Printer Friendly

What critical inquiry?

With the July/August 2004 issue the Humanist abandoned critical inquiry in favor of unbalanced political advocacy. Those who claim it's "unAmerican" to oppose the Bush administration's conduct in the war on terror are themselves unAmerican, just as those who claim it's "antiHumanist" to support Bush's efforts are themselves antiHumanist. Designing America's foreign policy in this modern era when a single, hard-to detect terrorist can wreak the havoc formerly reserved for national armadas is exceedingly complex. Yet only one article in this issue makes an objective contribution to this critical subject. What is critical inquiry? Surely, the foundation of inquiry includes disclosing all the facts and then discussing why the author took his or her position. In this issue, important information contradicting the author's premise is ignored, facts are frequently distorted, and unhelpful vitriol is included.

For instance, Ed Asner and Burt Hall in "Needed: A New and Bolder Strategy for the War on Terror" at least admit that war exists. They then lay out a "strategy" that would be enticing if it weren't so embarrassingly vague, repetitive of past attempts (including those of the Bush administration), and singularly unachievable. They laud the United Nations' potential but fail to mention the organization's long, shameful history of abysmal failures and corruption, such as the "oil for food" program in Iraq.

John Buell in "Terror, Evil, and the New Cold War" provides an inconclusive, even garbled diatribe where he not only fails to formulate any actionable suggestions but also has the audacity to introduce his essay by saying, "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein ... [aren't] singularly crazed and incomprehensibly vicious masterminds of evil" He omits bin Laden's own words that condemn him as a crazed zealot whose view of the cause of Mideast malaise ignores reality and is warped by monotheistic fanaticism (which Buell conveniently downplays since he is addressing Humanists).

Vermin like bin Laden cannot be "studied" to see how we might soothe

their complaints. Their hatred does not arise from legitimate causes but from pure, unadulterated insanity. The editor's summary of this piece, that "not only have terrorists been misunderstood," speaks of their misunderstanding, not that of most Americans.

Dority and Edwords ("Humanism versus the Militarization of America") insult us when implying that they speak for all Humanists in decrying America's militarization in response to the 9/11 attacks as being "at complete odds with democratic and Humanist values." The Humanist philosophy has never rejected armed conflict as a last resort. When that breaking point is reached is debatable but the slaughter of innocents on 9/11 and the promise of more to come convinced many Humanists that that point had been reached. Furthermore, Dority and Edwords fail to mention the important role the world's failure to prevent the rise of Nazi brutality played in creating Humanist Manifesto II.

In "Strange Fruit in Abu Ghraib: The Privatization of Torture," Michael Niman continues to distort the facts surrounding the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses and includes an outrageous and, yes, unAmerican subheading, "Rumsfeld Knew About Bush's 'Rape Rooms." Shame on him for using this sleazy phrase regarding a legitimate issue, and shame on the editor for allowing its publication. Humanism is belittled by such vitriol.

Only Thomas Mates' informative article, "The Gift of the West" is worthy of Humanist reading when considering America's foreign policies.

The editorial staff defended this issue as addressing "the 'war on terror' from the standpoint of sound judgment and humanistic justice." But there is nothing sound or rational about a one-sided presentation full of distortions, omissions, and vitriol. This is yellow journalism, not critical inquiry.

Clarence Williams,

a conservative Humanist

Monument, Colorado
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Humanist Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:letters to the editor
Author:Williams, Clarence
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:The issue at hand.
Next Article:Ignoring torture: no excuse.

Related Articles
Inquiry clears manager of claims.
Directory of AICPA selected services.
Directory of AICPA selected services.
NZNO writes to DHBs in support of enrolled nurses.
Directory of AICPA selected services.
Re "personal letter made public.".
Directory of AICPA selected services.
Cash grants aiming to pump downtown's art.
Directory of AICPA selected services.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters