Tuesday, August 25, 2009

With Thanks to Bush, Cheney and Jack Bauer

“The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle -- all things that we have always condemned as "torture" and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies ("torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .") -- reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.” Glenn Greenwald, Salon

“…The question of torture - and the United States' embrace of inhumanity as a core American value under the presidency of George W. Bush - remains, in my view, the pre-eminent moral question in American politics. The descent of the United States - and of Americans in general - to lower standards of morality and justice than those demanded by Iranians of their regime is a sign of the polity's moral degeneracy.


This is what Bush and Cheney truly achieved in their tragic response to 9/11: two terribly failed, brutally expensive wars, the revival of sectarian warfare and genocide in the Middle East, the end of America's global moral authority, the empowerment of Iran's and North Korea's dictatorships, and the nightmares of Gitmo and Bagram still haunting the new administration.
But what they did to the culture - how they systematically dismantled core American values like the prohibition on torture and respect for the rule of law - is the worst and most enduring of the legacies.” Andrew Sullivan


  1. Couldn't agree more, Morrigan. I believe the desire for revenge and the end justifying the means is how most Americans rationalize their support of torture. I understand the human impulse of it, but what a shame our elected leaders chose to pander to it and not help us rise above it. And it's shameful that the media allows this discourse, and related Cheney rejustifications, to continue unabated without interjecting the relatively little known news bit that experts have testified the ends didn't justify the means, the torture didn't produce the intel supporters claim it did, and the fact that professional interrogators were and are, by and large, disgusted by the introduction of these tactics into what they see as a process that is most effective when it is artful and done with discernment, built upon the solid foundation that we as Americans have established as a beacon to the world. Despite Dick and George's best efforts, that light isn't out yet. So long as a sugar free cookie for a diabetic continues to be more effective than waterboarding, and Americans continue to live up to the ideals that took 200+ years to establish and just 8 years to (almost) destroy, there's hope. Don't count us out yet.

    I see in the health care debate the same process that Cheney and his cronies used in the terror disinformation campaign. Using fear and hate to incite Americans in a way that hasn't been seen since the days of McCarthy. We ALL need to stand up and stop letting the mouths of the far right set the direction and tone for this country.

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  3. Hear, hear! This is just sickening, and that Obama is allowing it to go unpunished is one of my main disappointments with this new administration I helped elect. The other is his backing away from GLBT support. I wish SOMEONE would get into office and GROW A PAIR!