So, what is the point of torture? Let's connect the dots. The Republicrats are engaged not only in supporting murder of US citizens, not only in supporting the renting out of prisons and their populations to vicious corporations, and not only in stripping rights of free speech while increasing rights to own, carry, and hide weapons in public. They are also engaged in what the Democans label a "war on women." Nice distraction. Naomi Wolf in the UK Guardian advances an interesting theory about the “war on women.” She argues it’s not primarily, as usually claimed, a war on feminism or progressivism.
Let me be clear: While the Dems make better noises, in the past several years they have done little to advance the interests of anyone, female or male, who isn't rich. As mentioned here before, Bill Clinton did what the Repubs failed to accomplish: He dismantled the safety net for poor women. Barack Obama promised to close Guantanamo but, not only kept it open, one year ago he re-launched Guantanamo's notorious "military tribunals," claiming military commissions "ensure that our security and our values are strengthened." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12671777 This would be hilarious, except it isn't. It's tragic.
Before a fascist state can move against real enemies, it must create internal “others.” Women, gays, and immigrants serve that purpose. For a disgusting list, for example, of newly aired “anti-PC” descriptions of women as animals by men (and even women) in power, see this: http://www.alternet.org/story/155362/6_absurdly_demeaning_conservative_attacks_on_women?page=entire
In pre-World War II Germany, Jews, gypsies, and Communists provided the fodder on which hate could feed. Like the sidewalk busker distracting the mark from his sleight of hand, the current government sets up targets for a naïve public, leveraging anger against those who have destroyed a way of life for hundreds of thousands of Americans. That real anger, tethered by a sense of impotence, too often gets released against women, people of color, gays, and immigrants, in short, against any “other,” just as hungry Germans vented their rage at the expense of German Jews.
As I've been saying, we see less and less of the freedoms we took for granted as Americans. The NY Times of May 29 reveals Obama's bloodlust as he reviews and selects from a hit list that includes "several Americans." Since the launch of Occupy Wall Street, more than 75 journalists have been arrested. Freedom of the press has reached an all-time low, salvaged only by the wide-open spaces of the Internet. Unfortunately, those spaces are endangered by ongoing attempts to colonize the net in order to keep the riffraff from posting. As Naomi Wolf notes,
Even scarier, Google ensures the absolute lack of anonymity of those who post online. We’ve all noted our gmail running ads that reflect content of personal emails. A friend and I emailed back and forth about nothing but “trucks.” It didn’t take the robo-spies at Google long to pick up on that "private" content and start pushing various truck sellers to us. But the commercialism of privacy is merely one wing of a conspiracy that broadens, it seems, minute by minute:
Returning to the dilemma of Lakhdar Boumediene--like Kafka’s “prisoner,” he still has no idea why he spent seven years of his life in hell, five years after being told his captors knew of his innocence. Psychology 101 teaches us we most despise in others what we cannot overcome in ourselves. Ranting against terrorist acts while committing them qualifies. The CIA is a terrorist organization, the United States a terrorist state, feared by too many people across the globe. The purpose of torture is not to elicit information. Level-headed intelligence personnel, past and present, point out that interrogation works best when the person conducting the interview (1) knows the subject’s language well; (2) understands the subject’s culture; and (3) goes after the information indirectly, through befriending and disarming the subject. These techniques worked beautifully on German prisoners of war in WWII.
But the purpose of the torture in which the US is engaging is not to garner information. The purpose is to terrify--and not only to terrify the subject of the interrogation, but additionally to terrify those of us who understand, there but for the grace of the government go I.