Friday, May 21, 2010

"I'm Proud of Torture. It's the American Way!"

A guest post by Leslie Harris, CodePink

Despite the wind, rain, and cold in Dallas, dedicated peace and justice activists rallied to hold Karl Rove accountable on Monday [May 3, 2010] for his part in crimes committed by the Bush administration.

Without accountability, what will prevent the same things from happening over and over again?

CODEPINK showed up early to greet attendees of the exclusive (expensive) pre-show reception. At first, we stood right next to the doors, with our companion banners that read, "WE SEE A WAR CRIMINAL" and "ARREST HIM!", and we wore big pink bug-sunglasses to go along with that theme. Codepink uses farce to point out farce...and what is more farcical than a war criminal trying to legitimize his acts?

After most attendees were inside, we turned around and lined up in front of the glass-fronted lobby where the attendees were milling around, waiting to get into the reception. Noses-to-the-glass, we peered in with our bug-glasses and messages. They took lots of pictures, which we hope will be shown to their friends & family so that eventually someone - maybe several someones - will have a light-bulb moment.

Then the police came out and informed us that we'd have to move to public property, which, happily, just happened to be right where people were pulling in for valet parking and couldn't miss our messaging.

A man from an adjacent apartment building came over and shook all our hands and said, "Thank you so much for what you are doing! This needs to be done and I'm so glad to see that someone is doing it!" Later, he returned with hot tea and coffee for us!

We stayed until it was time for Rove's talk to begin and then un-donned our glasses & boas, picked up our tickets, and went into the auditorium. We sat quietly during the whole talk, waiting for the opportunity to ask questions during the "Q&A period," but it turned out that the moderator, Mike Gallagher, a conservative talk-show host and frequent FOX News contributor, was the only one slated to ask questions.

As soon as he mentioned CODEPINK by name, made fun of our lovely outfits, and said that a little rain must have scared us off, we took that as our cue. Two of us dropped a big banner that read, "MR. ROVE - PLEASE TURN YOURSELF IN," and waved handcuffs at him. We called out, "Mr. Rove - Waterboarding is torture; torture is illegal! Would you please turn yourself in...or at least agree to be waterboarded?" and "Karl Rove - How can you in all good conscience say that water-boarding is moral?" We were "escorted" out and rejoined the protest outside, which was now being held down by some awesome students from the U of N TX Campus Antiwar Network.

Moments later, two more dropped a second banner that read, "PROUD OF WATERBOARDING? REALLY??" Who wouldn't love the clip of Intrepid Nel being escorted out, with the banner still unfurled, in this video by Josh Smith.

Two people who weren't "banned" yet went inside, got into the book-signing line, and waited for the opportunity to point out, directly to Karl Rove, that he is, indeed a war criminal. More escorting-out.

Outside, we regrouped and rejoined the student activists. As the crowd poured out, we all lined up facing the auditorium, right next to where the valets were pulling up. As people got into their cars, they blurted out their own messages for us. Most lacked originality. There was the age-old, "Get a Job!" of course.

One woman said, as she was giving us quite a bit of attention, "If you didn't look so ridiculous people would pay more attention to you!" As for attention, Mr. Gallagher was nice enough to put us on his website. Thanks, Mike!

Another said, "I suppose you're all pro-abortion!" To which some of us replied, "No!" She ignored our explanations about a woman's choice, and yelled, "Killing is killing!" She scurried into her car, ignoring the irony of her own words.

Brandishing Rove's book, Courage and Consequence, a woman said, "You should read this book!" Some of us replied that we had. She had a Ron Paul bumper sticker, so we pointed out that Ron Paul was vehemently against many of the misdeeds of Karl Rove. She jumped in her car as fast as she could and sped away.

We invited commenters to stay and dialogue with us, but it seemed they all just wanted to call out their one-liners and run away.

The piece-de-resistance remark came from a woman who walked right up close to us, and, responding to our sign that said "PROUD OF TORTURE? REALLY??" she exclaimed, "The answer is, YES! I'm proud of torture. I'm very proud of torture! It's the American way!!"

Wow. The American way?! What can you say about that?


Suzan said...

The essay is just great.

But I really love you for that cover! How many times have I prayed for this?

May I blogroll you?

Thanks again.

You R O C K


Mnmom said...

When I don't have kids at home, and can spend a few days in jail, I plan to start making a stand at such events as well. Karl Rove is a giant pile of evil.

Carol said...

I think that all of the chemicals in our land, water, air and food have affected some brains significantly. How can anyone in their right mind be proud of torture and say it's part of the "American Way"?


TomCat said...

Right On Billie!! Turdblossom needs to be jailed.

Thomas said...

"There's none so blind as those who just won't see." I'm glad you're in the trenches trying to pry open some eyelids.

Spadoman said...

I am proud to be a member of Code Pink along with my wife. I'm so glad to always find you on the same side of the fence, standing up for peace and justice.


Border Explorer said...

Wow, thanks so much, Friends, for your positive comments. Torture is one of my 'hot button' issues. How much evil are we willing to swallow that is being done in our names?

Suzan, thanks a million for the blogroll. And I am returning the favor for your "Welcome to Pottersville 2."

Mnmom: great to see you here! You're one of the most resilient people I 'know.'

Carol: I know. Makes me respect the fact that the U.S. is not a perfect democracy. Can you imagine if majority ruled and that person represented the majority???

TC, Thomas, Spadoman: Hey guys, you're all great. Wish your values (rather than corporations) were ruling our country!

啟佐 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave Dubya said...

Torture is the fascist way. Code Pink represents the best of the Anerican way.

Bumps Stump said...

Border . . These comments about Karl Rove and his evil ways do not accept that there are determined human beings out there who want to kill us, their innocent, non-threatening, neighbors. They've brought on a war like none before, and they have successfully countered our superior technology and our overwhelming military might. They are using only tried and true, historic terrorism and fear as their weapons.

Our politicians, bless their earmarked souls, have no idea how to defend our national existance. They are wringing their hands because our military might is proving useless against an enemy that has no boudaries, no central leadership, and no central military organization.

These "fighters" follow no rules of engagement, and nothing similar to the Geneva Conventions either.

In order for us to effectively fight back our present day leaders have to determine how an essentially peaceful people can prevail. Your neck and my neck depend on their success.

Torture is a bad and ugly word. Waterboarding is a relatively mild version, and cutting someone's head off is ultimately the worst. Looking back humdreds of years we can see that some form of torture has been used by both sides. It's an ugly fact.

The Bush Administration, including Karl Rove, did nothing criminal in their pursuit of defeating the enemy with as few casualties as possible. Waterboarding for example, WAS acceptable during past wars, and is not acceptable during this current war.

Who decided?

Is there a better way than waterboarding to obtain information that (might / may / could / would) save two (or ten thousand) lives?


Border Explorer said...

Bump, I disagree with you on most points you make. But I certainly respect your ability to express yourself, and I appreciate your willingness state an opposing opinion in a civil manner.

Dave, I hate torture so much. I am furious that my tax money funds it. What have we come to?