What to Do about Torture, by Steven D

Reposted with permission from Booman Tribune

I’ve just Read Clammyc’s diary,  This is Not Torture. First, let me say I was disgusted by what I read there. Even though I have read many similar stories before about the torture that was condoned and authorized in our names, to protect our freedoms, such descriptions never fail to make me physically ill. Beyond the sheer immorality of these acts, and their illegality under American and international law, we know that there was simply no justifiable reason for these “activities” — no ticking time bomb, no great or imminent terrorist threats that were exposed. It’s mostly been practiced on people with little or no connection to Al Qaeda.

So, what do we do? The media won’t cover this issue. Congress won’t hold impeachment hearings. McCain will likely continue the same pattern of deceit regarding the abuses at Gitmo, and at American bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and other “detention facilities” if he is elected President. He certainly won’t make it a priority to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration since he believes we are legitimately fighting the terrorists in Iraq, and he would like to fight the terrorists in Iran, too, for that matter. As for our Democratic candidates it likely won’t be a priority for them, either, unless we can raise public consciousness of the issue.

But how do we do that, Steven D (you rightly ask)? Everyone in the progressive/liberal blogosphere is already talking up a storm about these abuses (for all the good that will do). And I believe that no matter how well written, or how full of righteous anger and purpose we decry the Bush administration’s use of torture, we are unlikely to influence the public discussion about this issue unless the discussion moves onto our tee-vee screens.

And since we know the big media won’t broadcast any stories regarding torture by Americans, for fear of “bad ratings” or fear of offending the Bush administration or because they are owned by conservative nutjobs who get the kicks out of imagining brown people who talk funny being kicked and beaten and drowned, how is that ever likely to happen?

Well, the only way we ever get anything on tee-vee these days — we pay for it. In short we need to create a 527 or 501(c) organization which will produce and run tee-vee ads showing the people who were tortured, or their torturers, describing in graphic detail what was done, showing pictures of that torture (we can start with Abu Ghraib photos), and using celebrity voiceovers (I think this would be a good use of George Clooney’s talents, but I’m sure there are others who are equally qualified) to provide the narrative structure for these ads. Some appropriately somber music in the background would be nice also. I like Berber’s Adagio for Strings myself.

So, Moveon.org,, Mr. George Soros and/or other wealthy liberal bigwigs, put your money where your outrage is located, please. Because once one of these organizations is created I guarantee the same people who are donating online to the Obama and Clinton campaigns, as well as many other decent Americans who abhor the very thought of torture being carried out in our name, will add our donations to whatever you contribute as seed money. I suggest that to get the ball rolling we all email Moveon.org (especially those of us who our members) and recommend they get the ball rolling? Here’s the link to their contact page.

And if anyone knows how to reach George Clooney or your favorite celebrity, feel free to post that information as well.

Ps. I no longer have access to Daily Kos so if anyone who still does would like to reprint this diary in it’s entirety over there (or anywhere else on the net) feel free.  


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  1. …just the frugal part of me coming out.

    Frankly, I think our best shot at something is to have an international human rights group meet one of the Bush admin members who cooked this thing up at an airport in Paris or London that has human rights laws on the book that allow for investigations of abuses not happening on British or French soil.

    Seriously – it sounds lame but I think this is our best shot.

  2. this one.  

    The more that we dig in, the more horrified we become by all that we learn.

    BTW, “Taxi to the Dark Side,” which I have seen in its entirety and which I thought I had posted at clammyc’s diary, was only a trailer.  I searched and searched for the one in its entirety — it seems to have been removed.  For those interested, I found a site which has each of the 1 though 8 segments of “Taxi to a Dark Side.”  It is superbly done, but is totally gut-wrenching.


    BTW, nice to see you! 🙂

  3. if any network would show that TV ad. Most of the networks are owned by the big corporations that are making a killing (literally) off of their war contracts, and I can’t imagine them wanting to injure their fat golden goose. Not that I wouldn’t be all for trying, though.

  4. truemajority.org asking if there was anything they could do. Will post any reply.

  5. with the campaign to organize a strike on May Day.

    The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.   —Milan Kundera

  6. This is a brilliant idea. Somehow, the message that men can take a pill to make them “larger” is being broadcast daily to every corner of the country, don’t you think there is room for real news?

    I produced a 15-second commercial for a friend advertising a concert. He bought a discount block of 50 airings that ran over 3 days at non-specific times. I’m going to find out what he paid, but I think it was under $1000.

    I wonder what the requirements are for airing “public information” messages are? I’m thinking out loud here, and I’m thinking smaller than Clooney (he has a restraining order against me).

    I think, for practice, I will create a segment and go through the motions of submitting it to a local TV station and see what shakes out.  

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