I am coming out of blog retirement to call out the phoney torture and imprisonment debates between raging sado-fascist Dick Cheney and his posse of bloodthirsty orcs, on the one side, and wet-noodle-in-chief Barack Obama and his starstruck apologists, on the other.
Just to refresh everyone's memory, since Obama's presidency has functionally obliterated the anti-war movement: the occupation of Iraq has always been illegal and unjustified. The war on Afghanistan has always been illegal and unjustified. This was as true in the first moment American jets let loose their industrial-strength petro-massacres in each of those countries as it is now, with the American imperial project under the command of the Obama Administration continuing to grind people to bonemeal and homes to rubble.
Bush's wars and Obama's wars: they're the same goddamn wars!
Everyone really needs to shut up already about bailing out banks and the auto industry and improving healthcare in the US. First, the US has superpower-sized reparations to pay to Iraq and Afghanistan. The amount of carnage that has been wrought on the people and environment in those places, without a shred of justification, is incalculable and unspeakable. (It certainly goes unspoken.) Thousands upon thousands of people have been slaughtered because it proves politically and economically expedient to do so for a relative handful of suited thugs. There has never been justification for these undeclared, illegal wars.
There has never been justification. And this has all been said before. With the way he's playing it, can we all please stop pretending Obama is not in the early days of his eventual war criminality? We can't have it both ways: either he's brilliant and he's galloping proudly into it, or he's just another fool puppet sleepwalking. Gotta be one of the two. And now the debate is over whether we torture and whether it works? What the fuck, people? Of course we torture and of course it works. The point of torture is to torture. It's terrifying because it's part of the state terrorist playbook. And it definitely works (it just doesn't do anything to minimize violent religious extremism, but whatever).
(An aside: allow me to correct myself, this language is so tricky. I do not torture. I almost aligned myself with the wrong people there for a second.)
Dick Cheney, for all his monstrous crimes, is now a mere 'private citizen'. Who gives a shit about the nationalistic fear-mongering drivel of a half-dead celebrity criminal? Answer: here come the news and op-ed and comedy shows to treat his grunting and croaking as somehow relevant, and allow the new president's rhetoric to move ever-so-unsubtly to the right. But even in the first weeks of Obama's presidency, when he seemed to impress so many (already drunk on the phenomenon of his race) with his determination to 'close the prison at Guantanmo Bay', he was foot-soldiering for the Bush/Cheney vision of the world. True: no one, not a soul, should be in the detention and torture facility at Guantanmo Bay. But Obama's intention was never to free the people illegally detained and tortured, but merely to move the prisoners out of the spotlight of international scrutiny. Hide them somewhere else. Break international and U.S. laws somewhere else. Torture them somewhere else.
Every day that the wars and occupations and baseless detentions continue are days that whoever is in charge is culpable for those crimes committed. And really? You don't think there are sinister goons torturing right now as you read this? Here is what Noam Chomsky recently had to say on this subject: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175073
Obama is correct in asserting that the Guantanamo monkey business has actually ramped up recruitment of those willing to take action in their opposition to American military force. But in a gross display of cognitive dissonance few seem to pick up on, he then determines to subject prisoners held for years without charges to further imprisonment elsewhere, and to military tribunals.
Let's just be clear on something: America has tortured. America does torture. America will torture. And what has changed? The president's got a different name, a loftier voice, but he still wilfully deceives. The press still wilfully underreports. People remain wilfully ignorant of their own march in the parade of horrors.
I realize that even informed people are unlikely to quit their desperate job searches and re-amp the anti-war movement. Unemployment is bad here, not quite as bad as in Afghanistan and Iraq, not even close, but there are decent white folks losing their jobs now. Still, I have a modest proposal: those who supported Obama before he took the reins of a mass-murderous, torturing imperial project might consider either taking their Yes We Can signs and bumper stickers down or scribbling in a final word to make that campaign slogan a little more honest: Yes We Can...Torture!