"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
- Isaac Asimov
I was sitting here at the qwerty last Friday night. I usually have the TV or radio on and depending what is on determines how much I listen. Well, this night the TV was on and it had been turned to PBS. Bill Moyers show is on at 9 and I really like Bill Moyers. Moyers is one of my favorite journalists.
The sound was down low and I was involved in whatever I was reading. But then a few words caught my ear... Bush, Cheney, torture...
The program that was on was Torturing Democracy.
I was never a fan of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal (cartel?). In fact, now that they are no longer in office I can flat out say I despise them. My general lack of harsh criticism of the Bush administration was tempered by the office of President itself. In spite of an election system that has grown inefficient (corrupt, many would say), I still believe our founders left us with a system meant to be a thing of near beauty. But the previous administration was despicable. And the issue of torture is the issue that tips me to the word "despicable."
The program, Torturing Democracy, reinforced all that I had previously heard and learned about Bush and Co.... lies, propagandist manipulation of media and actions that served only to paint our country in a light that allowed those within whom an anti-American passion already burned to hate us even more.
George Bush will not go down in history as a great man and his administration - secretive, arrogant and mean spirited (the Cheney influence) - will undoubtedly have many skeletons emerge from the closet...
But please, go and view that documentary. Powerful stuff. Angering stuff...
My son Alex is in a band - Naked In Alaska - and they have been playing around town here in Eugene, down in Grants Pass, over on the coast in Coos Bay... well they've been passing out flyers for an upcoming show that will be over in the Bethel neighborhood's Bethesda Church Garage (June 11th if you can make it)(and if you do make it? be ready for loud). The show is a fundraiser and NIA is the headliner. The boys have been going around town posting flyers and talking up their show. I saw one of their handbills and saw that the benefit is for a definitely worthwhile cause - the Invisible Children.
The Invisible Children are the child soldiers in Uganda's extended crisis of violence. Here is Wikipedia's breakdown on the story:
Invisible Children: The Rough Cut is a film about the plight of child soldiers and night commuters in northern Uganda. The documentary was filmed in 2003 when three young men from Southern California—Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole (then 24, 21, and 20, respectively)—traveled to Sudan "to find a story".
Instead, their adventure took them into the depths of northern Uganda where they discovered thousands of people affected by the brutality and attacks of a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The documentary chronicles their experience as young Americans learning firsthand about a conflict largely unknown to the international community, while also informing audiences about the great humanitarian crisis of child soldiers.
I haven't seen the film, but when I can I will. I may have to buy a copy. And of course I'm glad to see my son and his friends dealing with issues like this one. Surely the plight of children forced to fight as soldiers is a wrong in need of correction.
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and -- thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”
- Robert A. Heinlein