Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's stop talking about torture in the abstract

The UAE government brutally tortured a man who failed to deliver a load of grain valued at $5,000. The R-rated snippets of the XXX torture tape that are shown are stomach turning. This, friends, is torture. Waterboarding is also torture, just like the things shown in this tape are torture. That is not abstract, that is concrete. This man was brutalized, humiliated, and forced to undergo psychological and physiological destruction and terror (torture). Victims of waterboarding are forced to undergo psychological and physiological destruction and terror (torture). I don't understand what is abstract about that.

Note that, while he has mercifully, graciously and most beneficiously repealed the US government's power to torture with its own hands, his Worshipfulness Don Obama has not prohibited the practice of extraordinary rendition which allows the US government to outsource torture. Rendition is a far more fearsome weapon since the worst the US government could inflict with its own hands are tortures that are plausibly deniable... i.e. tortures that don't leave marks or destroy body parts. Other, less pretentious governments are comfortable with doing our government's dirty work (probably in exchange for handsome financial rewards) to a much higher standard of "quality" - that is, tortures with more destructive effects on the victim.

We must stop allowing the government to throw us political bones to quiet us. The extraordinary rendition programs must stop and Congress must be allowed to go in and investigate all the abuses that occurred in the secret prisons. The abuses of FISA, warrantless wiretaps, gagging NSLs, etc. must all be opened up and audited by Congress now before the executive seizes so much power that it is politically unstoppable. The Roman and Weimar Republics both fell to the trap of consolidated power in the hands of the executive. Let's not let the US government enslave us to the same model of centralized tyranny.

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