(c) 2009 by Vindix
In this article I’m going to be a bit hard on those who’ve accepted and support the US government in it’s actions toward Muslims, Arabs and Iranians, so a bit of advance warning seems appropriate. When the consequences of putting entire nations, cultures and ethnic groups through the meat grinder demonstrate that they are being reduced to the equivalent of what Lavrenty Beria, ex secret police chief of the Soviet Union, called “(concentration)camp dust”, it seems there are few diplomatic ways to characterize the traits which lead to the current atrocities being perpetrated by those who set themselves up as representing the interests of the American people.
In a recent Forbes article, mention was made of several recent polls conducted by mainstream media venues like CNN, ABC, the Washington Post, showing that around half of all Americans would support the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information, presumably about planned or pending attacks, which would prevent an event like 9/11. Leaving aside the issue of whose interests are served by these polls, I think it is a clear evidence of the complete and absolute moral and ethical bankrupty of this nation as well as a warning to those of us who find torture absolutely reprehensible and uncalled for in any circumstance.
What this works out to be, in practice, is open season on those who threaten the financial or territorial ambitions of the existing powers-that-be.. Witness Iraq. A nation which had nothing to do with 9/11 was and is being put through the meat grinder because it was considered to be in some way responsible. And when evidence of this was unforthcoming, then torture was used-on innocent people, approved by those who KNEW they were innocent- in order to find a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
There used to be a time when sympathy for the underdog was a trait publicized as well as valued by most Americans. And this was to a degree influential in the behavior, actions, demonstrations of those who valued the ideal of equal justice and opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, class or color. Justice for all, regardless of whether they lived in the South, in Nazi occupied Europe or behind the Iron Curtain. What makes the difference between torture practiced by totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and that committed by the United States Government? Is it in the goals it seeks to accomplish? How is attacking and occupying Iraq, a nation which neither attacked nor threatened us, any different than what Germany did to Poland in 1939?
What will be the results, long term, upon us, citizens of these United States, when those who have grown accustomed to torturing those, overseas, who an unkind Fate has placed in their power, return to civilian life and fill positions of trust in law enforcement? Do those who say torture is justified care to think that far ahead? What was considered fine and proper for a suspect of terror, overseas, may well be on the way to be considered par for the course for Americans accused of the slightest crimes. We already have foreiture laws in place, laws that were at one time considered by Americans to be too harsh for suspects during the Nuremberg war crimes trials. What happen when those accused of victimless crimes are not only seen as a source of income, but also routinely subjected to the sort of treatment which those unlucky to run afoul of the US government, say, in Guantanamo or secret CIA prisons, now experience?
Leaving aside even the questions of how accurate is information obtained from torture and what does allowing this sort of behavior signify for the future of the United States, I’d like to ask what will the practice of and aquiescence in torture accomplish for those who order, commit and go along with such practices? Alexander Solzhenitsyn, writing about the torturers of his nation, a nation, I might add, in spirit not now far removed from our own, said that the torturers were being punished more severely than anyone else because they were moving downward from humanity. That their practice of evil was putting them at risk of severe damage to that which made them human. And, that good conditions, safety, pleasant circumstances were nice things to have, but not at the risk of losing one’s human countenance.
Another issue on this poll which nobody seems to want to address nor make clear is: who defines a “suspected terrorist”?
Is he or she always a foreigner, always a Muslim, an Iranian, an Arab? Why are such terrorists always of such backgrounds? Might this have anything to do with the geopolitical goals of one or two countries?
Or the political sympathies of those who run and control the larger sources of information from which most Americans get their news and thus their image of the world outside their borders?
I think it’s high time to ask ourselves, as Americans, what our government is doing in our name, and why. What do you call people who accept information without question? What is the term for those who gratuitously attack those weaker than themselves? And what can you call it when one allows oneself to be intimidated by others? Unless we can manage to somehow stop the evils being committed under our name and with our approval, the rest of the world will be fully justified in holding the American people, nation, and culture fully accountable for the afflictions and harm visited upon the innocent and defenceless. I hope it won’t ever come to that.
(c) 2009 by Vindix