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Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Terrible Dream: Mushroom Clouds

I had a terrible dream Friday night. I was in Chicago, near the Temple, when I noticed that lights and other electrical devices flickered momentarily, even battery-powered ones, and then came back on. It happened again. I wondered if there might have been an electromagnetic pulse of some kind. I went to the window and saw four clouds over Chicago, including one that was a perfect and dramatic new mushroom cloud. It was an awful and solemn moment. And the only dream I've ever had with a mushroom cloud. Disturbing. It then jumped to a lonely street scene with a few people resigned to their fate from radiation poisoning.

I hope this never happens, but it's made me ponder. These are days that call for Americans and people of all nations to be prepared for wars and acts of terror.

Now for a brief rant: How can any American feel secure when we are in an alleged war on terror while we leave our borders largely unprotected? If hundreds of thousands of immigrants can get across our border every year, what is stopping hundreds of Al Qaida agents from strolling across at their leisure carrying weapons of mass destruction? The border could be sealed. Troops could be stationed all along the southern border to fully secure it. But how can we imagine we are serious about stopping terrorism when we don't sincerely try to stop terrorists or anyone else who wishes to get across the border? No wait, to suggest that the border should be secured makes one a racist. My bad! Sorry about that.

62 comments:

Samuel said...

Jeff,

Thanks a lot! I heard on a radio show last night that al-qaeda was supposed to set off 7 nuclear bombs in the US during Ramadan (which started Tuesday.) When I looked on the web, it actually said October 4th was the prime date. I have no idea if it was and the plot was foiled or if it is happening later (or is never meant to happen at all.) Anyhow, one of the cities they want to bomb is Las Vegas, where I am flying next Wednesday to attend my wife's law school reunion at BYU (cheaper airfare to Vegas plus we want to spend some time at Bryce Canyon and St. George driving up to Provo.)

I had brushed it all off as crazy until you told me about the dream! Now I dont want to go! ;)

Samuel said...

One other point that I forgot to raise. Supposedly al-qaeda is recruiting central american gangs to bring in the bombs. Across our southern border. Sigh. Scary times.

cayblood said...

I think it would be far easier to secure our borders if we stationed troops along our borders but opened our doors completely to lawful immigration for those seeking work. This would have the effect of making the borders much easier to patrol because only known criminals would try to cross the border illegally, knowing that they would not be allowed in through the lawful checkpoints.

We should face the fact that we absolutely depend on immigrant labor for our current standard of living. This change would of course require welfare reform, along with a reduction or elimination of the minimum wage. But neither of these changes would affect what is already happening on the ground, except to legalize things and make it easier to keep tabs on exploitation of immigrants rather than having all the same atrocities practiced in secret.

Charles said...

Talk about a nuclear attack was widespread around August 6th and 9th, the aniversary of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The Russian government currently estimates 100 nuclear suitcase bombs unaccounted for in their arsenal.

Terrorism relies on fear. If we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by what might happen they will win. If we petition our government to "back off" because of that fear, they win.

It is a sad time when the fear that drives our lives is created by our fellow man. Rather the being directed by hope and faith in our savior.

We can rely on our present and future leaders to do what is right and protect us and quell our fears, but is up to each of us to excercise faith in our savior so we be proactive in our lives rather than reactive to our fears.

Charles said...

Cayblood,

I know a lot of people look at anti immigration as racism the way that anti abortionists are percieved as anti women's rights, but it is untrue.

The US only relies on immigration because of the large pockets of welfare culture that has grown to learn that they don't need to work to support themselves.

Mexico and other Central American immigrants have no social welfare programs. They are brought up with a complete understanding that they must find work. That is why they come here. In some ways they have a much stronger work ethic than many US citizens.

But it is because of the last 40+ years of social welfare that we have an entire culture in our country that expects the government to take care of them. They have no expectation to work.

Welfare reform is necessary, but not abolishing or reducing minimum wage. That would only widen the gap between the social classes, which is the real problem in our country not racism.

If we did away with welfare and redefined our culture as one of strong work ethics and opportunities we could rely less on immigrants and we would be able to get jobs for the millions of Americans that are citizens of the Welfare State.

Anonymous said...

Charles: Having worked in Idaho's welfare to work program, I have seen how welfare works. There are minimum requirements that must be met in order to receive welfare. One of them is spending 30-40 hours a week looking for work. This "work search" must be verifiable. If it is found that someone isn't looking for work, they are sanctioned and lose their welfare benefits, until they are in compliance again. Also, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 enacted 5 year limits on receiving any cash assistance (TANF, or it is called TAFI in Idaho). If you think people can live their entire lives on cash assistance (in Idaho, the most you can get is around $300/month), then you are sorely mistaken. Also, don't forget that those on welfare are required to do some work, they can't just sit at home and do nothing. (There are federal requirements and then state requirements, which are usually more strict).

The problem with the welfare system is that it is designed to get people off of welfare, but not out of poverty. There are truly many people on welfare who seek a better life, but lack the resources they need to improve their situation. Perhaps we can institute some programs that help those people who want help and then assist them in getting college degrees in nursing and teaching (and other areas), where we have a huge need for quality people. This help could include daycare assistance, tuition assistance (then instituting maybe a mandatory 2-year work requirement with certain hospitals or schools, and other places, depending upon the degree). Right now the welfare system makes it nearly impossible for good people to get college educations. With a college education, people can move out of the lower and working classes and into the middle class, and higher! My idea isn't perfect, but we need to do something.

Mike Parker said...

The problem with locking down the border is that, historically, it's never worked. Every wall erected for military or security reasons has been successfully breached, and has only been successful in stopping commerce and expanding the flow of capital. Every wall, including the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.

This goes back to the law of supply and demand: If there is demand for terrorism, there will be ample supply. The U.S. wastes a lot of time unsuccessfully trying to cut off supply (consider the "war on drugs") when they could be focusing on reducing demand. In the "war on terror," this would include not doing things that tick off militant Arabs and feed their paranoid conspiracy theories ... like invading Middle Eastern countries who haven't threatened us using manufactured evidence.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you think we need to post guards on our "southern" border. The September 11 terrorists didn't come to the U.S. from Mexico. They were here, with government permission, on student visas. In fact, Mohammad Atta's student visa was renewed six months after September 11, 2001 so that he could continue his pilot training. The "Millenium" bomber was caught at the Canadian border. Is there a single documented case of a terrorist coming to the U.S. from Mexico?

Clark Goble said...

