Monday, November 9, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan Surge Takes Ownership of Bush's War

The University of Maine does not observe Veterans’ Day, which is Wednesday, November 11. This is unfortunate, as it is not only disingenuous to those students and faculty who have served in the military, but also because veterans’ issues have taken on greater importance as the nation awaits President Barack Obama’s decision on whether or not to dramatically expand the war in Afghanistan. Obama is not expected to announce his decision for a few weeks, though most policy experts fully expect him to comply with whatever increased troop levels his generals in Afghanistan request.

Nearly everything I have read on the subject agrees it would be a tragic mistake for President Obama to escalate the conflict in Afghanistan.

The lead editorial in The Nation this week (“Obama’s Fateful Choice,” Nov. 9, 2009) warns the president, “The US experience in Afghanistan makes it clear that this is not a war of necessity. We have learned—or should have learned—that we can keep Americans safe from terrorism even if remnants of the Al Qaeda leadership continue to enjoy relative safe haven in Pakistan or parts of Afghanistan. Indeed, the greater danger today comes from a small and dispersed terrorist network that has at most a tangential connection to the region.”

Chris Hedges, writing for (“Opium, Rape and the American Way,” Nov. 2, 2009) agrees.

“War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women,” Hedges writes. “War always empowers those who have a penchant for violence and access to weapons. War turns the moral order upside down and abolishes all discussions of human rights. War banishes the just and the decent to the margins of society. And the weapons of war do not separate the innocent and the damned.”

Indeed, President Obama and his advisors would do well to study the history of the country they are attempting to occupy. Even the Soviet Union could not successfully conquer the region. Just as in the Iraq war, U.S. military forces in Afghanistan find themselves fighting a clandestine, loosely organized enemy they do not truly know—attempting to win over a people and culture they do not understand.

In an October 25 interview with the Real News Network, former U.S. military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg concedes, “No victory lies ahead in Afghanistan… American troops, short of hundreds of thousands, will not achieve anything that can be called success in Afghanistan.”

Nearly half of Maine’s National Guard—more than 800 personnel—were recently deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. To date, the Maine National Guard has sent 2,300 men and women to both countries, where eight have been killed. The national numbers are far more striking: 4,362 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq; 916, in Afghanistan, and well over one million Iraqi civilians, including women and children.

My Veterans’ Day message therefore, is a simple one: Support our troops. Bring them all home. Now. Local and national protests for Obama’s expected escalation of forces in Afghanistan are currently being planned. Check back at this site for events in Maine.

Dennis Kucinich on Why he Voted Against the Healthcare Bill

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Democracy Now! today, explaining why he voted against the House's health care bill.

Maine's Rep. Chellie Pingree promised months earlier to vote against a health care bill as bad as this one is. Yet, like many other Democrats, she gave it her vote anyway.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

House Passes Lousy Health Care Bill

The Associated Press is reporting the House of Representatives just passed the health care reform bill. Too bad the plan is so absolutely bad, it hardly seems to matter at this point. The House leadership abandoned plans yesterday, to hold a vote on Congressman Anthony Weiner's single-payer bill, and Dennis Kucinich removed his amendment to allow states the option to create their own single-payer system. This might be just as well, since the vote on both these amendments was more for show than anything else.

For more perspective into just how horribly flawed the Democrats' health care plan is, check out Bruce A. Dixon's latest blog, on Black Agenda Report. BAR has followed the health care debate (can you even call it a debate?) more extensively than any other online news site.

A Triumph for the Agents of Intolerance

Maine voters approved a state referendum vetoing the newly passed same-sex marriage law Tuesday, in a close election. The vote dealt a crushing defeat to gay-rights activists, not only in Maine, but throughout the nation. Had Maine voters rejected the referendum question, and preserved the same-sex marriage law Governor John Baldacci signed in May, it would have become the first state in the nation to do so. Instead, Maine followed in the footsteps of voters in California, who just one year ago, voted for “Proposition 8” which overturned the state’s same-sex marriage law.

