2006-01-19 / Letters to the Editor

What kind of nation do we want?

I never taught teens the Constitution. For 45 consecutive years, my son Tom (1983-2004) and I (19591983) actively served in defense of those documents and the liberties guaranteed all American citizens. I prefer not to judge the valued principles of my country by a “quick” glance at the slanted reports of the news media.

I do not condone torture, but hurting someone’s pride or dignity has no comparison to suffering endured during torture. Japanese soldiers finding wounded Americans would angle cut bamboo at ground level and stake their victims over it. Bamboo grows several inches daily. Get the picture? Read about torture endured by our POWs and don’t hold a nation accountable for the actions of a few. None of our detainees have been decapitated!

The detainees in Cuba have no Constitutional rights, nor are they protected by the Geneva accords. They are terrorists, not POWs. They are not eligible for Red Cross oversight. They should have been dispatched instead of detained. But, we don’t live in that kind of a country, do we?

Many citizens endure injustice in this country, legal and otherwise. Suspected terrorists should be detained until evidence proves otherwise. It is safer for the American public to be certain there is no threat. Constitutional rights should not take precedent over threats to national security. That proved disastrous on a bright September morning. The security of all Americans supersedes the rights of an individual.

There are factors that justify the U.S. refusal to participate in the International Court for War Crimes. The U.N. General Assembly has little or no actual involvement in the war on global terrorism except for vague lip service. Too many nations have given in to the threats of global terrorists that currently dominate the freedom of citizens on this planet. Similar practices by terrorists could have a comparable effect on members of an International Court.

You mistakenly hold the sanctions imposed by the United Nations General Assembly accountable for the death of 600,000 Iraqi children. Saddam Hussein refused to honor the terms of surrender of the Gulf War, continuing to threaten his neighbors and brutalize the Iraqi people. Some 600,000 children needlessly died because he placed his selfglorified image before the welfare of Iraqis. He is solely responsible for the death of those children. Children die all over the world because of poverty. Children are dying in Africa because of evil brutality. You show no concern for children dying from hunger in the Americas. History proves that governments acting with due consideration toward citizens cannot solve all of their problems.

Let the president spy! I’m not building bombs in my basement. We are living in a world threatened by global terrorism, not a time of reason. There are no “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Our president has taken an oath to defend the American people as well as the Constitution. It’s prudent to scrutinize the public for its own safety. Our government “of the people” is empowered “by the people for the people.” I hope it uses all of its power to ensure my safety.

You say that evil will flourish as long as good people do nothing. That’s history Mr. Clifford, good people did nothing in the ‘90s when the seed of terrorism was planted in Afghanistan. The Afghan people were brutalized by Islamic extremists. Good people did nothing for the 30 odd years Saddam Hussein was in power. Good people are still doing nothing about strife in Africa. Your statement is behind the times, Mr. Clifford. The evil isn’t here because good people have chosen to stand up to it. We have young men and women standing up to evil every day. More than two thousand have paid the ultimate price for us in this fight against pure evil. They sacrifice daily, facing the sword of evil while you pen your tripe complaints about the greatest nation in the world.

We are a nation of freedom-loving people and should make any sacrifice necessary to defeat this evil. We all live here by choice. Many of my generation chose to move to Canada in the ‘60s. If you are unable to make sacrifices to assure our liberties, you also have that option.

Thomas J. Bembenek, U.S.N. retired, Jamestown

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