The Torture Administration
by ANTHONY LEWIS
[from the December 26, 2005 issue]
When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933 and proceeded to carry out their savagery, many in the outside world asked how this could have happened in the land of Goethe and Beethoven. Would the people of other societies as readily accept tyranny? Sinclair Lewis, in 1935, imagined Americans turning to dictatorship under the pressures of economic distress in the Depression. He called his novel, ironically, It Can't Happen Here.
Hannah Arendt and many others have stripped us, since then, of confidence that people will resist evil in times of fear. When Serbs and Rwandan Hutus were told that they were threatened, they slaughtered their neighbors. Lately Philip Roth was plausible enough when he imagined anti-Semitism surging after an isolationist America elected Charles Lindbergh as President in 1940.
But it still comes as a shock to discover that American leaders will open the way for the torture of prisoners, that lawyers will invent justifications for it, that the President of the United States will strenuously resist legislation prohibiting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners--and that much of the American public will be indifferent to what is being done in its name.
The Pentagon's chief adviser on detainee issues is leaving to take a high-level policy job at the State Department, administration officials said on Saturday...
Since filling a position created nearly two years ago to help correct the damage caused by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, Mr. Waxman has repeatedly clashed with top aides to Vice President Dick Cheney and senior Pentagon officials. These have included Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence policy, and William J. Haynes II, the department's general counsel, who have pushed to limit the rights of terror suspects and other detainees.
Several weeks ago, David S. Addington, who was then Mr. Cheney's counsel, assailed Mr. Waxman during a briefing, objecting to his insistence that a new set of Pentagon standards for handling terror suspects adopt language from the Geneva Conventions barring cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.
Cosistency is often held up as an intellectual virtue and you surely are consistently shallow. Your celebratory self-pride is noted.
Shall we just leave it there or do you wish to draw law and international codes (or national codes, for all that) under your consistent personally-gratified umbrella?
Address or ignore, as might be your want, the trust you demonstrate in the CIA (or, of course, the private contractor working for the CIA) to establish who among the questionably-complexioned folk they roust up are clearly deserving the fun torture even without the benefit of any legal proceding.
More than once I've drifted to sleep in a warm bed while enjoying the pleasant thought that at that very moment Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was somewhere undergoing sleep deprivation in a very cold room.
oralloy wrote:More than once I've drifted to sleep in a warm bed while enjoying the pleasant thought that at that very moment Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was somewhere undergoing sleep deprivation in a very cold room.
I am reluctant to criticize whatever works for you, but have you ever considered counting (and then torturing) sheep instead?
Osama and his friends have managed to greatly irritate me, and I haven't forgotten.
My support of a policy that you abhor doesn't make me shallow.
While I am certainly not ashamed of myself, I am not sure what "self-pride" you are talking about.
If you lost someone in 9/11, I understand. If the argument is emotional, I understand that too. But if it moves towards support or justification for government policy of torture, it is stupid for it will likely merely beget more of all the same.
Have you ever considered how USUK policy in the middle east over the last 50 years at least has "greatly irritated" the likes of Usama bin Ladin and his friends?