While the vote was quite close (53% “Yes,” 47% “No”), it is worth noting Portland, and most of southern Maine primarily voted “No,” on the resolution, while it was the northern part of the state—and, the small, sparsely-populated towns in particular—that voted “Yes.” Another factor in “Yes” voters’ favor, according to the New York Times, was the underwhelming youth turnout—a disappointing contrast to the record-breaking number of college students and first-time voters who turned out in droves on Election Day, 2008.

Indeed, as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Maine, I was particularly frustrated at the number of college students who claimed to support gay marriage, but were not planning on voting on the referendum because “my vote does not matter,” or “I don’t have time to vote.” (The latter excuse, incidentally, is the same cop-out students give me for refusing to read a newspaper, or never getting involved in activism. UMaine students, as far as I can tell, have plenty of time for Facebook, underage drinking and the campus-wide, glorified game of tag-you’re-it, “Zombies vs. Humans.”)

Of course, the religious institutions primarily fed the anti-gay marriage campaign. The insipid, demonstrably false “Yes on 1” advertisements that ran throughout the state the last month, attempted to conflate gay marriage with public schools teaching the “gay lifestyle.” All of my public schooling took place in Maine, and I do not recall once having a teacher lecture about marriage of any kind—straight or homosexual—in any mandatory class.

These religious institutions claimed their support for “Question 1” had “nothing to do with civil liberties,” and everything to do with the “definition of marriage.” Absurd. The major religious institutions cloak themselves in the teachings of Jesus, while promoting fear, hatred and bigotry.

I am, frankly, sick of otherwise intelligent people constantly making excuses for the Catholic and Christian churches that promote such hate. I am constantly told, “Not all Christians are like that. It is not fair to generalize.” But what, may I ask, are the supposedly “progressive” Christians doing to combat the bigotry of their peers? It is not enough to quietly disagree with the church’s opinions. Our government openly continues to torture people, and is waging two wars of aggression in the Middle East, slaughtering hundreds of innocents, and these “spiritual” people say and do nothing. Those Christians or Catholics of conscience who despise such atrocities should leave their religious institutions as a sign of protest against their tacit approval of them. This is what a true person of spiritual morality would do.

Despite the outcome, gay-rights activists vowed to fight-on. Last night, a large group of “No on 1” supporters stopped traffic in downtown Portland, marching and chanting for gay rights. The group briefly converged with an anti-war rally I happened to be attending, where speaker and progressive blogger, David Swanson, embraced the group as “brothers and sisters.” Swanson noted, correctly, that—whether the issue is ending wars of aggression, or expanding civil liberties to all—most citizens fighting for progressive change rarely see any in their lifetime. “Most who fought to end slavery never saw a black man freed,” Swanson told the crowd. “Most who fought for women to have the right to vote, never saw a woman cast a ballot.”

Change then, is slow and gradual. But it will come someday. While I am, of course, very disappointed in the outcome of Tuesday’s election, I know the citizens of Maine who care about civil rights (and there are many of us) will not go quietly into the night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two chances to see "Daybreak" author, David Swanson

Residents of Maine have two opportunities to hear author and progressive blogger, David Swanson speak about his new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency, and Forming a More Perfect Union.

He will be at the University of Maine, Thursday, November 5, speaking at the Socialist/Marxist Lecture Series at 12:30. That evening, he will speak at the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 7 p.m.

And Friday, November 6, Swanson appears at Longfellow Bookstore, Monument Square in Portland. This event is preceded by an anti-war rally in Monument Square.

Click here,
and here, for additional information.

Bill Moyers calls for accountability in Washington's wars

Bill Moyers' excellent editorial from this week's Bill Moyers' Journal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Healthcare Hypocrisy

The Democrats’ healthcare overhaul has been a ruse from Day One. This week, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi all but declared victory in the months-long healthcare reform “debate,” with Thursday’s unveiling of the finalized plan. Yet, while the media jubilantly reported on the “historic” public-option-backed legislation—which looks likely to pass the House, at least—the truth is, the Democrats’ healthcare bill is little more than a Wall Street-style bailout for the health insurance industry.

