Torture: To Discuss Freedom is to be Free
By Bernie Quigley
- for The Hill on 424, 2009
After the abuses at Abu Ghraib were revealed, The New York Times and other major newspapers and the networks opened their op-ed pages a congenial and brotherly discussion of torture. Torture then had binary parts; those sort of for and those sort of against - this is a sort of Hegelian dialectic which insures the establishment of torture in one realm or another and to a degree to which it has never existed in our republic before. It is a complete compromise of character by the weakling, cowardly and appeasing voice of the horde, today's mainstream journalists who stood on the front of M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and M2A3 Bradley fighting vehicles, hair in the wind, leading the invasion of Iraq.
Arthur Koestler – novelist, agent provocateur and spirit father of the neocon adventure - referred to torturers in his time - the children of Franco - as the scum of the earth and it is interesting that the neocon journalists who were originally formed by Koestler's heroic character in opposition to Stalin’s murderous thugs first advanced this discussion. But in Koestler's time, the torturers were them; The Others. They were not those among us and we did not consider them to be part of our humanity: We defined our humanity in opposition to them and their very existence as if they were a different moral species. Today, as per the discussion in the press, it is us.
To discuss freedom is to be free. To discuss torture is to enter the penal colony and become the torturer. That this discussion exists at all today is evidence that the American republic as it was born and reared has lost its talisman.
It is startling that the appeasers in the press only accommodate to a new force in Congress which insults 2,000 years of the European tradition and religious history. As torture, like the repeal of habeas corpus and the establishment of American gulags for supposed terrorists – supposed without trial or defense - has only entered into the American political realm and discussion since the rise of the hungry pack of wolves which brought forth George W. Bush.
To discuss torture is to enter the moral condition of the true slave; the one who prefers moral submission to clarity of heart and mind; the one who has not the courage to stand free and fast in opposition; the one who enters the discussion in objectivity; the coward who lacks passion and holds on head down through the difficult years lest s/he lose the pension. This is William Whyte’s Organization Man now a pale Xerox copy of the original banality on into the third generation; s/he is the weakling who enables the Wolf. And in our time it was very few; Wesley Clark, Ron Paul, Colin Powell chief Lawrence Wilkerson and John McCain, who spoke with the cold, clear voice of rigid opposition and without nuance, bullshit or discussion. As Dr. Paul said at the time on Fox TV, disarming their commentator who hoped to accommodate him as a fledgling into their tribe: "Upton Sinclair once wrote that when American became a fascist state it would do so wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross."
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman today correctly calls for America to reclaim its soul by investigating the roots of torture because, as he says, “America is more than a collection of policies. We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals.”
Those who brought us into this realm will soon descend to the Hole of Shame and Nothingness from which they have come sputtering forth. Consider that their life force was not, never was, can never be, strong enough. America is an Awakening land, an Enlightenment culture and the Land of the Free. One day we will again be a slave culture perhaps in the mind and in the heart only, beholding to priest, the brute and the politician alike, as everything which awakens returns to sleep.
But not today.