The Yellow Dog Blog

More meaningless ramblings from another guy you don't know

Friday, September 29, 2006

The "torture" issue

Just in time for the home stretch of the election cycle, (in addition to National Intelligence Estimate leaks and weighty new tomes hitting the shelves) it's time to resurrect the Abu Graib torture issue. Granted, the House and Senate have just approved most of what the President asked for in the interrogation and trial of enemy combatants - so the subject does have some relevance given current news.

However, Dahlia Lithwick in Slate sees the legislative approval as a sign of something much more disturbing - America's desensitization to "torture" which has brought us to this pass where the evil Bush administration is given leave to wantonly violate the Geneva Conventions (never mind the fact that the conventions don't even apply to non-uniformed enemy combatants). To what does she attribute this new callousness? Well, a variety of things, including the lionization of Jack Bauer, the number of times the Abu Graib photos were displayed and even "congressional hairsplitting" over the acceptable level of "abuse" to which we'll subject suspected terrorists.

But the answer is really none of those things at all. The real answer is something that is beyond the ability of those of the mindset of Lithwick and the other liberal war opponents to conceive.

The reason that the President got what he asked for and that congressional Democrats didn't sufficiently "express horror over the brutalization of enemy prisoners" is that their constituents, from the very first, had little or no objection to what they saw. Take a look at the Abu Graib photos. I see not a single example of what can reasonably be called torture. There is a photo of a dead body that at the time was alleged to have been the result of torture, but that was never established. If, in fact, that man died as a result of actual torture, those responsible should be held to account. However, given what we know, it's just as likely that the body was brought in as an example to the other prisoners of their fate if they didn't talk.

Torture is causing lasting, damaging pain to an individual. Putting panties on his head, scaring him with a barking dog or making him lie naked in a pile of his buddies might be embarassing, but it doesn't cause any lasting damage and it certainly doesn't rise to the level of torture.

Confronted with the media-driven firestorm that was Abu Graib in April of 2004, just two and a half years after the 9/11 attacks, the vast majority of Americans looked at the photos and came to the conclusion that if we have to pile up some naked enemy prisoners and humiliate them a little to get valuable information that would save lives in Iraq and possible at home, then so be it. I don't have any numbers as to the response our distinguished congressmen and senators received on this and you wouldn't get a straight answer from them, anyway. But all evidence to the contrary, our elected representatives aren't completely brain-dead. They have enough capacity for thought to conclude that with an election just six weeks away, it is in their best interests not to hamstring the President on this issue and allow our military and CIA interrogators to do what's necessary to get the information they need.

The idiotarian wing in both houses is big and loud enough to have taken full advantage of this issue if they thought it would benefit them back home at the ballot box. But with few exceptions, they concluded that isn't the case. What Lithwick fails to realize is that not everyone thinks about this the way that she does. Just like their support for the war's basic rationale (better to take it to them over there than fight over here), most of us looked at those photos and decided that what they saw didn't justify disabling our efforts to get life-saving information from probable terrorists.


  • At 10:52 AM, Blogger Seven Star Hand said…

    Hey 'Dogs,

    Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?

    The time is long past to stop focusing on symptoms and myriad details and finally seek lasting solutions. Until we address the core causes of the millennia of struggle and suffering that have bedeviled humanity, these repeating cycles of evil will never end.

    History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

    The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

    Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

    Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn?t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.


    ...and here...


  • At 2:55 PM, Blogger 3yellowdogs said…

    Um, not sure what prompted the anti-religios screed as nothing in the Lithwick article or my post so much as glancingly touched on the topic.

    If you're wondering about me, I'm a firm, practicing agnostic who worships in the church of the NFL on Sundays.

    As for your points about the "crimes" of Christianity, and Judaism, I can't argue against any of that (although I think Judaism's track record of "blatant evil" is far shorter than those of the other two major monotheistic systems).

    I don?t want to get into a point-by-point fisking of your post, but would like to address the ?repeating cycles of evil? theme you adopt. This is the old cycle of violence objection that is raised each time a people/country/nation (usually western and democratic) attempts to defend itself. Besides trying to de-legitimize the attempts of the victim to respond to an attack, it is based on a false implication of moral equivalence between both sides.

    We were attacked on 9/11. Whether you agree with Bush or not (and I?m sure you don?t) he responded in such a way that he believed would defend against further future attacks and protect the American people ? in short, he did his job. Reasonable people can disagree as to the wisdom of how he?s gone about this task, but there it is.

    The root causes crowd always wonders ?Why do they hate us?? and ?What can we do to make them like us?? If you listened to OBL?s broadcast justification for the 9/11 attacks, his grievances go back almost a thousand years to when the Muslims were thrown out of Europe. The US wasn't yet a glint in the pilgrims' eyes. He wants to re-establish a caliphate and kill all the infidels who won?t convert - that's you and me. People like him are impervious to ?seek(ing) lasting solutions.?

  • At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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