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A Simple Thought

chicago dyke's picture

There is nothing, *nothing* that is "funny" nor "entertaining" nor easily dismissed, about the act of torture. Ever.

This is not hard for civilized people to understand. And religious people, too. Their sacred texts agree. And decent atheists, and humanists, and people who love children, or care for the weak and helpless. Or have been such.

I am likely too "serious" for this business, but I feel all my Divinity School training coming forth, as well as my personal experience as an abuse survivor. Please, stop the jokes and foolish dismissals of the American, and indeed all, record of "approved" methods of torture. As they say, 'you don't know it's not funny until it happens to you." Just stop it. And stop excusing it.

This extends not only to the current and past administrations, but all those who would make a joke of child-rape, or electrocution, or any of the other humiliations and tortures of those who are the subject of current discussion, regardless of how well they suit the purpose of casual snarking. It's disgusting. Inhumane. And most of all, something that will rebound ten-fold upon those who treat it casually, if that is the only thing that motivates. Yes, it can happen to you. And I promise you, you won't laugh when it does.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The God of the OT subjects his subjects to countless acts of physical and mental abuse. And the NT's definitive image is the son of God being nailed to a cross for the benefit of everyone, forever.

Not to mention the sordid acts committed in righteous missions inspired by and rationalized via the Good Book over the years.

I would submit that religiosity, with its often sadistic imagery, notions of life-after death, and penchant for group-thought validations for bizarre retributive and prosletyzing behavior isn't a reliable force against the cruelty of torture.

Submitted by Anne on

I have found myself, in the last couple of days, really getting my back up at the juvenile cracks about torture that are starting to pop up. For one, I don't find anything about torture funny, and for another, I think making jokes about it doesn't just trivialize it, but starts to weave it into everyday life in a way that makes people begin to accept it.

I don't want us to get to the point where we accept it.

I mean, we're fighting the apologists on one side - the assholes like Cliff May and Liz Cheney, who apparently believe the garbage legal arguments in those memos - and apparently fighting the Obama administration on the other - with Obama himself unable to find a consistent position, acting a little indignant that we didn't all just roll over when he ordered us to move on - trying to keep the pressure on to bring to account those responsible for this, with a media which has apparently gotten their marching orders to frame this as a political issue being pushed by the "hard left" - and the LAST thing we need is for people to begin to just accept it. And that's what the stupid jokes do.

It's just so wrong.

[sorry for the rant]

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

In 1985 Minnesota created the first institution in the United States specifically devoted helping torture victims overcome that experience. Aptly named the Center for Victims of Torture, it is a bright light of true hope and good works.

I have known personally several "alumni" of the Center, primarily from Ethiopia and Somalia, but also eastern Europe. Torture even at some kind of supposed "low" level is an insidious, soul-shattering experience that can leave its survivors and victims traumatized irrevocably for their entire life.

Regardless of how we feel about the people who were responsible for 9/ll, we need to recognize that torture is not justified against them any more than it would be justified against Timothy McVeigh or Charles Manson. It is an act that diminishes US and our claims to civilized society.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Is to even see prominent voices, particularly the ones on our side, even trying to nuance torture. It's not just disappointing, but totally disheartening. I've been watching a bit more cable news than I should after having sworn it off, entirely. Yesterday morning, I was watching the drivel that is the Morning Joe on MSNBC and watching both Joe Scarborough (who I was surprised to see supporting situational torture) and Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News, Mark Whitaker, actually supporting the argument that Obama shouldn't care about this because "we have bigger issues to worry about, now." All the while, resident liberal Mika Brzezinski is right in frame barely saying a peep on this.

I'm not really worried about the openly-supporting and advocating thugs as I am the soft and tacit approval they get from the scared or apathetic, and it really ties into what CD is saying about the joking that helps to normalize it.

Torture should be one of those things thinking folks should automatically cringe at hearing about. For the moralist, like myself, it should make us sick. For the pragmatist, they should instantly recognize that it doesn't even work, and that if it works, for the moment, that we lose more in the long-term than we'd ever be able to gain from it. The thing about torture is that if even one is to argue that we gain in the short-term it'd mean that we'd have to make it our formal policy and apply it consistently over every single soul we'd capture to even hope to begin to stay even an inch ahead of the ridiculously large and negative consequences. To put it more simply, if there is ever anything to gain from torture, it'd require so many resources as to totally ruin us instantly (apart from the obvious moral ruin even one act gets us).

There shouldn't be any "buts" on torture, period, and I'm particularly outraged and disheartened to see that we even have to push anyone to see that torture can never be an option for the United States of America. I've come to the point of where I don't even mind using the "un-American" rhetorical bomb against folks that even attempt to advocate or apologise for torture.