So normally, the French seem to be a bit at odds with the US policy, sometimes for the good, often for the oppositional benefit of disassociation, especially lately. And as much as many Americans harbor an unfair objection to French policy and politics, and the liberal curve arcs more and more towards unity with central American views, more and more people are seeing that perhaps an open rendezvous with French thought might be, well, good. Now France is allowing American and European Civil Rights groups to file a legal complaint with Ex-US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld with calling for torture, and allowing it to continue, in Iraq and US prisons abroad. The plaintiffs were a coalition of US, German, and French groups. And the great part was they strategically waited to file under Mr. Rumsfeld, the antithesis of a Ben Franklin-type ambassador, set foot on French soil. Instead of parties with the King, Rumfeld got slapped with an accusation of war crimes. Unfortunately, Rumsfeld is far too slimy to actually be contained in France - there is almost no possibility he'll be arrested, issues of diplomatic immunity, etc., might come into play - but the gesture might make it so he can't comfortably return. And most people would be happy if other nations all filed warrants for his arrest, making it impossible for him to travel. But this is a double-edged sword. Because most people are probably happier with Rumsfeld out of the country, and if he keeps finding himself locked out of civilized countries, he will have to retreat to the US. So let's start prosecuting him here, too - then the only viable place he could go would be to space - and I think a mars explorer would be the perfect venue. You can be sure if there is life out there, Rumfeld'll torture it into submission before it even THINKS of posing a threat to our precious national security.
In another court, the father of a killed soldier won an $11 million verdict against a small church that protests outside of funerals of soldiers - and what do they protest, you ask? They protest the entire country's apparent "tolerance of homosexuality" and believe that god is punishing the entire nation with the Iraq war because we "tolerate" the homosexual lifestyle as a nation. There are multiple problems with this train of thought.
1. The military is the most intolerant when it comes to accepting homosexuals. The whole "don't ask, don't tell" policy is formed out of homophobia, and intolerance, and ignorance. SO why should the church make military men their enemies? If anything, they should be recruiting most for their church.
2. Who said Americans were sooo tolerant of homosexuals? Thankfully, there are many accepting, enlightened people in this country who do not see sexual orientation as a determination of anything outside it - and their attitudes exhibit a kind and loving nature that goes beyond tolerance, to complete agape. While that is a beautiful thing, the opposite, exemplified by this hate group, is an ugly stain on all efforts of peace, and unfortunately our country is not as enlightened as it could be.
3. This is just another horrible and yet completely clarifying example of why church and state need separation, and the dangerous extremes, and sad positions and thought we can ingrain into children. More sad than the actual beliefs of this group are the pictures of the youngest church members holding up signs that say "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21566280/) They will probably grow up with ideals aligned with their parents, and that is perhaps one of the worst kind of legacies and diseases to pass onto innocent children.
You can't help but be happy with the verdict, despite the freedom of speech implications. You'd be hard pressed to find many who would agree with this fringe group's opinions. But its sad to know that a country which thinks of itself as so enlightened still fosters such groups. Anything that resembles the designation of a "holy war" rings too familiar to most for any shred of comfort.