If the bill passes, President Obama will get exactly what he wanted: A watered-down, slight re-organization of the healthcare industry, with a mandatory “public option” that, despite what you will read in mainstream newspapers, is a far cry from complete, government-run universal coverage. Such true, comprehensive coverage for every single American would require more than a mere re-working of our current system. It would require the dissolution of the entire healthcare industry—just as Michael Moore calls for in his film, Sicko (2007).

However, Obama (despite his support for single-payer healthcare as a senatorial candidate), made a decision early on in the healthcare discussion not to take on the healthcare system, claiming single-payer only made sense if we were developing our healthcare system “from scratch.” And, as a result of the president and the Democrats’ timidity, we will likely end up with a “reform” that still leaves hundreds of Americans without health insurance, and forces a mandatory plan on others who cannot afford it.

No wonder Ralph Nader, at a recent stop on his lecture/tour for his new book, Only the Super-Rich can Save Us!, decried President Obama as having an "excessively concessionary personality.”

Likewise, no wonder Bruce A. Dixon, writing for, admonishes the Congress, “The behavior of some leading Democrats on single payer is positively schizophrenic, poo-pooing, downplaying and dismissing single payer while they describe their incredibly complicated some-of-you-in and most-of-you-out versions of the public option and the ‘robust’ public option as Medicare For All in everything but name and unique American-ness.”

And, no wonder Democratic representative, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) went so far as to call the public-option a bailout for the healthcare industry, on a recent appearance on the “Ed Show."

Americans need real, comprehensive healthcare reform that covers all citizens and single-payer is just that. Single-payer means everybody in, nobody out. It makes healthcare a guaranteed right in this country—not a privilege that only the well-off can afford. And yet, I talk to liberal colleagues on a regular basis who do not know what single-payer healthcare is. Certainly, one will not learn about it watching “liberal” news anchors like Keith Olbermann, or Rachael Maddow who, to my knowledge, have never once uttered the words “single-payer.”

The United States currently ranks 37th in overall quality of health, according to the World Health Organization and without real, comprehensive reform in the form of single-payer, or Medicare for all, this sad, easily improvable statistic is not likely to change anytime soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr. The Atlantic, July/August, 2008.

Not only is this a great, really insightful article, but I could not resist the irony of posting it here, on my Google-sponsored blog. Even more ironic, I searched for the article using Google.

Somewhere, Neil Postman is laughing at all of us.

There is no debate when it comes to gay rights

Today's Portland Press Herald features news from a debate at USM on "Question 1"'s gay-marriage law. Yes, good-old "balanced" journalistic "objectivity" at its best.

My question is how is there any debate at all concerning this topic? Yes, I understand there exist brain-dead, Christian homophobes who seem to relish in denying others the same rights and basic liberties they enjoy. Yet, how are their opinions at all credible? Those in support of gay-marriage cite the Constitution and equal rights to back up their arguments, while those opposed have only the outdated, rigid guidelines of the Bible. (Which, despite what some will argue, are not the supreme law of the United States.)

This is where the approach of journalistic "objectivity" proves to be hollow and ineffective at presenting "both sides of the issue." In the case of gay-rights, there is no "other side." There are only those who believe in democracy and the idea that freedom should extend to all individuals, and those who do not.

I cannot help but wonder: Would USM host a "debate" on "both sides" of interracial marriage? Or, for a national return to segregated schools and re-instating Jim Crow laws? How about denying women equal opportunities at the workplace? This is the great ruse of so-called objectivity: The misguided notion that every issue has two sides to it.

As journalist Chris Hedges notes in a piece for early this year, ("With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again," Jan. 26, 2009), "Balance and objectivity are the antidote to facing unpleasant truths, a way of avoidance, a way to placate the powerful. We record the fury of a Palestinian who has lost his child in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza but make sure to mention Israel’s 'security needs,' include statements by Israeli officials who insist there was firing from the home or the mosque or the school and of course note Israel’s right to defend itself."

"We ask how and who," Hedges continues, "but never do we ask why."

Objectivity is a farce--one the mainstream press has hid behind for far too long. If there are two sides in the gay-marriage debate, they are only between those who believe in freedom for all, and those who do not.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

History's great thinkers weigh-in on religion

Am I the only one who finds this recent poll, claiming New England is the least religious region of the country, incredibly encouraging news? I hope this is not merely some passing trend, but the start of a true public movement away from organized religion.