I think the problem with that idea Mike is that the things that tick off Islamic militants is pretty much our way of life. Yet that's not necessarily which drives support to them, although honestly it doesn't look like they have big support in the middle east. But you only need a few people to do the acts they do to cause trouble. And what troubles them are basically our view of civil rights, the existence of Israel, Spain not being Islamic, and even being anywhere in the middle east in any way. I don't think we can give those things up.

That's not to say in the least that there aren't many things we could do to slow the rate of converts to their cause. But we ought recognize that it would merely be a slowing and not elimination.

D-Train said...

I have that dream about once a month. Not that exact one, but some variation on nuclear war.

That's what you get for being an IR guy with an interest in disarmament.....

Mormanity said...

Samuel, I wouldn't let my dream stop you from doing anything you need to. And I think Al Qaida already struck on Oct. 4, looking at the stock market and the response to a stray comment from a Federal Reserve board member. Hey, could there be a connection?? ;)

Samuel said...

Jeff,

Dont worry, I wont. I just hope to be in Utah if it happens. :)

Charles said...

Clark is right. Its our way of life that threatens them.

Islamic Militants adhere strictly to the "if your not with us, your our enemy". Consider that the general structure is one of a small group of dictatorial leaders that demand strict obedience under threat of force and oppression from their followers.

The very idealogic concept of freedom, and choosing ones leaders than buckling under foot is a threat to them. The notion that we can live in peace and that their leadership would be challenged if they don't treat everyone fairly drives their need to destroy everyone that isn't them.

The US is a clear target because of things that happened during the last days of WWII. The recreation of Israel is a big factor.

Changing the demand might sound nice but how realistic is it. Should we turn our back on allies we have sided with. Isn't that itself just as immoral as those who commit the acts of murder and backbiting.

Sure there are allies we could do without, a lot of them speak out of both sides of their mouth, but if we continue to treat them as allies aren't we morally bound to protect them?

Curtis said...

Mike has exactly the right idea. Charles and Clark, it's not our way of life that upsets islamic radicals. It's not the ideologic concept of freedom, but it is precisely our support of those who take away freedom and security around the world that they are fighting against.
Our invasion of Iraq when Iraq was no threat, based on a lie, our economic imperial designs on the middle east, our military in their holy lands, in their Mecca, these are the things they oppose. How much easier it is for them to gain recruits when we destroy a city in Iraq without regard to cripples, women, children and elderly, or when we rape and torture their brothers and sisters in our prisons.
Also, our very unbalanced support of Israel is fodder for these groups. We give financial aid off the map to Israel. We hound Iran for their nuclear program while Israel probably has 200 nuclear warheads in opposition to international law! We are probably heading to some sort of military showdown with Iran and Syria, again on the basis of claims of weapons of mass destruction in the case of Iran (didn't we just go through that). We are the nation spoken of in 3Nephi 16:10. Furthermore, I feel we are the secret combination spoken of in Ether 8 that seeks to take away the freedom of all nations.
Closin the border is only racist if you do it only in the south. Close off Canada too if you are afraid of terrorist attacks here.
The best idea though, is to do as Mike suggests: withdraw our purposes in the middle east and let Al Queda lose popularity when there is no big USA bully to fight against anymore.

Samuel said...

"Our invasion of Iraq when Iraq was no threat, based on a lie, our economic imperial designs on the middle east, our military in their holy lands, in their Mecca, these are the things they oppose. How much easier it is for them to gain recruits when we destroy a city in Iraq without regard to cripples, women, children and elderly, or when we rape and torture their brothers and sisters in our prisons."

Dont hold back, Curtis. Tell us how you really feel. Hehe.

Talon said...

"Troops could be stationed all along the southern border to fully secure it"

I also find America's preoccupation with its southern border puzzling.

The longest undefended border in the world is between Canada and the US. And while I understand that the majority of illegal aliens enter from Central America through the South-West border states, it seems more likely that a terrorist would try to enter from Canada (as was the case with the millennium bomber caught entering from Vancouver).

Why try to cross a dusty waterless desert, when you could take a boat across any of the Great Lakes in the dead of night? Or any one of hundreds of roads and trails that cross the border at numerous points across the Prairies?

As a Canadian, I can tell you, I would be more worried about Canada's lax immigration policies. The millennium bomber was based out of Montreal, not Mexico City.

Bookslinger said...

Aren't there sound and seismic sensors along the US/Canadian border to alert the Border Patrol when someone crosses someplace other than a designated site?

Mike Parker said...

I don't go quite as far as Curtis does, but, in general, I think he's on the right track.

The problem is that we've spent decades talking about democracy and freedom and human rights, while at the same time supporting dictatorships in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq (yes, we sold them the gas they used to kill Kurds), Iran, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Chile ... the list goes on and on and on. We did this under the pretense of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," and now there are very few people who trust us. We can reverse the policy of supporting friendly dictators (and I think that's happening), but the bad feelings will take generations to go away.

What radical Arab Muslims hate is not our freedom, but the fact that we're (a) decadent and (b) politically and militarily superior. We allow all kinds of smut and filth to come out in our movies, our television, our magazines, and yet we've managed to be successful and become the world's schoolyard bully. To the fundamentalist Islamic mind, this is incomprehensible. Remember, the traditional view in Islam is that God controls everything; if you manage to accomplish something, it's only because God let or made you do it. So if we're so evil, how did we get so powerful? Can't be God's doing — it must be Satan's.

There are no simple solutions to this problem. Pulling out of Iraq now is only going to make the problem much, much worse. Telling Arabs we love and care about them isn't going to convince them.

The only answer is a long-term one, and that's to follow the scriptural command to renounce war and proclaim peace (D&C 98:16) and to support honest, wise, and good people for leaders, both inside and outside the U.S. (D&C 98:10). Give it another 100 years, and maybe we'll have won the hearts and minds of those who formerly called us their enemy.

Bookslinger said...

Mike: Get real. Your last post, while containing some nuggets of truth, also illustrates several of the lies and twisted history of the left. I don't want to post a political rebuttal to your fractured fairy-tale of history under this nick. Please stick to more spiritual subjects, cuz you ain't cuttin it as a political commentator.

Mike Parker said...

Indy,

I would be most interested to know how (a) the U.S.'s past support for dictatorships, (b) the moral degradation of U.S. society, and (c) the Doctrine and Covenants' call to pursue peace and honest leaders is part of "the lies and twisted history of the left."

Do you deny we supported, and support, dictatorships?

Do you deny that U.S. society is morally degraded?

Do you deny that the scriptures call for peace and honesty?

I am frightened by what appears to be a conflation by many American Latter-day Saints of political conservatism with the principles of the gospel. The two are, in fact, in many ways opposed to each other. It's only our own sloppy reading of the scriptures and the prophets that has allowed us to think they are the same.

