"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Every week I read Greenwald's columns with pleasure and outrage, but also with a growing sense of amazement. I'm befuddled at how he can pierce through Obama's policies and practices so surely without drawing the obvious conclusion. Look at the succession of "And this" phrases in this article. Do they not aim at an unmistakable target?

How right he is that "...the notion that releasing or concealing these photos would make an appreciable difference in terms of how we're perceived in the Muslim world is laughable on its face." Therefore there must be another reason why this decision was made.

Indeed, "What do you think the impact is when we announce to the world: 'What we did is so heinous that we're going to suppress the evidence?'" Muslim imaginations, already inflamed, will surge with hatred. The ability of the U.S. to torture, imprison and murder its enemies without fear of retaliation will be denounced from mosques everywhere. This outrage will quickly turn to acts of violence against U.S. targets that will compel us, reluctant as we might be, to continue our occupation in the Middle East. What a tremendous burden it is to be the keeper of peace in the world.

The underlying assumption of Greenwald, Maddow, and others (and believe me, I admire their courage and moral persistence more than I can say), is to presume innocence in the pronouncements of this administration. The story line seems to be that Obama is foolishly caving in to the right-wing of his party in the mistaken attempt to be "bi-partisan". I think we need to dig a little deeper.

Why is Obama so determined to maintain and extend the policy of holding "terror suspects" indefinitely without charges in the US itself? What would be the purpose of guaranteeing immunity to those who committed these crimes, then letting the imagination play with the unseen images?

Could it be that torture is integral to imperial policy? That counterinsurgency campaigns depend on the terror spread through images of torture, rape, and murder? That the more ruthless we seem, the more powerful we appear to our "enemies"? Fascist psychology is not hard to penetrate, yet it is infinitely sad to see a non-fascist like Obama twisted into the image of what he has fought against for most of his life.

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