And I'm not the only hell-bound, atheist non-believer who thinks so. Just check out what some of history's greatest thinkers (yes, I am including the rock band, Tool amongst "history's greatest thinkers") have had to say about religion:

"In heaven, all the interesting people are missing."

- Frederich Nietzsche

"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."

- George Bernard Shaw

"Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand."

- Karl Marx

"Beliefs are dangerous. Beliefs allow the mind to stop functioning. A non-functioning mind is clinically dead. Believe in nothing."

- Tool (from the liner-notes of their album, AEnima)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Call to Maine Voters: Reject Hateful, Christian Hegemony

On November 3, voters in Maine will decide whether or not we want to keep the recently passed law that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry, or repeal it. While early polling on “Question 1,” found residents split about even, a new poll published in today’s Bangor Daily News shows a significant gain for those opposed to repealing the law. (Given the wording of the question, a “No” vote is to keep the gay marriage law; a “Yes” vote is to repeal it.)

This new poll is, indeed, encouraging news, as anti-gay-rights supporters have engaged in ruthless, offensively false advertisements throughout the state. Most Mainers are, by now, familiar with the “Everything to Do With Schools,” ads released by “Yes on 1” groups, which falsely implies, legalizing gay-marriage will lead to homosexuality being taught in public school. The question, which literally reads, “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” says nothing about schools. The word “school” for that matter, is nowhere in the bill.

However, last night I saw another “Yes” commercial—this one even more infuriating in its lack of logic. This latest ad claims “Question 1” has nothing to do with equal rights or civil liberties—that gay couples receive the same benefits under civil unions and do not need to get married. Yet, the bill has everything to do with civil liberties—the right for individuals to marry who they please.

The “Yes” crowd claims it is about “family,” “tradition,” and “values.” But who defines—whose right is it to define—what a “family” is? Are these people, most of whom are motivated by religious beliefs on this issue, completely incapable of seeing beyond the narrow, hegemonic confines of their Christian Bible? Are they so brainwashed by right-wing, Christian fundamentalism, they cannot form their own, independent opinions about anything?

I am pretty certain Jesus would not have discriminated against anyone, for any reason—-least of all one's sexual orientation. However, modern Christianity is so removed from the original teachings of Christ it bares almost no resemblance the traditional religion.

At some point, these homophobic, Christian zealots must realize they have no moral argument. They may as well be arguing for the re-segregation of schools, or for re-instating Jim Crow laws. Mainers are better than this. I remain confident we will defeat this un-Constitutional bill and make Maine a freer, more democratic state for everyone.

On November 3, cast a decisive "No" on "Question 1."

Monday, October 26, 2009

NY Times: "The Cover-Up Continues"

I was rather surprised to read this editorial in today's New York Times ("The Cover-Up Continues," Oct. 26, 2009), but it is, indeed, an encouraging sign.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TABOR is the Solution to Nothing

More misguided, free-market worship by an equally misguided, anti-taxes conservative. (Though, he points out he is "a conservative, not a Republican," as if that is supposed to mean anything.)

Craft writes, "Economic success is driven by the individual, not government spending." I would be inclined to agree with this if the notions of individual-driven, free-market capitalism actually worked in reality. The fact is, a very small number people get lucky and rich, but for most citizens, such wealth remains a fantasy.

If Craft is so concerned about rampant government spending, why does he not mention anything about the vastly bloated military spending budget, currently estimated at $651.2 billion? Or how about the cost of our immoral, imperial adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan? These anti-taxes libertarians remain silent when it comes to military spending.

TABOR is not the answer. It was a lousy bill the first time around, and it remains lousy now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

TABOR again?

How many times are these anti-taxes conservatives going to force TABOR (or, as I call it, The Taxpayers' Bill of Rigidity) on us? Every year, we vote on the same issues in this state: Casinos, equal rights, and taxes.

Here's the latest TABOR news from The Maine Campus.

A.G. Eric Holder's Speech at UMaine Offers Little of Substance

Here is what I learned from Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech, Friday:

- Terrorists remain at large and want to kill us all.