Curtis said...

We can't win the hearts and minds while we are blowing up the hearts and minds. Why can't we do what the Iraqi's wish for us to do? All polls show they desire for us to leave and the sooner the better. All indications show that the Iraq voters voted in the current government on the hopes of forcing the occupying army out.

Our support of "friendly dictators" is in reality caused by our love for a profit. Where Pinochet reigns, the workers don't organize, natural resources are easily taken at bargain basement prices and our Multinational corporations who pay for the campaigns of our politicians, get rich.

This is no secret. George Kennan, one of the framers of foreign policy after WWII, in a very telling statement said thusly:
"We [Americans] have 50 percent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 percent of the population. This disparity is particularly great between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming. ... We should cease to talk about vague, and for the Far East, unreal objectives, such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

This is why we have had dictators as buddies. They rule with an iron fist and we reap the benefits.

If we leave the middle east alone we would see how fast hatred for the USA would slow down. Are you familiar with the white horse prophecy as told by Mosiah Hancock? He said that Joseph Smith told him:

"The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, "Let's divide up the lands of the United States", then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle."

Now I don't know if this is what Joseph actually said or not. Mosiah was a 10 year old boy at the time. However, if it is true, it would appear that the solution of withdrawing our wars in foreign lands would be a way to cool of those who would like to do us destruction.

Mike Parker said...

The White Horse Prophecy was condemned by Joseph F. Smith in General Conference as "a lot of trash," and I would agree with him — it's not a reliable document.

For an excellent overview of the problem of trusting in politics for salvation, see Hugh Nibley's Approaching Zion and Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints.

The prophets are clear on this point: We must leave off the things of the world and "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion" (D&C 6:6).

Curtis said...

The white horse prophecy is not a single document but is a collection of several recollections. I didn't know it was call a lot of trash by JFS. At least the saving the constitution part was repeated by Ezra Taft Benson. Was that opposed to JFS's statement?

I'm not sure what you mean that we shouldn't trust in politics for our salvation. Was I infering that we should trust in politics for our salvation? Does that then mean we are absolved from our responsibility to hold our government accountable?

Unfortunately Government and good doctrine seem to be inseparable in many instances. If we support a murderous and wicked government we will answer for that at the last day. If we work for good in our government, surely that won't be overlooked at God's bar.

I read both of the Books Mike mentions. Great books. Really trashes the going attitude of church members pertaining to wealth and in fact, dealing with the enemy in the Brigham book. Here, I'll dig up a good quote or two from that book for you:

“How easy it is for the Almighty to direct the steps of our enemies, until they fall off the precipice and are dashed in pieces, without the efforts of his servants.”(7) Says the Lord, “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.”(8) Commenting on this scripture, Pres. Young said, “It is written that the Lord will destroy the wicked, and He has done so by bringing about circumstances to cause them to destroy themselves.”(9) There is a spirit that stirs up men to war one with another, said Pres. Young, “There is a spirit that prompts the nations to prepare for war, desolation, and bloodshed--to waste each other away. Do they realize it? No.” The Lord taught thru Moses the way of safety and security, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments,… I will give peace in the land,… neither shall the sword go through your land.” So why are our enemies allowed to exist? What is the purpose of the Lord in not destroying these people off of the earth since he has the power to do it? Again, Pres. Young taught, “We have received enough to understand that the wicked are a rod in the hands of God to chasten his children. If you do not [understand that], it is time that you had learned it, for it is even so; if we are chastened, it is for a purpose… But were we ever destroyed? No, neither will God permit us to be, so long as we are desirous of being his servants, and of doing the work given us to do.”

“Just as soon as our eyes are turned away from watching ourselves, to see whether we do right, we begin to see faults in our neighbors; this is the great difficulty, and our minds become more and more blinded until we become entirely darkened… The main difficulty in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied is, they are not satisfied with themselves… If you want a revolution go to work to improve yourselves and give your minds something to act upon instead of looking at the faults of others… But, says one, ‘I want to fight.’ Do all such persons know that they are not right? If they will examine their hearts, they will find a wicked anger and a malice there; and they cannot get into the kingdom of God with those feelings.” In fact, Pres. Young taught that it is this warmongering attitude that gets the wicked destroyed in the end, “No man or people possessing wisdom will give vent to wrath, for that is calculated to weaken, to destroy, to blot out of existence. When the Supreme Ruler of the universe wishes to destroy a nation, he takes away their wisdom… and they are filled with wrath: they give way to their anger, and thus lay the foundation of their own destruction.”

“Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between tow nations as murder… Does it justify the slaying of men, women and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it.”

Bookslinger said...

Mike: Your post combined some truths and some falsehoods. You're the one who is confusing, confounding and rewriting history.

And since there is no hope of changing your views by blog comments, I'm not going to delve deeper in the specifics, other than to say I strongly disagree with your summation of US involvement in world politics, and I hope no unknowledgeable people reading this thread take your statements as 100% accurate or factual.

Such comments as you made, mixing some historical fact along with left-wing fiction, repeated a zillion times in textbooks and media, played right into the 20th century communists' hands, and now it plays into the hands of the terrorists of the 21st century.

I met real life communists face-to-face in South America, both an elite and some poor working class. Give me a Pinochet, Somoza, or a Stroessner over a Daniel Ortega or a Fidel Castro any day.

From the Bolshevik revolution to Stalin, Russian communists killed tens of millions of their own people. Estimates of Stalin alone range from 10 to 20 millions.

From Mao to Tienanmen Square, the Chinese communists have killed even more, with estimates starting at 20 millions.

People even mistakenly think that Histler was a right-winger. But his party was the Nationalist _Socialist_ party.

If getting in bed with right-wing dictators in central and south America was what it took to keep communism out of the western hemisphere, so be it.

Your assertion that we have provoked Islamists into terrorism is so much bunk. Since World War II the United States has done more to uplift and defend Muslims than any other country or people.

Our involvement in the former Yugoslavia to stop and prevent further slaughter of he Muslims there alone, ought to garner us the grattitude of world-wide Muslims.

The great efforts of the United States in hosting and fomenting negotiations between Palestinians and the Israelis is further evidence.

Your whole point of how we have damaged Muslim or Arabic nations, their peoples, or their governments is just plain twisted and not according to historical facts. We have bent over backwards in supporting legitimate governments of Arab nations, and being supportive of Arabic and Muslim peoples.

Curtis said...

