Monday, September 18, 2006

Whatever Happened To Righteous Indignation?

so i heard (again) on NPR today a debate about the morailty of torture. and this is what i have to say about these debates in general, which i am hearing all-too-frequently thse days: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS THIS REALLY AN ETHICALLY "GRAY" AREA? WHEN DID IT BECOME DIFFICULT FOR US TO SAY-- WITHOUT RESERVATION-- THAT "TORUTURE IS BAD/WRONG/MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE"?

for real, am i being a prude here? there is part of me that wants to attribute the fact that this even rises to the level of something seriously "debatable" to the genius of the Bush/Rove/Republican-media-machine... but, come on, have we drunk that much kool-aid already? i am really shocked by the fact that more people don't write their newspapers or call their local radio stations and say, "what the hell are you debating here?!!"

last semester, when i was teaching Mahmood Mamdani's Good Muslin, Bad Muslim: Amreican, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror I was surprised to discover that many of my students simply did not consider it within the realm of possibility that American military troops might practice torture (despite the almost ubiquitous news coverage of GitMo and Abu Graib at the time). So, i brought in the Newsweek article on American interrogation/torture practices approved by the Dept. of State and read the list to my class (without telling them the source) to see which of those practices the students would find morally permissable. Needless to say, they were shocked to find out that many of the more reprehensible practices were adopted by our own military forces. And I mean they were LITERALLY shocked...

i am completely baffled by any argument that begins "the Geneva Convention doesn't apply in situations of....(fill in the blank)". Am i alone here? Can i get a witness?

1 comment:

CF-ICT said...

Young lady, why DO you hate America? When you hate America, the terrorists win.

Your point is well taken. For this thing even to be a possible object of discourse shows that the barbarians truly are running things--or, that the lunatics have taken over the asylum; take your pick.

And, of course, none of this is about 'actionable intelligence.' They've had plenty of that and don't know how to use it when they've got it. It's about dominance: torturing their enemies because they can. And, of course, about softening up the public mind for a future in which these same techniques may be applied to domestic political opposition.

CF in ICT (Wichita)