Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Complicity -- and Accountability -- on Torture.

One of the things about Republicans and their apologists which I find most staggering is their utter lack of morality and their seemingly endless ability to reverse their position and suggest that they are somehow being consistent.

It used to be argued that the US did not torture and that one was being an America-hater to even suggest that they were.

Then Cheney popped up to argue that the debate should actually be about whether or not torture worked, which appeared to render their original outrage as dubious to say the least.

However, as talk continues to swirl around the subject of prosecutions, they are now trying a completely new tactic which suggests that their initial defence - that the US did not torture and that it was anti-American to suggest that they did - could only have been believed by the most stupid members of society.

Weisberg, writing in Newsweek: "By 2003, if you didn't understand that the United States was inflicting torture upon those deemed enemy combatants, you weren't paying much attention. This is part of what makes applying a criminal-justice model to those most directly responsible such a bad idea. The issue we need to come to terms with is not just who in the Bush administration did what, but our collective complicity in their decision.... Prosecuting Bush and his men won't absolve the rest of us for what we let them do."
And here's Kinsley making a similar point:
"If you're going to punish people for condoning torture, you'd better include the American citizenry itself... Prosecuting a few former government officials for their role in putting our country into the torture business would not serve justice or historical memory. It would just let the real culprits off the hook."
Get it? If you were one of the people stupid enough to believe their claims that they did not torture - and I have a certain person who used to comment here in mind at the moment - then you simply weren't paying enough attention.

The argument now is that it was so blatant that the Bush administration were engaging in torture that the entire populace are as guilty as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and you can't prosecute them unless the entire population joins them in the docks.

Of course, what Weisberg and Kinsley actually mean is that it was always obvious to them that the US was torturing people. But they did their very best to defend or hide or generally rationalise away any sense of outrage which people would naturally have on learning that their government were aping the Spanish Inquisition.

And now they seek to imply that the populace are dumb for ever taking any of their previous rationalisations seriously.

It really takes some amount of chutzpah to hold that position with a straight face. But, as Greenwald points out, it's the only defence which they are left with and we really shouldn't be surprised:
"The very same pundits and establishment journalists who today are demanding that we forget all about it, not look back, not hold anyone accountable, are the very same people who...played key roles in hiding, enabling and defending these crimes. In light of that, what is less surprising than the fact that, almost unanimously, these very same people oppose any efforts to examine what happened and impose accountability?"
Now, the people who enabled and defended torture are seeking to make the entire populace as responsible as Bush and Cheney for ever having been stupid enough to believe their lies.

That takes some set of balls to carry off. And a remarkable amount of utter shamelessness.

Click title for source.


Anonymous said...


Are you on Facebook? We have set up a page there titled "Bad Apple Books". We will be releasing Lynndie England's biography on June 1. Also, our website will be up in the next 48 hours:



Kel said...

Thanks Katrina, I'll check it out!