Wow, Book of Mormon in Indy, That's quite a bit of misinformation you provide there. I don't dispute your claims that Mao and Stalin and those guys killed millions, but it was not communism or socialism, but corrupt dictators that did the killing. Is capitalism responsible for millions of deaths? No, it is the corrupt rulers who are responsible. Socialism done by good men is not that bad of a thing. Look at Venezuela with Chavez right now. 100% literacy, medical care for all the poor etc etc.

So, you'd take a dictator rather than a democratically elected leader like Ortega? Pinochet, the killer of his thousands over the democratically elected Allende?

Arab muslims should be grateful to us because we install the Shah of Iran? Because we supply Israel with weapons and unprecedented financial aid to oppress them? Because we look the other way when Israel developes nuclear warheads but pounce all over Iran when their nearest warhead is at least 5 if not 15 years away? Because we rape and kill and torture their people in our prisons? Because we kill over 100,000 in Iraq under false pretenses?

But then, since you like dictators rather than democratically elected socialists, I guess you were on Sadam's side as well?

Wow, it is the distortion you put on history that I hope doesn't carry much weight among the readers of this blog.

Samuel said...

"Because we rape and kill and torture their people in our prisons?"

Names, dates? How many prisoners have we raped? How many killed? I want more details. Otherwise you are just blowing smoke and I for one am not too thrilled by it.

Curtis said...

Surely you are not ignorant of the tortures our soldiers and intelligence officials have inflicted in Afganistan and Iraq?

All right then, let's see what we can dig up.

First, the most recent stuff, from the Extreme leftist journal, USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-09-24-airborneaccused_x.htm

From Amnesty International:

"A US military investigation into the death of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver, in Bagram in December 2002 exposed his terrible death. He was apparently picked up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was kept chained to the ceiling of his cell for long periods over four days, hooded most of the time. His pleas for water were sometimes ignored. The report estimated that in one 24-hour period he had been struck over 100 times on the side of the leg just above the knee. His legs, according to one observer, "had basically been pulpified."

"Mohammed C., a Chadian national born in Saudi Arabia, was just 14 years old when he was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in October 2001. He was taken to a prison and allegedly suspended from his wrists. He says that for around three weeks he was held in this position for between 10 and 16 hours a day, always blindfolded apart from some five minutes a day when he ate.

In late November 2001 he was transferred into US custody, and his nightmare continued. He says that he was put into blue overalls, hooded, shackled, beaten, threatened with death, and repeatedly called "nigger", a word he had never heard before. He was then flown to the US airbase in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he says he was assaulted, kept naked, doused in freezing water, and told that his penis would be cut off with scissors.

In early January 2002 he was transferred to Guantánamo, where he says he was hung by the wrists for up to eight hours at a time, beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation, strobe lighting and extreme cold, and racially abused. In 2003 an interrogator allegedly burned his arm with a cigarette. His arm still has scars.
In May 2004 he was transferred to Camp 5 in Guantánamo, where conditions are extremely harsh. He is held for up to 24 hours a day in solitary confinement in a small concrete cell.
Mohammed is now 18. He has been in Camp 5 for more than a year, and in US military custody for three and a half years, but has still not been charged with a crime."

"Sean Baker, a US military guard, volunteered to wear an orange jumpsuit and pretend to be an uncooperative detainee in Guantánamo during a training exercise in January 2003. The guards, who did not know who he was, beat and choked him to the point where he suffered permanent brain injury."

"Jamal Naseer was just 18 years old in March 2003 when he died in US custody in Gardez, Afghanistan. The young soldier was arrested along with seven other Afghans, and held for 17 days before he died. He was reportedly subjected to torture including electric shocks, beatings and immersion in water. There was no autopsy to establish how he died."

"Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi national, died in Abu Ghraib in November 2003 from "blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration", according to the death certificate. He was a "ghost detainee" brought into the prison by US forces and left unregistered and untreated for a head injury sustained on arrest."

"Salah Nasser Salim ‘Ali, a 27-year-old Yemeni, was arrested in August 2003 while shopping in Indonesia where he lived with his Indonesian wife. He says he was flown to Jordan where he was held for four days and tortured. He was interrogated but never told why he had been arrested.

Salah says he was blindfolded and shackled by US guards, then transported in a small military plane to a secret location. There, for between six and eight months, he was held in solitary confinement in what he describes as an old-style underground facility with high walls. His tiny cell had a bucket for a toilet. Western music was piped into the cell 24 hours a day."

""They punched me, they kicked me, once to my chin. Another time I was told to lie down and they picked me up by my neck so I was half-strangled and they said ‘we are going to kill you unless you confess what you did’." Jannat Gul, an Afghan held in the US military facility in Gardez, Afghanistan, and then for 16 months in Bagram. He was released in March 2005"

""Americans hit me and beat me up so badly I believe I’m sexually dysfunctional… I point to where the pain is… I think they take it as a joke and they laugh." A Guantánamo detainee quoted in tribunal transcripts released under a US Freedom of Information Act lawsuit"

""They said, ‘If you swear to God again, we’ll break you into a thousand pieces’… They had music played very loud on huge speakers and they made us dance. It was played straight into our ears. There was abuse throughout the night. We were beaten on the ground. They placed tape on our mouths, and bags on our heads." Ahmad Muhammad Hussein al-Badrani, a freelance television journalist working for Reuters in Falluja, who was held by US forces in Iraq for three days in January 2004"

Curtis said...

The Human Rights Watch page is down right now. I refer you to them when they come back up for more info on specifics.

Curtis said...

For the story of a man tortured into a persistent vegetable state see:

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000066.php

and the followup at:

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000033.php

Do you require more evidence Sam?

Samuel said...

Well I would like something a bit more balanced, as in corroborated...these seem to be the words of the prisoners themselves, with no official declaration so far. I know that there are isolated incidents of these sorts of things (and we invesitgate them and punish the offenders.) But it is the systematic torture by Saddam Hussein and his henchman that you people seem to ignore. Besides inflated numbers like 100,000 killed in Iraq. The true number, I am certain is much lower, besides the fact that we liberated MILLIONS from the tyranny of Saddam. All I know is that a very good friend of mine was tortured to death in Iraq by these so called "freedom fighters" and all I seem to see from people like you is support for it. It is not official US policy that we BEHEAD prisoners, yet the Islam extremists do it as a matter of course. This seems to be ignored. The US was attacked for 20 years by terrorists and we did nothing. Yes, we support Israel, which by the way is a democracy. The islamic states are not. You people need to get on the right side of this fight. Sorry jeff I did not mean to get so upset, I just needed to vent obviously.

Walker said...

