Sunday, December 05, 2004

America, R.I.P.

I had 6 days in Las Vegas, during which my access to the Internet was intermittent, and my schedule was packed with technical classes, mostly as a student but for the one course I taught. Also, I didn't read any newspapers, watch any TV, or read any blogs, and found myself more blissful for my ignorance. Through this experiment, I came to understand the red state of mind. The slots are spinning, Rita Rudner's on the big monitor, the cocktail waitresses are wearing short skirts -- what's not to like? For this week, immersed within amazingly geeky tech issues, I could understand how many Americans are going through their lives, focused on their personal affairs, having fun, furthering their careers, and regarding politics as a distasteful, irrelevant sideshow to their lives. God knows, this attitude is seductive. I've been happier this past week nattering on about programming and writing code than I can remember being for four years.

Before the election, a friend declared his intention, if Bush was elected, to "watch out for me and mine", with the implication that the rest of the nation could go to hell as far as he was concerned, and deserve whatever happened to it. I'm starting to understand that attitude, especially when I see this news:
WASHINGTON - Evidence gained by torture can be used by the U.S. military in deciding whether to imprison a foreigner indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an enemy combatant, the government says.

Statements produced under torture have been inadmissible in U.S. courts for about 70 years. But the U.S. military panels reviewing the detention of 550 foreigners as enemy combatants at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are allowed to use such evidence, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle acknowledged at a U.S. District Court hearing Thursday.
Attorneys for the prisoners argued that some were held solely on evidence gained by torture, which they said violated fundamental fairness and U.S. due process standards. But Boyle argued in a similar hearing Wednesday that the detainees "have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court."

Leon asked whether a detention based solely on evidence gathered by torture would be illegal, because "torture is illegal. We all know that."

Boyle replied that if the military's combatant status review tribunals "determine that evidence of questionable provenance were reliable, nothing in the due process clause (of the Constitution) prohibits them from relying on it."
I write about torture often because I find the subject morally unambiguous. Comments on this post may avoid the hackneyed "but if you have the guy who knows where the nuclear time-bomb is..." Spare me. Spare all of us this ridiculous, Hollywood-induced illusory scenario. Torture is evil. We will "win" nothing through its use, except the contempt of civilized peoples. Meanwhile, the Oligarchy continually argues for its use. Sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by becoming apologists for torturers.

We will become a mad, pariah nation on this course. A people capable of such heights of nobility and such base crimes will be wondered at as the bones and the blasted shell of what was once a great civilization are picked over by historians of curious character and strong stomachs.

It's not good to be back.


Blogger amangler said...

Remember those arguments I made about Gonzalez last week? You know, about preferring him to Ashcroft and all? I take it all back.

12:24 PM  
Blogger amangler said...

Remember those arguments I made about Gonzalez last week? You know, about preferring him to Ashcroft and all? I take it all back.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Reductio said...

Hey AMANGLER, welcome back to the side of the angels. It is good that you've found your way out of the darkness.

If it turns out that he can heal the sick, forgive sin, and raise the dead, I would still be inclined to reconsider my opposition to Gonzoles though.

3:32 PM  

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