Why am I so tortured about the torture debate? Not really sure. Maybe I've been on the losing end of that bargain in another incarnation. Or maybe my powers of imagination and empathy somehow make it real easy for me to see how you could find yourself under the screw for no good reason. Maybe it was all those formative years sitting through Benediction and taking in the stained glass re-enactment of the stations of the cross. I mean, that seemed to be a case where a fairly likeable dude who talked about love was whipped and pummeled and nailed to a tree for what was in his head. I guess the injustice of it all kind of seeped into my DNA.
So, eventhough I know torture goes on, it's been employed by many nations, many police forces, many armies, it's usually been condemned. I mean some of the great practitioners were folks like the Nazis and Stalin, and the French, the Spanish. Or for years if you wanted to know how to torture you'd go to folks like the KGB or the CIA for the latest methods. Again, I realize that bad shit happened. Happens still.
What's amazing though is how you now have a President, a Vice President, an Attorney General (or Attorney General to be) who basically has decided to "redefine," what torture really is, because if we do it, even if the Geneva Conventions says what we're doing is torture, it must not be torture because well we're doing it!
So you actually have a statement sort of like this (I'm paraphrasing what I heard on the radio this morn): If it's torture, it's unconstitutional, we don't do anything unconstitutional, so we don't torture, even if we do what we are doing looks like torture, don't worry it's not! Also this Attorney General-to-be tells us that we have a "war president" (remember this is a never-ending war!), and as WAR PRESIDENT our Commander in Chief can do anything to protect us! And by the way, if he does it, even if it includes torturing us, or ripping up our constitution, well it's all ok, because once he does it, it's actually legal and constitutional. And NO ONE CAN TELL US ANY DIFFERENT.
Is this what it's like to live in a BANANAS REPUBLIC!?
UPDATE: I just wanted to add to the list. Of course, just about every country, every army, every police force, every bully has at some time used torture, to either get information, or well, maybe just for the sadistic pleasure of having power over another human being. George Orwell's definition of power - one man's boot-heel crushing another man's head. Elizabethan England along with being a such shining, verdant village idyll was also a terror state with Catholics and Protestants torturing (the rack and screw) and murdering each other for what was in their hearts and minds. There are many arguments against torture - doesn't work, false confessions, brutalizes the tortured and the torturer. It's immoral, it's wrong. There's some thresholds a man, a force, an army, a nation should not cross. Once crossed we are lost. When dudes in suits with big salaries start hedging on the meaning, the definition of torture, I think it is safe to say that our ship of state is on shaky ground. The more boot-heels, the more pain, the more brutality, the weaker we become. A hollow bully of a nation.
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