For those who do not believe that there is so pattern of oppression inherent to Communist states, let us not let historical amnesia blind us. Laos (the Hmong people--and I'm not just appealing to the host's sentiments. I was a missionary among them), Cambodia (obvious), Vietnam (the agricultural tribunals of the 50s), and Lenin's reign of terror (the one everyone conveniently forgets when telling Soviet Russia's history). For Chavez, his people may be able to read stupendously. I wonder what he allows them to read?

Of course, capitalist regimes have their skeletons too. However, you will be hard-pressed to find bonafide cases of genocide in completely capitalistic states.

Curtis said...

Sam, your claim that we torture prisoners in only isolated incidences has been refuted by the steady stream of news reports. For example, the story of the 82nd Airborne shows an obvious pattern of systematic torture. It was just in the New York Times a week or so ago. Here is the report link from Human Rights Watch:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/09/25/usint11776.htm

Now, Saddam was a bad guy but he was our bad guy. Most of his worst atrocities were committed under our watchful eye and tacit approval.

I am sorry about your friend. I do care about all victims of atrocities. However, the fact that they cut off heads doesn't make them any worse than those who blow off heads in my mind.

The 100,000 number is actually a conservative number, arrived at by one of the worlds most renowned epidemiologists in a study out of Johns Hopkins University. He left out data from the more violent regions in Iraq which actually would have skewed the results upwards significantly.

Your claim that we have been attacked for 20 years without giving offense is also not supported by the facts. I'm not sure which attacks you are referring to but here are a few of the things we have done in the last 20 years to offend muslims. We supported the Iran/Iraq war, giving weapons to both sides. We attacked Iraq and Afganistan and implemented sanctions on Iraq that were directly responsible for killing more than 500,000 children under the age of 5 according to UNICEF. We left our military in the Muslim heartland. We supported Israel in their oppression of Palestinian Arabs while ignoring the buildup of some alleged 200 nuclear warheads. Did I miss any of the major ones?

I don't know that there is a right side to this conflict Sam. I just want people to know all the facts. There's a lot out there that is very important, that is ignored.

Walker said...

Curtis,

It seems to me that much of your evidence thus far has focused on the commission of crimes on the part of U.S. guards, soldiers, and foreign nations. You have not provided any evidence of "tacit approval." Indeed, how could you? Tacitness involves winks and nods, not documents. If there ever has been official approval of genocide and/or mass killings, it will never be known, as the National Archives certainly have such documents will not see the light of day for a very long time.

Toleration and approval are two very different policies. Cold War politics dictated that communism was, by its very nature, opposed to America. However, since some dictators at the very least supported free trade, American policy makers believed that we could "work with them." So it was with Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam, Phoumi Nosavan in Laos, and even Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan (of course, we know how the last one has turned out). That notwithstanding, believing that you can "work" with someone is very differently than winking your approval for mass murder. If I am incorrect, please provide evidence to the contrary (of the documentary brand rather than of groups who think that a few deaths--assuming that they occured-are as bad as a gulag).

Walker said...

Oops!

Correction: The documents in the Archives will not see the light of day for a very long time.

Samuel said...

"I don't know that there is a right side to this conflict"

I think that says it all.

By the way, the website:

http://www.iraqbodycount.net/

cites a max count of less than 30,000. I would venture to say that is a conservative estimate, rather than going with 100,000 as such. There are going to be civilian casualties in any conflict, but Saddam left in power would have led to far more deaths than we have caused, both here and in Iraq.

Curtis said...

Walker, you said, "That notwithstanding, believing that you can "work" with someone is very differently than winking your approval for mass murder. If I am incorrect, please provide evidence to the contrary (of the documentary brand rather than of groups who think that a few deaths--assuming that they occured-are as bad as a gulag)."

Here's just a few glaring examples of where you're incorrect.

We supplied 5,000 names of suspected communists to Suharto when he took over Indonesia. Suharto then stifled the communist movement by killing them all, along with upwards of 1,000,000 mostly landless and unarmed peasants in 1965.

We supplied weapons, massive financial aid and military training to Suharto as he killed 200,000 East Timorese over a period of 20 years. That's a quarter of the population of East Timor. Some might call that genocide.

We overthrew the democratically elected government of Guatemala in the 50's and the subsequent military dictatorship killed 200,000 over a 20 year period (pretty much over a fruit company!).

Curtis said...

Sam, the iraqbodycount.org estimate is the lowest of the 8 independant estimates out there. 30,000 civilian deaths is still too much by the way. 4 of those estimates place the toll above 100,000 mark.
It's hard to argue with statistics. The Hopkins study was rigorously examined and peer reviewed and found to be essentially flawless. It was printed in the Lancet Medical Journal. I have the study if you would like to look at it and know what you are criticizing rather than passing judgement without knowing what you are talking about.

Curtis said...

Walker, so you are looking for bonafide cases of genocide in capitalistic economies? I'm surprised that you don't remember the 20 to 50 million Africans killed in the slave trade (very capitalist) or the 20 million native americans killed in the grand westward expansion manifest destiny of the USA (again very capitalist).

Granny said...

Wowie--getting a little thick in here. Why don't we all shut down for the night and go to bed. Or, putting it another way--Give it a rest, you guys!

Curtis said...

Walker, as for your question as to what Chavez allows his people to read in Venezuela, he allows them to read whatever they like. The media down there is owned mostly privately and the vast majority of the media is very rabidly anti-Chavez. He allows himself to be criticized bigtime.
I would invite people to look into what he is doing down there. It's really quite amazing. Despite massive US funding for the opposition thru the NED and USAID, he has overcome a coup, a crippling strike by the oil industry and a referendum recall which he won in a landslide. He now enjoys a 70% approval rating. Perhaps Bush could learn a thing or two from him.

Walker said...

Curtis,

Agreed, Granny. It is a little thick. --that's the way we like it! j/k

As to your examples, they are, at best, inconclusive. The questions are complex. These are simplified answers. In sum, however, as horrific as the genocides were, the United States was not a perpetrator of bloddbaths. Where there was any AMerican complicity, it was due more bureaucracy than bloodthirst.

1) The U.S. provided weapons and military training to Suharto's army, it is true. Indeed, Ford/Kissinger gave Suharto the green light for invasion (a legally dubious allowance). However, the following genocide was not what the U.S. had in mind. The U.S. supported the invasion, not the genocide

2) Eisenhower was kept in the dark about the "real" success of the Guatamalan coup. When told that only "one man died" (a laughably atrocious deception on the part of his staff), he was pleasantly surprised.

3) Finally, calling slavery and/or the Native American displacement genocide is not wholly accurate. These things were terrible and should never be played down. But accurately described, they were not genocide. In the Chesapeake, slavery did not take on a race-based rationale until the 18th century (Anthony JOhnson, an indentured servant, held all the rights of a white man until his death in 1705). Add to this that many slaveholders wrote articles on why slaves should be treated well for higher efficiency (a contradiction, I recognize, but Hitler didn't exactly want to ever treat Jews well). The distorted sense of paternalism on the part of whites remitts any genocidal streak of the events.

Curtis said...

Walker, Thanks for the civil reply and it's good to see that you do have some knowledge of these things. Most people are competely in the dark.

Your assertions are strange though. You agree that Ford/Kissinger gave the green light for invasion, but you say we didn't want the genocide, in spite of our continued massive military support and financial aid. If we didn't want the genocide, we were at least willing to accept massive casualties and horrible oppression of a helpless indigenous people for 23 years!

Again, with Guatemala, we continued to support them for 20 years! We supported a government that used to keep it's populace in fear by throwing up babies and catching them on bayonets, dragging people across barb wire fences for an example for the people etc. If Eisenhower was in the dark, his underlings weren't. Often, the president is sort of a figure head for the actual power structure beneath him.

I'm not sure of your definition of genocide, but greater than 20 million casualties in both instances (African slave trade and Native American slaughter) not being genocide will have to be explained a little more. Also, I never claimed they were strictly USA ventures. But to be arguementative, they were brought about by the countries from which USA citizens derived and was continued by the USA in both cases. In any case, they were both products of very capitalist systems as you asked for.

Walker said...

The compliment is returned. Often, folks claim that history is just another arrow in their quiver to further their political agenda (following Foucault's view that history is just another piece of literature, that history only exists in the present, if at all--yadda, yadda). Civility in discourse is one antidote to such prevailing notions, I believe.

Concerning the issue of presidential culpability generally, call me a naive, but I've seen SO many instances of internal deception with the president. Of course, this is the president's responsibility--to keep tabs on internal intelligence (i.e. Reagan's issues with David Stockman and Iran Contra). So we people say "we" did this or that (referring to the U.S.), I would ask them to be more particular in their use of words. Case in point: opium transport on Air America in Laos. I would bet a lot of money, based on the documentation available, that neither Kennedy, Johnson, and probably not Nixon (though I wouldn't put it past him), directed the airline to transport opium. Did it happen? Sure. Was it common? Not terribly. Why? Because of vague instructions from the top. In this way, the operatives end up with more power than the president. Increased power equals an increased potential for authority abuse.

In regards to the Guatamala and Suharto incidents, the key is deteriming the nature of the President's intel. flow. Unfortunately, it appears, Ford/Kissinger allowed their intel. to be filtered through the lens of Suharto. Bad mistake. So while Suharto out butchering thousands, Ford/Kissinger believe that he's fighting a war against Communism (incidentally, this shows that the Cold War was not just wholly McCarthy freakishness--Ford/Kissinger were carrying this all out under the covers due to AMerica's Vietnam syndrome). I don't argue w/your assessment of the Guatamalan gov't's brutality. However, the same situation stands. Considering that the administration viewed Stalin as the New Hitler, I suspect that Eisenhower's underlings believed that whatever deaths were incurred would be preferable to the Purges or the Holocaust. A lame justification, I recognize. But then again, I live in 2005. Naivete and fear equate reluctant atrocities.

Briefly on genocide, mass death and genocide are not the same things. If that were so, then any two warring countries have committed genocide (perhaps some believe that to be true, but I think that defining genocide as mass death sucks the meaning out of the word). The literal meaning is "the killing of a race/kind." Since the word was coined in connection to the Holocaust, I feel comfortable giving this strict definition. Also, slaveholders did not generally want to kill their slaves. That would be counterproductive. Why kill off what you just bought? (cold-hearted reasoning, I know--but that's what they thought). Andrew Jackson never appealed to the inflammatory rhetoric that Hitler would. He called the natives "little brothers." While this was hypocritical, bonafide genocide would not require such honey-dripped language.

Schuyler said...

This thread has really degraded from the original topic. If I wanted to hear such diatribe, I can listen to Hannity and Colmes. The basic question is tightly regulating our borders a necessary step to preserve our safety, our liberty, our culture and way of life?

My premise is 'yes'. To those who disagree, I would ask, "What country should we emulate?" The people of this world are voting by their actions of immigrating to the U.S as any cost. How many American's are trying to escape to other nations? Very few.

Immigration that took place in the late 19th and 20th centuries is quite different than immigration that is taking place now. First, nearly all social programs were administered by charities. There were no 'government entitlements' that take from the ‘haves’ and give to the ‘have nots’. (For those of you quoting scripture, nowhere does the Lord ever force individuals to give up their possessions for the purpose of giving them to the poor. It is always voluntary. The receiver knows these gifts were given out of love for them, and the giver develops great charity for those whom he/she gave to. Both are elevated. This will never be the byproduct of entitlements whose basic mechanism is force -- now who is the author of force???)

Secondly, immigrants immediately worked to adopt the US culture and language. My great grandparents, who came from Sweden and Denmark, would never speak Swedish or Danish in the home. They forced their children and themselves to learn English. I a way, this is sad that they did not also teach their mother tongue also, but they knew the best way to succeed was to become Americans in every way. Now, we have entire cities in the Southwest (Where I live) where a good chunk of the population cannot speak English. I recently heard a Mexican advocate propose that all Americans should also learn Spanish. This racist statement tips over the melting pot ideal and ignores the fact that they are not the only immigrant group. Should we also learn Chinese, Russian, Hmong, Portuguese, Arabic, Urdu, etc. A common language unites -- Consider the Canadians. Quebec still wants to break off from Canada.

In the 1970's Sweden recognized that their population was dwindling and had the grand idea of becoming a melting pot by accepting refugees as a way to increase their population which would fund their generous social programs. [I might note that Sweden was way ahead of the US in terms of sex ed (starts in 3rd grade), legalized abortion, alternative marriages (mainly living together.)] They began accepting political refugees from the South America, the Middle East and the Far East. Each group received generous social benefits from the government. For that reason, very few immigrants sought employment, further burdening their social programs. Rather than living among the Swedes, these immigrants created their own communities and did not attempt to adopt the Swedish culture or language. Interestingly, they also brought their own long harbored hates and would often fight with other immigrant communities. While living in Sweden during the late 70's, the Chileans and Argentine communities fought consistently with each other. Swedish officials were beside themselves because of the significant increase in crime and murder.

