In last night's Democratic Presidential debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer raised the most ridiculous of questions - is Human Rights more important or is National Security, when they are in conflict. The question came up in the context of a discussion about Pakistan's current military rule, its violation of human rights, and American support for Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharof. Bill Richardson answered it would be human rights, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton came down on the side of national security. Bullshit. This very question is an affront to the people who put on the uniform of our country every day, and those who have done so in the past. If America is willing to sacrifice our status as the beacon of freedom, our national security will be in far more jeopardy. Those who are bold enough to defend freedom are protected by it. Without human rights, freedom is a hollow word. Our soldiers serve the cause of this freedom world-wide. They believe that our flag stands for the principles of freedom, human rights, and justice. Making short-sighted moves that harm the cause of human rights that appear at the time to be in our security interest have always turned out to be a disaster for our country. We have made alliances with people like the brutal dictators of Saudi Arabia, and it brought us Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi national. We teamed up with Saddam Hussain to beat back Iran, and it came back to bite us in the ass when he started invading his neighbors, namely Kwait, in 1991. We made alliance with Communist dictators in the former USSR and it gave us the cold war and the Cuban Missile Crisis. We went to Vietnam in the fear that Communism would spread and hurt our national security and thoroughly got our asses kicked. And then, shocker, communism didn't spread across the globe. Every single time we have made a deal with the devil and said we will choose an illusion of security over human rights, we have been wrong. That is not an accident. It is because the most powerful weapon in our national security arsenal is not the nuclear bomb, it is the ideal that is America. The Soviet Union collapsed because behind the iron curtain, people wanted to be like us. In the aftermath of World War II, a victorious United States insisted upon adhering to human rights for even its prisoners of war, and turned them over to international law. And a generation of people everywhere bowed in respect for the beacon of freedom. We intervened in Kosovo during the 1990's to stop a genocide, and a decade later, the people of there gave President Clinton a hero's welcome. The establishment of free and democratic nations that respect human rights and the rule of law are not simply the most effective security strategy for the United States; it is indeed the only thing that can result in a more secure America and a more secure world. Security and freedom and human rights are not conflicting values. Only those with an interest in undermining freedom would argue that they are.
So in a list serve that I subscribe to, a friend of mine wrote about how an independent Ron Paul candidacy may be a good thing, in case Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for President in 2008. The justification was Ron Paul was more non-interventionist in foreign policy than Hillary. But then, this friend came up with the idea that Ron Paul is a libertarian and not a conservative, and that he's good on civil liberties. I know that my friend is not the only one with those feelings. Too many well-meaning progressives are lead down the same deceptive path. Ron Paul is not a conservative? Ron Paul is more liberal on civil rights than many liberals? Really? Ok, here's what I got on him:
- Ron Paul is for the government making health care decisions for pregnant women. Says who? Says Ron Paul.
- Ron Paul is for says illegal immigrants shouldn't even get taxpayer funded medical care when needed. Oh and guess what? If Ron Paul had his way, children born IN THE UNITED STATES to illegal immigrants would NOT be American citizens. He wants to end birthright citizenship. Check it out, hot off his own campaign website.
- While he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, he is a key supporter of Defense of Marriage Act, and the chief sponsor of a legislation that would remove from federal courts the jurisdiction to even decide if DOMA is Constitutional.
- Ron Paul was one of the only 33 members of Congress to vote against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, and believes 1964 Civil Rights Act violates the Constituton.
- According to Ron Paul, the separation between Church and State has "no basis in the Constitution..." As the title of that article BY RON PAUL indicates, he also believes there is a "war on religion" in America.
- Ron Paul opposes the Kyoto treaty.
- Ron Paul believes all tax cuts are good.
- Ron Paul would drain out social security by cutting the money collected on social security taxes, so that "young people can invest" it elsewhere.
- Ron Paul wants to repeal the Brady bill, introduced legislation to repeal the assault weapons ban even before it expired in 2004, thinks you should be able to carry handguns on national parks, and end our membership in the Untied Nations, because the UN somehow wants to get your guns. All laid out on his website for you.
- Ron Paul believes parents ought to be able to home school their kids and that those kids should get diplomas without ever having to adhere to pretty much any public standards.
So, my Senator, a Democrat, Diane Feinstein is back to her old form of Washington-bubble politician. She has announced that she will support Michael "I-dunno-if-waterboarding-is-illegal" Mukasey for Attorney General. Apparently, it was time to cave in to the Bush administration, again. Never mind that it undermines not just America's image in the world, but the American Constitution itself. Because, you know, Senators are not elected to uphold the Constitution, or anything like that. This makes me mad. She is my senator, and by golly, she should not be doing this crap. If she can't oppose Mukasey, I'd prefer she give up her seat and let someone else who is willing to protect the Constitution serve. Below is my letter to Sen. Feinstein about this:
Dear Sen. Feinstein: As a Californian, as a Democrat, but above all, as an American who believes in cherished American principles of justice, human rights and civil liberties, I was horrified by the news of your announcement of support for Attorney-General nominee Michael Mukasey. In your press release on October 26, you heap lavish praise on a man who cannot give a legal opinion on whether waterboarding is torture and thereby forbidden by US law. According to you, his personal repugnance of the treatment is enough in this matter. But Senator, Mukasey not been nominated to be the moral repugnance meter of America, he has been nominated to be the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. On that note, I urge you to pay close attention to this administration's repeated maligning of human rights, disregard for American and International laws regarding detainee treatment, and its utter contempt for the role of Congress. You cannot give them one more excuse to conduct torture under the cover of the legal opinion by an Attorney General Mikasey, confirmed with the blessings of Diane Feinstein. Senator, the people of California did not elect you to the Senate to capitulate to a dictatorial regime in Washington every time the President and his minions try to scare Congress. Your first and most sacred duty is to the Constitution. Waterboarding is not just torture, it is cruel, unusual and degrading punishment. Anyone who refuses to admit to that very basic fact does not deserve to be the Attorney General of this great nation. And as the guardians of our Constitutional principles, it is absolutely incumbent upon every Senator to ensure that such a person does not become the Attorney General. As your constituent, I am demanding that you retract your support for Michael Mukasey, and do everything in your power to defeat his nomination, including, if necessary, joining or leading a filibuster on the Senate floor to prevent a vote on it. Thank you.Back off, Feinstein!
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