(1) 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 condemend 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.
This is your government in action, Americans. This is some of what it does with your tax dollars. “It’s bullshit. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on.” That’s what Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said not of the men and women in the secret police responsible for these crimes, but of the Attorney General’s move to investigate them. Amazing. That so many Americans are so ready to rally around the most vile, most obviously illegitimate arm of the American state is evidence for the proposition that patriotism is a tool for rendering a people ready to torture and kill at the state’s behest, or to tolerate it. I am disgusted that people who pretend to care about liberty are not disgusted.
Rep. King said that we (who exactly? The American people, the CIA?) must “do whatever we have to do,” must pursue a “scorched earth policy” on behalf of the secret police and their unchecked discretion to torture those in its custody. Do we have to wait for the scorched earth before calling this thing for the terrorists?