Saturday, June 23, 2007

Walt Disney's "Adolph Eichmann"

The toothpaste smile of the all-American, "girl next door"
David Seaton's News Links
This article by William Pfaff is a "must read". This subject has gotten me rereading Hannah Arendt's "Eichmann in Jerusalem", whose subtitle, "A Report on the Banality of Evil", perfectly describes the system that has been created and which, for want of a better name, we call "Bush". DS

The American Enthusiasm for Torture - William Pfaff
Abstract: Probably the most disturbing – to an American – of the developments in the United States since 2001 has been the manner-of-fact way in which torture has been adopted by the United States as a normal aspect of its military and intelligence operations. At the beginning there was very little protest, and indeed very little discussion, in Congress and the mainstream media at the adoption by the United States of what a few years before had been Nazi wartime SS and Gestapo methods.(...) The first serious public protest followed the Abu Ghraib prison revelations, and the main objection articulated was that they made the United States look bad. They were passed over in military reports as merely the clumsy brutalities of untrained “hillbilly” National Guardsmen, and an NCO was sent to prison. In fact he and the others had been ordered to “soften up” the victims before the real torturers arrived. The same absence of protest was largely true throughout the American military services, supposedly committed to an ethic of “honor” (remember the West Point oath, to “duty, honor, country”?), and legally bound by international treaty, national law, and military regulations to eschew torture. Still more significant was the apparent indifference (or political intimidation) of the public and politicians, again reflected in the press. At the end of May of this year, the Bush administration was reportedly reviewing its methods of torture, in order to ban or limit some methods that, when revealed, had eventually stirred public expressions of disapproval, such as simulated drowning or “waterboarding,” while at the same time enlarging or intensifying the permitted use of other methods as yet secret. This review continues to be reported in the same manner-of-fact way as discussion of farm subsidies, trade talks, or tax legislation.(...) We are also encouraged to feel concern for America’s patriotic torturers and give them our support. An article in The Washington Post early in June wrote of the “tortured lives” of the torturers themselves.(...) Only amateurs think that ever-increasing pain produces accurate and useful information, although this seems from the beginning to have been the conviction of the President and his legal advisor, now America’s attorney general. Allied interrogators during world war II, who knew the language and culture of the peoples they were dealing with, used widely-known non-coercive techniques, including those employed with consistent success by intelligence and criminal police interrogators the world over (including the FBI men who visited Iraq and sent scandalized reports back to Washington, to be ignored). The president’s terminology concerning the still-secret “enhanced interrogation techniques” that he insists are “crucial” to American success, according to the conservative writer Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic magazine was originally Nazi. It was used to describe SS and Gestapo practices that in 1948 were determined to have been war crimes subject to the death penalty. Current discussion, such as it is, still mainly concerns the legality of these practices. Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 commission and a former advisor to Condoleezza Rice, stated the vital point when he recently said that a concern to established the legal frontier “obscures the core of the issue....My own view is that the cool, carefully considered, methodical, prolonged, and repeated subjection of captives to physical torment, and the accompanying psychological terror, is immoral. I offer no opinion as to whether such conduct is a federal crime, merely that it is immoral.” READ IT ALL

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you want to know why people are not more concerned. Try this. First of all you santitise all stories, ie you have a media that can tell the same story without the 'gore'. Then when debate comes you always claim that you are defending your country from attack. Any humanitarian arguement against that is simply met with 'needs must', dress it up with a veil of legality and the people will look away.
If the arguement goes further, then you accuse the otherside of having a lack of patriotism. It works the same in any country.