America's Torture Doctrine

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The new mainstream
American value of torture is steeped in self-deception, legal justification,
and propaganda.  We idolize
torturers
in our favorite TV programs, and are happy to see
our enemies (real and imagined) vicariously taken apart in order
to protect our beacon of freedom.

It is an Orwellian
undertaking.  Only a massive propaganda effort and a healthy
dose of self-delusion can explain poll numbers that show
a split
 verdict on the subject of torture’s legitimacy,
when it has been proven to be completely
unreliable
in true intelligence gathering – not even when
a “Jack Bauer” is working against a ticking bomb.  We must
conclude, then, that it is a type of blood sport, or a self-righteous
power trip that expresses itself in the sheer
enjoyment
of the punishment inflicted against evildoers.

Long before
there was Jack Bauer to hold a blow torch to someone’s chest, there
was the blood-soaked march across the ages, and the planet,
inspired by fundamentalist religions.  Sacrifices to Gods eventually
waned, Inquisitions passed, and formal witch trials disappeared,
to be supplanted by a new type of faith:  The State.

The slaughters
conducted by Stalin, Mao, and other decidedly Left governments,
were not to be outdone by the iconoclasts of the Right.  It
is a cynical admission, but it seems that torture has been around
so long, and in so many forms, that it is part of who we are.  Evidently,
we are easily whipped into a frenzy of self-righteousness that will
not stop until the torture apparatus is turned upon the screaming
body politic.  By then, it is too late.  The next generation
is left to evaluate what could have led to such horrendous mass
insanity.

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the rest of the article

September
18, 2010

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