Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Torture 1

I support the CIA and anyway they can get information out of people who want to kill you. They want you dead ... they want your mom ... daughters and sons dead just because you believe in Western values. I’m not going to apologize for it. The CIA's job is to keep us safe. You act like these were innocent bystanders. That’s what makes it comical.
-taken from a comment thread on Facebook yesterday

Extreme events bring out discomfiting truths. The Michael Brown/Eric Garner cases have depantsed many closet racists in our midsts—my Facebook thread was peppered with stories last week of people de-friending others in shock after seeing their racist comments.

Today, we have the fascists coming out of their cozy closet in response to the CIA torture report. It’s quite startling for people who think their neighbors and friends and relatives are basically decent folks to realize that many of them think torture is basically just fine, just as long as it is applied to those perceived as scary or threatening and the squalid details kept out of sight.

That’s exactly what fascism does, and a depressing percentage of the biped species enjoys the outcome immensely—until, of course, they happen to get caught up in the violent net themselves.

When that happens, howls of outrage pierce the sky. But they do not include condemnations of the techniques or the torture system; rather, the sudden fury of torture’s erstwhile defenders is directed at the appalling notion that THEY should be mistaken for a bad guy. The cycle is so predictable that it’s actually rather boring.

I saw the pattern repeated dozens of time during my time in Chile where torture and disappearance were so common during the early Pinochet years that something close to 10 percent of the entire adult population suffered some form of it at one time or another. But try telling that to a middle-class sympathizer of the military regime, including many lovely persons who would rush to your bedside if you were ill to bring you cazuela. Tut, tut, all lies peddled by Radio Moscow, they would say, OUR soldiers would never do that. Until one of their Christian Democrat friends gets beaten half to death in a police stationhouse, and suddenly all bets are off.

Denial is one of the more pathetic feature of the biped mentality. We have an uncanny capacity to block uncomfortable realities from our consciousness, and this trait is no fault of Americans in particular or more pronounced among a given ethnicity or nation. We’d do better to recognize that personal comfort and pleasure are far more compelling than moral coherence for a sizeable portion of the populace and plan accordingly.

Yes, there are fascists in our midst, always have been and always will be. When we give the state carte blanche to act with impunity and cover up the results, it always can count on willing backers who belong to the non-targeted population to cheer and rationalize. Surprise, dismay and disgust are understandable but in the end a waste of energy that should be directed to more productive ends.

1 comment:

Suzi Weissman said...

When Roberto got out of the stadium in Chile, shell- shocked and 22 kilos lighter, he saw a cousin who insisted the new military junta under Pinochet never tortured, that it was all a lie of the Marxist- commies.