Saturday, February 9, 2008

On a related note

After Downing Street has all sorts of items worthy of looking at, including an excerpt of a WSJ article on the recent revelation that much of the "interrogation" (personally I'd be more blunt and call it what it is - torture), including waterboarding was outsourced to "private contractors" (I prefer the term mercenaries). One feature of regimes that use torture is worth mentioning, given that article: whether it's the work of psychologists such as Mika Haritos-Fatouros (her 2003 book, The Psychological Origins of Institutionalized Torture, is a classic), and Phil Zimbardo, or sociologists such as Martha Huggins (who has co-authored a book about Brazilian torturers with Haritos-Fatouros and Zimbardo, Violence Workers, as well as authored - in the late 1990s - a book called Political Policing) and Marnia Lazreg (the latter of whom has recently authored a book called Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad), the torturing regime undergoes a sort of devolution process in which multiple agencies (or in the case of contemporary US as part of its "War on Terror") or mercenary organizations become increasingly involved in torture, become increasingly unaccountable to whatever democratically elected bodies might exist, resulting in increasing chaos as torturers and death squad members act with apparent impunity.

That torture is an impeachable offense should be a given (regrettably, getting the likes of Nancy Pelosi to acknowledge appears highly unlikely, and I'm pretty skeptical at this juncture that Conyers, for whom at one point I still had some respect, would be willing to move on impeachment hearings). At this point, we have the Bush regime admitting in public to waterboarding - a practice that the otherwise US-dominated United Nations contends should be prosecuted as torture.

I realize the rationale behind the Dems' do-nothing "leaders": why rock the boat in an election year? Here's a few things to ponder for those who seem to have consumed that Kool-Aid. It is nearly a 100% certainty that the current President will be issuing out quite a few pardons in the weeks following the November election - including a number of individuals whose hands are quite dirty when it comes to approving the use of torture in addition to himself and Cheney:
John Ashcroft
Alberto Gonzales
Donald Rumsfeld
George J. Tenet
John E. McLaughlin
Porter Goss
David Addington
Jay S. Bybee
John Yoo
Jack Goldsmith
General Ricardo Sanchez
General Geoffrey Miller
General Janis Karpinski
In other words, these war criminals WILL BE LET OFF THE HOOK IF BUSH/CHENEY ARE NOT IMPEACHED. That what passes for a Democrat party "leadership" is willing to accept that probability in exchange for the hope of gaining a few more seats in the House and Senate, believing that they are being "smart" by not being "divisive" merely makes them look like corrupt hypocrites who cannot be trusted. Not only would impeachment be the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, but from the more Machiavellian standpoint would seem quite smart - after all if past behavior is any indication, the party that pursues impeachment typically ends up reaping the spoils come election day. Perhaps that's the only thing that these so-called leaders would understand: refusal to do their part to uphold what's left of the Constitution, should cost them their jobs. At this point, the ONLY WAY that I would be even remotely interested in considering a Democrat for ANY elected position at the federal level is if their damned party gets its act together and commences posthaste on impeachment proceedings [1]. Otherwise, I'm left to continue concluding that Democrats are either cowardly or evil (or both). One can imagine just how motivated I'd be to show up to a polling place in November if that impression is allowed to persist. I may be only one person, but I will suggest that I'm not alone when it comes to being fed up with the continued failure of elected officials to hold those who've committed war crimes accountable.

Imagine if those fed up would-be voters not only refused to vote, but held some sort of general strike on election day. The latter is unlikely to happen, but man, would that drive the point across much more forcefully than merely staying home that whoever assumes the White House throne does not have a mandate; and that the same applies to which ever party has nominal control of Congress.

[1] As I've stated on numerous occasions here over the last several years, there is no way I'd vote for a Republican under any circumstances given that party's dismal record on human rights and civil liberties.

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