A German Rabbi, Nazis, + Irish Music (May 10th)

~May 10~

On this day, May 10, 1902, Joachim Prinz was born in the Prussian province of Silesia. As a young rabbi in Berlin, Prinz was forced to confront the rise of Nazism.

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One of those events in the rise of Nazism, “The Säube-rung” also occurred on, this day, May 10, in the year 1933. German students initiated a purge of books by fire… Estimates are that upwards of 25,000 volumes of “un-German” books were burned. This “student-led” event was the culmination of efforts by the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union efforts a month earlier… Starting on April 8, 1933, the students union had proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit.”

All across Germany, Nazi officials as well as professors, rectors, and student leaders addressed the participants and spectators. At the book burnings, students threw the pillaged, banned books into the bonfires with an almost concert festival atmosphere that included live music, singing, “fire oaths,” and incantations. In Berlin alone, some 40,000 people gathered in the square at the State Opera to hear Joseph Goebbels deliver that famous fiery address: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” Goebbels enjoined the crowd. “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann, Ernst Gläser, Erich Kästner.”

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Eventually, Rabbi Prinz emigrated to the United States in 1937 and, at least personally, he escaped the rising tide of Nazism. In America, Prinz became outspoken against Nazism and was an active member of the World Zionist Organization and the World Jewish Congress… By the late 1950s, and through the 1960s, Prinz was also the President of the American Jewish Congress…

Dr. Prinz devoted much of his life in the United States to the Civil Rights movement. He saw the plight of African American and other minority groups in the context of his own experience under Hitler.

From his early days in Newark, a city with a very large minority community, he spoke from his pulpit about the disgrace of discrimination. He joined the picket lines across America protesting racial prejudice from unequal employment to segregated schools, housing, and all other areas of life.

Also, while serving as President of the American Jewish Congress, he represented the Jewish community as one of the organizers of the great August 28, 1963, March on Washington. Prinz came to the podium immediately following a stirring spiritual sung by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and just before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his immortal speech, “I Have a Dream.”

In his speech, Prinz argued in the face of discrimination, “the most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”

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Also, in the 60s, specifically on this day, May 10, 1960, Paul David Hewson was born in Dublin, Ireland. While his mother was Iris Rankin was a member of the Church of Ireland, his father was, Brendan Robert “Bob” Hewson, a Roman Catholic. Kinda like the inverse of the great song “The Orange and the Green” also known as “The Biggest Mix-Up.” “Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen My father he was orange and my mother she was green.” This dual religious parentage gave Hewson a unique perspective on The Troubles.

Hewson soon established himself as a passionate frontman for his band through his expressive vocal style and grandiose gestures and songwriting. His lyrics are known for their social and political themes, and for their religious imagery inspired by his Christian beliefs. During the early years, Hewson’s lyrics contributed to the group’s rebellious and spiritual tone. As the band matured, his lyrics became inspired more by personal experiences shared with the other members. Hewson and his band have received 22 Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hewson is known as an Irish singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist. More importantly, Hewson is widely known for his activism for social justice causes. He is particularly active in campaigning for Africa, for which he co-founded DATA, EDUN, the ONE Campaign, and Product Red. In pursuit of these causes, he has participated in benefit concerts and met with influential politicians including John Hume, David Trimble, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

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On May 10, 1994, one of those influential politicians, Nelson Mandela, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first sub-Saharan black president… Rabbi Prinz, a man who experienced ethnoreligious bigotry… who came to the United States and stood up for African-American rights… living through the tumultuous 60s, when Paul Hewson was born… Paul Hewson, who became a social justice leader himself… using his social status to raise up issues and people of justice. One of those people, Nelson Mandela, who lived up to the promise… but also, Aung San Suu Kyi, who, at least at this point, seems to have stumbled. But who am I to judge, as I mentioned yesterday, US President John F. Kennedy once said, “No one has a right to grade a President — not even poor James Buchanan — who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made decisions.”

On this day, May 10, 1902, Joachim Prinz was born in the Prussian province of Silesia. Nazism got a bit stronger on this day, May 10, 1933. But on May 10, 1960, a bright spot; Paul Hewson was born in Dublin, Ireland. And on May 10, 1994, one of those influential politicians friends of Bono, Nelson Mandela, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first sub-Saharan black president…

And that’s what happened This Day in Today…

Remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.

Thank you for listening!

May 7th ~ Mass Graves in Iraq and the Rohingya

~May 7~

  On this day, May 7, 2016, UN Special Representative Ján Kubiš said more than 50 mass graves have so far been found in parts of Iraq that were previously controlled by so-called Islamic State (IS).  Ján Kubiš is a Slovak diplomat and was formerly Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the continued killings, kidnapping, rape and torture of Iraqis by ISIL (IS), which may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even genocide.”

