Questions raised about Terri Schiavo Case


from Human Events

Two Cents: Forced to Think Obviously, the biggest story over the last week has been the court-ordered death of Terri Schiavo. This whole saga forced an entire country to step back and think, and prompted a bunch of questions and musings for yours truly. Includling:

***During the bitter floor fight in the House of Representatives last Sunday, über-liberal Rep. Barney Frank said this about Congress' efforts to help Terri Schiavo: "This is a terribly difficult decision, which we are institutionally totally incompetent to make." Interesting. Since when did Congress' incompetence on an issue prevent it from acting? If they would follow a rule limiting their actions to subjects on which they were competent, the U.S. would have the small government Republicans purport to want.

***There's an old question that asks: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it actually make a sound?" Along those lines, I would posit this question: "If you're starving to death and unable to scream or cry, are you actually in pain?"

***Shouldn't Judge Greer be brought up on Contempt of Congress charges? He refused to keep alive a witness subpoenaed by Congress. If he's not in contempt, what good is a Congressional subpoena?

***If Terri cannot swallow liquids, how is it she did not choke on her own saliva? ***If Terri can swallow, why was she denied water after her feeding tube was removed? ***What is the difference between abandoning Terri in her bed without food and water being put into her system and abandoning a newborn baby in a coat closet without food and water being put into his system?

***Republicans are being accused of hypocrisy to the nth degree for "trampling all over" the principle of "federalism" -- as the Democrats like to define it -- with the passage of the Terri Schiavo Bill last weekend. Apparently, the Left considers forced starvation/dehydration to be a states' rights issue. (Democrats haven't claimed to be this supportive of states' rights since the Federal Marriage Amendment.) What the Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that the GOP is acting completely within the bounds of the Constitution: Article III, Section 2 allows Congress to determine the jurisdiction of the courts; the Fifth Amendment says no one may "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"; and the Fourteenth Amendment says no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

***If we're going to discuss who follows the Constitution, how many of the Left's pet issues are actually backed up by the Constitution? Gun control? Separation of church and state? Abortion? Homosexual sodomy? Campaign finance reform? Right to privacy?

***Why should we believe that Terri did in fact express a desire to be killed in a situation like the one in which she found herself? Has Michael Schiavo shown himself to be a man of unimpeachable character? Has anyone asked his live-in girlfriend and two illegitimate children what they think of him as a role-model?

***If Terri did want to die, where, exactly, is that "right to die" enumerated in the Constitution? I don't believe that a right to life presupposes a right to death. ***There is obviously some doubt about who's telling the truth in this case. Either Terri said she wants to die or she didn't. Either Michael is a liar or he isn't. Since when, in a "He-Said-She-Said" case, has the Left been on the side of the man?

***Where do we go from here?

In the Schiavo Case, Elites Reveal Similarity to Nazi Germany

by Patrick J. Buchanan
Human Events

Posted Mar 24, 2005

Had Congress and President Bush not returned to Washington on Palm Sunday, America would have sent this message to the world:

Ours is a nation where a judge may not sentence Beltway sniper John Malvo to death, because he is too young to die, but can sentence Terry Schiavo to death, because she is too severely handicapped to live.

Before the Palm Sunday rescue, Schiavo was scheduled to die by starvation and dehydration, a method of capital punishment most would consider criminal if done to a pet.

This was the method used at Auschwitz to murder Father Maximilian Kolbe, the priest who volunteered to take the place of a Polish father of a large family, who was one of 10 the camp commandant had selected for execution in reprisal for the escape of a prisoner.

After being starved and dehydrated for days, Kolbe was injected by his Nazi captors with carbolic acid. He died a martyr's death, said the church that canonized him. That is what would have happened to Terri. Only she would have been denied the lethal injection by those watching her die.

That there arose a national outcry at the execution of Schiavo -- so loud Congress and President Bush heard it and came to the rescue -- is a sign America is not morally dead ... yet. But a culture of death has taken deep root in America's soul.

One wonders if our young, so many of them cheated of a knowledge of history in schools they are forced to attend, are aware of how closely our elites approximate, in belief and argument, the elites of Weimar and Nazi Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1920, Dr. Alfred Hoche, professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg, and Karl Binding, a law professor at Leipzig, authored The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life. They urged a national policy of assisted suicide for those "empty shells of human beings" -- the terminally ill and mentally retarded, and those with brain damage and psychiatric conditions.

In October 1933, The New York Times quoted the Nazi minister of justice as saying that ridding Germany of such poor creatures would make it "possible for physicians to end the tortures of incurable patients, upon requests, in the interests of true humanity." "If we desire a certain type of civilization," said George Bernard Shaw, "we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit in."

In researching The Death of the West, I discovered that the first episode of publicized "legal" killing of an innocent was the case of "Baby Knauer." The father of the little boy, who was blind, retarded and missing an arm and a leg, appealed to the Fuhrer for permission to have his son put to death. Hitler referred the matter to his physician, Karl Brandt. In 1938, permission was granted.

When war came in 1939, a program code-named "Aktion 4" went about systematically eliminating all "life unworthy of life" in the Reich. By 1940, scores of thousands had been put to death. Then, Bishop Clemens von Galen took to the pulpit of Munster Cathedral to damn Hitler's regime for "plain murder" and direct German Catholics to "withdraw ourselves and our faithful from their (Nazi) influence so that we may not be contaminated by their thinking and their ungodly behavior."

"Aktion 4" went underground. One of its graduates, Franz Stangl, would turn up two years later as commandant of Treblinka.

After the war, the German doctors who had carried out Hitler's orders in violation of the Hippocratic Oath were judged guilty of "crimes against humanity." The Dutch doctors who refused to cooperate in the Nazi program of eliminating "life unworthy of life" during the occupation of Holland were placed among the moral heroes of an immoral era.

Ironically, as the protest to save Schiavo built up steam over the weekend, The New York Times in its "Saturday Profile" warmly featured another Dutch doctor. Dr. Eduard Verhagen has, said the Times, become famous in Europe for having "presided over the medically induced deaths of four extraordinarily ill newborns."

"For his efforts to end what he calls unbearable and incurable suffering," wrote reporter Gregory Crouch, "Dr. Verhagen has been called Dr. Death, a second Hitler and worse -- mostly by American opponents of euthanasia."

Verhagen describes himself as a bearer of peace and happiness to children. When these suffering little ones die, he says, "the child goes to sleep. ... It's beautiful in a way. ... They're children who are severely ill and in great pain. It is after they die that you see them relaxed for the first time. You see their faces in a way they should be for the first time."

Franz Stangl could not have put it better. Hitler's doctors may prove to have been the medical pioneers of 21st century.


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