BRAVERY AND TORTURE:
THEN AND NOW
By PraetorOne and Donatra
Sometimes you just have to wonder where George W. Bush gets his ideas. Shortly after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, the Demander and Thief issued a statement in which he maintained that the oceans no longer provided adequate protection. Well, Mister Bush, we have news for you. If you had studied your American history instead of guzzling booze and snoring illegal substances, you might have learned that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans have never offered complete safety.
Need we remind you, Mister Bush, that prior to the American Revolution, the American (then British) colonies took part in the Seven Years War (AKA The French and Indian War) which, for all intents and purposes was nothing more nor less than an 18th Century Global conflict? Need we remind you, Mister Bush that the Atlantic Ocean didn't provide a great deal of protection from English warships during the American Revolution? And do we really have to remind you of the painful and humiliating fact that in 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops actually burned Washington DC?
And it gets even worse. We are all familiar with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but our history books have either forgotten, or deliberately chose to omit, references to Japanese attacks on the American West Coast? No, I am not making this up.
"The attack of June 21, 1942, had been provoked two months earlier, in April, when Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and his squadron of B-25 bombers attacked Tokyo. The raid, a jab in response to the body blow at Pearl Harbor, infuriated the Japanese. Now the enemy was about to jab back, sending two I-class long-range submarines to harass naval and commercial shipping off the Northwest coast. The I-25, under Commander. Meiji Tagami, had torpedoed a freighter the day before but failed to sink it.
On the evening of June 21, Tagami snuck the I-25 past a minefield under a screen of fishing vessels. He surfaced in the dark, and his crew used its 5.5-inch deck gun to fire toward land. Relying on faulty intelligence, Tagami thought he was dropping shells on an American submarine base. "I did not use any gun sight at all—just shot," he said later.
The resulting explosion roused personnel at Fort Stevens from their weeks of tedious duty and instantly erased their complacency. Searchlights went on, and lookouts spotted the submarine at sea. Senior Duty Officer Robert M. Huston decided not to return fire, since his plotters erroneously gauged the sub to be beyond the range of the fort's main guns and he didn't want to fruitlessly give away his battery positions. His men were frustrated, but the decision was prudent." 
Luckily the attack caused little damage, but it does provide an example which undermines the president's half baked theory that the oceans were ever an adequate protection against a determined attacker.
Nor was this the only Japanese attack on the Japanese mainland.
And there was more to follow.
"Beginning two years later, increasingly desperate Japanese commanders tried yet another tactic. From Japan's home islands they released 33-foot-wide hydrogen balloons calibrated to ascend to 30,000 feet and travel the jet stream all the way across the Pacific. Each balloon was equipped with a small bomb that would drop and detonate automatically when the balloon descended to a certain altitude. Again, the intention was to ignite fires across the Western United States.
A few of the 9,000 balloons released between November 1944 and April 1945 did make it across. Some traveled as far as Wyoming, and one reportedly reached Detroit, but they did little damage. One potentially hazardous attack occurred on March 10, 1945, when a balloon descended near the laboratory in Hanford, Washington, that made plutonium for the Manhattan Project. It knocked out power to the pumps that cooled Hanford's nuclear reactors, but backup power, fortunately, kicked in almost immediately.
The worst incident took place near Bly, Oregon, in May 1945, when the Rev. Archie Mitchell and his wife were taking five Sunday-school children for a picnic in the woods. One of the children found a balloon partly intact. While Mitchell was returning to his car, his wife Elsie and the children hurried to examine the find and were killed when it exploded. They were the only deaths from enemy action on the American mainland during the war." 
By now you may be wondering why I a discussing attacks on the American Mainland in a post about bravery and torture. Well, dear readers, I am doing so because it is appropriate to the topic at hand.
It seems to me that the American people have gone through an obvious, and I might add, despicable change in character. If you read the article from which I extracted the above quotes you will note that the government felt that it was in our best interest to keep incidents such as these from the American people in general because it was felt that those incidents might cause a panic among the general population. Today, we have evolved--or should I say devolved to the point where the government (read "the Bush Administration") floods us with misinformation which is specifically designed to frighten and terrorize us. Indeed there are times when one might think that the only secrets this Administration would ever willingly keep quiet are those which involve embarrassing and/or illegal activities. But if it's designed to frighten us, if it's intended to manipulate and cajole us into behaving like frightened children with the primary purpose of making us give up our civil liberties, there isn't anything this Administration won't use to get its way. Whether it's designed to p[lace more power in the hands of our Fuhrer select, or if it's geared to manipulate the American people into approving torture and the undermining of basic Constitutional liberties, there isn't anything this Administration won't do or say to propagandize the American citizenry.
It wasn't always so. While our Executive Sociopath seems to delight in war, death, pain and suffering, our first President, another George had an entirely different attitude towards torture and the treatment of those who fought against the American cause during the War for Independence.
