Thursday, February 14, 2008

Current Events

I haven't done much current events blogging lately for a variety of reasons. Head cold (it's better), lack of enthusiasm, and a general anger and disgust.
America has now openly embraced torture. There's a lot of weasel words being used, but the rest of the world sees what we're doing.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush plans to veto legislation passed by the Senate to bar the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods including waterboarding, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

"The president will veto that bill," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

"The United States needs the ability to interrogate effectively, within the law, captured Al-Qaeda terrorists."

And it has the support of at least one Supreme Court Justice:

Today in an interview with BBC Radio’s Law in Action, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended torture, claiming that it is not necessarily barred by the Constitution:

Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited under the Constitution? Because smacking someone in the face would violate the 8th amendment in a prison context. You can’t go around smacking people about.

Is it obvious that what can’t be done for punishment can’t be done to exact information that is crucial to this society? It’s not at all an easy question, to tell you the truth.

The BBC interviewer, however, objected to Scalia’s use of the so-called “ticking time bomb” scenario to justify government torture. “It’s a bizarre scenario,” he said. “Because the fact is, it’s very unlikely you’re going to have the one person who can give you that information. So if you use that as an excuse to commit torture, perhaps that’s a dangerous thing.” Scalia responded:

Seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say that you can’t stick something under the fingernails, smack them in the face. It would be absurd to say that.

And the leading Republican presidential candidate:

The likely Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, voted against the bill. The former prisoner of war however said that his vote was consistent with his anti-torture stance.

"We always supported allowing the CIA to use extra measures," he said. "I believe waterboarding is illegal and should be banned," McCain said.

Yup, that's some "straight talk"; "I'm against waterboarding, so I'm voting for it."

My outrage echoes Blue Girl of Blue Girl, Red State:

I gotta get something off my chest. I am disgusted by the fact that we have come to the point as a society where we are even having this debate. It is abhorrent; it's sickening and disgusting. It's fucking insane that we have slid this far since we won the Cold War - less than twenty years ago! - by holding forth that we were Americans, and by virtue of that fact alone, we were simply above certain things. Gulags and torture among them. Now, we are infamous for them.

I am appalled that there are Americans among us who openly advocate for and debate the relative merits of the basic tenets of fascism. I remember a time when anyone advocating for the employment of torture (or domestic spying) would be ridiculed and driven from public life. The thought of a Supreme Court Justice absolving the practice was unthinkable.

What the fuck?

And don't get me started on FISA.

1 comment:

--Blue Girl said...

Thanks for the link Darlin'! I always appreciate being in good company, and we ain't dead yet...