Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Torturous Road to Hope and Change

The furor over enhanced interrogation techniques continues, with Obama flip-flopping on the release of the internal interrogation memos, and on whether or not there will be prosecutions. Maybe the people who believe he’s getting messages beamed into his brain are right. But his decisions – no matter where they were spawned – are paralyzing. Hal Lindsey at World Net Daily elaborates:

What purpose did releasing the alleged "torture" memos serve? For our country, I mean. It is painfully obvious how it served our enemies. In war, any accurate information the enemy holds is too much information. Logic screams in pain at the arguments advanced by the government – that it intended to project "legal and moral clarity" over the issue of torture.

We have so effectively parsed and deconstructed reality that half the country no longer knows what torture is. As a result, they believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney authorized the use of illegal torture: something that the self- righteous “we are better than that” crowd would never condone because, well, they’re better than that.

First, the techniques were authorized after legal authority was obtained from the Justice Department. So you disagree with their opinion, fine. It wasn’t your job to make the call.

Second, has the country become so wussified that half of us truly don’t know what torture is? Here is the bottom line - slapping someone: not torture. Panties on the head: not torture. Caterpillars in your cell: not torture. Walling: sounds scary, but not torture. Water boarding, while decidedly unpleasant: not torture in the real world sense of the term. It’s a part of training for certain military personnel. I don’t think we’re in the practice of torturing our elite forces either.

No. The “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized for use against those that would kill us were not even vaguely similar to torture techniques used by the Nazis (I presume this comes as a surprise to Frank Rich.) Operations without anesthesia, beatings to near death, starvation, breaking bones, gouging out eyes, removing digits, ripping fingernails out: that constitutes torture. And there are dozens of other practices that no one would dispute fall within the torture handbook. They are designed to inflict severe pain and bodily injury that may or may not ever heal. Loud music, bugs in your bed, even water boarding doesn’t do that by design. And an informative side note: Nazis slaughtered 6 million of their torture victims. Islamo-fascists frequently culminate their torture with a ritual beheading. And whether you want to concede it or not, they are our sworn enemies and remain at war with us.

The inability to differentiate between actual torture and what used to be known as “the third degree” is either the result of our culture’s embrace of relativity or an extension of the moronic “zero-tolerance” policy blithely adopted by schools and other organizations towards alcohol, drugs and weapons. In fact, they’re inter-related. Moral relativity rejects moral absolutes and leads to insane conclusions such as “all cultures are equal” and all “views are equally valid,” (except, for some reason, conservative views which are just plain wrong.) If you accept relative morality, it precludes you from being judgmental (again, unless you’re judging a conservative, who is just plain wrong).

Enter zero-tolerance programs. Here any transgression of a policy, law, or regulation is unacceptable and will be dealt with identically, whether a major or minor transgression and regardless of extenuating circumstances. This idiotic policy results in absurd outcomes such as the expulsion of a high school honor student for carrying ibuprofen in her backpack , and the suspension of a middle-school student for carrying a nail clipper. Bureaucrats love this policy. Why? Because once again, zero-tolerance requires zero-judgment. “My life is easy, and I feel noble about it at the same time.”

Not being able to differentiate between extremely unpleasant interrogations and torture is axiomatic of a hyperbolic culture that relies on cut and dried guidelines of politically correct thinking and speaking to navigate through all social discourse. When the boundaries of political correctness are breached, they fly into a rage of self-righteous indignation without so much as a pause to contemplate the severity of the offense. They don’t have to, because the proscribed reaction is at the ready. We have pre-established what we will tolerate and what we have zero-tolerance for. So why should torture be any different? The elite left has determined what qualifies as torture, so no extenuating circumstances – such as 14th century barbarians at the gate who want to kill us, or Justice department opinions that disagree with theirs– will change their minds.

As Frank Rick explains, nothing short of a few good show trials will address these egregious crimes.

President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It won’t vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We don’t need another commission. We don’t need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

Nothing hyperbolic here. Way to leave the past behind. Way to ensure unity. Way to hope for a change. Way to go.