The Manchester Union Leader is a newspaper. This is a newspaper that might like to regard it self as sober and rational and intelligent. This newspaper insists that the “war” on terror is “the most difficult and challenging war we have ever faced”.
Okay. The other wars include World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and the Cold War. Small potatoes compared to a 2-bit Arab millionaire hiding in the hills of Tora Bora.
The editorial went on to question whether the nation could afford to have a president (McCain) who isn’t willing to torture people. We want a torturer. Can you torture? I will vote for you. Because I want a torturer.
[Note: now that the so-called compromise Senate bill has been revealed, it turns out to be more of a cover-your-ass bill than a genuine concession to the Geneva Accords. No real protections, legal or otherwise, are extended to the prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay or anywhere the U.S. may have renditioned any person any 2-bit bureaucrat might have decided is a terror suspect.]
This is ridiculous. The U.S. has faced more than a few military opponents over the years, nearly all of which have actually carried out a war against the U.S. All of them were genuine threats in one form or another.
Well, now that I think about it, Viet Nam obviously was never the threat it was sold to us as– it did collapse and the world continued to spin as it did before. No dominos.
Panama. Oh. No dice.
In the five years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, there has not been a single terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Not one. Not a single one. Not one. None. Zero. If you believe the government– and you know how conservatives just automatically trust the government– they have nipped several conspiracies in the bud. I happen to believe that not a single one of those conspiracies was anywhere near the stage of realization.
Yet the Manchester Union Leader believes that the U.S. is more threatened now by Al Qaeda than it was by Germany or Japan or even the Communist Block at the height of the cold war, with their thousands of missiles pointed right at us.
Remember the communists? Remember the thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us, and ours at them? Remember the Cuban missile crisis? Not as scary as the “Lackawanna 5”, I guess.
It is a dire threat indeed that does not manifest itself in five years. The Bush administration gingerly tested the idea, recently, that the reason for this is because of Bush’s brilliant successes at rooting out terror. Right. Just as, if the police doing their job well, a large city could expect to have no murders or thefts or break-ins. Seriously.
The real agenda is the oil and the tax cuts and deregulation and running up a deficit so the progressives won’t be able to afford any new programs when they finally do take office.
But since most people eventually become dimly aware of how bad Bush’s other policies are, the only way to sell them on this government is to convince them that there is this horrible war going on out there and if you don’t vote for Bush, they’ll be coming to get you, right there, in Duluth and Peoria and Gary and Orange County and Iowa City.
What they are doing seems contrary to all reason and common sense. It is contrary to all reason and common sense. And it doesn’t seem to matter. We want our government torturers. We believe they are out to get us. We have lost our minds.
When does Bush cross over into “big lie” theory? At a meeting with conservative columnists last week (why mess things up with someone who might ask hard questions), Bush insisted he had absolutely no doubts about the rightness of his decision to invade Iraq. Surely no matter how conservative you are or how loyal to Dick Cheney, you would have a doubt or two when your actions now result in the deaths of 3,000 people a month, and torture, and mayhem, in a nation you thought you could rebuild into a Western-style democracy in a “cake walk”. No regrets?
The theory of the big lie is that if you pretend to have not the slightest doubt that what you are saying is true, a large number of people will assume that it must be true, because it would be inconceivable that someone would lie on such a grand scale. How could they get away with it?
And from the ‘what is, “is” ‘ department, this gem also from the Union Leader:
Let us be clear that we do not advocate torture. We advocate that the law be written to protect CIA officers from criminal prosecution if they use certain techniques that could be interpreted as forbidden under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
“Certain techniques”. “Play rough”?
Just how many more euphemisms do we need before Americans can advocate torture with a clear conscience? This is a shitty little dodge by the Union Leader to avoid using the more accurate word: torture.
More detail: The Bush administration has authorized six “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” to be used by the CIA on only a dozen al-Qaida members. The techniques include grabbing a prisoner’s shirt and shaking him, slapping, slapping the stomach (punches are not allowed), extended standing (which might include sleep deprivation), containment in a cold cell, and water-boarding.
Water-boarding? By golly, sounds like surfing! Slapping– no punching– someone might get hurt there, boys. “Extended standing”? That’s easy. You just tell him to stand there. And stand. And if he stops standing, you make him surf, or slap his face, or grab his shirt. Oh, the horror!
Manchester Union Leader Advocates Torture
On September 17, the same newspaper said this: If playing rough with a captured terrorist can save lives — and there is strong evidence that it can* and has — Congress must not forbid it, no matter what the Supreme Court has said.
How nice. Another euphemism for “torture”. They are not torturing anybody– they’re just “playing” rough. Like little boys, wrestling around in the den.
If these editorialists had any guts and any integrity and any morality, they would use the word they do, without any doubt, mean. They want to allow the CIA and the military to torture people. Torture, torture, torture. They want our men to be brutal and violent and absolutely diabolical, because they think that will help us win war on terror.
The editorial writer should publish his name so we all know who is willing to torture.
Aside from the enormous, insurmountable question of morality, history seems to suggest that the long term damage to the west’s credibility and respect will far exceed the benefits of obtaining information that won’t be trustworthy anyway.
I’m not advocating this– torture is wrong under any circumstance, at any time, and any place, and no matter what you call it. But it is curious that the Bush administration wants the cover of law. Why not do as has always been done: leave the law alone, but know that your men in the field will occasionally take liberties– as they did at Abu Ghraib prison? As they did when they trained torturers for Pinochet in Chile? Those men will understand that if exposed, the government will not protect them. They are on their own. In the meantime, they understand– too well, so it appears– what their superiors really want.
The fact that the Bush administration won’t go this route is compelling evidence that our leadership now consists of true vampires.
In fact, the best evidence is to the contrary. Firstly, people will say anything to make the torture stop, so you cannot know if what they are telling you is accurate or not. Secondly, some prisoners become more stubborn and more determined to not cooperate if treated badly. Thirdly, the pertinent issue is that you will inevitably torture by mistake someone who is innocent and who really doesn’t know anything. Fourthly, you will have innocent victims because when you torture other people they will volunteer any name they can think of if they think it will stop the torture. Fifthly, you have no legal defense against any nation that decides to torture American prisoners of war. Sixthly, your boys will deny that they gave any information away at all under torture.
Well, number 2 and number 6 cannot both be true.