Contemplating the Gift of Freedom
By: Nancy Salvato
In Tarantoâ€™s, â€œBest of the Web Today,â€ is a mention about U.S. military officials who, while raiding an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, discovered crude drawings depicting torture methods such as a “blowtorch to the skin” and “eye removal.” Soldiers involved in the raid seized torture implements like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters. Photos were taken documenting injuries sustained by captives of the safe house. (1) Considering the focus of numerous mainstream news reports centered on the inhumanness of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques; some described as being told to stand up or sit down but not being allowed to sleep or lie on the floor, or being forced to listen to rap artist Eminem’s “Slim Shady” album -used by US military interrogators -it would seem that this should have been front page news. However, this finding didnâ€™t make the headlines. (2) Waterboarding, an interrogation technique that makes the person being questioned feel as though he or she is going to drown without physically harming a person, has proven a useful way to determine information about those waging a war of terrorism against western civilization. No one is killed or maimed and critical information needed to win the war against terrorism is gained. After looking at the photos of those held captive in the safe house, how anyone can say that U.S. soldiers are inhumane is beyond me. Americans should be asking themselves what kind of animals would cut out the eye of another human being and for what?
Recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) visited Damascus, Syria, a country which, â€œstrictly limits freedom of expression, association, and assembly.â€ (3) She was seen roaming the streets of Damascus flaunting a Hijab, which when worn outside the mosque, symbolizes that men control women by forcing piety. â€œPelosi just reversed the work of the Syrian civil society and those who aspire for women’s freedom in the Muslim countries many years back with her visual statement.â€ (4) The damage done by her trip to Syria is not really any different to that done by Jane Fonda during her l972 visit to N. Vietnam, where she had her photo taken while sitting on an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American planes and spoke on radio broadcasts telling US soldiers they were war criminals for which they could be tried and executed. (5) Both of these women provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Although US soldiers were brutally tortured, Fonda referred to the US as the enemy and considered the N. Vietnamese, â€œpeaceful patriots.â€ (6) I wonder if these women would be willing to take up residence in either of these countries and live under their rule of law. Would they be so willing to cavort with such human rights abusers? To both of them, I say, â€œIf you are going to talk the talk, you ought to be willing to walk the walk.â€
When concentration camp detainees were liberated by US soldiers during WWII, average Americans were exposed to horrific details and images of the atrocities to which these prisoners of Hitlerâ€™s warped pursuit of genocide were exposed: hypothermia, sun lamp exposure, blistering hot water forced into the stomach, bladder, and intestines, tortuous medical examinations, live cremation, and more. (7) After such discoveries, no one denied that the American entrance to the war was good for mankind. Prior to WWII, Americans had not seen such systematic mass extermination of a people since the Spanish Inquisition. Yet, this sort of religious intolerance, and the belief in the superiority of one group over another, remains today. A recent headline reads, “Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims,” the Jerusalem Post reports. (8)
Sometimes during my morning jog, when I feel the gentle warmth of the sun on my skin and these old bones arenâ€™t complaining about a front moving through, I give thanks for this beautiful country; for medicine; for plentiful food; and for the wisdom to appreciate what we have been afforded here in the United States. Is it any wonder so many people want to live in this great country of ours? Then I remember it could all be gone in the blink of an eye, if terrorists succeed in detonating a nuclear
bomb on our soil.
On this Memorial Day, take a moment to thank those who give some, and some who give all, to protect the natural rights and freedoms acknowledged in the founding documents and provided for under the US Constitution. No one understands better than those who have been denied their freedom or those who serve protecting our freedoms, that our country (my home) is a shining beacon providing hope to the oppressed, and that the United States sets the standard for freedom around the world. Try to imagine a world with no dreams and then remember those who sacrificed to set our dreams free.
(2) CIA’s Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described
(1) (8) Best of the Web Today
(5) (6) Discover the Networks.org: A Guide to the Political Left
(4) Has Pelosi Gone Bonkers?
(3) Human rights in Syria; Pelosi’s silence
(7) Concentration Camps and Other Places Where Experiments Were Performed
Copyright Â© Nancy Salvato 2007
Nancy Salvato is the President of The Basics Project, (www.Basicsproject.org) a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to promote the education of the American public on the basic elements of relevant political, legal and social issues important to our country. She is also a Staff Writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, where she contributes on matters of education policy