Said Washington:"Sir: You are intrusted with a Command of the utmost Consequence sequence to the Interest and Liberties of America. Upon your Conduct and Courage and that of the Officers and Soldiers detached on this Expedition, not only the Success of the present Enterprize, and your own Honour, but the Safety and Welfare of the Whole Continent may depend. I charge you, therefore, and the Officers and Soldiers, under your Command, as you value your own Safety and Honour and the Favour and Esteem of your Country, that you consider yourselves, as marching, not through an Enemy's Country; but that of our Friends and Brethren, for such the Inhabitants of Canada, and the Indian Nations have approved themselves in this unhappy Contest between Great Britain and America. That you check by every Motive of Duty and Fear of Punishment, every Attempt to plunder or insult any of the Inhabitants of Canada. Should any American Soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian or Indian, in his Person or Property, I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary Punishment as the Enormity of the Crime may require. Should it extend to Death itself it will not be disproportional to its Guilt at such a Time and in such a Cause: But I hope and trust, that the brave Men who have voluntarily engaged in this Expedition, will be governed by far different Views. that Order, Discipline and Regularity of Behaviour will be as conspicuous, as their Courage and Valour. I also give it in Charge to you to avoid all Disrespect to or Contempt of the Religion of the Country and its Ceremonies. Prudence, Policy, and a true Christian Spirit, will lead us to look with Compassion upon their Errors without insulting them. While we are contending for our own Liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the Rights of Conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the Judge of the Hearts of Men, and to him only in this Case, they are answerable. Upon the whole, Sir, I beg you to inculcate upon the Officers and Soldiers, the Necessity of preserving the strictest Order during their March through Canada; to represent to them the Shame, Disgrace and Ruin to themselves and Country, if they should by their Conduct, turn the Hearts of our Brethren in Canada against us. And on the other Hand, the Honours and Rewards which await them, if by their Prudence and good Behaviour, they conciliate the Affections of the Canadians and Indians, to the great Interests of America, and convert those favorable Dispositions they have shewn into a lasting Union and Affection. Thus wishing you and the Officers and Soldiers under your Command, all Honour, Safety and Success." 
That profound statement was issued by George Washington at his Camp at Cambridge on September 14, 1775. Moreover, on Christmas Day, Washington ordered his troops to give refuge to hundreds of surrendering Hessian troops, encouraging his soldiers to "treat them with humanity." 
Thomas Paine expressed a similar sentiment when he said:"
"An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws." 
What can I say? They were good words then and they are good news now. Granted, the 18th Century did not possess the kinds of weapons that we possess today, but let's face the facts. War is hell--at least to a sane person. But who said the key movers and shakers in this Administration were sane? In a single swoop they have managed to undermine the Constitution while making a mockery out of the basic tenants of Western Civilization. Indeed, their attitude seems to suggest that the only way to defeat terrorism (note I did not use the word terror) is to become more brutal and more rapacious than any enemy we can imagine. One only has to ask oneself, "what would George Washington have thought of rendering? Of Abu Ghraib, of Guantanamo, of rendering individuals to countries that employ torture as a standard method of law enforcement? I think it is safe to assume that Washington, along with Paine, Jefferson, et al would have been disgusted. Disgusted by the Shrub's gleeful attitude towards death and by the manner in which he has used fear, unreasonable terror, on a regular basis to undermine our Constitution in the creation of a unitary executive; or, if you prefer, right wing dictatorship under Bush, Cheney, and the Necons.
You might argue that the British weren't as brutal or as savage as the Taliban and Al Quaida, but as I stated before, the British proved how mild mannered they were in 1914 when they burned down America's Capitol. And let's not forget--ALL wars create their share of atrocities: rape, pillaging, what today we might refer to as war crimes. The primary difference, at least in my opinion, appears to be a change in both, our leaders and in our people. While our more enlightened leaders have encouraged us to be brave, the Bush Administration is determined to make us tremble and cower in fear, to sell our liberties for the illusion of security. That's quite a change from 1814 when Dolly Madison, upon learning that the British were heading for Washington, took up a sword and swore to defend herself against the approaching enemy. That's quite a difference from our war dodging president, who, upon learning we had been attacked by terrorists on 911, went into a state of paralyzing terror in front of a class room full of children. And while George Washington is a study in both, the moral and the courageous, the current George in the white house is a coward who managed to avoid serving his country on several occasions and who views soldiers as disposable cogs in a machine.
As for the people, we have changed too. In the 200 plus years since the American Revolution we have become as complaisant as cows on milking machines. So many of us respond to unreasonable, perhaps even phony, terror alerts, to rhetoric designed to create fear and terror. You have to wonder why. Oh Jeez. I don't know. Could it be--just as a wild guess--the kind of "news" (some might say propaganda) that is repeatedly shoved down our throats by the conservative corporate media?
