The Mirrors of Reason

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“Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.”

Octavio Paz

WE-DO-NOT-TORTURE

The depths to which we have sunk as a nation, as a people, is confounding even to cynics like me.  As much as I know about the dark side of our government, I still expected its most diabolical and grotesque practices such as the outright torture of helpless prisoners to remain in the shadows – something whispered about, hinted at but never fully revealed.  Perhaps it is good that these terrible things have come to light.  Perhaps now we can confront them and deal with them as we should.  It is discouraging, however, that 44% of the American people approve of torture.  As recently as 7 ½ years ago this would have been unthinkable.  I suppose we can take some small comfort in the fact that 31% qualify their support by stipulating that torture should only be used on ‘terrorists’ when innocent lives are at stake (the 24 scenario).  I guess that’s something.  But that leaves 13% of us who believe torture should be generally allowed.  As Kurt Vonnegut might have said, Jesus wept.

Torture-World-Views

Now comes neocon blowhard Christopher Hitchens, famous for his bellicose and unapologetic support of some of the worst national policies ever devised by human beings, volunteering to be waterboarded for the purpose of writing an article for which he was presumably well paid by Vanity Fair.  Hitchens, who defended conditions at Abu Ghraib, has an intellect that proves the old Chinese adage that the mind is a monkey.  Why people keep paying this monkey to publish his hateful drivel I’ll never know.

In kung fu there is a form called the Drunken Monkey – and it always makes me think of Hitchens.  Watch now as the MSM’s favorite Drunken Monkey gets waterboarded.

Hitchens Gets Waterboarded, Withdraws from Iraq in 11 Seconds

Stop the presses! Christopher Hitchens just noticed that waterboarding is torture!

Hitchens announced the news like he’d brought it down from Mount Sinai, in a Vanity Fair article. “Believe me,” he told a waiting nation, “it’s torture.” Well, yeah. It usually is, when it happens to you. When it happens to somebody else, it’s “extreme interrogation.”

Alternet

How many people do you suppose lack sufficient imagination to realize, without having to experience it for themselves, that waterboarding is torture?  Way too many apparently.

Former UN Human Rights Chief John Pace has said that the United States is torturing to death 500 to 1000 people a month in Iraq.

Transcript of Amy Goodman interview with John Pace.

Einstein-part-of-a-whole

I repeat my opening quote:

“Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.”

Octavio Paz

Can anyone who is wide-awake look at another human being and not see their family?  Can you really look at another human being and not see them as an infant, a toddler, an elder at the end of life?  Who can possess any wisdom at all and not see that we are all connected?  

Dalai-Lama-compassion-is-radicalism

You don’t have to be very smart to realize that torture does not produce reliable information, you don’t have to be very moral to recognize its evil, and you don’t have to be very compassionate to be outraged and heartbroken over its practice by our government.

We desperately need to wake people up in this country.  We need to educate people, and I don’t mean in the sense of what education has become – little more than job training.  I mean in the old fashion sense of liberal education where people are taught to question things, to question them deeply, and to not be afraid of the answers.

As a nation we need to stand before the mirrors of reason and take a good hard look.

Human Rights Watch

International Committee of the Red Cross

Amnesty International USA

World Organization Against Torture

UN Committee Against Torture

Veterans Against Torture

Blessed-are-the-merciful

37 comments

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    • OPOL on July 4, 2008 at 6:09 pm
      Author

    and meaning it.

    • Robyn on July 4, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    …be appreciated:  LINK.

    Always enjoy your offerings, OPOL.

    • srkp23 on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you.

    When Einstein and Buddha agree, shouldn’t we all sit up and listen? Take it to heart? Live compassion.  

  1. and even in the midst of all that wisdom, this stands out to me

    I mean in the old fashion sense of liberal education where people are taught to question things, to question them deeply, and to not be afraid of the answers.

     

    • srkp23 on July 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    if people were given the correct information–that torture does not work for intelligence gathering and information extraction–if they would still support it.  

  2. would certainly make the biggest difference IMHO.  You can’t argue a person out of a position they got to unreasonably, i.e. led only by fear, with reason.  They won’t recognize it.  But if they had the opportunity to be reasonable before backing themselves into a fearful position there might be a chance of decent resolution.  Good essay OPOL, so many good thoughts to consider.

    Since I live where there is a large concentration of the 13%ers, it sometimes seems more hopeless than it is.  The good news is while there might be a lot of them out here, together still aren’t a lot of us.  

    • OPOL on July 4, 2008 at 8:09 pm
      Author

    I have 200 miles to drive to see me pa, me brother and me sisters.  Happy 4th everybody.  And thank you very much for reading.  Love to all.

  3. “The North American system only wants to consider the positive aspects of reality. Men and women are subjected from childhood to an inexorable process of adaptation; certain principles, contained in brief formulas are endlessly repeated by the Press, the radio, the churches, and the schools, and by those kindly, sinister beings, the North American mothers and wives. A person imprisoned by these schemes is like a plant in a flowerpot too small for it: he cannot grow or mature.”

    Thanks for a great diary, OPOL.  Have a wonderful trip.

  4. looking at the graph you provided, we’re not in very good company. The good news? Half the bush loyalists don’t seem buy in. Hope that not falsely optimistic.

    As always, thanks.

    • RiaD on July 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    just w0w!

    you take my breath away……..

    • geomoo on July 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    We habitually and instinctively attune our thoughts to the thoughts of those around us, especially our leaders.  I think this explains this:

    The depths to which we have sunk as a nation, as a people, is confounding even to cynics like me.

    There has been a conscious effort, backed by the most effective and psychologically subtle propaganda machine in history, to attune people to accepting torture.  I even include the Survival type shows as a significant part of the problem:  people can’t trust one another, in the end it’s every person for himself; expressions of solidarity and support are contingent and shallow compared to the competition underneath; any of us could be thrown off the island at any time; and a lot more.

    I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to get into this essay before you left OPOL.  I’m wanting to reflect back several important things you said.  Lack of imagination, which could be called lack of compassion.  The monkey mind.  And on and on.

    Hope you had a good fourth with the fam damily.

  5. It is very surprising to see that many percentages in favor of torture.  Is it not just one more thing that has  gotten into the minds of people in a very insidious way, such that it almost seems alright?

    History has shown over and over that torture never evoked the truth from anyone and never solved anything period, other than to sate the appetite of the torturer.  Hell, if I or you were being tortured, wouldn’t we say just about anything to stop the torture?

    Torture is just plain inhumane and indicates little progress by any society if it can still exist.  People who have been tortured can never, ever resume a normal mode of living.  

     

  6. thank you…..

  7. but most excellent essay.

    Right on, darling, right the fuck on!

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