Ján Kubiš

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Mass graves and ethnic cleansing is not new in Iraq. After the deposing of Saddam Hussein, International Experts found an estimated 300,000 victims in mass graves of Shia Muslims and ethnic Kurds killed for opposing the regime between 1983 and 1991.

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In April 2007, a bus in Mosul was hijacked, Muslims and Christians were told to get off, the remaining 23 Yazidi passengers were driven to an eastern Mosul location and murdered.

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Then ISIS/ISIL/IS came to town… Hawija, Kirkuk, Mosul… you name it….

…2014, the peak of the Yazidi Genocide. Civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar… hundred of Yazidi women were taken as slaves and over hundreds more men, women, and children were killed, some beheaded or buried alive in the foothills, as part of an effort to instill fear and to supposedly desecrate the mountain the Yazidis consider sacred.

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The mass flight and expulsion of ethnic Assyrians from Iraq…  beginning before ISIS, back during the Iraq War in 2003, but continues to this day. Leaders of Iraq’s Assyrian community estimate that over two-thirds of the Iraqi Assyrian population has fled or been internally displaced. Reports suggest that whole neighborhoods of Assyrians have cleared out in the cities of Baghdad and Basra; and that Sunni insurgent groups and militias have threatened Assyrian Christians over the years. Following the campaign of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in northern Iraq in August 2014, one-quarter of the remaining Iraqi Assyrians fled, finding refuge to Iraqi Kurdistan, and, ironically in Turkey…

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On February 3, 2016, the European Union recognized the persecution of Christians by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as genocide. The vote was unanimous. The United States followed suit on March 15, 2016, declaring these atrocities as genocide. The vote was unanimous. On April 20, 2016, British Parliament voted unanimously to denounce the actions as genocide. And where are those voices today as the Rohingya are murdered, assaulted, and exiled in Burma?

The ability of the predominantly Christian countries and the mostly Christian members of the US Congress’ to recognize a Christian genocide but not Muslim genocide is almost as self-serving as those perpetrating religious and ethnic violence against civilians around the world. It is a manifestation of the selective indignation, selective application of legal principals, and the inability to see all men and women as sisters and brothers.

If you’ve never read it, read Jeff Stein’s piece from October 17, 2006, in the New York Times. Still, to this day, one of the best and most disturbing journalistic articles. Willie Hulon, chief of the FBI’s national security branch, Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Chair of the House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, Congressman Terry Everett, Vice Chair of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence. The very people who voted to invade Iraq. Don’t know the difference between Sunnis and Shi’as. Do we think they know the difference between an Assyrian-Iraqi, a Kurdish-Iraqi, a Yezidi-Iraqi, and an Arab Iraqi?

https://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/opinion/17stein.html

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It’s easy to blame the crimes against humanity on the sectarian violence in Iraq, but those same pointing fingers seem to avoid asking the question of who destabilized the region and who armed Saddam Hussein with all those weapons in the 1980s. Perhaps it’s time to think more about American national responsibility, than labeling other acts of violence as genocide. After all, those Americans who identified the Assyrian Genocide so correctly are woefully silent on asking what happened to the pre-Columbian Native Americans population of the United States or even, if you want to stick to a more recent century, what happened to the Armenians in 1915. The same Administration that labeled the Assyrian, Yazidi crimes against humanity as a genocide, has not called the 1915 massacres by our Turkish allies a genocide… I mean, sure, they call it a genocide on the campaign trail while pandering for votes, but Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton all seem to have genocidal amnesia once entering the Oval Office.

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Yes, on this day, May 7, 2016, UN envoy Ján Kubiš condemned the continued killings, kidnapping, rape, and torture of Iraqis which he said might constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even genocide. Would that he was wrong. Would that the ethnic and religious genocides in Iraq and around the world were limited to time and space. Sadly, humanity’s propensity to kill itself, is matched only by our ability to be blind to the blood on our own hands and deny genocide when it’s insignificant. After all, its not 2016 anymore. Its 2018, and genocide has now reared it’s evil in Burma, where are the same clamoring voices speaking out against the Rohingya Genocide now?

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That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.

Thank you for listening!

