration, but from my vantage point, I cannot think of a worse situation for America in the post-Cold War world.

    Dan, I’m an American. I was born here, and love my country. I think debate and national discourse is valuable, and thats why we need to have productive debate. I’ve studied government, I read the news daily, and am up to debate. I “understand” what’s going on, and thats why I say these things to you. Please don’t try to use the tactic of trying to question my knowlege because I don’t agree with you. That’s lame.

    Orwell was a master. You should read that essay. You also should read the talk that I posted earlier in the day. I pray your heart will be softened so you’ll understand that conference talk isn’t just some pretty words on the page, but advice from leaders who care about us.

  34. Sherpa,

    Seriously, I haven’t said a word about this, so you have no idea of how I feel about this.

    I brought it up because this is exactly the point of my post. You’d rather thread-jack this post into a lecture about methods of presentation. Here, let me start a new thread just for that topic, and then maybe we’ll talk here about Jose Padilla and Americans being tortured by their government.

    You also should read the talk that I posted earlier in the day. I pray your heart will be softened so you’ll understand that conference talk isn’t just some pretty words on the page, but advice from leaders who care about us.

    Thanks for the advice. This is the second time you’ve quoted in full Elder Wood’s talk, and I too have quoted his talk in full, in fact in my second post on my blog.

    Seriously, I’ll start a new thread just for the topic of political discourse. I really would rather talk in this thread about Jose Padilla and Americans being tortured by their government. Can you please kindly accept this request?

  35. Wow! That was an interesting exchange. I’ve read a couple of these between you two now–this one, and at least one other on Dan’s other blog. I throughly enjoyed them both. Personally I agree with you both to a degree. We can and should be more civil toward each other, in making the arguments that we make about events or issues of the day.

    On the other hand, I see no harm in being passionate about our beliefs, and in presenting our arguments and positions. I do find it interesting that many times (and I will only use myself as an example) I will write things online that I would otherwise never consider saying to a person’s face if we were having a discussion face to face. This is certainly a weakness I have, on which I need further work.

    Anyway, back to the point of the original post–I agree Dan that what has happened and what is happening to individuals like Mr. Padilla is very troubling to me.

    I don’t really know Sherpa as well as you apparently do–but from what little I have read of her in comments here, on her own blog and even a couple on my blog I think she is a well educated, well spoken, and moral individual. I’d be pretty surprised to read her condoning what is going on in our name here in America, under the Constitution which we all believe to be an Inspired document.

    I am hopeful–though not optimistic that the release today of the ISG report will help persuade the current administration to change its outlook not only about the Iraq war–but it’s entire focus on the war on terror. Like I said I’m not optimistic–but people and and do change. I will even maintain that hope about Mr. Bush. I look forward to seeing what will happen.

  36. Daniel, I’m aware you’ve posted the talk, I read that post. That’s why I bring it up. I’m sorry about “thread-jacking” but seriously, I say what I did because its important, and not to negate the power of this thread. As you well know, threads often take on a life of their own.

    Guy, thank you.
    I’m not saying that passion is a vice. I don’t think it is at all. I think passion is key, but to steal a line, bridled passion is key. I’ve said things in debate that I’ve regreted, because of that I work on keeping the debate friendly. Even if the other person is bent on mud-slinging, I’ve been amazed how a calm, kind word can quickly change a debate.

  37. Sherpa,

    It has negated the power of this thread. Only Amira posted about the actual topic, until Guy just posted. It sure makes me think that people would rather talk about their most hated pundit than the message being sent.

  38. Guy,

    Thanks for commenting. Yeah, Sherpa and I go back about two years, debating politics and life. We’re like siblings sometimes in our debates. 😛

    I am hopeful–though not optimistic that the release today of the ISG report will help persuade the current administration to change its outlook not only about the Iraq war–but it’s entire focus on the war on terror. Like I said I’m not optimistic–but people and and do change. I will even maintain that hope about Mr. Bush. I look forward to seeing what will happen.

    I’m far more pessimistic than you when it comes to this administration. I really don’t see Bush eating that much humble pie. I wait to be surprised, though. 🙂

  39. Dan, the negation of the power of the thread? It hasn’t changed the power of the post? Dan, my message was never about “pundits” really, that was just an example about 20 comments back!!! Threads have a life of their own that we all contribute to.

  40. And I’ve been trying mightily hard to get it back on topic. 🙂

  41. Listen Big Bro Dan……………..

    Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

    The kids getting cuter by the day.


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