It’s Time for Some More Wonderful Pictures

I’m tired of Bill Clinton’s meltdown, the latest airport security rules, and wondering whether it’s safe to start eating spinach again. So here are some terrific baby animal pictures to put the focus back on what’s important.

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All of these pictures came from Yahoo News photos or Yahoo images, and I would love to credit the great photographers, if I only knew who they were. Yes, I admit to a special prejudice for kitties of all stripes (and spots) but looking at these pictures, can you blame me?

Happy Wednesday everybody!

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Published in: on September 27, 2006 at 9:44 pm  Comments (17)  

You Call This Torture?

It looks like we’ve completely lost our minds. If you think we’re mistreating the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, think again. We may actually be giving them more comfort and respect than they’ve ever enjoyed in their lives. All one hears from the main stream media is how we have to stop torturing these prisoners.

Now, in an article in the online edition of the New York Post, Richard Miniter (best selling author and expert on terrorism), who recently returned from a tour of Guantanamo, tells quite a different story. You can read the whole article here, but I’ll give you a sample:

The Pentagon seemed to be hoping to disarm its critics by showing them how well it cares for captured terrorists. The trip was more alarming than disarming. I spent several hours with Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who heads the joint task force that houses and interrogates the detainees. (The military isn’t allowed to call them “prisoners.”)The high-minded critics who complain about torture are wrong. We are far too soft on these guys – and, as a result, aren’t getting the valuable intelligence we need to save American lives.

The politically correct regulations are unbelievable. Detainees are entitled to a full eight hours sleep and can’t be woken up for interrogations. They enjoy three meals and five prayers per day, without interruption. They are entitled to a minimum of two hours of outdoor recreation per day.

Interrogations are limited to four hours, usually running two – and (of course) are interrupted for prayers. One interrogator actually bakes cookies for detainees, while another serves them Subway or McDonald’s sandwiches. Both are available on base. (Filet o’ Fish is an al Qaeda favorite.)

And lest you think that accommodating their sleeping, eating, exercising, and praying needs is all the consideration they get, we are apparently accommodating their planning, plotting, weapon-making, and al Qaeda cell-forming needs as well.

Adm. Harris admitted to me that a multi-cell al Qaeda network has developed in the camp. Military intelligence can’t yet identify their leaders, but notes that they have cells for monitoring the movements and identities of guards and doctors, cells dedicated to training, others for making weapons and so on.

And they can make weapons from almost anything. Guards have been attacked with springs taken from inside faucets, broken fluorescent light bulbs and fan blades. Some are more elaborate. “These folks are MacGyvers,” Harris said.

Other cells pass messages from leaders in one camp to followers in others. How? Detainees use the envelopes sent to them by their attorneys to pass messages. (Some 1,000 lawyers represent 440 prisoners, all on a pro bono basis, with more than 18,500 letters in and out of Gitmo in the past year.) Guards are not allowed to look inside these envelopes because of “attorney-client privilege” – even if they know the document inside is an Arabic-language note written by a prisoner to another prisoner and not a letter to or from a lawyer.

That’s right: Accidentally or not, American lawyers are helping al Qaeda prisoners continue to plot.There is little doubt what this note-passing and weapons-making is used for. The military recorded 3,232 incidents of detainee misconduct from July 2005 to August 2006 – an average of more than eight incidents per day. Some are nonviolent, but the tally includes coordinated attacks involving everything from throwing bodily fluids on guards (432 times) to 90 stabbings with homemade knives. One detainee slashed a doctor who was trying to save his life; the doctors wear body armor to treat their patients.

Meanwhile, we’re spending a fortune giving them free dental care, vaccinations, eyeglasses, and prosthetic limbs.

Are the people who create these policies so afraid of criticism from political rivals and the international community that they’ve lost all focus on who these prisoners are?

Reading this article, I can’t help but think that we’ve completely lost our minds.

I Will Never Forget

(This post also appears on my other blog Writing English. I was due for a post there today, but “business as usual” didn’t seem appropriate.)


wtc.jpgIt was just about time for me to get up. My husband was already busy watching the early stock market reports on TV. As I was contemplating whether I could sneak another ten minutes, he came into the bedroom and said, “You won’t believe what just happened. A plane hit the World Trade Center.” My immediate thought was that it must have been a small private plane. I clicked on the television and sat up in bed, staring in disbelief at the screen as it became clear that it was not a small plane, and it was not an accident.

My boss called to tell me not to come to work. Nobody knew if L.A. was about to become another target, and our office was in one of the tallest buildings.

As the morning progressed, we watched aghast as the towers fell. We were able to call our relatives in the East and confirm that everybody was OK. We learned that the front lawn of my parents’ home in the middle of Brooklyn was littered with computer printout pages that had flown all the way from lower Manhattan when the buildings collapsed. I think I have never felt such rage as I did that morning. And I cried; for those who died, for their families, for our wonderful New York City, for America, for myself.

Now, five years later, I will never forget the people who lost their lives, and those who lost their loved ones. And I will never forget the people who did this. Never.

Published in: on September 11, 2006 at 5:50 pm  Comments (4)