Repost of “Of Snakes, Genocide, and Women” by Guillermo C. Garcia

On February 23rd 2018, President Trump addressed CPAC (The Conservative Political Action Conference). He put aside his written remarks again and spoke extemporaneously for seventy-five minutes on other issues, including immigration. During that part of his talk, he once more told the story that has become his recurring parable on immigration, one he used on […]

via Of Snakes, Genocide and Women by Guillermo C. Garcia —

On Charlottesville: White Male Shadow Boxers

 

Image result for charlottesville va nazis
Peter Cvjetanovic (R) along with Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists encircle and chant at counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 11, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

Whether it be individual psychology, sociology, religion, or politics, identity formation is so fundamental to all of our human interactions. What we saw in Charlottesville is the expression of racial identity formation. White privilege versus true equality and equity. How are we to interpret these events? How can we make reason of the perpetuation of militant White extremism in the wealthiest nation on Earth?

I start with Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor is such a gift to logic and reason; Occam stated almost a thousand years ago that the simplest explanation is most often the actual explanation. What percentage of women were at the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville this past weekend? How many first or second-generation Americans?

What we have is a sociological situation in which multi-generational Caucasian American males feel that something is fundamentally unfair, that the sand has shifted beneath their feet. And they are right; economic factors have shifted, and not in their favor. Those factors are automation, international trade, increased female participation in the workforce, and the increased chasm of compensation between the lowest paid employee in a corporation and the CEO.

Historically, this phenomenon is rooted in the Southern white male experience. As described in Thandeka’s book, Learning to be White (2000), there is a historical and artificial division between the white and non-white lower/middle classes. The Southern elites used racial stratification to instill a superiority complex in lower/middle class whites to distract from the economic stratification of the colonial and antebellum South. This continues to pervade our racial interpretation of class, economics, and status. And as the great factories of the North have oxidized into the Rust Belt, that mentality has migrated north as well.

And combined with this, in my opinion, in the mutt-ification and alienation of Anglo-Saxon and German Americans. It is my opinion that there is a deep-seeded sense of alienation among poor Anglo-Saxons who look at the nationalistic fervor of Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc., and wonder… why not me, why not us? These same WASP males look at immigrant populations, particularly Mexican-Americans who have maintained their culture/language and even the contrived celebration of Cinco de Mayo, and wonder… why not me, why not us?

Immigrant Catholic Latinos, Sikhs and Hindus from India and Pakistan, Muslim refugees, and warped perceptions of Affirmative Action…. and disenfranchised white males wonder… why not me, why not us? “Wasn’t this a Christian (Protestant) nation? Remember Antebellum and the 1950s, ‘we’ didn’t have all these problems… A purported Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage (apologies to FDR) … and many Anglo-Saxon Christians wonder… why not me, why not us?”

In Ohio, before WWI, Cincinnati had daily newspapers in German. In fact, German-Americans still make up a plurality of the US population demographically; most Americans are German. And Germans and Irish immigration waves entered the US at approximately the same time. But now, after two World Wars, who flies German flags in their front yards? Each St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is an Irishman, but when are we all German-Americans? And many multi-generational German-Americans wonder… why not me… why not us?

Indeed, many Anglo-Saxon and German Americans do not recognize their ethnicity; they identify as “American,” and see the embracing of ethnic and non-white racial identity as un-American. In homogenous nation-states, to the extent they even exist anymore, it is easier to see economics in class terminology, but here? In America, the great classless society, where everyone from the store manager to the CEO is “middle-class,” how can we see the economic realities of the New Jerusalem? In the America that was established not as a social ‘revolution,’ but as a conservative reaction to the threat to wealth, in the America that annexed the Mexican Cession to further the expansion of slavery, in the America that pointed its White Fleet guns at Japan, Opened Doors in China, and took the Philippines from Spanish-speaking Catholics… how can we NOT see economics in racial terms?

Only four of the Fortune 500 companies have an African-American CEO, and 43 of the 44 US Presidents have been Caucasian (remember Grover Cleveland counts as both the 22nd and 24th US President). So, given the racially-charged history of the United States, how does a multi-generational Anglo-Saxon or German American male look himself in the mirror and understand why he too is not a CEO or the President of the United States. “Why Alice, I oughta, one of these days! POW!”

And there you have it. In a culture in which females traditionally have measured their self-worth through family and relationships, and males have judged each other by “bringing home the bacon,” many Anglo-Saxons and German-Americans wonder… why not me… why not us?

They wonder, whatever did happen to the American Dream? “Did I do something wrong? I don’t think so; it must have been taken from me… you know… by those people who look different….”

As globalization came to China in the late 1800s, some Chinese resisted in what became known as the Boxer Rebellion. Westerners called the anti-immigrant nationalists shadow boxers for the shadow boxing techniques of the nativist movement. The nomenclature, shadow boxing, has lasted much longer than their rebellion against globalization. And that’s precisely what this new rise of the angry White Male Christian is, it is a movement of shadow boxers angrily fighting for a privilege that is not morally theirs, against an enemy that doesn’t exist, while Palpatine fuels their fire and consolidates wealthy and power with his national and international oligarchs.

