Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wonderful Human Beings

I was about to turn in for the night, but gagged on this [emphasis mine]:

During tonight’s presidential debates, candidates were asked whether they would support the use of waterboarding — a technique, defined as torture by the Justice Department, that simulates drowning and makes the subject “believe his death is imminent while ideally not causing permanent physical damage.”

Both former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) suggested they would support using the technique. ...

The audience applauded loudly after both statements.
Ick. This is what passes for public discourse in what purports to be a civilized society: A debate over who can pander hardest to the basest motives of the voters. I am ashamed.

Torture has no place in my country. It is wrong. It is dangerous. And I'm tired of having to write that.

I almost wrote about this last week after reading this story:
The top U.S. commander in Iraq admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.
It's nice to know that someone in the military has the sense to understand that torture and other abuse of others makes our troops less safe and mocks the values they are supposedly fighting to uphold and defend.

Angry. Really angry. And frustrated. I want my civilization back.


Laura E. Goodin said...

Will we get it back? Margaret and I have just finished watching the documentary "Trekkies", and the idealism about the future that Trek fans exude seems tragically, pitifully naive. Perhaps even dangerously so....

Anonymous said...

Garrison Keillor has said, "When you're angry with someone, you make them a part of your life in a way you don't need."

Yes, it's an infuriating state of affairs, but we must identify the emotion unlying our fury -- in my case a mixture of righteous indignance and fear -- and respond to the situation from real clarity about our feelings and the stance we take because of them.

Genuine solutions truly are simple, but they are overwhelmed by the muck and mire of law and politics and power and money. Naive people have the right ideas. The question is whether they have to stuff to stand up for those ideas -- and ideals -- against a really scary machine.

In the end, I'd rather be a naive victim than a sinister champion. Fortunately, there's a middle ground where reason and common good can and should prevail. Whether we all find our way to that middle ground ... well, history doesn't tell an encouraging tale.

The "good fight" is worthwhile even if we fall and even if we fail. We are only defeated if we stop fighting. Be of good courage.