Monday, January 19, 2009

Honor before expedience

Dear President-Elect Obama,

It is unsettling to hear your recent comments regarding the crimes that have been committed by the Bush Administration, with your focus having drifted to a position of moving “forward,” rather than one of addressing the wrongs that have been committed in our names.

Contrary to House Speaker Pelosi’s well-known position, we do not have as an honorable option the choice to forego prosecution for the war crimes that were committed by those in our employ. We are a nation of laws, but if we do not adhere to those laws, and choose not to prosecute violations of those laws, we are mere pretenders, and our Constitution will be as besmirched by our inaction as it has been by the actions of Bush and his minions.

Would any District Attorney seriously address a crime that was committed with the preference, for expedience sake to let it go, to simply move “forward”? The whole suggestion makes a mockery of the Rule of Law, and I dearly hope that your focus will be at least partly on holding those who committed such abominable acts as torture accountable for their actions. We, and the rest of the world, deserve nothing less. “Moving forward” in willful ignorance simply is not an ethical or lawful option.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Homeward bound

Riding the rails up the coast from LA to Oakland earlier this month, I was surprised to again see dolphins as we neared Carpenteria during lunch, just like last year, as if on cue. The Coast Starlight is a spectacular way to get an overview of the west coast, and a worthwhile trip for the views alone. What a pleasant way to get from here to there...

Heading inland...

People—of all ages—waved as we passed by just as in days past, yet more proof of the continuing magic of trains. (Do they wave at Greyhounds, or jets, or SUVs?)

A view of the front of the train from the middle of the third sleeper:

Highly recommended! Go AMTRAK!

Torture: What now? The “Rule of Law” perhaps?

I hope that after the inauguration there will be a bit more attention paid to the issue of torture than there is at present.

I dearly hope that the Obama administration will recognize that it is thoroughly unacceptable to simply move on, and ignore the profound criminality of what has gone on during these past Bush-years. We cannot just say that we are a nation of laws, unless we actually enforce those laws, and that means that those responsible must be held to account. Cheney clearly stated on national television that he approved the so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, an outright admission of his culpability:

Do we as a nation operate under the “Rule of Law” or is it the “Rule of Expedience”? The whole world is watching…