May 13, 2004

Torture and the S&M War

Greetings. The abuse photos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq have caused some wags to dub this the U.S. "S&M" war, suggesting that some of the images seen publicly so far are reminiscent of those seen on Web sites for sadomasochism enthusiasts.

I'll leave it to persons experienced in such recreations to judge the validity of those comparisons, though it seems to me that it's quite a stretch to make any linkage between what is presumably consensual activities between adults vs. the images of abuse and torture that we've already seen, and the others we will eventually see, whether the Bush Administration chooses to release them officially or the photos and movies filter out from other sources.

The topic of torture has been big in the news lately of course, and the horrific beheading of a U.S. civilian triggered the usual "isn't torture sometimes justified?" arguments from the spooks and apologists affiliated with Other Government Agencies such as (insert your favorite three-letter agency acronym here).

The short answer is no, torture is never justified, for a myriad of reasons that have been widely discussed in the past. We know that terrorists kill and do other horrible things. They don't need excuses to perform their reprehensible acts. But neither should we stoop to activities that even begin to approximate their mindset in any way.

It might be illuminating to revisit a Reality Reset satire column that I wrote back in November, 2001 -- just two months after the nightmare of 9/11. It appears that approximately as I was writing that column, the Bush Administration was establishing new standards for tortu... uh, interrogations, that likely set the stage for the Iraqi prisoner abuse that has now created a global firestorm.

The column is called "The Convincing Business".


Posted by Lauren at May 13, 2004 06:36 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein