Senator John McCain is rarely referred to in public, particularly when the subject is the military and the War on Terror, without mentioning that he was held captive and tortured horribly by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.
McCain's former POW status arose on Sunday during a Chris Wallace interview with National Director of Intelligence John Negroponte about a schism with the White House on a bill regulating our treatment of captured terrorists (not detainees, TERRORISTS). Wallace also referenced the military background of Virginia Senator John Warner and former Secretary of State Colin Powell as reasons why their positions on this issue might carry more weight than President's Bush's point of view.
I'm not sure exactly how one follows the other. Yes, Colin Powell is a retired general and was wounded in Vietnam. John Warner joined the Navy at 17 to fight in WWII, and then reenlisted in the Marine Corps during the Korean War where he was trained in aircraft electronics, Avionics, the same as I was in Vietnam.
In each case they served honorably in the defense of our country, but what exactly about that service makes their opinion more important on this issue?
The issue being debated concerns how the language in a bill working its way to the president's desk compares to an article in the Geneva Convention regulating treatment and interrogation of POWs, and whether other nations that have signed on to the Geneva Convention will see the new legislation as a departure from previous commitments to that agreement.
Let's remember folks, McCain was tortured by an enemy that did not, and DOES NOT adhere to the Geneva Convention, and he was not a terrorist! We are capturing and interrogating terrorists who have but one goal in their pea brains, the downfall and destruction of the entire free world, starting with the US. They have not, do not and never will adhere to the Geneva Convention!
In fact, if you research the history of the Geneva Convention going back to its beginnings in the late 1800s, you will find that the only countries that have signed on to and adhere to its provisions are the US and its allies. Did Germany adhere to it in WWI when it unleashed mustard gas? How about WWII when Germany and Japan wantonly murdered POWs or worked them to death in slave labor camps, or used them for bizarre and obscene medical experiments?
Keep going. The Chinese in the Korean War? The Vietnamese Communists in the Vietnam War? The Russians during the entirety of the Cold War? The Muslims who have murdered thousands of Jews, call for the total destruction of that country based on religious differences, and been fighting us in one form or another ever since the oil embargo of 1973?
I know, somewhere out there in the blogosphere someone is rattling off instances where members of the US armed forces violated the Geneva Convention. Of course that happens. War is brutal, people who have seen their comrades' bodies after the Islamo-fascists, the North Vietnamese or the communist Chinese or North Koreans got through with them are not the same elitists who sit at polished teakwood tables in posh office suites debating human philosophy.
The guys with mud and blood all over them see war right in their faces, in its most brutal, thus most human form, and their concepts are simple and straightforward. Kill or be killed, and use whatever means necessary, fair or unfair, legal or illegal, to get an edge on the enemy and stay alive.
The difference between us and those we have defended ourselves against for the past century and more is that we arrest and prosecute members of our armed forces who are deemed to have violated the so-called Rules of Engagement.
We have not fought a single enemy in over a hundred years who even has Rules of Engagement, much less adheres to them. We make occasional mistakes and atone for them. Our enemies apply what we call mistakes as matters of policy.
In the case of McCain, Warner and Powell the argument that their service trumps the president's is specious. Based on that argument, do I trump Senator Warner, since when he was in the Marines in Korea he served on fixed wing aircraft behind the lines, whereas I flew gunner on helicopters and was often right in the middle of the fighting?
I guess that since Powell was wounded he trumps me, and I guess that because McCain was a prisoner he trumps us all, but then again, I know lots of guys who were wounded and are decorated for outright heroism who trump all of them!
Of course my opinion doesn't carry more weight than Senator Warner's. He has a long and distinguished career as an elected public servant, and that in itself should give his voice considerable weight. But see where this argument ends up if you carry it to its logical conclusion?
The fact is, out of all of us only one person has been elected to make the final decisions on how best to protect this country and determine how it proceeds in the international arena. President Bush has the position that trumps all else. He has the final authority, but he also has the final responsibility, and at the end of the day, McCain, Warner and Powell can go home, say they made their point, and turn to other matters.
Only the president will live with each of these decisions for the remainder of his days.
Muslims Piss Off The Pope!
Remember that old saying that someone is so obnoxious that "He could piss off the Pope?"
The point is that the Pope is considered the most holy and most Christ-like leader of the Roman Catholic Church and you really have to go to incredible extremes to get him to act in any way other those taught by Jesus Christ.
My apologies for using gutter language in my analogy but sometimes that is the best way to get a point across. In this case we are talking about the Pope's recent reference to a medieval text that said Islam was being advanced at the point of a sword.
Pope Benedict XVI was reading from the text in a speech last week and as soon as word got out the Muslim world went berserk. People took to the streets, burned stuff, broke stuff, killed people, vowed once again to destroy Israel, chanted Death to America, and even threatened to unleash suicide bombers on the Vatican.
The Pope ultimately apologized in a way, not by saying he was sorry someone wrote that Islam is spread by violence and intimidation six centuries ago, nor that he mentioned it in his speech, but that he was sorry people took it so personally and so violently.
UNACCEPTABLE the radical Muslim world roared. Churches are burning in the Holy Land, and a Christian nun is murdered in Muslim Somalia to show that they mean it!
Wow. Let's step back and review this. We are at war with Islamo-fascists who want nothing less than the total destruction of the entire world that is not them starting with Israel, the font of the Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then moving to the US and other free world countries. They want to impose the most brutal and extreme version of their religion on the entire world. They want everyone subservient, they want women to exist only as slaves, they want what they want, they want it now and they have shown repeatedly that they will torture and kill anyone who disagrees with and has the misfortune of getting caught by them.
So a world religious leader reads a centuries old text that says the Muslim religion at that time was being spread at the point of a sword by people who wanted to impose the most brutal and extreme version of their religion on the entire world. They wanted everyone subservient, they wanted women to exist only as slaves, they wanted what they wanted, they wanted it right then and they showed repeatedly that they would torture and kill anyone who disagreed with or had the misfortune of getting caught by them.
And the modern response is an eruption of hatred and threats against the Pope and his followers, destruction of religious sites, and the murder of an innocent woman of the cloth.
I refer you to a recent column about the fallacy of turning the other cheek. No responsible person in my world has suggested that we ban the Muslim religion. What we do in my world, and in my country, is allow the free expression of religious beliefs and the freedom to practice individual religions without fear of repression.
But we draw the line at any religion that says we have to follow that belief or face torture and death. It is long since past the time to draw the line.
We are at war with a religion that has the temerity, the audacity, the effrontery to murder people and burn religious sites because a leader of one branch of Christianity read from a text that said Islam was being spread and enforced by violence.
The reaction from the world of Islam is more violence and death. So, perhaps the Muslims didn't like what was said about them centuries ago, and repeated last week, but exactly where is what was said inaccurate.
Sunday, September 17, 2006