Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Torture Round-Up

Glad to see the blogosphere is finally re-vamping up on the torture issue.

Neil’s got a post about the uselessness of pro-torture laws. It’s not very useful and even if it was, it’s not like Jack Bauer won’t do it anyway.

For some weird-ass reason, conservative bloggers talking about torture issues are still discussing the Amnesty International report’s use of the word “gulag”. This was like five months ago, and there’s plenty of news today (such as the ironic news that we are using former Soviet prisons). I know they feel a contrarian duty to support the military and the administration, but do they really think that ten years from now they’re going to look back and be proud that they stood up against the use of the word gulag?* Anyway, CT raises the point that these asinine anonymous posters are valuable because they are at least telling us what a lot of people think deep down. Which is sad.

Also sad is that the administration is trying to mount an investigation and raise public outrage over the fact that this information was leaked. For one, I must say it is refreshing after the whole Libby fiasco to see such a good example why press shielding of secret sources is important. For another, looking into the exposers and ignoring the real issue is the sort of totalitarian reaction you’d expect from much lesser countries. So it is at least comforting that no one gives a flying fig.

Yglesias has a really good point about how torture is very successful – at getting told what you want to hear. That this sort of information was used to lead us into the Iraq War is quite possibly the scariest thing I have heard about the administration in the past five years. I’m a reasonable bureaucracy-trusting person, but the idea that they** tortured a suspect into falsely telling us that a country was threatening us so they could release that information publicly in order to build support for a war, should make anyone a little nauseous.

Fafblog is funny.

If all this hasn’t depressed you enough, make sure to go check out Sully for even more information.

*Note: anyone who prefaces their remarks by “the cruel and unusual punishment and interrogation techniques are horrible and must be stopped now” can talk about the overuse of the word gulag. People who offer no opinion on the actual torture but are thrown into hysteria by the hyperbole of AI are the ones I am pointing the finger at. Non-trivially, I only know of people who fall in the latter category, and not the former.

**I originally typed “we”. I’m torn about what pronoun to use to describe acts done by the administration lately. I’ve usually used “we” or “America” to describe foreign policy actions, because even if I do not contribute to them the actions do reflect on all of us and that’s why they matter. But this is starting to get absurd.


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