Monday, December 12, 2005

Torture: Recent Comments

Anthony Lewis's recent essay in The Nation, entitled "The Torture Administration," is a must-read piece. Here, via Common Dreams, is a brief sample.

The pictures from Abu Ghraib, first shown to the public on April 28, 2004, evoked a powerful reaction. Americans were outraged when they saw grinning US soldiers tormenting Iraqi prisoners. But it was seeing the mistreatment that produced the outrage, or so we must now conclude. Since then the Bush Administration and its lawyers have prevented the release of any more photographs or videotapes. And the public has not reacted similarly to the disclosure, without pictures, of worse actions, including murder.

Maureen Dowd's skewering of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's doubletalk in Europe is also well worth reading. Here is Dowd parsing the Secretary's assurances regarding torture:

"The United States government does not authorize or condone torture of detainees," [Rice] said.

It all depends on what you mean by "authorize," "condone," "torture" and "detainees."

(This also comes via Common Dreams.)

Finally, Naomi Klein points out (in an article entitled "'Never Before!' Our Amnesiac Torture Debate") that the United States has a history with torture that we ignore all too readily. It's worth a read.

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Why are most Americans so willing to ignore the atrocities--certainly that is what we would call them if any other government were responsible--that are being committed by their government? Is fear really that strong? Or are we just not as good as we suppose ourselves to be?