Tuesday, February 12, 2008

America: You had me, then you lost me.

Super Tuesday did something that I didn’t think was possible anymore… filled me with something like pride in my country of birth. Specifically, the American people voted as though they were politically involved and curious. By all accounts they turned out in droves on the Democratic side (or “Democrat Side” if you are Bushish. The new Normalcy.) to vote for either the first woman or the first African American to run this joint. On the GOP side, citizens rode their John Deers and Hummers to the local Elk’s club to say “yes” to sunstroked McCain or “yes” to what-the-Huck and definite “no” to that Fuller Brushman, Romney. Actually – the voters on the Republicans side said “no” to the machine of the anointed.

But then Super-Tuesday gave way to “give me a cigarette” Wednesday, and then to possibly the most depressing day in recent memory – the day an American presidential administration said “yes” to torture. I suppose they thought that the shameful debate about the “nature” of water boarding (whether it is an “according-to-Hoyle,” Webster’s definition of torture) had gone on long enough and they said “fuck it. We’ve got eleven months. They already hate us. Why not own our evil?” But the surprising thing is how it’s not really an issue… even a few days later. No one seems to care that people are being tortured as a matter of course… as a matter of public policy.

Worst of all, that tired, anemic old “ticking bomb” canard has found legs in the debate. You know the one. Freshman writing teachers always roll it out for their students to chew on. “Well, if it’s the choice between torture and a bomb going off…” etc. The fact is, the moral argument is moot on that level. Think about it: the interrogator is the person who makes the choice between the guilt of inflicting torture and the guilt of having allowed a bomb off. He/she not going to consider policy in a situation like that. It is your typical strawman argument. The day-to-day needs of interrogators are more like “does this guy know of a training camp in Lahore?” or “does this guy know where Bin Laden is hiding out?” in other words, important strategic concerns. Bomb builders. Not bombs ticking.

Somehow forgotten in all this “debate” is the fact that we (the US of A) convicted and executed Japanese military representatives for using (wait for it!) WATER BOARDING on AMERICAN soldiers.

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