- This fight—both the literal war in Afghanistan, and the more abstract “War on Terror”—will go on for years.

- The United States remains committed to the rule of law, except when it comes to matters of torture. In those instances, the Department of Justice looks the other way.

- Authorizing torture is not so much a “crime” per se but a “legal opinion” which the Attorney General happens to disagree with.

- The best way students can help the country fight terrorists is to join the Justice Department upon graduation. (Seriously—this was his actual advice.)

- Oh yes: And former Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen was known as “Bangor Billy” in college.

Am I the only one who feels I have seen this movie before? Holder’s speech seemed ripped right out of the pages of the Bush/Cheney playbook. It contained so much fear-mongering and militant hawkishness, I momentarily thought I was listening to Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzales, or even Henry Kissinger.

While the Obama administration may have retired the phrase, “War on Terror,” Holder’s appearance proved George W. Bush’s pre-emptive, “fight-‘em-there-so-we-don’t-have-to-fight-‘em-here,” mind-set continues to drive the nation’s foreign policy decisions. Perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize committee should have waited three weeks and listened to this lecture before granting President Obama the award?

I certainly am not questioning the seriousness of the terrorist threats Holder spoke of. However, in praising the United States’ success in combating terrorism throughout the country and the world, Holder neglected to take into account how our actions overseas—the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not to mention the ongoing use of torture and rendition of suspected al-Qaeda operatives--might actually be contributing to the rise in hatred towards our country. Noam Chomsky in his book, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (2003) offers some simple, yet profound advice on how to stop terrorism: “Stop participating in it.”

During the question-and-answer portion, in which the Attorney General was subjected to a handful of pre-selected, student-submitted questions, Holder effectively avoided granting substantial answers to questions dealing with torture.

When he was asked about possible criminal prosecutions for members of the Bush administration that authorized the use of torture, Holder hedged the investigation is, essentially, still ongoing. (Which as most of us know, is entirely untrue. Bush and Cheney have confessed multiple times on national television to ordering the CIA to carry out torture in interrogations.) He added, however, that he does not believe CIA operatives who “acted in good faith,” (i.e. were just “following orders”) should be held accountable for their actions.

Since I addressed this issue specifically in my last editorial, I will give it short shrift here: Torture is a crime. Period. Holder himself has gone on record admitting as much. Failure to prosecute all individuals involved in the carrying out and authorization of torture and other heinous war crimes guarantees future presidents will carry out those same crimes again. You do not need to be a history major to understand this.

Other questions concerned the indefinitely-stalled closing of Guantanamo Bay, legalizing medical marijuana, and national implications of Maine’s gay marriage law, which will be voted on next month. Holder gave stock answers to all of these questions, revealing nothing new, or interesting. He put more energy into teasing Cohen about his college-basketball nickname, “Bangor Billy” and the fact that the Maine native was on Obama’s short-list for possible vice presidents, after last year’s election.

The entire lecture ended with both Holder and Cohen calling for an escalation of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. While Cohen bemoaned the hostile, deeply partisan arguing in Congress, for those of us who believe there is little substantive difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, such a cliched call for civilized, “bipartisan” harmony rang hollow.

What was missing from Cohen’s “insights” into the “necessity” of escalating the conflict in Afghanistan was any questioning of the war itself. Cohen, like Obama, sees the Afghanistan war as the “good war”—the one we should have been fighting all along. He likewise, in an apparent rebuttal to recent criticisms of President Obama by former Vice President Dick Cheney, claimed the Iraq War had been handled “incorrectly.” Seeing as how the war in Iraq was based entirely on lies and fabricated intelligence, the issue is not how “correctly” the war was carried out, but whether it should have been carried out in the first place.

If this was supposed to be a debate of some sort, I must have missed the contrarian, anti-war viewpoint. It certainly did not come from the audience, which cheered loudly when Cohen called the war in Afghanistan, not “Obama’s war,” but “America’s war.” Are Cohen and Holder completely ignorant of world history? Are they entirely unaware of the fact that even the Soviet Union was unable to contain Afghanistan during the 1980s? Do they not realize, furthermore, that fighting a clandestine, loosely organized enemy like al-Qaeda requires diligent, investigative police work and covert intelligence operations—not all out war?

