I wish I had written that dept......
From Tim Kreider at The Pain. Not only does the guy pen some of the most ferocious cartoons I've ever seen, the guy can write. And I mean really write.
I experienced yet another one of those increasingly frequent moments of surreal and terrible lucidity, when I realize how terrifyingly far we’ve come from anything I recognize as the America I grew up in, when it occurred to me that we’ve started thinking of the hawkish and anti-choice John McCain as a reasonable moderate because he’s opposed to torture.
A few years ago "anti-torture" wasn’t even a political position; it was like being "anti-rape" or "anti-genocide"--it pretty much went without saying, unless you were an out-and-out monster.
A national politician being referred to as "anti-torture" is one of those clever background details that a science-fiction novelist would drop to clue us in to the fact that we’re in some brutal fascist dystopia of the future or a nightmarish parallel history where the Nazis won the war.
I can no longer pinpoint the moment when supposedly respectable people were no longer ashamed to debate the merits of "torture" in public, when we became an unapologetically evil nation; it’s like trying to identify exactly when you ceased to be a decent person and drifted over some unnoticed line into corruption and depravity. The scenario routinely invoked to justify torture—a nuclear device about to be detonated in Times Square, only an hour until it goes off, and we have one terrorist in custody who knows where it is!--is such a ludicrously unrealistic James Bond fantasy I can’t believe anyone takes it seriously.
If 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have shown us anything, it’s that the first time the Bush administration will hear about a nuclear weapon being detonated in America will be when some reporter tells them about it. Bush will be obliviously joshing around with billionaire donors at a campaign fundraiser while the rest of us are weeping in horror at footage of children’s skin peeling off in East Orange. Anyway, didn’t we manage to beat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan while observing the Geneva conventions?
This delusion that torturing people is going to make us tougher in the War on Terror is a fantasy that has more to do with fear and hatred than with real security--like the fearful adolescent fantasy that owning a gun will keep you safe from all those gangstas and serial killers and child molesters you hear about on Fox News and in the New York Post.
A few days ago my colleague and old comrade-at-arms from the war-protest days, Megan, sent me a MoveOn "action alert," urging me to write me representatives and the President and ask them not to nuke Iran. "http://political.moveon.org/dontnukeiran/ was the url." Again, I can’t believe the phrase "don’t nuke Iran" is even necessary.
It seems to me like we really ought not to have to be in the position of begging our government not to nuke anyone, just as in the ordinary course of events I don’t have to talk my friends out of raping anyone. But, as Batman once said, "It’s isn’t exactly a normal world, is it?"