This is where the US is heading both culturally and financially. These individuals who immigrate to the U.S. should go through a pre-immigration class where they are taugh what is expected of them in terms of work, behavior, language, basic laws (yes, you need a drivers license and insurance to drive, and not you can’t drink and drive.) Basically, they bring the good with them and leave the bad behind. In order to do this we need immigration reform as well as well controlled borders. All immigrants should have a mandatory medical screening for serious diseases to protect Americans from new strains of contagious disease. This was required of my ancestors and it should be of current immigrants. Do you realize illegal immigrants have brought drug resistant strains of TB into New Mexico, where I live? It costs $300,000 to treat each one. What happens when this gets into the general population?

In the mean time, American citizens need to unite under common, moral principles. There are groups such as the ACLU that strive to create a secular society that is amoral by contorting ideas such a free-speech to allow for the legalization of immoral and treasonable acts. There are also the group which I call the “bleeding hearts” who just want to help the less fortunate without fully realizing the ramifications of their actions. I think most Americans want to help the less fortunate, but it must be done orderly and through voluntary giving.

Curtis said...

Walker,

To tell you the truth, I don't know what Ford thought he was doing okaying the invasion of East Timor. No matter what though, surely Carter, who increased the flow of weapons and cooperation, and especially the Reagan administration who increased the flow above what Carter had achieved, were aware of what they were supporting. Clinton is also culpable though it was finally he who stopped the whole scandal by suggesting that maybe Suharto had worn out his welcome in 1998, at which point Suharto immediately stepped down taking with him something like 40 billion dollars. One of the Clinton administration, I think it was Gore, even said Suharto is our kind of guy or some sort of rubbish like that.

If we didn't start out supporting genocide, we at least ignored it when we finally figured out what we were doing somewhere along the path.

As for genocide, your definition sounds good to me, and in my opinion, the slave trade would fit nicely. Most of the estimated 20-50 million deaths happened before the slaves ever reached our shores, not after they were owned as slaves. I think it is not a stretch to call their massacre genocide. Native Americans were also massacred continuously from the time of Columbus onward. The massacre of an eventual 250,000 inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola (practically the entire population) then cannot be called genocide because the Spaniards just wanted the savages to work properly?

Walker said...

I will grant you that the U.S. engaged in old-time realpolitik concerning Indonesia. Did leaders understate the atrocities to the public and probably in their own mind? My guess is that they did. But to call someone a mass murderer due to realpolitik, especially when a Cold War culture prevails in which many gov'ts wink at atrocities, leaves me to view the United States in a RELATIVELY reasonable light (of course, I place especial emphasis on "relatively")

A quick note on genocide (unfortunately, I have much to do tonight, the Sabbath notwithstanding *sigh*).

Don't get me wrong; there was absolute racial/religious prejudice on the part on conquering Spainards in Hispaniola (the two terms were basically interchangeable for transatlantic pirateers). However, the existence of hatred does not a genocide make. Again, if you're going to exploit someone, there's no point in killing them. Pure capitalists are too shrewd to allow such a waste of resources, as they want to own the means of production, not kill them. Corpses don't make crops grow. Also, white indentured servants were subject to the SAME penalties as African slaves. Additionally, Many of the deaths of the Royal slave traders were not induced via deliberate murders (though the brutality of the ships was undeniable), but disease. In fact, shipmen would toss diseased slaves overboard to PREVENT disease from spreading. This is not genocide, but a tortured, even barbaric logic of pragmatic guard over one's human cargo. Pragmatics governs capitalist endeavors, not blood (though the blood of all races is sometimes the oil which runs the capitalist machines--pardon the Marxist intonations ;).

Curtis said...

Walker,

Ok, I can go along with your definition of genocide for the purposes of this discussion. I guess then that Hitler's actions and perhaps the Rwandan massacre are a few of the bonafide cases of genocide in recent history then. I don't know what else would count. By the same token of course neither Stalin nor the North Vietnamese actions would be classifiable as genocide.

I'm trying to remember how we got onto this discussion. I think it had something to do with our support of dictators and bad guys throughout the years rather than giving our support to democratically elected governments. Sort of like what is going on in Haiti right now. We are supporting an election coming up soon, but it is a mockery of an election and the true voice of the people will not be represented.
I think that the era of support for outright bad guys is fizzling down though. We still have some in our pocket like the horrible guy in Uzbekistan (who receives a standing ovation in congress) etc., but we are more going for a sort of top-down sort of democracy. Iraq is an example of that, though they've turned it into a little more of a democratic experiment than Bush would have hoped though.
South America is a very interesting case right now. Venezuela's Chavez is steering the entire continent into a new sort of future, more independant of US influence, and we seem rather incompetent at forcing things to go differently down there. It is examples like this where I wish we would respect the democratic voice of the peoples in those countries and not seek to overthrow the leaders they elected that we dislike. This sort of attitude around the world is what turns us into a plump target for extremists and recruits more to their cause.

Curtis said...

Schuyler,

You said: "(For those of you quoting scripture, nowhere does the Lord ever force individuals to give up their possessions for the purpose of giving them to the poor. It is always voluntary. The receiver knows these gifts were given out of love for them, and the giver develops great charity for those whom he/she gave to. Both are elevated. This will never be the byproduct of entitlements whose basic mechanism is force -- now who is the author of force???)"

I have some issue with this statement. It is a common saying in our Church. Is it correct though? One of the scriptures you might accuse me of throwing around is D&C 49:20 which says:
"But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin."
This implies that those who are the haves, have taken it where it is not given. In fact, because there is an uneven distribution of wealth, the entire world lieth in sin! Now, the majority of those wealthy thieves (the word, "thief" is kind of harsh, but according to the above verse, it was not given to them and it is a sin that they have taken it) are not going to return what they have taken, therefore we should just wait and let countless poor suffer because it is not right to force them to give up money that is not theirs in the first place?
We are forced to do many things by our government. Why should paying taxes for the support of the poor be any different from the other things we are forced to do? Of course you wouldn't advocate a completely free society with nothing being forced, there would be mayhem.
No, in order to promote an orderly society where man can be fulfilled, order must prevail and many rules must be enforced.
Tax for the support of the poor wouldn't take away your agency. You would be free to react in anyway you like. Remember, freedom of choice and freedom of agency are not the same thing.

At the risk of being a boor, I should bring up an issue with your immigration policy. I dislike the melting pot idea. It is usually a way for white european derived peoples to tell all other immigrants they need to be like me. Now that would be rather boring wouldn't it?
Strict immigration rules seem to be a product of fear. Stricter rules would probably disproportionately tend to keep out the poorer immigrants. We were all immigrants once at some point in our geneology. It seems rather shameful to me that we now want to lock the door and strictly guard the key.
As a physician, I don't really think an immigration policy aimed at keeping infectious diseases away from our borders would be very cost effective. As you can see with the cases of the West Nile Virus and SARS, these diseases have a knack for finding their way into our country regardless. Animals and insects often do the dirty work.