These are the angry white males from Charlottesville. Personally, I neither agree, nor condone the hatred and violence that they have readily accepted. I reject their self-described victimization and jingoist perceptions of history, but I understand them. I understand, and feel, their pain. They are shadow boxing a phantom menace that they neither see, nor understand. And they collectively killed Heather Heyer. They killed those two State Troopers as true as if they had swiped their helicopter out of the sky themselves. They have killed.

We can kill too. Or we can stand in solidarity with the spirit of Heather Heyer, with the spirit of MLK, Caesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony, and Chief Joseph. We too can turn the other cheek. We too can love our enemy as our brother…. We too shall overcome.

On Rosa Parks and the 104th Anniversary of her Birth

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As we recognize the birthday and life of Rosa Parks, let me highlight two points that are not commonly discussed when we think of Rosa Parks. First of all, she died in poverty. While she had collected speaker fees for her public engagements, she had donated those speaker fees to create the Rosa Parks College Fund in 1980. She also wrote two books, Rosa Parks: My Life (1992) and Quiet Strength (1995), she moved out of her home in Detroit after being robbed and assaults in 1995, and moved into a high-rise apartment. Inexplicable, her money ran out in 2002 and she was sent an eviction noticed. After a church agreed to pay her rent and publicity embarrassed the apartment complex owners, she was granted free rent for the remainder of her life. She died in 2005. My question is, why was it a private church congregation that had to pay her rent? Why was it that a private housing corporation had to give her free rent for life? Is she not the “First Lady of Civil Rights”? Is she not the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”? Would America let a former US President, Vice President or First Lady be evicted? How hard would it have been at some point between the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and her death on October 24, 2005, would it have been for Congress to grant her a government pension? As an American, and in my opinion, I find her death in poverty a national embarrassment.

Secondly, people often question why I include Native American and African-American events and people on my blog as well as in my same-titled book, This Day in Genocide. After all, it’s not the same thing as the Holocaust, right? Of course, some of my Turkish, Caucus, and Middle Easter friends wonder why I include Armenia too. Conversely, Russians deny the Caucus Circassian genocide. And, too, some of my North African subscribers have quested my inclusion of Darfur. I suppose the French elites at Credit Lyon wonder if the Rwandan Genocide ever happened, and, certainly, I remember being told by a young Serb while waiting for a train in Budapest that, “what happens in Yugoslavia is an internal matter.” My point is this, why can’t we see our own national or demographic tribes acts of genocide, but can so readily recognize the fault of others? The definition of genocide that I use in class: systematic mass murder or dehumanization of a race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or ideology. The official definition of genocide is:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Genocide scholars and frequent readers of This Day in Genocide may recall that the draft definition also included ideology, but the Soviets demanded ideology be stricken from the convention or they would have vetoed it. Personally, I think that makes the case that ideology ought to be included even more in the definition. But back to the American Genocides, while it is uncomfortable to talk about and it is charged with powerful emotions all around, if we break down the experiences of Native Americans and African-Americans, then the treatment of them by the United States and state governments is genocidal by definition. Both groups certainly were systematically mass murdered and dehumanization because of their race, ethnicity, and -in the case of Native Americans- religion as well. Systematic mass murder exemplified in contaminated blanket policy, constant warfare, illegal violation of Native American treaty-rights and the 14th Amendment, internment on reservations, “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group,” forced displacement (IDPs), etc., etc., etc.

As for the African-American experience, the United States has a history of “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” and forced migration as well as constant violations of the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 18665, the Jim Crow Laws, Plessy v Ferguson, Poll taxes, Voting Tests, etc. Critics of my inclusion of US History in the history of genocide typically base their arguments on historical context, not meeting some undefined threshold for the definition of genocide, or simple the denial of facts. Some of my critics seem to take my position as anti-American or un-American, but I would suggest the same criticism has been used to bully Turks who admit their nation’s part in the Armenian Genocide, just as any Khmer, Hutu, Croat and Serbian is verbally or physically torn down for acknowledging their demographic tribes’ responsibility in the crime of genocide. Just because we’re embarrassed of our demographic tribes’ history does not make us responsible; we become responsible when we deny or diminish our history and the history of others. Gregory Stanton is perhaps the most regarded genocide scholar today, and he is most known for his Stages of Genocide theory. Whether we apply his original 8 Stages of Genocide or his updated 10 Stages of Genocide to the history of Native and African Americans, the result is the same. The Treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans by state and non-state actors was genocidal. And the fact that Rosa Parks died in poverty is a stain on the great ideals of this great nation. Similarly, the great scholars and enacting parties of reconstruction and reconciliation (such as Desmond Tutu as well as the various Truth and Reconciliation Commissions of Greensboro, Guatemala, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Cambodia, Australia, etc.) would all say that the first step is to acknowledge history and to acknowledge national responsibility -and in specific cases personal responsibility. Let’s not wait for the other lions of Civil Rights Movement die before we finally name what is our history, and that name is genocide.

