Monday, May 22, 2006

Torture Awareness Month

One of the things I've learned about politics from my time in the trenches is that you basically have two sorts of people in any political organization:
1) People who support certain policies and have certain positions on things and so side with the party, and
2) Authoritarians- people who basically believe the party should have power.

It's like this in any organization. You have the people who work with others to further specfic goals, and those who simply want to further the hegemony of the party. To give an example of this on the left, Sartre was someone who eventually accepted the idea of show trials for the enemies of the Soviet state. So, excessive state power wasn't really a problem for this old member of the resistance, as long as it was his state and his party.

But, you have the same authoritarians on the right, albeit usually in fascist parties. Currently, there seem to be two sides in the debate over the methods of the war on terror. As usual, the left has no say in the conversation. And the right seems to be split between the more libertarian right, who have a problem with increasing state power, torture, rendition and so forth, and the authoritarian right, who generally don't.

It's heartbreaking to think that we're arguing over whether or not we should use torture. But, alas, we can do it. And that seems to be the argument for doing it.

The argument against torture is here, and here, and here. The pragmatic argument against it from CIA agents and ex-agents is here.

June is torture awareness month, although honestly, the people who are unaware of all this are willfully so. This information is in newspapers, all over the Internet, and readily available in book form. So, the "few frat pranks" at "Club Gitmo" people are willfully ignorant. The list of homicides during interrogation are here. Locations of torture here.

And so it goes. I hope that posting this helps. But, what I'm starting to understand is that the thing that made the KGB the KGB wasn't any particular ideology- it was that they could be the KGB. And what made apparatchiks support them wasn't any ideology- for all of his talk of ideology, Sartre could have cared less. They simply supported power, and the right of power to do as power wishes. And, in the end, if you are willing only to support this, you lose the right to support anything else, or oppose anything at all.


Ingrid said...

Rufus, excellent post and well put!
Found you by way of Mash's 'Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying' as he included you in his 'world of blogs' list. I am not into linking at this time (too many distractions to beautifying and making my site look too cool) but I will put you in my favourites list. You make too much sense, scary!

Rufus said...


Cyberotter said...

Articles for Day 1 and Day 2 have been posted.

I encourage everyone to cross-post or write your own articles as much as possible this month.

Thank you

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