May 3, 2004
For don’t-miss weblog coverage, be sure to read Rivka, as well as Jim Henley and Billmon, all three of whom have been on fire for days. Kathryn Cramer also continues to be good on the shadowy business of “contract employees.”
Oh, and of course Juan Cole continues to make the case for actually knowing something about the Middle East, almost as if they had history and stuff over there. Yeah, I know, aren’t experts annoying? Who cares what they think.
Nathan Newman, another smart person, reminds us of the stakes at home:
The Bush administration wants not only the prisoners at Guantanamo but even American citizens they deem “enemy combatants” to be exempt from all judicial review of the conditions under which they are contained.In other words, This Could Be Your Next Vacation.
So who would then decide what conditions are acceptable? Military intelligence officers doing their interrogations.
And it is military intelligence officers who are accused of directing the torture of prisoners in Iraq.
Oh, all right, one Jim Henley quote. Take it away:
The “right wing” critique of the sort of interventionism that has led to the current state of the Iraq war was always simply that it is incompatible with republican virtue. That case has been well and truly proved by events. We ship people to foreign countries to be tortured based on evidence extracted by torture in the first place. We torture foreigners in their own land, then carefully circumscribe the attribution of responsibility. We lock American citizens detained in the US away without counsel and maintain they should have no right to appeal or review. We excuse ourselves by saying we’re not as bad as some departed despot.Last word to Ken MacLeod:
We used to have more pride than that, and it was justified. I want it back.
Something within you has become harder and colder this week. You’ve glimpsed the bestiality and the decadence, in the system’s nerves like a venereal disease. It’s sick, and there is something sexual in its sickness, something warped beyond therapy. The oiled skin of a gladiator, the lusty roar of the arena. A line from Cornford, whom you haven’t read for years, slides beneath the surface of your mind. ‘The painted boy in the praetorian’s bed.’ Camphor and pincers, piss and blood. You’re in this rotting system, you’re part of it. You pay the soldiers. Civis Romanus sum.