In the last ten years America has gotten an international reputation for torture.
Aside from the obvious moral hesitation most decent people have when it comes to torture there is a huge practical problem it creates.
After World War two America basically rebuilt many countries. We extended our resources to crushed countries in a way no other country has ever done, and on an amazing scale. For decades, a person could go anywhere in the world and America was referred to with admiration and respect. Just being an American, in almost any country, was worth more than any credit card.
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News articles that deserve extra consideration.
July 10, 2012 newser.com
The Justice Department and FBI have launched the FBI's biggest-ever post-conviction review, taking a second look at thousands of cases to determine whether defendants were wrongly convicted because of faulty forensic analysis.
July 11, 2012 Fredericksburg.com
THE URBAN INSTITUTE raised the alarm last month about the rate of wrongful convictions in Virginia. Its researchers asserted that 8 to 15 percent of those convicted of sexual assault between 1973 and 1988 were innocent, a rate far above the normally cited 3 percent and well above the U.S. average.
After reviewing 634 cases of murder and sexual assault that took place between 1973 and 1988, the institute found that "in 5 percent of homicide and sexual assault cases, DNA testing eliminated the convicted offender as the source of incriminating physical evidence. When sexual assault convictions were isolated, DNA testing eliminated between 8 and 15 percent of convicted offenders and supported exoneration."
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"Those who question our methods are dangerous indeed. They pander to our enemies and undermine our ability to protect the Homeland". -Adolf Hitler
In Stalinist Russia there were many bureaucrats, police, who gladly rounded up their neighbors for punishment.
They pretended they were protecting the state, the dimmer ones even believed it, but they were just protecting their own interests and hurting their country.
In Nazi Germany likewise, and Pol Pot's Cambodia and many others.
Every country, good or bad, has its share of "apparatchiks", whose goal is simply to live within the system, accumulating short term successes without thinking. These cowards are the root of some countries ruin.
In the War on Terror, America has cultivated the attitude that leads to this evil, and we are slowly sinking in it. Well paid bureaucrats who know full well that their mission is dubious, but they also have a lot of ambition.
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There are few clearer signatures of poor leadership in a country than the death penalty.
Throughout history, and across regions, the death penalty correlates with weak leadership, a broader lack of democratic values in society and political instability.
According to Amnesty International, at least 23 countries were known to have carried out executions in 2010. (Wikipedia)
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America's wars fall into two important categories.
During wars like World War II, you could ask most Americans about the ideologies of the axis countries and their answers would have been largely accurate. Hitler attacked his neighbors out of the blue, for reasons they did not know. He believed he was part of a master race, etc. Those were facts that even Hitler himself would not have denied.
In Vietnam there was a rationale presented to the American public to justify the war. That rationale was debunked by the "Pentagon Papers". Even so, Americans who wanted to support the war attached on to any bizarre theory that they could. Ultimately, not a single justification for the Vietnam war turned out to be true. Even today there are people who cannot bring themselves to say 58,000 American lives were thrown away so they cling to the remnants of the lies that were more believable decades ago.
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News articles from the international press that leave questions.
Reuel Marc Gerecht
This is a journalist who is almost a news story in himself. According to Wikipedia, Mr Gerecht "is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, focusing primarily on the Middle East, Islamic militancy, counterterrorism, and intelligence. He is a former director of the Project for the New American Century's Middle East Initiative and a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Gerecht also served as a case officer at the CIA, primarily working on Middle Eastern targets."
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Nobody would dispute that America has some serious problems.
Our economy is sputtering.
We have accumulated a national debt that is roughly equal to our GDP and there is no realistic chance that the debt can be carried much further into the future. The worst part of that is that politicians continue pretending that it can be solved by some quick fix. America had a comparable debt to GDP ratio after WWII, but the situation then was vastly different. Today the dollar itself is being threatened, and the threat is being loudly ignored.
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A list of quotes from the press that demonstrate widely held beliefs regarding the global power shift, that are inaccurate.
"Much of its effort is aimed at deterring America from intervening in a future crisis over Taiwan." [Referring to China's accelerating military buildup.] http://www.economist.com/node/21552212
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Some great conspiracy theories.
1) Drug Smuggling by agents of the U.S. Government
Many people are familiar with Iran Contra, some are aware of indications that some of the funding apparently came from cocaine transported through Central America by people working for the U.S. government. If you are not familiar with the basics you should watch the YouTube video Presidential Secrets.
Afghanistan was the worlds main supplier of heroin in the 1990s.
By 2001 the Taliban regime had all but eliminated opium poppies from Afghanistan. The global heroin supply dwindled to near zero.
After 9/11 the United States invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. quickly got full control of all Afghan infrastructure. Not a plane could fly without approval and coordination with the NATO armies. Heroin production quickly increased from 185 tons to 5,800 tons a year.
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