When the Bush administration decided to launch an illegal invasion based on phony evidence, the print and electronic media in this country, with only a few, independent exceptions, seldom questioned the Administration's facts or motives. As in the previous Gulf War, those individuals who obtained their news from television (FOX in particular) were the least informed among the population. As one channel-surfed the various Network and Cable outlets one couldn't help but wonder if virtually every news outlet on the proverbial boob tube had been purchased overnight by the Bush Administration. The Administration was given carte blanche to spread its propaganda and those who dared to question the validity of his rhetoric or who went to far as to protest against the impending war crimes, were quickly and efficiently marginalized, given only the slightest amount of coverage and often challenged by the so called television journalists who were behaving more like Paul Josef Goebbels than Edward R. Murrow. Truth was a rare commodity. Outright lies were common place. And that was / is dangerous.
Consider the following quote by Peter Finch (Howard Beale) from Network:
"You people and sixty-two million other Americans are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books. Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers. Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire, generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break Presidents, Popes, Prime Ministers. This tube is the most awesome, god-damned propaganda force in the whole godless world and woe to us if it ever falls in the wrong hands...And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome, god-damned propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network. So you listen to me! Television is not the truth! Television is a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, story tellers, dancers, singers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom killing business. So if you want the truth, go to your God, go to your gurus, go to yourselves, because that's the only place you're ever gonna find any real truth. But man, you're never gonna get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear. We lie like hell..We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true. Buy you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds--we're all you know. you're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here, You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. in God's name, you people are the real thing, we are the illusion. So turn off your television sets. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!" 
Is it any wonder the American people behaved like trained, Pavlovian dogs? For all intents and purposes our corporate media had entered into a symbiotic relationship with the Bush Administration. The Administration needed the media to spread its misleading propaganda. The media didn't want to risk its reputation (read corporate advertisers) by challenging a (then) popular president. Moreover, the media recognized that fear and blood produce both, readers and viewers. Succinctly stated, the media were perfectly willing to help the president spread his fabrications as long as the media benefited from an increase in advertising, readers, and viewers. We needn't wonder why the American aren't as courageous as they once were. Both, the media and the politicians have learned to play us like finely tuned violins. How can you produce a populace which asks questions and refuses to be intimidated when the media and our political leaders are bound and determined to keep us in a perpetual state of fear? How can we expect to live in a vibrant, democratic Republic with a respect for constitutional values when constitutional freedoms and liberties are routinely touted as threats to our very existence?
In a very real sense, PraetorOne deals with this issue on a daily basis. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was a child. He's been testing his blood sugar and giving himself insulin injections ever since. For those of you who aren't familiar with Type 1 Diabetes, it is a condition in which, for reasons unknown, the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. As a result Praetor tests himself and takes regular doses of insulin as often as six times a day. Does he allow this condition to frighten him? No. Does he allow his condition to control his life? Of course not. He does what he has to do. He follows his doctor's instructions. He watches his diet. He exercises on a regular basis. He does what he has to but he doesn't allow the diabetes to control his life.
Sadly the American people have developed a kind sociological diabetes. We're afraid of everything, and it serves our media and our politicians well. We don't only take the practical steps required to survive. We panic. We stop living. We give up civil liberties in exchange for liberty. We refuse to investigate, to challenge what our leaders tell us. We are content to allow our politicians, our televisions, our websites, and our books, magazines, and newspapers to do our thinking for us. Couching this in terms of diabetes, that isn't taking the proper precautions. That's locking yourself in your house, over-medicating, and starving yourself to death because you're afraid your diabetes will kill you!
In a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, we are told that a nation which gives up freedom for security will lose both and deserves neither.  By the same token, Thomas Jefferson told us that you cannot sustain a democratic (small "d") form of government without an enlightened and educated citizenry. 
They were good axioms to live by then and they are good axioms to live by today. What else can one add, except perhaps that George Washington was a better roll model than George W. Bush?
 From American Heritage.com
Forgotten but True: Japan Attacks American Mainland
by Jack Kelly
June 21, 2007
Today's date: 14 September 2007
Copyright 2006 by American Heritage
 From NION: Never in Our Names
More on the George Washington Quote
by Mister Helper
February 23 2007
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Will Terrorism Rewrite the Laws on War?
September 7, 2007
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 From Quotes I Found and Liked
Posted by Ritchie on July 31, 2007
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[7[ From Greatest Films
Review by Tim Dirks
Created in 1996-2007
Copyright by Tim Dirks
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 From Helium: Where Knowledge Rules
Will Our Society Be Safer With Decreased Liberties?
By Dean Schutt
Copyright 2007 by Helium
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Posted by Philip Waring
August 26, 2006
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Noli nothis permittere te terere
PraetorOne and Donatra