Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pierce speaks, you listen...

Charles Pierce puts his finger on an aspect of the torture debacle that managed to truly astound me:

via Altercation:
I was away from the Intertubes for several days and, therefore, I am just now catching up to the whole "Bittergate" controversy. (I actually heard a TV drone say that.) I also am just now catching up with the fact that the president of the United States is proud to have hosted meetings in which specific techniques of torture were discussed in the presidential mansion. Forgive me if I am not yet up to speed on the two stories, but having a candidate for the presidency say something that virually anyone who's spent any time in the region in question knows to be true -- which, I will admit, leaves out almost all of the people covering national politics these days -- seems to me rather less of a story than the fact that a giggling unemployable spent time pretending to be Henry VIII down the hall from a gathering of bloodsoaked, pathetic wannabe tough guys. (I mean, lord save us, but is there a more obvious dweeb than Douglas Feith?) I have no illusions about the dirty deeds that were plotted and executed in the Executive manse down through the years, but this thing? Smarmy little bureaucrats exchanging their favorite episodes of 24, the way the late Chris Farley used to host "The Chris Farley Show" ("You remember when Jack shot the guy in the kneecap? That was awesome.")? CIA guys brought in to "demonstrate" the subleties of each method? This wasn't national security. This was porn, plain and simple. Everyone of these criminal bastards should have been wearing a raincoat.

To be specific, he is referring to this Vanity Fair article which discusses how torture advocates at Gitmo and in Washington used A FREAKING TELEVISION SHOW as a direct guide to their policies on torturing detainees. How is this possible?

Put aside the gut wrenching idea that this country, after the War Crimes of the Nazi's and the Japanese, the use of horrific techniques to break our soldiers in captivity in North Korea and Vietnam, and this nations post war commitment to the establishment of binding agreements on all nations on the rights of detainees, that we would even consider the torture of human beings as policy. Let's just try to come to grips with the sophomoric, almost insouciant manner these immense moral questions are dealt with. So will video games be next? Will our nations next major conflict be guided by the Presidents strategic experience that he gained from Super Mario Bros? What the f*$k is this crap?

I understand that television shapes our views and world outlook more that we might want to admit. But this way beyond that. At first the faux tough guy crap of David Addington and the draft dodgers like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove making fun of Colin Powell when he expressed his objections to the torture policy seems like more of the Frat Boy posturing which has come to define this Administration. But this whole enterprise goes beyond that. Pierce is right, this is pornography. I mean that in the sense that this was not an effort to simply gain information. This was revenge. Revenge against Al Queda and anyone remotely Arabic, Islamic, or even from that part of Asia. It's sadism pure and simple.

There is not enough raincoats in the world to prevent the splatter on the rest of us.

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