Commentary on some current news

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners
The New York Times reports today that the ICRC (Red Cross) submitted a report to the U.S. government earlier this year alleging tactics "tantamount to tourture" being used at the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba where detainees from the War on Terrorism are held as "enemy combatants." War hawks and their neo-conservative allies are likely to dismiss this report much as the administration allegedly did when it became aware of it earlier in the year. I'm sure that the practices at Guantanamo will be forcefully defended by conservative talk radio and TV, editorials and politicians as being a necessary part of the war on terrorism. However, the existence of such allegations by an internationally respected organization such as the Red Cross is likely to further damage the U.S. standing in the court of world public opinion. In practical terms, this means that it will be harder for the U.S. to gain valuable allies and assistance and easier for enemies of the U.S. to recruit soldiers for their cause. The U.S. must maintain moral high ground. This phrase is often thrown about, but actions from the military continue to undermine, to some degree, the actual practice of morality. In the long run, the manner in which the U.S. conducts itself is going to have much greater influence on our security than the fate of 500 prisoners in Cuba.

Wisconsin Hunting Shootout
This story is surreal. Who fired the first shot? That seems to be the primary question that would establish guilt or innocence. Regardless of the trespassing, did Mr. Vang fear for his life when he fired and killed six people? What were the circumstances in those woods? Were the hunters really threatening Mr. Vang with racial slurs and pointing their guns at him? If so, was this a justification for Mr. Vang to fire back? On the surface, this does not look like a case of 'cold blooded' killing. It appears to have been motivated by fear, self-defence or mental derangement. Because Mr. Vang killed six others and survived himself doesn't in and of itself mean that he is guilty. I wonder what kind of defense will be put forth. The fact that some of the victims were shot in the back does not bode well for Mr. Vang. These types of circumstances are the reason that I don't support "right to carry" laws, which would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons. If everyone were armed, situations like this would occur more often, with everyday disagreements turning into bloodbaths, and both sides claiming the other side was at fault. Road rage comes to mind as the biggest potential for problems if everyone had firearms.

Bush to Canada
It's about time. Both sides share some blame on the sad state of the relationship between the U.S. and Canada. The Canadians seem to be split much like the U.S., except that they have a liberal as their chief executive. Reading the comments from the population of Canada makes me wonder if it really wouldn't be a bad idea to redraw the border to conform to the ubiquitious map depicing the northern states as the United States of Canada and the southern states as Jesusland.

Ukraine Election Chaos
I heard yesterday that Mr. Yushchenko has alleged that he was poisoned by the opposition during the campaign? This story gets more and more interesting as it continues. Today, Mr. Yushchenko broke off talks of compromise, accusing Mr. Yanukovych of trying to draw out the talking. He has called on his followers to adhere to a general strike. He has denounced potential violence, but today some of his supporters tried to storm the parliament building. The situation is spinning out of control. The BBC has posted an informational Q&A about the crisis.


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