Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monstrous, simply monstrous

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war… [But] it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along…

“[The] people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
- Hermann Goering
Apparently, the same can be said for torture, only more so.

Regardless of whether Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age, it is clear that the Bush administration intends to regress American morality just about that far into the distant and uncivilized past.

For what have we become, if we direct the infliction of torture of anyone, guilty of crimes or not? What has become of our aversion to “cruel and unusual punishment” and how is it that we can tolerate the water-boarding, beatings, induced hypothermia, and sleep deprivation being done in our name, by our sons and daughters, husbands and wives?

The only word to describe it is monstrous: We have become the monsters we claim to be defending ourselves against.

Because there is no moral defense for the torture of others. None. Ever. Torture is a demonstration to all that its practitioners have no ethics and no morality and no comprehension of injustice, but that they have instead embraced evil as their way of life.

Those who claim that we need to torture, in order to prevent acts of terror are fooling themselves. Because every study ever done has shown that torture is abysmally ineffective at obtaining accurate and actionable intelligence: the claim of torture’s necessity is groundless, and merely an example of cognitive dissonance at work, seeking to justify retribution against perceived enemies. Torture is anger run amok, hatred allowed to rule, vengeance without mercy, the most vicious sort of evil that humans can perpetrate on this earth. It is godless, it is indefensible under any circumstance, and it is pure evil personified. It is absolutely the worst attribute of (so-called) human behavior.

It truly is a Dark Age in America, when so many come forth with their support of such dastardly acts, when torture is seriously discussed as an option in the United States Senate, when the President reserves to himself the right to torture anyone at will. This is a cataclysmic rupture of our (presumed) moral high ground, a rupture of immense proportions, and in these actions, we have frittered away every iota of international good will we once enjoyed. From the beginning I understood that the Bush regime would not be good for America, but I never imagined that it would bring about our utter ruination. Clearly, this was a profound failing of my powers of imagination.


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