Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Monday, May 16, 2005

Putting Out Fires

The Pentagon's Lawrence DiRita has been putting out a few fires recently. The latest is the Newsweek retraction, but that got me to looking. I think this is an interesting one too:
http://usinfo.state.gov/dhr/Archive/2005/Mar/04-200665.html
It seems that the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First, two fringe groups in the eyes of most of the right wingnuts, have filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld concerning prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Justice Department will defend Rumsfeld. Go figure that one out. I thought the Justice Department were prosecutors, not defense attorneys. But anyway...
DiRita is quoted in this excerpt:

In response to a reporter’s question, the spokesman said the Justice Department will evaluate the claim to determine what the next steps will be. Even though Defense Department officials have concluded “there’s just no basis for any of these claims,” DiRita said the Justice Department “will determine the way forward on this.”
He went on to say none of the investigations “that have been conducted concluded that there was a policy of abuse.”
A March 1 department release stated that there have been multiple investigations into various aspects of detainee abuse. There have been eight major reviews, inspections and investigations with three more still under way.
The release said the department “has demonstrated a record that credible allegations of illegal conduct by U.S. military personnel are taken seriously and investigated.”
More than 100 service members have already undergone, or are undergoing, disciplinary proceedings for actions taken against prisoners as part of the global War on Terror.
According to the department release: “No policies or procedures approved by the Secretary of Defense were intended as, or could conceivably have been interpreted as, a policy of abuse, or as condoning abuse.”

So if I read this correctly, it could not conceivably have been understood by soldiers on the field that the Pentagon expected them to torture or abuse prisoners. Wherever there was torture, the soldiers themselves because of their cold, illegal, criminal hearts, did the dirty work. The Pentagon hands are clean.
If that is the starting point for any investigations, how would it be possible to spot dirt?
Official Pentagon policy: Punish those who get caught but don't try to catch anyone responsible.
You right wingnuts can criticize this all you want, but you know this is what is going on. You know the little guys and gals are getting shafted for doing what they were told to do by a chain of command that is unbroken from these little people all the way to the White House.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

BushFish BullShit

I watched 60 Minutes tonight and now, not even a half hour after the end of the show I find this:
http://www.bushfish.org/
60 Minutes had a segment on the use of bullshit in our modern society and referenced a book by Harry G. Frankfurt called On Bullshit and a book by Laura Penny called Your Call Is Important to Us : The Truth About Bullshit.
The BushFish link came from http://www.publicchristian.com/ which I found when I Googled "Machiavelli Bush."
The BushFish reference is in a post titled, "Is Bush the New Revelation of Christ?":
http://www.publicchristian.com/module-pagesetter-viewpub-tid-2-pid-218.phtml
Come to think of it, there really is a lot of bullshit floating around in right-wing Christianity, isn't there? And it really isn't anything new, is it? It has just taken awhile for all of it to float up to the surface where we all can see it.
Just for the record, I believe that Christianity is about presence, not presents. Right-wing Christianity seems to be all about the presents God bestows on those He has chosen to receive them. God Bless America...

Terror

There was a report out last week that Tom Ridge, who was Homeland Security chief till recently, was "periodically" instructed by the White House to raise the threat level even when the Department of Homeland Security didn't see the need. Here's one reference to that tidbit of news:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-05-10-ridge-alerts_x.htm
Probably to a lot of Americans that doesn't seem like anything unusual. The White House thinks the terror alert should be sounded so it notifies the agency which sounds that alert. But somewhere back in the dark recesses of my memory I seem to recall that the blame for seemingly trivial usage of the Homeland Security's terror alert level was always placed squarely in the lap of Tom Ridge, not the White House. Does anyone else recall getting that same impression? Take for instance the terror alert issued right after the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston. I seem to recall that nobody really knew why that alert was called or who called it but for public relations, the blame was given to Homeland Security.
So why would it be that the White House is the actual source of the alerts?
I am attempting to read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, a political manual for national rulers - dictators, actually, not republican rulers. I have heard that this book is Karl Rove's political reference book. It instructs dictators on how to acquire and maintain power over their nations. One of the recommendations is to establish among the people a sense of terror. I am reminded when reading this book of what little I have studied of domestic abuse and codependency. The abuser terrorizes through violence or abusive and demeaning language. Rather than escaping, the abused person relies on the abuser to control the abuse, to contain the terror. In so doing, the abused person becomes codependent on the abuser. Since it is generally the objective of the abuser to use the abused person to provide some sort of support, maybe food and shelter, maybe more, the abused person also becomes an enabler, a person who makes the continuing abuse possible. Machiavelli's approach of terrorizing the population in order to maintain control of the nation's population seems to be a perfect example.
Maybe that's why in the past couple of years I have felt that our nation is being run by abusers. Maybe that's why everyone lives in fear. Maybe that's why two guys in a tiny Cessna terrorized Washington DC the other day without even trying. Maybe all of Washington is living in terror. And maybe, just maybe, that's the way it's meant to be now with Karl Rove masterminding our political philosophy.