Saturday, April 14, 2007

Where Will He Read About His "Legacy" ? ? ? ?

Even the Methodists don't want anything to do with him . . . .

Texas university faculty objects to Bush library

Southern Methodist professors, clergy fear the university will be
tainted by link to neo- conservative thinking and Iraq war

Agence France- Presse

DALLAS — Plans to establish a presidential library and thinktank for George W. Bush at his wife’s alma mater in Texas have come under fire from both faculty and the clergy associated with Southern Methodist University.

A vocal group of professors, concerned about how an institute billed to be “ inspired by the principles of George W. Bush’s administration” might affect the university’s reputation, have been working to block the library.

The faculty senate passed a resolution this week asking that the institute clearly states its “ independence and separation from SMU” and that it welcomes fellows with bipartisan views.

“ I’m concerned that we’re going to be judged by the things this institute does,” said history Prof. Benjamin Johnson.

“ These guys are so divisive, so unpopular, it seems to me really dangerous to go for an arrangement that could turn the face of your university over to them without any controls over them.”

The library and institute retain the support of a large part of SMU’s faculty and administration, who think it will raise the university’s profile and dismiss concerns that the institute will be packed with Bush cronies who will promote the rationale for war and other policies that the administration has fostered.

“ I think people are projecting their worst fantasies on to the institute. They think it’s going to be some sort of fringe, radical group,” said Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at SMU.

The institute’s fellows will not be teaching classes or granted the status of faculty members, Wilson said, and the library will foster intellectual debate by attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors and over 1,000 scholars every year.

Wilson said it’s wrong to see the library as a temple to Bush’s policies. “ It’s about history rather than politics and that’s something people have to keep in mind,” he said.

But 15 current and retired bishops who launched an online petition saying that the “ linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate” disagree.

The bishops are critical of the war in Iraq and the administration’s treatment of enemy combatants. The petition currently has over 10,000 signatures.

“ I am hesitant to see Southern Methodist University welcoming the institute of a Methodist who has been so contrary to the teachings of the Methodist Church,” said Rev. Joseph Sprague, a recently retired Chicago- area Methodist bishop who helped sponsor the petition.

“ It will do nothing but perpetuate the kind of neocon thinking of this administration which has taken both this nation and the world in the wrong direction.”

The criticism comes as university leaders enter final negotiations, which they say they hope to conclude “ within weeks, rather than months.”

Bush recently came to the defence of his library.

“ I understand there are some who have reservations, and my admonition to them, or my advice to them, is just understand that a library, an institute, would enhance education,” he said in the interview with the Dallas television station.

“ It would be a place for interesting discussion.”

Oh yeah, they can discuss topics such as his failed foreign policy, failed domestic policy, successful attacks on personal liberties, corrupt and deceitful members of his administration, etc., etc., etc.

There are all kinds of "interesting discussions" that could be held . . . .


2 comments:

andrew weaver said...

Anyone who thinks that the name Methodism or Southern Methodist University should be associated with George W. Bush needs to read the book, Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror by Dr. Steven Miles, professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Miles has based this volume on painstaking research and highly-credible sources, including eyewitness accounts, army criminal investigations, FBI debriefings of prisoners, autopsy reports, and prisoners’ medical records. These documents tell a story strikingly different from the Bush administration version presented to the American people, revealing involvement at every level of government, from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prison health-care personnel. The book also shows how the highest officials of government are complicit in this pattern of torture, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, United Methodist Vice President Dick Cheney and United Methodist President George W. Bush.

While much of the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and Special Forces troops remains concealed, Dr. Miles documents how nineteen prisoners have been tortured to death by American military personnel. The book tells of an Afghan prisoner named Dilawar, an innocent 22-year-old, who drove his taxi to the wrong place at the wrong time. At the U.S. detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, in December 2002, Dilawar was smothered, shackled and then suspended by his arms. When he was beaten with a baton, he cried out “Allah, Allah,” which amused the soldiers and triggered more merciless blows. The official report reads that he was beaten over a five day period until his legs were, in the words of the coroner, "pulpified." He was then chained to the ceiling of his cell, where he died. Although an autopsy stated that Dilawar's death was a homicide, General Daniel McNeil told reporters that Dilawar had died of natural causes on the grounds that one of his coronary arteries was partly occluded. The words "coronary artery disease" were typed in a different font on the prisoner's death certificate.

Up to 90 percent of the prisoners detained in the Bush “war on terror” have been found to be unjustifiably imprisoned and without intelligence value. In addition, much of the hideous work of torture is out-sourced by the Bush administration to countries like Uzbekistan, Syria and Egypt, where torture is a long-standing and common practice. In July 2004, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who grew up in a devout Methodist home, protested the Uzbek intelligence service's interrogation practices: "Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the U.S. and U.K. to believe. . . . This material is useless -- we are selling our souls for dross."

Torture is a crime against humanity and a violation of every human rights treaty in existence, including the Geneva Conventions which prohibit cruel and degrading treatment of detainees. Torture is as profound a moral issue in our day as was slavery in the 19th century. It represents a betrayal of our deepest human and religious values as a civilized society.

David Hackett Fischer describes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Washington's Crossing, how thousands of American prisoners of war were “treated with extreme cruelty by British captors,” during the Revolutionary War. There are numerous accounts of injured soldiers who surrendered being murdered and Americans dying in prison ships in New York harbor of starvation and torture.

After crossing the Delaware River and winning his first battle at Trenton, New Jersey, on Christmas Day, 1776, George Washington ordered his troops to give refuge to hundreds of surrendering foreign mercenaries. "Treat them with humanity," Washington instructed his troops. "Let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British army."

Contrast this with the September 15, 2006, Washington Post lead editorial titled “The president goes to Capitol Hill to lobby for torture.” “President Bush rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that Mr. Bush made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek legislative permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly.”

If The United Methodist Church cannot take a stand against the use of torture and those who employ it, including President Bush, what does it stand for? Reject torture and the Bush think tank at SMU. Sign our petition www.protectSMU.org

Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D., is a United Methodist minister and research psychologist living in New York City. He is a graduate of The Perkins School of Theology, SMU. He has co-authored 12 books including: Counseling Survivors of Traumatic Events (Abingdon, 2003) and Reflections on Grief and the Spiritual Journey (Abingdon, 2005).

Fred W. Kandeler M.Div. is a retired United Methodist pastor living in New Braunfels, Texas. He was the founding pastor of Christ UMC in Plano, Texas and a United Methodist District Superintendent. He is a graduate of the Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

West End Bound said...

Andrew,

All I can say to that is "Amen" . . . .