Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Torture? Yes, sir, right away, sir.

Well, that one bright light I saw last week was indeed the headlight of an approaching train.

In the space of days--days, mind you--the previous Republican holdouts (John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Warner) went from a principled, staunch rebuke of the President's torture program to a tacit acceptance that the mainstream media played as a compromise. This analysis does a good job in sorting that out.

It was no compromise. It was a rout.

McCain & Co. bent over backwards so far they could view the world from between their own ankles. Thanks to them and others, the torture program will soon become law in the United States of America.

It will say, The President of the USA will generally follow the Geneva Conventions unless he finds their words inconvenient in his own political and/or sadistic agenda. He will be able to interpret these conventions any damn way he pleases.

Oh, the torturers/interrogators won't be able to rape or kill (directly), but waterboarding is still okay, and most of those stress positions are still in play, too.

So, what are some of the practical results of this "compromise," should it become law (you know, as if this President pays attention to such trivia anyway)?
  • US troops in any hostile territory become targets of the same brutal treatment if captured, and I'd guess somebody more depraved than Rumsfeld or Bush would try to one-up American interrogators at some point;
  • US credibility in nearly any human rights or even civil rights effort is flushed down the toilet, along with the concept of American Democracy and American Freedom. We will be viewed for what we have almost become: a neo-fascist, theocratic oligarchy, with torture tolerated,
  • al Qaeda and nearly every other extremist, terrorist organization will get a second chance at credibility with the more moderate factions in the Middle East. They can now say with confidence, "See? They torture, kill, and mock us - and Islam. And it's not just 'a few bad apples,' as their president tells you. It's their policy." Thanks to this administration, they are now correct.
  • Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co. will be immune from prosecution if something goes awry in this whole sordid mess - even if somebody with a spine finally blows the whistle on them. Thank you, Alberto Gonzales.
  • No doubt about it: This new desire for torture will result in a lot more confessions from detainees, and it will get them a lot faster. Trouble is, these confessions are likely to contain untruths.
  • As if it hasn't happened already, more people in the Middle East will hate the United States. Who cares, say the neocon Republicans? Well, I do, and you should, too. Like it or not, we all share the same planet, and it's getting smaller by the day. If we continue to treat the Earth as if it were expendable, we will suffer the consequences.
We have become the crazy neighbor, the guy next door who abuses his wife and kids. You never see him hit her, but you hear her screams, and you see the fear embossed in the kids.

You keep calling the police, you keep trying to bring attention to the matter but people ignore you because he seems to be a nice guy, with a nice job and a tidy yard. The kids are hard working students, and they go to church regularly.

Fact is, nobody knows what goes on in that house, and the people in it keep standing up for that guy. Maybe if enough neighbors complain and bug the police enough, they'll go out one more time, and maybe that time he'll make the mistake of showing who he really is and he'll finally be caught red-handed.

He will deny at first, and then he will insist God told him it was acceptable to sacrifice their physical well-being for their spiritual, or something along those lines. And his wife and kids will still be protesting his innocence until the trauma wears away and they realize what freedom really means.

As we cling to our last few years of power, and the last few drops of our petroleum based economy, it's scary to think that future generations may view us as the people that allowed barbarism to return and acquiesced to ending this grand experiment called American Democracy.

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