I am not a registered Democrat and I defy anyone to put my political views in a simple partisan box. But who can be a citizen of our great nation and not be upset by some of the things George Bush has done and said?

When I was in college I studied and read a great deal about the POW/MIA issue. That was 1989, and the Tighe report had just been published in 1986– it concluded that there was a strong possibility we still had men alive in captivity who had been taken prisoner in our various wars in Southeast Asia which pretty much ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. I wrote an extensive paper on the US POW/MIA issue as a cadet at the US Air Force Academy. I was able to attend committee hearings by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs, interestingly chaired by Senator John Kerry, in 1991. I still wear (in Oct 2004) the POW/MIA Bracelet of David Hrdlicka, a US Air Force pilot shot down over Laos in 1965. His photo was published in Pravda confirming his capture and continued captivity– and I am not convinced our nation’s leadership ever undertook a good-faith effort to secure his deserved return to the land of the brave– in large part because we were never officially at war in Laos or Cambodia and it was never politically correct (although that was not a term de jure at the time) to bring captives home from a war that we never officially promulgated.

Given my background and interest in studying the US POW/MIA issue (which incidentally has patterns that go far beyond our military operations in SEA 1962-1975), I have been very concerned and upset about our current administration’s treatment of captives at Guantanemo Bay, Cuba. Hello, has anyone out there heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It seems vogue today to ridicule and dismiss out of hand the United Nations– that it seems many people don’t know what the UDOHR is or where it came from. Where do you think our founders’ conceptions of “inalienable rights” came from? The same basis that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did. Are human rights “relative,” not the same here in the US as they are in a foreign country, especially one far away? (As if Cuba is far away…) OF COURSE NOT! Human rights are human rights. We have them because we are human— that should not be a difficult concept. Whether you agree with me that we are created in the image of God who views us as each having value because of our humanity– or you find a secular basis for accepting human rights as a universal– I think you should share my impassioned frustration and anger at our administration’s positions, statements, and behavior when it comes to Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Do I think we should pursue and imprison terrorists? Of course! But should we throw out the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human rights when we do it? No!

Our current administration has in word and deed rejected these ideas with its treatment of suspected terrorists and other personna non grata at Guantanemo Bay. Hurray for the US Supreme Court this past summer, in ruling that no President (Dubya included) has a “blank check” to do whatever they want to in a state of war. This is undoubtedly a decision that is long overdue. Applause to the lawyers and organizations which finally brought this case to the highest court in the land.

How is all this related to my introduction about POW/MIAs? Here’s how— what kind of moral legitimacy will we ever have in international relations for the foreseeable future if we have military servicemen and women again captured– and we try to make a plea about the Geneva Conventions? Hey, for our current President, might makes right, we are the biggest boy on the block and we can do whatever we want in the area of international politics– and if you don’t like it you can just stuff it. What kind of an attitude is that? Woe to our American servicemen and women captured by the armed forces or militia of any international organization or foreign country. The gloves were taken off by US soldiers and government officials in the Iraqi prisons where we abused and tortured captives– so what is to come when our people are captured? Not a pleasant thought to have. I am glad some of the soldiers involved in this horrific chapter of US foreign policy and military history are being brought to justice. But unfortunately for future US servicemen and women who have been captured, the damage has been done and these convictions will bring about no change of heart for their captors.

Shame on you President Bush, and all the men and women who have worked for you and condoned that prisoner treatment policy that not only embarrassed our nation, but also likely damned future US captives to harsh and inhumane treatment which would probably make US-haters like Saddam Hussein squeal with delight. How can you have taken up a policy where prisoners could be moved to Guantanemo and held indefinitely without any legal recourse or hope of appeal? Can a governmental leader get much more authoritarian or anti-democratic than that? Yet that is exactly what you did, Mr President, all in the name of “fighting terrorism.” I salute Justice O’Connor and the other justices who sided with the majority in canceling your self-declared “blank check” in the war on terror.

Many have noted that our upcoming elections are of vital importance not only for the man who will be installed as our President for the next 4 years, but perhaps even more importantly– for the Supreme Court justices that sitting President will appoint whose tenure will far outlast their active political life as chief executive. I absolutely, positively believe that abortion is killing and it is wrong. Killing a human life in such a way is murder. (Reference the Ten Commandments by God, communicated to the people of Israel by Moses. Exodus 20:13 The operative word in the NIV translation is “murder.”)

That being said, I cannot use as a litmus test for my vote in this Presidential election the fact that George Bush opposes abortion, and can/will if re-elected appoint more judges to the federal bench (and Supreme Court) who will most likely rule against Roe v. Wade. Do I want to see more abortions in the US or any other nation? Of course not! But we do not have one-issue Presidents, and in my opinion no one should be a one-issue voter.

I seem to be the only person in my entire neighborhood with a John Kerry sign in my yard. With our current electoral system, I know my vote for Kerry will mean nothing operatively for the electoral votes of Texas. But irrespective of that fact, I am still going to cast that vote– and I am still going to blog about these views– in hopes that someone else may read them and start to think more critically about some of the EXTREMELY bad decisions that have been made by George W. Bush.

Have I made a few reasons clear why I will not vote to re-elect George Bush? He is a professed Christian, that is great. He opposes abortion, I think that is great. But you know what? In my book that doesn’t give him a blank check. And I hope US voters won’t either, when we vote in a couple short weeks.

Why are we continuing to fight a war in Iraq, by the way? At this point that question seems futile. We are going to keep fighting this war because we started it and we are committed to it. Whether we elect Kerry or re-elect Bush that reality remains the same. Did we need to go to war in Iraq? No. Does that matter now? Not much apparently. Are we fighting a new crusade against the Islamic world? I’m afraid it is not nearly as idealistic as that, although I am sure there are many Bush supporters who would cheer for that as a campaign slogan. Our continued fighting there has a little to do with democracy, but that is mostly a political veneer/spin finish– mostly it has to do with oil and military basing rights I think. But that is probably a subject worthy of more exploration that deserves a later post.

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