Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Torture is not American

If you are American, do you believe that this man would agree to crushing the testicles of a captured enemies' children, or to threatening a capitive (however evil) with castrating his son?

Bush agreed to to it. [See Andrew Sullivan's blog for the most impassioned discussion on this issue - is it just Brits who are so upset at this?]

For God's sake, you people among whom I have lived for twenty years but still do not understand, can you live up to being American? Can you be a light for the nations? A City set on a Hill?

Because if you can't, you're not American.

Let Canada take the title: it deserves it if you choose to become some oppressive empire with no rule of law except that of one one rather intellectually limited Yankee (even if he claims to be a Texan).


Anonymous said...

I don't know you but I am shocked to find that you are actually a middle-aged man...EEEWWW! You sound much more like a ranting, immature teenager.I am also extremely discouraged to find that you are a teacher. That parents are having to pay hard earned money for their kids to get an education from someone like you is beyond understanding. Please consider another profession. You just seem so incredibly sleezy, immoral, and maybe even criminal. I pray that North Florida has rid themselves of you already because I don't think any parent would want you being near their children! K-Mart may be hiring :-)

Nuala/Sandy said...

In response to the anonymous comment - he may be "ranting, immature" to you, but he is a marvelous teacher. He is able to create discourse on a wide variety of subjects, he actually has a sense of humor and he gets students engaged in the material in the classroom. I consider myself fortunate to have benefitted from his instruction.

Whether one agrees with his political views or not, there is no possible way to justify the torture of children - it may happen in wars and combat situations, but it should never be tolerated with a shrug of indifference.

America has often held itself up to the world as a moral example. He is simply pointing out that our nation can't make that claim when our leaders condone and encourage behaviour that violates the vision of our founders.

Paul Halsall said...

It's OK Sandy. Only cowards post as "anonymous."

Paul Halsall said...

I want to add something here.

A blog is basically a kind of running free flowing diary. Since I think conversation is interesting, comments are allowed and encouraged. But sheer nastiness by "anonymous" posters contributes nothing. I will block anonymous comments from now on.

Paul Halsall said...

There is an interesting discussion of Internet Trolls at

Anonymous said...

First to the anonymous person, grow up. If you read most of what Dr. Halsall has written in this blog you would see that he is intellectual, caring, and not immoral by any means. If you take immoral to mean homosexual, then you should probably take your fundie ideas to the Southern Baptist convention where they belong. I consider Dr. Halsall to be the greatest professor I have ever had the good fortune to take. Before he left, I was part of a growing group of students who were "Majoring in Halsall." Please show the man some respect, he deserves it.

I do not supprot torture by any means. However, our government has condoned such means of getting information from "terrorist suspects." You asked if Americans should show the light to the world. What light is that? We throw our weight aroung like a school yard bully and expect others to do our dirty work. Then like the spoiled child, we mock countries and governments that do not agree with us. I feel that the good light of America is all but gone now. We are an empire on the decline and I feel that one day we our going to pay for our attitude towards the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, let me chime in and tell you that you know nothing. Dr. Halsall is an incredible teacher, and has a brilliant mind. He engages his students, and has a wealth of knowledge probably unsurpassed in his field. I am proud to call him both "teacher" and "friend".

Jessica said...

K-mart may be hiring? Is that the best you can come up with? Obviously you aren't one of Paul's former students, for if you were, you'd be much more effective at throwing insults.

And Paul, I say that with all the love & affection that I can muster. ;)