Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Trouble with Torture

As we approach Memorial Day this month, I started reflecting on the irony of our current security debate. The fact that we are even discussing torture as a possible means of information-gathering is appalling. People (Congress, military officials, and media) are getting into the nitty-gritty of whether waterboarding is actually torture, and even if it is that maybe it's ok when it's justified as a means to an end.

Are you kidding me?

We may think of ourselves as "civilized" or an "advanced society," but this conversation has all of the trappings of tribal war-lord tactics and can not be justified--no way, not ever. We hashed through all of this in the first two world wars and thus borne the Geneva Conventions. Because all agreed that torture was a bad thing for everyone involved. So have we really slunk so far in the last 60 years that we have to readdress this basic premise?

I realize that the last 8 years have followed the progressive path to fascism, but it's time for a turn-around. If you wanted a playbook of how to become a fascist dictator in a democratic society, George Bush sure stole from Mussolini and Hitler. What's worse is that now that he's out of office, we are still discussing this policy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Getting All Worked Up

Sometimes it's nice and relaxing reading the paper in the morning, and other times Dana Milbank likes to write about issues that just get me all riled up. Rush Limbaugh is inherently one of these issues. There used to be a joke about "think of a man, then take away logic and reason" and that would be Rush. What really gets me is not his crazy antics, but his scary followers. Most all of them live in my hometown. Trust me, they are very, very scary.

The irony of reading this article today was how much it contrasts so starkly with a conversation I had last weekend. A friend of mine's little sister just graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and we were all out celebrating. Not that celebrating would ever bring up these kinds of conversations, but something reminiscent about college and philosophy had us discussing Plato's The Republic. My friend was arguing how much fun it is to relive the conversation with his Libertarian friends. So you believe in NO government, "oh really?" It was such a delightful tête-à-tête that it made me go dig up my copy of The Republic.

It might be because I'm going to visit my hometown in a few weeks or just realizing how much I enjoy being in a city with complex, cognizant human beings. It might also be because my book club is discussing American Wife this weekend and I'm just highly attuned to the nuanced hypocracies that exist in our world. For whatever reason, I just couldn't let it go.