Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Tiny Increment in My Safety is Worth ... Anything! Right?

Anyone see this dreck today?
Attorney General Eric Holder has named a special prosecutor to see whether any of the CIA's interrogators broke the law. Special prosecutors are often themselves like interrogators -- they don't know when to stop. They go on and on because, well, they can go on and on. One of them managed to put Judith Miller of The New York Times in jail -- a wee bit of torture right there. No CIA interrogator can feel safe. The interrogators are about to be interrogated.
Awwwwww ... poor interrogators! They don't feel safe ... und they vass chust followink orders! What a pity. Still, I wonder: how many will be anally raped? Water-tortured? Mock-executed (or maybe beaten to death for real)? How many of their bosses, and their bosses' bosses, on up the chain, face any consequences at all -- even as piddly as career limitation? Yeah, I think we pretty much all know the answers to those questions. Sorry, but my sympathy for those interrogators who may now feel "unsafe" is in pretty short supply.

But Mr. Cohen has more:
I am, as you can see, full of questions. I have, as you can see, few answers.

I am torn between my desire for absolute security and my abhorrence of torture. The one thing I know is that ideology does not provide an answer. For me, it settles nothing that Dick Cheney supported enhanced interrogation and that Cheney was wrong and deceitful on the war. It settles nothing that Cheney defined torture as something so extreme that almost anything less than, say, the rack is permissible interrogation. The issue is not Cheney. The issue is the issue.

The questions of what constitutes torture and what to do with those who, maybe innocently, applied what we now define as torture have to be removed from the political sphere. They cannot be the subject of an ideological tug of war, both sides taking extreme and illogical positions -- torture never works, torture always works, torture is always immoral, torture is moral if it saves lives. Torture always is ugly. So, though, is the hole in the ground where the World Trade Center once stood.
Well. Nuance, ambiguity, "I have few answers" -- how profound. How lovely. And how cowardly. Mr. Cohen is torn between his "desire" (demand) for absolute security and the duty of any decent human being: the repudiation of barbarism. He's anxious to avoid anything that "provides an answer," because the answer is not agreeable to him.

Guess what, Mr. Cohen: there's not just two ugly things in this world (torture and the WTC site). There's lots. There's Muslim civilians, for example, ripped apart by the many tons of high explosives delivered by the United States, Israel, and a few toady nations for the past half-century or so. There's the economic evisceration of your country, caused by its imperial overreach and world-manager hubris. Rule #1, for when you find yourself immersed to your double chin in hideous ugliness: stop making more.

Guess what, Mr. Cohen: you weren't born with an entitlement to safety. An incremental increase in your safety -- even if it weren't illusory, which it is -- at the cost of the life of even a single foreigner who hasn't hurt you is morally unacceptable. You ain't worth it. Neither am I; the only difference between us is that I know that, and am willing to say it. I know that, to paraphrase Jim Morrison, I'm not getting out of here alive, no matter how much wrong I'm willing to do. Maybe you should learn that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Woohoo, you go guy! I guess we're both on the same page today.