Thoughts for Today
May 18, 2009
Rather than do a specific study today, I want to give short comments on a number of issues that may help tie events together and give clarity to what is happening today.
First, I wrote last year, after Candidate Obama was talking about getting us out of Iraq and closing down Guantanamo's torture camps, that this was easier said than done. It is far easier to get into a war than to get out of it. Once we are "in" there is no easy way "out." And sure enough, President Obama keeps talking about winding down the war, but it is unlikely that this will proceed any faster than under a Republican president.
Secondly, President Obama signed a bill last January to close the camps at Guantanamo. But once again, this is proving harder to close than it was to set them up in the first place. Why? Because after torturing a few hundred people for six years, is it really feasible to let them loose on the streets? If you mistreat a dog for a few years and then finally get a twinge of conscience, is it feasible to "do what is right" by setting the dog free to roam the streets? Of course not. A brutalized dog will be very dangerous to the public, even if he was perfectly harmless before the abuse. (Not that I am calling anyone a dog, you understand.)
So now we are seeing this problem emerge. Where are we going to send those abused prisoners after we have heaped abuse on them? Will they not want to take vengeance on us? Spain established a commission to look into the torture at Guantanamo, and it found systematic torture that goes far beyond simple waterboarding. They looked at the case of Omar Deghayes, a Libyan citizen in Britain as a law student, who made the mistake of traveling to Afghanistan, where he met and married an Afghan woman.
As a "suspected terrorist" (for his traveling pattern), he was arrested in Pakistan, where he was systematically beaten and subjected to electric shocks. Then he was taken first to Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan and finally to Guantanamo, where the torture continued at the hands of the Immediate Response Force (IRF). That's the euphemism for the torture team. In a March 2005 interview with a lawyer visiting inmates there, he told some of his story. You can read the full account on:
"When Deghayes finally arrived at Guantánamo in September 2002, he found himself the target of the feared IRF teams.
"The IRF team sprayed Mr. Deghayes with mace; they threw him in the air and let him fall on his face … " according to the Spanish investigation. Deghayes says he also endured a "sexual attack." In March 2004, after being "sprayed in the eyes with mace," Deghayes says authorities refused to provide him with medical attention, causing him to permanently lose sight in his right eye. Stafford Smith described the incident.
"They brought their pepper spray and held him down. They held both of his eyes open and sprayed it into his eyes and later took a towel soaked in pepper spray and rubbed it in his eyes.
"Omar could not see from either eye for two weeks, but he gradually got sight back in one eye.
"He's totally blind in the right eye. I can report that his right eye is all white and milky - he can't see out of it because he has been blinded by the U.S. in Guantánamo."
"In fact, Stafford Smith says his blindness was caused by a combination of the pepper spray and the fact that an IRF team member pushed his finger into Deghayes' eye.
"The Spanish investigation into Deghayes' torture draws much from the March 2005 memo, which described several acts of abuse of Deghayes at the hands of the IRF teams. (The memo refers to IRF by its alternative acronym ERF)."
I find it amazing that even Christians are able to justify such things and ignore all human decency--to say nothing of Christian ethics--in the name of national security. And just wait until these precedent-setting policies are applied to "Christian terrorists" (that is, those who oppose government policies of abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.).
As Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:7, "Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?" It is better that we suffer injustice than to sell our souls for a mess of pottage. The love of God is not manifested by torture, regardless of how much we SUSPECT that they might have info to gitmo.
Can anyone tell that I feel quite strongly about this? How is such torture any better than killing babies in the womb? Can we oppose abortion and support torture? I think not. This is not a political issue. It is an issue of basic Christian morality and biblical law.
I have a feeling that these horrendous policies are serving as the background for whatever God has in mind for the year 2010. Divine judgment is coming and is already here in the economic sense. The year 2010 is probably an important climax, and we could see either an outright repentance take place, or some serious political consequences for our national sins. We are on the brink of a totalitarian state, combined with a vicious manner of treating dissenters as "terrorists," which, if we do not repent soon, could easily result in prison camps for Christian dissenters, complete with the IRF torture teams, away from the prying eyes of friends, relatives, and the pesky media.
The 42 days, which I wrote about two days ago, goes from May 10 to June 21. It may be significant that from June 21, 2009 to Dec. 21, 2012 is precisely 3 1/2 years. Many have asked about the Mayan Calendar and its "end of the world" date of Dec. 21, 2012. I am no expert in Mayan affairs, but it is certainly curious that the "Elijah cycle" of three years and six months would end on the same date. Of course, I don't expect any "end of the world," since I believe the Bible prophesies of the ages yet to come. But perhaps this date may prove to be something like the beginning of the coming Age. That's just a thought, not a prophecy.
Dr. Stephen Jones