I used to believe the campaign to prosecute top Bush Administration officials as “war criminals” was a farce.
Now, I’m convinced they have a point.
Consider the revelation earlier this week which reveals (former) President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld each knew full well that many — in fact a majority — of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp were (and are) completely innocent.
Not a few of the detainees. A MAJORITY.
If Bush Administration officials were aware that even a single person was innocent of involvement in acts related to terrorism, but despite knowing so still demanded the individual be held for years without due process, that disclosure alone would be scandalous. But the allegations these top officials knew that most detainees languishing behind bars inside a military prison, some being subjected to aggressive interrogation tactics, were in fact innocent isn’t just an appalling desecration of authority, but a miscarriage of justice which demands full prosecution.
A good starting point here is to expose the facts which are now known. An article in this month’s The Atlantic magazine written by Conor Friedersdorf makes it abundantly clear that top Bush Administration officials knowingly violated the rights of hundreds of innocent people. Accordingly to sworn testimony in federal court now coming to light, most of the more than 700 people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay “had never seen a U.S. soldier in the process of their initial detention and their captivity had not been subjected to any meaningful review.”
CLICK HERE: How Religion Promotes Intolerance and (Gulp!) — Even Murder
Discussing religion is sure to incite passion from two camps, and utter indifference from another. Some agree. Others disagree. Still others simply don’t care.
One fellow writer asked me recently, why bother with religion at all? Why not just let believers pray as they do, and leave them alone?
Oh, how I wish. If only things were that simple. If only there was indeed such an option.
Trouble is, we don’t have that option.
We anti-theists can’t sit idly by and “let them pray.” We can’t “leave them alone” — for a simple reason. It is this: Because they won’t “leave us alone.”
They insist on invading every sphere of our human existence. They demand totalitarian control over what we do, and how we think. They demand absolute servitude, not only to their God, but to a narrow set of twisted customs and belief systems prescribed during an era when the worldwide consensus was the earth was flat. In short, they not only invade our space and attempt to alter our consciousness, they also desire to be our lawgiver, our landlord, and — should we break their commandments — our executioner for eternal damnation.
Imagine the possibilities.
The script reads as follows: Cheech and Chong win a free trip to Italy. While traveling, the old Pope resigns and a new Pope gets picked. The two dope heads somehow stumble into the Vatican. When the new Pope finally gets chosen, white smoke is traditionally released to the crowd gathered outside in Saint Peter’s Square, and a billion cheering worshipers watching worldwide.
Cheech and Chong. White smoke. You can pretty much figure out the rest.
At least the plot for “Cheech and Chong Visit the Vatican” would make sense.
But nothing makes sense in Catholicism.
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Catholics are in a state of denial, which is nothing new. This has been a recurring problem ever since — oh, let’s see — around the year 624.
It took centuries to finally end the senseless torturing of hundreds of thousands of innocents during the Inquisition. It took centuries to put a stop to the Crusades which sought to convert the conquered at the point of a sword. It took centuries to save so-called heretics from being burned alive at the stake. So why would anyone think the Catholic Church is now finally ready to turn over a brand new fig leaf and join the 19th Century, let alone the contemporary world of 2013? The church still conducts services in Latin, for Crissakes.
For those unfamiliar with that name, Marvin Miller was a man who changed sports forever. He was arguably the most influential figure during the past 50 years when it comes to reshaping the four major professional sports leagues and revolutionizing where the money goes.
Miller died last month. Back in his heyday, during the 1970′s, Miller headed the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). He’s the pioneer most responsible for transforming professional athletes from seasonal blue-collar workers into multimillionaires and celebrities.
Team owners hated Miller. That’s because he made them all share their wealth. Unfortunately, many sports fans also despise Miller — largely because of what the player labor movement later deteriorated into after he retired. His aims and objectives twisted by the likes of Donald Fehr and others, Miller’s original intent was simply to achieve fairness. He recognized that athletes possessed special skills which were not being rewarded proportionally to the risks they were taking and the sacrifices they were making. While team owners supposedly take risks when purchasing sports franchises (highly debatable, since virtually no pro team are ever sold at a loss), it’s the athletes who take staggering levels of risks every second they’re on the field, on the court, or on the ice. Careers can be over in an instant. Future earning power can be shattered with the tear of a tendon. This doesn’t even begin to address the intense pain of injuries of the potential for a lifetime of disfigurement. Go take a look at former pro football great Earl Campbell, who can barely walk after a career in football.
In few more years, they’ll all be gone.
Every one of them.
The millions who marched on foot across a continent and who sailed the high seas some 70 years ago are slowly but surely leaving us. They pass away at the rate of thousands per year, which will gradually come to a few hundred, and then to a trickle. In another decade or so, they will be no more.
They are what has been called “the Greatest Generation.”
When times were the toughest, they endured it. When duty called and the bell of national service rang, they answered it. When our way of life and liberty was at stake, they defended it. And when it was all over and some came home, they honored and remembered those who didn’t.
They are our heroes.
Indeed, most aren’t young anymore. Most have seen and suffered far more than any human should endure. They don’t play on sports fields. They aren’t moviestars. They aren’t rich or famous. But they are far more special than any of those superficial icons with fleeting illusions of accomplishment. They are the survivors and the victors of the last century’s most trying test. They are the champions. The champions of the world.