“Hope Springs eternal”

Alexander Pope, in his Essay on Man, captures our potential as a human race as well as our reliance on God.

This morning I woke and checked the news.  I came across two articles written by conservative commentators:  Matt Lewis and RedState’s Leon Wolf. Please take time to read the articles.

It should not be necessary to repeat this again, but there are hundreds of thousands of good law enforcement officers across the country, yet there are also reckless officers as well.  The Blue Wall of Silence has been no friend to good law enforcement. Just like any other profession, priests, teachers, doctors, lawyers, you name it. There are those who have a passion for their vocation, and there are those who hide behind their badges, degrees, collars, and unions.

There is a Facebook post by Steven Hildreth Jr, an African-American pulled over by the Tuscon police in 2015, that went viral then and has recirculated.  In the post, Hildreth makes the point that if you treat law enforcement with respect, you will receive respect. Well, with all due respect to Hildreth the onus of respect is always on those in power.

These two pieces by Lewis and Wolf give me hope.  Hope that we as a nation of Blacks and Whites, Asians and Latinos, Republicans and Democrats, Men and women, Homosexuals and Heterosexuals…that we will realize that violence by law enforcement is a cancer on all of society, especially on good law enforcement officers, and has been disproportionately inflicted upon Americans of African descent.

We all expect bad politicians to be held accountable.  We all, whether Catholic or not, are angry at the lack of accountability by the Catholic Church for the abuse of our children.  We mock professional sports for not holding rapists, drug users and weapons violators accountable. We demand accountability when teachers attack their students sexually.  All of us seem to have pet peeve professions which we demand more from or expect more accountability by. Perhaps it is time to remove the partisan and racial lens from our view of law enforcement.

I have many friends and former students in law enforcement and I know how heavy their hearts are, when a fellow officer falls in the line of duty as well as when a fellow officer betrays the oath that they all take to serve and protect:

“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community and the agency I serve.”

I expect this accountability from my law enforcement.  And I expect their service to be respected. No one, regardless of profession, race, or political affiliation, should be assassinated anywhere in the world, but especially in our United States of America.

Dallas shooter Micah Xavier Johnson, anti-government militiaman Bill Keebler, the Boston Bombing Tsarnaev brothers and so many more.  They are domestic terrorists. African-American or Caucasian, Christian or Muslim. It doesn’t matter. They are all domestic terrorists and should be repudiated by all Americans.  And all Americans should expect law enforcement to protect and defend all Americans, regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or country of origin.

Yes, all lives matter, but what Lewis and Wolf have written about is that its time to acknowledge that some lives are more prone to being lost than others.  Let’s end both police violence and violence against law enforcement.

 

Use your head, don’t wear blinders

Regarding Patrick Clark’s letter, “To quick to judge those who fight abroad” ProJo 7/1/6, I’d like to turn the title on its head. The problem is many people are too quick to protect their compadres. Yes, America’s legal system is based on the presumption of innocence, but we also have an independent grand jury system that identifies possible culpability. Whether they are policemen, priests or soldiers, there are certain professions which carry with them a certain amount of blind trust. [It is important to point out that there are many good men and women that have earned and deserve our trust.] However, many people seem to put blinders on when it comes even to the ‘bad apples.’

Whether its NYPD’s Justin Volpe who beat Abner Louima, RI’s own Dan Azzarone, Jr., or the convicted prison guards at Abu Ghraib, there are bad apples out there. When a grand jury, or the military equivalent, recommends a trial, it behooves the intelligent public to –not presume guilt- but trust in the system and allow for the fact that the persons MAY be guilty.

The knee-jerk defenses of accused soldiers, simply because they’re soldiers, are jingoistic and anti-intellectual. Instead of wrapping accused soldiers with the American flag, perhaps we should wrap their wrists in handcuffs and let the justice system do its job? The honorable soldiers, past and present, that I know separate themselves from these opportunistic criminals who don’t defend our country, but soil its reputation abroad.
Tom Keefe