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Wednesday, November 02, 2005


american gulags

the washington post today ran a long investigative report on secret american prisons in the former soviet union and elsewhere around the planet.

this is an expansion of what has previously been known, both about the american global prison/torture network and extraordinary rendition.

those who apologize for torture and illegal secret prisons invariably cite their safety as the primary concern behind condoning these heinous acts. certainly those who live in a ridiculous mortal fear of dying in a terrorist act would not be appeased by a trivial net reduction in the threat they perceive. the unstated implication of the apologia is that there must be a meaningful reduction -- and it follows that a greater reduction would be better.

so, without saying as much, the apologist posits a moral threshold. my question: at what point does our level of monstrous amorality and -- no other term fits -- abject sin become so spiritually painful for us that we accept some higher probability of dying in an event that has never happened to us and in all likelihood will never happen to us?

clearly it's beyond fabricating wars of moral weakness in afghanistan and iraq and the deaths of thousands of american boys and girls in same, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of iraqis and afghanis. clearly it's beyond the bill of rights, as the patriot act and other legislation has proven. clearly it's beyond the establishment of a global imperial gulag network. (and now it seems more than ever, "gulag" is an appropriate term.)

so where does it stop? what level of self-revulsion will give us a sufficient illusion of control of our destiny?

i hope it isn't far off -- especially considering these acts are being done merely for the illusion, as the evil of the acts themselves guarantee redoubled efforts on the part of those who oppose us in our madness.

UPDATE: reason's comments.

Torture is prohibited.

And what about freedom and democracy for Afghanis and Iraqis?

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