So where's the evangelical right wing when it comes to torture? What would our new Supreme Court Chief Justice say?
Emphases mine. Note the stages of torture acceptance.
WHO DID YOU TORTURE DURING THE WAR, DADDY?An old story, oft retold. This is how nations fall.
By Ted Rall Thu Sep 29,10:40 AM ET
Or, We Are All Torturers Now
... An army captain and two sergeants from the elite 82nd Airborne Division confirm previous reports that Bagram and other concentration camps in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan are a kind of Torture University where American troops are taught how to abuse prisoners who have neither been charged with nor found guilty of any crime...
... The latest sordid revelations concern Tiger Base on the border with
Syria, and Camp Mercury, near Fallujah, the Iraqi city leveled by U.S. bombs in a campaign that officials claimed would finish off the insurgent movement. After the army told him to shut up over the course of 17 months--tacit proof that the top brass condones torture--a frustrated Captain Ian Fishback wrote to two conservative Republican senators to tell them about the "death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment" carried out against Afghans and Iraqis unlucky enough to fall into American hands.
... By 2004 a third of Americans told pollsters that they didn't have a problem with torture.
... By Monday, September 26, the story of torture at Camps Tiger and Mercury to which New York Times editors had granted page one treatment two days earlier had vanished entirely. Only a few papers, such as the Seattle Times and Los Angeles Times, ran follow-ups.
In his 2000 book "Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture" John Conroy presciently describes the surprising means by which democracies are actually more susceptible to becoming "torture societies" than dictatorships ... Conroy goes on to describe the "fairly predictable" stages of governmental response:
First, writes Conroy, comes "absolute and complete denial." Rumsfeld told Congress in 2004 that the U.S. had followed Geneva "to the letter" in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The second stage," he says, is "to minimize the abuse." Republican mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh compared the murder and mayhem at Abu Ghraib to fraternity hazing rituals.
Next is "to disparage the victims." Bush Administration officials and right-wing pundits call the victims of torture in U.S. custody "terrorists," ...
Dick Cheney called victims of torture at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (who, under U.S. law, are presumed innocent) "the worst of a very bad lot." Rumsfeld called them "the worst of the worst."
Other government tactics include charging "that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state" (Right-wing bloggers have smeared me as a "terrorist sympathizer" because I argue against torture); denying that torture is still occurring (numerous Bush Administration officials claimed that Abu Ghraib marked the end of the practice); placing "the blame on a few bad apples" (the classic Fox News-Bush trope); and pointing out that "someone else does or has done much worse things" (the beheadings of Western hostages by Iraqi jihadi organizations was used to justify torturing Iraqis who didn't belong to those groups).
Citing the case of widespread and proven torture of arrestees by Chicago cops, Conroy noted: "It wasn't a case of five people...doing nothing or acting slowly, it was a case of millions of people knowing of an emergency and doing nothing. People looked about, saw no great crusade forming, saw protests only from the usual agitators, and assumed there was no cause for alarm. Responsibility was diffused. Citizens offended by torture could easily retreat into the notion that they lived in a just world, that the experts would sort things out.
Krugman and others have commented that Bush has transformed the American economy into something that resembles Argentina. Argentina has also had a history of governmental torture, and of social complicity. Maybe we should study Argentina a bit.
As for myself, I'll have to join a march or something. One day I may have to explain to the children what I was doing when America went over a cliff.