Friday, April 24, 2009
Torture, for right-wingers, is the new gay marriage: on their side (pro the former, contra the latter, need it be said?) of the debate (a bit of a stretch, terminologically), they are resorting to distortions, declarations as fact things which are either unprovable or demonstrably false, and to outright lies. It's stunning.
Central to the argument for torture is the claim that it has kept us safe. It's impossible to disprove, of course, in that there's no way to show we'd have been attacked were it not used, nor that other techniques would not have produced even better data. Be that as it may, the only instance on the public record -- namely that torturing KSM led to information which stopped a bombing in LA, a meme now dutifully repeated by the RWS™ and their echo machine -- is a FLAT OUT LIE. The plot, such as it was, was uncovered a year before the capture of KSM. No matter. They keep on saying it. Surprised? Moreover, I have to believe, given past willingness to use classified data to their advantage when it suits them, that were there more clear-cut episodes they'd be out there already. Central argument: no evidence/lie.
Perhaps even more central is the contention that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" we used are not, in fact, torture, despite the fact that in other wars the US has prosecuted as war criminals people who employed the same measures. On the rare occasion when a Republican politico lets his tongue slip, he quickly backsteps. "The United States does not torture," they continue to say. Amazing. Is there literally no point beyond which partisanship will take some people?
And now, in unison for the past few days, there's this from the RWS™ and their brain-numbed listeners, the equivalent of "gay marriage threatens all marriage:" releasing the torture memos has harmed us in the fight against terrorism. The atom bomb, the cosmic whopper, the mother of all nonsense.
"Now they know, so they can train against it."
Funny. The Republican Secretary of Defense was okay with releasing the memos.
Does anyone really think the info was not out there before they were released? Do they think the only thing that went on in al Queda training camps was playing on monkey bars? It's been in media for years. The Red Cross released a report; former prisoners have been interviewed; the use of "black sites" was well-documented. It's simply laughable on its face. Like recruiting your kids into the gay lifestyle.
I suppose I should be happy the arguments we hear are so ridiculous; surely it's impossible that they are convincing to anyone but those mouthing them. Would that it were so. Hasn't it been said: if you repeat a lie long enough people will begin to believe it. The RWS™ sure have bought in, like it was a pile of winning lotttery tickets. Joining them, Liz Cheney claims that since we train our own soldiers to resist these techniques, they aren't torture. Yep. That's what she says. Other entities water-board, sleep-deprive, stress-position. We put our soldiers through it. QED. Wow.
As we now see that the real reason for engaging in torture was to force false confessions, making us just like our enemies, it seems to me it becomes even more important to get to the bottom of it, to have a conversation about it based on facts. God knows that even when facts are indisputable, people will interpret them differently, to their own ends. But this is serious business, affecting our security, our standing in the world (which affects our security), and our relationship to our laws. How nice it would be if, just this once, those on the right could address the issue frontally, honestly, and with willingness to get to the truth. After all, if torture really is the best way to get certain information, wouldn't they be proved right?
I guess they're afraid of opinions like this, from someone who seems to know. Or this, from a person in charge.
Is it possible -- just possible -- that the people who lied about it in the first place are lying about it again? If so, won't anyone on the right rise up and ask? Doesn't a serious issue like this deserve serious arguments? Can't any Congressional Republicans and their water-carriers (or is it the other way around?) bring to the debate something that makes sense? Anyone at all?
Maybe it's time we listen to George W. Bush.