Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The nauseating reality of modern political culture, part 1

'Pentagon Resists Ban on "Degrading Treatment"'

That's from the Inter Press Service today. The US Pentagon resists writing in a ban on 'humiliating and degrading treatment' from its new detainee policies. Let's put aside the fact that such treatment is specifically banned by the Geneva Conventions to which the US is a signatory, making said conventions US law. And let's also put aside the fact that the US screeches from the rooftops at every opportunity the 'fact' that it is leading the way in promoting human rights. And we'd better not consider the idea that such activity not only further degrades the image of the US to the rest of the world (past those of us who have already cynically dismissed the idea of the US as the guys in the white hats...), but also incipiently opens up US personnel to being treated in such a manner without fear of reprisal by anyone else in the world.

Why, then, create 'new detainee policies'? Because in the world of political doublespeak, although there was 'no systematic or widespread mistreatment of detainees' the opportunities for same existed so the procedures had to be changed. This is military procedure for CYA. (And, uh, we're not even examining the legality or convenience of the term 'detainee' at the moment.)

Of course, as noted, I'm well within the group that expects exactly this kind of behavior from the US at every opportunity. Why? Because it has been going on since the inception of the nation, despite all of the flowery rhetoric that attempts and has attempted to belie it. Any routine examination of the writings of Major General Smedley Butler (Wikipedia is an excellent place to start...) will give you a good examination of the concept in the early 20th century. Let's not forget such historical treats as delivering smallpox-infected blankets as gifts to the natives, or even bring it closer to home by reading some of the accounts of GIs clipping the leads to a field radio to the genitals of Saigon hookers and giving'em a few cranks to see what they could get out of them.

Once you get past the lies, you run smack into the rationalizations: This happens in war! All nations do this! It's a regrettable occurrence when the chain of command breaks down! The gun didn't know I was loaded!

Sure. Great. That's right. Everyone does this. But not every regime in the world continually highlights itself as the promoter of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and tries to condemn other nations for exactly these kinds of activities. And not every nation in the world tries to play 'sole remaining superpower' while wailing plaintively about what the 'terrorists' are or could be doing to it. No hypocrisy is more galling than that crap. Reminds me of a quote from the Richmond Enquirer, 1856, during the height of the argument about slavery:

'Democratic liberty exists solely because we have slaves... freedom is not possible without slavery.'

Dwell for a minute on the mind it takes to write something like that and you'll soon be understanding the mindset of the criminals that currently run our government (and have been present in it for a long time, especially when it comes to the rights (or lack thereof) of darker-skinned people, whether in our nation our outside of it.) Mightiest nation in the world, but because some people MIGHT be thinking of disagreeing with our approach, they need to be treated as the greatest threat to Western society since communism (and we'll soon cover the so-called 'threat' of the latter for all of you idiots who believe in its inherent dangers.)

But... but... WE'RE AT WAR! Yeah. So was Oceania. That one was bullshit, too, but those fictional people, because they were stupid, still swallowed it; just like most of our non-fictional simps. And despite the fact that war is the one sure place you go to lose your humanity, if you're trying to spread the light of civilization to all corners of the world, humanity has to come with you, or all you are is another occupying army...


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