Tuesday, November 03, 2009
UnaccountableThought I should bring to your attention a piece by Andrew Sullivan in the October Atlantic. In an open letter to former President George W. Bush, Sullivan makes the argument, a substantial and persuasive argument, that Bush should take responsibility for the acts of torture committed by Americans, acting under his orders and carrying out his policies, in Iraq and Afghanistan and in who knows how many dark places here and around the world.
I think Sullivan is delusional if he believes that Bush is capable of accepting accountability for the mistakes and misdeeds of his administration, but the article is compelling despite the pathetic naivete of its author.
Here, an excerpt:
When a human being is tortured, his body and mind are used as weapons to destroy his agency and will. The point of torture is to render a suspect helpless in the face of government power, to make him a vessel for whatever the government wants from him. It is the polar opposite of Western freedom—not a threat to freedom or an infringement of it, but its nemesis. If liberty is white, torture is black. No society has remained free that has allowed its government to torture human beings. And no previous American president has imported the tools of torture into the very heart of the American system of government as you did.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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