Friday, May 28, 2004

Re: Your E-mail of May 28, 2004

Dear Professor Clark:

I am sorry you feel that what you received from me is “political leftist crap” and “left/right bantering,” and apparently feel as well that it can have nothing to do with “realist, real world solutions to complex issues such as prison abuse, terrorism, state-centered and non-centered violence.” I would have thought that discussions of and suggestions for media inquiry and writing about the subjects which have been taken up in my blog are not mere leftist crap or partisan political bantering, and do relate to trying to learn the truth about and solve problems regarding “prison abuse, terrorism, state-centered and non-centered violence.” Or do you disagree about the importance, and suggestions for consideration, of such subjects as deliberate, widespread and possibly criminal circumventions of the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war, the use of torture to aid in simultaneously fighting two major wars, one in Iraq and one against terrorists, the use of private contractors to abuse prisoners, the fact that various prison abuses in Iraq are practiced in American prisons, the actions of the Department of Justice in creating approaches designed to try to deliberately circumvent the Geneva Conventions, the failure to release videos and still pictures because they tell people the truth in a way that otherwise is not as well understood, arguing to the Supreme Court that it should rule there can be no federal court jurisdiction over Guantanamo trials because the American government would never mistreat people, while in fact the government is violently mistreating and even killing them, and the possibility that America has a president who is seriously deficient in acumen?

Do you really think these subjects do not relate to prison abuse, terror and violence? Or is your real complaint something else entirely: to wit, that politically you disagree so violently with the views expressed in the blog, and find them so intolerable, that you are attempting to put them outside the pale of respectable discussion by calling them names -- by calling them “political leftist crap,” “left/right bantering” and so on. That kind of maneuver -- i.e., trying to bury views by attempting to put them outside the pale of respectable discussion -- is, of course, one of the oldest tricks in the book. And, in this country, as opposed to leftist nations (particularly communist ones), it is a maneuver that historically has been practiced by the political right, from the mid 19th century south, which banned antislavery expression, to the right wing of the Republican Party in the 21st century.

Or is your problem something else entirely -- is it that somehow you mistakenly think my blog and email are connected with some sort of “association” for “science” that you allude to?

Whatever your problem may be, I would like you to know that you are perfectly welcome to contribute views which differ from my own to the blog. And because your e-mail rather vigorously expresses such views, I intend to post it on the blog and send it via e-mail to recipients, unless you inform me that you wish me not to do so. I also intend to post this reply on the blog and to send it via e-mail regardless of whether or not you nix the posting and sending of your own missive. You, of course, will then be entitled to write a response to this letter for identical posting and emailing.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel
Massachusetts School of Law

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