Monthly Archives: April 2016

As long as candidates politicize the issue, we’ll be here


Military, Law Enforcement, & Intel Professionals Sign Anti-Torture Open Letter to Candidates

To candidates and elected officials: We are military, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals who have spent a good part of our adult life trying to hunt, capture, or kill terrorists. We have gotten quite good at it, as the leadership of al Qaeda can attest.


One perspective… forgiveness

How To Forgive Your Torturer

How To Forgive Your Torturer 7/3/2014 1:25:00 PM By Ariel Dorfman Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch. What a way to celebrate Torture Awareness Month! According to an Amnesty International Poll released in May, 45 percent of Americans believe that torture is “sometimes necessary and acceptable” in order to “gain information that may protect the public.”



The real winners in post 9/11 America?

Failure begets an angry electorate, contributing to the populist appeal of candidates like Sanders and Trump. Since 9/11, despite years of helping orchestrate trillions of dollars worth of strategic missteps, leaders of the political-military-industrial complex in Washington continue to enrich themselves without shame and with little accountability. Perhaps one of the populist candidates will hold America’s government-funded gilded class up as a subject for the electorate to consider in November.

To be sure, there are many politicians and leaders who earn every bit of their pay; and there are subordinates in the security forces who serve with a sacrifice few in the private sector are willing to make. But if the claim is correct — that our capital has become part of what is driving income inequality in America — then it’s time to take a hard look at the governing system in D.C., and make the right adjustments so that the business of America works for everyone.

— Marcus

How Wartime Washington Lives in Luxury

In no place in America are the abrupt changes in the nation’s security posture so keenly reflected in real estate and lifestyle than the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In the decade after 9/11, it has grown into a sprawling, pretentious representation of the federal government’s growth, vices and prosperity, encompassing the wealthiest counties, the best schools, and some of the highest rates of income inequality in the country.




Nuance and cultural awareness

Keen cultural awareness and language skills can be the difference between right and wrong information, and such can save one’s skin, especially in cases where an interpreter cannot always be trusted. Successful overseas officers understand how culture influences thinking and perception. An article from Pacific Standard below explores the subject. I’ve added an excerpt from a favorite Hollywood movie to emphasize the point.

— Marcus

We Aren’t the World – Pacific Standard

In the Summer of 1995, a young graduate student in anthropology at UCLA named Joe Henrich traveled to Peru to carry out some fieldwork among the Machiguenga, an indigenous people who live north of Machu Picchu in the Amazon basin.




Saudi teens sentenced to death

Saudi Arabia: 3 Alleged Child Offenders Await Execution

Three Saudi men are awaiting execution for alleged, protest-related crimes committed while they were children. Saudi judges based the capital convictions primarily on confessions that the three defendants retracted in court and said had been coerced. The courts did not investigate the allegations that the confessions were obtained by torture.

Pardon the torturers?

“What? Do what?” …I can almost hear the chorus of disbelief humming over the electrons. The National Catholic Reporter puts forward the modest proposal below. It’s an intriguing idea, actually: President Obama could do this on his way out of office.

The political realities of our age mean that it will likely be impossible to hold accountable our foolish leaders who concocted the torture policies. A senate report is not accountability. If we have no political will to punish, a pardon at least allows American leaders who say they oppose torture to send a strong, legally relevant message of repudiation.

— Marcus

Prosecution or pardon of torturers?

In her confirmation hearing, Loretta Lynch, the nominee for attorney general, stated mater-of-factly that waterboarding is torture. Some of the senators on the Judiciary Committee holding the hearing disagree with her, but they gave her no argument. They asked where she stood, and she said waterboarding is torture.