My friend and colleague Dr. Michael Kram suggested to me that I join the growing list of bloggers.
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The Senate bill on prisoners 9/14./06
In a perfect world,the Geneva Convention was designed to create a set of rules and conduct for dealing with the results of war.To amend or reinterpret the Convention would certainly give license to other countries to apply the same logic and treatment to our prisoners.
Having served for one year in Vietnam as a surgeon,there is no question that in the back of the mind of every combat soldier is the fear of death,injury or capture.
I had a unique opportunity to deal with wounded prisoners of war .Each one was treated humanely according to the accepted rules of war. For a long period of time, I could look out the window of my hootch and see the prisoner of war compound perhaps 300 feet away.
I could not swear to how uninjured prisoners were treated either by us or the South Vietnamese.However, in our hospital, seriously wounded prisoners were treated as human beings with all the professionalism we possessed.
However,we are not fighting a conventional army.The Taliban,Islamic Jihad,Hezbollah and Al Queda do not wear uniforms .They enjoy torturing their prisoners.The killing of innocent civilians is the norm.Suicide bombing is a respected profession. They make a mockery of the Geneva Convention.
Whether we pass either of the two Senate bills,these groups will not change their ways and treat our prisoners (should they capture them)with respect and dignity.Under the circumstances of an enemy that has no state or country,but only a burning desire to kill us all if we do not convert to Islam,why should we tie the hands of the CIA?
These are not criminal conspiracies,where if we get the bad guys off the street all be resolved,and therefore a defendant deserves to see all the evidence against him.We are in an ongoing war,and the sources and methods we use to capture the terrorists will be needed for a considerable period of time.
I respect Sen McCain.However he was tortured ,not because of some deficiency in our rules of conduct,but because the enemy had no respect or use for Americans.Diluting the Presidents
plan will weaken our efforts to punish the 9/11 and other conspirators.
The ABC docu-drama/ chickens in Monsey 09/12/06
Had the Democrats not screamed and made such a commotion regarding the ABC docu-drama, probably one third of the viewers would not have tuned in.Others would have assumed that much of it was part fiction.
The protests certainly ignited the suspicion level of those in doubt regarding the Administrations lack of understanding as to the nature of the threat. It was a powerful and well acted piece.
The controversy regarding a "police problem" versus a world-wide effort by Islamic
radicals to destroy our way of life still goes on ,especially in Europe.
I tried to listen carefully to President Bush's address to the nation last nite.I tried to judge his talk purely from a "patriotic" point of view,and was moved by his resolve to preserve and protect the homeland, and be pro-active against world terrorism.
It was difficult for me to listen to attacks on his address by partisans.It seems that no matter what he would have said,he would have been accused of "playing politics" with 9/11.
The chicken scandel in Monsey has brought to the forefront a number of issues.
There is a potential inherent problem for any (meat)restaurant ,butcher etc,
where the Rav Hamachshir and the Mashgiach (those resposible for the daily supervision of kashruth) ,come in for inspections once a week or once a month.In addition, if the mashgiach does not have the sole key to the freezer/refrigerator,and is not present at the moment of deliveries,to check the origin and status of shipments,the problem is compounded.
In the human experience,there is no absolute prevention of fraud and thievery.Neveretheless, the kashruth systems inaugurated by major organizations,lead to a high standard ,that is computerized,with systems of checks that seeks to remove the profit motive of an individual Rabbi-supervisor /entrepeneur.
The system of individual Rabbis, often without specialized expertise in food technology(such as the complex field of flavoring)giving out multiple certifications to local stores large and small,should be a thing of the past.
The OU,has spent millions of dollars in recent years on technology and computerization in kashruth.
One should not assume, that wearing the garb of the 'chassidic or Yeshiva world',
is a guarantee for honesty,morality or integrity, either between man and man ,or man and G-d.
Greed and a total lack of concern for a fellow Jew or human being can allow individuals to rationalize their evil actions.
As consumers,and as those seeking a higher level of spirituality in our everyday life
we should follow the old axiom:Et caveat emptor" let the buyer beware.In the case of kashruth,take nothing for granted.
Airport Security 9/6/06
I have just returned from a cruise to the Greek Islands.Both before and after I had the opportunity to fly .
I am quite confused regarding the new security procedures we went through.As we approached Security in Newark Airport,all liquids had to be discarded.Based upon the plot in Great Britain,I had no problem with that.
Once in the terminal beyond Security ,one could buy water ,Coke etc and walk right up to the gate with that in hand.At that point individuals were once again asked to discard the bottles.
What is to stop a passenger from putting a botttle into a pocket or carry-on?
Furthermore,an interesting sight in the plane galley during the nite was a tray of water in cups for use by the passengers.
I had heard that they were preventing computers,cell phones I-pods and cameras from carry-ons,but such was not the case.
It seems the rules change almost daily.
On the return flight, as we approached the plane door,there were tables where each carry-on was opened and inspected.
Here too,I saw a lady with two hand-held bags,but the attendant only looked at one.
A gentleman of about 75-80 years of age was carrying a tube of a medication in creme form.The attendant demanded that the passenger produce a prescription from his physician to document the need for the medication.
When a doctor writes a prescription ,the patient hands it in to the pharmacist and does not keep a copy for oneself. I volunteered to look at the medicine container ,however the attendant refused my offer,and discarded the medicine while the gentleman pleaded his case.
It was a perfect example of looking for toothpaste and not for terrorists.This man was surely not a terrorist.However, in our zeal for political correctness we profile not islamic young men for further questioning , but such an elderly medicine carrier.