Monday, April 20, 2009


A U.S. soldier watches over a detainee in a prolonged
stress position at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

Sleep deprivation. Starvation. Forced nudity. Prolonged stress position. Water dousing. Slamming on a wall. Enhanced interrogation techniques. Secret detention facililties. These may all sound like straight out of a Robert Ludlum spy novel, but no, these are practices that have been adopted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after 9/11 in dealing with suspected terrorists.

It is now official: the U.S. government has authorized the use of torture in interrogating terrorist suspects. This was the revelation made with the recent release of Bush administration memos that outlined and sanctioned the various extra-constitutional methods employed in interrogating terrorist suspects - just a few weeks after a confidential Red Cross report found its way to a journalist's hands which enumerated in gory details these interrogation techniques and confirmed the existence of secret detention facilities abroad being maintained by the CIA, known as "black sites," where terrorist suspects are whisked in secret for the purpose of conducting unfettered interrogations in a practice called "extraordinary rendition."

U.S. President Obama has stood firm by his campaign promises and committment to keep America's ideals and security in harmony by adhering to its values of protecting and promoting civil liberties under the constitution. Just a few days into his office, Obama issued an executive order for the closure in a year's time of the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention facilities (Gitmo) in Cuba; he appointed Leon Panetta - a vocal critic against torture - to head the CIA, who himself has recently ordered the closure of all "black sites" and an end to extraordinary rendition. And now, Obama has authorized the release of Bush administration memos on torture, which got national security hawks and right wingers peddling claims about America's safety being endangered by Obama's actions.

This is yet evidence of another instance in America's history where its constitution has been thrown out of the window under the murky justification called national security. Although Bush administration officials and supporters - mostly from the conservative right - maintain that these interrogation techniques are not torture, their very inhumane nature militates against such claim. In water boarding, for example, where a detainee is laid on his back with his feet raised while his head is covered with cloth, water is poured continuously over the covered face which produces the sensation of drowning. Another example of a reprehensible interrogation technique is deprivation of a detainee's basic necessities - which is accomplished by stripping him naked, starving him for days and depriving him of sleep. Now I don't know what's inhuman if this is not.

Fueled by fear and paranoia as a result of the deadliest terrorist attack on its soil, America has stooped down and disregarded its ideals by resorting to methods repugnant to its constitution. What was once the example and leader of democratic ideals by other countries - such as the Philippines - had gone down a path where individual civil liberties became illusory, at least as far as terrorist suspects are concerned. No matter who the victims are, however, this will not detract from the fact that America's hands were mired in the dirt of human rights violations.

It is hoped that President Obama will remain true to his committment to restore America's fallen image. Even as now, however, doubts are already lingering about his resolve when he declared immunity from prosecution of those involved in torture. Human rights groups took no pause in criticizing Obama's refusal to prosecute those who engaged in or authorized the tortures, accusing him of political expediency. But by releasing the torture memos at the risk of criticisms from conservatives and even the alienation of his own intelligence community, Obama clearly has taken a bold step in righting the wrongs of the past and moving in the right direction. The US constitution just got retrieved from a heap of garbage . . . hopefully for good.


  1. The louder someone complains, the closer you are to the truth. I anticipate a lot of ad hominem complaints from statists here. Do not let them talk you out of reading this book.

    In any given generation, there are but a few authors and thinkers whose creations can survive the ravages of time and the shifting sands of societal evolution. It is rarer still when a key book is written, recognized, and celebrated contemporarily. This is one such book.

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    For too long, Conservatives have let themselves be defined by the media. Mr. Levin's book recasts what it is to be a proud Conservative, and gives voice to those who are often silent in the face of ideological slander. If you believe in this great country, if you believe in truth and honesty, if you believe in life and principles, if you believe in freedom and patriotism, if you believe that all people are created equal and it is up to the individual to succeed according to their talents and interests, and if you believe in a smaller efficient government, and lower taxes, then this book is for you.

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    ...and all the while, a deafening silence from the major media outlets - until now, April 20th, when the MSM champions an anti-American book.

    This book is perfect for the individual who has always "felt" conservative, but couldn't quite explain herself. Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" begins with an excellent overview of where our country is as a constitutional republic and how we got here. He then states clearly his book's theme and rallying cry -- Conservatives must know the philosophical foundations for the principles they purport to advance in order to defend liberty from the "soft tyranny" of modern liberalism.

    Levin goes on meticulously (many more than 300 endnotes), but plainly explaining the principles of classic conservative philosophy of "prudent" progress, a government that is subservient to the people (rather than the other way around), the fundamental truth that rights are not derived from the government but from a higher power, that the free market system more than any other in history provides the best, most efficient and most just opportunity for individual prosperity as well as for the general welfare, and much much more.

    Levin's book provides ample evidence of government encroachment on individual liberty and our country's descent into the soft tyranny warned of by Alexis de Tocqueville in our country's earliest years. Economic regulation, environmental extremism, the usurpation of representative government by the judiciary, unprecedented and uncontrolled illegal influx of people into out country, and the like threaten our economic viability. Finally, Levin's book details how the liberal (and some so-called conservative) political elite rejects the notion of American Exceptionalism and seek to surrender voluntarily the sovereignty our forefathers fought and died to give and to preserve for us.

    UPDATE: This book is currently on sale at Amazon. Now is a great opportunity to pick up this book, if you haven’t already.

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