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Wisdom from ancient Sanskrit reminds us that necessity changes a course but never a goal. Necessity has surely visited our nation. These past years while helplessly watching our national goals being reshaped in the images of our national enemies has caused me great agitation. It is surely a time that drives me to my knees in prayer. It is unsettling to see the deep-rooted hatred manifesting itself in our national policies – the most egregious being realized by our nation’s violation of its own human rights values. War powers acts of our national executive body seem to be the catch all phrase that allows the law of humanity to be set aside in favor of human brutality.

The brutality that I have in mind is the mindless and yes, heartless authorizations of torture justified under the auspices of war – even though all my escape and evasion training in the military taught me that if captured I could expect to be tortured by a less than human enemy, and that we were to rest with the assurance that our nation would not tolerate such activities.

Thanks to the Justice Department with the aide of a law advisor who is now professor of law with the once notorious peace-activist / non-violence-set-of-values University of Berkley, the policy for torture was not only authorized but rule of law set aside to justify it if it could be done off our national shores.

I once reminded a colleague that our nation survives because we are a nation under law. If we have a Monarch, it is the Rule Of Law so to speak and it seems that now the ordering of our “national universe” has become as fickle as the days of bickering European princes over the matter of ascendancy to the throne. Lost in the battle for them were the very principles that were foundational to their rule. The suffering of their citizenry became the fruit of their self-serving labor.

I served in the military of this fine nation and like so many before me served to preserve the Constitution – the bedrock foundation of who we are as a people called citizens of The United States of America. As potential combatants, we were taught that if captured we were no longer considered belligerents and were protected by a due process of law. This meant that to take the life of the enemy, while a prisoner of war was a violation of law.

Many fine men and women paid with their lives as price in such service and I believe they would not see their sacrifice as being on order of the messianic but simply a duty fulfilled to protect the higher ground – our Constitution and the Rule of Law. These are indeed the best instruments representing the ground upon which can stand freedom and security in our world as it is today.

Our national prosecution of the war on terror must be responsible to the costly work these holy sacrifices by our men and women in arms as well as diplomats and, let us not forget the many non-government persons as well. I opened with the wisdom from Sanskrit. Indeed, new situations demand of leadership openness to change but such times most never erode our purpose under heaven to serve the higher goal. Losing sight of this is to risk the loss of our very own souls and to be remade into the images of our enemies.

May we remember the view held by the framers of the Bill of Rights and later the Constitution that all men were created equal, not simply citizens but all men (and today we still need to include women). We can ill afford to split hairs between what is right and good for citizens of this nation and what is not for others. Not, that is, if we stand for what the founders of this nation so dreamed for us and sacrificed their lives for.

John Fair //


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