Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Pax on all your houses

Despite hand-wringing from Hilary, pouting from Patraeus, and moaning by some ministers, Terry Jones is milking his 15 minutes of fame for all it's worth as he plans to go right ahead in two days with his Qur'an burning. He keeps telling all who come to kiss his furniture-sales ring (one of his part-time gigs is selling furniture on E-Bay) that he is going right ahead with his boneheaded plan, though he is 'praying about it.'

Everything is OK as long as you pray about it. Really. That goes a long way back in our history of religion and law, back to when religion controlled law, and the leftover is still with us. Basically, St. Augustine outlined it in the Just War doctrine, and it's been writ large and small ever since. Stab me in the chest, but be praying about it and you are off the hook, since your ostensible prayer proved your sincere intent to serve the Lord.

Or the CIA, in the updated version. Despite overwhelming evidence that the CIA practice of rendition has produced case after case of torture after US prisoners were handed over to our allies who routinely torture prisoners (pictured, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian now in London, says he was arrested in Pakistan and handed to the C.I.A., which then passed him to the security service in Morocco, where he was tortured), the Ninth Circuit Appellate panel has just ruled in favor of torture, that no victims of the CIA practice could even sue for damages. Welcome to the Ninth Circuit of Hell.

With friends like the CIA, human rights needs no enemies. And since the CIA is represented by the White House, it is just as logical to say, with friends like Obama, the quest for human rights needs no enemies. After all, noted the story in the New York Times:

"Among other policies, the Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated."

We forbid torture and we really want to ask Morocco and Egypt to please promise not to be so rough. As if. Candidate Dr. Jekyll Obama and President Mr. Hyde Obama seem in direct opposition in all these cases. This is some deep and sweeping stuff. Obama seems remarkably determined to send his legacy to sleep with the fishes.

So is it OK to burn a Qur'an in the name of being miffed by Islam, as expressed by Islamicists?

Is it OK to burn the US flag and toss in a few Bibles?

Go for it, but try to put them all on the same pile in the spirit of fair play. What's good for one is good for all in this sad case--just do not burn people in retaliation or in a slippery slope of chaining events. A pax on all your houses.

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