Of course I think you would agree, the utopian society--such as the one we commonly seek after, namely Zion--would have it's borders open to all except for the wicked, who would necessarily be excluded because of an inability to withstand the glory of the Lord. All others would be included, especially the poor with drug resistant TB!

Walker said...

Indeed, I think America is about to enter a new era of Reagan, minus the cheery platitudes (don't misunderstand--I actually like Reagan generally, but that's another subject). However, Bush cannot point to the map and tell the world where the evil empire is, for it is in some ways everywhere. This might dupe folks into believing that it is nowhere.

I concur that the North Vietnamese and Soviet actions (don't forget that Lenin did it too) were not genocide in the strictest sense of the word, though they were nigh unto it. Class was viewed like Americans viewed race in Lenin's world.

As long as we live in a polarized world, we will have to shake hands with the mammon. Did it w/Stalin, Hussein, Bin Laden, yadda, yadda. For me, it's an indication actually of America's promise. I just hope we never hold on too long or too tight (especially the latter).

Walker said...

Nix--"it's an indication of America's promise." I had some arguments to support the statement, but then I decided to let it slide for time's sake. I just forgot to delete that the thesis of the argument.

Curtis said...

Walker,

I know you're paraphrasing the Lord there when you say we have to shake hands with mammon, but I have to disagree. I guess I'm an idealist and have always been for utopia. Zion in our language. Anything less (and what we have is considerably less) stinks. It's probably the other way around now though, the other guys have to hold their noses while shaking hands with us in many instances.

Curtis said...

This is my last threadjack, but I thought this was an excellent analysis of Amnesty International in Iraq and moreover, on the occupation itself.

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000298.php#more

Curtis said...

Sorry, don't know why the whole link didn't go thru. Should have this attached to the end of it.

000298.php#more

Anonymous said...

Maybe I could feel safer if we took the fight to them and started dropping nukes first. Hey, it worked with Japan. And I'd feel safe if we had an electric fence all the way around America and robotic sentries with laser guns to kill everyone who tried to get in without a visa.

I'd also feel a lot safer if I took on a second job or a really engrossing hobby, or maybe got a chronic, debilating illness so that I wouldn't have all the free time to be afraid that my nice first world luxuries could be taken at any moment by a scrappy, destitute, third world chump with little hope for a decent job and a decent life. Can you get robotic sentries with laser guns from Home Depot?

Schuyler said...

Curtis,

I don't agree with your interpretation of the scriptures. To make the claim that all wealthy individuals obtained their wealth through theft is ludicrous. Yes, there are some who have stolen their wealth or obtained it illegally or immorally, but a lot of wealthy individuals have earned it through industry and hard work. It is just as wrong for the poor to covet others wealth as it is for the wealthy not to help those less fortunate. One of the great blessings of living in the US is the opportunity is provides its citizens to succeed, both spiritually and temporally. Part of that responsibility includes how we take care of the widow, the fatherless and the infirmed. However, “he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” (D&C 42:42) One additional thought. How many people receiving entitlement stop to thank those from whom they were received? Often, I only hear they need more.

Isn’t Zion a melting pot? Isn’t it a requirement that those who come to Zion accept and live by a higher set of laws and ideals? The same applies to the US (though far from a Zionist society.) Give me your tired your poor….. Do we really want immigrants to bring to American life the failed platitudes from their countries or cultures whose result made them desire to escape poverty or tyranny to come to the U.S? Those immigrants who accept American ideal tend to succeed, while those who don’t limit their opportunities. There are exceptions to everything, but they do not prove the rule.

Curtis said...

Schuyler,


It's not theft as the world thinks of it. The world thinks it's just fine to get rich as you possibly can as long as it's legal according to the laws of man. The Lord however has a different outlook. He says it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another and for this purpose the world lieth in sin. He says that it is easier for a camel to fit thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to obtain entrance to the kingdom of God. He commands us to not seek after riches, but to seek after Eternal Life, and then we'll truly be rich.

D&C 42:42 is one of the most widely misinterpreted scriptures in our church. It gives the rich free ticket to look down on the poor. The true interpretation is found here as Hugh Nibley taught in "Approaching Zion."

"Even the cornerstone of virtue, "He that is idle shall not eat the bread . . . of the laborer" (D&C 42:42), hailed as the franchise of unbridled capitalism, is rather a rebuke to that system which has allowed idlers to live in luxury and laborers in want throughout the whole course of history."

Zion is indeed a melting pot, not of cultures, but of things of the spirit.

Your attitude toward modern immigrants is plenty arrogant when you assume they will bring bad to the USA. It seems you are afraid of diversity. If an immigrant is trying to escape poverty, then wouldn't you welcome someone with such a desire into the USA? Don't let your love for humanity be overtaken by a false sense of pride in a homogeneous concept of your country.

Schuyler said...

Curtis,

You are clearly not reading my posts carefully, and like most attorney's twist people's words into different meanings. (I thought you were a physician.)

Immigrants bring many positive attributes with them. However, some bring unhealthy cultural behaviors. We, like any sovereign nation, have the right to decide what benefits our nation and what doesn't. I am advocate of controlled immigration. That requires control at the border. Regardless of the goodness of those wishing to come to the U.S. we can't let everyone in that wants in. That would produce mayhem.

Shouldn't we follow the Lord's way of doing all things in order?

It's been good talking with you.

Curtis said...

Schuyler,

I agree we should have some sort of immigration policy and follow it in an orderly fashion. I do not agree with your views of assimilating all immigrants in to the american ideal. America should be a land of opportunity, a land where people are free to express themselves in their own way as long as it is lawful of course. This is the problem with the melting pot idea. It says you need to become like me (white european) and ignores the fact that our nation is composed of peoples from all over the world, and that white europeans are one of the later additions.

Talon said...

"Aren't there sound and seismic sensors along the US/Canadian border to alert the Border Patrol when someone crosses someplace other than a designated site?"

The border between Canada and the US is 6,416 km (3,987 m) long, not including the border with Alaska. A sensor cannot tell the difference between a deer, a cow, a rabbit, or a human.

Bookslinger said...

well, i think sensors could tell the difference between rabbits and cows at least.

Talon said...

Well then, at least the US will be safe from explosive belt wearing rabbits.

Bookslinger said...

You never saw that one Monty Python movie with the rabbit in it?