Inspection- Of Suddenly Converted Relativists and Torture Deniers
Why does all this torture debate remind me of “either it’s right, or wrong,” “rule of law,” “the meaning of ‘is'” and “I did not have sex with that woman…” only the offenses here make all that past overwrought angst seem mildly piddling in comparison? You mean we sent Susan McDougal to prison; forced her to live in a cell block with high profile targets: women who murdered their own children, and we’re going to become all relativistic about this?
Oh, and I forgot to mention: the sides here have completely flipped. Relativists have decided they are now absolutists; absolutists have become squishy, weak kneed relativists; with the firm morals of watery jello.
One of my great joys on the web is the give and take over at a site called Volconvo.. It’s billed as a debating site, though I prefer to think of it as a learning site: where we learn how to discuss topics and about the different thinking processes we all have.
On a thread called 9/11= Inside Job a while ago I was exposed to the absolutist rhetoric of those who are fond of using “truthers” and “deniers” when it comes to insulting and making fun of those who question the official 9/11 story. “Deniers,” of course, has been pulled from the term “holocaust deniers” and applied unevenly, in my opinion, to both those who have questions and concerns… and those who have built up a convoluted theory. Plus, how can one even begin to compare toasting millions of Jews and other “undesirables” with those wondering out loud about what actually happened, or even those a bit more “out there…” who have designed their own personal absurdly complex conspiracy theory-based tinfoil hat?
A patently absurd comparison, content-wise.
But if we do use this admittedly somewhat off-based comparison, then I find it amusing that some of those love to slap around those who question 9/11 suddenly get all pro-denying when it comes to torture.
Doesn’t matter if we prosecuted, even executed, soldiers for waterboarding in the past.
Doesn’t matter if children are included in these various methods to get at their parents.
Doesn’t matter if electricity was applied to genitals.
Doesn’t matter if due process is denied and torture was applied to those who simply were pointed to by a vengeful neighbor as “suspicious.”
Doesn’t matter if a method of drowning was applied well over 100 times to at least one person.
Doesn’t matter if pepper spray was applied to a detainee’s hemorrhoids.
Doesn’t matter that this was used to try to get detainees to provide false connections: bin Laden with Saddam, to provide cover for a war that, like any war tends to, killed innocent people in horrific ways.
Suddenly now everything’s relative. What would be a simple example of an out of control administration and abusive; corrupt, interrogators becomes all complex; so convoluted. And if it works, well the it must be justified, right? Admitted Christians turn “turn the other cheek” into “turn and slam that cheek against a wall until he says what we want him to say.”
The very meaning of the word “torture” is being tormented with excuses worthy a mentally ill parent of a bully-boy; who might ask the parents regarding the conflict with their now hospitalized son, “But how ‘effective” were my son’s methods?”
And in regard to Dick Cheney’s talk about unclassified, secret, memos that “prove” torture “worked,” well then he’s either lying, or as only a citizen now… revealing state secrets for his own personal gain. In that case he’s a traitor and should be prosecuted as such. It really is that simple and not so convoluted.
That’s real “rule of law: “real “justice.”
If we are going to reuse and redefine the term “holocaust denier” then this seems a far more apt application: for these “deniers” will do and say anything to deny and excuse torture. Their kind of approach would feel all too familiar to those who ignored Jews being experimented on, or when they were sent to the ovens… or made excuses for why it was “OK.” And, of course, it would familiar to those who have confronted Holocaust deniers. These modern day “deniers:” despite our having prosecuting it before, believe torture isn’t torture… if we do it.
Or if “it worked.”
Or if “what they do to us is worse.”
All the same excuses some of them probably used when they beat up some kid in elementary school for fun and pleasure. Now they’ve moved on to supporting drowning people, reviving them, then drowning them again over 100 times.
Yes, it’s all relative: if you want to go all pansy on “rule of law.” In that case? Even murder of the innocent might be considered “relative.” Every time a Rove or a Cheney open their mouth lately, all I hear is, “‘Was’ it torture? Well, depends upon what your definition of the meaning of ‘is’ is.”
And it “is.”
Once again proving their masterful ability to torture both context and syntax, and confuse tenses. That should make us all “tense” when it comes to their idea of “justice.”
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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