Saturday, February 12, 2005

So, what should we call ourselves?

The United States of Torturers? Torturers-R-us? We Are All Torturers Now? I can take no credit for any of those "names" applied to America recently. They came from other Americans, who are as upset by the direction this country is headed as I am. Bob Herbert, NYT columnist, has joined us. He wrote an article "Torture, American Style". Here's a clip, but you will need to go to the NY Times and register to read the whole thing.

"This is one of the great euphemisms of our time. Extraordinary rendition is the name that's been given to the policy of seizing individuals without even the semblance of due process and sending them off to be interrogated by regimes known to practice torture. In terms of bad behavior, it stands side by side with contract killings.

Our henchmen in places like Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Jordan are torturing terror suspects at the behest of a nation - the United States - that just went through a national election in which the issue of moral values was supposed to have been decisive. How in the world did we become a country in which gays' getting married is considered an abomination, but torture is O.K.?"

Mr. Herbert talks about Mr. Arar, a Canadian of Syrian background, who was sent to Syria for "extraordinary rendition". He was never charged with a crime. He was tortured and held in Syria for 10 months. His case was the reason that Canada issued a statement recommending that Canadian citizens or residents of Middle Eastern origin do not go to the United States for business or pleasure..... or any reason. It is amazingly awful that Canada is saying "don't visit the USA.... it is too dangerous" yet I fully agree with their warnings.

An amazing thing is this: torture doesn't even work. People who are tortured will admit to anything, so the information they give is useless.

And we are becoming a country of immoral barbarians. I still am working on what we should call ourselves...... The Wizards of Torture....... To Have and To Torture...... The Unbearable Lightness of Torture..... Willy Wonka and the Torture Factory.... The Sound of Torture... The Texas Chain Saw Torturers..... A Tale of Two Torturers.....

I'm working on movie titles because my imagination is truly challenged by this situation. I never thought I would live to see the USA export and practice torture around the world.

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