Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why I Don't Buy The "We Don't Torture" Line

The president today really hit me in a raw spot. Later, in an AA meeting I realized exactly how and why.

You see there's a tendancy people have in early recovery to be all excited about what great people they are becoming. Over and over I've been in meetings and had people wax all poetic about stuff like "After five years, I've gotten a legitimate driver's license" or "I got around to buying car insurance" or "I am working real hard at not being a racist."

What they are clueless about is that these are things that any rational human being should or should not do.

Somebody needs to tell George Bush that it is no badge of honor to stop torturing people after five years of depraved cruelty. One of the most chilling passages in the book Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks is when he deliniates the torture process that was done to Shiek Khalid Mohammed. Waterboarding, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, extremes of heat and cold, punching with closed and open hands, forced exercise, loud music, sensory deprivation, and all of that paled when his interrogators told him that they were going to harm or kill his young sons. This is not only not the way an American should behave, it is beyond the pale of human decency. Any information gotten through methods like these should be tainted and suspect. Those, like, Richard Clarke, who have studied the jihadi movement and its leaders agree that Al Qaeda was born, not in the mountains and plains of Afghanistan but in Syrian and Egyptian prisons. It was during his prison time in Egypt that Al-Zakawri's implacable and steely hatred of the west was formed after he was arrested following the Sadat assassination. Torture and mistreatment like that found in the Egyptian penal system breaks many men beyond all healing. Others become insane in their implacable hatred of any power that would resort to such abuses. Now our president is wanting us to tell him what a wonderful, moral man he is because he says (and I tend to disbelieve most anything he says without verifiable data) he's now going to bring these men he's been torturing for years to trial finally. That is of course if he can make sure that the court is rigged mightily in his favor.

Once I was in a meeting and a guy I actually like and care about said, after listing the racist gangs he ran with while in prison, "And I am working at treating black people without prejudice." I told him "You know, if I were to come into a meeting and say that I've grown so much spiritually that I no longer fuck other people's puppies no one would be real impressed with me." He responded that he had become a racist in prison to which I replied "I was in Viet Nam for almost three years, if I were to say that I no longer kill babies, would that be something that other people should be proud of me for? Of course not. You're not supposed to fuck puppies or kill babies. I'm glad you're growing and becoming a better person, I firmly believe that you have every right to recovery that I have, but just don't expect me to get all misty and choked up because you decide to quit doing something that is reprehensible."

The secret prisons, the torture, the brutality of our troops on the ground are all direct manifistations of the character, or lack of character, that our leaders have.

George Washington was faced with the problem of Hessian soldiers (hat tip to David Hackett Fisher's 1776 and His Excellency, George Washington in the hands of angry American troops. The Hessians had a reputation for brutally killing and then mutilating the corpses of the Americans unlucky enough to fall into their hands. In the battle for New York it was common to see American soldiers nailed to trees by bayonets. Stripping and slowly killing prisoners with heated bayonets was also documented. Many times during the Revolution, George Washington issued stern and specific orders mandating decent and honorable treatment of prisoners taken by the Rebels. He knew that Americans should never sacrifice the high moral ground of principle and honor. A by-product of this policy was when the Hessian rank and file soldiers started to realize that they would recieve better treatment as a prisonor than they would from their own officers. Many Hessian prisoners went on to settle in the german speaking regions of upstate New York and western Pennsylvania.

It's sad that our George is not even a pimple on Washington's ass.

I will end by saying that General Wesley Clark is currently raising money to help Democrats across the country in their Congressional campaigns. I loves me some General. I do. I just dropped a contribution on his page right here. It appealed to the old soldier in me that he is calling it "Take The Hill." Please give him a look and listen. If you can spare a little cash that would be nice too.

I promise in the days to come there will be much more music, many more recipes, and a lot less political ranting.

Carry on.


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