As I exited the lecture hall, I overheard several people remark how “inspiring” the talk was. (Note the median age of the audience looked to be about 65. I saw very few college students sitting around me, and the few I did notice appeared to have difficulty staying awake for the entire talk.)

Inspiring how…? The only thing the Attorney General’s speech inspired me to do was race to my apartment, break out my duct tape, lock the door and bolt the windows shut and prepare myself for the next, inevitable terrorist attack. Why did Holder need to come to Maine to give such a standard, routine address? I feel I could have gotten the same sort of militant fear-mongering from any given issue of The New York Times. If Holder's speech proved anything it is that the Obama administration's approach to foreign policy is nearly identical to Bush's.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Attorney General Holder at UMaine

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the University of Maine, today. My full summary and critique of the lecture is coming soon. In the meantime, you will have to settle for the Bangor Daily News' horribly-written, corporate account. As is common for any non-sporting event at UMaine, the speech was embarrassingly under-attended. Everyone sitting around me was at least 60 years-old.

You can watch a video of the entire speech here:

Torture Probe Doesn't Go Far Enough

The following Op-Ed appeared in The Maine Campus, Sept. 28, 2009.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a preliminary investigation into CIA officials who may have engaged in torture or other heinous forms of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” under the Bush administration.

While many progressives such as myself, believe this urgent investigation into un-Constitutional abuses of power is long overdue, there is growing concern Holder’s “torture probe” may be too limited and narrow in scope to really amount to anything. Of particular concern, is the announcement Holder’s investigation will focus exclusively on low-level CIA interrogators, ignoring administration lawyers and officials who authorized the use of torture in the first place (including Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, both of whom have eagerly confessed to allowing torture on national television within the last year).

Writing for The Nation on Sept. 14, John Nichols effectively sums up the problem posed by such a narrow investigation. “There is nothing Dick Cheney and his allies in Congress and the conservative media would prefer more than a narrowly defined investigation of low-level CIA operatives. The right knows how to make “heroes” of those who dutifully carry out orders—even lawless and inhumane ones.” Nichols goes on to note the support of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Senator Russ Feingold who concur that, “… a proper investigation must target those who initiated and authorized wrongdoing.”

Yet, Schakowsky and Feingold find themselves sadly alone in the Congress on this issue. Indeed, many like-minded liberal friends and colleagues I talk with prefer to do as President Obama suggests and “Look forward, rather than backward,” on the issue of torture.

This, I fear, is a grave mistake.

Torture is a crime against humanity and a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions (to which the US remains a signatory). Holder himself, during his confirmation hearing earlier this year, admitted torture is a crime. Without criminal accountability, not only for individuals who carried out acts of torture, but for those who initially ordered such tactics, our country will never “move forward.” Quite the reverse, without accountability, such crimes are almost guaranteed to resurface—perhaps not under President Obama, but maybe later, during the next Republican administration.

David Swanson, co-founder of the activist-blog site, After Downing, and author of the new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union points out, “When we elected Jimmy Carter we saw policy changes, but our failure to prosecute President Nixon helped produce the Bush-Cheney catastrophe. Accountability is not about looking backward. It’s about looking forward.”

Of course, there are those who believe torture is necessary—even effective in combating terrorism. And yet, study after study has shown torture to be completely ineffective in producing valid information from detainees. (Note it took interrogators 183 attempts to get any information out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, most of which was later discredited.) I cringe every time the mainstream media addresses the “issue” of torture, presenting it as a two-sided “debate” no different than abortion, or healthcare reform.

Am I the only citizen who is utterly disgusted by this?

There should be no debate on torture. It is deranged, vile, immoral and inhumane in every respect. Investigating and, if necessary, prosecuting individuals like Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush is not about “getting even,” or relishing in some partisan, revenge-driven “witch-hunt.” It is about protecting the Constitution and enforcing the rule of law. Recall a president was nearly impeached for significantly lesser offenses.

Attorney General Holder is on the right track with his preliminary investigation and he should be applauded for going against President Obama’s wishes by pursuing the case. Now he must expand the scope of his investigation to ensure full justice is delivered.