So what is it about the American ideal? What separates us from other enlightened people? What is special about living in this country?
Let’s let that sink in a minute. While they’re off-the-cuff questions, how they’re answered may say more about us than we would like to realize. Consider this:
We have a long-established rights in this country, although these have been eroding for years. Check your copy of the Constitution, starting with the Bill of Rights. Depending on your political persuasion, you may favor the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, and the press), or the Second (the right to bear arms). Oddly, there is no amendment guaranteeing the right to privacy, although the courts over the years have construed one based on language already in the Constitution. At best, there may be a presumption of a right to privacy. But that and $4 gets you a Starbucks coffee.
But while you’re considering rights of citizens, think about whether they apply to non-citizens. Oh, now there’s a can of worms. Think immigration policy, welfare benefits, voting rights, and so forth. Wherever you come down on these you’ll certainly find equally logical reasons to oppose your thought.
Now here’s a new consideration. What about people who, although citizens, aren’t like you? Do they enjoy the same rights and obligations? The same Constitutional protections?
Let’s set the scenario. Your country, because of bad intelligence or bad intent, places economic sanctions on a country. Clearly, the intent is to work our will as a rich and powerful country without resorting to invasion. For example, we and most of the world, have placed sanctions on Iran because of their perceived intransigence on their nuclear program. And as of this writing, it seems to finally be working. The Iranian currency is in free fall, and it may have the result in a “better” Iran. But don’t count on it. It may result in a more destabilized Iran, or one that lashes out with bombs they don’t have. Instead, count on it as punishment. Will the leadership be punished? Maybe – but certainly the population at large will be.
Not so many years ago, before the invasion of Iraq (you know, ‘Nation Building’) and after the absolute, without-a-doubt weapons of mass destruction charade, we had placed economic sanctions on them. Did they work? Did Saddam flee in terror? Um, no. What was the net result? Poverty. Abject, unadulterated poverty, visited upon those who can least afford it. People couldn’t afford medical care, shelter or food.
So let’s talk just a minute about charity. Lots of people the world over support various causes that cross international boundaries. Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, missionary work done by your church, Red Cross, Save The Children, the list goes on and on. All are worthy causes, and they allow the donors to contribute to something they believe in, something they personally support. And we, as Americans, applaud this.
So let’s put all of this together: Take an American citizen with a starving family in Iraq, suffering in large part because of sanctions we placed upon the country. Not only are his dollars supporting a cause he believes in, they’re supporting members of his own family who were destitute. Pretty much any of us would do it if we had the means and the situation. But because of the sanctions, it was illegal to send money to Iraq – even though the government admits none of the money made it to Saddam or his regime. So what did our government do?
Dr. Shakir Hamoodi was sentenced to three years in Leavenworth Federal penitentiary and began his sentence August 28. Once that sentence is complete, he will be on probation three additional years.
The conspirators on Wall Street who stole millions? No prosecutions of merit yet.
Kinda makes you proud to be an American, right?
Here’s the link to the story, written by a British journalist. It’s good to see he’s not subject to our journalistic conventions.